The happiness of hearing her say those words transfigured him--the manly beauty of his earlier and happier years seemed to have returned to Alban. He took her hand--he was too agitated to speak.
"You are forgetting Mr. Mirabel," she reminded him gently.
"I will be all that is civil and kind to Mr. Mirabel; I will like him and admire him as you do. Oh, Emily, are you a little, only a very little, fond of me?"
Her fair cheek was very near to him. The softly-rising color on it said, Answer me here--and he answered.
On Monday, Mirabel made his appearance--and the demon of discord returned with him.
Alban had employed the earlier part of the day in making a sketch in the park--intended as a little present for Emily. Presenting himself in the drawing-room, when his work was completed, he found Cecilia and Francine alone. He asked where Emily was.
The question had been addressed to Cecilia. Francine answered it.
"Emily mustn't be disturbed," she said.