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A spasm passed through Mam'selle Pauline's delicate frame. La Petite
could feel the twitch of it in the wiry fingers that were intertwined
with her own. Ma'ame Pelagie remained unchanged and motionless.
No human eye could penetrate so deep as to see the satisfaction
which her soul felt. She said: "What do you mean, Petite?
Your father has sent you to us, and I am sure it is his wish that you remain."
"My father loves me, tante Pelagie, and such will not be his
wish when he knows. Oh!" she continued with a restless, movement,
"it is as though a weight were pressing me backward here. I must
live another life; the life I lived before. I want to know things
that are happening from day to day over the world, and hear them
talked about. I want my music, my books, my companions. If I had
known no other life but this one of privation, I suppose it would
be different. If I had to live this life, I should make the best
of it. But I do not have to; and you know, tante Pelagie, you do
not need to. It seems to me," she added in a whisper, "that it is
a sin against myself. Ah, Tan'tante!--what is the matter with
It was nothing; only a slight feeling of faintness, that would
soon pass. She entreated them to take no notice; but they brought
her some water and fanned her with a palmetto leaf.
But that night, in the stillness of the room, Mam'selle
Pauline sobbed and would not be comforted. Ma'ame Pelagie took her
in her arms.
"Pauline, my little sister Pauline," she entreated, "I never
have seen you like this before. Do you no longer love me?
Have we not been happy together, you and I?"
"Oh, yes, Sesoeur."
"Is it because La Petite is going away?"
"Then she is dearer to you than I!" spoke Ma'ame Pelagie with
sharp resentment. "Than I, who held you and warmed you in my arms
the day you were born; than I, your mother, father, sister,
everything that could cherish you. Pauline, don't tell me that."
Mam'selle Pauline tried to talk through her sobs.