Think of it! He felt so flattered that he blushed to the tips of his ears. It must have been Miss Clara Broby who had induced them to be so polite to him, for those insolent cadets, who only nodded patronizingly to him in response to his deferential greeting, would never have asked for "the pleasure of his company."
Having satisfied himself on this point, Paul went to call upon Miss Clara in the evening, in order to pay her some compliment and consult her in regard to his costume; but Miss Clara, as it happened, was much more interested in her own costume than in that of Mr. Jespersen, and offered no useful suggestions.
"What character would you advise me to select, Mr. Jespersen?" she inquired, sweetly. "My sister Hanna, you know, is going to be Morning, so I can't be that, and it seems to me Morning would have suited me just lovely."
"Go as Beauty," suggested Mr. Jespersen, blushing at the thought of his audacity.
"So I will, Mr. Jespersen," she answered, laughing, "if you will go as the Beast."
Paul, being a simple-hearted fellow, failed to see any sarcasm in this, but interpreted it rather as a hint that Miss Clara desired his escort, as Beauty, of course, only would be recognizable in her proper character by the presence of the Beast.
"I shall be delighted, Miss Clara," he said, beaming with pleasure. "If you will be my Beauty, I'll be your Beast."
Miss Clara did not know exactly how to take this, and was rather absent-minded during the rest of the interview. She had been chaffing Mr. Jespersen, of course, but she did not wish to be absolutely rude to him, because he was her father's employee, and, as she often heard her father say, a very valuable and trustworthy young man.