... "Plait-il?"--the clear voice of the young girl asked. She thought he had made some response she could not distinctly hear.
Mastering himself an instant, as the heart faltered back to its duty, and the color remounted to his lips, he answered her in French:--
"Pardon me!--I did not hear ... you gave me such a start!" ... But even then another extraordinary fancy flashed through his thought;--and with the tutoiement of a parent to a child, with an irresistible outburst of such tenderness as almost frightened her, he cried: "Oh! merciful God!--how like her! ... Tell me, darling, your name; ... tell me who you are?" (Dis-moi qui tu es, mignonne;--dis-moi ton nom.)
... Who was it had asked her the same question, in another idiom ever so long ago? The man with the black eyes and nose like an eagle's beak,--the one who gave her the compass. Not this man--no!
She answered, with the timid gravity of surprise:--
He still watched her face, and repeated the name slowly,--reiterated it in a tone of wonderment:--"Chita Viosca?--Chita Viosca!"
--"C'est a dire ..." she said, looking down at her feet,--"Concha--Conchita. " His strange solemnity made her smile,--the smile of shyness that knows not what else to do. But it was the smile of dead Adele.
--"Thanks, my child, " he exclaimed of a sudden,--in a quick, hoarse, changed tone. (He felt that his emotion would break loose in some wild way, if he looked upon her longer.) "I would like to see your mother this evening; but I now feel too ill to go out. I am going to try to rest a little."