"Ask him, then, if he would not like to learn French."
"To learn French?"
"To take lessons."
"To take lessons, my daughter? From thee?"
"From me, my child? How should I give lessons?"
"Pas de raisons! Ask him immediately!" said Mademoiselle Noemie, with soft brevity.
M. Nioche stood aghast, but under his daughter's eye he collected his wits, and, doing his best to assume an agreeable smile, he executed her commands. "Would it please you to receive instruction in our beautiful language?" he inquired, with an appealing quaver.
"To study French?" asked Newman, staring.
M. Nioche pressed his finger-tips together and slowly raised his shoulders. "A little conversation!"
"Conversation--that's it!" murmured Mademoiselle Noemie, who had caught the word. "The conversation of the best society."
"Our French conversation is famous, you know," M. Nioche ventured to continue. "It's a great talent."