He then said that she was the daughter of a French opera-dancer, Celine Varens, towards whom he had once cherished what he called a "grande passion."
Descending from her chair, she came and placed herself on my knee; then, folding her little hands demurely before her, shaking back her curls and lifting her eyes to the ceiling, she commenced singing a song from some opera.
Strange that I should choose you for the confidant of all this, young lady; passing strange that you should listen to me quietly, as if it were the most usual thing in the world for a man like me to tell stories of his opera-mistresses to a quaint, inexperienced girl like you!
Mrs. Fairfax found you to train it; but now you know that it is the illegitimate offspring of a French opera— girl, you will perhaps think differently of your post and protegee: you will be coming to me some day with notice that you have found another place — that you beg me to look out for a new governess, &c.
The carriage stopped, as I had expected, at the hotel door; my flame (that is the very word for an opera inamorata) alighted: though muffed in a cloak — an unnecessary encumbrance, by-the-bye, on so warm a June evening — I knew her instantly by her little foot, seen peeping from the skirt of her dress, as she skipped from the carriage-step.
…incense on the freezing and sunless air, he went on — "I liked bonbons too in those days, Miss Eyre, and I was croquant — (overlook the barbarism) — croquant chocolate comfits, and smoking alternately, watching meantime the equipages that rolled along the fashionable streets towards the neighbouring opera-house, when in an elegant close carriage drawn by a beautiful pair of English horses, and distinctly seen in the brilliant city-night, I recognised the ’voiture’ I had given Celine.