surance, that we are wont to associate with a riper womanhood. Whether she looked twenty-five or not, she looked, at any rate, a completed product; she looked distinguished and worth while; she looked alive, alert: one in whom the blood coursed swiftly, the spirit burned vigorously; one who would love her pleasure, who could be wayward and provoking, but who could also be generous and loyal; she looked high-bred, one in whom there was race, as well as temperament and nerve.
The Commendatore, however, was a thousand miles from these considerations. He glared fiercely at her--as fiercely as it was in his mild old eyes to glare. He held himself erect and aloof, in a posture that was eloquent of haughty indignation.
"I will ask your Excellency a single question. Are you or are you not the Countess of Sampaolo?" he demanded sternly.
But Susanna was incorrigible.
"At your service--unless I was changed at nurse," she assented, dropping a curtsey; and an imp laughed in her eyes.