Mirabel had no choice but to yield. Imperative anxieties forced him to say, in Francine's presence, what he had hoped to say to Emily privately.
"When I joined Miss Wyvil and Mr. Morris," he began, "what do you think they were doing? They were talking of--Miss Jethro."
Emily dropped the rose-crown on her lap. It was easy to see that she had been disagreeably surprised.
"Mr. Morris has told me the curious story of Miss Jethro's visit," Mirabel continued; "but I am in some doubt whether he has spoken to me without reserve. Perhaps he expressed himself more freely when he spoke to _you_. Miss Jethro may have said something to him which tended to lower me in your estimation?"
"Certainly not, Mr. Mirabel--so far as I know. If I had heard anything of the kind, I should have thought it my duty to tell you. Will it relieve your anxiety, if I go at once to Mr. Morris, and ask him plainly whether he has concealed anything from you or from me?"
Mirabel gratefully kissed her hand. "Your kindness overpowers me," he said--speaking, for once, with true emotion.
Emily immediately returned to the house. As soon as she was out of sight, Francine approached Mirabel, trembling with suppressed rage.
Miss de Sor began cautiously with an apology. "Excuse me, Mr. Mirabel, for reminding you of my presence."