“Mademoiselle Smith!” Durand greeted Eden as she stepped into the gallery and his three patrons turned to stare at the person so addressed.
She noticed the patrons shifting their weight and hushing their own voices to overhear her conversation with the dealer. They were obviously confused to hear her addressed as “mademoiselle.” She wished they would leave. Instead, Durand himself called one of them to his side.
“Monsieur—” he said, “come meet the young lady about whom I was telling you.” To Eden’s horror, Doctor Bertrand of the Ecole Medecine turned to see her standing there.
“Monsieur Smith!” Dr. Bertrand’s face registered shock. “Young lady?”
Durand was laughing. “I told you, the young lady makes a better gentleman.”
Eden was certain she was blushing now and she hated Durand for it. But she reached a polite hand towards the doctor. “Hello again, monsieur.”
He took her hand and said only, “bonjour.”
But Durand was curious, “again?” he asked.
“We have met,” Eden said, ignoring Durand’s curious expression.
Dr. Bertrand was still silent. Durand spoke for him. “Monsieur Bertrand has been showing great interest in some of your work. I was even now trying to persuade him to purchase the little picture of the peasant girls.”
Durand nodded at a small canvas on the wall behind Bertrand. It did not feature peasant girls, but Eden’s niece sitting on Sis’s lap. But Eden did not correct Durand. Instead she smiled at the doctor, “I hope you will decide the picture is worth your investment, monsieur,” she said.
Then, forgetting the business for which she had come, she left the gallery and walked quickly home, her heart racing all the way.