Monsieur Bérard Quotes in Birdsong
“This morning I was out doing some errands in the town. There was a window open in a house near the cathedral and someone was playing the piano.”
Madame Azaire’s voice was cool and low […].
Monsieur and Madame Bérard looked startled. It was evidently not the kind of thing they had expected. Azaire spoke with the soothing voice of one use to such fancies. “And what was the tune, my dear?”
“I don’t know. I had never heard it before. It was just a tune like Beethoven or Chopin.”
“I doubt it was Beethoven if you failed to recognize it, Madame,” said Bérard
gallantly. “It was one of those folksongs, I’ll bet you anything.”
“Madame,” said Azaire, “I assure you that Isabelle has no fever. She is a woman of a nervous temperament. She suffers from headaches and various minor maladies. It signifies nothing. Believe me, I know her very well and I have learned how to live with her little ways.” He gave a glace of complicity toward Bérard who chuckled. “You yourself are fortunate in having a robust constitution.”
She was the only one who did not respond to Bérard’s promptings. She barely contributed when he invited her to do so, but would speak, unbidden, on a subject of her own choice. This appeared to leave Bérard no choice but to cut her off. He would apologize with a small bow of his head, though not for some minutes, and not until he had taken the conversation safely down the path he wanted. Madame Azaire would shrug lightly or smile at his belated apology as though to suggest that what she had been about to say was unimportant.