Page:Out of due time, Ward, 1906.djvu/26

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OUT OF DUE TIME.

and sister, had decided to make their home together when Madame d'Etranges had married again. Madame d'Etranges after she became Madame de Pourcelles parted very unwillingly with her daughter, and did all she could to take care of her from a distance. Marcelle d'Etranges, after a couple of years spent in Germany with her brother, came to England, which was Paul's maternal country, with him. Madame de Pourcelles had in vain tried to make some social relations for her daughter in Germany. She and Paul were determined to be independent, and to mix with a world quite unknown to her mother—a world of savants, of thinkers, and of students.

Madame de Pourcelles saw some hope of better things when they came to England, and she wrote a crowd of letters to her friends and acquaintances, admirably expressed, to let them know that her daughter Marcelle d'Etranges would be living within reach of many of them. One of the first to whom she applied as a social godmother was my mother.

"How little Madame de Pourcelles knows how useless I am become! She thinks, of course, that I am still at Thornly," said my mother, with a sad smile; but the letter pleased her. It was reminiscent of a happy past. Even the shape of the sentences and the look of the writing was a pleasure. She paraphrased it for me after I had made a vain attempt at reading it for myself.

"Paul d'Etranges has come into a little property in Derbyshire, Peak Hall, 'très ancienne et très romantic,' Madame de Pourcelles understands it to be. It has been left him by his mother's sister—his mother, you know, was a Miss Lake. Paul and Marcelle d'Etranges are there now, and Madame de Pourcelles is very anxious for you to go and pay them a visit. Knowing the independence of the English character, and particularly of the 'jeune demoiselle' in England, and her habit of constantly going 'en voyage' by herself, she does not hesitate to make the request. But, my