For some weeks after this I saw little of the young firebrand, though from time to time he attended my receptions and invariably behaved to me with a modesty which proved that he placed some bounds to his presumption. I heard, moreover, that M. de Saintonge, in acknowledgment of the triumph over the St. Germains which he had afforded him, had taken him up; and that the connection between the families being publicly avowed, the two were much together.
Judge of my surprise, therefore, when one day a little before Christmas, M. de Saintonge sought me at the Arsenal during the preparation of the plays and interludes--which were held there that year--and, drawing me aside into the garden, broke into a furious tirade against the young fellow.
"But," I said, in immense astonishment, "what is this? I thought that he was a young man quite to your mind; and--"
"Yes, mad!" he repeated, striking the ground violently with his cane. "Stark mad, M. de Rosny. He does not know himself! What do you think--but it is inconceivable. He proposes to marry my daughter! This penniless adventurer honours Mademoiselle de Saintonge by proposing for her!"
"Pheugh!" I said. "That is serious."
"He--he! I don't think I shall ever get over it!" he answered.
"He has, of course, seen Mademoiselle?"
"Of course!" he replied, with a snap of rage.
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