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Short Stories,Guy de Maupassant

Short Stories,Guy de Maupassant

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Publicado porCiotic Cristian

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Published by: Ciotic Cristian on Dec 28, 2010
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  • "The Terror"
  • A Coup d'Etat
  • A Coward
  • A Duel
  • A Family Affair
  • A Meeting
  • A New Year's Gift
  • A Parricide
  • A Queer Night in Paris
  • A Recollection
  • A Sale
  • A Stroll
  • A Tress of Hair
  • A Vagabond
  • A Vendetta
  • A Wedding Gift
  • Abandoned
  • After
  • Alexandre
  • All Over
  • Bertha
  • Beside Schopenhauer's Corpse
  • Boule de Suif
  • Clair de Lune
  • Clochette
  • Denis
  • Farewell
  • Fascination
  • Father Milon
  • Forgiveness
  • Found on a Drowned Man
  • Friend Joseph
  • Friend Patience
  • His Avenger
  • In the Spring
  • In the Wood
  • Indiscretion
  • Julie Romaine
  • Legend of Mont St. Michel
  • Lieutenant Lare's Marriage
  • Little Louise Roque
  • Madame Baptiste
  • Madame Husson's Rosier
  • Madame Parisse
  • Mademoiselle Fifi
  • Mademoiselle Pearl
  • Martine
  • Miss Harriet
  • Moiron
  • Monsieur Parent
  • Moonlight
  • Mother and Son
  • Mother Sauvage
  • My Twenty-Five Days
  • My Uncle Jules
  • My Uncle Sosthenes
  • My Wife
  • Old Amable
  • Old Mongilet
  • On the River
  • Our Letters
  • Queen Hortense
  • That Costly Ride
  • The Adopted Son
  • The Apparition
  • The Baroness
  • The Beggar
  • The Blind Man
  • The Colonel's Ideas
  • The Cripple
  • The Diamond Necklace
  • The Dispenser of Holy Water
  • The Donkey
  • The Door
  • The Effeminates
  • The False Gems
  • The Father
  • The First Snowfall
  • The Gamekeeper
  • The Hand
  • The Horrible
  • The Impolite Sex
  • The Inn
  • The Kiss
  • The Lancer's Wife
  • The Legion of Honor
  • The Log
  • The Love of Long Ago
  • The Maison Tellier
  • The Marquis de Fumerol
  • The Moribund
  • The Mustache
  • The Orphan
  • The Patron
  • The Piece of String
  • The Prisoners
  • The Question of Latin
  • The Rabbit
  • The Relic
  • The Rondoli Sisters
  • The Story of a Farm Girl
  • The Test
  • The Thief
  • The Trip of the Horla
  • The Unknown
  • The Wolf
  • The Wreck
  • The Wrong House
  • Theodule Sabot's Confession
  • Timbuctoo
  • Tombstones
  • Two Friends
  • Two Little Soldiers
  • Useless Beauty
  • Waiter, a "Bock"
  • Yvette Samoris


Short Stories
"The Terror" A Coup d'Etat A Coward A Duel A Family Affair A Meeting A New Year's Gift A Parricide A Queer Night in Paris A Recollection A Sale A Stroll A Tress of Hair A Vagabond A Vendetta A Wedding Gift Abandoned After Alexandre All Over Bertha Beside Schopenhauer's Corpse Boule de Suif Clair de Lune Clochette Denis Farewell Fascination Father Milon Forgiveness Found on a Drowned Man Friend Joseph Friend Patience His Avenger In the Spring In the Wood Indiscretion Julie Romaine Legend of Mont St. Michel Lieutenant Lare's Marriage Little Louise Roque Madame Baptiste Madame Husson's Rosier Madame Parisse Mademoiselle Fifi Mademoiselle Pearl Martine Miss Harriet Moiron Monsieur Parent Moonlight Mother and Son Mother Sauvage My Twenty-Five Days My Uncle Jules My Uncle Sosthenes My Wife Old Amable

Old Mongilet On the River Our Letters Queen Hortense That Costly Ride The Adopted Son The Apparition The Baroness The Beggar The Blind Man The Colonel's Ideas The Cripple The Diamond Necklace The Dispenser of Holy Water The Donkey The Door The Effeminates The False Gems The Father The First Snowfall The Gamekeeper The Hand The Horrible The Impolite Sex The Inn The Kiss The Lancer's Wife The Legion of Honor The Log The Love of Long Ago The Maison Tellier The Marquis de Fumerol The Moribund The Mustache The Orphan The Patron The Piece of String The Prisoners The Question of Latin The Rabbit The Relic The Rondoli Sisters The Story of a Farm Girl The Test The Thief The Trip of the Horla The Unknown The Wolf The Wreck The Wrong House Theodule Sabot's Confession Timbuctoo Tombstones Two Friends Two Little Soldiers Useless Beauty Waiter, a "Bock" Yvette Samoris

"The Terror"
You say you cannot possibly understand it, and I believe you. You think I am losing my mind? Perhaps I am, but for other reasons than those you imagine, my dear friend. Yes, I am going to be married, and will tell you what has led me to take that step. I may add that I know very little of the girl who is going to become my wife to-morrow; I have only seen her four or five times. I know that there is nothing unpleasing about her, and that is enough for my purpose. She is small, fair, and stout; so, of course, the day after to-morrow I shall ardently wish for a tall, dark, thin woman. She is not rich, and belongs to the middle classes. She is a girl such as you may find by the gross, well adapted for matrimony, without any apparent faults, and with no particularly striking qualities. People say of her: "Mlle. Lajolle is a very nice girl," and tomorrow they will say: "What a very nice woman Madame Raymon is." She belongs, in a word, to that immense number of girls whom one is glad to have for one's wife, till the moment comes when one discovers that one happens to prefer all other women to that particular woman whom one has married. "Well," you will say to me, "what on earth did you get married for?" I hardly like to tell you the strange and seemingly improbable reason that urged me on to this senseless act; the fact, however, is that I am afraid of being alone. I don't know how to tell you or to make you understand me, but my state of mind is so wretched that you will pity me and despise me. I do not want to be alone any longer at night. I want to feel that there is some one close to me, touching me, a being who can speak and say something, no matter what it be. I wish to be able to awaken somebody by my side, so that I may be able to ask some sudden question, a stupid question even, if I feel inclined, so that I may hear a human voice, and feel that there is some waking soul close to me, some one whose reason is at work; so that when I hastily light the candle I may see some human face by my side--because--because --I am ashamed to confess it--because I am afraid of being alone. Oh, you don't understand me yet. I am not afraid of any danger; if a man were to come into the room, I should kill him without trembling. I am not afraid of ghosts, nor do I believe in the supernatural. I am not afraid of dead people, for I believe in the total annihilation of every being that disappears from the face of this earth. Well--yes, well, it must be told: I am afraid of myself, afraid of that horrible sensation of incomprehensible fear. You may laugh, if you like. It is terrible, and I cannot get over it. I am afraid of the walls, of the furniture, of the familiar objects; which are animated, as far as I am concerned, by a kind of animal life. Above all, I am afraid of my own dreadful thoughts, of my reason, which seems as if it were about to leave me, driven away by a mysterious and invisible agony.

At first I feel a vague uneasiness in my mind, which causes a cold shiver to run all over me. I look round, and of course nothing is to be seen, and I wish that there were something there, no matter what, as long as it were something tangible. I am frightened merely because I cannot understand my own terror. If I speak, I am afraid of my own voice. If I walk, I am afraid of I know not what, behind the door, behind the curtains, in the cupboard, or under my bed, and yet all the time I know there is nothing anywhere, and I turn round suddenly because I am afraid of what is behind me, although there is nothing there, and I know it. I become agitated. I feel that my fear increases, and so I shut myself up in my own room, get into bed, and hide under the clothes; and there, cowering down, rolled into a ball, I close my eyes in despair, and remain thus for an indefinite time, remembering that my candle is alight on the table by my bedside, and that I ought to put it out, and yet--I dare not do it. It is very terrible, is it not, to be like that? Formerly I felt nothing of all that. I came home quite calm, and went up and down my apartment without anything disturbing my peace of mind. Had any one told me that I should be attacked by a malady--for I can call it nothing else--of most improbable fear, such a stupid and terrible malady as it is, I should have laughed outright. I was certainly never afraid of opening the door in the dark. I went to bed slowly, without locking it, and never got up in the middle of the night to make sure that everything was firmly closed. It began last year in a very strange manner on a damp autumn evening. When my servant had left the room, after I had dined, I asked myself what I was going to do. I walked up and down my room for some time, feeling tired without any reason for it, unable to work, and even without energy to read. A fine rain was falling, and I felt unhappy, a prey to one of those fits of despondency, without any apparent cause, which make us feel inclined to cry, or to talk, no matter to whom, so as to shake off our depressing thoughts. I felt that I was alone, and my rooms seemed to me to be more empty than they had ever been before. I was in the midst of infinite and overwhelming solitude. What was I to do? I sat down, but a kind of nervous impatience seemed to affect my legs, so I got up and began to walk about again. I was, perhaps, rather feverish, for my hands, which I had clasped behind me, as one often does when walking slowly, almost seemed to burn one another. Then suddenly a cold shiver ran down my back, and I thought the damp air might have penetrated into my rooms, so I lit the fire for the first time that year, and sat down again and looked at the flames. But soon I felt that I could not possibly remain quiet, and so I got up again and determined to go out, to pull myself together, and to find a friend to bear me company. I could not find anyone, so I walked to the boulevard ro try and meet some acquaintance or other there. It was wretched everywhere, and the wet pavement glistened in the gaslight, while the oppressive warmth of the almost impalpable rain lay heavily over the streets and seemed to obscure the light of the lamps. I went on slowly, saying to myself: "I shall not find a soul to talk to." I glanced into several cafes, from the Madeleine as far as the Faubourg Poissoniere, and saw many unhappy-looking individuals sitting at the tables who did not seem even to have enough energy left to finish the refreshments they had ordered.

For a long time I wandered aimlessly up and down, and about midnight I started for home. I was very calm and very tired. My janitor opened the door at once, which was quite unusual for him, and I thought that another lodger had probably just come in. When I go out I always double-lock the door of my room, and I found it merely closed, which surprised me; but I supposed that some letters had been brought up for me in the course of the evening. I went in, and found my fire still burning so that it lighted up the room a little, and, while in the act of taking up a candle, I noticed somebody sitting in my armchair by the fire, warming his feet, with his back toward me. I was not in the slightest degree frightened. I thought, very naturally, that some friend or other had come to see me. No doubt the porter, to whom I had said I was going out, had lent him his own key. In a moment I remembered all the circumstances of my return, how the street door had been opened immediately, and that my own door was only latched and not locked. I could see nothing of my friend but his head, and he had evidently gone to sleep while waiting for me, so I went up to him to rouse him. I saw him quite distinctly; his right arm was hanging down and his legs were crossed; the position of his head, which was somewhat inclined to the left of the armchair, seemed to indicate that he was asleep. "Who can it be?" I asked myself. I could not see clearly, as the room was rather dark, so I put out my hand to touch him on the shoulder, and it came in contact with the back of the chair. There was nobody there; the seat was empty. I fairly jumped with fright. For a moment I drew back as if confronted by some terrible danger; then I turned round again, impelled by an imperious standing upright, panting with fear, so upset that I could not collect my thoughts, and ready to faint. But I am a cool man, and soon recovered myself. I thought: "It is a mere hallucination, that is all," and I immediately began to reflect on this phenomenon. Thoughts fly quickly at such moments. I had been suffering from an hallucination, that was an incontestable fact. My mind had been perfectly lucid and had acted regularly and logically, so there was nothing the matter with the brain. It was only my eyes that had been deceived; they had had a vision, one of those visions which lead simple folk to believe in miracles. It was a nervous seizure of the optical apparatus, nothing more; the eyes were rather congested, perhaps. I lit my candle, and when I stooped down to the fire in doing so I noticed that I was trembling, and I raised myself up with a jump, as if somebody had touched me from behind. I was certainly not by any means calm. I walked up and down a little, and hummed a tune or two. Then I double- locked the door and felt rather reassured; now, at any rate, nobody could come in. I sat down again and thought over my adventure for a long time; then I went to bed and blew out my light. For some minutes all went well; I lay quietly on my back, but presently an irresistible desire seized me to look round the room, and I turned over on my side. My fire was nearly out, and the few glowing embers threw a faint light on the floor by the chair, where I fancied I saw the man sitting again.

I quickly struck a match, but I had been mistaken; there was nothing there. I got up, however, and hid the chair behind my bed, and tried to get to sleep, as the room was now dark; but I had not forgotten myself for more than five minutes, when in my dream I saw all the scene which I had previously witnessed as clearly as if it were reality. I woke up with a start, and having lit the candle, sat up in bed, without venturing even to try to go to sleep again. Twice, however, sleep overcame me for a few moments in spite of myself, and twice I saw the same thing again, till I fancied I was going mad. When day broke, however, I thought that I was cured, and slept peacefully till noon. It was all past and over. I had been feverish, had had the nightmare. I know not what. I had been ill, in fact, but yet thought I was a great fool. I enjoyed myself thoroughly that evening. I dined at a restaurant and afterward went to the theatre, and then started for home. But as I got near the house I was once more seized by a strange feeling of uneasiness. I was afraid of seeing him again. I was not afraid of him, not afraid of his presence, in which I did not believe; but I was afraid of being deceived again. I was afraid of some fresh hallucination, afraid lest fear should take possession of me. For more than an hour I wandered up and down the pavement; then, feeling that I was really too foolish, I returned home. I breathed so hard that I could hardly get upstairs, and remained standing outside my door for more than ten minutes; then suddenly I had a courageous impulse and my will asserted itself. I inserted my key into the lock, and went into the apartment with a candle in my hand. I kicked open my bedroom door, which was partly open, and cast a frightened glance toward the fireplace. There was nothing there. A-h! What a relief and what a delight! What a deliverance! I walked up and down briskly and boldly, but I was not altogether reassured, and kept turning round with a jump; the very shadows in the corners disquieted me. I slept badly, and was constantly disturbed by imaginary noises, but did not see him; no, that was all over. Since that time I have been afraid of being alone at night. I feel that the spectre is there, close to me, around me; but it has not appeared to me again. And supposing it did, what would it matter, since I do not believe in it, and know that it is nothing? However, it still worries me, because I am constantly thinking of it. His right arm hanging down and his head inclined to the left like a man who was asleep--I don't want to think about it! Why, however, am I so persistently possessed with this idea? His feet were close to the fire! He haunts me; it is very stupid, but who and what is he? I know that he does not exist except in my cowardly imagination, in my fears, and in my agony. There--enough of that! Yes, it is all very well for me to reason with myself, to stiffen my backbone, so to say; but I cannot remain at home because I know he is there. I know I shall not see him again; he will not show himself again; that is all over. But he is there, all the same, in my thoughts. He remains invisible, but that does not prevent his being there. He is behind the doors, in the closed cupboard, in the wardrobe, under the bed, in every dark corner. If I open the door or the cupboard, if I take the candle to look under the bed and throw a light on the dark places he is there no longer, but I feel that he is behind me. I turn round, certain that I shall not see him, that I shall never see him again; but for all that, he is behind me. It is very stupid, it is dreadful; but what am I to do? I cannot help it.

But if there were two of us in the place I feel certain that he would not be there any longer, for he is there just because I am alone, simply and solely because I am alone!

A Coup d'Etat
Paris had just heard of the disaster at Sedan. A republic had been declared. All France was wavering on the brink of this madness which lasted until after the Commune. From one end of the country to the other everybody was playing soldier. Cap-makers became colonels, fulfilling the duties of generals; revolvers and swords were displayed around big, peaceful stomachs wrapped in flaming red belts; little tradesmen became warriors commanding battalions of brawling volunteers, and swearing like pirates in order to give themselves some prestige. The sole fact of handling firearms crazed these people, who up to that time had only handled scales, and made them, without any reason, dangerous to all. Innocent people were shot to prove that they knew how to kill; in forests which had never seen a Prussian, stray dogs, grazing cows and browsing horses were killed. Each one thought himself called upon to play a great part in military affairs. The cafes of the smallest villages, full of uniformed tradesmen, looked like barracks or hospitals. The town of Canneville was still in ignorance of the maddening news from the army and the capital; nevertheless, great excitement had prevailed for the last month, the opposing parties finding themselves face to face. The mayor, Viscount de Varnetot, a thin, little old man, a conservative, who had recently, from ambition, gone over to the Empire, had seen a determined opponent arise in Dr. Massarel, a big, fullblooded man, leader of the Republican party of the neighborhood, a high official in the local masonic lodge, president of the Agricultural Society and of the firemen's banquet and the organizer of the rural militia which was to save the country. In two weeks, he had managed to gather together sixty-three volunteers, fathers of families, prudent farmers and town merchants, and every morning he would drill them in the square in front of the townhall. When, perchance, the mayor would come to the municipal building, Commander Massarel, girt with pistols, would pass proudly in front of his troop, his sword in his hand, and make all of them cry: "Long live the Fatherland!" And it had been noticed that this cry excited the little viscount, who probably saw in it a menace, a threat, as well as the odious memory of the great Revolution. On the morning of the fifth of September, the doctor, in full uniform, his revolver on the table, was giving a consultation to an old couple, a farmer who had been suffering from varicose veins for the last seven years and had waited until his wife had them also, before he would consult the doctor, when the postman brought in the paper. M. Massarel opened it, grew pale, suddenly rose, and lifting his hands to heaven in a gesture of exaltation, began to shout at the top of his voice before the two frightened country folks:

"Long live the Republic! long live the Republic! long live the Republic!" Then he fell back in his chair, weak from emotion. And as the peasant resumed: "It started with the ants, which began to run up and down my legs---" Dr. Massarel exclaimed: "Shut up! I haven't got time to bother with your nonsense. The Republic has been proclaimed, the emperor has been taken prisoner, France is saved! Long live the Republic!" Running to the door, he howled: Celeste, quick, Celeste!" The servant, affrighted, hastened in; he was trying to talk so rapidly, that he could only stammer: "My boots, my sword, my cartridge-box and the Spanish dagger which is on my night-table! Hasten!" As the persistent peasant, taking advantage of a moment's silence, continued, "I seemed to get big lumps which hurt me when I walk," the physician, exasperated, roared: "Shut up and get out! If you had washed your feet it would not have happened!" Then, grabbing him by the collar, he yelled at him: "Can't you understand that we are a republic, you brass-plated idiot!" But professional sentiment soon calmed him, and he pushed the bewildered couple out, saying: "Come back to-morrow, come back to-morrow, my friends. I haven't any time to-day." As he equipped himself from head to foot, he gave a series of important orders to his servant: "Run over to Lieutenant Picart and to Second Lieutenant Pommel, and tell them that I am expecting them here immediately. Also send me Torchebeuf with his drum. Quick! quick!" When Celeste had gone out, he sat down and thought over the situation and the difficulties which he would have to surmount. The three men arrived together in their working clothes. The commandant, who expected to see them in uniform, felt a little shocked. "Don't you people know anything? The emperor has been taken prisoner, the Republic has been proclaimed. We must act. My position is delicate, I might even say dangerous." He reflected for a few moments before his bewildered subordinates, then he continued: "We must act and not hesitate; minutes count as hours in times like these. All depends on the promptness of our decision. You, Picart, go to the cure and order him to ring the alarm-bell, in order to get together the people, to whom I am going to announce the news. You, Torchebeuf beat the tattoo throughout the whole neighborhood as far as the hamlets of Gerisaie and Salmare, in order to assemble the militia in the public square. You, Pommel, get your uniform on quickly, just the coat and cap. We

are going to the town-hall to demand Monsieur de Varnetot to surrender his powers to me. Do you understand? Yes." "Now carry out those orders quickly. I will go over to your house with you, Pommel, since we shall act together." Five minutes later, the commandant and his subordinates, armed to the teeth, appeared on the square, just as the little Viscount de Varnetot, his legs encased in gaiters as for a hunting party, his gun on his shoulder, was coming down the other street at double-quick time, followed by his three green-coated guards, their swords at their sides and their guns swung over their shoulders. While the doctor stopped, bewildered, the four men entered the town-hall and closed the door behind them. "They have outstripped us," muttered the physician, "we must now wait for reenforcements. There is nothing to do for the present." Lieutenant Picart now appeared on the scene. "The priest refuses to obey," he said. "He has even locked himself in the church with the sexton and beadle." On the other side of the square, opposite the white, tightly closed town- hall, stood the church, silent and dark, with its massive oak door studded with iron. But just as the perplexed inhabitants were sticking their heads out of the windows or coming out on their doorsteps, the drum suddenly began to be heard, and Torchebeuf appeared, furiously beating the tattoo. He crossed the square running, and disappeared along the road leading to the fields. The commandant drew his sword, and advanced alone to half way between the two buildings behind which the enemy had intrenched itself, and, waving his sword over his head, he roared with all his might: "Long live the Republic! Death to traitors!" Then he returned to his officers. The butcher, the baker and the druggist, much disturbed, were anxiously pulling down their shades and closing their shops. The grocer alone kept open. However, the militia were arriving by degrees, each man in a different uniform, but all wearing a black cap with gold braid, the cap being the principal part of the outfit. They were armed with old rusty guns, the old guns which had hung for thirty years on the kitchen wall; and they looked a good deal like an army of tramps. When he had about thirty men about him, the commandant, in a few words, outlined the situation to them. Then, turning to his staff: "Let us act," he said. The villagers were gathering together and talking the matter over. The doctor quickly decided on a plan of campaign.

"Lieutenant Picart, you will advance under the windows of this town-hall and summon Monsieur de Varnetot, in the name of the Republic, to hand the keys over to me." But the lieutenant, a master mason, refused: "You're smart, you are. I don't care to get killed, thank you. Those people in there shoot straight, don't you forget it. Do your errands yourself." The commandant grew very red. "I command you to go in the name of discipline!" The lieutenant rebelled: "I'm not going to have my beauty spoiled without knowing why." All the notables, gathered in a group near by, began to laugh. One of them cried: "You are right, Picart, this isn't the right time." The doctor then muttered: "Cowards!" And, leaving his sword and his revolver in the hands of a soldier, he advanced slowly, his eye fastened on the windows, expecting any minute to see a gun trained on him. When he was within a few feet of the building, the doors at both ends, leading into the two schools, opened and a flood of children ran out,. boys from one side, girls from the ether, and began to play around the doctor, in the big empty square, screeching and screaming, and making so much noise that he could not make himself heard. As soon as the last child was out of the building, the two doors closed again. Most of the youngsters finally dispersed, and the commandant called in a loud voice: "Monsieur de Varnetot!" A window on the first floor opened and M. de Varnetot appeared. The commandant continued: "Monsieur, you know that great events have just taken place which have changed the entire aspect of the government. The one which you represented no longer exists. The one which I represent is taking control. Under these painful, but decisive circumstances, I come, in the name of the new Republic, to ask you to turn over to me the office which you held under the former government." M. de Varnetot answered: "Doctor, I am the mayor of Canneville, duly appointed, and I shall remain mayor of Canneville until I have been dismissed by a decree from my superiors. As mayor, I am in my place in the townhall, and here I stay. Anyhow, just try to get me out."

He closed the window. The commandant returned to his troop. But before giving any information, eyeing Lieutenant Picart from head to foot, he exclaimed: "You're a great one, you are! You're a fine specimen of manhood! You're a disgrace to the army! I degrade you." "I don't give a ----!" He turned away and mingled with a group of townspeople. Then the doctor hesitated. What could he do? Attack? But would his men obey orders? And then, did he have the right to do so? An idea struck him. He ran to the telegraph office, opposite the town- hall, and sent off three telegrams: To the new republican government in Paris. To the new prefect of the Seine-Inferieure, at Rouen. To the new republican sub-prefect at Dieppe. He explained the situation, pointed out the danger which the town would run if it should remain in the hands of the royalist mayor; offered his faithful services, asked for orders and signed, putting all his titles after his name. Then he returned to his battalion, and, drawing ten francs from his pocket, he cried: "Here, my friends, go eat and drink; only leave me a detachment of ten men to guard against anybody's leaving the townhall." But ex-Lieutenant Picart, who had been talking with the watchmaker, heard him; he began to laugh, and exclaimed: "By Jove, if they come out, it'll give you a chance to get in. Otherwise I can see you standing out there for the rest of your life!" The doctor did not reply, and he went to luncheon. In the afternoon, he disposed his men about the town as though they were in immediate danger of an ambush. Several times he passed in front of the town-hall and of the church without noticing anything suspicious; the two buildings looked as though empty. The butcher, the baker and the druggist once more opened up their stores. Everybody was talking about the affair. If the emperor were a prisoner, there must have been some kind of treason. They did not know exactly which of the republics had returned to power. Night fell. Toward nine o'clock, the doctor, alone, noiselessly approached the entrance of the public building, persuaded that the enemy must have gone to bed; and, as he was preparing to batter down the door with a pick-axe, the deep voice of a sentry suddenly called:

"Who goes there?" And M. Massarel retreated as fast as his legs could carry him. Day broke without any change in the situation. Armed militia occupied the square. All the citizens had gathered around this troop awaiting developments. Even neighboring villagers had come to look on. Then the doctor, seeing that his reputation was at stake, resolved to put an end to the matter in one way or another; and he was about to take some measures, undoubtedly energetic ones, when the door of the telegraph station opened and the little servant of the postmistress appeared, holding in her hands two papers. First she went to the commandant and gave him one of the despatches; then she crossed the empty square, confused at seeing the eyes of everyone on her, and lowering her head and running along with little quick steps, she went and knocked softly at the door of the barricaded house, as though ignorant of the fact that those behind it were armed. The door opened wide enough to let a man's hand reach out and receive the message; and the young girl returned blushing, ready to cry at being thus stared at by the whole countryside. In a clear voice, the doctor cried: "Silence, if you please." When the populace had quieted down, he continued proudly: "Here is the communication which I have received from the government." And lifting the telegram he read:
Former mayor dismissed. Inform him immediately, More orders following. For the sub-prefect: SAPIN, Councillor.

He was-triumphant; his heart was throbbing with joy and his hands were trembling; but Picart, his former subordinate, cried to him from a neighboring group: "That's all right; but supposing the others don't come out, what good is the telegram going to do you?" M. Massarel grew pale. He had not thought of that; if the others did not come out, he would now have to take some decisive step. It was not only his right, but his duty. He looked anxiously at the town-hall, hoping to see the door open and his adversary give in. The door remained closed. What could he do? The crowd was growing and closing around the militia. They were laughing. One thought especially tortured the doctor. If he attacked, he would have to march at the head of his men; and as, with him dead, all strife would cease, it was at him and him only that M. de Varnetot and

and from the ruins of your crumbling empire. disappeared around the corner of the square. independent! Be proud!" The motionless villagers were looking at him without any signs of triumph shining in their eyes. As soon as he was near enough to make himself heard. still followed by his escort. but understand that it is neither through fear of. turning to Pommel. and holding in his left hand a cane-seated chair. to serve the Republic. tyrant. M. thinking of what he could say or do in order to make an impression to electrify this calm peasantry. the odious government which has usurped the power." Massarel. he declared: "I do not wish to appear. Vengeful Destiny has struck you. very good shots." The lieutenant hastened." The man presently reappeared. the young and glorious Republic arises.hall. and M. puffed up with pride. for a single day. a prisoner of the Prussians. He would make a flag of truce. With some twine they completed the flag. you have fallen down in the mud. returned to the crowd. Defeat and shame have pursued you. and bring it here with a chair. you fall conquered." The nobleman. took the chair. Massarel went towards him. And they were good shots. lifting from the ground your broken sword----" . indignant at their indifference. you are free. monsieur. The dying fatherland was in its death throes under your oppression. But an idea struck him and. That's all. stunned. at the sight of which the royalist heart of the mayor would perhaps rejoice. again advanced in the direction of the town." And. He had an inspiration and. to fulfill his mission as a leader. walking quickly. de Varnetot. go get me the bust of the exemperor which is in the meeting room of the municipal council. answered: "I resign. without returning the bow. nor obedience to. Massarel. He looked at them. to make you acquainted with the orders which I have received. and. carrying on his right shoulder the plaster Bonaparte. When he was opposite the door. then stepping back a few steps.his three guards would aim. de Varnetot and his three guards appeared on the threshold. choking with emotion. emphasizing every word. Instinctively the doctor stepped back. he addressed it in a loud voice: "Tyrant. then he bowed courteously to his enemy. grasping it in both hands and holding it in front of him. monsieur." There was no outburst of joy. placed the white bust on it. he cried: "Hurrah! hurrah! Victory crowns the Republic everywhere. answered nothing. The doctor continued: "We are free. a white flag. he once more called: "Monsieur de Varnetot!" The door suddenly opened and M. he announced: "I have come. as Picart had just said. and M. he ordered: "Run quickly to the druggist and ask him to lend me a towel and a stick. turning to Pommel. The doctor. Pommel returned with the cloth and a broom-stick. he ordered: "Lieutenant.

waltzed to perfection. then. An orphan. the servant told him that some patients had been waiting in his office for over three hours. which seemed to be crawling up and down my legs----" A Coward In society he was called "Handsome Signoles. face to face. the doctor kicked the chair over. he turned to the amazed public and yelled: "Thus may all traitors die!" As no enthusiasm was. placid. He had won considerable fame as a swordsman. He was in great request at receptions. obstinate and patient. then a third time. who had returned at daybreak. he shot off the three remaining shots. stepped back a few steps and shot the former monarch. Not a sound greeted his listening ear. He had an attractive appearance and manner. and a tender eye. He hastened in. almost ran. Napoleon on his chair. No sensation was created. Massarel shot a second time and made a second hole. The bullet made a little black hole:. peaceful life--a life of physical and mental well-being. well-groomed statue seemed to look at M. The old man immediately began his explanation: "It began with ants. He had been suspected of more than one love affair. without stopping. ineffaceable and sarcastic. Then. With such a weapon I am sure to kill my man. could talk well. under his red belt. the spectators appearing to be dumb with astonishment." His name was Vicomte Gontran-Joseph de Signoles. that always finds favor with women. as it is called. He lived a happy. towards his house. the commandant cried to the militia: "You may go home now. an air of pride and nobility. had a certain inborn elegance. and possessed of an ample fortune. not another word cane to his mind. Not another inspiration. as yet. in his forehead. he cut quite a dash. and still more as a marksman. The peasants. As soon as he appeared. nose and pointed mustache remained intact. "When the time comes for me to fight a duel. Anger seized the commandant." And he himself walked rapidly. Thus they stood. he drew his weapon. nonplussed. the physician standing three feet away. visible. kept silent." he said. Napoleon's forehead was blown away in a white powder. but his eyes." . "I shall choose pistols. calculated to enhance the reputation of a bachelor. What could he do to move this crowd and definitely to win over public opinion? He happened to carry his hand to his stomach. They were the same two peasants as a few days before. the butt of his revolver. like a spot. Massarel with its plaster smile.He waited for applause. Then in exasperation. and he felt. a good mustache. and was regarded by his own sex with that smiling hostility accorded to the popular society man. M. and placing one foot on what remained of the bust in the position of a conqueror. and the white.

There was dead silence. and which startled every one there. He had done what he was bound to do. They had been seated a few minutes in the restaurant when Signoles noticed that a man was staring persistently at one of the ladies. He would be talked about. and said: "No. three waiters spun round on their heels like tops. will you!" "Take care. half smiling. His choice fell at last on the Marquis de la Tour. Every one rose to interfere. The vicomte had slapped his adversary's face. glanced across at the offender." The husband shrugged his shoulders. congratulated. When the vicomte reached home he walked rapidly up and down his room for some minutes. who had noticed nothing. having accompanied two women friends of his with their husbands to the theatre. you are staring at those ladies in a manner I cannot permit." said the vicomte between his teeth. speaking as one does when under the stress of great mental disturbance: "What a brute of a man!" Then he sat down. which could be heard from one end of the restaurant to the other." The man replied with a single word--a foul word. one after another." But the vicomte abruptly left his seat. approved. like two automata worked by the same spring. since it was through him that his friends had come to the restaurant. At last she said to her husband: "There's a man over there looking at me. all the others raised their heads. Whom should he choose? He bethought himself of the most influential and bestknown men of his acquaintance. and lowered her eyes.One evening. I must ask you to desist from your rudeness. He was thirsty. as if shot. then he walked up and . not in the least. crisp sound." His wife continued. Cards were exchanged. "Nonsense! Don't take any notice of him. then turned their bodies simultaneously. He could not allow this insolent fellow to spoil an ice for a guest of his. He repeated aloud. That would be just the thing. he had proved himself to be what he ought to be. But this idea aroused in him as yet no emotion of any kind. She seemed annoyed. He was in a state of too great agitation to think connectedly. do you?" The husband.Noire and Colonel Bourdin-a nobleman and a soldier. One idea alone possessed him: a duel. he invited them to take some ice cream at Tortoni's after the performance. It was for him to take cognizance of the offence. Then suddenly a sharp. Their names would carry weight in the newspapers. the two lady cashiers jumped. sir. If we were to bother our heads about all the ill-mannered people we should have no time for anything else. and drank three glasses of water. I don't know him. "or you will force me to extreme measures. He would have to find seconds as soon as morning came. half angry: "It's very tiresome! He quite spoils my ice cream. He went across to the man and said: "Sir. All those whose backs were toward the two disputants turned round. and began to reflect." The other replied: "Let me alone.

"The fellow will be afraid. his adversary would probably draw back and proffer excuses. since mutual prudence prevents the combatants from fighting close enough to each other for a point to enter very deep. If he showed himself brave. in order to be calm when the time comes. he might come out of the affair with flying colors. Anger rose in his heart against this scrap of paper--a resentful anger. simply because it had pleased him to stare rudely at a woman? And the vicomte once more repeated aloud: "What a brute!" Then he stood motionless. And yet he was so perturbed in mind and body that he asked himself: "Is it possible to be afraid in spite of one's self?" . so unnerved was he. then rolled over to his right. which seemed to him mysterious. an unknown. but with the pistol there was some chance of his adversary backing out. remained for five minutes lying on his back. "I have all day to-morrow." he reflected. "I must be firm." That was all. as if he were stabbing some one. deter mined. A duel with swords is rarely fatal. his eyes still fixed on the card. and he looked nervously round the room. since he was resolved to proceed to the last extremity. I must sleep now. Georges Lamil! Who was the man? What was his profession? Why had he stared so at the woman? Was it not monstrous that a stranger. since he was irrevocably determined to fight without flinching. fraught with many meanings. So he would have to fight! Should he choose swords or pistols?--for he considered himself as the insulted party. and then began undressing. As soon as he was in bed he blew out the light and shut his eyes. Then a qualm seized him: "Can it be possible that I am afraid?" Why did his heart beat so uncontrollably at every well-known sound in his room? When the clock was about to strike. He began to reason with himself on the possibility of such a thing: "Could I by any chance be afraid?" No. thinking. He felt unstrung. but. first at a glance in the restaurant." He was very warm in bed. With the sword he would risk less. It was a stupid business altogether! He took up a penknife which lay open within reach. He read it again. He examined closely this collection of letters.down again. "for setting my affairs in order. should thus all at once upset one's whole life. and deliberately stuck it into the middle of the printed name. and afterward on the way home in the light of each gas lamp: "Georges Lamil. the prefatory grating of its spring made him start. but he could not succeed in losing consciousness. as he had already read it. He was thirsty again. and without a duel. He tossed and turned. He drank another glass of water. and for several seconds he panted for breath. then changed to his left side. preparatory to going to bed." he said." The sound of his own voice startled him. mingled with a strange sense of uneasiness. He picked up the card he had taken from his pocket and thrown on a table. indeed. after all. on the other hand. he could not be afraid. With pistols he would seriously risk his life. 51 Rue Moncey. prepared to face a duel in deadly earnest. and rose to drink.

his reputation. He repeated as he went: "I must be firm--very firm. He put out his tongue. a numbness seized his spirit. what would happen? He would certainly go to the place appointed. instead of ringing. as if to examine the state of his health. like a caress from the rising sun. and. and to avoid seeing it went to his smoking-room. and began walking back and forth. and he was very pale. He lighted his candle. he took a step toward the bell. This person in front of me.And this doubt. having shaken him warmly by the hand. and the glimmer of dawn kindled new hope in the breast of the vicomte. lighted it. I must show that I am not afraid. and left the house with a firm step. began to discuss details. and could see himself distinctly lying on his back on the couch he had just quitted. he made a fire himself. its roofs. when there. But supposing. dead. dressed. he rose. with closed eyes. He had the hollow face and the limp hands of death. "At this time the day after to-morrow I may be dead. He seemed to see before him a man whom he did not know. He remained standing before the mirror. the marquis and the colonel. When he saw his face reflected in the mirror he scarcely recognized it. and all at once the thought flashed into his mind: "At this time the day after to-morrow I may be dead. and. were to quell his courage." His seconds. His hands quivered nervously as they touched various objects. this 'I' whom I see in the glass. and its walls. going to the window. He mechanically took a cigar. will perhaps be no more. as if he had been drinking. If an irresistible power. cold. And he suddenly determined to get up and look at himself in the glass. his name. I look at myself. "He would see that I am afraid!" And. to wake his valet. before he even knew whether he would have to fight or not! He bathed. And all the time he kept on saying: "What shall I do? What will become of me?" His whole body trembled spasmodically. What a fool he was to let himself succumb to fear before anything was decided--before his seconds had interviewed those of Georges Lamil. What! Here I am." And his heart throbbed painfully. The day--a summer day-was breaking. his will would force him that far. disjointed. took possession of him. inanimate. drew back the curtains. I feel myself to be alive--and yet in twenty-four hours I may be lying on that bed. Then he became afraid of his bed. he were to tremble or faint? And he thought of his social standing. He was cold. His head grew dizzy. placed themselves at his disposal. stronger than his own will. but stopped with hand raised toward the bell rope. this fearful question. . painful." He turned round. The pink sky cast a glow on the city. A flush of light enveloped the awakened world. his thoughts confused. His eyes looked disproportionately large.

"You insist on pistols?" put in the marquis. "Yes. He dared not even to speak to them. six small glasses." declared the colonel in a satisfied tone." And they parted. wait for them." said the colonel. as if to detach it from his palate. ensued.shots to be exchanged until one or other is seriously wounded. lest his changed voice should betray him. "You are a good shot. but could not eat. The marquis added: "Please excuse us if we do not stay now. His mouth was parched. and he sent for a decanter of rum. The vicomte returned home to. "Your adversary claimed at first the privilege of the offended part. jerky voice the vicomte answered: "Twenty paces--at a given signal--the arm to be raised. only temporarily allayed. to take luncheon. wish them good-day."You want a serious duel?" asked the colonel. legs and chest." The vicomte articulated for the second time: . "Yes--quite serious. and he made every now and then a clicking movement of the tongue. A burning warmth. but he yielded almost at once. He said to himself: "I know how to manage. and you know that bullets are not to be trifled with." replied the vicomte. of which he swallowed. "All is arranged as you wished. now increased momentarily. followed by a deadening of the mental faculties. Then it occurred to him to seek courage in drink. to bite. not lowered-. Now it will be all right!" But at the end of an hour he had emptied the decanter. for we have a good deal to see to yet. he could not stay still. and his agitation was worse than ever. He attempted." "Excellent conditions. in arms." "Do you leave all the other arrangements in our hands?" With a dry. His agitation. In fact." said the vicomte. We must select a spot near some house to which the wounded party can be carried if necessary. We shall want a reliable doctor. Night fell. He felt. His seconds are two military men. A mad longing possessed him to throw himself on the ground. to scream. all the chances are in your favor. either sitting or standing. a sort of trembling--a continuous vibration. one after another. A ring at the bell so unnerved him that he had not the strength to rise to receive his seconds." "Thank you. utter a single word. the arrangements will take us another two or three hours at least. since the duel is not to end until a serious wound has been inflicted. and accepted your conditions.

in presence of his opponent. the veiled sneers of the newspapers. He tried to conjure up a picture of the duel. And the discovery rejoiced him. death-spitting hole at the end of the pistol. but. He thought he would read. and took down Chateauvillard's Rules of Dueling. If he did not maintain. Every now and then his teeth chattered audibly. and yet. then. And yet. But he was trembling from head to foot. "Quite calm?" "Perfectly calm. Then he said to himself: "It is impossible. in spite of the exertion of all his will power. hounded out of society! And he felt. thank you. and raising the hammer. saw the glitter of the priming below it. he knew. rushed into the room he found his master lying dead upon his back. he suddenly plunged the barrel of the pistol as far back as his throat."Thank you. Next he stood in the correct attitude for firing. The pistol had been left loaded by some chance. alarmed at the report. he thought of dishonor. of decision in regard to anything. he knew not why. What. that he could not maintain that calm. he sat down at his table to write some letters. stigmatized as a coward. He would be branded. His servant having lighted the lamps." The two men withdrew. feeling himself incapable of connected thought. some oversight. A spurt of blood had splashed the white paper on the table." "You're all right?" asked the colonel. the insults that would be hurled at him by cowards. the contempt of women. He still looked at the weapon. and had made a great crimson stain beneath the words: . and the weapon shook in his grasp. Then he said: "Is the other man practiced in the use of the pistol? Is he well known? How can I find out?" He remembered Baron de Vaux's book on marksmen. So he was going to fight! He could no longer avoid it. When he was once more alone he felt as though he should go mad. in spite of all his mental effort. the smiles in his friends' drawing-rooms. of the whispers at the clubs. would he have accepted without demur such a dangerous weapon and such deadly conditions? He opened a case of Gastinne Renettes which stood on a small table. opening his mouth wide. and raised his arm. he was fully determined to fight. and pressed the trigger. I cannot fight like this. since the thought that followed was not even rounded to a finish in his mind. unmoved demeanor. And yet he was brave. and that of his enemy. and took from it a pistol. Georges Lamil was not mentioned. possessed him? He wished to fight. the steadfast bearing which was so necessary to his honor. he felt that he could not even preserve the strength necessary to carry him through the ordeal. if he were not an adept. his own attitude. When the valet. he would be ruined forever." He looked at the little black. and searched it from end to end." he started from his seat. When he had traced at the top of a sheet of paper the words: "This is my last will and testament.

Others were working or talking just as if they were members of the families. of a paler hue. were making their way to the new frontiers. while M. as one of them stretched out his arm toward the horizon as he pointed out a village. He was tall. who during the entire siege had served as one of the National Guard in Paris. whom he had prudently sent away to Switzerland before the invasion. The train started again. and had whiskers up to his eyes. installed all over French soil as if they were at home. extending his long legs and lolling backward: "I killed a dozen Frenchmen in that village and took more than a hundred prisoners. Now that he was journeying to the frontier at the close of the war." The Englishmen. stuck out on both sides of his face. and all of a sudden. distracted. The Germans occupied France. in spite of the rumble of the carriage-wheels. Prussian soldiers. were smoking their pipes astride their chairs in front of the houses which were still left standing. who had come to the country as sightseers and were gazing about them with looks of quiet curiosity. The first trains from Paris. Famine and hardship had not diminished his big paunch so characteristic of the rich. and reading aloud the names of the places indicated. He had gone through the terrible events of the past year with sorrowful resignation and bitter complaints at the savagery of men. The passengers gazed through the windows at the ravaged fields and burned hamlets. and he felt in his soul a kind of fever of impotent patriotism. The Englishmen at once began staring. peace-loving merchant. you could every moment hear the hoarse words of command. he saw the Prussians for the first time. and his long mustache. His red hair seemed to be on fire. They were both also stout. wore a tightfitting uniform. He stared with mingled fear and anger at those bearded armed men. starving. The whole country was pulsating like a conquered wrestler beneath the knee of his victorious opponent. Dubuis. was going to join his wife and daughter."This is my last will and testament. at him with smiles of newly awakened interest." A Duel The war was over. slowly passing through the country districts and the villages. quite interested. never left us. and kept chatting in their own language. Dubuis made a show of reading a newspaper. The Englishmen went on chatting and looking out for the exact scene of different battles. M. which it seemed to cut in two. immediately asked: "Ha! and what is the name of this village?" The Prussian replied: . the Prussian officer remarked in French. although he had done his duty on the ramparts and mounted guard on many a cold night. He sat concealed in his corner like a thief in presence of a gendarme. sometimes referring to their guidebook. and. Suddenly the train stopped at a little village station. at the same time also the great need of that new instinct of prudence which since then has. in their black helmets with brass spikes. despairing Paris. As you passed through the different towns you saw entire regiments drilling in the squares. In the same railway carriage were two Englishmen. and a Prussian officer jumped up with a great clatter of his sabre on the double footboard of the railway carriage.

They covered the soil like African locusts. Their faces. who turned away his eyes. The German opened the carriage door. lolling back. standing in front of gates or chatting outside cafes. will belong to us. all of it." He went on: "In twenty years all Europe. Prussia is more than a match for all of them. said: "Go and do what I told you--quick. with a wave of his hand: "If I had been in command. getting uneasy."Pharsbourg. he sneered at the valiant but fruitless defence of the departments. which had become impassive. Dubuis. far from the din of the world. The Englishmen seemed to have become indifferent to all that was going on. catching M. he sneered at the Garde Mobile and at the useless artillery. And suddenly he placed his boots against the thigh of M. The officer took out his pipe. He announced that Bismarck was going to build a city of iron with the captured cannon." He added: "We caught those French scoundrels by the ears." The Englishmen." The German resumed: "You might go and buy some for me when the train stops." The train whistled. I'd have taken Paris. The officer said. killed everybody. still passing through hamlets occupied by the victorious army. through politeness. And still. seemed made of wax behind their long whiskers. burned everything. Then the Prussian officer began to laugh. and looking fixedly at the Frenchman. No more France!" The Englishman. laughing conceitedly into his mustache. quick!" . as if they were suddenly shut up in their own island. German soldiers could be seen along the roads. monsieur. They passed a station that had been burned down. Dubuis replied: "No. said: "You haven't any tobacco--have you?" M. on the edges of fields." And he began laughing afresh as he added: "I'll give you the price of a drink. insulted the prostrate enemy. he began to sneer. and. he sneered at Austria. Dubuis. and slackened its pace. Dubuis by the arm." And he glanced toward M. no longer replied. and then they stopped altogether. He sneered at the downfall of France. reddening to the roots of his hair. which had been recently conquered. replied simply: "Ah! yes. The train rolled on.

and. who were impelled by curiosity. dashed into the adjoining compartment. retaining their previous impassive manner." The German said: . followed close behind by the two Englishmen. The train drew up at another station. Other soldiers were standing behind wooden gratings. They remained standing. while with the other clenched he began to strike him violent blows in the face. Dubuis crushed him with his enormous weight and kept punching him without taking breath or knowing where his blows fell. rose and resumed his seat without uttering a word. ready to bet for. and. in spite of the warnings of the station master. he said: "Unless you give me satisfaction with pistols I will kill you. The Englishmen had got on their feet and came closer in order to see better. The officer said: "I'll cut off your mustache to fill my pipe with. Suddenly M. and. excited to a pitch of fury. his temples swollen and his eyes glaring. Blood flowed down the face of the German. The Prussian struggled. or against. and. flung aside the officer's arm. with a back stroke of his hand. The Englishmen stared at them. choking and with a rattling in his throat. exhausted by his violent efforts. I'm quite ready. The German sat facing the Frenchman. monsieur. when M." The train had just left the station. Then. tried to draw his sword. Dubuis replied: "No. looking on." M. for the savage assault had terrified and astonished the officer as well as causing him suffering. seizing him by the collar. who was on top of him. laughing still. either combatant.A Prussian detachment occupied the station. Then M. Dubuis. Dubuis hurriedly jumped on the platform. and was still tugging at the mustache. full of mirth and curiosity. who. When he was able to breathe freely. gasping for breath. his heart was beating so rapidly." And he put out his hand toward the Frenchman's face. The German had already pulled out a few hairs. threw him down on the seat. Dubuis. he kept throttling the officer with one hand. spat out his broken teeth and vainly strove to shake off this infuriated man who was killing him. The Prussian did not attack him. And suddenly the officer appeared at the carriage door and jumped in. The engine was getting up steam before starting off again. Dubuis replied: "Whenever you like. But M. said: "You did not want to do what I asked you?" M. He was alone! He tore open his waistcoat. he wiped the perspiration from his forehead. to clinch with his adversary.

He was asked: "Are you ready?" While he was answering. Dubuis' arm and hurried him in double-quick time toward the station. made their way to the station like three grotesque figures in a comic newspaper. said to the Englishmen: "Will you be my seconds?" They both answered together: "Oh. one after the other. two. and he was amazed to see the Prussian opposite him stagger."Here is the town of Strasbourg. He had killed the officer. M. who brought pistols. A Family Affair . running abreast rapidly. uneasy lest they should be too late for the train. his elbows at his sides. lift up his arms and fall forward. Dubuis and then went back and sat down in their own corner. who was puffing as hard as the engine. two!" And all three. Dubuis fired at random without delay. yes!" And the train stopped. The train was on the point of starting. "Yes. seized M. I'll get two officers to be my seconds." M. one. and they made their way toward the ramparts. They sprang into their carriage. waved them three times over their heads. dead. Then the Englishmen. Dubuis. The other. They made him stand twenty paces away from his enemy. Dubuis had never fired a pistol in his life. monsieur. with closed fists. taking off their travelling caps. his fellow-countryman marking time as he ran beside them. exclaiming: "Hip! hip! hip! hurrah!" And gravely." he noticed that one of the Englishmen had opened his umbrella in order to keep off the rays of the sun. and there will be time before the train leaves the station. shuffling their feet and hurrying on with the preparations. A voice gave the signal: "Fire!" M. One of the Englishmen exclaimed: "Ah!" He was quivering with delight. they extended their right hands to M. The Englishmen were continually looking at their watches. In a minute the Prussian had found two comrades. with satisfied curiosity and joyous impatience. "One. who still kept his watch in his hand.

he was Monsieur Caravan. hopes or dreams than such as related to the office. which adhered to the moist skin. The sultry heat at the close of a July day lay over the whole city. its pistons moving rapidly with a noise as of iron legs running. stooped shoulders. tinsmiths. a humble demeanor. and proved to their own satisfaction that it was in every way unjust to give places in Paris to men who ought properly to have been employed in the navy. or at home--he had married the portionless daughter of one of his colleagues. corpulent man. A short. always feeling uneasy. dressed in a dirty. His name was Chenet. warm dust. For the last thirty years he had invariably gone the same way to his office every morning. . with yellow faces. They consisted of stout women in peculiar costumes. at whom he had formerly trembled. He never spoke of anything but of his duties. and a kind of nervous stammering. in consequence of. and strange rumors were current as to his morality. had set up in practice in Courbevoie. with a puffy face. and that was the employment of so many naval officials. dressed all in black and wearing a decoration in his buttonhole. and nearly on the same spot. of those shopkeepers' wives from the suburbs. there arose a white. he bought two rolls. disappointed hopes.The small engine attached to the Neuilly steam-tram whistled as it passed the Porte Maillot to warn all obstacles to get out of its way and puffed like a person out of breath as it sent out its steam. which was in a state of atrophy from his depressing daily work. There were very few passengers inside. and from the road. and then went to his office.class clerks. as though he were expecting a rebuke for some neglect of duty of which he might have been guilty. Every morning. The windows of the steam-tram were open and the curtains fluttered in the wind. Monsieur Caravan had always led the normal life of a man in a Government office. and that constant fear had given him a very awkward manner in their presence. The former spoke so slowly and hesitatingly that it occasionally almost seemed as if he stammered. People stood in the doorways of their houses to try and get a breath of air. either at the office. like a culprit who is giving himself up to justice. of constant want of money. and again met the same faces which he had seen growing old. and there was a constant source of bitterness that spoilt every pleasure that he might have had. and had scarcely noticed how his life was passing. who had formerly been surgeon on board a merchant ship. were replaced by his chiefs. and promotion. white linen suit. When he had to go into the rooms of these official despots. Their uneasy and melancholy faces also spoke of domestic troubles. as they were called because of their silver-lace as first. was talking to a tall. in the midst of those fields where night soil is deposited. and had met the same men going to business at the same time. thin man. gratuities. perquisites. who shared his angry feelings. with a white Panama hat on his head. it made him tremble from head to foot. to the wretched population of that district. where he applied the vague remnants of medical knowledge which he had retained after an adventurous life. The other. their long hours of writing at a desk. and every evening at dinner he discussed the matter hotly with his wife. although there was not a breath of wind stirring. the coat all unbuttoned. chief clerk in the Admiralty. who made up for the distinguished looks which they did not possess by ill-assumed dignity. and he returned home every evening by the same road. filled the eyes and got into the lungs. and got to his desk as quickly as possible. for school had merely been exchanged for the office without any intermediate transition. of whom he was terribly afraid. for they all belonged to the army of poor. for no event affected him except the work of his office. and the ushers. The train was going along the broad avenue that ends at the Seine. chalky. His mind. had no other thoughts. plastered houses with a tiny piece of neglected garden on the outskirts of Paris. because on warm days people preferred the outside or the platforms. suffocating. threadbare devils who vegetate economically in cheap. of men tired from officework. after buying his penny paper at the corner of the Faubourg Saint Honore. Nothing had ever occurred to change the monotonous order of his existence. and with one shoulder higher than the other. He was old now.

His mother had been causing him no little anxiety for some time." This rather upset Caravan." at every moment. old fellow. who were playing dominoes. majestic and condescending. blue. who did not speak again until the tram put them down at their destination. The proprietor. and he continued: "In my family. and at the stream of carriages. Then. "my cross. As he had completed his thirty years of obligatory service that year. wearing a decoration of one kind or another. who was a friend of theirs. as in that manner. from the Arc de Triomphe to Neuilly. in order to amuse the inferior employees. and the apoplectic rotundity of the old official. and altogether changed him. changed his linen every two days. opposite. and when he went through the Avenue of the Champs-Elysees every evening." as Chenet called it to himself. of which he formed a part. and if he read the account of any uncommon events or scandals in his penny paper. They . which was very broad. he said. on which his ribbon. first of all. and on that day they discussed. they appeared to him like fantastic tales. And he rubbed his hands with pleasure. she had frequent and prolonged fainting fits. At home. He immediately left off wearing light trousers and fancy waistcoats. white.He knew nothing more about Paris than a blind man might know who was led to the same spot by his dog every day. The conversation of the two men. and Chenet asked his friend to have a glass of vermouth at the Cafe du Globe. which both of them were in the habit of frequenting. flabby legs. and who had been there since midday. and the Mayor of Neuilly received his full share of their censure. and I should say that your life is not a very good one. and then they joined three of their friends. and more than once asked Doctor Chenet. for he was not fond of innovations. and glanced for a moment at his neighbor's red face. or green. which they shook across the bottles of the counter. I shall not die until I am very old." and he bore Chenet a particular grudge. various local abuses which disgusted them both. held out to them two fingers. and. your mother is as tough as nails. as he met him on a tram-car every evening." The doctor looked at him with pity. which some pressman had made up out of his own head. we last long. although she was ninety. as invariably happens in the company of medical man Caravan began to enlarge on the chapter of illness. if he was careful not to show his hand. and raising the white Panama hat from his head. emphasizing the word doctor--although he was not fully qualified. scrupulously clean. he looked at the surging crowd of pedestrians. being only an Offcier de Sante--whether he had often met anyone as old as that. he hoped to obtain a little gratuitous advice. his "corporation. and out of respect for the national Order. He got shaved every morning. he said with a snigger: "I am not so sure of that. and from that day he was another Caravan. not. where the two friends got out. was always the same. his two fat. that he could not bear to see men wearing any other ribbon in their button-holes. and wore black trousers and long coats. thick neck. which his paper frequently altered as the cause which subsidized it might require. unless I meet with an accident. Caravan grew quite tender-hearted when he mentioned her great age. which. He did not read the political news. on the first of January. orange. He became especially angry on seeing strange orders: "Which nobody ought to be allowed to wear in France. as a traveller might who has lost his way in a strange country. in the semi-military public offices. that he cared very much about seeing the good woman last forever here on earth. from a legitimate sense of what was proper. he had had the cross of the Legion of Honor bestowed upon him. loyal services--of unfortunate convicts who are riveted to their desk. and he had become so proud of it. perhaps. and I am sure that. is a recompense for the miserable slavery--the official phrase is. That unexpected dignity gave him a high and new idea of his own capacities. she would not take care of herself. manicured his nails more carefully. his short. but because the long duration of his mother's life was. as it were an earnest of old age for himself. showed off better.

near where the roads meet. for I am sure to forget it in the evening. She had never been pretty. in the most violent language. which she had in great profusion. who were standing at their own doors. Every evening during dinner. and adorned her head with a cap ornamented with many colored ribbons.exchanged cordial greetings. obstinate. performed the household work. and the street-boys. who suffered from a chronic passion for cleaning. mischievous brats of the neighborhood. in consternation. When Caravan got in. "It is a fatality. she used to say: "I am not rich. and playing in the gutter. Her skirts were always awry. that anyone who saw her might think that she was suffering from something like the itch. in addition to that. and so persistently." As she was gifted with sound. "it is no good for me to think of it all day long. and call out rude things after her. and her son. the street-sweepers. for that was the fourth time on which he had forgotten a commission that he had promised to do for her. while her careless and tasteless way of dressing herself concealed her few small feminine attractions. and the latter. and held out their hands without looking up. when the others wished them "Goodnight. no matter on what part of her person. quietly: . the coster-mongers. or washing. he confided everything to her as if she took the lead. practical common sense. who was incredibly giddy and thoughtless." and then they both went home to dinner. dirty. Two bed rooms. totally indifferent as to who might see her. A little servant from Normandy. and followed her advice in every matter. and of various colors mixed together. in the pretentious caps which she wore at home. my dear?" He fell into a chair. and Madame Caravan spent nearly her whole time in cleaning them up. a dining-room and a kitchen. was polishing up the mahogany chairs that were scattered about the room with a piece of flannel. and whenever anyone caught her polishing. She always wore cotton gloves. used to follow her at a distance when she went out. and that is worth quite as much as any other. with the usual question: "Anything new?" And then the three players continued their game. Caravan had installed his mother. in the room above them. but cleanliness is my luxury. the ground floor was occupied by a hair-dresser. for fear of anything happening to her in the night. and she never passed a day without quarreling and flying into furious tempers. The only adornments that she allowed herself were silk ribbons. As soon as she saw her husband she rose and said. and she frequently scratched herself. to have their revenge. whose avarice was notorious in the neighborhood. and who was terribly thin. she led her husband in everything. while her daughter. they talked over the business of the office for a long time. as she kissed his whiskers: "Did you remember Potin. and afterwards when they were in their room." he said. his wife. she merely said. who was twelve. sweeping." But as he seemed really so very sorry. she was short and thin. Caravan lived in a small two-story house in Courbevaie. and slept on the second floor in the same room as the old woman. everything is very simple in my house. which was always tilted over one ear. which might have been brought out if she had possessed any taste in dress. were running about with all the little. and although she was twenty years younger than he was. She was always cross. Marie-Louise. Phillip-Auguste. formed the whole of their apartments. and now she had grown ugly. She would apostrophize the neighbors.

She was interrupted by a terrible noise on the stairs. repeated her words. Ramon. her cap slid down on her shoulder. At that question Caravan's looks cleared up. Their mother rushed at them furiously. for they would be sick on the penny steamboats on the Seine. shaking them vigorously." She became furious. little one. they rushed up to him. Philippe-Auguste was an ugly. his chief. the Minister will be turned out----. and even imitated her movements." She became very serious. but as soon as they saw their father. and laughed more than ever: "It would not even do to send them by water to inspect the Point-du-Jour. and did not reply.' Has he been to sea?" she continued. with the face of an idiot. Sub. and he replied merrily: "Your friend. and then she said in a low voice. another tinsmith has been appointed second chief clerk. Marie-Louise and Philippe-Auguste."You will think of it to-morrow. ill-kempt little brat.Commissioner in 1875. There is a new second head-clerk. he said. were slapping each other all the way upstairs. began to talk to them. and with a precocious child's pity." She took up the Naval Year Book. which she always kept close at hand. And what about Ramon?" "He retires on his pension. When the Chamber hears everything that is going on at the Admiralty. she said: "Another man has been put over your head again. I dare say. Student Commissioner in 1871. who comes and dines here every Sunday. "'Bonassot-Toulon. and said: "So he succeeds Ramon." She looked at her father. and in order to create a diversion. Anything new at the office?" "Yes. who was cleaning the windows: ." But she remained as serious as if she had not heard him. who had just come in from the gutter. is going to leave us. dirty from head to foot. "As much as Balin--as much as Baffin. and taking each of them by an arm she dragged them into the room. as she scratched her chin: "If we only had a Deputy to fall back upon. and she continued: "There is nothing more to be done in that shop now. addressing his wife. and Marie-Louise was already like her mother--spoke like her. Born in 1851. and looked him up. and taking one of them on each knee. a great piece of news. and he laughed until his sides shook. She also asked him whether there was anything fresh at the office. And what is the name of the new commissioner?" "Bonassot." And he added an old office joke." He stopped laughing. and he kissed them affectionately. this was the very post that I wanted you to have.

upstairs?" Madame Caravan left off rubbing. and as the soup was getting cold." They put her on the bed. and said hurriedly: "Grandmamma has fallen on the floor." Caravan threw himself on the body. but I gave it to the old woman. however. Caravan knelt down by her. sobbing violently. but. his wife. who thought it was some trick of her mother-in-law's. after having looked at the old woman. she did not recover consciousness. and. "My poor mother! my poor mother!" he said. he sent Marie-Louise to fetch her grandmother. turned round. and she has done it to prevent us from dining comfortably. who was furious. you may be sure of that. as she always does when one tells her unpleasant truths. and the child came in again. with his eyes cast down. as if to express her doubt. as it had fallen quite on to her back. in spite of their efforts. you know that as well as I do. and her thin body was stiff. junior. . to fetch Doctor Chenet. came upstairs to borrow a packet of starch of me. without saying a word. the servant. helped the soup. and. But you always uphold her. In about a minute. her eyes were closed. naturally. and then they went into the dining-room. going towards Suresnes. In order to let his mother know. and when their plates were empty. and Caravan. that she went up to her own room immediately. while her skin looked more wrinkled and yellow than usual. on the quay. for she has made a pretty scene. and he sat motionless. he kissed his mother's rigid face. threw his table-napkin down. Madame Caravan. and the servant began to rub her. he said: "It is all over. and Madame Caravan. and at that moment the little servant came in to announce dinner. But the other Madame Caravan said: "Bah! She has only fainted again. and waited for the old woman. which always stood in a corner. and uttered feeble moans as she stood behind her husband. shrugging her shoulders. Just imagine: a short time ago Madame Lebaudin. did not utter a word."How is mamma. followed more slowly. He came at last. however." Not knowing which side to take. they found the old woman lying at full length in the middle of the room. undressed her completely. felt her pulse. the hairdresser's wife. your mother chased her out as though she were a beggar. her teeth clenched. and. and began to moan. and the proof of it is. but she is no more deaf than I am. so they sent Rosalie. and listened for a heart beat. It is all a sham. let us talk about your mother. while his wife tapped her glass angrily with her knife. Madame Caravan. they began to eat slowly." Caravan jumped up. embarrassed. as you know. and rapped loudly on the ceiling three times. as I was not at home. attacked her husband: "She does it on purpose. while she rubbed her eyes vigorously. they saw that she was insensible and motionless." Caravan. they waited again. the door flew open suddenly. but she did not come. and so it was a considerable time before he arrived. junior. out of breath and very pale. that is all. and when they turned her over. pulled her cap up. and said with trembling lips: "Ah! yes. She pretended not to hear. When they got upstairs. and wept so that great tears fell on the dead woman's face like drops of water. he took a broom-handle. and rushed upstairs. He lived a long way off. showed a decorous amount of grief. while his wife.

angrily. no doubt thinking she was performing some sort of act of consecration by doing that. and then began to lecture him. and Caravan felt a severe shock at the sight." The doctor bowed. You shall have whatever we have. and. stay here. don't go. on which she spread a towel and placed four wax candles on it. whispered to her: "We must take Caravan away. and said. and he went downstairs without knowing what he was doing. putting down his hat. whereupon she exclaimed: "What! you have not dined? Why. and almost bellowed. They put him into a chair. which was hanging over the chimney glass. while his wife. with convulsive sobs. who was still on his knees. his eyes fixed on his glass. which she filled with clean water." Caravan fell on the bed. saying that he had not dined yet. perhaps. did what was necessary. I never make a mistake. and. and his wife kissed his forehead. still whimpering. courage. and the old woman's eye appeared altogether unaltered. and put it between the four candles. doctor. going up to her husband. he said: . who appeared to be waiting for something. as she had no holy water. and so stupefied with grief. And there he sat. and. They put him into the chair which he always occupied at dinner." He made excuses and refused. he said: "See. while Chenet took him by the other. in a plate. as a shopkeeper might do. looking very ugly in his grief. He was crying like a great child. as if he had been contradicted: "Just look at her hand. Caravan raised himself up. at times like this. besides that. She brought the night-table. forced the fingers open. In a corner. and his legs weak. the pupil was rather larger. without moving. his arms hanging down. but she persisted.But. in front of his empty soup plate. you understand that we do not fare sumptuously. when showing off his goods. she raised him up by one arm. and. and moving his feet mechanically. and when she had finished. she threw a pinch of salt into the water. who had been helping her. she remained standing motionless. perhaps you will be able to persuade my husband to take some nourishment. with his thin hair in disorder. and. At last." She nodded assent. Madame Caravan was talking with the doctor and asking what the necessary formalities were. suddenly. But. and resignation--the very things which are always wanting in such overwhelming misfortunes--and then both of them took him by the arms again and led him out. Monsieur Chenet. of course." He raised the eyelid. Then Monsieur Chenet took her thin arm. then she took a sprig of box. people like to have friends near them. my dear friend. took up his hat and prepared to go. handling it with professional dexterity. unless. said: "But--are you sure. and said: "You really must stay. that he could not even think. which she lighted. he must keep up his strength. doctor? Are you quite sure?" The doctor stooped over the body. and the doctor. you may be quite sure of that. as she wanted to obtain practical information. sobbing. for. after a moment's rapid reflection. look at her eye. Chenet enforced her words and preached firmness.

and Caravan was incapable of understanding anything further. For in that suburb of Paris. which had been upset by the shock and grief. which exhaled a smell of onions. fished out a large piece at the end of her fork. Remember that you have got to pass the night watching by her!" He held out his plate. and the consequence was that his mind. from time to time. she was continually thinking of the inheritance. Chenet began to relate stories of death that appeared comical to him. that unconscious brutality which is so common in the country." Nobody listened to him. being left to themselves. was getting visibly drunk. and so rare in Paris. Madame Caravan. and Monsieur Chenet took two helpings. and he ate. Then there came a dish of tripe. that is full of people from the provinces. although she had drunk nothing but water. As he was devoured by thirst." as she said. and one could begin some lines like this: The Maestro Rossini Was fond of macaroni. and then sat down." The soup was brought in again. who had suddenly grown thoughtful. docilely. only just to put something in your stomach. if he had been told to. the doctor helped himself three times. and looked at with a fixed. one finds that indifference towards death which all peasants show. and when I went. had been drinking wine without any water. turning to her husband. who. and swallowed it with a sort of studied indifference. however. and. which had been bought the night before to satisfy the dying man's fancy. and. "to keep the doctor company. meanwhile. were it even their own father or mother." But Madame Caravan was not listening. had been drinking away steadily. obeying her in everything. some orders. I was sent for last week to the Rue du Puteaux."In that case. The doctor. . who. idiotic stare. which he put on the table-cloth. who seemed to have lost her head. while her husband made bread pellets. Madame Caravan helped everybody. the composer. the doctor said: "By Jove! That is what I am very fond of." the doctor said. Presently. without resistance and without reflection. my poor Alfred. seemed to become vague. She even filled the saucers that were being scraped by the children. and were now kicking each other under the table. madame." And this time. was thinking of all the probable consequences of the event. I will accept your invitation. he was continually raising his glass full of wine to his lips. her head felt rather confused. she said: "Do take a little." She gave Rosalie. and was agitated and excited. while Madame Caravan. and his ideas danced about as digestion commenced. and Madame Caravan herself felt the reaction which follows all nervous shocks. and which Madame Caravan made up her mind to taste. Chenet remembered that Rossini. I found the patient dead and the whole family calmly sitting beside the bed finishing a bottle of aniseed cordial. When a salad bowl full of macaroni was brought in. just as he would have gone to bed. "It is excellent. and suddenly he exclaimed: "Why! that rhymes. at which she smiled. and he said: "Why. "to pretend to eat. had been very fond of that Italian dish. that want of respect.

mechanically obeying that wish to forget oneself which possesses all unhappy persons. A slight white mist that floated over the opposite banks. and he even felt a sense of relief which was increased by the mildness of the night. which seemed to have a reddish vapor hanging over it. as she called out to him: "Alfred. it made all their faces red. and that breath from the river plunged him into an abyss of hopeless grief. bordered by tall poplar trees. His life seemed cut in half. When they reached the bridge. which was at times answered by the whistle of a train in the distance. of the people he had known of old. which rolled along." as he termed it. and mingled with the light breezes which blew upon them in the darkness. He stopped. they slowly sipped the sweet cognac. At last the doctor rose to go. there would be nobody to talk to him of what had happened in days gone by. He almost fancied that he could hear the sound of the wooden paddle with which she beat the linen in the calm silence of the country. and washing the heaps of linen at her side in the stream that ran through their garden. seized with a feeling of despair." The other obeyed mechanically. kneeling in front of their door. bring me some soap. of his own part of the country. for all the gardens in the neighborhood were full of flowers at this season of the year. The air was warm and sweet. helped himself to brandy again several times. although he felt no great grief. without speaking any more. his youth disappeared. in Picardy. was deserted and silent. The children had fallen asleep. overcome in spite of themselves. from which he had suffered since dinner. A sudden flash seemed to reveal to him the extent of his calamity. by that feeling of animal comfort which alcohol affords after dinner. for he was in a state of mental torpor that prevented him from suffering. his thoughts were paralyzed. that was a part of his existence which existed no longer. He walked as if he were in a dream. Chenet suddenly seized the brandy bottle and poured out "a drop for each of them just to wash their mouths out with. filled their lungs with a sensation of cold. but there was the distant roar of Paris. which is scarcely perceptible during the day. seemed to awaken at the approach of night. and confused their ideas still more. When one is in trouble. and increased Caravan's giddiness. For. of the mist rising from the wet ground. and Caravan stopped suddenly. swallowed up by that death. for he was struck by that smell from the water which brought back old memories to his mind. calm and melancholy. while the stars looked as if they were floating on the water and were-moving with the current. one must not remain in one spot. in his mind. through the provinces. and then. All the former days were over and done with. which formed a yellowish syrup at the bottom of their cups. and of his past life. and went out. all the recollections of his youth had been swept away. As every cup was well flavored with cognac. and seizing his friend's arm. a little fresh air will do you good. and it had been made very strong to give them courage. The broad avenue with its two rows of gas lamps. The fresh air on the faces of the two men rather overcame them at first. made the doctor lose his equilibrium a little. . that extended as far as the Arc de Triomphe. and which came back to him on this very evening on which his mother had died. and got the fresh breeze from the river. which he should never forget. in the starlight night. that marshy smell. It was a kind of continual rumbling. he suddenly saw his mother again. and their fragrance. travelling at full speed to the ocean. and the rest might as well end now. for the future. and her voice. as he had seen her years before." And he smelled that odor of running water. put on his hat. To make matters still worse. took his stick.Coffee was presently served. and Rosalie carried them off to bed. he said: "Come with me. they turned to the right. and his dull eyes grew bright. Caravan. and both of them walked arm-in-arm towards the Seine.

Monsieur Caravan?" "No. repose and sudden tranquillity. so to say. leaving Caravan dumfounded at his want of sympathy. The tall poplar trees had a silvery sheen on them. in search of pity. his whole stout body was shaken by his sobs. who was still drunk. When he reached the bridge. and the mist on the plain looked like drifting snow. he again felt relief. and all her well-known attitudes. and behind it were the brightly lighted windows of the Cafe du Globe. burying his face in his hands. the different tones of her voice. The moon had risen. my poor mother!" and tried to make himself cry. all he could say was: "My mother. which had made him sob so bitterly a shore time before. He put on a woeful face. when his grief had. "A great misfortune has happened to me since I was here. and as a customer at the other end of the establishment asked for a glass of Bavarian beer. and those sad thoughts. He actually resisted that feeling of comfort and relief. he began to moan and weep. where the landlord still was. He felt a longing to tell somebody of his loss. and Caravan inhaled it almost greedily. in which the stars were reflected. to make himself interesting. he rose to go home. my poor mother!" But his companion. run out." "Ah!" the other exclaimed. . He had counted on creating a sensation." he said. and when he had got to the end of his tears. her predilections. my friend. Caravan went on crying for some time. and say: "Why. and bathed the horizon in its soft light. which she would never have again. and kept on saying to himself: "My poor mother. of calm and of superhuman consolation pervading him. was gently rippled by the wind. All three slightly raised their heads at the same instant. had almost passed away. under the pretext that he had to see a patient.And then he saw "the mother" as she was when young. he went to attend to him." he replied. he recollected her movements. her fits of anger. so he rested his two elbows on the counter. and who intended to finish the evening in certain places of bad repute that he frequented secretly. and went up to the counter. and returned slowly. and. The three domino players were sitting at the same table which they had occupied before dinner. the movements of her thin fingers. In a few moments. pushed open the door. and had hoped that everybody would get up and come to him. and with a heart soothed in spite of himself. under the influence of that serene night. and thought that he could perceive a feeling of freshness. the river. but as none of them appeared to notice him he made up his mind to speak. with outstretched hands. which he remembered for such a long time that they seemed inseparable from her. and left him almost immediately. totally absorbed in their game. what is the matter with you?" But nobody noticed his disconsolate face. "but my mother has just died. and clutching hold of the doctor. and Caravan went up to them. His thin legs began to tremble. but keeping their eyes fixed on the pieces which they held in their hands. her habits. to excite pity. and which had a sheen as of mother-of-pearl. wearing well-worn dresses. he murmured: "Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu!" The landlord looked at him and said: "Are you ill. my poor mother. he saw that the last tramcar was ready to start. made him sit down on the grass by the riverside. from a kind of conscientious feeling. The air was soft and sweet. but he could not succeed in doing so any longer. the wrinkles on her face.

Rosalie is with her. resuming her usual voice and manner. No. so as to be ready for anything that might happen. it is a disgrace to her memory! I dare say that you will tell me that she paid us. and sitting in a low chair by the open window. and for some time neither of them spoke. I am sure that she did not. and. said: "But--there is nobody upstairs. who could not find anything to say. in a law. please. indignant at their calmness at their friend's sorrow." She grew calmer by degrees. "we can go on talking. he left the table. when you have had some sleep." His wife looked at him. and after tying a silk handkerchief round his head." she said. who was almost distracted. but one cannot pay one's children in ready money for what they do. that obligation is recognized after death. kept on repeating: "My dear. When he got home his wife was waiting for him in her nightgown. whereupon one of them said: "Oh! the devil. however." He raised his head. that is how honorable people act. "Undress yourself. she continued: "We must let your sister know to-morrow. emitted a sort of sympathetic whistle. and looking at the ceiling. my dear." with that false air of sorrow which indifferent people assume." He only partially undressed. that is nice! that is very nice!" Poor Caravan. and have boarded and lodged her! Your sister would not have done so much for her. as if he were saying to himself: "Is that all!" Caravan had expected some of these expressions that are said to "come from the heart. Madame Caravan was thinking. angry tone: "I call that infamous. shaking his head at the same time. Her nightcap was adorned with a red bow." . and was pushed rather to one side." "I beg your pardon." and when he saw how his news was received. he lay down to rest."What do you say?" "My mother has just died". and then replied: "I--I do not think so. if I had known how I was to be rewarded! Yes. still thinking of the inheritance. and you can go and take her place at three o'clock in the morning. as was the way with all the caps she wore. nor I either. at any rate. Another. and the third turned to the game again. here we have been wearing ourselves out for ten years in looking after her. and she said. although this sorrow had stupefied him so that he scarcely felt it any longer. please be quiet. So I have had all my worry and trouble for nothing! Oh. and presently she turned towards him and said: "Do you know whether your mother made a will?" He hesitated for a moment.

'" Madame Caravan was reassured. had she not--the girl playing at cup and ball?" He thought for a moment. she gave it me one day when she was in a good temper. it is a capital idea. and said: "But. as if she were preoccupied by something which she did not care to mention. that is in her room. "no. It is just the same with the chest of drawers with the marble top. "Oh! yes. for if we get your sister here." Caravan. that I shall. with the servant asleep beside it. like a woman who had foreseen everything. I will send her a telegram the first thing in the morning. Take my advice. If we let her know in the course of the day. too. my dear. it is always excusable to forget.He started. if you look after me well. she will know nothing at all about where it came from. so that we may have time to turn round before she comes. however. that will be soon enough." And he rubbed his hands in delight at the joke. once it is in our possession. and then replied: "Yes. when she first came here): 'I shall leave the clock to you. and. and at last she said: "Your mother had given you her clock. then. and when I tell him that my mother is dead. and you will put him in a nice fix. We will bring it down at the same time. when he notices my absence." "No. he said: "I must let them know at the office. It does not take more than two hours to get here from Charenton." "Why?" she replied. "On occasions like this. yes. and don't let him know. and will give us time to look round. you are right. when he thought of his chief's face. and said: "Of course we must. and we can say that you lost your head from grief. But Madame Caravan grew thoughtful. he will be obliged to hold his tongue. the very thought of whom made him tremble. you must go and fetch it out of her room. in the came timid voice in which he always spoke of his chief. your chief will not be able to say anything to you. and he will be in a terrible rage. it is a great responsibility!" . seemed incredulous. and said: "Well. and regained her serenity. "I certainly think so. "Do you think so?" That made her angry. while upstairs lay the body of the dead old woman. do not send it before ten or eleven o'clock. she will prevent us from taking it." she replied." He hesitated." Caravan put his hand to his forehead. she said to me (but it was a long time ago. I had forgotten all about it. Yes. it belongs to us.

it is hardly worth anything. and trembled as he went downstairs. "so now let us go and fetch the other things. Then they retired. rather than make a move. was also quite motionless. get up. Caravan had to stoop in the doorway. When they were in their own room. and we may just as well put it here. and was snoring with her mouth wide open. each of them holding an end." But the bureau drawers were full of the old woman's wearing apparel. where the four lighted tapers and the plate with the sprig of box alone seemed to be watching the old woman in her rigid repose." his wife said. she heaved a sigh.She turned on him furiously. and Madame Caravan soon thought of a plan. "and take the marble slab off the chest of drawers. and jumped out of bed. and the remaining portion afterwards. The clock was placed on the chimney-piece in the dining-room. cuffs. who was lying back in the easy chair with her legs stretched out. A girl in gilt bronze was holding a cup and ball. let her tell me so. she blew out the candle." They both left the room in their night clothes. Does not that chest of drawers belong to us. "Oh! Indeed! Will you never change? You would let your children die of hunger. and her head on one side. and were both delighted with it and agreed that nothing could be better. so as to light him. and he did not clearly remember what had happened for a few minutes. went upstairs quite noiselessly. opened the door and went into the room. and held the candlestick in one hand. for Rosalie. One by one they took out all the collars. he felt a weight at his heart. your underwear is quite enough." Trembling and vanquished. and arranged them methodically in the wooden box in such a manner as to deceive Madame Braux. and they left the room. but at last they decided upon their own room. who would be coming the next day. chemises. all the well-worn things that had belonged to the poor woman lying there behind them." He put the marble slab on his shoulder with considerable effort. carrying the clock under the other arm. Caravan opened his eyes again. "Go and get that wooden packing case in the vestibule. and they looked to see what the effect was. and soon everybody in the house was asleep. opposite the bed. while his wife walked backwards. the deceased woman's other child. Come." And when he had brought it upstairs they began to fill it. almost ready to cry again. I mean to go as I am. between the two windows. when he did. When they had finished. His mind was rather confused when he woke up. and as soon as it was in its place Madame Caravan filled it with her own things. and the ball formed the pendulum. but she stopped him: "It is not worth while to dress yourself. immediately. they first of all carried the bureau drawers downstairs. which they must manage to hide somewhere. and it was some time before they could make up their minds where it would stand best. "We have got over the worst part of the job. me! I don't care a straw for your sister. "Give that to me. caps. her hands folded in her lap. he got out of bed and began to put on his trousers." she said. as she gave it to me? And if your sister is not satisfied. which was one of those grotesque objects that were produced so plentifully under the Empire. and we will bring down what your mother gave us. Caravan took the clock. . It was broad daylight when.

but. kneeling down in a corner and imitating slavishly everything they saw their mother do. When she turned about to walk away whom should she perceive standing close to the door but MarieLouise and Philippe-Auguste. where she met two other neighbors. The wife. There had been a scene between husband and wife at the hairdresser's on the ground floor about the matter. as his wife was calling him. Besides all this. who had just come. 2. putting her knitting on the counter. what sort of ideas do you think these confounded females have? I should not amuse myself by going to see a corpse!" But his wife had heard him and replied very quietly: "But it is so. She again boxed their ears soundly. . and. and as great a miser as one ever meets with. there were a number of small commissions. and I must go. who was knitting steadily. forgetting her pretended grief. 6. not having awakened once. Order the notices of her death at the printer's. revolving in his brain those apparently profound thoughts. performed all her duties. and at each fresh arrival of visitors the two urchins always followed in the wake. See the doctor who had attended her. those religious and philosophical commonplaces which trouble people of mediocre intelligence in the presence of death. replied: "The feeling is stronger than I am. But. put fresh tapers in the place of those that had burnt out. while a customer was being shaved. and then he looked at his mother. Give notice at the church. she threw herself upon them with uplifted hands. made the sign of the cross while they mumbled a prayer. 3. wept profusely. Order the coffin. I shall be satisfied. while lathering his patient's chin. who had followed her upstairs. She had written out a list of what had to be done during the morning. who were curiously taking stock of all that was going on. Go to the undertaker. Then they rose from their knees and looked for some time at the corpse with round. but when I have had a good look at her. Go to the lawyer. who was giving them the details. 7. you horrid brats!" Ten minutes later. said: "That is another queer fancy! Nobody but a woman would think of such a thing. As the news had spread abroad. Telegraph the news to all the family. "Will you get out of this. 5. there is one less. Madame Caravan's female friends and neighbors soon began to come in and begged to be allowed to see the body. she went upstairs to the first floor. knelt down. I must go and have a look at her. but the next time she paid no heed to them. I should think about it all my life. 8. It is not enough for them to worry you during life. wide-open eyes and mouths partly open." And then. going upstairs again with another contingent of neighbors. one after the other." The husband. 4. and they all went together to the death chamber. pretended to be sobbing piteously. It has been on me since the morning. so he took his hat and went out. and found once more her two children. he went downstairs. where Rosalie was still sleeping in the same position as the night before. Report the death at the mayor's office. it is so. said: "Well. crying out in a furious voice. she prayed. He sent her to do her work." The knight of the razor shrugged his shoulders and remarked in a low voice to the gentleman whose cheek he was scraping: "I just ask you. with her handkerchief to her face. while the daughter-in-law of the dead woman. and who were discussing the event with Madame Caravan. Then. nevertheless.He hastened to the room overhead. I certainly did not care for her. sprinkled the bed clothes with the salt water. but they cannot even leave you at peace when you are dead:" But his wife. The four women went in softly. and he was horrified when be saw the memorandum: 1. without being in the least disconcerted. If I were not to see her.

came. and upon the dry and rigid features of the corpse the fitful flames of the candles cast patches of light. A torrid heat entered. had now left the house and were running up and down the street. on thinking of the other children who were downstairs waiting at the door. and soon there were no more visitors. she will keep for a year. had congregated in order to participate in this new pleasure. asking questions as if they were grown people. Suddenly the flame of the lamp went down. she became tired. the two stretched-out hands. and while the children. The children. small flies alighted. being the only companions of the old woman for the time being. sprinkled the bed." "What does a dead person look like?" Then Marie began to explain. there were no signs of decomposition. returning in a minute with another group. a hollow sound ensued. Madame Caravan. He even went the length of declaring that. were sleeping soundly on their chairs. returning to her own apartments. however. all crowded together. who had been left to themselves all day. rose. and nobody ventured to break the silence. and the deceased was left alone. consisting of five girls and two boys--the biggest and the most courageous.When the afternoon came the crowds of inquisitive people began to diminish. moved her lips as in prayer. the closed eyes. and the light went out. the flames of the four candles were flickering beside the immobile corpse. To send for it now to the grocer's . she ran downstairs followed by the rest. now worn out by fatigue. making this remark just at the moment when he and his wife were about to sit down at table. however. It was not long before great curiosity was aroused in the minds of all the children. went down on her knees. along with clouds of dust. she died yesterday evening. even to the little beggars in rags. who were older and who were much more interested in all the mysteries of life. "she is now stark and stiff. becoming instantly consoled. She solemnly walked in advance of her comrades. Madame Caravan immediately turned up the wick." The soup was eaten in silence. imitating her mother. The room was growing dark. forgotten suddenly by everybody. They had forgotten to buy oil. were approaching-frightened and curious and eager to look at the face and hands of the deceased--she began suddenly to simulate sobbing and to bury her eyes in her little handkerchief. as yet. The window of the room was open. She made them take off their shoes so that they might not be discovered. then a third. closed the windows and renewed the candles. At length. Then. the little girl. by little girls especially. "Then your grandmother is dead?" "Yes. and they asked to be allowed to go upstairs to look at the departed. They were soon surrounded by their playmates. went and careered up and down incessantly. accustomed already to regard the corpse as though it had been there for months. The troupe filed into the house and mounted the stairs as stealthily as an army of mice. and upon the cloth which covered the face. telling all about the candles. Towards 8 o'clock Caravan ascended to the chamber of death. for all the little ragamuffins of the countryside. Marie-Louise at once organized a first expedition. Marie-Louise and Philippe-Auguste. "Pshaw!" she responded. and the old grandmother was left alone. Once in the chamber. the sprig of box and the face of the corpse. regulated the ceremony. made the sign of the cross. Some game or other drew the children away from the house. He was now quite composed on entering the room. and each time she repeated her mother's grimaces with absolute perfection. began to make the necessary preparations for the funeral ceremony.

murmured quite unconcerned: "Well. The footsteps of the girl who had ascended the stairs were distinctly heard. followed by her husband. rigid as a statue. The husband. more courageous. the perfect image of a monkey. she got off the bed and began to look for her clothes. gaining strength. always prompt in her decisions. before even regaining full consciousness." And with an alacrity unusual in him. but. The wife. simply asked: "Will dinner soon be ready?" He stammered out. not daring to enter. and they began to look for candles. Madame Braux. . and arranged the chairs in their places. she had succeeded in finding her things at the bottom of the wooden box. On reaching the first floor. . who was behind him. gasping with emotion. tall and stout. step by step. seized the candle and lighted them downstairs. what a blessing!" But the old woman. here you are! What a pleasant surprise!" . speaking aloud. while Madame Caravan. just as she had done the previous night for her husband. a little hairy man. then. she said: "Why. In awakening from her lethargic sleep. What was he going to see? Madame Caravan. replaced the sprig of box behind the looking-glass. she is coming downstairs. without being at all moved. and was ready to go downstairs when there appeared before her her son and daughter-inlaw. quickly despatched Marie. Caravan rushed forward. after a little. what a blessing! oh. There was silence for a few seconds and then the child descended precipitately. seized her by the hands.grandmamma is putting on her clothes. embraced her with tears in his eyes. we have been waiting for you. what next? Is she resurrected?" As soon as Madame Caravan recognized them. repeated in a hypocritical tone of voice: "Oh. not knowing what he said: "Oh. Then. she made frantic gestures to them. without even appearing to understand. grandmamma is dressing herself!" Caravan bounded to his feet with such precipitance that his chair fell over against the wall. and her return was awaited in total darkness. dumfounded. yes.Louise to fetch two. but he came to a standstill before the door of the second floor. Madame Caravan. What are you saying?" But Marie-Louise. repeated: "Grand--grand-. and with glazed eyes." Caravan rushed boldly up the staircase. with a prominent stomach. . and was now quietly dressing. followed by his wife.would keep back the dinner. he took her arm. a socialist shoemaker. she had extinguished three of the candles which burned near the bed. The old woman was standing up. She threw open the door and in a choking voice murmured: "Oh! papa. He stammered out: "You say? . It was the Charenton family. She emptied the plateful of water. The absence of her chest of drawers had at first worried her. overcome with terror. in turning upon her side and raising herself on her elbow. mother. while his wife. turned the handle of the door and stepped forward into the room. she almost ran against people who were ascending the stairs. but none were to be found except the tapers which had been placed upon the table upstairs in the death chamber. walking backwards in front of them. the younger. opened wide her terrified eyes and was ready to make her escape. who was carrying the marble.

" which remark showed the hostility which had for a long time reigned between the households." But here he suddenly stopped. hey!" Madame Braux. the land is the common property of every man." An embarrassing silence followed. are you not. exclaimed: "Yes. We set out post haste. His brother-in-law even asked him whether it was not one of his reception days. he closed the package hurriedly and pushed it under his waistcoat. "Property. came to call Caravan. understood nothing. in whose eyes gleamed malice.But Madame Braux. Reddening up to the very eyes. 'I have an idea that I shall find the old lady on her feet . he jauntily approached the old woman and said: "Aha! mamma. Then. while he let fall some words of double meaning which painfully disconcerted everyone. The old woman. just as the old woman reached the last steps. her features all beaming. quite well." The door was opened and Dr." Her husband. indeed. he pushed forward quickly and rubbed his hairy face against her cheeks. pinched her to make her keep silent. uneasy and suspicious. piercing and hard. "is a robbery perpetrated on the working classes. and gesticulating and throwing about his arms. But the door bell kept ringing every second." Madame Braux. was ready to faint with annoyance. Chenet appeared. which his thick beard concealed: "It was very kind of you to invite us here. who was behind her. and the embarrassment increased in midst of a dead silence. sir. His gorilla features grinned wickedly. on account of her deafness: "How well you look. his eyes glowing. He added with a sly laugh. and her enormous bulk blocked up the passageway and hindered the others from advancing. only a few packages. His mother had not seen it! She was looking intently at her clock which stood on the mantelpiece. Caravan. continuing to walk. I said to myself as I was mounting the staircase. hereditary rights are an infamy and a disgrace. which he began to open carelessly. Only M. I heard you all the while. as though it came from a distance: "It was syncope. mother?" Then the good woman. who rushed out. looking as if he had just said something foolish. shouting in her ear. sturdy as usual." while Madame Caravan. said: "She has been somewhat ill. the old woman. but regaining his usual smirking expression of countenance. I want so much to see her. mother. to which he stammered out in answer: "No. fixed themselves now on one and now on the other. who had turned pale. that I will. gradually drifted into conversation and soon became embroiled in a political discussion. Braux maintained the most revolutionary and communistic doctrines. then added in softer tones: "But this is not the proper moment to discuss such things. said: "On Monday you must take me away from here." he said. but she is better now." A parcel was brought in. so that I can see your little girl. They entered the dining-room. dumfounded. in fact. looked at everyone around her. Braux had retained his self-possession. replied in a husky voice. The two men. distracted. and they were so full of meaning that the children became frightened. throwing down his napkin. whom they all believed to be dead. Turning her wrinkled face towards her daughter. and the mourning announcements with black borders appeared unexpectedly. we thought that all was over. in her stupefaction at seeing the old woman alive. and Rosalie. Oh! I never had any doubt but you would come round again. however. nothing more. and her little gray eyes. you are better to-day. For a moment he seemed bewildered. but without speaking. to explain matters. mother. the younger. and in a few minutes all sat down to an improvised dinner. She responded in a low voice: "It was your telegram that brought us. dared not even embrace her.

which was its accomplice. and the two women--the one with her enormous bulk. as if the phantoms which he had evoked had risen up before him. looking like a catafalque in which love was buried. taking his better half by the shoulders. that was very rarely let down. and waited till it was day before taking away the baroness.would----" She could find nothing further to say. smiling. a footpad. It was a large mirror. He looked round for a chair in which to have a doze. Madame Caravan attacked her sister-in-law. you slut. with changed voices and trembling hands flew at one another with words of abuse. But suddenly something appeared in the looking-glass. discreetly covered with dark drapery. and that one might see in it charming female forms and the gentle movement of loving arms. a cur! I would spit in your face! I--I-. face to face. pushed her out of the door before him. Suddenly Madame Caravan. silent. see if she does not. Caravan rushed forward. I will do so. and with the cold sweat standing out in beads on his temples. but he had no longer any thoughts of sleeping. A man and a woman who had been sitting on a low couch concealed in the shadow had arisen. an accident pure and simple. . while Braux rubbed his hands and sipped his coffee gleefully. inadvertently wandered into an empty bedroom. as he was sure his wife would not leave before daylight." and as he patted her gently on the back: "Ah! she is as solid as the Pont-Neuf. who was tired of standing. M. murmured: "What shall I say to my chief to-morrow?" A Meeting It was nothing but an accident. and seemed to look at the bed. and the latter. The husband fell back on his chair. mamma. plunged in the deepest despair." The old woman then took the arm of her daughter and withdrew from the room. The old woman. you talk too much". suffocating as she was with rage. Behind it. As soon as he became accustomed to the light of the room he distinguished the big bed with its azure-and." he replied. He turned and went away like a man who is fully master of himself. Chenet also took his departure. the other epileptic and spare. rushed at him. His wife returning just then. she will bury us all. The baron stood still for a moment. gasping. Baron d'Etraille.gold hangings. a large bright surface looked like a lake seen at a distance. leaving the Caravans alone. accepted the coffee that was offered him. and soon began to join in the conversation of the two men. for the princess was no longer young. shouting: "Go on. One might almost fancy that it had reminiscences. On that particular evening the princess' rooms were open. backing up Braux. "yes. and the polished surface. showed that they were kissing each other before separating. Chenet and Braux now interposed." He sat down. reflecting their figures." "Yes. Baron d'Etraille recognized his wife and the Marquis de Cervigne. She looked him steadily in the eye and said: "You. you must carry my clock and chest of drawers upstairs again without a moment's delay.once more'. and the two were heard in the street quarrelling until they disappeared from sight. consumed with rage. while he went on sipping his coffee with a smile. wished to retire. for he himself had been mixed up in the Commune. exclaiming: "You are a thief. now feeling herself fatigued. The two Caravans remained astounded. almost experiencing an emotion on the threshold of this chamber dedicated to love. and as they appeared dark after the brilliantly lighted parlors. in the middle of the great room.

I saw you just now in Princesse de Raynes' room. and felt inclined to give the marquis a good thrashing. however. and now he often amused himself elsewhere. but he stopped her. slight--too slight-. He did not wake until the day was breaking. or of ridicule. which took him two years. daily. and liked. He used to say familiarly to his brother. When he perceived that he could not find out. He had loved her dearly during the first period of their married life. no one laughed. unfortunately. sought after. with more charm than real beauty. and had barely time to get into a carriage. I need say no more. As I wish to avoid all such things. So he went to bed. just six years after the separation. He did not meet the baroness once. then for over a year he entertained friends there. She is like a glass of champagne that is all froth. Paris knew in a few days that the Baron and Baroness d'Etraille had agreed to an amicable separation on account of incompatibility of temper. He became dreadfully bored. till at last. who had not stirred all night. and had such a bad cough that his medical man ordered him to Nice for the rest of the winter. and with that melancholy look characteristic of those who have been handsome. who was sitting in a corner so wrapped in furs and cloaks that he could not even make out whether it was a man or a woman. witty. spoiled. and seemed still to be sound asleep. and looked at once at his fellow-traveller. I must warn you that should any scandal arise I shall show myself inflexible. At one moment he was furious. with only one other occupant. You will be free to live as you please when you are no longer under my roof. but there is too little of it. No one suspected anything. and I am not fond either of reproaches. but. we shall separate without any scandal. but who are deteriorating. hardly four-and-twenty. acts of violence. he would be laughed at. and this thought wounded his vanity. and stretched out comfortably to sleep. tired of all these so-called pleasures." She tried to speak. it would not be good form. He was now forty-five. and left the room.As soon as they were alone he said: "Madame. returning to Paris for the winter. when you get to the wine it is very good. elegant. though he always preserved a certain liking for the baroness. She was a true Parisian doll: clever.and very fair. She was very young. and that was all he asked for. He reached the station only a few minutes before the departure of the train on Monday evening. with a good crop of gray hair. then spent the summer at the seaside. but his ardor had cooled. either in a theatre or in society. He did not even know what people said about her. as you will continue to bear my name. rather stout. but--there is nothing to lay hold of. attractive. to avoid meeting his wife. travelled again. restored his old castle of Villebosc. she took care to respect appearances. he put on his travelling cap. The baron. small. bowed. In any case. or to slap his face publicly. he returned to his mansion in the Rue de Lille. rolled himself up in his rugs. . as nothing of the figure could be seen. but could not sleep." He walked up and down the room in great agitation. Our lawyers will settle your position according to my orders. travelled for a year. in the club. and not his rival. he took cold on coming out of his club. But he decided that would not do. and no one was astonished. A month after his return to Paris. coquettish. thinking of a thousand things. He was more astonished and sad than unhappy. when speaking of her: "My wife is charming. and the autumn in shooting.

as if she scarcely saw him. but who was now altered. more seductive. and his neighbor moved. It was she. and he called to mind the sweet odor of her skin. And this strange. red. it was surely his wife. The engine whistled. There were two women in one. She looked at him calmly.why she had grown as stout as he was. d'Etraille made use of the opportunity to brush his hair and his beard. fatigued. her smile when she put her arms on to his shoulders." He had formerly slept in her arms. but wonderfully changed for the better: stouter-. swollen cheeks. only it suited her much better than it did him. But how she had changed and improved! It was she and yet not she. impart an old. A great poet has said: "When we are young. or else as like her as any sister could be? Not having seen her for six years. did not seem to recognize him. It was another. As one grows older one wakes up in a very different condition. adorably desirable. Yes. and yet it was she herself. calmly. and to try to freshen himself up a little generally. How could he possibly have doubted it? There could certainly not be two noses like that. He was upset and dreadfully perplexed. a bright eye. plump woman. but so changed that he scarcely knew her. No doubt he was awake. more of a woman. He felt the old feeling of the intoxication of love stealing over him. They started off again. hair and beard disarranged. belonged to him. mingling a great part of what was new and unknown with many sweet recollections . and now he had found her again certainly. indeed. and then his face could be seen.M. he might be mistaken. and kept looking at her sideways. She turned and looked at him again. the soft intonations of her voice. worn-out look to the face. and a thousand recollections flashed through his mind. for a night's travel does not improve one's appearance when one has attained a certain age. all her graceful. and the baron looked at her in amazement. The baron opened his travelling case. indifferently. Dull eyes. pretty. He did not know what to think. our mornings are triumphant!" Then we wake up with a cool skin. It was a young. unknown woman. She had that quiet assurance of a woman who is sure of herself. he had only to say to her: "I insist upon it. more desirable. He could really have sworn that it was his wife. and glossy hair. She yawned. more developed. who feels that on awaking she is in her full beauty and freshness. and this gesture betrayed her. and improved his looks as much as possible. existed only in her love. and then a slanting ray of sunlight shone into the carriage and on the sleeper. She seemed riper. shook himself. and then slowly laid aside her wraps. whom he had accidentally met in a railway carriage. Was it his wife. dry lips. coaxing ways. who moved again. The baron was really bewildered. the train stopped. she whom he had loved. and then looked out of the window again. fair. with a more assured smile and greater self-possession. It was some one who had been born and had formed and grown since he had left her.

" Then he suddenly stopped. quite calmly again: "Just as you please. and said: "My dear Bertha. He turned to her. do you want anything I could bring you?" She looked at him from head to foot. Should he be polite or importunate? That would look as if he were asking for forgiveness. and when people have not seen each other for a long time. He got up. it had first taken possession of him when he surprised her in the princess' room. What should he do now? If he got into another carriage it would look as if he were running away. There was something singular. The blood. without showing the slightest surprise. or confusion. And he thought that in a few years nearly every thing changes in us. which is so much the better or so much the worse. exciting about it --a kind of mystery of love in which there floated a delicious confusion. only the outline can be recognized. but with the most perfect indifference: "I do not want anything---thank you. and. to recover his senses after a fall. I see I must pay my court to you. and was now lying stretched out on the seat. he really had no right to do so. so much the better. he sat down on the middle seat. I do not know any woman . for you are charming. and sometimes even that disappears. so that in forty years of life we may.that thin. and without showing any emotion. You cannot imagine how you have improved in the last six years. tete-d-tete. radiant. I am not going to get into another carriage. although they are the same and bear the same name. It is. really not knowing what to say. excitable little doll of those days. all changes and is renewed. however. the hair. He was not the least angry. really a pleasure. It was his wife in a new body and in new flesh which lips had never pressed. disturbing. and. become four or five totally new and different beings. He got in again and took his place." He got out and walked up and down the platform a little in order to recover himself. by gradual and constant transformations. and . it was not the same woman that he was looking at-. bowed. And the heart also can change. and said: "Well. He dwelt on this thought till it troubled him.of the past. but as he had plenty of assurance. besides. During his absence she had hastily arranged her dress and hair. and answered. the skin. since this singular chance has brought up together after a separation of six years--a quite friendly separation--are we to continue to look upon each other as irreconcilable enemies? We are shut up together. Should he speak as if he were her master? He would look like a fool. Ideas may be modified and renewed. as it were.said: "Bertha. when they meet they find each other totally different beings. so don't you think it is preferable to talk as friends till the end of our journey?" She answered. What was he to do? How should he address her? and what could he say to her? Had she recognized him? The train stopped again. or anger.

shall we now talk without any bitterness?" She made a little movement of surprise. and stammered: "I? I have travelled. she said: "How old are you now? I thought you were younger than you look. the desire of the master. He was indeed diplomatic. You are my wife." he said. I am only trying to keep up a difficult conversation. I have changed my mind. and it is my right to do so. What have you been doing since I last saw you?" He felt rather out of countenance. fascinated in spite of her harshness. I really could not have thought such a change possible." He was still looking at her. improved both morally and physically. I think. And you?" She said." Without moving her head or looking at him. and grown old. so let us talk of something else. and always master of himself." . You have." He was very nearly saying something brutal. and I expect you to come with me to-day. therefore. quite calmly: "I have taken care of appearances. I am your husband. Perceiving that she had hurt his feelings. he said: "You are rather hard. She is very well. Suddenly he said: "My dear Bertha. done some shooting. and then he added: "I forgot to ask after Princesse de Raynes. she said: "I cannot say the same with regard to you. She was surprised. Are you still intimate with her?" She looked at him as if she hated him: "Yes. agitated and irritated. as you ordered me." "Why?" was her reply." He got red and confused. But I see it is a painful subject. and he felt seized with a brutal Beside. "I am only stating facts. with a smile of resignation. thank you." "I am forty-five". and then. you are a complete stranger to me. and I am going to take you back again.who could give me that delightful sensation which I experienced just now when you emerged from your wraps. He went on: "As you have acceded to my first request. I certainly am." They remained sitting side by side. be a matter of perfect indifference to you what I think about you. and kissed his wife's hand: "And I thank you. but he checked himself. "Bitterness? I don't feel any. I don't suppose you intend to offer me your love? It must. you have certainly deteriorated a great deal. as you see.

" "Not at all. does it? Well. and I am avoiding it. told his valet he might go out. she said: "I am afraid"--hesitating--"that there is another reason--je suis enceinte. just listen to me. The baron hastily shut the carriage door. The baroness rose. who were waiting for her." She put out her hand. "I told you just now that I had most carefully followed your advice and saved appearances. You told me carefully to avoid any scandal. and as her friends ran up to open the carriage door. Don't be alarmed. Anything else does not matter. for. and to know that we had spent the night together in the railway carriage. said: "My dear Raymond." she said. they will tell it everywhere as a most surprising fact. for he was too much disturbed to say a word or come to any determination. "The law gives me the power. when we get to the station. You are going to Nice. and the train whistled and slackened speed." was his reply. having dined at home alone. I wished to be seen with you. like good friends who cannot live together." The princess stretched out her arms to embrace her. carefully rolled up her wraps. are you not?" "I shall go wherever you go. In a few moments. "I am very sorry. in order to do so. and I am sure that you will leave me in peace. trying to divine his thoughts. and was trying to get at the truth: "You do not recognize Raymond? He has certainly changed a good deal. painting to the baron." "So much the worse for you. do not make a bad use of this tete-a tete which I had carefully prepared. and he agreed to come with me so that I might not travel alone. so that I might have nothing to fear from you or from other people. He never saw her again. and then.She was stupefied." They were nearing Marseilles. but his face was resolute and impenetrable. I wished them to see as. We take little trips like this occasionally. who was dumb with astonishment. He heard his wife's voice and their merry laughter as they went away. whatever might happen.--and the baroness said. and looked at him. turning to her husband. and he sat down at his table to write some letters. and then she jumped out on to the platform among her friends. and I mean to use it. A New Year's Gift Jacques de Randal. you will see the Princesse de Raynes and Comtesse Henriot waiting for me with their husbands. I am afraid--I am afraid--" She waited till the train had quite stopped. he has had enough of me already. nor did he ever discover whether she had told him a lie or was speaking the truth. which he took mechanically. I wished to take precautions. according to your advice. "but I have made other engagements. . We are going to separate here.

gazed at it a few moments." "Without servants?" "Yes. but a woman whom he loved and won. in proportion as the faces of his friends rose up before his eyes. having laid it beside a sheet of notepaper. passed through the antechamber. and he looked on life seriously in a positive and practical spirit. So he sat down. He hesitated." . a cordial New Year's greeting on the first of January. he began: MY DEAR IRENE: You must by this time have received the little souvenir I sent. no matter who it may be. not like the others.He ended every year in this manner. He reviewed the events of his life since last New Year's Day. So he took a wax candle. pulled the door back. For the last ten months he had had a sweetheart. to admit the unknown who is passing by and knocks. you addressed to the maid. I have shut myself up this evening in order to tell you----" The pen here ceased to move. He stammered: "What is the matter with you?" She replied: "Are you alone?" "Yes. Should he open the door? But he said to himself that one must always open the door on New Year's night. drew back the bolts." "You are not going out?" "No. of circumstances and persons that had entered into his life. made up of tenderness. His first ardor of love having grown calmer. opened a drawer. took out of it a woman's photograph. he drew up the balance sheet of his passion. Jacques rose up and began walking up and down the room. he asked himself with the precision of a merchant making a calculation what was the state of his heart with regard to her. a woman with whom one engages in a passing intrigue. A ring at the bell made him start. writing and dreaming. of the theatrical world or the demi-monde. as he drew up every year the balance sheet of friendships that were ended or freshly contracted. gratitude and the thousand subtleties which give birth to long and powerful attachments. Accordingly. leaning against the wall. he wrote them a few lines. He found there a great and deep affection. and saw his sweetheart standing pale as a corpse. and kissed it. although he was still comparatively young for a man. He was no longer a young man. Then. and. turned the key. and he tried to form an idea of what it would be in the future. things that were now all over and dead.

beyond that. jealous of Jacques. Then came quarrels. the entire history of her life since the day of her marriage. He displayed enough of anxiety about her wishes. of the better class. Do with me what you like. the first disagreement arising out of a mere nothing. As soon as she was in the drawing-room. his relations with the husband were more cordial. she murmured: "I can no longer live like this. not apparent. appreciated everywhere. what is the matter with you? I implore you to tell me what is the matter with you?" Then. he was known. and finally a respect for conventionalities. had a right to the affectionate hand-clasp which every husband endowed with good manners owes to his wife's intimate acquaintance. and. having become Irene's friend." "Ah!" He was astonished. her husband showed himself aggressive. Irene. having never suspected that her husband could be brutal. so that he might look at them. a very mediocre intellect. violent. covering her face with her hands. Now. her dresses. a lover of horses. amid her sobs. she sank down on the sofa. an absence of education and of the real culture needed in order to think like all well-bred people. I can no longer live like this. He knelt down at her feet. I have endured so much. He was a man of the world. and. a complete separation. Randal." Thereupon she related a long story. her health. a theatergoer and an expert swordsman. and he was bewildered at this unexpected revelation. and that very day. left her perfectly free. then becoming accentuated at every new difference of opinion between two dissimilar dispositions. when Jacques. became the lover. talked about. began to weep bitterly. but real. after having been for some time the friend. as a man ought to do in the case of wealthy and well-bred people. He appeared to devote himself to his wife. he had struck her. Jacques had never dreamed that there were storms in this household." . He struck me this afternoon. next." "Live like this? What do you mean?" "Yes. as is fitting." "Who? Your husband?" "Yes. and tried to remove her hands from her eyes. he was jealous. having very courteous manners. suspicious. my husband. after a scene. and exclaimed: "Irene.She entered with the air of a woman who knew the house. She added with decision: "I will not go back to him. Then. a clubman. He asked: "How did it happen? Tell me.

" She asked. I thought you loved me enough to do that. You have a high position. you are mad. placing her two hands on her lover's shoulders. losing you beyond hope of recall! You are mad!" She replied. obtain your divorce. put him in the wrong." "Look here! Reflect! If you remain here he'll come to-morrow to take you away. and looking him straight in the face." "Then take care of me." "Is not this thing which you advise me to do a little cowardly?" "No. Yours is a patient love. He took her hands: "My dear love. It would mean losing you forever. an irreparable folly." "Yes." "I did not ask you to keep me in your own house. I have made a mistake. but to take me anywhere you like. and said with violence: "Well. friends to preserve and relations to deal with. and I will marry you. you will marry me in--two years at the soonest. Good-by!" ." He exclaimed: "Take care of you? In my own house? Here? Why.Jacques sat down opposite to her. and I will not play this comedy of coming secretly to your house." "My dear Irene." "Really and truly?" "Yes. He has forbidden me to see you again. slowly and seriously. so that your position as a woman of the world may be saved. in that case. Jacques. no! I cannot stand it any longer! It is at an end! it is at an end!" Then. it is wise and sensible. she asked: "Do you love me?" "Yes. as she looked at him uneasily: "Then. Jacques. with the honors of war. seeing that he has right and law on his side. You must either lose me or take me. you are going to commit a gross. like a woman who feels the weight of her words: "Listen. a reputation to protect." She rose up. seeing that he is your husband. You must not lose all these through a mere caprice. their knees touching. what do you advise me?" "To go back home and to put up with your life there till the day when you can obtain either a separation or a divorce. If you want to leave your husband.

I do not want devotion." ." "Look here. to trust him."' She resumed her seat. My conscience is at peace. explain. he begged of her.She turned round and went toward the door so quickly that he was only able to catch hold of her when she was outside the room: "Listen. in a very calm voice: "Well. I have said what I ought to say. which you will bitterly regret." "Will you let me go?" "Irene--is your resolution irrevocable?" "Will you let me go." "Tell me only whether this resolution. and I will obey. to follow his advice. and then asked. so that I may rise to my feet. He omitted nothing which he deemed necessary to convince her. and would not listen to him. Tell me what you want me to do. this mad resolution of yours. and said in a hard tone: "No. It is too late. We shall go away to-morrow morning. You know well that you are at home here. finding even in his very affection for her incentives to persuasion. then. I do not want sacrifice." "Stay! I have done what I ought to do. and she stammered: "Let me alone! let me alone! let me alone!" He made her sit down by force. Irene. As she remained silent and cold as ice. I have no further responsibility on your behalf. implored of her to listen to him." She struggled. she only replied: "Are you disposed to let me go away now? Take away your hands. Then I will see what I ought to do. looked at him for a long time." She rose to her feet in spite of him. is irrevocable?" "Yes--let me go!" "Then stay. Irene. he now brought forward a number of arguments and counsels to make her understand the folly and terrible risk of her project. Her eyes were full of tears. and once more falling on his knees at her feet." "Explain what? What do you wish me to explain?" "Everything--everything that you thought about before changing your mind. When he had finished speaking.

they had not been robbed. I had to warn you that you were going to commit an act of folly. a great legal value. because she is prepared. and gives herself to him. her honor. no longer young and married since the preceding year. possesses in my eyes only a very slight moral value. and who takes her. in the grass near Chatou. a man and a woman."But I thought about nothing at all. "Therefore. who might kill her. an intrepid act. and said in a low tone: "It is not true. But I wanted to see. two bodies had been found. Thanks! thanks! God be thanked for the happiness you have given me!" A Parricide The lawyer had presented a plea of insanity. but having no attachment to her husband. united by this lawful bond. whom she cannot love. and now I am only a man--a man who loves you--Command. That is. They were not known to have enemies. because she dares to do a bold act. And it is exactly because she knows it. rich. "This woman risks everything. not a woman with a fickle heart and easily impressed. They seemed to have been thrown from the roadside into the river. taking into account the conditions under which it generally takes place. On the day when I realized that I loved you. darling! There is nothing the matter! My husband does not suspect anything. more real. and I obey. and prefer her to every one else whatever may happen. more wholesome. I have nothing more to say. a woman whose heart is free. her life. who makes an effort to win her. who gets her. How could anyone explain this strange crime otherwise? One morning. if they are both honorable persons. should also foresee everything. I said to myself what every lover ought to say to himself in the same case: 'The man who loves a woman. their union must be more intimate. of course. It is not a question here of sacrifice or devotion. the woman having been a widow for three years before. meets a man whom she cares for. her heart." "Listen. well known. "I say that. in taking her. This is why she is worthy of respect in the midst of her conjugal infidelity. and society." "It is not natural to change one's mind so quickly. one after the other. and I even insist on it. I wanted to know. her soul. my dear love. because she has foreseen all miseries. determined to brave everything--her husband. with a long iron spike. when a man who has no other tie. in dealing with a woman like you. I say that they pledge themselves toward each other by this mutual and free agreement much more than by the 'Yes' uttered in the presence of the mayor. You have given it to me. enters into a sacred contract with himself and with her. . which may cast her out. than if all the sacraments had consecrated it. what you would do I wished for a New Year's gift--the gift of your heart-another gift besides the necklace you sent me. she closed his mouth with a kiss. because she gives everything. then I ask to share in this act of folly. I spoke in the beginning like a sensible man whose duty it was to warn you. after having been struck. when a woman. all dangers all catastrophes." Radiant. takes a woman in this way. this is why her lover. You persist.' "Marriage which has a great social value. her body.

He had become remarkably clever in the trade of a carpenter. Gambetta. His lawyer had pleaded insanity. the blood of a bourgeois! "It is not he whom you should condemn. it is the Commune!" Everywhere could be heard murmurs of assent. The prosecuting attorney did not oppose him. Then the presiding judge asked the accused the customary question: "Prisoner. Georges Louis. yes. Everyone felt that the lawyer had won his case." gave himself up.The investigation revealed nothing. The matter was about to be given up." given throughout the neighborhood to this poor wretch. which he had taken up. knew nothing. an influential political agitator and a clever orator in the public meetings of workmen or of farmers. He was also said to be a socialist fanatic. it now welcomes with open arms this party to which arson is a principle and murder an ordinary occurrence. on all . but as on growing up he became particularly intelligent. a believer in communistic and nihilistic doctrines. the woman for six months. have ruined this man." They could get nothing more out of him. gentlemen. rich and generous (as he knew). nicknamed "the Bourgeois. how could one imagine that this workman should kill his best customers. the members of which. The boatmen. now applauded in public meetings. He has heard republicans--even women. who has neither father nor mother? He is an ardent republican. They often had me repair old furniture for them. his weakened mind gave way. when a young carpenter from a neighboring village. with the good taste and native refinement which his acquaintances did not have. "These gloomy doctrines. formerly shot or exiled by the government. is there anything that you wish to add to your defense?" . To all questions he only answered this: "I had known the man for two years. the blood of M. Grevy. the fixed idea of the unclassed individual who reeks vengeance on two bourgeois. He exclaimed: "Is this irony not enough to unbalance the mind of this poor wretch. he was nicknamed "the Bourgeois. because I am a clever workman. Indeed. What am I saying? He even belongs to the same political party. who had been questioned. put out to nurse and then abandoned. a great reader of bloodthirsty novels. he wanted blood. He had no other name than Georges Louis.the bourgeoisie. This man was undoubtedly an illegitimate child. women---ask for the blood of M. who in two years had enabled him to earn three thousand francs (his books showed it)? Only one explanation could be offered: insanity." And when he was asked: "Why did you kill them?" He would obstinately answer: "I killed them because I wanted to kill them." and he was never called otherwise. and the lawyer made a clever allusion to this nickname of "The Bourgeois.

A man who has been deceived. I took their happy life in exchange for the terrible one which they had forced on me. He spoke loud in a declamatory manner. kills. condemned to eternal misery. "Now. which one of them had heard at home. My turn came to do the same for them. "This crime was committed against me. kills. they got an unexpected child. a man who has been dishonored. clear. "A man who has been insulted. at any rate. kills. It is more humane to let them die. I would have been a good man. It was my legitimate right. A strong. "A woman. for whom I was an abominable burden. I owed them only vengeance. all this to a greater degree than those whose anger you excuse. flaxen blond. a man who has been slapped. "And yet. the most monstrous crime which can be committed against a human creature. One day the other children called me a 'b-----'. no longer receiving the monthly pension. your honor. since he was abandoned and the nurse. they rejected me. somewhere. played upon. strikes. morally slapped. He was a short. and judge me. She brought me up. They committed against me the most inhuman. sent him out. a terror. at the first words. I killed. I will tell everything. Their duty was to love me. they were pitiless. frank. "I owed them life--but is life a boon? To me. a man who has been robbed. gray eyes. as they often do. with calm. tortured. an infamous shame. up to quite recently. but so distinctly that every word could be understood in the farthest corners of the big hall: "Your honor. more noble. They suppressed the child. let him die of hunger and neglect! "The woman who nursed me was honest. tortured. more of a mother than my own mother. I may say. dishonored. to more than that--to death. as I do not wish to go to an insane asylum. I have been robbed. "You will call me parricide! Were these people my parents. "I grew up with the indistinct impression that I was carrying some burden of shame. "I killed this man and this woman because they were my parents. to the shame of an illegitimate birth. for whom my birth was a calamity and my life a threat of disgrace? They sought a selfish pleasure. perhaps a man of superior intellect. the most infamous. She did wrong in doing her duty. it was a misfortune. these little wretches who are cast away in suburban villages just as garbage is thrown away. and as I even prefer death to that. After their shameful desertion. they were the guilty ones. . better. I was the victim. having given birth to a boy. if my parents had not committed the crime of abandoning me.The man stood up. quickly changed the opinion which had been formed of him. deceived. but I felt the sting all the same. I was ready to love them. "I was. "I revenged myself. They did not know the meaning of this word. I was also ignorant of its meaning. to a nurse. one of the cleverest boys in the school. Did she even know where her accomplice carried this innocent little being. sonorous voice came from this frail-looking boy and. might. listen. I was defenseless. takes back his own by force.

Quickly I locked the door. this man.' Then she clutched at her heart and fell. Sometimes he would even talk to me of one thing or another. the man. "I looked her straight in the eyes and then said: 'Are you my mother?' "She drew back a few steps and hid her face in her hands so as not to see me. that. I will remain what I am. I was the proof--the proof which they had at first hidden and then hoped to destroy. I cannot be thus deceived. "At the beginning of this year he brought with him his wife. to all the questions which he asked her. I have come to help you to choose freely the woman who may suit you. very pale. because you seem to me to be honest and a hard worker. my father. I saw her three more times. "He returned often. my parents were wretches who deserted me. "The following month they returned. I found out.' "Then he flew into a passion. sought out information about them. she said to me: 'I wish you success. Now I am rich. self-controlled. He gave me a lot of work and paid me well. Admit it and I will keep the secret. I don't know why. escorted as usual by my father. he had sought information from the priest. She was calm. as she was leaving. might suddenly break out. sealed envelope. I answered: 'Madame. in turn. I immediately thought: 'She is my mother!' but I took care not to let her notice anything. There had been rumors that they had loved each other during the lifetime of the first husband. of my parents. That day she seemed deeply moved. I will bear you no ill will. let's get out!' . Then. When she entered she was trembling so that I thought her to be suffering from some nervous disease. kept repeating: 'Let's get out of here. He stammered out: 'You are a rascal. unconscious. bewildered. still supporting his wife who was beginning to sob. He ordered two pieces of furniture.' "He retreated towards the door. she looked around abstractedly at my work and only answered 'yes' and 'no. came to me for the first time two years ago. "I. put the key in my pocket and continued: 'Look at her and dare to deny that she is my mother. later on. you wish to get money from us! That's the thanks we get for trying to help such common people!' "My mother. I felt a growing affection for him. some day you will undoubtedly think of getting married. I wished to observe her. their honor might all at once be lost. under the seal of secrecy. I know that you are my parents. When she had left I thought her a little unbalanced. mistress of my fortune. my mother having been a widow for only three years. that their position. But one day she began to talk to me of my life. She returned one evening. my father. terrified at the thought that the scandal. of my childhood. naturally. childless. Then she asked for a seat and a glass of water. and they left me a rather large order."As I have said. but there was no proof of it. Here is your dowry. free. I learned that they had been married since last July.' "She held out to me a large.' at random. without suspecting anything. She said nothing. That day they chattered for a long time. their good name. I was married against my inclination once and I know what suffering it causes. supported her in his arms and cried out to me: 'You must be crazy!' "I answered: 'Not in the least. a carpenter. He. "I waited. I suspected nothing. my mother. which had so far been avoided.

was passionately fond of music. but he managed it with so much taste that cries of "Bravo!" "Exquisite!" "Surprising!" "Adorable!" issued from every throat as soon as he had murmured the last note. would you repulse me again?' "Then. I opened the door and saw them disappear in the darkness. My father was saying: 'It's all your own fault. If we were jurymen. beseeching. without showing ourselves. I struck him with it as often as I could. "That's all. We could have helped him from afar. when he found the door locked. pushed to the wall. I will have you thrown into prison for blackmail and assault!' "I had remained calm. "Then I seemed to have been suddenly orphaned. and as I seized him by the collar."Then. which they had to follow in order to reach the station of Chaton. After this revelation the case was carried over to the following session. very little bit of a voice. my whole being seemed to rise up in revolt against the injustice. It seems that I killed her also. He played the piano and the violin. I was creeping up behind them softly. in order to overtake them along the Seine. I no longer knew what I was doing. I threw them into the Seine." The prisoner sat down. It was now pitch dark. and gave musicals where the new operas were interpreted. the meanness. I began to run. without thinking. and from time to time he sent invitations after this fashion to the elite of the town: . before the law and my country. Although still young he was already bald. he was always carefully shaven. I swear it on my honor. the dishonor. he struck me. "The blood rushed to my head. when I saw them both lying on the ground. He was active. deserted. mingled with anger. disgust. You have already rejected me once. He had even what is called a bit of a voice. he exclaimed : 'If you do not open this door immediately. hatred. "I soon caught up with them. and they sent him the latest music. "Then she began to cry: 'Help! murder!' and to pull my beard. Why did you wish to see him? It was absurd in our position. and wore a gold pincenez instead of spectacles. notary at Vernon. I had my compass in my pocket. since we can't recognize him?' "Then I rushed up to them. It comes up very soon. My mother was still crying. Now sentence me. he drew from his pocket a revolver. nothing but a bit. the rejected love. gallant and cheerful and was considered quite an artist in Vernon. He struck me. I was seized with an overwhelming sadness. Of what use are these dangerous visits. what would we do with this parricide? A Queer Night in Paris Mattre Saval. your honor. How do I know what I did then? "Then. I cried: 'You see! You are my parents. He subscribed to a music publishing house in Paris. was somewhat corpulent as was suitable. that they might not hear me.

" And two or three persons repeated. and the scoundrelism of Octave. They were no longer young. Finally. one day. As soon as he set foot on the Rue d'Amsterdam. A tall young man soon came in and took a seat beside him. for the hour for taking absinthe was at hand. all of a sudden. he is an artist. Now." The notary quivered. a genuine artist. The notary filled the part of leader of the orchestra with so much correctness that the bandmaster of the 190th regiment of the line said of him. which he concealed under his overcoat with the collar turned up. and to spend an evening with them from time to time in Paris. so as not to have to sleep at a hotel. he came to the sign of "The Dead Rat. that I have taken a bottle of champagne. the quarrels of Lucie and Hortense. Was this the Romantin who had taken a medal at the last Salon? The young man made a sign to the waiter. Saval sat down at some distance from them and waited. he felt himself in quite jovial mood. men of letters. he entered." Every time that a new work was interpreted at a big Parisian theatre M. to talk about them in Vernon.M. last year. intending to return by the 12:35 A. Saval is a master. He had put on evening dress. in a tone of profound conviction: "Oh! yes.M. a black coat and white tie. tired out. Five or six women. You could see that they were almost bald. He had heard allusions to little cafes in the outer boulevards at which well-known painters. He passed in front of taverns frequented by belated bohemians." laying particular stress on the word "genuine. were talking in low tones about their love affairs. which fills you with a strange longing to dance about and to do many other things. formed the chorus. and he proceeded to go up to Montmartre at a slow pace. he went to hear Henri VIII. It is a great pity that he did not adopt the career of an artist. at the Cafe de l'Europe "Oh! M. intoxicating. He wanted to look about him. and they drank beer like men.. . seeking to discover the artists. with their elbows resting on the marble tables. What a life one can lead in this city in the midst of artists! Happy are the elect. allured by the name."You are invited to be present on Monday evening at the house of M. gifted with good voices." When his name was mentioned in a drawing-room. train. were too fat or too thin. Two or three lady amateurs also sang. there was always somebody found to declare: "He is not an amateur. M. gazing at the different faces. As soon as I arrive here. used up. according to his custom. a genuine artist. notary. He said to himself: "Decidedly. Saval paid a visit to the capital. the great men who make themselves a reputation in such a city! What an existence is theirs!" And be made plans. and even musicians gathered. Saval.'" A few officers. he would have liked to know some of these celebrated men. at the first rendering of 'Sais. He had two hours before him. He then took the express which arrives in Paris at 4:30 P. exciting. the air of Paris does not resemble any other air. The landlady called him M. "Romantin." and. it seems to me. It has in it something indescribably stimulating. But suddenly an idea struck him. Vernon.

M. Beraud." Romantin. Then. replied: . Hebert." M. each quarter. "I believe you. every three months. He had taken up a newspaper. and Jean-Paul Laurens. and in a hesitating voice said: "I beg your pardon for intruding on you. Duez. monsieur. burning with the desire to speak to him. in red vests and with peaked beards. Saval could not restrain himself any longer. Saval immediately ordered dinner. too! Wait till you see! Every actress without exception--of course I mean.warming. and the ham I ordered this morning. Saval glanced sideways at him. monsieur. in the fashion of Henry III. whose work in the last Salon I have so much admired?" The painter answered: "I am the very person. so that his dress suit and his white tie could be seen. The first of the pair said: "Is it for this evening?" Romantin pressed his hand. you know. The painter. thirty bottles of beer. They sat down opposite Romantin. Saval questioned him as to all the men he was going to receive. he took off his overcoat. M." M. 15 Boulevard de Clichy. and then carry to my new studio. showing that he was a man of culture."You will bring up my dinner at once. I have Bonnat." The landlord of the establishment came across. vanquished. and everyone will be there. and was reading it. Romantin returned to the subject of his house. It will be a stunning affair! And women. "Do you often have this housewarming?" The painter replied: "I believe you. Then they chattered. adding: "It would be an extraordinary piece of good fortune for a stranger to meet at one time so many celebrities assembled in the studio of an artist of your rank. gratified. We are going to have a housewarming. and I would be very glad to know if you really are M." The notary then paid the artist a very well-turned compliment. Gervex. going into details as to the magnificence of the forthcoming entertainment. old chap. His neighbor did not seem to notice him. Clairin. all those who have nothing to do this evening. thanked him politely in reply. but I heard your name mentioned. Romantin. Guillemet. Two young men entered.

surveying it with the utmost attention." M. Saval accepted the invitation with enthusiasm. "Since I have invited you. and then added: "She is a good girl. Women are incomparable for hanging drapery. its ceiling disappearing in the darkness. It would be embarrassing to my guests. But I sent her to the country for to-day in order to get her off my hands this evening." The notary said emphatically: "Make any use of me you please." Both of them had finished their meal. and. she would tear out my eyes. "Well. wishing to repay his neighbor's civilities. citizen. ascending the stairs."If it would be agreeable to you. then he left the establishment with the painter." Romantin took off his jacket. Saval remained standing at the door somewhat astonished. It is not that she bores me." He walked round it." Then. reflecting: "I shall have time enough to see Henri VIII. They found themselves in an immense apartment. low house. He also paid for the drinks of the young fellows in red velvet. The artist came over to him. the first story having the appearance of an interminable conservatory. M. If she knew that I was holding a reception. Saval had not even moved. to work!' We are first going to clean up. he did not understand. but everything has yet to be done. you will assist ma about something. bare apartment. The notary insisted on paying the two bills. The painter remarked: "Here you are! we've got to the spot. but she is too much lacking in the ways of good society. Six studios stood in a row with their fronts facing the boulevards." He reflected for a few seconds. They stopped in front of a very long. I am at your disposal." . and lighted a match and then a candle. he said: "We might make a great deal out of this studio. examining the high. he opened a door. two easels. Romantin was the first to enter. but not easy to deal with. and a few sketches standing on the ground along the walls. the furniture of which consisted of three chairs. come." M. then went on: "I know someone who might easily give a helping hand.

At the end of five minutes. . He answered: "I don't know. who imitated him." M. and seized a very worn-out broom. In five minutes. "Well. disgusted. The painter said: "How would you set about making a chandelier?" The other. Romantin. stopped him: "Deuce take it! you don't know how to sweep the floor! Look at me!" And he began to roll before him a heap of grayish sweepings. surprised. raising a whirlwind of dust. "I say! Just brush up while I look after the lighting. which he fixed in the form of a crown around the hoop." M. asked: "What chandelier?" "Why. such a cloud of dust filled the studio that Rormantin asked: "Where are you? I can't see you any longer. exhibited on the easel. came near to him. yes." Then he went on more calmly: "Have you got five francs about you?" M. Saval. I have found out a way. a chandelier to light the room--a chandelier with wax-candles. on which there was a canvas representing a cat. one of them with the wax-candles and the other with the hoop of a cask." The artist said: "Well! you'll go out and buy for me five francs' worth of wax-candles while I go and see the cooper. cracking his fingers. Saval replied: "Why. they had returned." The notary did not understand.He went to the back of the easel. inspected it. Then. as if he had done nothing else all his life. after having explained that he had made interest with the old woman by painting the portrait of her cat. and then began to sweep the floor very awkwardly. monseigneur." And he pushed the notary in his evening coat into the street. and drew forth twenty empty bottles. Then Romantin plunged his hand into a cupboard. he gave bark the broom to the notary. who was coughing." The painter began to jump about. Saval took the broom. He then went downstairs to borrow a ladder from the janitress.

my fine fellow! wait a little!" Romantin went over to her. She waited some seconds. Romantin gazed at her with a look of terror. A woman appeared. I'm going to receive your friends. so taken up was she in scolding and relieving her feelings. is this the way you leave me?" Romantin made no reply. her eyes flashing. exasperated voice said: "Ha! you dirty scoundrel. "Mathilde----" But she was now fairly under way. and tried to take her by the hands. . vibrating. I tell you I have a genius for lighting up. without understanding. And suddenly she began to weep. and then in a shrill. and remained standing on the threshold. damn it! You are just like a Jeames. He seized her hands without her having noticed it. he said to M. She went on: "Ha! you scoundrel! You did a nice thing in parking me off to the country. They flowed out of her mouth like." She grew warmer. You'll soon see the way I'll settle your jollification. and fasten this chandelier for me to the ring of the ceiling. She commenced afresh twice or three times. But off with your coat. Saval: "Are you active?" The other. yes. But her words were uttered in a screaming falsetto voice with tears in it and interrupted by sobs. but this did not stop her complaints. and on she went. The tears flowed from her eyes. answered: "Why. Then. She did not seem to see anything. stammered. emptying the vials of her wrath with strong words and reproaches. and light it. she went on: "Wait a little. a stream sweeping a heap of filth along with it. The words pouring forth seemed struggling for exit. you just climb up there. Yes. crossing her arms over her breast. "I'm going to slap their faces with the bottles and the wax-candles----" Romantin said in a soft tone: "Mathilde----" But she did not pay any attention to him. you put a wax-candle in each bottle. yelled. suddenly recovering her voice to cast forth an insult or a curse." "Well. and at last she ceased with a regular flood of tears. till she stopped as if something were choking her. She stuttered.When he returned with the ladder." The door was opened brusquely.

" She stammered. I swear to you!" He turned towards M. two and two holding each other by the arm and stamping their heels on the ground to mark time. thunderstruck.Then he clasped her in his arms and kissed her hair. surrounding him with a circle of vociferations. will you not?" And he carried off Mathilde. Then they took each other by the hand and went dancing about madly. half an hour. Then. "Mathilde. Saval succeeded in putting everything around him in order. affected himself. I am coming back in five minutes. You will be very sensible. it is to thank these gentlemen for the medal I got at the Salon. Left to himself. a song shouted out in chorus by twenty mouths and a regular march like that of a Prussian regiment. Then he lighted the waxcandles. very nice. and waited. The whole house was shaken by the steady tramp of feet. and a motley throng appeared--men and women in file." She murmured: "Yes. you will remain quietly waiting for me in bed. an hour. Saval. You know. If anyone arrives in my absence. and uttered a shout: "A Jeames! A Jeames!" And they began whirling round him. suddenly there was a dreadful noise on the stairs. They howled: "Come. The procession of revellers caught sight of him. Saval. and let us all be merry. my little Mathilde. who kept drying her eyes with her handkerchief as she went along. He waited for a quarter of an hour. Romantin did not return. He attempted to explain: "Messieurs--messieurs--mesdames----" . advanced into the studio like a snake uncoiling itself. not to give you pain. You ought to understand that. M. Pretty maids and soldiers gay!" M. You must be reasonable. but you will not begin over again?" "No. The door flew open. do the honors for me. I cannot receive women. in the midst of her tears: "Why didn't you tell me this?" He replied: "It was in order not to annoy you. Listen. listen. if I give a supper-party to my friends. I'm going to see you home. It is not the same with artists as with other people. remained standing in evening dress under the chandelier. who had at last hooked on the chandelier: "My dear friend. and I'll come back as soon as it's over.

put him to bed. M. They seated and tied him on one of three chairs between two women who kept constantly filling his glass. Saval said: "Gentlemen----" A tall young fellow. the dancing ceased. It seemed to him. getting quite distracted. They whirled about. quite scared. Saval. too." A voice exclaimed: "You mean Baptiste. This one had a loaf of bread. Romantin did not return. and the way in which he had spent the evening. When he awoke. interrupted him: "What's your name. he talked. they forced him to relate it. in a strange bed. He declined. From that moment. that they undressed him." A woman said: "Let the poor waiter alone! You'll end by making him get angry. and not to be laughed at by us. and gave orders: "Here. They sat around him to listen to him. fair young fellow placed in his hands an enormous sausage. telling about his project of going to the opera. Other guests arrived. Put the bottles at the left and the provisions at the right. One suspicious gentleman asked: "How came you to be here?" He explained.But they did not listen to him. and the other a pie. said: "I am M. and fell on the ground. they jumped. exclaimed: "But. he sang. Saval was presented to them so that he might begin his story over again." Then. fair-haired and bearded to the nose. and one a ham." Saval. however. and he lay stretched with his feet against a cupboard. Saval noticed that each guest had brought his own provisions. The tall. He's paid to wait on us. go and arrange the sideboard in the corner over there. He tried to waltz with his chair. they brawled. One held a bottle of wine. At last. He drank. they greeted him with words of applause. M. his arrival in Paris. and that he was nauseated. M. I am a notary!" There was a moment's silence and then a wild outburst of laughter. . he forgot everything. his departure from Vernon. messieurs. it was broad daylight. and called him Scheherazade. my friend?" The notary. he laughed.

He found that he was in no condition to do so. I was in a government office. full of exuberant happiness. and Sundays were to me like unusual festivals. And when people talk about music to him in his beautiful drawing-room in Vernon. those happy years when life was nothing but a triumph and an occasion for mirth? Do you recall the days of wanderings around Paris. How exquisite are the remembrances of those old springtimes! Do you recall. intoxicating. they have been taken away from me. Saval said. old friends and brothers. she said: "Clear out. you blackguard! Clear out! What right has anyone to get drunk like this?" He sat up in bed. A Recollection How many recollections of youth come to me in the soft sunlight of early spring! It was an age when all was pleasant. What was he to do? He asked: "Did Monsieur Romantin come back?" The doorkeeper shouted: "Will you take your dirty carcass out of this. in a state of confusion: "I haven't got my clothes. green woods." He had to wait. He did not leave Paris till evening. cheerful. you dirty scamp? You are drunk. It was twelve years ago and already appears to me so old. although nothing remarkable occurred. I had just come to Paris. He blurted out: "Madame.Then he remembered. he declares with an air of authority that painting is a very inferior art. so old that it seems now as if it belonged to the other end of life. our drinks in the wine-shops on the banks of the Seine and our commonplace and delightful little flirtations? I will tell you about one of these.An old woman with a broom in her hand was glaring angrily at him. His clothes had disappeared. . At last. our jolly poverty. feeling very ill at ease. I---. before middle age. I was then twenty-five. our walks in the fresh. and borrow some money to buy clothes. so that he at any rate may not catch you here?" M. to explain his situation. give notice to his friends. Take your rotten carcass out of here as quick as you can--and lose no time about it!" He wanted to get up. charming. He asked: "Where am I?" "Where are you. this dreadful middle age from which I suddenly perceived the end of the journey.

as it drew near. the houses and the bridges disappearing behind us. of all the veiled unknown contained in the future. . I had brought with me a map of the environs of Paris. lighting them up with a smile as if all beings and all things experienced a secret satisfaction at the rising of the brilliant sun. gaudy ribbons and bright scarlet designs." I went on shore and walked hurriedly through the little town to the road leading to the wood. the beginning of the country. "Sevres. I walked towards the Seine to take the Swallow. "SaintCloud. How I loved waiting for the boat on the wharf: It seemed to me that I was about to set out for the ends of the world. looking quite small with its plume of smoke. It was the end of Paris. startling toilettes. A blue sky full of sunlight and swallows spread above the town. for I am originally a rustic. then again to the left and I should reach Versailles by evening in time for dinner. so that I might not lose my way amid the paths which cross in every direction these little forests where Parisians take their outings. of the offices. then growing larger and ever larger. which seemed to be perfectly clear. The front of the houses was bathed in sunlight." and still further. but I regret the time when I had only one Sunday in the week. my documents. my colleagues. I walked slowly beneath the young leaves. I saw the boat approaching yonder. living enchantment. People were there already in their Sunday clothes. amid the meadows. I took up a position in the bows. How enjoyable it was! I had six francs to spend! On this particular morning I awoke with that sense of freedom that all clerks know so well--the sense of emancipation. awakened by these country odors. suddenly spreading out as though it had regained space and liberty. I opened my window. of my chief. intending to spend the day in the woods breathing the air of the green trees. yonder under the second bridge. It came up to the wharf and I went on board. for new and wonderful lands. the janitress' canaries were singing in their cages and there was an air of gaiety in the streets. along the edge of the forests. and thinking of the good things that were sure to come to me. until it looked to me like a mail steamer. I was to turn to the right. in the faces of the inhabitants. forgetful of musty papers. A voice called out: "Bas Meudon" and a little further on. Paris was astir and happy in the warmth and the light. alongside the wooded hills. As soon as I was unperceived I began to study my guide. standing up and looking at the quays. of quiet and of independence. A thousand recollections of childhood came over me. the trees. then to the left. of rest. drinking in the air. and I walked along. which would land me at Saint-Cloud. and behind the double row of arches the Seine. I sauntered along. And suddenly I perceived the great viaduct of Point du Jour which blocked the river. The weather was charming. After passing between two islands the Swallow went round a curved verdant slope dotted with white houses. I dressed quickly and set out.Now it is Sunday every day. having been brought up amid the grass and the trees. permeated with the fragrant. the emotional enchantment of the woods warmed by the sun of June. became all at once the peaceful river which flows through the plains. fragrant with the odor of young buds and sap.

"It was I!. it is my fault now! Was it I who wanted to go out without getting any information. exhausted and distressed. although he pretended he knew the country perfectly. I went towards them. dainty. in his shirt sleeves. climbed quietly up the stalks of grass which bent beneath their weight. shaking her parasol. She was quite young. short. red. monsieur. "But.At times I sat down to look at all sorts of little flowers growing on a bank. and in that tone of sovereign contempt assumed by women to express their exasperation. mon Dieu. She did not allow him to finish his sentence. I was about to dive into the thicket." "Mon Dieu. pretty. who would stop buzzing now and then to sip from a flower. They were walking hurriedly. he was perspiring and wiping his forehead. pretending that I knew how to find my way? Was it I who wanted to take the road to the right on top of the hill. frightful. coming towards me. that is just where we want to dine!" "I am going there also. where we are? My fool of a husband made us lose our way. in fact." I replied confidently: "Madame. it was you--" he murmured. All at once I perceived at the end of the path two persons. The woman was. and the man. you are going towards Saint-Cloud and turning your back on Versailles. They were yellow. refreshed by my doze. madame. long. a brunette with a slight shadow on her upper lip. she exclaimed: "What. quick steps and he with long strides. delicate. mon Dieu!" she repeated. my dear friend. save for an occasional big wasp. Annoyed at being disturbed in my quiet walk. Insects of all colors and shapes. was waving the other as a signal of distress. As for him. and microscopic monsters. when I thought I heard someone calling me. violet. insisting that I recognized the road? Was it I who undertook to take charge of Cachou--" . Ah. It was assuredly a little Parisian bourgeois couple. shrugging her shoulders. In front of me lay an enchanting pathway and through its somewhat scanty foliage the sun poured down drops of light on the marguerites which grew there. with the names of which I was familiar. The woman asked: "Can you tell me. They both looked annoyed and fatigued. of peculiar form. I recognized them all just as if they were the ones I had seen long ago in the country." With a look of annoyed pity for her husband. and then continue his way. quiet and deserted. perched on long stems or close to the ground. their faces very red. Then I went to sleep for some hours in a hollow and started off again. It stretched out interminably. his coat over one arm. she with short. The man seemed cast down. we are turning our back on Versailles? Why. a man and a woman.

She had not finished speaking when her husband. gave a piercing scream. Was it I who took the train to Dieppe last year instead of the train to Havre--tell me. He had never seen the grass nor the leaves and he was almost wild. wild cry that could not be described in any language. to calm her and stammered: "But. I kept on calling him. all his efforts. all his enterprises. Saint-Lazare. a prolonged and shrill "tuituit. but which sounded like 'tuituit'. We are making ourselves ridiculous. and from time to time he uttered a fresh scream. as if he had suddenly gone crazy." . That may have driven him mad. accumulating the most varied." And he cast mournful glances into the thicket as though he sought to sound its peaceful and mysterious depths. we will accompany him on the road. and be obliged. in order to flee thither. I must also add that he was greatly afraid of the train. He strove to check her. to escape and hide from all eyes. I wanted to take him to have a run in the woods. her life. He was just a year old. suddenly turning towards me: and changing her tone with singular rapidity. reproaching her husband for all his actions. They were glovers in the Rue. was it I? Was it I who bet that M." he replied in a tone of discouragement and despair. for his life from the time of their marriage up to the present time. to sleep in the wood. but he has not come back. so as not to lose our way again. with a surprising flow of language. He will die of hunger in there. the young woman said: "If you had left his chain on. all his ideas. her family. The young woman did not appear to be surprised or moved and resumed: "No. it is useless--before monsieur. He had never been outside the shop. furious. all his habits." I bowed." I took this to be a nervous affection. a long. Letourneur lived in Rue des Martyres? Was it I who would not believe that Celeste was a thief?" She went on. When people are as stupid as you are they do not keep a dog." Without turning towards her husband. it would not have happened. He began to run about and bark and he disappeared in the wood. possibly. She took my arm and began to talk about a thousand things-. some people are so stupid and they pretend they know everything. the most unexpected and the most overwhelming accusations drawn from the intimate relations of their daily life. At last I inquired: "Why do you scream like that?" "I have lost my poor dog. my dear. "How is that--you have lost your dog?" "Yes. The young woman.about herself. This does not interest monsieur. her business. casting wild glances into the thick wood and screaming "tuituit" every few moments. Her husband walked beside her. said: "If monsieur will kindly allow us. really.

Bougival? Are you sure?" . How stupid you are! how stupid you are! Is it possible that I could have married such an idiot! Well. I do not want to sleep in the wood. What was this place? A man was passing. screaming "tuituit" every few moments. and see that you find it. It was growing dark. go and look for it. I remained silent. "Where shall I find you?" A restaurant had been recommended to me. "What. As for me. Suddenly the young man stopped. she began again to cast in his face innumerable reproaches. She stopped short. I think that I--" She looked at him. what?" "I did not notice that I had my coat on my arm." "Yes. Our path was suddenly crossed by a high road." he replied gently. my dear. The cloud of vapor that covers the country at dusk was slowly rising and there was a poetry in the air. but we heard his mournful "tuituit." "Well--?" "I have lost my pocketbook--my money was in it." shriller and shriller as the night grew darker. He replied: "Bougival. He turned back and. To the right I perceived a town lying in a valley. it was you--" he murmured timidly. I stepped along quickly and happily in the soft twilight. I tried to say pretty things to her. "That was all that was lacking. stooping down as he searched the ground with anxious eyes. enchanted. disturbed. he moved away." She shook with anger and choked with indignation. but could think of nothing. We could see him for some time until the growing darkness concealed all but his outline. with this little unknown woman leaning on my arm. and feeling his body feverishly. I asked him. induced by the peculiar and enchanting freshness of the atmosphere that one feels in the woods at nightfall. and looking into his eyes as if she were going to tear them out."But. I am going on to Versailles with monsieur." I was dumfounded. my dear. "Well. I gave him the address. exclaimed: "Oh.

with short arms. in the district of Criquetot. Just then they came in. She replied: "No.' They watched me sideways. That was my first serious flirtation. My husband will find his way all right. dirty look. She looked as tall as a flag pole with her cap which looked like a white skull cap. like this. The two prisoners sat side by side on the traditional bench. A blue blouse. planted directly on his trunk. I said: 'What do you want with me?' They did not answer. indeed. This talent attracted to his cafe--for he was a saloon keeper at Criquetot--a great many customers who preferred the "mass at Cornu" to the mass in church. her hands crossed on her knees. by drowning. Tell us the details. I proposed that we should take a carriage and drive to Versailles. He was a raiser of pigs and lived at Cacheville-la-Goupil. He had been nicknamed "the cure" because he could imitate to perfection the chanting in church." We went into a restaurant beside the water and I ventured to ask for a private compartment. Mme. She sang. Cesaire-Isidore Brument and Prosper-Napoleon Cornu. because he squints. The judge continued his interrogation. I am really quite calm. a dilapidated look that was frightful. hung down to his knees. gazing fixedly before her with a stupid expression. especially Cornu. I belong there!" The little woman burst into an idiotic laugh. and a round head with a red pimply face. and his yellow hair. A Sale The defendants. then. They were two peasants. lawful wife of the first of the aforenamed."Parbleu. Brument. We had some supper. with enormously long arms.out. and he squinted." She rose. which was also round and short. on a charge of attempted murder. I had a sort of mistrust----" . appeared before the Court of Assizes of the Seine-Inferieure. they came into your house and threw you into a barrel full of water. was a thin peasant woman who seemed to be always asleep. seated on the witness bench. She sat there motionless. His head was on crooked. and with apparently no neck. of Mme. She said in a drawling tone: "I was shelling beans. gave his face a worn. drank champagne. which was scanty and plastered down on his head. his jaw awry. Cornu (Prosper-Napoleon) was thin. and even the sound of the serpent. It is a treat to me to be rid of him for a few hours. for they are two good-for-nothings when they are in company. as long as a shirt. I do not like to see them together. of medium height. "Well. they seem up to some mischief. Brument. committed all sorts of follies. short legs. the first was small and stout. Mme. Stand up. This is very funny and I am very hungry. Brument. I said to myself. 'What is the matter with them? They do not seem natural.

I took off my cap.' .' "So I went to the pond with two pails and carried water. your turn will come.' "A hundred sous is a hundred sous. turning towards his accomplice said in the deep tones of an organ: "Say that we were both full. They were finishing their drinks when I said to them: 'You are full. seeing that a hundred sous are not picked up in a horse's tracks." "Well. 'Do you wish to earn a hundred sous?' 'Yes. I said: 'There. but I did not fancy undressing before those two good-for-nothings. that won't bother us." Then Cornu.' "And then Cornu gave me a hundred sous. it was Cornu gave them to me." Cornu : "That might happen to anyone. Then he said: 'Take off your clothes. "When the barrel was full to the brim. and then my sabots. seeing that the barrel was as large as a vat. each one has his share. for I am not accustomed to presents like that. we are good fellows. and stuck it down in the middle of the floor. that's done. saying: "I was full. and he turned it over and brought it into my kitchen. m'sieu le president. and then my jacket. and you will be telling no lie. and then my skirt.' "And Cornu said. fuller than this barrel. and then another. 'We are good fellows." The judge. 'Keep on your stockings. go on with your work. "All this time Brument and Cornu were drinking a glass. And Brument said: 'Do you wish to earn a hundred sous more?' 'Yes. keep on your chemise. and then he said to me: 'Go and fetch water until it is full.' and he went to fetch the large empty barrel which is under the rain pipe in the corner.' he said. and I have to undress myself.The defendant Brument interrupted the witness hastily. severely: "You mean by that that you were both drunk?" Brument: "There can be no question about it.' I paid no attention to what he said as he was full. also. Cornu. not Brument.! "'Take off my clothes?' "'Yes. "'How many shall I take off?' "'If it worries you at all. Brument said.' And Brument answered me. woman Brument. saving your presence." The judge to the victim: "Continue your testimony. Then he said: 'Open your eyes and do as I do. and still more water for an hour. 'Do not worry. Brument said to me. and then another glass. too.' I said.' I replied.

a chill to my very insides." he replied. the country watchman who went to Criquetot to fetch the police who came to my house with me. "I said to myself: 'What are they up to?' "And Brument said: 'Are you ready?' "And Cornu said: 'I'm ready!' "And then they took me. as one might take. "And then he must have been frightened. It is the method that was no good. for I was almost in a state of nature. Brument by the head.' "The police captain put them both under arrest. so that I had a check of the circulation. The audience in the court room laughed. He pulled me out and said: 'Go and get dry. you seem to have been the instigator of this infamous plot. so that the water ran into my nose. which was full of water. The jurors looked at one another in astonishment." She sat down. "And Brument said: 'Keep still. for instance. and he went to fetch Maitre Chicot. "Brument was bawling: 'It isn't true. so that I could already see Paradise. they were so full. "Judge. but could not stand straight. I took to my heels and ran as far as M. and I disappeared. that is almost half a cubic metre.' "Brument said: 'The head is not in.' "As for me. And he pushed it down. M'sieu le president. He lent me a skirt belonging to his servant." The Judge answered gravely: . a sheet that has been washed. And they got up from their chairs. Then I began to bawl. "And Brument said: 'Is that all?' "Cornu said: 'That is all."So there I was. You need not reply. that's what it is. carcass.' "Cornu bawled: 'Four pails. The judge said: "Defendant Cornu. I have no more to tell. I tell you that there is at least a cubic metre in it.' "And then Brument pushed down my head as if to drown me. "I was full.' "Cornu said: 'Put in her head. "Then we found Brument and Cornu fighting each other like two rams. le cure's. that will make a difference in the measure. What have you to say?" And Cornu rose in his turn. wretched creature!' "And they lifted me up in the air and put me into the barrel. saving your presence. and Cornu by the feet. almost like mother Eve.

' "I gave a bound like a rabbit. that is the way to fix it. wasn't she? I asked him: 'How much would you sell her for?' "He reflected. But this water that overflows will run away. Then he returned the compliment and so did I. He said to me: 'I take a barrel. one is not a dealer in hogs for nothing. and then I reflected that a woman ought not to measure more than three hundred litres. and he replied: 'I will sell her by the cubic metre. that old horse. but she has been married to you for some time. I put her in it. I am smarter. that would be a cubic metre. not without difficulty for he was full. Cornu. "But a fear came to me: 'How can you measure her unless you put her into the liquid?' "Then he explained his idea. not a sou more. I would not say anything. when we were full. but she was a woman. how are you going to gather it up?' "Then he began stuffing me and explained to me that all we should have to do would be to refill the barrel with the water his wife had displaced as soon as she should have left. All the water that comes out we will measure. or pretended to reflect. that stirred me up. I asked him what was the matter.' "He answered: 'I cannot do it for less. All the water we should pour in would be the measure. So I said: 'That's too dear. and so it went on from glass to glass until noon. I understand. ."I know it. for I was as drunk as he was.' I sat down opposite him and drank.' "I was full. and we started out. Ha! So I said to him: 'If she were new. and I was a widower. that suited me. It is a thousand litres. Well. When one is full one is not very clear-headed." "I will. We must help each other in this world. Brument came to my place about nine o'clock. so she is not as fresh as she was.' "I said: 'I see. One understands one's business.' "That did not surprise me. All depends on the quality. That's a bargain!' "I agreed.' That cooled me off a little. I did not know his wife. "Then Brument began to cry. and fill it with water to the brim. all the same. if he is smart. I said: 'How much do you want a cubic metre?' "He answered: 'Two thousand francs. Proceed. But.' "You understand. He isn't a fool. I should lose by it. and out of politeness. arm in arm. Then he said to me all at once: 'I will sell you my wife. and said: 'There's one for you. when he is drunk. That touched me. "But the price remained to be settled. you understand. seeing that I sell them also. the seller of bacon. Ha. and ordered two drinks. and I knew what a cubic metre is in my business. I will give you fifteen hundred francs a cubic metre. You understand. Will that suit you?' "He answered: 'That will do. I offered him a glass. I supposed about ten pails. Ha. He said: 'I must have a thousand francs by Thursday.

it is all the same. handsome or ugly. He had remained a bachelor. she will be of value. he . I said to myself: 'I am disappointed. as his means did not allow him the luxury of a wife. and establishing the precise limitations of business transactions. that is not enough. I will measure the deficit. I said: 'Look out. A beautiful woman she certainly was not."To be brief. Ha!" The witness began to laugh so persistently that a gendarme was obliged to punch him in the back.' "He replied: 'Do not be afraid. He was now making three thousand francs a year. they took us off to prison. I hit back. I said to myself: 'She will not measure four hundred litres. Anyone can see her. and as he had never enjoyed anything. with some severe strictures on the dignity of marriage. and bawled again.' I understand the matter. For forty years Monsieur Leras had been arriving every morning in this prison at eight o'clock. Brument! she is escaping. we reached his house and I took a look at its mistress. Ha.' I bawled and bawled. seeing we were both drunk. he stood for a minute bewildered at the glory of the setting sun. and from this hole on which his window opened came the musty odor of a sewer. He had worked all day in the yellow light of a small jet of gas. on a narrow court. "Then came the gendarmes! They swore at us. Not four pailfuls. but never mind. Brument exclaimed: 'Nothing doing. That would have kept on till the Day of judgment. writing with the industry of a good clerk. he resumed: "In short. "She told you about the proceeding. At the end of an hour they returned a verdict of acquittal for the defendants.' "We measured. in consternation. as deep as a well. Brument confirmed in every particular the statements of his accomplice. It was always damp and cold. I want damages. is it not. and he would remain there until seven at night. She will have to come back to sleep. Ha. he punched me. bookkeeper for Messieurs Labuze and Company. I will catch her all right. far in the back of the store." He sat down. left the store. A Stroll When Old Man Leras. Having quieted down.Cornu went back to his business. The jury. monsieur le president?' And then I saw that she was as thin as a rail. for there she is. having started at fifteen hundred. The little room where he had been spending his days for forty years was so dark that even in the middle of summer one could hardly see without gaslight from eleven until three. bending over his books. Brument went home to the domestic roof accompanied by his wife. it being in liquids. retired to deliberate. "When that was done she ran away. I even let her keep on her chemise and stockings. to my own disadvantage.

In 1856 he had lost his father and then his mother in 1859. and instead of returning home he decided to take a little stroll before dinner. a thing which happened to him four or five times a year. sweet or tragic loves. make his bed. He had taken his place and wished for nothing more. dreary as a day of sadness and as similar as the hours of a sleepless night. one of those first warm and pleasant evenings which fill the heart with the joy of life. seasons. weeks. because his landlord had tried to raise his rent. however. had dinner and went to bed without ever interrupting the regular monotony of similar actions. dark office. Days. tired of this continuous and monotonous work. he would look at his white mustache and bald head in the same mirror. in which he had seen eleven different owners without the name ever changing. he formed a platonic wish: "Gad! If I only had an income of fifteen thousand francs. he was going along with joy in his heart. made him spring out of bed at 6 o'clock precisely. dust his chair and the top of his bureau. He reached the boulevards. months. I would take life easy. every evening before leaving. this piece of mechanism had been out of order--once in 1866 and again in 1874.desired nothing. His life had been uneventful. not even a misfortune. Twice. All this took him an hour and a half. Formerly he used to look at his blond mustache and wavy hair in the little round mirror left by his predecessor. and with the desire to replace him. It was a spring evening. He got up every day at the same hour. not even a memory. in 1868. as assistant to Monsieur Brument. went away. Monsieur Leras went along with his mincing old man's step. years. enlivened by the sight of the young people trotting along. and he continued to walk. without emotions. Then he would go out. Since then the only incident in his life was when he moved. all these things had remained unknown to him. arrived at the office." He had never taken life easy. He had entered there as a young man. since the death of his parents. the unexpected events. he had never been able to find out the reason why. Forty years had rolled by. started out. all the occurrences of a free existence. Every day his alarm clock. however. Now. dazzled at the brilliancy of the setting sun. Forty years of which nothing remained. as he had never had anything but his monthly salary. And he had never left them. His entire existence had been spent in the narrow. at peace with the world. and he would eat this roll on the way to the office. where people were streaming along under the green trees. without hopes. The faculty of dreaming with which every one is blessed had never developed in the mediocrity of his ambitions. . ate luncheon. The whole harvest of memories which other men reap in their span of years. He reached the Champs-Elysees. all were alike to him. adventurous journeys. deeds and thoughts. buy a roll at the Lahure Bakery. Nothing. When he was twenty-one he entered the employ of Messieurs Labuze and Company. which was still decorated with the same wall paper. with a frightful noise of rattling chains. That day Monsieur Leras stood by the door. long and rapid. sweep his room. He would dress. From time to time.

still night had fallen over Paris. He sat down again on a bench. of all these kisses. it isn't for the fun of it. papa. lost in their dreams. even a little moved. The carriages were still rolling by. side by side. seemed to give out a disturbing. They kept coming with their shining lights. and he sat down on a bench to watch these carriages pass by with their burdens of love. and he went into a wine dealer's for dinner. speaking to him and calling to him. saying: "Come along. And he said to himself: "What a fine evening! I will continue my stroll as far as the entrance to the Bois de Boulogne. He felt as though he were enveloped in darkness by something disagreeable. riding under the warm. in the anticipation of the approaching embrace. so different from everybody else. starlit sky." She slipped her arm through his. "Good-evening." she said. In his lifetime he had only known two or three women. one behind the other. It was the best dinner that Monsieur Leras had had in a long time. He thought: "I should have done better not to come here. Almost immediately a woman walked up to him and sat down beside him. They passed by in the carriages. in the emotion of desire. A sensation of tenderness filled the air. had his after-dinner cup of coffee. giving horn a glimpse of the couples inside. Monsieur Leras walked along the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne and watched the cabs drive by. He washed down his cheese with a small bottle of burgundy. subtle emanation. hoarse. The meal was served in front of the store. It was one long procession of lovers. like a giant surrounded by fire. and he looked back at the life which he had led. on the sidewalk. The warm shadows seemed to be full of floating kisses. all these people intoxicated with the same idea. Love! He scarcely knew it. At last Monsieur Leras grew a little tired of walking. An old tune which one of his neighbors used to sing kept returning to his mind. Other women were passing near him. salad and asparagus. silent. so empty. the women in their light dresses and the men dressed in black. A few yards away another woman walked up to him and asked: "Won't you sit down beside me?" He said: "What makes you take up this life?" She stood before him and in an altered. and finally a little pony of brandy. All these carriages full of tender couples. angry voice exclaimed: "Well. with sadness in his heart. He answered: "Madame. don't be foolish. you are mistaken. A hot. his means forcing him to live a quiet life. so dreary. They kept on coming in rapid succession." He set out. Listen----" He arose and walked away. As he approached the immense monument. Monsieur Leras stood there bewildered. which were passing by it front of him. a thing which he rarely took. He kept on humming it over and over again. humming.The whole sky was aflame. the Arc de Triomphe stood out against the brilliant background of the horizon. It will do me good. anyhow!" He insisted in a gentle voice: "Then what makes you?" She grumbled: "I've got to live! Foolish question!" And she walked away. so mournful. . It consisted of some mutton. I feel all upset. with the same thought. When he had paid he felt quite youthful. sold or given. now. the old bookkeeper noticed that he was hungry." He began to think of all this venal or passionate love.

of getting into his bed. always alone. He was thinking of how pleasant it must be in old age to return home and find the little children. About him. The sun was already high and shed a flood of light on the Bois de Boulogne. the monotony of his existence: the past. and he sat down on the next bench. In the rapid passage of the open carriage he still saw the two silent. she raised her hand. composed of countless and different noises. The very houses inhabited by happy families are gayer than the dwellings of the unhappy. It seems as though walls retain something of the people who live within them. What was he waiting for? What was he hoping for? Nothing. thinking of his empty room. The policeman who had been called cut down an old man who had hung himself with his suspenders. Nobody ever came there. where he sat down on the grass. As though to escape farther from this sinister home. And. this thought terrified him. He alone was looking on. he heard a continuous. Perhaps a sudden access of madness! A Tress of Hair . above him. without the echo of a human voice. face and voice. intoxicated with joy. who was forced to lay her on the ground. nothing in his heart or any place. took a few steps. loving creatures. To-morrow he would again be alone. a vague and throbbing pulsation of life: the life breath of Paris. Suddenly the young woman raised her eyes and saw something brown in the branches. something of their manner. his last day similar to his first one. the cause of which could not be suspected. It seemed to him that the whole of humanity was flowing on before him. confused rumble. pleasure and happiness. His room was as barren of memories as his life. who caress you. and from the time when he would have to return to it. It was dead. clean and sad. all alone. And suddenly. tremendous. he perceived the infinite misery. Examination showed that he had died the evening before. He stood up. everywhere. exclaiming: "Look! what is that?" Then she shrieked and fell into the arms of her companion. as though a veil had been torn from his eyes. who love you. silent. Papers found on him showed that he was a bookkeeper for Messieurs Labuze and Company and that his name was Leras. of again repeating all the duties and actions of every evening. His death was attributed to suicide. present and future misery.Some people are really unfortunate. and the place seemed to him more mournful even than his little office. behind him or about him. with nothing before him. and suddenly he felt as tired as though he had taken a long journey on foot. a feeling of distress filled his soul. more so than any one else. where no one but himself ever entered. he arose and walked along a path to a wooded corner. breathing like a giant. Surprised and anxious. who tell you charming and foolish little things which warm your heart and console you for everything. It is pleasant to grow old when one is surrounded by those beings who owe their life to you. A couple was walking through a deserted alley. A few carriages were beginning to drive about and people were appearing on horseback. And the thought of returning to this place. The stream of carriages was still going by. no one ever spoke in it.

What a mystery was this man. with hollow cheeks and hair almost white. "As I was wealthy. It had not ceased to vibrate. had turned it over and then wiped the enamelled shepherds on the case to remove . by one thought. and who now are dead! A kiss is immortal! It goes from lips to lips. and it had kept up its regular tick-tock since the last century. looked at us with a fixed. for love came to me in a remarkable manner. A narrow grated window. snuffing out his life. I love. Life appeared very simple. It is good to live like that. so loving. without knowing love. It--the invisible." I read as follows: "Until the age of thirty-two I lived peacefully. vacant and haunted expression. The mad inmate. from century to century." I followed the doctor into his office. the beauty. just as a fruit is eaten by a worm. whose arms were extended in an embrace. placed so high that one could not reach it. the smiles. all those who have loved. though less than mine possibly. but it is terrible. of the eyes that had admired them. being killed by an ideal! He aroused sorrow. "I had had a few flirtations without my heart being touched by any true passion or wounded by any of the sensations of true love. harassing." said the doctor to me. In it you can. of the hearts that had loved them. as it were. saying: "Read it and tell me what you think of it. His clothes appeared to be too large for his shrunken limbs. I enjoyed so many things that I had no passion for anything in particular. so beautiful. I bought all kinds of old furniture and old curiosities. for one does love things! I sometimes remained hours and hours looking at a little watch of the last century. It was so tiny. so sweet. and I often thought of the unknown hands that had touched these objects. It was good to be alive! I awoke happy every morning and did those things that pleased me during the day and went to bed at night contented. very pleasant and very easy. immaterial idea--was mining his health. The story of those dead and gone loves fills my heart with regrets. the woman who had selected this exquisite and rare object! She is dead! I am possessed with a longing for women of former days. It is better to love. One felt that this man's mind was destroyed. Oh.the slight moisture from her fingers? What eyes had watched the hands on its ornamental face for the expected. He has kept a journal in which he sets forth his disease with the utmost clearness. seen her. fear and pity. you may go over this document. give them and die. He is a sort of necrophile. He was very thin. to live its mechanical life. the heart of the watch beating beside the heart of the woman? What hand had held it in its warm fingers. drinking his blood. What strange. where he handed me this wretched man's diary. lighted this sinister little room. . the beloved. seated on a straw chair.The walls of the cell were bare and white washed. I was rich. "His is one of the most peculiar cases I have ever seen. It wasted his frame little by little. impalpable. from age to age. the sacred hour? "How I wished I had known her. He has seizures of erotic and macaberesque madness. enraptured at owning this dainty trinket. so pretty with its enamel and gold chasing. Who had first worn it on her bosom amid the warmth of her clothing. If it would interest you. put your finger on it. his idea was there in his brain. tremendous and deadly thoughts dwelt within this forehead which they creased with deep wrinkles which were never still? "He has terrible attacks of rage. destructive. And it kept time as on the day when a woman first bought it. And yet those who love in the ordinary way must experience ardent happiness. Men receive them. the hopes! Should not all that be eternal? "How I have wept whole nights-thinking of those poor women of former days. eaten by his thoughts. intangible. insistent. which one guessed might have turned gray in a few months. his sunken chest and empty paunch. in the expectation of a peaceful tomorrow and a future without anxiety. the youthful caresses. from afar. His craze. this madman.

your secret and increasing longing. which must have been cut off close to the head. "What a singular thing temptation is! One gazes at an object. you go and look at it with the tenderness of a lover. "I bought this piece of furniture and had it sent home at once. tied with a golden cord. in order to take another look at it. one is always thinking of it. it disturbs you. irresistible. dense but light. I love you! "But I am not to be pitied. who was celebrated in his day. and through her I enjoyed inestimable pleasure. little by little. it passes. The enchantment of it penetrates your being. "I succeeded on the following day by driving a knife into a slit in the wood. All at once I noticed in the shop of a dealer in antiques a piece of Italian furniture of the seventeenth century. color and appearance of an inanimate object. a strange enchantment of form. ye women of yesterday. while I was feeling the thickness of one of the panels. it goes. issued from this mysterious drawer and this remarkable relic. a woman's hair. "But one evening I surmised. from your ardent gaze. the one I was waiting for. "I lifted it gently. "Yes. A panel slid back and I saw. it charms you. everywhere. and I felt that it tempted me. "And the dealers seem to guess. and. sunny morning. "I stood amazed. looking in at the shop windows with the vague interest of an idler. that there must be a secret drawer in it: My heart began to beat. It at once unwound in a golden shower that reached to the floor. and took it out of its hiding place. trembling. An almost imperceptible perfume. the present terrifies me because the future means death. and I spent the night trying to discover this secret cavity. with all the intense joy of possession. to stop the clock. I handled it with rapture. I set it down as being the work of a Venetian artist named Vitelli. It was very handsome. one comes back to it every moment. I should like to check time. almost red. almost reverently. soft and gleaming like the tail of a comet. I am sorry for those who do not know the honeymoon of the collector with the antique he has just purchased. I mourn all who have lived. "Farewell. I regret all that has gone by."The past attracts me. one desires it. "I was sauntering in Paris on a bright. The dear recollection of it pursues you in the street. spread out on a piece of black velvet. "Truly. becoming intense. it takes from me each second a little of myself for the annihilation of to-morrow. And one loves it. wherever ore goes. I found her. I opened its doors and pulled out the drawers every few moments. "I went on my way. but growing. it fills your thoughts as a woman's face might do. confused. a magnificent tress of hair. before taking off your gloves or your hat. But time goes. in society. "Why did the remembrance of that piece of furniture haunt me with such insistence that I retraced my steps? I again stopped before the shop. A longing to own it takes possession of you. One looks at it tenderly and passes one's hand over it as if it were human flesh. for eight days I worshipped this piece of furniture. so ancient that it seemed to be the spirit of a perfume. And I shall never live again. with a happy heart and a high step. I placed it in my room. . an immense coil of fair hair. very rare. whatever one does. "Oh. and when you return home at night. as though it were timid. one wishes to have it. gently at first.

singular. tickled the skin with a singular caress. Beatrice. the beautiful Roman. for in my hands and my heart I felt a confused. And I put it back on the velvet. and caress. the only living part of her body that would not suffer decay. Hipparchia and Thais Who was her cousin-german? Echo answers in the breeze O'er river and lake that blows. what tragedy did this souvenir conceal? Who had cut it off? A lover on a day of farewell. as I touched it. Virgin Queen? And where are last year's snows? "When I got home again I felt an irresistible longing to see my singular treasure."A strange emotion filled me. a husband on a day of revenge. that unrest that one feels when in love. "I held it in my hands for a long time. I felt a shiver go all through me. princess of Maine. the only thing he could still love. the caress of a dead woman. and in what place Is Flora. "For some days. and kiss in his paroxysms of grief? "Was it not strange that this tress should have remained as it was in life. Where are they. when not an atom of the body on which it grew was in existence? "It fell over my fingers. Ermengarde. rusty from age. then it seemed as if it disturbed me. although the thought of that tress of hair was always present to my mind. Burned by the English at Rouen. constant sensual longing to plunge my hands in the enchanting golden flood of those dead tresses. filled with sadness and also with unrest. hands. And Joan. and I took it out and. as though something of the soul had remained in it. how. I was in my ordinary condition. as though I must have known this woman. why had this hair been shut up in this drawer? What adventure. But where are last year's snows? The queen. Their beauty was above all praise. the good Lorraine. It affected me so that I felt as though I should weep. or the one whose head it had graced on the day of despair? "Was it as she was about to take the veil that they had cast thither that love dowry as a pledge to the world of the living? Was it when they were going to nail down the coffin of the beautiful young corpse that the one who had adored her had cut off her tresses. and pushed in the drawer. white as lilies. I felt as though I must have lived before. the only thing that he could retain of her. closed the doors of the antique cabinet and went out for a walk to meditate. "And Villon's lines came to my mind like a sob: Tell me where. Who sang as sing the birds. Alice. Bertha Broadfoot. . What was this? When. however. "I walked along. I turned the key of the cabinet with the same hesitation that one opens the door leading to one's beloved. "Whenever I came into the house I had to see it and take it in my.

light touch on my hands. more life-like. I felt again the imperious desire to take it in my hands. shut up in there. tall. but I could not go to sleep again. It obsessed me. always to a private box." . mysterious unknown. "We have to douse the obscene madman with water five times a day. to touch it. Oh. "I lived thus for a month or two. to bury my lips in it. Do the dead come back? I almost lost consciousness as I kissed it. as when one falls in love. It seemed softer than usual. opened a cabinet full of phials and instruments and tossed over a long tress of fair hair which flew toward me like a golden bird. covered my eyes with the golden flood so as to see the day gleam through its gold. I loved it."Then. and took her to the theatre. I was happy and tormented by turns. I stammered out: "But--that tress--did it really exist?" The doctor rose. I took her with me always and everywhere. "My happiness was so great that I could not conceal it. bewildering contact. fair and round. "Listen. as I was tossing about feverishly. But they saw her--they guessed--they arrested me. terrible enjoyment. And I sat there. slippery." said the doctor. just as she was in life. I wound it round my face. I forget how long. And as I suddenly raised my astonished eyes to the doctor a terrific cry. and after the first vows have been exchanged. I held her in my arms. and. after I had finished caressing it and had locked the cabinet I felt as if it were a living thing. nevertheless. I got up to look at the golden tress. I took it back with me to bed and pressed it to my lips as if it were my sweetheart. disgust as at the contact of anything accessory to a crime and desire as at the temptation of some infamous and mysterious thing. Yes. "I shut myself in the room with it to feel it on my skin. "I loved it! Yes. They put me in prison like a criminal. I shivered at feeling its soft. No lover ever tasted such intense. horror and pity. I could not be without it nor pass an hour without looking at it. I walked about the town with her as if she were my wife. the beautiful. misery!" Here the manuscript stopped. to kiss it. They took her. The doctor said as he shrugged his shoulders: "The mind of man is capable of anything. I saw her. and I longed to see it again. "And I waited--I waited--for what? I do not know-. "I was alone. my heart beating with disgust and desire. haunted me. irritating. imprisoned. She came back every evening--the dead woman. I loved her so well that I could not be separated from her. a howl of impotent rage and of exasperated longing resounded through the asylum. Sergeant Bertrand was the only one who was in love with the dead. "Do the dead come back? She came back. adorable.For her! "One night I woke up suddenly. feeling as though I were not alone in my room." Filled with astonishment. to even feel uncomfortable at the cold.

twenty-seven years old. Jacques Randel had been forced to live on his family for two months. He went and inquired at the town hall. a pair of trousers and a shirt in a blue handkerchief at the end of his stick. Here and there in the fields there rose up stacks of wheat straw. like huge yellow mushrooms. Worn out and weakened with fatigue. if he had found any he would have gathered some dead wood. "Why do you not remain at home?" distress at not being able to use his strong arms which he felt so full of vigor. the contempt which he knew people with a settled abode felt for a vagabond. for he only obtained two or three days' work occasionally by offering himself at a shamefully low price. But it was too late in the year. thanks to the charity of some women from whom he had begged at house doors on the road. He had never thought much hitherto. all his simple faculties to his mechanical work. At first he had the fixed idea that he must only work as a carpenter. made a fire in the ditch and have had a capital supper off the warm. He had walked about seeking work for over a month and had left his native town. for he was taking care of his last pair of shoes. and one felt that it would rain soon. and. without ever reaching that mysterious country where workmen find work. so as not to take so many steps. the recollection of the relations he had left at home and who also had not a penny. And so by turns he was a navvy. as they had already been sown for the next year. and Jacques Randel. when he was the strongest of them all. as the other pair had already ceased to exist for a long time. long fasting. along interminable roads. he took longer strides. round vegetables with which he would first of all have warmed his cold hands. and nothing to eat but a piece of bread. lopped the branches of trees. such a hunger as drives wolves to attack men. Ville-Avary. and with despair in his heart. and had no money left. in order to tempt the avarice of employers and peasants. stonecutter. And now for a week he had found nothing. The country was deserted at that hour on the eve of Sunday. nights spent in the open air lying on the grass. tied up fagots. dug wells. He looked at the sides of the road.A Vagabond He was a journeyman carpenter. His two sisters earned but little as charwomen. the blood throbbing in his temples. in sun and rain. with a longing to strike the first passerby who might be going home to supper. and the mayor's secretary told him that he would find work at the Labor Agency. and with heavy head. tended goats on a mountain. as he had given all his mind. toward the end of autumn. stableman. and that question which he was continually asked. because he could find nothing to do and would no longer deprive his family of the bread they needed themselves. although the eldest son. and all for a few pence. with red eyes and dry mouth. and so he started. refusals and rebuffs. Randel was hungry. he grasped his stick tightly in his hand. imagining he saw potatoes dug up and lying on the ground before his eyes. For the last two days he had talked to himself as he quickened his steps under the influence of his thoughts. and carrying another pair of shoes. mixed mortar. was walking barefoot on the grass by the side of the road. The heavy gray clouds were being driven rapidly through the sky by the gusts of wind which whistled among the trees. well provided with papers and certificates. his legs failing him. jaded. filled him by . And he had walked almost without stopping. It was getting dark. But now fatigue and this desperate search for work which he could not get. and he would have to gnaw a raw beetroot which he might pick up in a field as he had done the day before. but. he made up his mind to undertake any job that he might come across on the road. owing to the general lack of work. his stomach empty. and the fields looked bare. It was a Saturday. with the hunger of some wild animal. day and night. finding himself at the end of his resources. a good workman and a steady fellow. in La Manche. but at every carpenter's shop where he applied he was told that they had just dismissed men on account of work being so slack. he split wood.

degrees with rage. which tasted of the cowstall. a ditcher." He looked at the cow and the cow looked at him and then. blew on the workman's face. be a mason's hodman. the gnawing in his heart rose to his head like terrible intoxication. and he said: "You are not cold inside there!" He put his hands on her chest and under her stomach to find some warmth there. thick. he felt inclined to go into one of those houses to murder the inhabitants and to sit down to table in their stead. where everybody suspected him. and he drank as long as she gave any milk. squeezing her warm. as he was worn out with fatigue. grateful for the nourishment she had given him. is unjust. and he sat down by her side and stroked her head. As the carpentering business was not prosperous. he would turn day laborer. growling sentences. for he saw that he should more easily find work in his native town. and he repeated through his clenched teeth: "A set of hogs" as he looked at the thin gray smoke which rose from the roofs. And. every minute. and cast the blame on men. he saw a dark spot on the grass. but he soon found that it was penetrating the thin material of which his clothes were made. it was a cow. But the icy rain began to fall more heavily. where he was known--and he did not mind what he did--than on the highroads. and has no place of shelter in the whole world. When he got close to her she raised her great head to him. So nobody has the right to leave me without bread!" A fine. and he thought: "If I only had a jug I could get a little milk. and he looked at a light which was shining among the trees in the window of a house. So he found a comfortable place and laid his head on her side. misery! Another month of walking before I get home. and then the idea struck him that he might pass the night beside that large. swollen teats. thick breath. which had been accumulating every day. and which now escaped his lips in spite of himself in short. he said: "Get up!" The animal got up slowly. as they are letting me die of hunger. and in the distance. As he stumbled over the stones which tripped his bare feet. Then the man lay down on his back between the animal's legs and drank for a long time. . The animal's strong. because nature. in a meadow. The cow had lain down again heavily. and then. and he glanced about him with the agonized look of a man who does not know where to hide his body and to rest his head. with both hands. break stones on the road. icy cold rain was coming down." He was indeed returning home then. blind mother. and so he got over the ditch by the roadside and went up to her without exactly knowing what he was doing. and which is called robbery and violence. warm animal. that would at any rate buy him something to eat. suddenly giving her a kick in the side. and gave rise to this simple thought in his brain: "I have the right to live because I breathe and because the air is the common property of everybody. letting her heavy udders bang down. fell asleep immediately. Night came on and wrapped the country in obscurity. every hour. without considering that there is another injustice which is human. he grumbled: "How wretched! how miserable! A set of hogs--to let a man die of hunger --a carpenter--a set of hogs--not two sous--not two sous--and now it is raining--a set of hogs!" He was indignant at the injustice of fate. on all men. He tied the remains of his last pocket handkerchief round his neck to prevent the cold rain from running down his back and chest. cruel and perfidious. He was cold. which came out of her nostrils like two jets of steam in the evening air. that great. and he saw no place of shelter on the whole of that bare plain. He said to himself: "I have no right to live now. and yet I only ask for work--a set of hogs!" And the pain in his limbs. and he stopped and murmured: "Oh. for it was the dinner hour. If he only earned a franc a day.

They were walking slowly side by side. however." "Why did you leave it?" "To look for work. and to have his revenge later. glittering in the sun with their shining hats. those poor. for he was seized with a sudden desire to defy them. whose stomach was adorned with a gold chain. and then. women in white caps. who was getting angry. the day was breaking. according as he put one or the other against the animal's flank. walking heavily. I should prefer it. They came on without appearing to have seen him. and raising his cap. resting on his hands. dirty papers which were falling to pieces." And he went back and sat down by the side of his ditch again. my beauty. "I have been looking for work. A stout peasant came in sight. and he stooped down. and if you do not get out of here pretty quickly I shall have you arrested. as they passed him. some on foot. as if to frighten evildoers. driving before him a score of frightened. some in carts. and finally selected a man in an overcoat. with his back or his stomach half frozen. bleating sheep. replied: "I have no work for fellows whom I meet on the road. watching the country people pass and looking for a kind. Good-by. at any rate. "Where do you come from?" "If I had to tell you all the places I have been to it would take me more than an hour. The cow was resting with her muzzle on the ground." And then he continued: "Have you any papers?" "Yes. having seen that they were all in order. and the brigadier came up to him and asked: "What are you doing here?" "I am resting. several times. and to put them to flight at a distance. these scamps. I should not die of hunger. their yellow accoutrements and their metal buttons. with the help of an active dog. he gave them back to Randel with the dissatisfied look of a man whom some one cleverer than himself has tricked. He waited there for a long time." "Where is that?" "In La Manche. appearing to have noticed him." "None whatever?" "None." "Not even a sou?" "Not even a son!" "How do you live then?" "On what people give me. hemming and hawing. I have some. worn-out." But the would-be gentleman replied: "You should have read the notice which is stuck up at the entrance to the village: 'Begging is prohibited within the boundaries of this parish. He knew that they were coming after him. and the sky was bright. his certificates." he said. but he did not move. with military step. for. and balancing themselves as if they were doing the goose step. "for the last two months and cannot find any." Then he put on his shoes and went off." Randel took his papers out of his pocket." the man replied calmly." "Give them to me. and in about a quarter of an hour two gendarmes appeared on the road." . and said: "Good-by. and for two hours walked straight before him. began to pass along the road. moist nostrils. Then he turned over to warm and dry that part of his body which had remained exposed to the night air. they stopped and looked at him angrily and threateningly. replied: "Have me arrested if you like." "Then you beg?" And Randel answered resolutely: "Yes. always following the same road. and soon went soundly to sleep again. men in blue blouses. It was broad daylight by that time. and I have not a sou in my pocket. when I can. and then. and then he felt so tired that he sat down on the grass. until next time." And the carpenter went back and sat down by the side of the ditch again. and the church bells were ringing. giving an angry look at the vagabond. suddenly. compassionate face before he renewed his request. going to the neighboring villages to spend Sunday with friends or relations. I know all about it. The crowing of a cock woke him. After a few moments' further reflection.He woke up." Randel. who spelled them through. he asked him: "Have you any money on you?" "No. it was no longer raining. to be arrested by them." "Is that where you belong?" "It is." The brigadier turned to his gendarme and said in the angry voice of a man who is exasperated at last by an oft-repeated trick: "They all say that." "Where are you going to?" "To Ville-Avary. You are a nice animal. and gave them to the soldier. said: "You do not happen to have any work for a man who is dying of hunger?" But the other.' Let me tell you that I am the mayor. Randel got up. to kiss those wide.

Well.'spahi'. He was being followed by a crowd of excited children. I have had enough running about the country. sitting on the magisterial bench. even before he had received the order to do so. He walked on for a quarter of an hour or twenty minutes. give me something to eat." So they searched him." "At any rate. with the schoolmaster by his side. and then. you will force me to commit a crime. and the magistrate continued: "I am going to have you set at liberty. who was an ex. the red tiles of which could be seen through the leafless trees." the workman said. placing himself between the two soldiers. who immediately formed two lines to see the criminal pass. lock me up. a quarter of a league off. They asked each other whether he had committed murder or robbery. and his papers are all in order." Randel went off without replying or knowing where he was going. Male and female peasants looked at the prisoner between the two gendarmes. the brigadier said: "Now off with you and do not let me catch you about here again. you will know it. and so I command you to come with me. but found nothing. The square was full of people. Randel saw the mayor again." "Work? On the highroad?" "How do you expect me to find any if I hide in the woods?" They looked at each other with the hatred of two wild beasts which belong to different hostile species.Then the gendarme said: "I have caught you on the highroad in the act of vagabondage and begging." And then he said to the two gendarmes: "You will conduct this man two hundred yards from the village and let him continue his journey. "Aha! aha!" the magistrate exclaimed. But suddenly. whom the police had been looking for for six months. to trample him under their feet. passed through the village again and found himself on the highroad once more. declared that he was a deserter. returned them and then said: "Search him. Service was about to begin when they went through the village. but he is provided with good testimonials. to tear his skin with their nails. brigadier. without any resources or money. that will at any rate put a roof over my head when it rains." The carpenter got up and said: "Wherever you please. "so here you are again. and asked the workman: "What were you doing on the road this morning?" "I was looking for work. He took them. He allowed them to do it without resistance." The two gendarmes thereupon seized the carpenter by the arms and dragged him out." And they set off toward the village. so much the worse for you other fat fellows. The butcher. with hatred in their eyes and a longing to throw stones at him. read them." But the magistrate replied severely: "be silent. so stupefied that he no longer thought of anything. In the municipal court. and the ironmonger declared that he was the murderer of Widow Malet. reread. I told you I should have you locked up." To which the carpenter replied: "I would rather you locked me up. but do not be brought up before me again. and the mayor seemed perplexed. for if I do. as he was passing a ." "Show me his papers. what is he charged with?" "He is a vagabond without house or home.franc piece off on him. my fine fellow. who was arrested in the act of begging." And. without any resources or trade. he added: "Well. The tobacconist thought that he recognized him as the man who had that very morning passed a bad half. so he says. but the other grew indignant: "Have we nothing to do but to feed you? Ah! ah! ah! that is rather too much!" But Randel went on firmly: "If you let me nearly die of hunger again." The mayor had risen and he repeated: "Take him away immediately or I shall end by getting angry. Monsieur le Maire. into which his custodians took him. and when the men had accompanied him two hundred yards beyond the village." the mayor said.

fierce. He certainly enjoyed it. his eyes grew dim. He felt alert. Two places were set at the table. had left their dinner on the fire. and in the road he saw a tall girl. He continued to eat. and instinct rather than fear. and no doubt the proprietors of the house. for he had grown unaccustomed to it. what joy it is. It was still deserted. who was returning to the village with two pails of milk. and he poured himself out another glassful. and he started singing the old popular song: "Oh! what joy. wild strawberries. Randel seized the bread first of all and broke it with as much violence as if he were strangling a man. and dined as if he had been at home. he sat down before it. and then his ideas began to get confused. and that soft carpet under his feet made him feel absurdly inclined to turn head over heels as he used to do when a child. their nice Sunday boiled beef and vegetable soup. He put the remains of the loaf into one pocket and the brandy bottle into the other. made the carpenter get up. escaped into the cold outer air. Mass was over. and that would be all right. He said aloud in a grumbling voice: "In Heaven's name! they must give me some this time!" And he began to knock at the door vigorously with his stick. he felt thirsty and took one of the bottles off the mantelpiece. he plunged a fork into it and brought out a large piece of beef tied with a string. so he jumped out and set off walking again. and with his eyes as bright as those of a dog who scents a quail. To pick the sweet. and especially his forehead. which he drank at two gulps. and as no one came he knocked louder and called out: "Hey! hey! you people in there. devouring. the smell of the soup and boiled meat stopped him suddenly. which guides all beings and makes them clear-sighted in danger. open the door!" And then. He watched. the instinct of prudence. having taken off the lid of the saucepan. To pick the sweet. after being so cold. what joy it is. Scarcely had he poured the liquor into his glass when he saw it was brandy. and. and he furtively went to the window and looked out into the road. His skin had become burning. and. where the window was half open." Suddenly he found himself above a deep road. stooping down. And then almost immediately he felt quite merry and light-hearted from the effects of the alcohol. having put it on the table. between two bottles which seemed full. but she saw him raised her head and said: "Was that you singing . and as soon as he was under the trees he took the bottle out of his pocket again and began to drink once more. but instead of following the highroad he ran across the fields toward a wood he saw a little way off. and with a bound the carpenter was in the house. and dipping his bread into the soup.small house. swallowing it down as lie walked. just as if some great happiness filled his heart. swallowing great mouthfuls quickly. meat and cabbage. and he drank some. When he had eaten nearly all the meat. cool moss. and his legs as elastic as springs. cut the meat into four pieces. seized him and almost drove him against the walls of the house like a wild beast. wild strawberries. while there was a loaf of new bread on the chimney-piece. where the veins were throbbing. glad of what he had done. but more slowly. damp. And between each time he began to sing again: "Oh! what joy. and so nimble that he sprang over the enclosure of the fields at a single bound. he went up to the window and pushed it wider open with his hand. maddening hunger. and then he began to eat voraciously. as nothing stirred. and hunger. carrots and onions until his plate was full. on going to church. light-hearted. full of the smell of hot soup. a servant. turned a somersault. and the close warm air of the kitchen." He was now walking on thick. so he took a run. But almost immediately the smell of the meat attracted him to the fireplace. strong. besides a quantity of vegetables. got up and began over again. So much the better. But suddenly the church bells began to ring. Then he took more cabbage. it was warming and would instill some fire into his veins.

my fine fellow!" A Vendetta . excited by another requirement which was more imperative than hunger. But he. and. but it was of no avail in that lonely spot. mistaking the reason of this sudden violent attack. He had become a jailbird. quite ready to ill treat him if he made a movement. When she got up the thought of her overturned pails suddenly filled her with fury. for he was their prey now. where every door was open. where the mayor was waiting for him to be himself avenged on this vagabond. you blackguard! Oh. while she threw stones at him. who were holding him and binding his arms. somewhat sobered. and the two gendarmes of the morning. and in five minutes was fast asleep. for the people had heard what had happened. start!" the brigadier said. wished to see the wretch brought back. It was late afternoon. so that they might overwhelm him with abuse. He ran for a long time. although it was a fall of at least six feet and when she saw him suddenly standing in front of her. They hooted him from the first house in the village until they reached the Hotel de Ville. until he felt more tired than he had ever been before. how you frightened me!" But he did not hear her. But Randel got up without replying. and as soon as he saw him approaching he cried: "Ah! my fine fellow! here we are!" And he rubbed his hands. and continued: "I said so. he lost recollection of everything and could no longer think about anything. and in half an hour they reached the village. very long. "Now. by the irresistible fury of the man who has been deprived of everything for two months. however. and the autumn twilight was setting in over the land. more pleased than he usually was. Peasants and peasant women and girls.like that?" He did not reply. some of which hit him in the back." said the brigadier jeeringly. The two men shook him." And then with increased satisfaction: "Oh. and they rolled over noisily. She let her two pails fall. threw her down in the road. I said so. "I knew I should catch you again. by a rough shake. she threw it at the man to break his head if he did not pay her for her milk. for he was drunk. his eyes. and frightened at what he had done. the moment I saw him in the road. frightened at his face. and who is drunk. who is young. The girl started back from him. and all the milk was spilt. ardent and inflamed by all the appetites which nature has implanted in the vigorous flesh of men. he was mad. he saw two cocked hats of shiny leather bending over him. and without a word. ran off as fast as he could. his outstretched hands. and then she screamed lustily. but jumped down into the road. however. but he seized her by the shoulders. He was soon awakened. taking off one of her wooden sabots. excited with anger. his half-open mouth. and so he sat down at the foot of a tree. and they set off. you dirty blackguard! You will get your twenty years. His legs were so weak that they could scarcely carry him. as if every man had been robbed and every woman attacked. and. caught by those hunters of criminals who would not let him go again. she exclaimed: "Oh! dear. all his ideas were confused. more feverish than alcohol. on opening his eyes.

" a big. who escaped the same evening to Sardinia. At the sound of this voice the dog quieted down. which the neighbors had brought back to her. On the other side of the straits she saw. monotonous. No man was there to carry on the vendetta. sleep. her head stretched towards her master and her tail between her legs. whose countless peaks rise up out of the water. on his trousers. full of sandbanks. One night. where Corsican criminals take refuge when they are too closely . look like bits of rag floating and drifting on the surface of the sea. Then. thin beast. was weeping silently and watching it. which had been torn off in order to administer the first aid. They look like the nests of wild birds. has swept bare the forbidding coast. penetrating. He had neither brothers nor cousins. which howled continuously. Antoine Saverini was treacherously stabbed by Nicolas Ravolati. is a cleft in the cliff like an immense corridor which serves as a harbor. you shall be avenged. with a long rough coat. of the sheep-dog breed. The wind. my little baby. over this wild and desolate picture. towards the southernmost coast of Sardinia. Antoine Saverini was buried the next day and soon his name ceased to be mentioned in Bonifacio. after some kind of a quarrel. The town. She lived there alone. where vessels rarely venture. horrible howl. you know she does. clinging to the black rocks. The two of them. The young man took her with him when out hunting. wheezy steamer which makes the trip to Ajaccio. clinging to this peak. on his shirt. remained there until morning. Clots of blood had hardened in his beard and in his hair. It was the little Sardinian village Longosardo. and along it the little Italian and Sardinian fishing boats come by a circuitous route between precipitous cliffs as far as the first houses. on his hands. Do you hear? It's your mother's promise! And she always keeps her word. watching him. which blows uninterruptedly. looks across the straits." Slowly she leaned over him. "Never fear. alone pondered over it. but she stayed there for a long time motionless. overlooking this terrible passage. on his vest. she did not cry. dressed in his jacket of coarse cloth. from morning until night. standing at the foot of the bed. through its three windows. the old woman. The pale streaks of foam. The young man. on his face. Sleep. in places even overhanging the sea. it drives through the narrow straits and lays waste both sides. The house of widow Saverini. on the other side and almost surrounding it. torn at the chest. stretching her wrinkled hand over the body. lying on his back. massed together. who. Beneath it. She did not wish anybody near her. looks out. built on an outjutting part of the mountain. His mother. and she shut herself up beside the body with the dog. and every two weeks the old. Then Semillante began to howl again with a long. my boy. makes an even whiter spot. She did not move any more than did the mother. the woman and the dog. His old mother began to talk to him. On the white mountain the houses. When the old mother received the body of her child. But he had blood all over him. now leaning over the body with a blank stare. seemed to be asleep. your mother does. a little white speck on the coast. pressing her cold lips to his dead ones. she promised him a vendetta. you shall be avenged.The widow of Paolo Saverini lived alone with her son in a poor little house on the outskirts of Bonifacio. with her son Antonia and their dog "Semillante. clinging to the very edge of the precipice.

Another night went by. All alone. she had neither rest nor peace of mind. begging the Lord to help her. in front of Semillante's kennel. was barking hoarsely. She could not forget. In the morning the old woman brought her some water in a bowl. as Semillante began to howl. He was over there. as though she were calling him. Semillante. the odor of which went right to her stomach. She walked ceaselessly now. to go back to the "maquis. Then she chained Semillante to this improvised kennel and went into the house. the mother suddenly got hold of an idea. With one leap the beast jumped at the dummy's throat. having arisen at daybreak she went to church. . frantic. and with her paws on its shoulders she began to tear at it. her eyes always fixed on the distant coast of Sardinia. all day long. awaiting the time to return. was watching this straw man. Semillante. The dog. emptied it. Then the old woman went to the store and bought a piece of black sausage. was sleeping. she could not wait. inconsolable too. she thought persistently. Another day went by. frothing at the mouth. She prayed. she had sworn on the body. fierce idea. In her yard she had an old barrel. was jumping about. near the kennel. The dog. but nothing more. which seemed to be standing up. her eyes fixed on the food. She would fall back with a piece of food in her mouth. and when she had finished she untied the dog. Then the mother made of the smoking sausage a necktie for the dummy." She knew that Nicolas Ravolati had sought refuge in this village. What could she do? She no longer slept at night. When she got home she started a fire in the yard. then would jump again. How could she do anything without help--she. seated at her window. her hair on end and she was pulling wildly at her chain. exhausted. She tied it very tight around the neck with string. brokendown body the strength which she needed in order to avenge her son. Having planted a stick in the ground. Then. The following day her eyes were shining. had also retained a recollection that nothing could wipe out. The beast. the murderer. an invalid and so near death? But she had promised.pursued. surprised. to support her. a savage. vindictive. at daybreak. She was tearing up the face with her teeth and the whole neck was in tatters. sinking her fangs into the string. although famished. she tied to it this dummy. She took the old rags which had formerly been worn by her husband and stuffed them so as to make them look like a human body. would sometimes lift her head and howl. as though her beast's soul. Mother Saverini asked a neighbor for some straw. She thought it over until morning. All this day the old woman gave her nothing to eat. which acted as a cistern. prostrate on the floor. All day and all night the dog howled. she was looking over there and thinking of revenge. to give to her poor. opposite their native island. furious. and was quiet. Then. They compose almost the entire population of this hamlet. Then she made a head out of some old rags. She returned home. Since her master's death she often howled thus. made it fast to the ground with sticks and stones. and snatching few pieces of meat she would fall back again and once more spring forward. no soup. no bread. She turned it over. One night. and cooked the sausage. dozing at her feet.

"Go!" in a shrill tone. The Corsican woman walked with a limp. the widow went to confession and. Then. at the seashore. would cry. At nightfall the old woman was at home again. It happened suddenly. One morning as he lay stretched out on the sand. As soon as she saw the man. as a reward. Two neighbors. while Semillante dug her fangs into his throat and tore it to ribbons. Nicolas!" He turned around. she struck a bargain with a Sardinian fisherman who carried her and her dog to the other side of the straits. He was supposed to be sensual and a fast liver. They got to Longosardo. She went to a baker's shop and asked for Nicolas Ravolati. black dog which was eating something that its master was giving him. Then releasing her dog. one Sunday morning she partook of communion with an ecstatic fervor. Semillante had had nothing to eat for two days. For three months she accustomed her to this battle. go! Eat him up! eat him up!" The maddened animal sprang for his throat. Then. beating the ground with his feet. He raised his eyes and was delighted with the whole person. The old woman kept letting her smell the food and whetting her appetite. seated before their door.The old woman. watching the women coming out of the water. who. she would give her a piece of sausage. remembered perfectly having seen an old beggar come out with a thin. In a bag she had a large piece of sausage. Semillante would begin to tremble. made her fast for two more days and began this strange performance again. was watching eagerly. lifting her finger. He was working alone at the back of his store. putting on men's clothes and looking like an old tramp. to this meal conquered by a fight. Then he stopped moving. although in fact he could see nothing but the ankles and the head emerging from a flannel bathrobe carefully held closed. she cried: "Go. She slept well that night. The man stretched out his arms. Then she would look up to her mistress. but he suddenly changed his mind. Then she chained the beast up again. motionless and silent. that of carpenter. She no longer chained her up. A Wedding Gift For a long time Jacques Bourdillere had sworn that he would never marry. When she thought that the proper time had come. but just pointed to the dummy. one summer. She had taught her to tear him up and to devour him without even leaving any traces in her throat. a little foot had struck him by its neatness and daintiness. For a few seconds he squirmed. He had taken up his old trade. clasped the dog and rolled to the ground. It was therefore by the . The old woman opened the door and called: "Hallo.

without opening it. but smiling. one of these binding attachments which one always believes to be broken off and yet which always hold. but occasionally some of the dancers would cast a rapid glance at them. She wrote him letters which he never opened. Night had come. and a buzzing in his ears. From time to time he would murmur: "Berthe!" And each time she would raise her eyes to him with a look of tenderness. Then he settled down and refused. and so sat there. to leave for the beach so dear to their hearts. on the following morning. He was looking at her persistently with a fixed smile. feeling a little lost at this great change in her life. Was that love? He did not know or understand. It was said that he had an old sweetheart. he loved every woman who came within reach of his lips. He immediately fell madly in love. on the long yellow stretch of sand. Then he was held by the charm of the young girl's sweet mind. holding each other's hands and from time to time squeezing them with all their might. but after a little dance for the younger cousins. When he was near her he would become silent. As no one had much faith in his constancy. . they would look at each other for a second and then her look. without reading one single line. and he would quickly tear the envelope and the paper. and the dance was going on in the large parlor. he would tingle to the roots of his hair. as though they were the discreet and trusty witnesses of a mystery. often also almost ready to faint from joy. He was presented to the family and pleased them. even once. believing the whole world to be changed by what had just happened to her. Besides. she knew not why. unable to speak or even to think. ready to cry. The wedding took place in Paris at the beginning of May. the young pair were to spend the first night in the parental home and then. where they had first known and loved each other. He wished to speak. but he did not even wish to hear of her. Jacques paid. for the night was warm and calm. Through the open window the fresh air from outside passed over their faces like a caress. A friend took care of this woman's pension and assured her an income. so simple and good. When he saw Berthe Lannis in the distance.mere grace of the form that he was at first captured. with a kind of throbbing at his heart. Her parents hesitated for a long time. but he had fully decided to have this child for his wife. as fresh as her cheeks and lips. and every week a greater anger surged within him against her. and a bewilderment in his mind. uneasy. They found no thoughts to exchange. pretending even to ignore her name. and feeling her whole body and soul filled with an indefinable and delicious lassitude. They were silent. which would not be prolonged after eleven o'clock. would fall. for a shorter or longer period. pierced and fascinated by his. but found nothing to say. expressing all his ardor by pressures of the hand. Every week he would recognize the clumsy writing of the abandoned woman. in order that this day of lengthy ceremonies might not be too tiresome. the test was prolonged through the winter. knowing in advance the reproaches and complaints which it contained. moved. restrained by the young man's bad reputation. full of the odor of spring. and Berthe's hand was not granted him until the spring. 'The two had retired into a little Japanese boudoir hung with bright silks and dimly lighted by the soft rays of a large colored lantern hanging from the ceiling like a gigantic egg. She sat there with a dreamy look. The young couple had decided not to take the conventional wedding trip. to see the one with whom he had lived for so long. They had been left alone.

I will stay." . behind the bed. when I'm far away!" But on one corner two big words. grew frightfully pale. looked over it again." he tore open the envelope. Then she said in a voice which sounded as though it came from a distance: "I am going to die. took this paper. The doctor and two nurses were taking care of her. weeping. the merciless hemorrhage continued. She recognized Jacques and wished to raise her arms. listening to the dancing in the neighboring parlor. it seems. with a wild desire to put it in his pocket and say to himself: "I'll leave that till tomorrow. He had seized the first hat and coat he came to and rushed downstairs three steps at a time." It was several minutes before she could speak again. and. slowly." Trembling and dazed. Oh! don't leave me now. would try to move. in a little wicker crib. He read the paper. He did not recognize her at first. little by little. I take the liberty to write and ask you if you can grant this last request to a woman who seems to be very unhappy and worthy of pity. She remained alone.A door opened and a servant entered. not daring to open it. underlined. she stammered: "Go. to demand to know. and. seized one of her hands and kissed it frantically. and each time it would moan the mother. my dear!" not having been his wife long enough to dare to question him. he seemed to spell it out word for word. Her life was flowing from her. This is what it said: SIR: A girl by the name of Ravet. my dear. he murmured: "Do not be uneasy. She continued: "The little one is yours. Saying. Water flooded the carpet. but tears coursed down her pallid cheeks.a very great misfortune. not wishing to read it. He looked for a longtime at the envelope. she was so weak. trembling. She was mortally wounded. two candles were burning on a bureau. As he was emerging into the street he stopped under the gas-jet of the vestibule and reread the letter. the mysterious terror of swift misfortune. When he raised his head his whole expression showed how upset he was. the child was crying. Then. the writing on which he did not know. Don't leave me in my last moments!" He kissed her face and her hair. shivering under her ice bandages. BONNARD. hastening her last hour. Yours truly. Jacques. an old sweetheart of yours. and. notwithstanding the ice and the care. has just given birth to a child that she says is yours. Promise to stay to the end. and the doctor was watching them from the back of the room. who has had . One of the nurses was lighting them with a candle. He has need of me immediately--for a matter of life or death." filled him with terror. he drew close to the thin face. DR. He dropped to his knees beside the bed. When he reached the sick-room the woman was already on the point of death. He stammered: "My dear. He disappeared. Will you excuse me if I leave you for half an hour? I'll be right back. I swear it as I am dying! I have never loved another man but you --promise to take care of the child. And everywhere on the floor were pails full of ice and rags covered with blood. which started at the contact. holding on a tray a letter which a messenger had just brought. in torture. They were so weak that she could not do so. overwhelmed by a vague and sudden fear. I swear it before God and on my soul. it's-it's from my best friend. The mother is about to die and is begging for you. killed by this birth. "Very urgent. "Please excuse me. dear.

When her mother saw her alone she asked: "Where is your husband?" She answered: "In his room. with the child in his arms. She murmured: "Don't move any more!" And he was quiet. And he stayed there. The guests left." After an hour. The nurses sprang forward and declared: "All is over!" He looked once more at this woman whom he had so loved. exclaiming: "What is it? What's the matter?" He looked about him wildly and answered shortly: "I--I have a child and the mother has just died. holding in his burning hand this other hand shaking in the chill of death. a while ago. rushed forward with anguish in her heart. The child was asleep. The four women looked at him. pale and out of breath. which pointed to four. in the evening dress. which marked midnight. From time to time he would cast a quick glance at the clock. Powerless to lift her head. then she lay on her back motionless. just as. and the mother. Then. he stammered: "I swear to you that I will bring him up and love him. pushing her way past her aunts. silent and in despair. after noiselessly moving about the room for a while. she told about the letter. wrapped in a bathrobe. At midnight the bride was put to bed. As soon as she felt a little calmer. only the nearest relatives remained. she held out her white lips in an appeal for a kiss. just as pale daylight was creeping in behind the curtains. holding an infant in his arms. when everybody had questioned her. A door was softly opened and closed. then two. He approached his lips to respond to this piteous entreaty. but Berthe. Suddenly. in the little Japanese boudoir.He was trying to take this poor pain-racked body in his arms. He shall never leave me. listened to her crying. he had been holding a hand trembling with love." He went and got the child. but terribly anxious. After he had left her alone the young wife had waited. Jacques' upset appearance and her fears of an accident." . he is coming right back. calmly enough at first. she stretched out her arms with such a quick and violent motion that she almost threw her baby on the floor. she went back to the parlor with an indifferent and calm appearance. with eyes shut. sobbing bitterly. Still they waited. All the women started forward and Berthe sprang ahead of them all." Then she tried to kiss Jacques. who had suddenly become courageous. as she did not see him return. she murmured: "Bring him here and let me see if you love him. The father had gone to the commissary of police to see if he could obtain some news. then one o'clock. The two nurses. Jacques stood in the middle of the room. appeared also to be resting. At five o'clock a slight noise was heard in the hall. then at the clock. He placed him gently on the bed between them. Then suddenly a little cry like the mewing of a cat was heard throughout the silent house. sitting around the bed. and he ran away. were now sleeping on chairs. A kind of rattle was heard in her throat. The physician had returned. astonished. and the little one stopped crying. Maddened by remorse and sorrow. dead. Her mother and two aunts. forgetting his overcoat.

You have got on without seeing him for the last forty years." "Very well. "Very well. with a fixed and haunted gaze. If that man--" She started. that you want to take a country walk on the hottest day of the year. when you are speaking of him. as he is ready to gratify all your whims. and was looking straight in front of her." Monsieur de Cadour said. and she said to him in a low voice. asking: "Did you say that the mother was dead?" He answered: "Yes--just now--in my arms. which is a very dull town. The white road stretched in front of him." he said abruptly. go and get a sunstroke. "if our son guesses anything. I had broken with her since summer. Think of the risk you are running. As soon as they were alone. if he has any suspicions. I knew nothing. You drag me to the seaside in spite of myself." he said in a whisper. "Oh! Henri. we will bring up the little one. he will have us both in his power. do not say that man. The physician sent for me. I am going back to have a nap." he replied. You have had some very strange notions for the last two months." Abandoned "I really think you must be mad. then. to go to Etretat. the old lady and her old companion set off. when you have never once had such a whim during all the forty-four years that we have been married. You chose Fecamp. What is the matter with you to-day?" They had been going up the long street that leads from the sea to the town. and now you are seized with such a rage for walking. to go for a country walk in such weather as this. and he went back to the Hotel des Bains to lie down for an hour or two. Monsieur d'Apreval?" He bowed with a smile. so they went on slowly in the burning heat. Without saying a word. he will have you. and at last she said: . As for me. Ask d'Apreval to go with you. my dear. She had taken her old friend's arm. squeezing his hand: "At last! at last!" "You are mad." Madame de Cadour turned to her old friend and said: "Will you come with me.And with his clumsy hands he held out the screaming infant." Then Berthe murmured: "Well. Then she raised her tearfilled eyes to him. "I assure you that you are mad. and now they turned to the right. Berthe seized the child. kissed it and hugged it to her. without consulting me in the matter. you who hardly ever stir out on foot. and with all the gallantry of former years: "I will go wherever you go. then under a blaze of brilliant sunshine.

so we both of us have much to fear from other people's opinion. which she did not venture to leave. with the thought of that child always. as far as the sea." But he had always stopped her and kept her from going. for. d'Apreval: "I cannot bear it any longer. How often she had said to M. had settled a handsome sum of money on him. her sufferings. void existence hers had been since then. they had taken him from her. carried him awav." "Is it possible?" "My dear friend. even once since then. that long journey. How well she recalled all the details of their early friendship. . that little creature that had been part of herself. and whose small waves she could hear lapping on the beach. And what a long. had married well. Suppose anybody had recognized her! And those days of waiting. What happy days they were. blackmail her. I have a wife and children and you have a husband. she had never even caught a glimpse of him. She would be unable to restrain and to master herself. that wail. in order to watch her until she was indoors. his smiles. never. And what she felt when she heard the child's feeble cries. and what a night it was! How she had groaned and screamed! She could still see the pale face of her lover. How she used to long to go out. the only really delicious days she had ever enjoyed. those last days of misery and expectation! The impending suffering. their son would guess it and take advantage of her. How often during the last forty years had she wished to go and see him and to embrace him! She could not imagine to herself that he had grown! She always thought of that small human atom which she had held in her arms and pressed to her bosom for a day. and that his father. red fruit. with the white sails of the small vessels. whose name he did not know. whose fresh breezes came to her over the wall. "What is he like?" she said. that first effort of a human's voice! And the next day! the next day! the only day of her life on which she had seen and kissed her son. at the bottom of a garden. and how quickly they were over! And then--her discovery--of the penalty she paid! What anguish! Of that journey to the South. solitary house on the shores of the Mediterranean. do not let us begin that discussion again. She had never seen her son. I must go and see him. and a mountain on the horizon. always floating before her. that he had become a peasant himself. either?" "No. from that time. the way he used to linger. she would be lost." She did not reply. amid the green leaves. and the clean-shaven face of the doctor and the nurse's white cap. All she knew was that he had been brought up by some peasants in Normandy. She dreamed of its immense blue expanse sparkling under the sun."And so you have not seen him again. and had hidden him. her constant terror. who kissed her hand every moment. she was thinking of her long past youth and of many sad things that had occurred. and then that terrible night! What misery she had endured. looking up at the round. But she did not dare to go outside the gate. that secluded life in the small. How well she remembered those long days which she spent lying under an orange tree.

She was walking very slowly now. it is the third house past Poret's. never have seen him! . which hung in curls on both sides of her face." she continued. which has possessed me for forty years. I should certainly have been much happier. and suppose I should never see him. Monsieur d' Apreval went up to them. close to the inn. I was a coward. as if in prayer: "Oh! Heaven! Heaven!" Monsieur d'Apreval. do you understand. and two men shoeing a horse under a shed. She wept. but I did not dare. . A little farther on the road passed beneath a clump of trees. she began to walk again with the uncertain step of an elderly woman. "Sit down a little. and her heart was beating so violently that she felt as if she should suffocate. How is he? Oh. for she was choked by her sobs. Is it possible? How could I wait so long? I have thought about him every day since. how those poor. who was also nervous and rather pale. and presently they saw a wagon standing on the right side of the road in front of a low cottage." she said. while at every step she murmured. to be afraid of him and to reject him as if he were a disgrace! It is horrible. without my first thoughts being of him. said to her somewhat gruffly: . her legs threatened to give way." She got up. You must remember that I shall not live much longer. and they could distinguish the vibrating and regular blows of a blacksmith's hammer on the anvil. had become tangled." "Is it possible? To have a son and not to know him. of my child. overcome by profound grief." They went along the dusty road. and continually ascending that interminable hill. How I have suffered! Oh. either. take courage." he said. and he merely murmured: "Come. The whole valley was deserted and silent in the dazzling light and the overwhelming heat. . to bring him up and to show my love for him. "Where is Pierre Benedict's farm?" he asked. I have not seen him again. and what a terrible existence mine has been! I have never awakened. which hid a few houses. never. you cannot make a mistake."I do not know. "One might take it for a punishment. overcome by the scorching sun. while he stood facing her. abandoned children must hate their mothers!" She stopped suddenly. and only the grasshoppers uttered their shrill. She allowed herself to be led to the side of the ditch and sank down with her face in her hands. continuous chirp among the sparse yellow grass on both sides of the road. There is a small spruce fir close to the gate." They turned to the left. and wiping her eyes. You men cannot understand that. "I have never had another child. Her white hair. "Take the road to the left. uneasy and not knowing what to say. "I will. and then go straight on. and I could no longer resist the longing to see him. how guilty I feel toward him! Ought one to fear what the world may say in a case like this? I ought to have left everything to go after him.

a little girl of about ten." "Will she be back soon?" "I don't know. was large and extended as far as the small thatched dwelling house." They were going along one of those narrow country lanes between farmyards. which was planted with apple trees. "My child! When I think that I am going to see my child." "How can I?" she replied. when immediately a large black dog came out of a barrel that was standing under a pear tree. while the gig. the house door was open. Do try and restrain yourself." "Where is he?" "I don't know. She remained standing in the doorway."If you cannot manage to control your feelings. as if she feared that her companion might force her to return. On the opposite side were the stable." "And your mother?" "Gone after the cows. the barn. the cow house and the poultry house. dressed in a chemise and a linen. Monsieur d'Apreval stood outside and called out: "Is anybody at home?" Then a child appeared. petticoat. "Is your father in?" "No. and began to bark furiously. with dirty. and suddenly they found themselves in front of a gate. There were four bee-hives on boards against the wall of the house. and so they went in. "This is it. said quickly: "I shall not go without having seen him. "What do you want?" she asked. bare legs and a timid and cunning look." he said." ." Then suddenly the lady. that are concealed beneath a double row of beech trees at either side of the ditches. beside which there was a young spruce fir. the wagon and the manure cart were under a slated outhouse. The courtyard. She stopped suddenly and looked about her. Four calves were grazing under the shade of the trees and black hens were wandering all about the enclosure. All was perfectly still. but nobody was to be seen. as if to prevent any one going in. you will betray yourself at once.

"We will wait for him. in turn. Can we not get something to drink?" The peasant woman gave them an uneasy and cunning glance and then she made up her mind. but we came in to know whether you could sell us two glasses of milk. they saw a peasant woman coming toward the house. which she placed under an apple tree." the child said. and then the mother." he said. "As you are here. "Here is mamma." Monsieur d'Apreval replied. which she gave to the visitors. but remained standing near them. and almost immediately the child came out and brought two chairs. my dear lady?" . She looked old and had a hard. madame. I think I have. as if she had not seen them. "You have come from Fecamp?" she said. he continued: "Have you any fowls you could sell us every week?" The woman hesitated for a moment and then replied: "Yes. She limped with her right leg." As they turned away. "I beg your pardon. after putting down her pails. however. of course. she looked like a poor. one of those wooden faces that country people so often have. wretched. as if to watch them and to find out for what purpose they had come there. She did not return to the house. dirty servant. "Yes. "we are staying at Fecamp for the summer. after a short silence." She was grumbling when she reappeared in the door. I will give you some. "We are very thirsty." "'What do you pay for them in the market?" D'Apreval. that was faded by the sun and washed out by the rain. "and madame is very tired. going into the house." she said. yellow. turned to his companion: "What are you paying for poultry in Fecamp. I suppose you want young ones?" "Yes. brought out two bowls of foaming milk. and then she went in. "I don't sell milk. carrying two tin pails." And then. my dear friend. Monsieur d'Apreval called her back. who had not the least idea. and in her brown knitted jacket." she replied. When she got close to the house. she looked at the strangers angrily and suspiciously. wrinkled face. which appeared to be heavy and which glistened brightly in the sunlight.

" Madame de Cadour said. he said: "Confound it! What a brute!" And he went past them and disappeared in the cow house. and replied with some hesitation: "No--no--but she lost her watch as we came along. Without taking any notice of the visitors." Then he went back into the house. ten-yards from them. and came toward the house with long. movements and footsteps and the sound of hoofs. while the farmer's wife. please let us know. A man bent nearly double. let us go. said in an agitated voice: "Is this Monsieur Benedict?" "Who told you his name?" the wife asked. As soon as they were outside the gate. D'Apreval started and Madame de Cadour nearly fell as she turned round suddenly on her chair. which were deadened by the straw on the floor. shaking with grief: "Oh! oh! is that what you have made of him?" He was very pale and replied coldly: . and sustaining her with all his strength."Four francs and four francs fifty centimes. and out of breath. after throwing five francs on one of the chairs. as she is crying?" He did not know what to say. Henri. with their eyes fixed on the door of the cow house. and that troubles her. but they heard a vague noise. wiping his forehead. Her tears had dried quickly as she sat there startled. asked in much surprise "Is the lady ill. slow strides. her eyes full of tears. she began to sob and said. and then they were all silent. whom the same thought had struck very unpleasantly. stood there. Nothing could be seen inside. "Let us go. that this was her son. dragging a cow at the end of a rope. nearly distracted with grief." he replied. still rather suspiciously. and D'Apreval. and soon the man reappeared in the door. and so d'Apreval took her by the arm. who was looking at her askance. I am very thirsty. while his wife went into the cellar and left the two Parisians alone. which formed a sort of black hole in the wall of the building. without a word and with the one thought in her mind. he led her out. but suddenly she exclaimed: "Oh. as she was facing the gate. for he felt that she was nearly fainting. a very handsome watch. as she thought it a very equivocal sort of answer. helped her to rise. He passed the strangers without seeming to notice them and said to his wife: "Go and draw me a jug of cider. If anybody should find it. "The blacksmith at the corner of the highroad. here is my husband!" She was the only one who had seen him." Mother Benedict did not reply." she said.

he began to laugh and exclaimed: "So my wife has had a sunstroke. As soon as he saw them. the tears ran down her cheeks continually for a time. who had dined at the chateau. I assure you." The three children. rose and kissed their grandmother. le Cure. The comtesse kept staring at him: . without speaking a word. I hope that. where they found Monsieur de Cadour waiting dinner for them. sometimes." said the comtesse. I was made to be a priest. at least. "You are fond of children. The Abbe Mauduit lifted two of the children on his knees. and that is more than most of the sons of the middle classes have. and then added: "But I was never made for ordinary life."I did what I could." They returned slowly. you have had a pleasant walk?" Monsieur d'Apreval replied: "A delightful walk. I followed my vocation. and they went back to Fecamp. and the girls following." said the comtesse. the boy ahead. but by degrees they stopped. rubbing his hands: "Well." "What do you know about it?" "Oh! I know very well. and kissing them tenderly on the forehead as he drew their heads toward him as a father might. le Cure. M. Then they said good-night to M. and the little beings went off. hesitated. She was still crying." After My darlings. two girls and a boy. perfectly delightful. madame. His farm is worth eighty thousand francs. and when the husband asked them. and I am very glad of it. passing his long arms clad in black round their necks. "you might go to bed. "Very fond. Then he set them down on the ground." He became silent. "And--has your solitude never weighed too heavily on you?" "Yes. as was his custom every Thursday." The old woman raised her bright eyes toward the priest. I really think she has lost her head for some time past!" Neither of them replied.

and. to separate yourself from the great natural path of marriage and the family? You are neither an enthusiast nor a fanatic. was very much attached to her cure. had great ambitions for me. and one should see to it that they live a tranquil life until they are almost fully developed. an unjust imposition may be as great a pang as the death of a friend in later years? Who can explain why certain young temperaments are liable to terrible emotions for the slightest cause. and used to say of him: "What a heart he has!" He came every Thursday to spend the evening with the comtesse. I said nothing about it. He laughed readily. M. friendly to all. "In this way I remained taciturn. generous. we may develop to an exaggerated extent a sensitiveness which is overwrought and may become sickly and dangerous. tell me this--tell me how it was you resolved to renounce forever all that makes the rest of us love life--all that consoles and sustains us? What is it that drove you. I became almost imperceptibly an over-sensitive youth to whom the slightest annoyances were terrible griefs. who were mercers in Verdiers. living in retirement in her chateau of Rocher. without confidants. to crown all. and for the last twenty years had been pastor of the parish of Saint-Antoine-du-Rocher. without expansion. I thought incessantly of all I had left behind there. No one knows what a boy may suffer at school through the mere fact of separation. after the successive deaths of her son and her daughter-in-law. such as country priests generally wear. that led you to take life vows?" The Abbe Mauduit rose and approached the fire. impelled you. M. le Cure! it is your turn now to make a confession!" He repeated: "I was not made for ordinary life. benevolent. She persisted: "Look here. he would have cut his cloak in two. I passed my hours in homesickness. Everything that affected me gave me painful twitchings. Was it some incident. Like Saint Martin. with the frank and honest friendship of old people. I had no companions. holding toward the flame his big shoes. then. This mental excitement was going on secretly and surely. in order to bring up her grandchildren. for certain boys. some sorrow. and I have had many proofs since that I made no mistake on the point: "My parents. But who ever reflects that. "I scarcely ever played. little events. and may eventually become morbid and incurable? "This was my case. I sought to bring before my mind recollections of home. frightful shocks. of isolation. The old Comtesse de Saville. "I did not speak about it. This faculty of regret developed in me to such an extent that my existence became a martyrdom. The peasants said of him: "There's a good man for you!" And indeed he was a good man. and by shutting them up thus too soon. Young people are often more sensitive than one supposes. neither a gloomy person nor a sad person. gentle. trifling memories of little things. This monotonous life without affection is good for some. he seemed still hesitating as to what reply he should make. but gradually I became so sensitive that my soul resembled an open wound. self-absorbed. on slight provocation. and detestable for others. and wept also. He was a tall old man with white hair."Come now. I spent the whole night weeping in my bed. just like a woman-which prejudiced him more or less in the hard minds of the country folk. and . The nerves of children are quickly affected. far from those they love. I saw it fortunately in time. They sent me to a boarding school while I was very young. and they were close friends. le Cure. and were quite well to do.

bending down on his paws as if appealing to me. "When he was ten paces away from me he stopped. and vibrating with my eternal sensitiveness. very lean.consequently impaired my health. The coachman cracked his whip. he ran away. I lived as though I were threatened by an unknown and always expected misfortune. just as a cloud would do. he was within reach of my hands. began to lick my face. one as well as the other. I approached him. My attachment to this animal was certainly exaggerated and ridiculous. with its yellow body. Its four horses were going at a gallop. ate at the table in spite of the objections of my parents. lost on this earth. humble. I saw him roll over. the diseased condition of my mind. talked to me only about their profits or about my possible plans. and sat down in the grass. I feared every contact. "He gained courage. the feeling that life. and came over to me with short steps and nervous movements of his whole body. "As soon as my studies were finished. as I was making my way home with great strides so as not to be late. with soft words. and its imperial with the black leather hood. one evening. a cloud of dust rose up under the wheels of the heavy vehicle. jumped in front of it. and therefore isolated and without defense. It seemed to me in a confused sort of way that we were two brothers. placing his paws on my shoulders. I had. I now passed my days far from this dwelling which I had so much regretted. Sam immediately rushed up. I did not venture either to speak or do anything in public. suppliant manner that I felt the tears coming into my eyes. every current. practical people. In place of cherishing. with long curly ears. I did the same. and felt in my own mind a desire to conceal myself to avoid that combat in which I would be vanquished and slain. I had only a confused fear of it. they had more reason than heart in their affection for me. Happy are the men whom nature has buttressed with indifference and armed with stoicism. A very simple occurrence showed me clearly. turn round. "Verdiers is a little town surrounded with plains and woods. Feeling myself unprotected from all the attacks of chance or fate. a cheerful anticipation of the morrow. they gave me six months' time to choose a career. and determined me to flee from it. At last. perhaps frightened by the noise and wishing to join me. after a long walk. Then he began wagging his tail. "I often stopped at the side of a ditch. He followed me to the house. like all men. lay down at my feet. then he came back again. In the central street stands my parents' house. all of a sudden. "Suddenly. "One day toward the end of June. as we were on the road from Saint-Pierre de Chavrol. as the vehicle came close to me. grievous. "This was really the first being I had passionately loved. He never again quitted my side. and I bent down on one knee trying to coax him to approach me. is a battle. made me understand the danger. and anxious about my future. and behind it I saw something quivering in . I saw a dog trotting toward me. every approach. indeed. I spoke to him. I lived imprisoned in my thoughts. mortal wounds. "I reached my sixteenth year. He then began to crawl along in such a sad. I saw the diligence from Pavereau coming along. then the coach gave two jolts. My father and mother. fall back again beneath the horses' feet. Dreams had reawakened in me. then floated behind. He slept at the foot of my bed. He was a species of red spaniel. and I walked alone in the fields in order to let them escape and fly away. because he returned my affection. They were fond of me after the manner of hardheaded. "Now. so much desired. and softly shaking his head. and lifted up my hand with his muzzle that I might caress him. Sam. gradually rose and. A horse's hoof knocked him down. a dreadful conflict in which one receives terrible blows. and I gently and very carefully stroked him. and followed me in my solitary walks. An excessive timidity had arisen from this abnormal sensitiveness. quite occupied with business.

all the unknown of the existence he might have passed had he been more fearless in the face of suffering. she accompanied him herself to the door. I was not made for this world." And the cure rose up without saying another word. after a long silence. in spite of everything. in spite of this. misery tortures me. lit up by the reflection of the lamp. in a subdued tone: "I was right. Existence is short. overwhelming fear of events that the sight of the postman entering my house makes a shiver pass every day through my veins. disappearing through the gloom of night. I was confined to my room for a month. and she saw his tall shadow. that every painful impression was multiplied by my diseased sensibility. "He died in a few minutes. ravages me! But what would formerly have been an intolerable affliction has become commiseration. but I made up my mind to spend it in the service of others. As the servants were asleep in the kitchen. which looked out on the garden.the dust on the road. He tried to get up. I resolved to sacrifice possible joys in order to avoid sure sorrows. "And if you only knew how. as if to make a hole. And I have. but he could only move his two front paws. exclaimed: "'How will it be when you have real griefs--if you lose your wife or children?' "His words haunted me and I began to see my condition clearly. and an atrocious fear of life took possession of me. in relieving their troubles and enjoying their happiness. she remarked: "For my part. and scratch the ground with them. The two others were already dead. but at length. to walk. And he howled dreadfully. then. I understood why all the small miseries of each day assumed in my eyes the importance of a catastrophe. without ambitions. all his intestines were hanging out and blood was spurting from the wound. Then she came back and sat down before the fire. I was without passions. "These sorrows which cross my path at every moment. I could not have seen one of my children die without dying myself. I believe I would not have the courage to live. I saw that I was organized in such a way that I suffered dreadfully from everything." The comtesse said nothing at first. and yet I have nothing to be afraid of now. and pondered over many things we never think of when we are young. I could not endure if they affected me directly. as if he saw there mysterious things. . if I had not my grandchildren. He added. preserved such a mysterious. "One night. I cannot describe how much I felt and suffered. mad with pain. pity. enraged at seeing me so affected by such a trifling occurrence. my father. He was nearly cut in two. He stared into the fire in the huge grate. I should only experience a milder form of emotion." The Abbe Mauduit ceased speaking. Having no direct experience of either one or the other.

completely covered by arched linden trees. Madame Maramballe inhaled with deep delight the humid charm of this spot and then murmured: "Ah! I feel better now! But he wasn't in a good humor to-day. When she was at last settled in the rolling chair. and hasty footsteps. first as officer's orderly. bathing the low houses in its crude and burning light. When he had placed the light vehicle against the step. Madame Maramballe continued: "He certainly was not in a good humor today. This happens too often since he has left the service." . who was exhausted from the exertion of descending the stairs." Alexandre answered: "No. and set out toward the river. hastened his footsteps in order sooner to arrive at the avenue which leads to the water. a little out of breath. run along without promotion. The July sun was beating down unmercifully on the street. this old trooper. you will kill yourself in this heat. end ended without glory. every afternoon. in obedience to the doctor's orders. as on every other day. he would push his old and infirm mistress about until six o'clock. the Mavettek flowed in its winding bed bordered by willows. deferential on his. and for the last six years. and soon a furious. he had been wheeling his mistress about through the narrow streets of the town. supporting with all his strength Madame Maramballe. then as simple valet who did not wish to leave his masters. hoarse old soldier's voice was heard cursing inside the house: it issued from the master. From this long and devoted service. The gurgling of the eddies and the splashing of the little waves against the rocks lent to the walk the charming music of babbling water and the freshness of damp air." Along this path. Their principal subject of conversation and of worry was the bad disposition of the captain. Thus they crossed the little town every day amid the respectful greeting. my poor boy. then. the point of which sometimes grazed along the man's impassive face. he went into the house. As soon as they had reached the Allee des Tilleuls. Dogs were sleeping on the sidewalk in the shade of the houses. Joseph Maramballe. Alexandre reappeared on the threshold. affectionate on her part. Alexandre rolled the three-wheeled chair for cripples up to the door of the little house. After a few seconds.Alexandre At four o'clock that day. These bows were perhaps meant as much for the servant as for the mistress. Alexandre passed behind it. and then from this daily tete-a-tete. for if she was loved and esteemed by all. patriarchal beard. They talked over the affairs of the house exactly as if they were equals. madame. a kind of familiarity arose between the old lady and the devoted servant. and Alexandre. was considered a model domestic. just at the place where the old lady could most easily enter it. chairs being pushed about. soured by a long career which had begun with promise. white. she awoke in the shade of the trees. of all. Then could be heard the noise of doors being slammed. then nothing more. with his long. and she said in a kindly voice: "Go more slowly. the retired ex-captain of infantry." For thirty-five years he had been in the service of this couple. grasped the handle. Madame Maramballe was already slumbering under her white parasol.

marry. and you rest on that bench: It was a little worm-eaten bench. when I become attached to a person I become attached to him." "How so. since we are willing to remain with him. my good Alexandre!" He merely shrugged his shoulders and answered: "Oh! I--madame. I have often wondered. He began with a brave deed. If he had not always been as cutting as a whip. but with others it's different. that's all. Madame Maramballe continued: "I married him." She added: "Really." "Then why did you stay with us.And Alexandre. madame! with me it's different. As far as his treatment of us is concerned. Madame Maramballe was following her own train of thought: "You are not a peasant. which he held for a minute at the pit of his stomach." . and he rolled his eyes like a man who is greatly embarrassed. of your disposition?" "Yes. settle down. But why did you remain with us. fingers over it. decorated quite young. When I married him you were his orderly and you could hardly do otherwise than endure him. as if he were trying to pull it out. "Oh. But the poor man has been so unfortunate. and." Madame Maramballe was thinking. He sat down and with a proud and familiar gesture he took his beautiful white beard in his hand. with a sigh. his superiors would have loved and protected him better. ran them down to the point." "That is true. who pay you so little and who treat you so badly. it is only just and natural that I should bear his injustice. madame might say that it happens every day and that it also happened before leaving the army. my poor Alexandre." "Madame might also admit that it was his fault." Then he was silent. Harshness is of no use. and then from twenty to fifty he was not able to rise higher than captain. completed his mistress's thoughts. but he kept pulling his beard as if he were ringing a bell within him. so they said! What mistakes one makes in life! She murmured: "Let us stop a while. have a family?" He answered: "Oh. it is also our fault. closing his. as if once more to verify the length of this growth. Every time they came in this direction Alexandre was accustomed to making a short pause on this seat. but what I do not understand is why you also should have supported it. placed at a turn in the alley. whom she had married long ago because he was a handsome officer. for how many years had she thus been thinking of the brutality of her husband. which obtained for him the Legion of Honor at the age of twenty. whereas at the beginning he expected to retire with at least the rank of colonel. and blast your prospects?" He stammered: "That's it! that's it! it's the fault of my dispositton. and full of promise. You have an education--" He interrupted her proudly: "I studied surveying. Oh. madame. one should try to please if one wishes to advance. when you could have done as every one else does.

If your stomach were well. Then. and in this single glance they both said "Thank you!" to each other. turning his head as do timid people when forced to admit shameful secrets. stopped looking at him. and he muttered behind his long beard: "It was not he. For thirty-five years he has been poisoning me with his abominable cooking. full of justice. I could give you many things which I do not dare set before you now. who had given up everything in order to live beside her. my dear. She was good. It's the best thing for your stomach. All Over .She began to laugh: "You are not going to try to tell me that Maramballe's sweet disposition caused you to become attached to him for life. At last he exclaimed. As soon as he joined them he asked his wife. if my stomach is out of order it's the fault of that brute. Their eyes met. I've had enough chicken! Have you no ideas in your head. and thought. my poor Alexandre! How so?" He began to look up in the air. exclaiming: "Well. turned around in her chair and observed her servant with a surprised look. then to one side. you know that the doctor has ordered it for you. reason. she questioned him "Explain yourself." Madame Maramballe suddenly turned about completely. that you make me eat chicken every day?" She answered. mademoiselle gave me a franc and a smile. In a second she saw the immense devotion of this poor creature. exclaiming: "I. without saying anything. and that settled it. And she felt as if she could cry." He rose and began to push the wheeled chair." Not understanding well. in a resigned tone: "But. with a visible desire of getting angry: "What have we for dinner?" "Some chicken with flageolets. exasperated. in order to see the old domestic." Then. then toward the distance. with a snowy line of curly white hair between her forehead and her bonnet. As they approached the village they saw Captain Maramballe coming toward them. she said: "Let us return home. gentleness. who had a sweet face. like a malefactor who is admitting a fatal crime: "I had a sentiment for madame! There!" She answered nothing. with the courage of a trooper who is ordered to the line of fire: "You see." He lost his temper: "Chicken! chicken! always chicken! By all that's holy. it was you!" The old lady. hung her head." He was fidgeting about on his bench visibly embarrassed. it's this way--the first time I brought a letter to mademoiselle from the lieutenant. with a sad but not angry expression." Then he cried out. he planted himself in front of Alexandre. and tenderness.

striving to read through the envelope. of happiness. come and dine with her this evening. the work table of the gentleman who never works. persons to whom he was indifferent. with some emotion. Tall. although happy. where everything had its place. although quite gray. with a small mustache of doubtful shade. but he looked at it uneasily. Then he smelled it. very familiar. with a sort of chill at his heart. friends. elegant. according to what he expected from them. He thought: "From whom can it be? I certainly know this writing. with no sign of a paunch. of inquiry and vague anxiety. and he scanned the handwriting. I was young. He suddenly felt unnerved. a "chic. reaches out to you a devoted hand. strangers. "Whom is it from? This hand is familiar to me. very often. yes." in short. It was simple. Then he read: MY DEAR FRIEND: You have.Compte de Lormerin had just finished dressing. or threats? This day one letter in particular caught his eye. if you still recollect little Lise. But this must have been a long. He was really a fine-looking man still. and snatched up from the table a little magnifying glass which he used in studying all the niceties of handwriting. further on. I left Paris in order to follow into the provinces my husband. a thing he did each morning before opening the envelopes. He murmured: "Lormerin is still alive!" And he went into the drawing-room where his correspondence awaited him. Here. my poor Jaquelet. there. He cast a parting glance at the large mirror which occupied an entire panel in his dressing-room and smiled. holding it delicately between two fingers. that indescribable something which establishes a greater difference between two men than would millions of money. a nobility." He raised it to a level with his face. I informed you of her birth. whom you used to call "my hospital. Well. slight. recognizing the writing. my old husband. with the elderly Baronne de Vance your ever faithful friend. The last kind always gave him a little uneasiness. . selecting them. nevertheless. On his table. but you certainly did not pay much attention to so trifling an event. whom you have never seen. I am old. You are still the handsome Lormerin. he had a walk. which might be called fair. What did they want from him? What hand had traced those curious characters full of thoughts. so I have been told. whom you used to call Lison. and yet I can't identify it. With a single touch he spread out all these letters. but no longer kiss. like a gambler giving the choice of a card. or of grief? He surveyed them with a rapid sweep of the eye. without making up his mind to open it. and now I am returning to Paris to get my daughter married. who. without seeming to reveal anything. there were a dozen letters lying beside three newspapers of different opinions. for it is now twenty-five years since we saw each other. without doubt. which you must c1asp. a beautiful girl of eighteen. making two or three lots." Do you remember him? He died five years ago. I must have often read its tracings. long time ago. Whom the deuce can it be from? Pooh! it's only somebody asking for money. promises. When I bade you farewell. for I have a daughter." And he tore open the letter. forgotten me. LISE DE VANCE. What did these sealed mysterious letters bring him? What did they contain of pleasure. It was for him a moment of delightful expectancy.

The whole day he kept thinking of this ghost of other days. for he had preserved his hair. he in his dressing-jacket. He rose. it had been and over all too quickly. and he believed that he too." And he felt gratified at the thought of showing himself to her still handsome. Oh! what a dainty. and said aloud : "Certainly. and I have to cry. too. staring straight before him. and they went for a stroll in the Bois de Boulogne. as the moon's rays fell across the branches into the water. stammering: "My little Lise. overcome by a poignant emotion that made the tears mount up to his eyes! If he had ever loved a woman in his life it was this one. little Lise. who had abruptly carried her off to the provinces. sent for the hairdresser to give him a finishing touch With the curling iron. shut her up. the name of Jaquelet. the fragrance of her skin. had been truly loved. "I don't know. Lormerin had forgotten. she in evening dress. in fact. And he embraced her passionately. whom he called "Ashflower. and making her regret those bygone days so far. you are exquisite." He smiled. and started very early in order to show his eagerness to see her. Yes. this frail baronne. Lise de Vance. One evening she had called on him on her way home from a ball. kept her in seclusion through jealousy. he had kept a little altar for her in his heart. he asked her why. considering her feminine emotion charming-. which suited him better with the coat than a black one. perhaps of filling her with emotion. he had loved her. of astonishing her. older than I look. far distant! He turned his attention to the other letters. and perhaps. charming creature she was. at the end of two or three months. They were of no importance. jealousy of the handsome Lormerin. One woman drives out another so quickly in Paris. What was she like now? How strange it was to meet in this way after twenty-five years! But would he recognize her? He made his toilet with feminine coquetry. He remained sunk in his armchair with the letter on his knees. the wife of that gouty. The moon and the water have affected me. The fragrance from her bodice embalmed the warm air-the odor of her bodice. A thousand forgotten memories came back to him." What a charming love affair. she began to weep. short-lived and dainty. She familiarly gave him. who had carried off his wife. the weather was beautiful. Every time I see poetic things I have a tightening at the heart. and would pronounce that word in a delicious fashion. I will go and dine with her this evening!" And instinctively he turned toward the mirror to inspect himself from head to foot. It was springtime.the unaffected emotion of a poor little woman. for he had loved her alone! He assured himself now that this was so. whom every sensation overwhelms.Lormerin's heart began to throb. when one is a bachelor! No matter. cut short in the midst of its ardor by this old brute of a baron. A little surprised. put on a white waistcoat. pretty. . What a divine night! When they reached the lake. affected himself. still fresh. and never let any one see her afterward. far." on account of the strange color of her hair and the pale gray of her eyes. off and sweet and melancholy now. He reflected: "She must look very old. pimply baron.

had become of her. tender things. sit down and let us. dating from the days when he was a beau. and. Sorrow has consumed my life. he gazed at the woman he had loved. hanging on the wall in an antique silk frame. while she smiled. and who. then. would you? I have had so much sorrow--so much sorrow. she rose and pressed the button of the bell. kissed them one after the other several times. both constrained. He sat down and waited. He seized them. There was a tap at the door. how I resembled her--no. first of all. profoundly ill at ease. the young girl who used to call him "Jaquelet" so prettily? They remained side by side. motionless. "I am going to call Renee. the former one. then a young voice exclaimed: "Here I am. it is not quite that. Why had he come to this house? What could he talk about? Of the long ago? What was there in common between him and her? He could no longer recall anything in presence of this grandmotherly face. it is past.The first thing he saw on entering a pretty drawing-room newly furnished was his own portrait. then the rustle of a dress. Lise?" She replied: "Yes. that had come to his mind that morning when he thought of the other. my grown-up daughter. beheld an old woman with white hair who extended both hands toward him. seemed ready to weep. turning round. You'll see how she resembles me--or. indeed. Pray be seated. an old faded photograph. troubled. she is just like the 'me' of former days--you shall see! But I wanted to be alone with you first. And then I will call my daughter. mamma!" Lormerin remained bewildered as at the sight of an apparition. have a chat. He could not abstain from murmuring: "Is it you. lifting up his head." she said. awkwardly and spasmodically and slowly. so sweet. You would not have known me. it is I. at the first moment. but he did not know what to say. an old lady whom he did not recognize. of little Lise. then. my friend. mademoiselle" . I feared that there would be some emotion on my side. rather." He sat down beside her. of the dainty Ashflower. Now it is all over. it is I. the one he had loved? That woman of far-off dreams. He rose up abruptly. Look at me now--or. A door opened behind him. As they talked only commonplaces. so bitter. Yes. the blonde with gray eyes. Now. holding her hand. he did not know this woman--it seemed to him that he had never seen her before. What. He could no longer recall all the nice. don't look at me! But how handsome you have kept--and young! If I had by chance met you in the street I would have exclaimed: 'Jaquelet!'. it was an old lady. He stammered: "Good-day. rather.

in her entire being. some expression of her mother's. what this resuscitated one did not possess. Lison!" A man-servant announced: "Dinner is ready. my poor friend. The other one. And yet. What passed at this dinner? What did they say to him. the former one. a certain style of speaking and thinking. The baronne said: "You have lost your old vivacity. to clasp her to his heart again. He gazed at the two women with a fixed idea in his mind. when he lost his head.five years before. shook Lormerin from head to foot. in her glances. he felt his old love springing to life once more. to seize again what had escaped from her. Twenty times he opened his mouth to say to her: "Do you remember. and every now and then some familiar intonation. that resemblance of mind and manner which people acquire by living together. . there were moments when. and what could he say in reply? He found himself plunged in one of those strange dreams which border on insanity. had in her voice. turning toward the mother: "Oh! it is you! In fact." And they proceeded toward the dining-room. more childlike. like an awakened wild beast ready to bite him. murmuring in her ear: "Good-morning. Lison?" forgetting this white. touched with emotion. He felt a wild desire to open his arms. fresher. madame. she whom he had known in bygone days.Then. something which he did not find again. He could see that the woman of to-day was not exactly the woman of long ago." He murmured: "There are many other things that I have lost!" But in his heart. And he made prodigious efforts of mind to recall his lady love. The young girl went on chattering. This one was even younger. he no longer felt sure.haired lady who was looking at him tenderly. All these things penetrated him. self-contradictory idea: "Which is the real one?" The mother smiled again repeating over and over: "Do you remember?" And it was in the bright eyes of the young girl that he found again his memories of the past. making the reopened wound of his passion bleed anew. it was she. a morbid. the Lise who had vanished and come back! In her he found the woman he had won twenty.

pointing to the name of the station. He was dressed in a gray suit. And he sat down. and his large head covered with white hair. haunted him. drawing the light nearer. he looked at himself more closely. which were all black. a young one. the large glass in which he had contemplated himself and admired himself before he started. discovering those frightful ravages. and suddenly he recollected what he had been in olden days. But. he made me go and see the town. at the sight of his lamentable image. asked. he now saw only one. I admired the druggist's house. and. whose summits. with a wax candle in his hand. He went home to reflect on this strange and terrible thing. after an interval of twenty-five years. must have been extinct volcanoes. murmuring: "All over. But the image of this young girl pursued him. wide-brimmed. you have the Latin word 'mori'. and which ought rather to be the fatherland of doctors. the doctor had the appearance of an old young man. and. as he was passing. as he had been when he was loved! Then.He got away early. but as pretty as bric-a-brac. and took a turn along the boulevard. I arrived by the morning train. "Why?" he replied with a laugh. before the glass. the old one come back out of the past. crushed at the sight of himself. my young friend. He loved her with greater ardor. and the first person I saw on the platform was the doctor. in the days of little Lise. He embraced me with that evident pleasure which country people feel when they meet long-expected friends. and the other noted houses. the fatherland of magistrates. my old friend--one sometimes has friends older than one's self--had often invited me to spend some time with him at Riom. Bonnet. That is the reason why I settled here. and wore a soft. grayhaired man. with his spare body under his thin coat." "Why?" I. a hat which hardly any one except an Auvergnat would wear. he carried me off. inflamed his blood. quickened his heart. high-crowned felt hat. which he had not perceived till now. stretching out his arm. he said: "Riom. He saw himself charming and handsome." And. Then. he saw reflected there an elderly. Dressed like that. As soon as I had swallowed a cup of coffee. delighted at his own joke. which resembled truncated cones. rubbing his hands. and he loved her as he had loved her in bygone years. Lormerin!" Bertha Dr. narrow at the top like a chimney pot. Apart from the two women. black. and which reminded one of a charcoal burner. the pride of the magistracy. and to think what he should do. tracing the wrinkles. he said proudly: "This is Auvergne!" I saw nothing before me except a range of mountains. "If you transpose the letters. to die. as I did not know Auvergne. I made up my mind to visit him in the summer of 1876. with their facades . as one inspects a strange thing with a magnifying glass.

when it rained she cried and moaned in a mournful. and I soon discovered the reason. which sounded like the howling of a dog before a death occurs in a house. "She grew up into a superb woman. Then the idea struck me of developing her greediness. Bonnet said to me: "I must beg you to excuse me for a few minutes while I go and see a patient. when the sun shone into her room. her intellect remained stationary. I shall only go upstairs and come down immediately. I dined with them quite frequently. so that she might get out. Violent noises made her start and frightened her. silent." He left me outside one of those old. the patroness of butchers. I particularly liked her parents. "When the weather was fine. At first I thought she was deaf. and then I will take you to Chatel-Guyon. and to prefer some to others. and would insist. which one sees in the provinces. "She did not appear to distinguish between people. You can wait for me outside. but she could not talk. and taller than I was. by signs. but I soon discovered that. gloomy.of sculptured stone. She is a madwoman. which enabled me to remark that Bertha (they had called her Bertha) seemed to recognize the various dishes. she did not understand anything that was said to her. terrifying manner. and all the mountain chain of the Puyde-Dome before lunch. She could never pronounce that word which is the first that children utter and the last which soldiers murmur when they are dying on the field of battle. or between her father and me. which I will relate some other time. All the large windows on the first floor were boarded half way up. who were my patients. and then Dr. but I soon discovered that while her body became admirably developed. I told him how it struck me. at any rate to arrive at instinctive distinctions. as young animals do. she failed to recognize her mother. "She began to walk very early. and he told me an amusing story about this. or between the coachman and the cook. and she would clap her hands every morning. as if one had wished to prevent the people who were locked up in that huge stone box from looking into the street. and went to see them nearly every day. melancholy houses. "She was fond of rolling on the grass. by the diversity of flavors. but nothing succeeded. what you Normans would call a Niente. and this one appeared to look particularly sinister. When the doctor came down again. which would of . and he continued: "Twenty years ago the owners of this house. and of running about madly. who were very unhappy on her account. and he replied: "You are quite right. and by this means of cultivating some slight power of discrimination in her mind. between her mother and her nurse. It is a miserable story. but she was dumb. if not to reason. At that time she was twelve years old. I thought I noticed that she knew her nurse. or rather an idiot. on being dressed as quickly as possible. from an absolute want of intellect. had a daughter who was like all other girls. and to force her. although she heard perfectly. she laughed continually. She sometimes tried to talk. and emitted low cries which might be compared to the twittering of birds. so as to show you the general aspect of the town. The upper part of them alone could be opened. but a very singular pathological case at the same time. but as fully formed in figure as a girl of eighteen. but she produced nothing but incoherent sounds. Shall I tell you?" I begged him to do so. the poor creature who is living there must never see what is going on outside. I admired the statue of the Virgin. without her understanding how they were caused. I tried all means to introduce a gleam of intelligence into her brain. though as soon as she was weaned.

and stretched out her hands toward those that she liked. so stupefied was she. and by carefully making use of those which could serve our purpose. and she ate the plate of cream. in the material sense of the word. on the dial of the clock. I asked them not to have the bell rung for lunch. She ran to the door each time she heard the clock strike. and I have rarely seen such perfection of form. and as she naturally heard nothing. for I could never succeed in making her distinguish persons as she distinguished the time. it was necessary to appeal to her passions. She spent her time in looking at them. and she frequently fixed her eyes. and we soon had another. but by degrees she learned that all the strokes had not the same value as far as regarded meals. or. to recognize meal times by the clock. Later on. which I had often turned in her presence. a sort of lovely and stupid Venus. that her. a correspondence between the two senses. to place my fingers on the figures twelve and six. with much difficulty. The striking apparatus of a pretty little Louis XVI clock that hung at the head of her bed having got out of order. and by degrees increase the unconscious action of her brain. "When I noticed that. and alas! a very terrible proof of this! "She had grown up into a splendid girl. indeed. "It was impossible for me for a long time to attract her attention to the hands. and once something very funny happened. we might hope to obtain a kind of reaction on her intellect. she took up the tongs from the fireplace and struck the clock so violently that she broke it to pieces in a moment. the sensation. "She had understood! Perhaps I ought rather to say that she had grasped the idea. She was sixteen. one of soup. therefore. when they are fed every day exactly at the same time. by appealing to her passions. no doubt overwhelmed by a feeling of violent emotion such as attacks us in the face of some terrible catastrophe. and to stir her intellect. of the time into her. In a short time I made her very greedy. waiting for it to strike ten. and in waiting for meal time. she was suddenly either seized with a wild fit of rage at having been deceived and imposed upon by appearances. and within very restricted limits. guided by her ears. and everybody got up and went into the dining-room when the little brass hammer struck twelve o'clock. listening to them. She sat for twenty minutes with her eyes on the hands. obscurely it is true. but I succeeded in making her remark the clockwork and the striking apparatus. In her vacant intellect a vague correlation was established between sound and taste. but I succeeded in the end. and at six o'clock. and I soon noticed that she attentively followed the motion of the small brass hands. so greedy that it appeared as if the only idea she had in her head was the desire for eating. "It was evident. I had succeeded in getting the knowledge. brain did act and calculate. It took a long time. but I found great difficulty in making her learn to count the strokes. and then I let her choose for herself. as soon as the moment she was waiting for had arrived. "When once I had obtained that result all the clocks and watches in the house occupied her attention almost exclusively. and taught her. The means I employed were very simple. a perfect type of a race. and took hold of them eagerly. she noticed it. and by the furious impatience of a passionate individual who meets with some obstacle. that she sat down. I . and consequently a sort of connection of ideas--if one can call that kind of instinctive hyphen between two organic functions an idea--and so I carried my experiments further. I took care every day at twelve. I made her taste each of them successively. an appeal from one to the other.themselves constitute a kind of process that was necessary to thought. and the other of very sweet vanilla cream. rather. and she used to cry when they were taken from her. but when the hands passed the figure she was astonished at not hearing anything. or else overcome by that fear which some frightened creature feels at some terrible mystery. And she had the wonderful patience to wait until eleven o'clock in order to see what would happen. Then I thought I would try and teach her to come to the dining-room when the dinner bell rang. who certainly have no clocks. She perfectly recognized the various dishes. "One day I put two plates before her. such suppleness and such regular features. just as is the case with carp.

one morning her father came into my consulting room with a strange look on his face. It is Monsieur Gaston du Boys de Lucelles. but when she had had puppies she became. He was right. . stout. and to consult you. Some years previously I had owned a spaniel bitch who was so stupid that I could do nothing with her. after having spent all that he had inherited from his father. vacant eyes. an utter change in her vacant mind. doctor. "Monsieur Gaston du Boys de Lucelles was a scapegrace of good family. Well. 'But reflect. he said: "'I want to speak to you about a very serious matter. and in capital health. I said in reply to her father: "'Perhaps you are right. the mouth of a glutton. "As soon as I foresaw the possibility of this. "I was dumfounded. and could be got rid of later by making him an allowance. I know. and he appeared to me to be as suitable as anyone. had been trying to discover some other means of obtaining money. she had a large mouth with full lips. yet almost like many other dogs who had not been thoroughly broken. You might make the attempt. but you will never find a man to consent to marry her. and it was possible that such a new situation. one of that odious race of provincial fast men. but a great happiness. I know. Don't you think--perhaps--we hoped--if she had children--it would be a great shock to her. with large. and--who knows whether maternity might not rouse her intellect?' "I was in a state of great perplexity. a fair. and having incurred debts in all kinds of doubtful ways. a mouth made for kisses. "'She is to be married next month. in a low voice. and set the motionless mechanism of her thoughts in motion. He was a goodlooking young fellow. and. which were as blue as the flowers of the flax plant. "'Oh! And may I ask his name?' "'I came on purpose to tell you. bright. And then. vigorous Venus.' he replied.' "I felt inclined to exclaim: 'The wretch!' but I held my tongue.' "The poor man shook me heartily by the hand. if not exactly intelligent. who.' he replied. the wish to get Bertha married grew in me. moreover. but fast. I immediately remembered a personal instance.' he said. not so much out of friendship for her and her poor parents as from scientific curiosity. Would it be possible--would it be possible for Bertha to marry?' "'Bertha to marry! Why. I see nothing against it.' he said. it is quite impossible!' "'Yes. and that wonderful instinct of maternity. and after a few moments' silence I said: "'Oh! Very good. of a sensualist. and he had discovered this method.' "'I have found somebody. yes. might bring about a revolution. which makes the hen fly at a dog's jaws to defend her chickens. and said: 'Somebody really suitable? Some one of your own rank and position in society?' "'Decidedly. What would happen? It was a singular problem.said she was a Venus. which beats in the hearts of the lower animals as it does in the heart of a woman. sitting down without even replying to my greeting.

as brutes do. I went to see Bertha the next day to try and discover from her looks whether any feelings had been awakened in her. for he took all his away from home. When I arrived she was writhing and screaming in a terrible crisis of pain. "However. and when he came into the room she got up with the movements of an automaton and pointed to the clock. she waits for him all day and night. my dear friend. but she took no notice of any of his attentions. appeared really in love. and the hours during which she did not see him became hours of terrible suffering to her. sat at her feet. "She loved him with her whole body and with all her soul to the very depths of her poor. "She heard the trot of his horse in the distance and sat up with a start. "She followed his movements. but I found her just the same as she was every day. She is always thinking of him and waiting for him. and with all her heart. wholly taken up with the clock and dinner. which turned so slowly and regularly round the china face on which the hours were painted. "She began to grow thin. every other wish. while he. at what time he used to come home formerly. and her face was changed and brightened by the flames of profound happiness and of desire. every other expectation. I had them removed from the house. no matter where. of carnal and yet modest passion. He could think of nothing better. anger. awake or asleep. kissed her hands. who. I thus made it impossible for her to count the hours. But she never went to bed before he returned. ceaselessly. weak soul. dumb creature. Soon he ceased to come home regularly of nights. It was really a delightful and innocent picture of simple passion. Clermont. he spent them with women at the casino at Royat and did not come home until daybreak. and one night he even went so far as to strike her. thinking it sufficient if he came home at night. seemed to please him. When I saw her getting thinner and thinner. and forbade her to see that man again. as long as he was not obliged to come home. on the contrary. and tried to rouse his wife's spirits and affection by little endearments and such caresses as one bestows on a kitten. and did not make any distinction between him and the other persons who were about her. she did not even look after the meals now. and gave him those eager looks which she had hitherto only bestowed on sweet dishes. She used to wait for him from morning till night with her eyes on the clock. at this very moment. and looked at her with affectionate eyes. as if to say: 'Look how late it is!' "And he began to be afraid of this amorous and jealous. from her indistinct reminiscences. every other thought. and she began to suffer in consequence. before man had complicated and disfigured it by all the various shades of sentiment. "Then she went mad! Yes. so they sent for me. how do I know what? Can one tell what goes on in such undeveloped brains? "I calmed her by subcutaneous injections of morphine.He came to the house to pay his addresses and to strut about before the idiot girl. the marriage took place. clapped her hands when he came in. I hope to . with her eyes fixed on the hands of the clock. Chatel-Guyon. and I soon perceived that the young woman knew her husband. that idiot went mad. and you may guess how my curiosity was aroused. passion. But he soon grew tired of this ardent. and did not spend more than an hour during the day with her. and to try to remember. however. She remained sitting motionless in an easy-chair. He brought her flowers. knew his step on the stairs or in the neighboring rooms. for I saw clearly that marriage would infallibly kill her by degrees. half-witted woman. beautiful. that poor heart of some grateful animal. and as she persisted in never taking her eyes off the clocks. Royat. "I called upon the married couple pretty frequently. and every confused hope disappeared from her mind. such as nature had implanted in mankind. and flew into a rage.

she took it and looked at it for some time." he said. but read on. and she walks up and down ceaselessly. and I asked him abruptly: "What has become of the husband?" My friend seemed rather surprised. I saw him each day. "There he is. in the heat of the sun. and to give me the history of all of them. "Oh! her poor parents! What a life they must lead!" We had got to the top of the hill. Beside Schopenhauer's Corpse He was slowly dying. Then. with hollow and glittering eyes. he would cross his long legs. he replied: "He is living at Royat. on my right. around which fluttered the cloth of his trousers. lost. about two o'clock. towns and hills. an English dogcart. Far away. and he would open a book." As we were slowly going back. and I only saw her. I saw nothing except a gray felt hat. I offered her my watch. And then he did not stir any more. up to the hour when the cool air made him cough a little. drawn by a thoroughbred horse. so thin that they seemed like two bones. he cast a glance at the lofty mountains with beclouded summits that shut in Mentone. The doctor took me by the arm. or else cut off flat. boarded them up half way. all his wasting body seemed to read. I have had gratings put on the windows. always the same book. with a very slow movement. She seemed to be hovering over that vast extent of country like a mournful ghost. but after a few moments' hesitation. He remained for some time without moving. and to extinguish that ray of thought which I kindled with so much difficulty. looking out on the calm sea. I was thinking of nothing but the madwoman. on an allowance that they made him. read on with his eye and his mind. as if the sight of that little object had suddenly awakened her memory. But I did not listen to him. there was a range of lofty mountains with round summits. disappeared." The gloomy town looked like some ancient city. and the doctor turned round and said to me: "Look at Riom from here. sitting beneath the hotel windows on a bench in the promenade. both of us silent and rather low-spirited. and is quite happy. he got up and reentered the hotel.destroy the recollection of it in time. extended until it was lost in the distance. Behind it a green. "The other day I tried an experiment. She is pitiably thin now. as if with a sword. like a wild beast in its cage. and the doctor began to enumerate the villages. and have had the seats fixed to the floor so as to prevent her from looking to see whether he is coming. . as consumptives die. came up behind us and passed us rapidly. then she began to scream terribly. in this book. cocked over one ear above a pair of broad shoulders. gazing mournfully at the Mediterranean. all his soul plunged. and bathed in a soft blue haze. wooded plain studded with towns and villages. Every now and then. driving off in a cloud of dust. he leads a very fast life. which was beginning to grow indistinct. then.

"So. killed love. "Up to the time of his death. A vague. And does thy hideous smile over thy bleached bones fly?" And involuntarily I compared the childish sarcasm. monsieur. Since chance has thrown us side by side. Let us protest and let us be angry. that it is bliss to die. and exhausted everything. and I gazed at these forms incomprehensible to me. monsieur. the religious sarcasm of Voltaire with the irresistible irony of the German philosopher whose influence is henceforth ineffaceable." Suddenly. I sat down by his side. monsieur?" "Not at all. And I began to look through "Rolla. then." And he spoke to me about the philosopher and told me about the almost supernatural impression which this strange being made on all who came near him. but which revealed the immortal thoughts of the greatest shatterer of dreams who had ever dwelt on earth. a volume of Musset's poems. a doctrinaire Republican. I could have shown you. destroyed the aspirations. poetic ideals and chimeras. I could have lent you. seated in the . as you may see. And even to-day those who execrate him seem to carry in their own souls particles of his thought. you were intimately acquainted with Schopenhauer?" I said to the German. to keep up appearances. with fair beard." "What is it. are covered with his handwriting. curiosity attracted me to him." I took the book from him reverently. and spoke to nobody." "I am sorry for that.He was a tall German. ravaged the confidence of souls. hopes. Voltaire. He spared nothing with his mocking spirit. One day. or let us be enthusiastic. And Musset's verses arose in my memory: "Hast thou found out. my neighbor said to me. who breakfasted and dined in his own room. A disabused pleasure-seeker. he overthrew beliefs. let us be indignant. dragged down the chivalrous worship of women. in good French: "Do you know German. Schopenhauer has marked humanity with the seal of his disdain and of his disenchantment. crushed the illusions of hearts. and found him in a noisy tavern. annotated with his own hand. He smiled sadly. having taken up a book. He gave me an account of the interview of the old iconoclast with a French politician. All the margins. an inestimable thing--this book which I hold in my hand. Schopenhauer. too. pray?" "It is a copy of my master. and accomplished the most gigantic task ever attempted by scepticism. who wanted to get a glimpse of this man.

interrupted by frequent fits of coughing. "Then. That pucker which we knew so well lingered still around the corners of the lips. together with one of our comrades. on the point of fainting. certain formulas of his. "'It seems to me that he is going to speak.' "And at that moment we noticed that there was an unpleasant odor from the corpse. which terrified us even after his death. and we came and sat down at the foot of the bed. with its eternal laugh. and leave the door open. It was laughing. Gradually. in turn. in a few words. oppressed. .' said my comrade. and I left the second behind. dry. He repeated for me the comment of this Frenchman as he went away." And he began. as a dog tears with one bite of his teeth the tissues with which he plays. recalling to mind certain sayings. if it would interest you. to move and to speak. His domination seemed to be even more sovereign now that he was dead. those startling maxims which are like jets of flame flung. His thought. and it was arranged that we should watch. I can tell you an anecdote about it that is not generally known. "The bodies of these men disappear. they are terrifying. very simple. Two wax candles were burning on the stand by the bedside.midst of his disciples. "I took one of the wax candles which burned on the stand. "And in hushed tones we talked about him. in a languid voice. or rather his thoughts. a frightful smile. Then we went and sat down at the other end of the adjoining apartment. into the darkness of the Unknown Life." Then he added: "He had. We felt ourselves more than ever in the atmosphere of his genius. in such a position that we could see the bed and the corpse. astonished and terrified: "I thought I had spent an hour with the devil. I faltered: "'I don't know what is the matter with me. vast and gloomy. "It was midnight when I went on watch. absorbed. two by two. laughing with an unforgettable laugh. "The face was not changed. and I assented to his proposal. attacking and tearing to pieces ideas and beliefs with a single word. A feeling of mystery was blended with the power of this incomparable spirit. And we stared with uneasiness bordering on fear at the motionless face. my comrade suggested that we should go into the adjoining room. we began to feel ill at ease. and it seemed to us that he was about to open his eyes. and in the night which follows the cessation of their heart's pulsation I assure you. clearly revealed by the light. I assure you I am not well. indeed. monsieur. wrinkled. The two friends whom we replaced had left the apartment. enveloped us. till morning. "He was lying in a large apartment. monsieur. "Schopenhauer had just died. possessed by him. but they themselves remain. but.

Schopenhauer's set of artificial teeth. something white pass across the bed. standing out white on the dark carpet. both of us. monsieur. terrified as if in the presence of an apparition. bent forward. Then we stared at each other. when the body is putrefying?' "'What are we to do?' "My companion said in a hesitating tone: "'We must go and look. "We were on our feet before we had time to think of anything. sickening and indefinable. liberated. but kept staring fixedly at him. had made it jump out of the mouth. Immediately we fixed our glances on him. "Suddenly a shiver passed through our bones: a sound. And I no longer moved. free. too. was flitting around us. I followed his glance. came from the death-chamber. the consumptive German rose from his seat. And sometimes. we saw distinctly. under the armchair by the side of the bed. allpowerful and dominating. he touched my arm without uttering a word. gave me a parting bow.' "I took our wax candle and entered first. yes. "The work of decomposition.' "'Can it be that he is not dead?' "'Why. with his lips pressed together and deep hollows in his cheeks. and open as if to bite." And as the sun was sinking toward the glittering sea. glancing into all the dark corners in the large apartment. I saw. Next. fall on the carpet. and I approached the bed. "I was really frightened that day. having seized the other wax candle."But he still held possession of us. One would have said that his immaterial essence. and we saw. and saw on the ground. Nothing was moving now. I was the first to speak: "'Did you see?' "'Yes. a slight sound. But I stood transfixed with stupor and fright: Schopenhauer was no longer laughing! He was grinning in a horrible fashion. Our hearts throbbed fiercely enough to have raised the clothing on our chests. We were horribly pale. distracted by stupefying terror. the dreadful odor of the decomposed body came toward us and penetrated us. and retired into the hotel . I stammered out: "'He is not dead!' "But the terrible odor ascended to my nose and stifled me. loosening the jaws. ready to run away. "Then my companion. monsieur. and vanish under an armchair.

and in their rear the vanquished general. The men wore long." "Citizens of the Tomb. The last of the French soldiers had just crossed the Seine on their way to Pont-Audemer. without a leader. they advanced in listless fashion. discussed plans of campaign. Their leaders. or tallow or soap chandlers--warriors by force of circumstances. bending beneath the weight of their rifles. The members of the National Guard. its fortunes. through SaintSever and Bourg-Achard. silent dread. the gleaming helmet of a heavy-footed dragoon who had difficulty in keeping up with the quicker pace of the soldiers of the line. had now returned to their homes. emasculated by years devoted to business. Many a round-paunched citizen. incapable of thought or resolve. Catherine's Hill. glided swiftly by in the shadow of the walls. and amid these. not disciplined forces. and. A little later on. who for the past two months had been reconnoitering with the utmost caution in the neighboring woods. spoke in an impressive manner. by "right of war. without a flag. Now and then an inhabitant. occasionally shooting their own sentinels. a black mass descended St. and its lives. side by side with nondescript foot-soldiers. the pitiful remnant of a division cut down in a great battle." "Brethren in Death"--passed in their turn. its battalions making the pavement ring with their firm. officers by reason of their mustachios or their money--covered with weapons. all the death-dealing paraphernalia with which they had terrified all the milestones along the highroad for eight miles round. in their darkened rooms. in particular. easily frightened but full of enthusiasm. and dropping to the ground with fatigue the moment they halted. the shops were shut. The anguish of suspense made men even desire the arrival of the enemy. All seemed exhausted. and little active volunteers. anxiously awaited the conquerors. Their arms. Life seemed to have stopped short. trembling lest his roastingjacks or kitchen knives should be looked upon as weapons. awed by the silence. many enlisted men. but pillagers and debauchees. they frequently were afraid of their own men-scoundrels often brave beyond measure. One saw. as eager to attack as they were ready to take to flight. settled on the city. a number of uhlans. walked between two orderlies. somber artillerymen. the streets deserted. himself dismayed at the final overthrow of a nation accustomed to victory and disastrously beaten despite its legendary bravery. The advance guards of the three corps arrived at precisely the same moment at the Square of the Hotel de Ville. and the German army poured through all the adjacent streets. measured tread. men who lived quietly on their income.Boule de Suif For several days in succession fragments of a defeated army had passed through the town. looking like banditti. were possessed by that terror which follows in the wake of cataclysms. deserted houses. their uniforms. though. here and there. Legions of irregulars with high-sounding names "Avengers of Defeat. powerless to do aught with the forlorn remnants of his army. peaceful citizens. worn out. dirty beards and tattered uniforms. while two other invading bodies appeared respectively on the Darnetal and the Boisguillaume roads. Rumor had it that the Prussians were about to enter Rouen. a sprinkling of red-breeched soldiers. guttural tongue rose to the windows of the seemingly dead. former drapers or grain merchants. marching onward merely by force of habit. coming no one knew whence. Orders shouted in an unknown. Then a profound calm. and making ready for fight whenever a rabbit rustled in the undergrowth. and behaved as though they alone bore the fortunes of dying France on their braggart shoulders. a shuddering. They were mere disorganized bands. in truth. while behind the fast-closed shutters eager eyes peered forth at the victors-masters now of the city. against which all human skill and strength are vain. In the afternoon of the day following the departure of the French troops. of deadly upheavals of the earth. had suddenly and marvellously disappeared." The inhabitants. flannel and gold lace. passed rapidly through the town. For the same thing happens whenever the .

at having to see any portion of his substance pass into the hands of another. the officers of the Blue Hussars. By the exercise of tact the number of men quartered in one's house might be reduced. provided there was no public exhibition of familiarity with the foreigner. killed by a blow from knife or club. Small detachments of soldiers knocked at each door.established order of things is upset. In many houses the Prussian officer ate at the same table with the family. out of politeness. the more he suffers at having to part with anything that belongs to him. these silent attacks fraught with greater danger than battles fought in broad day. with no halo of romance. within six or seven miles of the town. covered with glory. The conquerors exacted money. which destroy all belief in eternal justice. boat. had not committed any of the deeds of horror with which they had been credited while on their triumphal march. savage force. And foolhardiness is no longer a failing of the citizens of Rouen as it was in the days when their city earned renown by its heroic defenses. Out of doors. seemed to hold the simple townsmen in but little more contempt than did the French cavalry officers who had drunk at the same cafes the year before. Some of these . but in the house both chatted freely. Moreover. and then disappeared within the houses. This sentiment was received with gratitude. expressed sympathy with France and repugnance at being compelled to take part in the war.hardiness. The inhabitants paid what was asked. as the invaders. along with dead oxen and beams torn from shattered houses. they were rich. The earthquake crushing a whole nation under falling roofs. Even the town itself resumed by degrees its ordinary aspect. but the streets swarmed with Prussian soldiers. barbaric tribes. though subjecting the town to the strictest discipline. changed the taste of food. or the army. the people grew bolder. all that confidence we have been taught to feel in the protection of Heaven and the reason of man. a something strange and subtle. making prisoners of the rest. calm was again restored. these unrecorded deeds of bravery. amid dangerous. and the necessities of business again animated the breasts of the local merchants. pillaging in the name of the Sword. The mud of the river-bed swallowed up these obscure acts of vengeance--savage. his head crushed by a stone. an intolerable foreign atmosphere like a penetrating odor--the odor of invasion.the folk of Rouen said to one another that it was only right to be civil in one's own house. Last of all-final argument based on the national politeness. The French seldom walked abroad. Dieppedalle and Biessart. citizen and soldier did not know each other. It permeated dwellings and places of public resort. He was often well-bred. moreover. and surrounded. when all those rights usually protected by the law of man or of Nature are at the mercy of unreasoning. Nevertheless. who arrogantly dragged their instruments of death along the pavements. or perchance pushed from some bridge into the stream below. and why should one provoke the hostility of a person on whom one's whole welfare depended? Such conduct would savor less of bravery than of fool. the wealthier a Norman tradesman becomes. therefore. and giving thanks to God to the thunder of cannon--all these are appalling scourges. along the course of the river as it flows onward to Croisset. made one imagine one's self in far-distant lands. once the first terror had subsided. for the vanquished saw they would have to be civil to their conquerors. when security no longer exists. his protection might be needful some day or other. yet legitimate. much money. and engulfing in its swirling depths the corpses of drowned peasants. and each evening the German remained a little longer warming himself at the hospitable hearth. besides. murdering those who defend themselves. At last. At the end of a short time. For hatred of the foreigner ever arms a few intrepid souls.men and fishermen often hauled to the surface of the water the body of a German. But there was something in the air. the flood let loose. But. bloated in his uniform. and. ready to die for an idea.

occupied at present by the French army--and wished to attempt to reach that port by overland route to Dieppe." All three. lastly the other vague. they decided to start on a certain Tuesday morning before daybreak. therefore. it turned out. talking to the animals and swearing at them. for he could use only one hand. being of similar disposition and temperament. been engaged for the journey. and spent some time in walking round him to make sure that the harness was all right. . louder or softer according to the movements of the horse. fastened the traces. The stamping of horses' hoofs. and if the Prussians approach Havre we will cross to England. Through the influence of the German officers whose acquaintance they had made. and said to them: "Why don't you get inside the coach? You'd be under shelter. snow-shrouded forms clambered to the remaining places without a word. they remained motionless." The first speaker added: "We shall not return to Rouen. The hostler placed him beside the pole. this tinkle soon developed into a continuous jingling. The ground had been frozen hard for some time-past.had important commercial interests at Havre. The frozen townsmen were silent. evidently being led out against his inclination. As he was about to fetch the second horse he noticed the motionless group of travellers." "And I. The man reappeared with his lantern. already white with snow. a third accosted them. and the mountain of heavy winter wraps in which each was swathed made them look like a gathering of obese priests in their long cassocks. enveloped all objects in an icy mantle of foam. The three men seated their wives at the far end of the coach. At half-past four in the morning the travellers met in the courtyard of the Hotel de Normandie. and shivering with cold under their wraps.looking horse. too. to cover the whole world. The door suddenly closed." said one. taking the boat from there. A small lantern carried by a stable-boy emerged now and then from one dark doorway to disappear immediately in another. deadened by the dung and straw of the stable. and about three o'clock on Monday afternoon-large black clouds from the north shed their burden of snow uninterruptedly all through that evening and night. to avoid attracting a crowd. "So am I. A faint tinkle of bells showed that the harness was being got ready. and they at once took his advice. was heard from time to time. "I am bringing my wife. had made the same plans. They could see one another but indistinctly in the darkness." This did not seem to have occurred to them. it obliterated all outlines. at least. where they were to take their seats in the coach. and ten passengers having given in their names to the proprietor. All noise ceased. and the three began to talk. then got in themselves. Still the horses were not harnessed. winter-bound city save the vague. But two men recognized each other. nothing was to be heard throughout the length and breadth of the silent. then breaking out in a sudden peal accompanied by a pawing of the ground by an iron-shod hoof. and from inside the building issued a man's voice. They were still half asleep. sometimes stopping altogether. leading by a rope a melancholy. the other being engaged in holding the lantern. A large four-horse coach having. A thick curtain of glistening white flakes fell ceaselessly to the ground. they obtained a permit to leave town from the general in command. nameless rustle of falling snow--a sensation rather than a sound--the gentle mingling of light atoms which seemed to fill all space. stiff with cold.

into which the feet sank. A murky light filtered through dark. and the coachman's long whip cracked incessantly. officer of the Legion of Honor. at a snail's pace. curled up in her furs. During the whole time the Empire was in the ascendancy he remained the chief of the well-disposed Opposition. and gazing mournfully at the sorry interior of the coach. slumbered opposite each other. bore one of the noblest and most ancient names in Normandy. among his friends and acquaintances. His wife-tall. Madame Carre-Lamadon. the horses slipped. a king in the cotton trade. as it lashed some rounded flank. Loiseau was noted for his practical jokes of every description--his tricks. slender. been made a count and governor of a province. steamed. and made a fortune for himself. had compared to a rain of cotton fell no longer. full of quips and wiles. then flinging out its length like a slender serpent." He was undersized and potbellied. a whiteness broken sometimes by a row of tall trees spangled with hoarfrost. dignified in bearing. proceeded to light these. with a loud voice and decided manner-. a voice outside asked: "Is every one there?" To which a voice from the interior replied: "Yes. had a florid face with grayish whiskers. a man of considerable importance. and member of the General Council. Monsieur and Madame Loiseau. which instantly grew tense as it strained in further effort. his natural resemblance to King Henry IV. and no one could mention his name without adding at once: "He's an extraordinary man-Loiseau. slowly.The floor was covered with straw.the frail one's husband having. Formerly clerk to a merchant who had failed in business. in the best seats of all. having brought with them little copper foot-warmers heated by means of a kind of chemical fuel. had been the favored lover of a De Breville lady. was the consolation of all the officers of good family quartered at Rouen. Loiseau had bought his master's interest. which made the country more dazzlingly white by contrast. puffed. and father of her child-. on account of the heavy roads. and spent some time in expatiating in low tones on their advantages. the wheels sank into the snow." and they set out. . she sat opposite her husband. of being a shrewd rascal a true Norman. the entire body of the coach creaked and groaned. graceful. six horses instead of four having been harnessed to the diligence. He sold very bad wine at a very low price to the retail-dealers in the country. The count. coiling up. a nobleman advanced in years and of aristocratic bearing. saying over and over again things which they had all known for a long time. belonging to a superior caste. determined. much younger than her husband. proprietor of three spinning-mills. who. Beside them. strove to enhance by every artifice of the toilet. Above and beyond this. the Comte and Comtesse Hubert de Breville. good or ill-natured. wholesale wine merchants of the Rue Grand-Pont.represented the spirit of order and arithmetic in the business house which Loiseau enlivened by his jovial activity. according to a legend of which the family were inordinately proud. Those light flakes which one traveller. or by a cottage roof hooded in snow. Right at the back. in the mouths of the citizens of Rouen. sat Monsieur Carre-Lamadon. merely in order to command a higher value for his devotion when he should rally to the cause which he meanwhile opposed with "courteous weapons. flying hither and thither. Pretty. At last. The vehicle moved slowly. The ladies at the far end." to use his own expression. and had the reputation. heavy clouds. But the day grew apace. the very name of Loiseau became a byword for sharp practice. in recognition of this fact. Her neighbors. strong. So well established was his character as a cheat that. a native of Rouen. Within the coach the passengers eyed one another curiously in the dim light of dawn.

fringed with thick. sitting opposite the two nuns. consumptive chest. but when he attempted to take up the duties of the position the clerks in charge of the office refused to recognize his authority. and traps set on all the roads. an old. and the countess had. she had two magnificent dark eyes. had a pretty but wasted countenance. was celebrated for an embonpoint unusual for her age. looking like rows of short sausages. One of them was old. attracted all eyes. heavy lashes. She forthwith cast such a challenging. he had thrown himself zealously into the work of making an organized defence of the town. which cast a shadow into their depths. Count Hubert represented the Orleanist party in his department. entertained faultlessly. the nobility vied with one another in doing her honor. established society of good people with religion and principle. and represented Society--with an income--the strong. who watched her with evident interest. owing to her fresh and pleasing appearance. and her drawing-room remained the most select in the whole countryside--the only one which retained the old spirit of gallantry. a peonybud just bursting into bloom. he had hastily returned to the town. and he now impatiently awaited the Republic. On the fourth of September--possibly as the result of a practical joke--he was led to believe that he had been appointed prefect. kissable.established confectioner. He thought he might now do more good at Havre. thoroughly satisfied with his preparations. As soon as she was recognized the respectable matrons of the party began to whisper among themselves. A man and woman. . ripe. The man--a well-known character--was Cornudet. as neighbors two nuns. and he was compelled in consequence to retire. to five hundred thousand francs a year. and so deeply pitted with smallpox that she looked for all the world as if she had received a charge of shot full in the face. The story of his marriage with the daughter of a small shipowner at Nantes had always remained more or less of a mystery. For the past twenty years his big red beard had been on terms of intimate acquaintance with the tankards of all the republican cafes. the terror of all respectable people. the democrat. tightlystretched skin and an enormous bust filling out the bodice of her dress. with the exception of Loiseau. The other. where new intrenchments would soon be necessary. and a narrow. amounted. then at the approach of the enemy. all in real estate. with puffy fingers constricted at the joints. who belonged to the courtesan class. sapped by that devouring faith which is the making of martyrs and visionaries. and the words "hussy" and "public scandal" were uttered so loudly that Boule de Suif raised her head. bold look at her neighbors that a sudden silence fell on the company. Short and round. she was yet attractive and much sought after. it was said. which had earned for her the sobriquet of "Boule de Suif" (Tallow Ball). But as the countess had an air of unmistakable breeding. Her face was like a crimson apple. inoffensive and obliging. With the help of his comrades and brethren he had dissipated a respectable fortune left him by his father. and all lowered their eyes. A good sort of fellow in other respects. of sickly appearance. The woman. that he might at last be rewarded with the post he had earned by his revolutionary orgies. young forest trees felled. These six people occupied the farther end of the coach. and was even supposed to have been loved by a son of Louis-Philippe. The fortune of the Brevilles. It happened by chance that all the women were seated on the same side. moreover.A colleague of Monsieur Carre-Lamadon in the General Council. and to which access was not easy. and was furnished with the tiniest of white teeth. her mouth was small. with a shiny. He had had pits dug in the level country. fat as a pig. who spent the time in fingering their long rosaries and murmuring paternosters and aves.

whom the presence of this girl had suddenly drawn together in the bonds of friendship--one might almost say in those of intimacy. being entirely without food. another followed his example." The alcohol put him in good humor. also.But conversation was soon resumed among the three ladies. Cornudet. according to his character. She would hesitate a moment. it warms one up. and it took two hours to extricate it. Count Hubert related the losses he had sustained at the hands of the Prussians. suddenly. The passengers were becoming uneasy. "As a matter of fact. no wine shop could be discovered. and she could not even understand jokes on such a subject. had taken care to send six hundred thousand francs to England as provision against the rainy day he was always anticipating. he had managed to sell to the French commissariat department all the wines he had in stock. spoke of money matters in a tone expressive of contempt for the poor. and he proposed they should do as the sailors did in the song: eat the fattest of the passengers. "Why did I not think of bringing provisions?" Each one reproached himself in similar fashion. The three men. saying: "That's good stuff. Loiseau declared he would give a thousand francs for a knuckle of ham. had a bottle of rum. for they had counted on lunching at Totes. who. would take violent possession of everything they found. and the increasing gnawings of hunger had put an end to all conversation. They had all been suffering in the same way for some time. Monsieur CarreLamadon. their spirits fell. They decided that they ought to combine. This indirect allusion to Boule de Suif . yawned either quietly or noisily. who can jingle gold wherever they choose to put their hands into their breeches' pockets. the coach foundered in a snowdrift. and each in turn. And all three eyed one another in friendly. in their dignity as wives in face of this shameless hussy. All faces were pale and drawn. as if searching for something under her petticoats. so that the state now owed him a considerable sum. when. I don't feel well. As appetites increased. however. they were united in the brotherhood of money--in that vast freemasonry made up of those who possess. and returned the bottle with thanks. Now and then some one yawned. well-disposed fashion. look at her neighbors. for legitimized love always despises its easygoing brother. They all coldly refused except Loiseau. spoke of the cattle which had been stolen from him." said the count. the crops which had been ruined. The coach went along so slowly that at ten o'clock in the morning it had not covered twelve miles. which he hoped to receive at Havre. As for Loiseau. placing his hand before the gaping void whence issued breath condensed into vapor. for the suspicious peasant invariably hid his stores for fear of being pillaged by the soldiers. a man of wide experience in the cotton industry. which he offered to his neighbors. no inn. the approach of the Prussians and the transit of the starving French troops having frightened away all business. brought together by a certain conservative instinct awakened by the presence of Cornudet. and cheats the appetite. Every one was eagerly looking out for an inn by the roadside. It always hurt her to hear of money being squandered. breeding and social position. About one o'clock Loiseau announced that he positively had a big hollow in his stomach. Although of varying social status. with the easy manner of a nobleman who was also a tenfold millionaire. and whom such reverses would scarcely inconvenience for a single year. His wife made an involuntary and quickly checked gesture of protest. who took a sip. Three times the men of the party got out and climbed the hills on foot. and then quietly sit upright again. as it were. Several times Boule de Suif stooped. but could not find so much as a crust of bread. The men sought food in the farmhouses beside the road. and it seemed now as if they would hardly arrive there before nightfall.

"Upon my soul. well. in his corner. asked their "charming companion" if he might be allowed to offer Madame Loiseau a small helping. Mouths kept opening and shutting. . and drew from underneath the seat a large basket covered with a white napkin. and. out of the coach into the snow of the road below. Then Boule le Suif. At last. they would have liked to kill her. in fine. certainly. with a pocketknife he always carried. I cannot hold out another minute. and after a few stammered words of thanks began to eat quickly. Boule de Suif stooped quickly. without raising their eyes. mouths to water. and began to eat it daintily." He bowed. and her provisions. The two good sisters had ceased to mumble their rosary. sir? It is hard to go on fasting all day. is it not. From this she extracted first of all a small earthenware plate and a silver drinking cup. and. rendering their owner independent of wayside inns. Neither did Cornudet refuse his neighbor's offer. but overstrained Nature gave way at last. at three o'clock. Cornudet alone. No one replied. he added: "At times like this it is very pleasant to meet with obliging people. He said: "Well. but this was passed from one to another. her basket. dainties of all sorts-provisions. "Would you like some. sir. She held out for a long time. then an enormous dish containing two whole chickens cut into joints and imbedded in jelly. madame?" And. this lady had more forethought than the rest of us. which he thereupon proceeded to devour. But Loiseau's gaze was fixed greedily on the dish of chicken. casting a glance on those around. with not a single village in sight. after being wiped. humble tones. The basket was seen to contain other good things: pies. only Cornudet smiled." She looked up at him. together with one of those rolls called in Normandy "Regence. for a three days' journey. invited the nuns to partake of her repast. or throw. doubtless offering up as a sacrifice to Heaven the suffering it had sent them. I can't refuse. as they were in the midst of an apparently limitless plain. Some people think of everything. was hard at work. sat motionless. Loiseau. They both accepted the offer unhesitatingly." He spread a newspaper over his knees to avoid soiling his trousers. and. with hands enfolded in their wide sleeves. causing nostrils to dilate. ferociously masticating and devouring the food.shocked the respectable members of the party. fruit. helped himself to a chicken leg coated with jelly. She took a chicken wing. her and her drinking cup. Her husband. An odor of food filled the air. "Why." All looks were directed toward her. and jaws to contract painfully. The scorn of the ladies for this disreputable female grew positively ferocious. and in low tones urged his wife to follow his example. a sort of table was formed by opening out the newspaper over the four pairs of knees. All is fair in war time. in combination with the nuns. assuming his politest manner. When the first bottle of claret was opened some embarrassment was caused by the fact that there was only one drinking cup." she replied. holding out the dish. their eyes steadfastly cast down. The necks of four bottles protruded from among thp food. in low. with an amiable smile.

opened her eyes. But the sturdy Madame Loiseau. who were accomplished women of the world. But Loiseau continued: "Hang it all. I wept the whole day for very shame. The basket was emptied. Come. and Bottle le Suif related with genuine emotion. The countess especially displayed that amiable condescension characteristic of great ladies whom no contact with baser mortals can sully. for goodness' sake! Do we even know whether we shall find a house in which to pass the night? At our present rate of going we sha'n't be at Totes till midday tomorrow. they set to work with a will. and a cup full of pickled gherkins and onions--Boule de Suif. her eyes closed. All at once the manufacturer's young wife heaved a sigh which made every one turn and look at her. don't stand on ceremony. how it came about that she had left Rouen. surrounded by people who were eating. They could not eat this girl's provisions without speaking to her. He turned toward the abashed girl. It still contained a pate de foie gras. "I thought at first that I should be able to stay. come. fancy cakes. stammered. like all women. Pont-Leveque gingerbread. if I might offer these ladies and gentlemen----" She stopped short. she was white as the snow without." They hesitated. and it seemed better to put up with feeding a few soldiers than to banish myself goodness knows where. Oh. to prevent a recurrence of the catastrophe." Then Boule de Suif. with . and well-nigh suffocated by the odor of food. But the count settled the question. stiffly at first. But. deeds of bravery were recounted of the French. her head fell forward. the nun made her drink a cupful of claret. being very fond of indigestible things. and with that warmth of language not uncommon in women of her class and temperament. "My house was well stocked with provisions. and declared in a feeble voice that she was all right again. looking at the four passengers who were still fasting: "'Mon Dieu'. who had the soul of a gendarme. and in his most distinguished manner said: "We accept gratefully. and made her swallow a few drops of wine. But when I saw these Prussians it was too much for me! My blood boiled with rage. were gracious and tactful. as she seemed by no means forward. and was absolutely charming. No one seemed to know what to do until the elder of the two nuns." she said. raised to his own lips that part of the rim which was still moist from those of his fair neighbor. then. the Comte and Comtesse de Breville and Monsieur and Madame Carre-Lamadon endured that hateful form of torture which has perpetuated the name of Tantalus. with greater freedom. it was only the first step that cost. raising the patient's head. Her husband. and all these people who were fleeing themselves were ready to pay homage to the courage of their compatriots. implored the help of his neighbors. adding: "It's just hunger. madame." As usual. she had fainted. Terrible stories were told about the Prussians. fearing a snub. in such a case as this we are all brothers and sisters and ought to assist each other. Personal experiences soon followed. a piece of smoked tongue. This Rubicon once crossed. continued morose. Crassane pears. Conversation naturally turned on the war.that's what is wrong with you. Then. speaking little and eating much. So they began to talk. no one daring to be the first to accept. ladies. Mesdames de Breville and CarreLamadon. beside himself. smiled. if only I had been a man! I looked at them from my window--the fat swine. placed Boule de Suif's drinking cup to her lips. a lark pie.doubtless in a spirit of gallantry. The pretty invalid moved. blushing and embarrassed.

no one got out. on the pavement. a well-known noise made all the travellers start. though it flagged somewhat after the passengers had finished eating. contemptuous smile. They are just as easy to strangle as other men! And I'd have been the death of that one if I hadn't been dragged away from him by my hair. toward this dignified young woman. unmoved by this tirade. moreover. with the three hours allotted the horses in four periods for feeding and breathing. succeeded in calming the exasperated woman. and stopped before the Hotel du Commerce. The basket was empty. Conversation went on a little longer. Thereupon the driver appeared. for long-bearded democrats of his type have a monopoly of patriotism." But Boule de Suif was indignant. The ten people had finished its contents without difficulty amid general regret that it did not hold more. All was now indistinguishable in the coach. It was Totes. the smile a priest might wear in listening to a devotee praising God. Tiny lights glimmered ahead. They cast a bright gleam on a cloud of vapor which hovered over the sweating flanks of the horses. as if he had received a well-directed. Oh. the darkness grew deeper and deeper. Then some of them were quartered on me. and Cornudet listened to her with the approving and benevolent smile of an apostle. for her feet were icy cold. and stammered in her wrath: "I'd just like to have seen you in his place--you and your sort! There would have been a nice mix-up. and on the roadside snow. then a voice called out something in German. with dogmatic self. in spite of her plumpness. I flew at the throat of the first one who entered. just as priests have a monopoly of religion. Although the coach had come to a standstill. bearded democrat move hastily to one side. He held forth in turn. were drawn. She turned as red as a cherry. and she accepted the offer at once. made fourteen. Mesdames Carre-Lamadon and Loiseau gave theirs to the nuns. imbued with the unreasoning hatred of the upper classes for the Republic. and. holding in his hand one of his ." She was warmly congratulated. which seemed to unroll as they went along in the changing light of the lamps. which. The coach door opened. and Loiseau. and one felt that high words were impending. it was the clanging of a scabbard. It entered the town. the fuel of which had been several times renewed since the morning. fancied he saw the big. though noiseless. in the style of the proclamations daily pasted on the walls of the town. But the countess and the manufacturer's wife. blow in the dark. not without difficulty. saying that all sincere opinions ought to be respected. It would be impossible to live in France if we were governed by such rascals as you!" Cornudet. So Madame de Breville offered her her foot-warmer. and the cold made Boule de Suif shiver. The coach had been on the road eleven hours. still smiled a superior. in spite of themselves. whose opinions coincided so closely with their own. I had to hide after that.assurance. it looked as if they were afraid of being murdered the moment they left their seats. with the affection felt by all women for the pomp and circumstance of despotic government. for she was an ardent Bonapartist. peering into the gloom. winding up with a specimen of stump oratory in which he reviled "that besotted fool of a Louis-Napoleon. and instinct. and here I am. who had not been so brave. Night fell. when the count interposed. yes! It was you who betrayed that man.their pointed helmets!--and my maid held my hands to keep me from throwing my furniture down on them. The driver lighted his lanterns. but suddenly a movement occurred in the corner occupied by Boule de Suif and Cornudet. And as soon as I could get an opportunity I left the place. She rose in the estimation of her companions.

"That is my name. He called: "Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset?" Boule de Suif started. inspected them all minutely." he said to the officer as he put his foot to the ground. The other. saying stiffly: "Kindly get down. acting on an impulse born of prudence rather than of politeness. All were still hungry. They were just about to take their seats at table when the innkeeper appeared in person." and turned on his heel. seemed to weigh down the corners of his mouth and give a droop to his lips. always wheezing. having demanded the passports signed by the general in command. The stout girl tried to control herself and appear calm. and turned round." The two nuns were the first to obey. which cast a sudden glow on the interior of the coach. the virtuous women. a tall young man. In Alsatian French he requested the travellers to alight. kept up the attitude of resistance which he had first assumed when he undertook to mine the high roads round Rouen. Follenvie was his patronymic. Boule de Suif and Cornudet. Both strove to maintain their dignity." .lanterns. while he. description and profession of each traveller. These all opened off a long corridor. Next appeared the count and countess. Then he said brusquely: "All right. insolent like all in authority. grave and dignified before the enemy. merely stared without replying. His exaggerated mustache. at the end of which was a glazed door with a number on it. his flat shiny cap. Half an hour was required for its preparation. They entered the spacious kitchen of the inn. lighting up the double row of startled faces. and while two servants were apparently engaged in getting it ready the travellers went to look at their rooms. pushing his larger and better half before him. "Good-day. resenting the complaisant attitude of their companions. feeling that it was incumbent on him to set a good example. in which were mentioned the name. and clearing his throat. tilted to one side of his head. Boule de Suif tried to wear a bolder front than her neighbors. so supper was ordered. making him look like an English hotel runner. asthmatic individual. and eyes wide open in surprise and terror. were the last to alight. knowing well that at such a time each individual is always looked upon as more or less typical of his nation. followed by the manufacturer and his wife. They breathed freely. ladies and gentlemen. coughing. manifesting the docility of holy women accustomed to submission on every occasion. fair and slender. and the German. also. sir. the democrat stroked his long russet beard with a somewhat trembling hand. comparing their appearance with the written particulars. and. after whom came Loiseau. He was a former horse dealer--a large. Beside the driver stood in the full light a German officer. though near the door. long and straight and tapering to a point at either end in a single blond hair that could hardly be seen. tightly encased in his uniform like a woman in her corset. mouths agape.

for your refusal may bring trouble not only on yourself but also on all your companions. Boule de Suif was begged. she . and I cannot speak of it. The count approached: "You are wrong. The others ordered wine. madame. But the wife was not silent a moment. "And we are grateful to you. his eyes positively squinted in the endeavor not to lose sight of the beloved glass. but I'm not going. quick-tempered girl. Your compliance with this request cannot possibly be fraught with any danger. which matched the color of his favorite beverage. the supper was cheerful. Cornudet demanded beer. She said finally: "I am doing it for your sakes. and when the count pressed the point. every one was afraid of the complications which might result from headstrong action on her part. In spite of this coincidence. gazing at it as he inclined his glass and then raised it to a position between the lamp and his eye that he might judge of its color. it has probably been made because some formality or other was forgotten. every one wondered and speculated as to the cause of this order. she silenced him with much dignity. but she declined to enlighten them. the matter has nothing to do with you. He seemed to have established in his mind an affinity between the two great passions of his life--pale ale and revolution--and assuredly he could not taste the one without dreaming of the other." "To me?" "Yes. urged." They moved restlessly around her." Then they took their places round a high soup tureen. It never pays to resist those in authority. The man. All were anxious to know what had happened. the Prussian officer wishes to speak to you immediately. and at last convinced. When he drank. the Loiseaus and the nuns drank it from motives of economy. Each was distressed that he or she had not been sent for rather than this impulsive. if you are Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset. lectured. All waited for her return before commencing the meal."Mademoiselle." She hesitated. He had his own fashion of uncorking the bottle and making the beer foam. reflected a moment. from which issued an odor of cabbage. Monsieur and Madame Follenvie dined at the end of the table. and he looked for all the world as if he were fulfilling the only function for which he was born. wheezing like a broken-down locomotive." She left the room. remember that!" The countess took her hand. was too short-winded to talk when he was eating. "Oh! the scoundrel! the scoundrel!" she stammered. and each mentally rehearsed platitudes in case of being summoned also. saying: "No." All added their voices to that of the count. crimson with indignation. seemed to tremble with affection. But at the end of ten minutes she reappeared breathing hard. his great beard. and then declared roundly: "That may be. The cider was good.

they all collect in a field. went over to the innkeeper and began chatting in a low voice." But she took no notice of him. and decorations are given to the man who kills the most. madame. these soldiers are of no earthly use! Poor people have to feed and keep them. indeed! And if only you saw them drilling for hours. and in the second because she had two sons in the army. his enormous carcass shook with merriment at the pleasantries of the other. whether they are Prussians. Madame Follenvie. and began to broach delicate subjects. But Loiseau. if they were employed in those great industrial enterprises which it will take centuries to complete. Monsieur Carre-Lamadon was reflecting profoundly. and then pork and potatoes. . indeed. or remain at home and work on their high roads! Really. then they do nothing but march backward and forward. worn out with fatigue. together. sputtered. And don't imagine for a moment that they are clean! No. what they did. only in order that they may learn how to kill! True. coughed." The old woman looked down: "Yes. and are punished for it. I say to myself: When there are people who make discoveries that are of use to people. execrating them in the first place because they cost her money. or Poles. seeing that they make war just to amuse themselves?" Cornudet's eyes kindled. isn't it a terrible thing to kill people. She addressed herself principally to the countess.told how the Prussians had impressed her on their arrival. flattered at the opportunity of talking to a lady of quality. and wheel this way and that." Cornudet raised his voice: "War is a barbarous proceeding when we attack a peaceful neighbor. leaving his seat. Then she lowered her voice. saying: "You would do well to hold your tongue. indeed for days. "Bravo. I shall never be able to understand it. and went on: "Yes. of so much unproductive force. or English. The big man chuckled. the peasant woman's sturdy common sense made him reflect on the wealth which might accrue to a country by the employment of so many idle hands now maintained at a great expense. The moment supper was over every one went to bed. now. madame. it's another matter when one acts in self-defence. but would it not be better to kill all the kings. but when our sons are shot down like partridges. that is all right. what they said. Her husband interrupted her from time to time. but it is a sacred duty when undertaken in defence of one's country. I am only an old woman with no education. citizens!" he said. and he ended by buying six casks of claret from Loiseau to be delivered in spring. Although an ardent admirer of great generals. but when I see them wearing themselves out marching about from morning till night. after the departure of the Prussians. these Germans do nothing but eat potatoes and pork. No. If only they would cultivate the land. why should others take so much trouble to do harm? Really. or French? If we revenge ourselves on any one who injures us we do wrong.

The second. varied by tremors like those of a boiler under pressure of steam. Cornudet. capered round the bedroom before taking his place beside his slumbering spouse. Boule de Suif seemed to be stoutly denying him admission to her room. As a matter of . astonished at what he saw. besides. without either horses or driver. "How silly you are! What does it matter to you?" he said. and then his eye. were. And they have all left wives and children behind them. to the bedroom keyhole. she returned. The first soldier they saw was peeling potatoes. looking more rotund than ever in a dressing-gown of blue cashmere trimmed with white lace. raising her voice still higher. They found them selves in the square. But one of the side doors was partly opened. prolonged rumbling. sent his wife to bed. and dandling it on his knees to quiet it. Monsieur Follenvie had gone to sleep. with the church at the farther side. in his shirtsleeves. Cornudet was loudly insistent. farther on. and he caught a few words. and replied: "No. Loiseau could not at first hear what they said. but toward the end of the conversation they raised their voices. monotonous. She seemed indignant. Then she lost her temper and her caution. telling their obedient conquerors what work they were to do: chop wood. much edified. The patriotic shame of this wanton. and amused himself by placing first his ear. for after bestowing on her a simple kiss he crept softly back to his room. there are times when one does not do that sort of thing. one of them even was doing the washing for his hostess.But Loiseau. Loiseau. my good man. grind coffee. and directed her steps to the numbered door at the end of the corridor. was fondling a crying infant. they come from somewhere farther off. but the coach. and the war causes them just as much unhappiness as it does us. they are not Prussians. The count. regular snoring. As they had decided on starting at eight o'clock the next morning. They spoke in low tones. every one was in the kitchen at that hour. just as we do here. and caught sight of Boule de Suif. I don't exactly know where. and when. at the end of a few minutes. prepare soup.but in vain. and to right and left low-roofed houses where there were some Prussian soldiers." At the end of about an hour he heard a rustling. an infirm old grandmother. She held a candle in her hand. those men are not at all a bad sort." Apparently he did not understand. bearded to the eyes. followed her. So the men of the party resolved to scour the country for him. But soon there arose from some remote part--it might easily have been either cellar or attic--a stertorous. and asked the reason. was washing out a barber's shop. who would not suffer herself to be caressed in the neighborhood of the enemy. a dull. must have roused his dormant dignity. They sought the latter in the stables. I am told. stood by itself in the middle of the yard. they are not fond of war either. and the stout peasant women. said: "Why? Can't you understand why? When there are Prussians in the house! Perhaps even in the very next room!" He was silent. whose men-folk were for the most part at the war. you may be sure! I am sure they are mourning for the men where they come from. then stopped short. coach-houses and barns. questioned the beadle who was coming out of the presbytery. who had been making his observations on the sly. by means of signs. in this place it would be shameful. Unfortunately. and sallied forth. An other. and. peeped out quickly. Then silence reigned throughout the house. in order to discover what he called "the mysteries of the corridor. The old man answered: "Oh. its roof covered with snow.

and work just as if they were in their own homes. I am forbidden to harness the horses. preferring to shut himself up in the inn. "They are repeopling the country. it is the great ones of this world who make war. They asked for Monsieur Follenvie. the Prussian officer. sir. You see." "When?" "Last evening. the innkeeper gave me the order from him. but that also was impossible." said Monsieur Carre-Lamadon gravely. withdrew." "Who gave you such orders?" "Why. now on the froth which crowned his beer. The women returned to their rooms. but I've had different orders since. so I don't harness them--that's all. They wished to see the officer. And Cornudet sat motionless. as though it had served its country in serving Cornudet. fraternizing cordially with the officer's orderly." jested Loiseau. before a blazing fire. admirably colored to a black the shade of its owner's teeth. but sweet-smelling. Go and ask him.fact." "Did he tell you so himself?" "No. his eyes fixed now on the dancing flames. although he lodged in the inn. "Oh. and . Cornudet settled down beside the tall kitchen fireplace." "What orders?" "Not to harness at all. at home in its master's hand. but the servant replied that on account of his asthma he never got up before ten o'clock. Monsieur Follenvie alone was authorized to interview him on civil matters. poor folk always help one another. At last he was discovered in the village cafe. just as I was going to bed. sir. and completing his physiognomy. and occupied themselves with trivial matters. "They are undoing the harm they have done. It was a fine meerschaum. yes." "But why?" "I don't know. because the soldiers do no harm. He had a small table and a jug of beer placed beside him. But they could not find the coach driver. except in case of fire. and he smoked his pipe--a pipe which enjoyed among democrats a consideration almost equal to his own. gracefully curved." Cornudet indignant at the friendly understanding established between conquerors and conquered." The three men returned in a very uneasy frame of mind. "Were you not told to harness the horses at eight o'clock?" demanded the count. They were strictly forbidden to rouse him earlier. things are not so very bad here just now. So they waited.

after each draught he passed his long." "May I ask the reason of your refusal?" "Because I don't choose. Loiseau. thin fingers with an air of satisfaction through his long. and I do not think we have done anything to deserve this harshness at your hands. They are not to start without an order from me. The Prussian sent word that the two men would be admitted to see him after his luncheon--that is to say. Monsieur Follenvie appeared. As the clock struck ten." "I would respectfully call your attention. Boule de Suif appeared ill and very much worried. you will forbid them to harness up the coach for those travellers to-morrow. his feet on the mantelpiece. One believed in the Orleans dynasty. about one o'clock. by way of adding greater solemnity to the occasion. three or four times in succession. smiled like a man who holds the keys of destiny in his hands. and they all ate a little. He was immediately surrounded and questioned. to the fact that your general in command gave us a permit to proceed to Dieppe. After the lapse of a few moments he said in his halting French: "What do you want?" "We wish to start on our journey. went out to see if he could sell wine to the country dealers." "I don't choose--that's all. under pretence of stretching his legs. nor even glanced in their direction. and. The three men went upstairs. monsieur. the words: "The officer said to me. You hear? That is sufficient. but could only repeat. You may go. just like this: 'Monsieur Follenvie. "No. where the officer received them lolling at his ease in an armchair. greeted them." said the count. he declared proudly that he would never have anything to do with the Germans. on which Monsieur Carre-Lamadon also inscribed his name and titles. His pipe perfumed the whole kitchen. resuming his seat in the chimney corner. doubtless stolen from the deserted dwelling of some citizen destitute of taste in dress. He neither rose. greasy hair. listening to them. Loiseau joined the other two. but when they tried to get Cornudet to accompany them. smoking a long porcelain pipe. and were ushered into the best room in the inn. They were finishing their coffee when the orderly came to fetch the gentlemen. He afforded a fine example of that insolence of bearing which seems natural to the victorious soldier.'" Then they asked to see the officer. perhaps a Joan of Arc? or another Napoleon the First? Ah! if only the Prince Imperial were not so young! Cornudet. The count and the manufacturer began to talk politics. as he sucked the foam from his mustache. the other in an unknown savior--a hero who should rise up in the last extremity: a Du Guesclin. and enveloped in a gorgeous dressing-gown. and without variation. The count sent him his card. They forecast the future of France. The ladies reappeared. in spite of their anxiety. he called for another jug of beer." .

They were about to sit down to dinner when Monsieur Follenvie appeared. reply to nothing. imagining all kinds of unlikely things. But Cornudet noticed that Loiseau and his wife were in league to cheat. pale as death. Then. Perhaps they were to be kept as hostages --but for what reason? or to be extradited as prisoners of war? or possibly they were to be held for ransom? They were panicstricken at this last supposition. never!" The fat innkeeper left the room. as soon as the first indignant outburst had subsided. . The approach of night increased their apprehension. His wheezing lungs struck every note of the asthmatic scale. suddenly turning crimson with anger. that cur. but her wrath soon got the better of her. They all congregated in the kitchen. A loud outcry arose against this base soldier. and repeated. Loiseau took off his watch chain.They bowed. soon the interest of the game assuaged the anxiety of the players. The women. above all. All were furious. in which Monsieur Follenvie was invited to join. "What does he want? He wants to make me his mistress!" she cried. she gasped out: "Kindly tell that scoundrel. hoarse piping resembling that of a young cock trying to crow. The ladies went to bed early. The count declared. and pass themselves off as poor--very poor. with supreme disgust. They could not understand the caprice of this German. Then Boule de Suif was surrounded. and the strangest ideas came into their heads. first putting out his pipe for politeness' sake. from deep. gentlemen! attend to the game!" So absorbed was his attention that he even forgot to expectorate. and in his grating voice announced: "The Prussian officer sends to ask Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset if she has changed her mind yet. that I will never consent--you understand?--never. that carrion of a Prussian. The afternoon was wretched. proposed a game of ecarte. but they spoke little and thought much. They racked their brains for plausible lies whereby they might conceal the fact that they were rich. and retired. It would distract their thoughts. and as it wanted yet two hours to dinner Madame Loiseau proposed a game of trente et un. But he thought of nothing but his cards. having lighted their pipes. that those people behaved like ancient barbarians. manifested a lively and tender sympathy for Boule de Suif. so great was the general indignation. The lamp was lighted. The count shuffled the cards--dealt--and Boule de Suif had thirty-one to start with. and the men. the travellers hoping to question him skillfully as to the best means of vanquishing the officer's obduracy. They drew together in common resistance against the foe. They dined. who appeared only at meals. cast down their eyes. The richest among them were the most alarmed. No one was shocked at the word. questioned. She refused at first. The rest agreed. and talked the subject to death. hollow tones to a shrill. The nuns." Boule de Suif stood still. would listen to nothing. Cornudet broke his jug as he banged it down on the table. The consequence was that his chest gave forth rumbling sounds like those of an organ. seeing themselves forced to empty bags of gold into the insolent soldier's hands in order to buy back their lives. time after time: "Attend to the game. and said nothing. never. however. as if some part of the sacrifice exacted of Boule de Suif had been demanded of each. entreated on all sides to reveal the mystery of her visit to the officer. and Cornudet himself joined the party. and put it in his pocket.

They spent their time. that the rest of the party might receive a joyful surprise when they awoke." The count. but a certain constraint seemed to prevail among them. But no one as yet confessed to such thoughts. Luncheon was a gloomy affair. which brings counsel. ever ready to spend the night with friends. as they talked of doing. who were in the habit of spending their day in the church or at the presbytery. replied that they could not exact so painful a sacrifice from any woman. The cold. their encounter with the enemy must inevitably take place at Totes. in this snow? And with our wives? Besides. leaving behind only Cornudet. and each sought his bed. who preferred to sit over the fire. In the cold light of the morning they almost bore a grudge against the girl for not having secretly sought out the Prussian. made a counter attack by way of Dieppe. and a terror at having to spend another day in this wretched little inn. He merely said: "Put my egg-nogg by the fire.He refused to go to bed when his wife. This reflection made the other two anxious. and brought back as prisoners at the mercy of the soldiery. with bodies benumbed and hearts heavy. the count proposed a walk in the neighborhood of the village. who saw perfectly well how matters stood. with a vague hope of being allowed to start. Each one wrapped himself up well. they were silent. and the three men followed a little in their rear. When the other men saw that nothing was to be got out of him they declared it was time to retire. overcome with sleep. and there was a general coolness toward Boule de Suif. The four women walked in front. always courteous. . for she was an early bird. "How can you think of such a thing. always up with the sun. What more simple? Besides. They rose fairly early the next morning. which grew more intense each day." and went on with the game. So she went off alone. while he was addicted to late hours. and that the first move must come from herself. The count shrugged his shoulders. seeing that they were all bored to death. asked suddenly "if that trollop were going to keep them waiting much longer in this Godforsaken spot. overtaken in ten minutes. Monsieur Carre-Lamadon remarked that if the French. had somewhat modified the judgment of her companions. The ladies talked of dress. and when they reached the open country it looked so mournful and depressing in its limitless mantle of white that they all hastily retraced their steps. we should be pursued at once. almost froze the noses and ears of the pedestrians. their feet began to pain them so that each step was a penance. a greater desire than ever to do so." This was true enough. In the afternoon. came to fetch him. and the two nuns. for want of something better to do. Loiseau. who would have been the wiser? She might have saved appearances by telling the officer that she had taken pity on their distress. the driver was invisible. in wandering round the coach. and the little party set out. Alas! the horses remained in the stable. "Supposing we escape on foot?" said Loiseau. Such a step would be of so little consequence to her. for night.

as if the officer were indeed in the act of laying violent hands on her. But no." The two other women shuddered. who are always anxious not to soil their carefully polished boots. Sharp words even were exchanged apropos of the merest trifles. and each one went to bed early in the hope of sleeping. she even regretted that he was not a Frenchman. Boule de Suif flushed crimson to the ears. He had only to say: 'I wish it!' and he might have taken us by force. The men. there were three others of us. A church bell summoned the faithful to a baptism. who had sufficient dignity not to raise their hats. and thus killing time. was for delivering up "that miserable woman. He is master here. he contents himself with the girl who is common property. Loiseau.Suddenly. Then they began to talk about him. uniformed figure was outlined against the snow which bounded the horizon. She did not see him once a year. indeed. and he walked. And now that it is a question of getting us out of a difficulty she puts on virtuous airs. the women scarcely spoke to Boule de Suif. and the three married women felt unutterably humiliated at being met thus by the soldier in company with the girl whom he had treated with such scant ceremony. then glanced scornfully at the men. He intended to keep all the travellers until his condition had been complied with. the rest of the company looked at one another and then drew their chairs together. who had been discussing the subject among themselves. and she grew pale. with whom all the women would assuredly have fallen in love. Why. with the help of his soldiers. knees apart. They came down next morning with tired faces and irritable tempers. Monsieur Follenvie was intrusted with this commission. had shown him the door. As soon as she had gone out. Loiseau had an inspiration: he proposed that they should ask the officer to detain Boule de Suif only. for they realized that they must decide on some course of action. the drab! For my part. He respects married women. Whereupon Madame Loiseau's vulgar temperament broke bounds. and never thought of him. Just think. and his face. Boule de Suif had a child being brought up by peasants at Yvetot. though Loiseau made a movement to do so. the officer appeared. his figure. When they were once more within doors they did not know what to do with themselves. but he returned to them almost immediately. who knew human nature. "We're not going to die of old age here!" she cried. Madame Carre-Lamadon. but the idea of the child who was about to be baptized induced a sudden wave of tenderness for her own. The German. the eyes of pretty Madame Carre-Lamadon glistened. drew near. who had known many officers and judged them as a connoisseur. thought him not at all bad-looking. The silent dinner was quickly over. with that motion peculiar to soldiers. I may as well tell you she took any lovers she could get at Rouen--even coachmen! Yes." bound hand and foot. at the end of the street. "Since it's that vixen's trade to behave so with men I don't see that she has any right to refuse one more than another. into the . any one of whom he would undoubtedly have preferred. and she insisted on being present at the ceremony. for he buys his wine of us. He bowed as he passed the ladies. and to let the rest depart on their way. I think this officer has behaved very well. in a state of furious resentment. wasp-like. because in that case he would have made a very handsome hussar. madame--the coachman at the prefecture! I know it for a fact. His tall.

told what she had seen and heard. and endowed. "We must persuade her. the maneuvers to be executed. They decided on the plan of campaign. She was there. Ancient examples were quoted: Judith and Holofernes. taking no share in the plot. Lucrece and Sextus. a means of ruling." he said. but so tactfully were they said that his audience could not help smiling. and the surprise attacks which were to reduce this human citadel and force it to receive the enemy within its walls. As soon as they took their seats at table the attack began. made of their bodies a field of battle. She concluded with the words: "It does one good to pray sometimes. They suddenly stopped talking. moreover. his lieutenants. and a vague embarrassment prevented them for a few moments from addressing her. were adepts at delicate phrases and charming subtleties of expression to describe the most improper things. descended from three generations of ambassadors. and even the appearance of the church. the attitudes of those present. they lowered their voices. seeing that the thin veneer of modesty with which every woman of the world is furnished goes but a very little way below the surface. was in favor of more tactful measures. They held up to admiration all those women who from time to time have arrested the victorious progress of conquerors.feeling themselves in their element. which told how the matrons of Rome seduced Hannibal. and the thought expressed with such brutal directness by his wife was uppermost in the minds of all: "Since it's the girl's trade. But the count whispered a gentle "Hush!" which made the others look up. . born of the imagination of these ignorant millionaires. but no one took offence. and the discussion became general. then. The women drew together. they began rather to enjoy this unedifying episode. Then they laid their plans. so as to increase her confidence and make her amenable to their advice. But the conversation was not in the least coarse. The ladies. But the count. each giving his or her opinion. in particular. a weapon. First they opened a vague conversation on the subject of self-sacrifice. The blockade was as carefully arranged as if they were investing a fortress. Their gaiety returned of itself. So absorbed was the attention of all that Boule de Suif's entrance was almost unnoticed. Each agreed on the role which he or she was to play. Cleopatra and the hostile generals whom she reduced to abject slavery by a surrender of her charms. the stratagems they were to employ. so guarded was the language they employed. the arguments to be used. The count uttered several rather risky witticisms. Next was recounted an extraordinary story. furthering the schemes of lawless love with the gusto of a gourmand cook who prepares supper for another. A stranger would have understood none of their allusions.enemy's power. described the faces. with the lineaments of a diplomat. But Cornudet remained apart from the rest. But. and at bottom were hugely delighted-. and all his mercenaries at Capua. still under the stress of emotion. more practiced than the others in the wiles of the drawing-room. irrationally enough. asked her: "Was the baptism interesting?" The girl. why should she refuse this man more than another?" Dainty Madame Carre-Lamadon seemed to think even that in Boule de Suif's place she would be less inclined to refuse him than another. so amusing at last did the whole business seem to them. Loiseau in turn made some considerably broader jokes." Until lunch time the ladies contented themselves with being pleasant to her. But the countess.

This was a powerful argument." Boule de Suif answered briefly: "No. An action reprehensible in itself often derives merit from the thought which inspires it. provided the motive were praiseworthy. Each was cudgeling his brains for further examples of self-sacrifice. and could find none. could displease our Lord. During the whole afternoon she was left to her reflections. The two nuns seemed to hear nothing. bigoted. Boule de Suif also was silent. All was said with the utmost care and discretion. a continual abandonment of herself to the caprices of a hostile soldiery." And in this wise they talked on. monsieur." But at dinner the coalition weakened. describing Him as interested in matters which assuredly concern Him but little. and to be lost in thought. her companions addressed her simply as "mademoiselle. and moved simply by a vague desire to do homage to religion. She looked on Abraham's sacrifice as natural enough. whether by reason of a tacit understanding. fathoming the wishes of God. talkative. in her opinion. her conscience no scruples. The countess. Just as soup was served. predicting His judgments. but every word uttered by the holy woman in her nun's garb weakened the indignant resistance of the courtesan." without exactly knowing why. She was not troubled by the ins and outs of casuistry. Monsieur Follenvie reappeared. But instead of calling her "madame" as they had done hitherto." she asked. and sacrificed their chastity to vengeance and devotion. putting to good use the consecrated authority of her unexpected ally. led her on to make a lengthy and edifying paraphrase of that axiom enunciated by a certain school of moralists: "The end justifies the means. a thinly veiled act of complaisance such as those who wear the ecclesiastical habit excel in. when the countess. Then. but as if desirous of making her descend a step in the esteem she had won. but the Church readily pardons such deeds when they are accomplished for the glory of God or the good of mankind. the effect heightened now and then by an outburst of forced enthusiasm calculated to excite emulation. repeating his phrase of the evening before: "The Prussian officer sends to ask if Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset has changed her mind. A listener would have thought at last that the one role of woman on earth was a perpetual sacrifice of her person. Loiseau made three unfortunate remarks. and pardons the act when the motive is pure?" "Undoubtedly. "you think God accepts all methods." "Then.the old nun rendered formidable aid to the conspirator. or whether merely as the result of sheer stupidity--a stupidity admirably adapted to further their designs-. All was said with due restraint and regard for propriety. her doctrines were as iron bars. madame. began to question the elder of the two nuns on the most striking facts in the lives of the saints. it fell out that many of these had committed acts which would be crimes in our eyes. They had thought her timid.who have vanquished by their heroic caresses hideous or detested beings. sister. and forcing her to realize her degraded position. possibly without ulterior motive. her faith knew no doubt. and . she proved herself bold. Now. for she herself would not have hesitated to kill both father and mother if she had received a divine order to that effect. and nothing. and the countess made the most of it. Then the conversation drifted somewhat.

argument. and whispered: "Is it all right?" "Yes. of herself. and as she told the story of her campaigns she revealed herself as one of those holy sisters of the fife and drum who seem designed by nature to follow camps. in Italy. She described these wretched invalids and their malady. more effectually than any general. "So you prefer to leave us here. while they themselves were detained on their way by the caprices of the Prussian officer. how awkward for them all! The dinner hour struck. then the count. As soon as the meal was over the travellers retired to their rooms. As soon as they returned she went to her room. He tried kindness. of her Superior. They had been sent for from Havre to nurse the hundreds of soldiers who were in hospitals. to snatch the wounded from amid the strife of battle. spoke of their gratitude. whence they emerged the following day at a late hour of the morning. rather than consent to surrender yourself. her seamed and pitted face itself an image of the devastations of war. even tender--speeches. and making pretty--nay. He exalted the service she would render them. announcing that Mademoiselle Rousset was not well. Nicephore. he could boast then of having made a conquest of a pretty girl such as he won't often find in his own country. The count drew near the innkeeper. exposed like yourself to all the violence which would follow on a repulse of the Prussian troops. my dear. took Boule de Suif's arm. He still bore himself as count. when desirable. slightly contemptuous tone which men of his class adopt in speaking to women like her. using the familiar "thou": "And you know. The seed sown the preceding evening was being given time to germinate and bring forth fruit. calling her "my dear child." . and was seen no more.the nun began to talk of the convents of her order. an attitude of gallantry. The general anxiety was at its height." Boule de Suif did not answer. Luncheon passed off quietly. then. the rough and insubordinate troopers--a masterful woman. and joined the rest of the party. as you have done so many times in your life?" The girl did not reply. she had been in the Crimea." and talking down to her from the height of his exalted social position and stainless reputation. in Austria. sentiment. Sister St. and walked with her at some distance behind the rest. He began talking to her in that familiar. and that they might sit down to table. even while adopting. suddenly. and to quell with a word. He came straight to the point. They all pricked up their ears. and of her fragile little neighbor. stricken with smallpox. In the afternoon the countess proposed a walk. At last Monsieur Follenvie entered. What would she do? If she still resisted. No one spoke when she had finished for fear of spoiling the excellent effect of her words. as had been arranged beforehand. And. scores of Frenchmen might be dying. paternal. they waited for her in vain. whom they would otherwise have saved! For the nursing of soldiers was the old nun's specialty.

"By Gad!" shouted Loiseau. Loiseau. All stood up. fairly in his element. "It is a pity. They had all suddenly become talkative and merry. witty. every face was lighted up with joy. he related the "mysteries of the corridor. who even in his moments of relaxation preserved a dignified demeanor. toward midnight. and answered: "I tell you all. holding aloft a glass of champagne. Even the two good sisters yielded to the solicitations of the ladies. The conversation was animated. reached the door. but with a pleasanter flavor. At last. we might have had a quadrille. and. exclaimed: "Really." said Loiseau. and consented to moisten their lips with the foaming wine. he seemed plunged in serious thought. all the company were amused by them. The count and Monsieur Carre-Lamadon laughed till they cried. as if trying to add still further to its length. "I'll stand champagne all round if there's any to be found in this place. They could scarcely believe their ears. A great sigh of relief went up from all breasts. The ladies could hardly contain their delight. writhing with laughter. "What! you are sure? He wanted----" "I tell you I saw it with my own eyes. saying thickly: "You're not jolly to-night. hit on a much-appreciated comparison of the condition of things with the termination of a winter spent in the icy solitude of the North Pole and the joy of shipwrecked mariners who at last perceive a southward track opening out before their eyes. and repeating: "Infamous!" disappeared. suddenly slapped him on the back. The count. "I drink to our deliverance!" he shouted. although many of the jokes were in the worst possible taste. they had drunk much. but soon recovered his aplomb. Loiseau. They declared it was like effervescent lemonade. you are all too green for anything!" Pressed for an explanation. Loiseau himself looked foolish and disconcerted for a moment. At dessert even the women indulged in discreetly worded allusions.Out of regard for propriety he said nothing to his companions." whereat his listeners were hugely amused. And the mental atmosphere had gradually become filled with gross imaginings and unclean thoughts. "that we have no piano." Cornudet had not spoken a word or made a movement. whose gait was far from steady. A chill fell on all. when they were about to separate. old man?" Cornudet threw back his head. cast one swift and scornful glance over the assemblage. you have done an infamous thing!" He rose. rose to his feet. and greeted the toast with acclamation. and. on surroundings. and none offended--indignation being dependent. like other emotions. sprightly." . which they had never before tasted. and now and then tugged furiously at his great beard. the manufacturer paid compliments to the countess. a lively joy filled all hearts. Their glances were full of meaning." And great was Madame Loiseau's dismay when the proprietor came back with four bottles in his hands. but merely nodded slightly toward them. why are you so silent. The count seemed to perceive for the first time that Madame Carre-Lamadon was charming.

The rest seemed neither to see nor to know her--all save Madame Loiseau. It's perfectly sickening!" The next morning the snow showed dazzling white tinder a clear winter sun. arriving last of all. The count. and the journey began afresh. who was nothing if not spiteful. with much dignity. picking at the steaming manure. Boule de Suif dared not even raise her eyes. radiant with delight at their approaching departure. She felt at once indignant with her neighbors. stupefied with astonishment. took his wife by the arm. Then they separated. and removed her from the unclean contact. and humiliated at having yielded to the Prussian into whose arms they had so hypocritically cast her. remarked. The girl stood still." The count was choking with laughter. and advanced with timid step toward her companions. silently took the place she had occupied during the first part of the journey. At last she appeared. followed by the despised courtesan. choking. She seemed rather shamefaced and embarrassed. Every one suddenly appeared extremely busy. plucking up courage. and kept as far from Boule de Suif as if tier skirts had been infected with some deadly disease. waited before the door."And she refused?" "Because the Prussian was in the next room!" "Surely you are mistaken?" "I swear I'm telling you the truth. The manufacturer held his sides. half aloud. who." "You know. Then they hurried to the coach." to which the other replied merely with a slight arid insolent nod. The driver. accosted the manufacturer's wife with a humble "Good-morning. But Madame Loiseau. "when women run after uniforms it's all the same to them whether the men who wear them are French or Prussian. puffed out their white feathers and walked sedately between the legs of the six horses. and all the passengers. almost ill with merriment. remarked to her husband as they were on the way to bed that "that stuck-up little minx of a Carre-Lamadon had laughed on the wrong side of her mouth all the evening." she said. madame." And all three began to laugh again. glancing contemptuously in her direction. ready at last. to her husband: "What a mercy I am not sitting beside that creature!" The lumbering vehicle started on its way. coughing. The coach. . with pink eyes spotted in the centres with black. then. They were waiting only for Boule de Suif. Loiseau continued: "So you may well imagine he doesn't think this evening's business at all amusing. accompanied by a look of outraged virtue. who. was smoking a pipe on the box. wrapped in his sheepskin coat. who with one accord turned aside as if they had not seen her. were putting up provisions for the remainder of the journey. At first no one spoke. while a flock of white pigeons.

But the countess. Boule de Suif. His wife thereupon produced a parcel tied with string. and remarked that he was hungry. She made terrible efforts at self. she watched all these people placidly eating. then resumed their rapid and unintelligible murmur. their lips moving ever more and more swiftly. the pies. and an artist to the finger tips. In one of those oval dishes. bore the imprint: "Items of News. thin slices. swallowed the sobs which choked her. no one thought of her. was a succulent delicacy consisting of the brown flesh of the game larded with streaks of bacon and flavored with other meats chopped fine. and she was on the verge of tears. the lids of which are decorated with an earthenware hare. The two good sisters brought to light a hunk of sausage smelling strongly of garlic. but the tears rose nevertheless. which had been wrapped in a newspaper. the count. from which she extracted a piece of cold veal. ill-suppressed wrath shook her whole person." "Such a charming woman!" "Delightful! Exceptionally talented. where they looked like stars. by way of showing that a game pie lies within. Ah the end of three hours Loiseau gathered up the cards. she is a friend of mine. in the haste and confusion of her departure. turning toward Madame Carre-Lamadon. the pears. This she cut into neat.control. as if they sought which should outdistance the other in the race of orisons. who had abstracted from the inn the timeworn pack of cards. shone at the brink of her . stifling with rage. and. A solid wedge of Gruyere cheese. but she could not utter a word. drew herself up. and she opened her lips to shriek the truth at them. "We may as well do the same. the four bottles of claret." said the countess. At first. and the Carre-Lamadons. thick with the grease of five years' contact with half-wiped-off tables. letting morsels of the bright yellow yolk fall in his mighty beard. started a game of bezique with his wife. to overwhelm them with a volley of insults. No one looked at her." Loiseau. oily surface. She felt herself swallowed up in the scorn of these virtuous creatures. plunging both hands at once into the capacious pockets of his loose overcoat. so choked was she with indignation. and began to devour the eggs. The good sisters. from time to time they kissed a medal. produced from one four hard-boiled eggs and from the other a crust of bread. then rejected her as a thing useless and unclean. and both began to eat. The rest agreed. Cornudet sat still. He removed the shells. threw them into the straw beneath his feet. and she unpacked the provisions which had been prepared for herself. taking up simultaneously the long rosaries hanging from their waists. and amid the clatter of the window-panes a word of their conversation was now and then distinguishable: "Shares--maturity--premium--time-limit. soon broke the painful silence: "I think you know Madame d'Etrelles?" "Yes. made the sign of the cross. lost in thought. She sings marvellously and draws to perfection. had not thought of anything. Then she remembered her big basket full of the good things they had so greedily devoured: the two chickens coated in jelly. and crossed themselves anew. and Cornudet. and began to mutter in unison interminable prayers." on its rich. and her fury broke forth like a cord that is overstrained." The manufacturer was chatting with the count. who had first sacrificed.

" Everything in nature seemed to him to have been created in accordance with an admirable and absolute logic. one after another. hoping desperately that no one saw her give way. to recall every word of every line. He believed sincerely that he knew his God. Clair de Lune Abbe Marignan's martial name suited him well. what of it? It's not my fault." He said to himself: "I am the servant of God. and soon two heavy drops coursed slowly down her cheeks. liberte cherie. or to guess it if I do not know it. Liberte. dreary hours of the journey. She sat upright. he would sometimes ask himself the question: "Why has God done this?" And he would dwell on this continually.eyelids.hearers to follow the song from end to end. Cornudet saw the discomfort he was creating. Combats avec tes defenseurs! The coach progressed more swiftly. fanatic. But the countess noticed that she was weeping. as if to say: "Well. who was digesting his eggs. He would never have cried out in an outburst of pious humility: "Thy ways. putting himself in the place of God. and fell. sometimes he even hummed the words: Amour sacre de la patrie. folded his arms. forcing his weary and exasperated. and all the way to Dieppe. on her rounded bosom. and seemed ready to howl as a dog does at the sound of a barrel-organ. the popular air evidently did not find favor with them. Cornudet continued with fierce obstinacy his vengeful and monotonous whistling. it is right for me to know the reason of His deeds. The "whys" and "becauses" always balanced. . O Lord. and with a sign drew her husband's attention to the fact. and whistled the louder. are past finding out. during the long. and sometimes a sob she could not restrain was heard in the darkness between two verses of the song. Dawn was given to make our awakening pleasant. All his beliefs were fixed. yet upright. thin priest. Conduis. smiled like a man who had just thought of a good joke." The two nuns had betaken themselves once more to their prayers. The faces of his neighbors clouded. He shrugged his shoulders. then in the thick darkness. Others followed more quickly. stretched his long legs under the opposite seat. never varying. He was a tall. desires and intentions. understood His plans. they grew nervous and irritable. her face pale and rigid. first wrapping the remainder of their sausage in paper: Then Cornudet." Madame Loiseau chuckled triumphantly. raising his voice above the rumbling of the vehicle. soutiens. and he almost invariably found an answer. with a fixed expression. and murmured: "She's weeping for shame. first in the gathering dusk. the snow being harder now. excitable. threw himself back. and began to whistle the Marseillaise. like water filtering from a rock. When he walked with long strides along the garden walk of his little country parsonage. And Boule de Suif still wept. nos bras vengeurs. as each was repeated over and over again with untiring persistency.

Often. just like a snare. When the abbe preached she laughed. you lie. even in this. Almost suffocated by the fearful emotion this news roused in him. climates and matter. the ineradicable tenderness that is always budding in women's hearts. but looked about her at the sky. with her lips open and her arms stretched out to man. the feeble creature. and the dark nights for sleep. awakening in his depths the sensation of paternity which slumbers in every man. the evenings for preparation for slumber. He felt this cursed tenderness. and no suspicion had ever come to the priest of the fact that nature has no intentions. lengthening his stride as though flying from danger. whom their vows had rendered inoffensive. nevertheless. and one could see the joy of life sparkling in her eyes. in their lowered eyes. he hated their loving hearts. because he felt that at the bottom of their fettered and humble hearts the everlasting tenderness was burning brightly--that tenderness which was shown even to him. the rains to moisten it. that. He had a niece who lived with her mother in a little house near him. who kept house for Abbe Marignan. he grew angry at this need of love that is always vibrating in them. And he would shake his cassock on leaving the convent doors. he stood there. According to his belief.the days to ripen the harvest. Himself. and walk off. Then there came a day when the sexton's wife. the grass and flowers. and roused the priest. but he was stern with them. She was a pretty. crying out as she brought it back: "Look. with caution. his face covered with soap. Sometimes she would dart forward to catch some flying creature. for he was in the act of shaving. on the contrary. He had no indulgence except for nuns. When he had sufficiently recovered to think and speak he cried: "It is not true. who saw. And even more than their sinful bodies. and though he knew that he was invulnerable. But he hated woman--hated her unconsciously. The four seasons corresponded perfectly to the needs of agriculture. One must not approach her without defensive precautions and fear of possible snares. told him. He had often felt their tenderness directed toward himself. he would speak to her of God. She never listened to him. while he sought unconsciously to release himself from this embrace which nevertheless filled him with a sweet pleasure. uncle. a priest. indeed. He was bent upon making a sister of charity of her. drawing him to her heart. and in their resigned tears when he reproved them roughly." She was the tempter who led the first man astray. and despised her by instinct. were dissatisfied with this work of His. Melanie!" . how pretty it is! I want to hug it!" And this desire to "hug" flies or lilac blossoms disquieted. along the country road. of his God. She was. and who since then had ever been busy with her work of damnation. even in their docility. God had created woman for the sole purpose of tempting and testing man. brainless madcap. in the low tones of their voices when speaking to him. He often repeated the words of Christ: "Woman. angered. dangerous and mysteriously affecting one. that his niece had a lover. everything which exists must conform to the hard demands of seasons. and when he was angry with her she would give him a hug. when walking by her side. what have I to do with thee?" and he would add: "It seems as though God.

metallic note of the cricket. the Fathers of the Church. full of anger and indignation. exhaled a delicious sweetness. When ten o'clock struck he seized his cane. a vague feeling of disquiet came over him. without thinking. a formidable oak stick. gritting his teeth. which he was accustomed to carry in his nocturnal walks when visiting the sick. almost forgetting his niece. "Why did God make this? Since the night is destined for sleep. he felt suddenly distracted and moved by all the grand and serene beauty of this pale night. vibrant music that sets one dreaming. he was asking one of those questions that he sometimes put to himself. though he knew not why. Then he raised it suddenly and. make the darkness so transparent? . and distant nightingales shook out their scattered notes--their light. a music made for kisses. languishing charm of serene nights. At each moment was heard the short. As soon as he was outside of the garden. repose. so discreet is it. The abbe walked on again. growing more and. to think. his heart failing. and in spite of them. of her guardian and pastor. and he walked along slowly. covering all the tortuous course of the water with a kind of light and transparent cotton. but could not. following the undulations of the little river. she goes there every night when your sister has gone to bed. more angry. brought it down on a chair. and the selfish emotion shown by parents when their daughter announces that she has chosen a husband without them. The priest stopped once again. saying: "May our Lord judge me if I lie. country fist. his soul filled with a growing and irresistible tenderness. deceived and tricked by a child.But the peasant woman put her hand on her heart. suddenly exhausted. forgetfulness of everything. unconsciousness. to rest there. as he always did when he was in deep thought. hung around and above the mountains. to admire God in His works. Monsieur le Cure! I tell you. Down yonder." He ceased scraping his chin. scarcely in full leaf. more poetic than the sun. his fruit trees in a row cast on the ground the shadow of their slender branches. he wanted to sit down. After dinner he tried to read a little. All day long he was silent. as he was gifted with an emotional nature. to illuminate things too delicate and mysterious for the light of day. but stopped on the sill. he stopped to gaze upon the plain all flooded with the caressing light. softer than dawn or evening? And does why this seductive planet. delighted. silvering it and making it gleam. When he began shaving again he cut himself three times from his nose to his ear. surprised by the splendid moonlight. why make it more charming than day. while the giant honeysuckle. He seemed weakened. In his little garden. bathed in that tender. clinging to the wall of his house. between ten o'clock and midnight. a white haze through which the moonbeams passed. He opened the door to go out. And he smiled at the enormous club which he twirled in a threatening manner in his strong. you have only to go there and see. the broken back of which fell over on the floor. all bathed in soft light. marveling. a great line of poplars wound in and out. that seems destined. A fine mist. and began to walk up and down impetuously. filling the warm moonlit atmosphere with a kind of perfumed soul. of such brilliance as is seldom seen. He began to take long breaths. And a doubt. one such as had all those poetic dreamers. To his priestly hatred of this invincible love was added the exasperation of her spiritual father. And. They meet by the river side. drinking in the air as drunkards drink wine. for the seduction of moonlight.

out there. almost a market town. He stood still. and they came toward the priest as a living answer. without our being able to get rid of them. The verses of the Song of Songs began to ring in his ears. to mend the linen. that I am astonished at not being able to pass a single day without the face of Mother Bellflower recurring to my mind's eye. his heart beating. and held his arm about his sweetheart's neck and kissed her brow every little while. in some of those glorious stories of which the sacred books tell. the accomplishment of the will of the Lord. And does not God permit love. this enervation of the body? Why this display of enchantments that human beings do not see. no right to enter Clochette How strange those old recollections are which haunt us. Since then I have seen so many sinister things. this emotion of the spirit. all upset. every Thursday. now so long ago. like the loves of Ruth and Boaz. under the arch of trees bathed in a shining mist. the being for whom was destined this calm and silent night. The man was the taller. The village."Why does not the greatest of feathered songsters sleep like the others? Why does it pour forth its voice in the mysterious night? "Why this half-veil cast over the world? Why these tremblings of the heart. on the edge of the meadow. to which are attached three or four farms lying around them. a large village. My parents lived in one of those country houses called chateaux. just as I knew her formerly. was a few hundred yards away. this abundance of poetry cast from heaven to earth?" And the abbe could not understand. which were either affecting or terrible. since they are lying in their beds? For whom is destined this sublime spectacle. as if he had intruded into a temple where he had. But he asked himself now if he would not be disobeying God. closely circling the church. to the placid landscape in which they were framed as by a heavenly hand. the response his Master sent to his questionings. black with age. all the poetry of this poem replete with tenderness. all at once. They imparted life. since He surrounds it with such visible splendor? And he went back musing. a red brick church. Yet it was his niece. which are merely old houses with gable roofs. This one is so very old that I cannot understand how it has clung so vividly and tenaciously to my memory. The two seemed but a single being." He shrank back from this couple that still advanced with arms intertwined. and it seemed to him that he saw before him some biblical scene. almost ashamed. when I was ten or twelve years old. the appeal of passion. . But see. And he said unto himself: "Perhaps God has made such nights as these to idealize the love of men. She was an old seamstress who came to my parents' house once a week. two figures are walking side by side.

how a cow had escaped from the cow-house and had been found the next morning in front of Prosper Malet's windmill. but like a ship at anchor. under her nose. and her head. "That draws the blood from your throat. As soon as I arrived. and her spectacles glistened against the wall. She told me these simple adventures in such a manner. seemed to traverse the horizon from north to south and from south to north. poignant. growing in improbable tufts. her eyes behind her magnifying spectacles. and went immediately into the linen-room and began to work. whose voice I recognized. swerving body on her sound leg. She told me stories." she said to me. none of the breadth or vigor of the peasant woman's narratives. on her chin. not as lame people generally do. a surprising. was extended under her chair. but still holding her needle in one hand and one of my shirts in the other. she seemed to be preparing to mount some enormous wave. and buried herself in the ground. the large heart of a poor woman. I saw the old seamstress lying on the ground by the side of her chair. for she had a beard all over her face. had none of the flavor. I went slowly down into the drawing-room and hid myself in a dark corner. as far as I can remember the things which she told me and by which my childish heart was moved. thin. I adored Mother Clochette. whose ribbons fluttered down her back. She had. They all came running. in the depths of an immense old armchair. On opening the door of the linen-room. with a foot-warmer under her feet. She was a tall. which was always covered with an enormous white cap. and in a few minutes I was told that Mother Clochette was dead. She told me what had happened in the village. and quite gray. or the story of Jean-Jean Pila's dog. I cannot describe the profound. She had them on her nose. looked exactly like a pair of mustaches stuck on there by mistake. for age had impaired her sight. no doubt. appeared enormous to me. at each step. in curly bunches which looked as if they had been sown by a madman over that great face of a gendarme in petticoats. where I knelt down and wept. so that I might not catch cold in that large. round her nose. or about a hen's egg which had been found in the church belfry without any one being able to understand what creature had been there to lay it. and the ingenious stories invented by the poets which my mother told me in the evening. Her walk reminded one of a storm. one Tuesday. As soon as I was up I went into the linen. on her cheeks. Suddenly somebody came in with a lamp. an unexpected beard. who had been ten leagues to bring back his master's breeches which a tramp had stolen whilst they were hanging up to dry out of doors. looking at the sails turning. I remained there a long time. Well. of grand and mysterious poems. she made me take the foot-warmer and sit upon it. every Thursday Mother Clochette came between half-past six and seven in the morning. When she planted her great. I wanted to go upstairs to her again during the day after picking hazelnuts with the manservant in the wood behind the farm. and her eyebrows. I remember it all as clearly as what happened only yesterday. and then suddenly she dipped as if to disappear in an abyss.room where I found her installed at work. bony. terrible emotion which stirred my childish heart. as she swayed about. with her face to the ground and her arms stretched out. whilst mending the linen with her long crooked nimble fingers. after he had been in the rain. strangely profound. bearded or rather hairy woman. . double. She limped. when I had spent all the morning in listening to Mother Clochette. as they had rolled away from her.Well. One of her legs in a blue stocking. for night came on. and I heard my father and mother talking with the medical man. however. which were extraordinarily thick and long. without seeing me. that in my mind they assumed the proportions of never-to-be -forgotten dramas. no doubt. bushy and bristling. the longer one. I ran away uttering shrill cries. chilly room under the roof.

and double locking the door.loft behind the school. and becoming furious all of a sudden. for you are talking. and a pretty girl. and the bones had come trough the flesh. opened it quickly. who was a coward such as one frequently meets. who occasionally got out of bed the wrong foot first. "the poor woman! She broke her leg the day of my arrival here. for it was a bad case. he continued: 'Why. Then he sat down and had a glass of liqueur and a biscuit. however. He went on talking.' "The loft was very large and absolutely dark. Monsieur Grabu. Now that she is dead. she fell in love with him. and Sigisbert pushed the frightened girl to the further end and said: 'Go over there and hide yourself. very pretty! Would any one believe it? I have never told her story before. no doubt. "Old Grabu found nobody. She did not complain. well-made fellow. and went down again in great surprise. but he paid no attention to them.' 'I will soon find out. as she had fallen from the second story. Sigisbert?' Feeling sure that he would be caught. and a quarter of an hour later. at any rate.' 'I swear I am. for the right leg was broken in three places. and asked: 'What are you doing up there. and was beginning to say pretty things to her. and who was afterwards nicknamed Clochette. The girl had remained at the foot of the wall unable to get up. very bad. Do hide yourself!' They could hear the key turning in the lock again. It was raining in torrents. I may be less discreet. and then said in a low and determined voice: 'You will come and pick me up when he is gone. at night. and I went with him to fetch her. so that he may not find you. with admirable resignation: 'I am punished. old Grabu.' and she jumped out.' "When the schoolmaster heard the whispering. and he was explaining the causes of the accident. The assistant master singled out the pretty young girl. he went down to get a light. "Just then a young assistant-teacher came to live in the village. you are not by yourself?' 'Yes. to wait for her lover. lost his head.He had been sent for immediately. and looked like a non-commissioned officer. "Old Grabu already employed pretty Hortense who has just died here. the schoolmaster. the young schoolmaster lost his presence of mind and replied stupidly: 'I came up here to rest a little amongst the bundles of hay. he repeated: 'Hide yourself. Monsieur Sigisbert came to me and related his adventure. You will keep me from making a living for the rest of my life. when the door of the hay-loft opened and the schoolmaster appeared.' the old man replied. and he succeeded in persuading her to give him a first meeting in the hay. but instead of going downstairs when she left the Grabus' she went upstairs and hid among the hay. I am. He soon joined her. Monsieur Grabu!' 'But you are not. of which I understood nothing. "She pretended to go home. and I had not even had time to wash my hands after getting off the diligence before I was sent for in all haste. well punished!' . and I brought the unfortunate girl home with me. who was. "Then the young man. and nobody except myself and one other person who is no longer living in this part of the country ever knew it. "She was seventeen. he was a handsome. flattered at being chosen by this impregnable conqueror. and merely said. after she had done her day's sewing. so get away and hide yourself. All the girls ran after him. I shall lose my position. and Hortense ran to the window which looked out on the street. and what he then said will remain engraved on my mind until I die! I think that I can give the exact words which he used. partly because he was very much afraid of his superior. "Ah!" said he. you will ruin my whole career. Monsieur Grabu.

by taking their places and carrying on their business. you understand why. She was a martyr. "That is all! And I say that this woman was a heroine and belonged to the race of those who accomplish the grandest deeds of history. He was a man of quiet temperament. I may even find something better. who lived on an income acquired with difficulty by selling drugs to the farmers. I shall get my money to-morrow. I could have made a fortune! One thousand francs would do me. After thinking the matter over for a few days. and she died a virgin. Five thousand francs are not liable to harm the account of an old bachelor. Old man Malois is afraid of the law-suit with which I am threatening him. Marambot was not rich. he would be satisfied to say: "Bah! I'll wait until the next time. a noble soul. I should not have told you this story. my boy." M. who was known throughout the countryside as a model servant. more sad than gay. a bachelor." Denis. made-up story of a runaway carriage which had knocked her down and lamed her outside my door. He asked: "Is monsieur pleased? Has monsieur received good news?" M. incapable of any prolonged effort." . on the contrary. Marambot rubbed his hands with satisfaction. "That was her only love affair. jovial man. He was an old village druggist. whilst I heard a strange noise of heavy footsteps and something knocking against the side of the staircase." The doctor ceased. Of an energetic temperament."I sent for assistance and for the work-girl's relatives and told them a. But the trouble of moving and the thought of all the preparations had always stopped him. he would continually repeat: "Oh! If I had only had the capital to start out with. then they left the room and I remained on my knees in the armchair and sobbed. Marambot opened the letter which his servant Denis gave him and smiled. careless in business. They believed me. I'll not lose anything by the delay. which I would never tell any one during her life. He was a short. and the gendarmes for a whole month tried in vain to find the author of this accident. was always urging his master to new enterprises. He answered: "Yes. For twenty years Denis has been a servant in this house. He could undoubtedly have amassed a greater income had he taken advantage of the deaths of colleagues established in more important centers. They were carrying away Clochette's body. Denis To Leon Chapron. a sublimely devoted woman! And if I did not absolutely admire her. stout. Mamma cried and papa said some words which I did not catch.

M. once in the shoulder. and his master could hear his labored breathing in the darkness. he reached for his matches and lit the candle. that is why you carried the letters to the mail. waving his arms around in the darkness. it was undoubtedly a receipt for the money. M. if you work like that there will be nothing left for you to do to-morrow. he appeared to be as sad and gloomy that day as he had seemed joyful the day before. Marambot. He even showed an unusual activity. Marambot. Malois takes back what he said. sometimes with a punch. whom he now thought to be crazy. energetically rubbing the glass. his face contracted as though moved by some deep emotion.suit will take place. and he was going to get out of bed and assist him when the servant blew out the light and rushed for the bed. smiling: "My boy. sometimes with a kick. His master stretched out his hands to receive the shock which knocked him over on his back. always repulsed. one of them very heavy. his eyes staring. M. Denis. holding in one hand a candle and in the other a carving knife." The following day. in order to avoid the blows which the latter was aiming at him. M. He fought wildly. M. Just read those on my desk. He was awakened by a strange noise. I have not yet received my money!" The man immediately ceased. for he cleaned all the windows of the house. He was struck by the knife. kept up his furious attack always striking. Marambot would smile without answering and would go out in his little garden. once in the forehead and the third time in the chest. Night came. he would walk about dreaming. He sat up in his bed and listened. a thought flashed across his mind. said to him several times. once in the leg and once in the stomach. He then handed his servant four letters for the mail. surprised at his zeal. and he began to shriek: "Stop." With a final effort. Denis!" But the latter. he was as pale as a ghost. One of them was addressed to M. Suddenly the door opened. the postman gave Denis four letters for his master. Marambot immediately shut himself up in his room until late in the afternoon. Marambot went to bed as usual and slept. at about nine o'clock in the morning. and Denis appeared. astonished. All day long. . M. gasping for breath. the law. But. Denis sang the joyful refrains of the folk-songs of the district. thought that he was sleep-walking. suddenly. his hands behind his back. and rushing forward again furiously. he was trying to seize the hands of his servant. stop. Malois. M. M. Marambot then went on: "I have received nothing. Denis asked his master no questions. Marambot was wounded twice more. kicking and crying: "Denis! Denis! Are you mad? Listen. and singing at the top of his voice. where.

as though they might open in spite of himself. Marambot thought himself dead. very weak.He was covered with blood. under ten feet of earth. monsieur." M. or on the murderer. but prudently. standing in the middle of the room. although he noticed an uncomfortable smarting sensation in several parts of his body. but he had no real pain. After a few minutes he grew calmer and began to think. as his master had taught him to do. M. he did not wish to show that he was conscious. before he regained his senses. was also bloody from head to foot. At break of day he revived. and as though wrapped up in bandages. His heart almost stopped. He had not died' immediately. he was washing him in order to hide the traces of his crime! And he would now bury him in the garden. A sharp pain near his hip made him start. and fell unconscious. Denis! What could he be doing? What did he want? What awful scheme could he now be carrying out? What was he doing? Well. someone must have discovered the misdeed and he was being cared for. the memory of the attack and of his wounds returned to him. in a dying voice. his curtains. do now? Get up? Call for help? But if he should make the slightest motions. and all wet. Therefore. just one. Suddenly he heard the door of his room open. after wishing to kill him. so that no one could discover him! Or perhaps under the wine cellar! And M. There was no longer any doubt. He felt weak. It was some time. The wounded man was stretched out on clean white sheets. Denis. and then someone feeling his stomach. and he was filled with such terror that he closed his eyes in order not to see anything. gave him the practical piece of advice: "Wash the wounds in a dilute solution of carbolic acid!" Denis answered: "This is what I am doing. Marambot. But what could he. and was able to understand or remember. therefore he might still recover. There was no sign of blood either on the bed. But. Denis himself! Mercy! He hastily closed his eye again. and even the walls. Then he began carefully to dress the wound on his leg. He also felt icy cold. and he shivered at the dreadful thought of this red liquid which had come from his veins and covered his bed. He recognized Denis standing beside him. his wounds would undoubtedly open up again and he would die from loss of blood. He opened one eye. suddenly. The idea of seeing this terrible spectacle again so upset him that he kept his eyes closed with all his strength. were spattered with red. was trying to save him. When he saw the blood. He felt his sheet being lifted up. Marambot. He thought that this dampness came from the blood which he had lost. Marambot began to tremble like a leaf. however. His servant. Marambot opened both his eyes. He kept saying to himself: "I am lost. lost!" He closed his eyes so as not to see the knife as it descended for the final stroke. What had become of Denis? He had probably escaped. Denis was now lifting him up and bandaging him. Then M. A wild joy seized him. on the walls. . He held his breath in order to make the murderer think that he had been successful. It did not come. with the greatest precaution. He was being very gently washed with cold water. His sheets. It was certainly Denis who was coming to finish him up.

Never had the old druggist been so cared for. preparing drugs. If you will not tell on me. "There is always time. he suddenly heard a great noise in the kitchen. potions. He kept him." And when the sick man would wake up at night." Denis saved his master. This precaution seemed to guarantee him against any future attack. M. At first he had said to himself: "As soon as I am well I shall get rid of this rascal. Marambot murmured as he closed his eyes: "I swear not to tell on you. I will serve you as faithfully as in the past." He was now convalescing. just as he was finishing breakfast. exclaiming: . Denis continued to show himself an admirable servant. He continually asked: "Well. As soon as he saw his master. An officer was taking notes on his pad." Denis answered: "I am trying to make up for it." This was no time to anger his servant. so fondled. Just as formerly. One morning. monsieur. and from day to day he would put off dismissing his murderer. for he held this man through fear. anxiously counting the beats." he would say to himself. Marambot was well. he would often see his servant seated in an armchair. Marambot said calmly: "You have been guilty of a great crime. Marambot would answer in a weak voice: "A little better. he could not make up his mind to any decision. He hastened in there. so spoiled. He thought that no one would ever show him such care and attention. in order to watch him closely. He spent days and nights without sleep. my boy. Finally M. weeping silently. M. when he would hesitate about taking some larger place of business. feeling his pulse.The two men looked at each other. and he warned him that he had left a document with a lawyer denouncing him to the law if any new accident should occur. the servant began to sob. monsieur. and he then asked himself if it would not be wiser to keep this man near him. Denis was struggling with two gendarmes. thank you. how do you feel?" M. attending him with the skill of a trained nurse and the devotion of a son. never leaving the sick room. broths.

Monsieur Marambot. opened his arms with a broad gesture. M. which could. they pardon. that is not right. of the care with which he had surrounded his master. and exclaimed: "Look. turning to Marambot. He had clearly proved that the theft of the two ducks came from the same mental condition as the eight knife-wounds in the body of Maramlot. whose testimony had been excellent for his servant. wounded by him in a moment of alienation. that's not right!" M. Duhamel of which act there are witnesses. The law will take notice of this new action. look. asked him: . louder than the law. gentleman of the jury. doubtless. Marambot. be cured by a few months' treatment in a reputable sanatorium. He had cunningly analyzed all the phases of this transitory condition of mental aberration. I haven't the slightest idea how the police could have found out about your attack on me. The lawyer noticed it. he ordered: "Come on. You have broken your word of honor. I shall make a note of your information. Then the judge. my boy that I did not tell on you. I was commissioned to arrest your servant for the theft of two ducks surreptitiously taken by him from M. Marambot?" The bewildered druggist answered: "Yes--but I did not tell on him--I haven't said a word--I swear it--he has served me excellently from that time on--" The officer pronounced severely: "I will take down your testimony. they cry: 'Mercy. after what you had promised me. that's not right. speak louder than I do. The lawyer used a plea of insanity. lifted his hand: "I swear to you before the Lord. bring him along!" The two gendarmes dragged Denis out. monsieur. bewildered and distressed at being suspected. what argument. for the poor wandering mind of a while ago! They implore. M. turning toward his men. look at those tears. Touched by this memory." Then. What more can I say for my client? What speech. they bless!" He was silent and sat down. what reasoning would be worth these tears of his master? They."You told on me. He had spoken in enthusiastic terms of the continued devotion of this faithful servant. Marambot felt the tears rising to his eyes. Monsieur Marambot. spreading out the long black sleeves of his robe like the wings of a bat. contrasting the two misdeeds in order to strengthen his argument." The officer started: "You say that he attacked you. of which it was ignorant.

a trifle older. your honor. I felt full of life. Life is short!" He was perhaps forty-five years old. Now. heaved a deep sigh and said: "Ah! I am growing old. on the multicolored parasols. what can you expect? Nowadays it's so hard to find good servants--I could never have found a better one. for it is slow.' one stretching out into the ocean like the leg of a giant.then. very bald and already growing stout. I thought myself practically a youth. I have often been in love. what a shock! "And the women. that does not explain why you should have kept him. "I met her at the seashore. I went about. which overwhelmed me for almost six months--then I became resigned. and all is gay. monsieur." Denis was acquitted and put in a sanatorium at his master's expense. Through the cafe windows they could see the Boulevard. about twelve years ago. I have always been merry. and it modifies the countenance so gently that the changes are unnoticeable. Not feeling the slightest infirmity. at Etretat. He was none the less dangerous. wiping his eyes. answered: "Well. which they make into a gorgeous garden of beautiful gowns. shaped like a horseshoe. happy and peaceful. lies in their beauty. of fireflies and of larks. framed by high while cliffs. answered: "Well. healthy. In order to appreciate them one would have to remain six months without seeing one's own face-. how I pity the poor beings! All their joy. under the trees. For we cannot understand the alterations which time produces. Farewell The two friends were getting near the end of their dinner. The other. which are pierced by strange holes called the 'Portes. vigorous and all the rest. The sun beats down on the shores."But. one does not realize the work of age. The women gather on the narrow strip of sand in this frame of high rocks. It is small. There is nothing prettier than this beach during the morning bathing hour. One of the two. I aged without noticing it. when I was almost fifty years old. all their life. shortly after the war. oh. on the blue-green sea. delightful. Pierre Carnier. and make you dream of moonlit rivers." Marambot. my boy. all their power. It is for this reason alone that we do not die of sorrow after two or three years of excitement. Henri Simon. "The revelation of my decline came to me in a simple and terrible manner. "Like all men. "As I said. Formerly. the other short and dumpy. my friend. regular. smiling. It's sad. which lasts ten years. As one sees oneself in the mirror every day. I have grown old without noticing it in the least. They could feel the gentle breezes which are wafted over Paris on warm summer evenings and make you feel like going out somewhere. even admitting that you consider this man insane. crowded with people. . you care not where. but thin and lively. but most especially once. I only feel regrets. on evenings like this.

which they throw off daintily when they reach the foamy edge of the rippling waves. upset me. The women come down. delighted me. Her gowns seemed to me inimitable. fat lady. freshness itself! Never before had I felt so strongly what a pretty. and yet infinite delight. although water is a powerful aid to flabby skin. "Last spring I went to dine with some friends at Maisons-Laffitte. the pinkness of an ear. persistent. body and soul. "But she! how I loved her! How beautiful. they leave so few traces behind them. a big. "Twelve years are not much in a lifetime! One does not feel them slip by. graceful and young she was! She was youth. that. never did a creature seem to me to be of less importance in life. entranced me. by her gestures. really. got into my car. I had that feeling and that shock. It seemed to me. distinguished. But her memory remained in me. Nobody had hats like hers. they disappear so completely. Especially on leaving the water are the defects revealed. a quiet tenderness now. It is there that they can be judged. her manners. I didn't cencern myself about him. delicate. from the ankle to the throat. graceful being woman is. but her husband came only on Saturday. to attract my attention less than this man. each one is long and yet so soon over! They add up so rapidly. something like the beloved memory of the most beautiful and the most enchanting thing I had ever met in my life. charming. and was soon smitten worse than I had ever been before. escorted by four little girls. her gloves thrown on a chair. which seemed to take on a peculiar charm as soon as she wore them. My heart longed for her. And my love remained true to her. very round. beribboned hat. "Very few stand the test of the bath. elegance. From far away I was as much hers as I had been when she was near me. I don't know why. There are faces whose charms appeal to you at first glance and delight you instantly. I wasn't jealous of him. "She was married. and they run into the water with a rapid little step. triumphant. with a face as full as the moon framed in an enormous. even by her clothes. slowly yet rapidly. I was delighted. one sees nothing and yet one does not understand how one happens to be so old. "I was introduced. overwhelmed with sadness. The years follow each other gently and quickly. You seem to have found the woman whom you were born to love.You sit down at the edge of the water and you watch the bathers. I grew tender at the sight of her veil on some piece of furniture. her hair fluttering in the wind. "This lasted three months. very big. then I left for America. stopping from time to time for a delightful little thrill from the cold water. I unfolded my paper and began to read. anyhow. that hardly a few months separated me from that charming season on the sands of Etretat. a short gasp. and I did not forget her. the slightest movement of her features. Never before had I appreciated the seductive beauty to be found in the curve of a cheek. She had captured me. "We had just passed Asnieres. when my neighbor suddenly turned to me and said: . It is almost torture. when one turns round to look back over bygone years. entranced. She stood the test well. her smile. "The first time that I saw this young woman in the water. The charming image of her person was ever before my eyes and in my heart. It is a terrible yet delightful thing thus to be dominated by a young woman. Her look. "She was puffing. Years passed by. the little lines of her face. wrapped in long bath robes. out of breath from having been forced to walk quickly. "Just as the train was leaving. The children began to chatter. the movement of a lip. and left on Monday. I hardly looked at this mother hen. the shape of that foolish organ called the nose.

but something as yet unformed. And I recognized in her something of her mother's old charm. common woman. I wept for her lost youth. Oh! I never expected you to recognize me if we met. Farewell to the rest. "She was also excited. I kissed my old friend's hand. I have become a mother. sir. Maisons-Laffitte. bewildered. "I looked at her. Whereas she no longer counted. have changed. And I finally remembered what I had been."'Excuse me.' "I looked at the child. It seemed to me that I had seen that face somewhere. fat. they were big girls. It took me quite a while to be sure that I was not mistaken. am I not? What can you expect--everything has its time! You see. In a second it seemed to me as though it were all over with me! I felt that a veil had been torn from my eyes and that I was going to make a horrible and heartrending discovery. I certainly know you. nothing but a good mother. finally saw in my mind's eye my brown mustache. They were part of her. and tears came to my eyes. alone. madame. and yet I cannot recall your name.' "Then she began to laugh. the pleased laugh of a good woman. Just think! Twelve years ago! Twelve years! My oldest girl is already ten. I was too much upset to talk. Then I took her hand in mine. something which promised for the future.' "She blushed a little: "'Madame Julie Lefevre. at home. and yet it was sad. I stood in front of the mirror for a long time. I had found nothing utter but the most commonplace remarks. "At night. For I did not know this fat lady. but are you not Monsieur Garnier?' "'Yes. It seemed to me that I had seen her but yesterday. and stammered: "'I am greatly changed. Farewell!" . Your hair is all white. she! She had become the mother of these four girls since I had last her. my black hair and the youthful expression of my face. and this is how I found her again! Was it possible? A poignant grief seized my heart. that marvel of dainty and charming gracefulness. and already had a place in life. And life seemed to me as swift as a passing train.' "I hesitated. and also a revolt against nature herself. Now I was old. "'You do not seem to recognize me.' "Never had I received such a shock. that is over. a very long time. too. an unreasoning indignation against this brutal. You. but where? when? I answered: "'Yes--and no. And these little beings surprised me as much as their mother. "We had reached. infariious act of destruction. she. "So that was she! That big.

long way from here on a fertile and burning shore." We took dinner. and overlooked the sea. He smiled." "Why do you not go back?" "Oh. I began to talk about this rich. Then he left me saying: "We will dine as soon as you are ready to come downstairs." "You regret France?" "I regret Paris. enlarging his boundaries. nothing satisfy. that I should meet with hospitality at the house of a Frenchman who lived in an orange grove at the end of a promontory." I looked at him attentively. on a terrace facing the sea. and had bought land which he planted with vines and sowed with grain. One fancied one was inhaling germs. year to year. they said. monsieur. He had come there one morning ten years before. superintending everything without ceasing. He held out his hand and said. he accumulated a fortune by his indefatigable labor. with the blue sea bathed in sunlight on one side of us. gentle. this man. quite plain. mentioned names. He had worked. He asked me questions that showed he knew all about these things. It was very warm. I certainly had seen that head somewhere. lulling waves." And gradually we began to talk of French society. that evening. as he replied carelessly: "Yes. I asked if he would give me shelter for the night. this country is beautiful. . But he kept on working. with fury. The sun was setting as I reached his house. except those who died. of the boulevards. Rising at daybreak. It was situated as described. haunted by a vague recollection. "Whom does one see at Tortoni's now? "Always the same crowd. Flowers were growing quite close to the waves. and put a man servant at my disposal with the perfect ease and familiar graciousness of a man-of-the-world. I will return there.Fascination I can tell you neither the name of the country. all the familiar names in vaudeville known on the sidewalks. tormented by one fixed idea. As I approached. damp. with passionate energy. But where? And when? He seemed tired. fertile soil. he would remain in the fields till evening. and the shore covered with crops on the other. I had been told. Then as he went on from month to month. It was a long. smiling: "Come in. and things Parisian. the insatiable desire for money. Having greeted him. a soft warmth permeated with the odor of the rich. sitting opposite each other. consider yourself at home. at the end of a promontory in the midst of a grove of orange trees. But no country satisfies one when they are far from the one they love. a man wearing a long beard appeared in the doorway." He led me into a room. which nothing can quiet. He now appeared to be very rich. It was a large square house. nor the name of the man. distant. cultivating incessantly the strong virgin soil. those light. We had been walking since the morning along the coast. unknown land. Who was he? I did not know.

or went to work. My host smiled as he said: "This is the dwelling. in a changed voice. His long. bare and mournful. The downstairs rooms were enormous." "Ah! And Sophie Astier?" "Dead." And he preceded me into the house. Let us go there. shady pavement leading from the Madeleine to the Rue Drouot. turning the vapor from the earth into a fiery mist. He seemed to see nothing besides me. Plates and glasses were scattered on the tables. on the wall. and in the corners of the rooms were spades. Did you--did you know--" But he ceased abruptly: And then. "Would you like to go in?" he said. his face suddenly turning pale. it breaks my heart. very much." "And the women? Tell me about the women." . but my own room is cleaner. left there by the dark-skinned servants who wandered incessantly about this spacious dwelling. he continued: "No. and gazing steadfastly he appeared to discover in the depths of my mind the far-away. delicious fragrance." "Has he changed much?" "Yes. The sun was sinking into the sea. his hair is quite white. and sad. fishing poles. Let's see. fair beard fell on his chest. it is best that I should not speak of that any more. of an exile." "Poor girl. "Yes. indeed. or rather the kennel. I think so. Do you know Suzanne Verner?" "Yes. But that is over. although he was determined. Two rifles were banging from two nails." Then." "And La Ridamie?" "The same as ever. The orange blossoms exhaled their powerful. "Do you know Boutrelle?" "Yes.although he was vigorous. as if to change the current of his thoughts he rose. dried palm leaves. He was somewhat bald and had heavy eyebrows and a thick mustache. and had a deserted look. every imaginable thing set down at random when people came home in the evening and ready to hand when they went out at any time. beloved and well-known image of the wide.

on the principal panel." he murmured in a tone in which he might have said "I am going to die. rather. a square of white satin in a gold frame." We had gone out on the wide balcony from whence we could see two gulfs. She is one of the most charming women.' I can say: 'This hairpin is all my life. I have nothing to tell. It was just twilight and the reflection of the sunset still lingered in the sky. and ended by saying: "You have suffered on account of some woman?" He replied abruptly: "Say." Then suddenly he continued: . I smiled." He took my hand.As I entered I thought I was in a second-hand store.thing that I look at here. that I am suffering like a wretch." He hesitated and then said: "Very well?" "No." "I love her." said he. "is the only . Prudhomme said: 'This sword is the most memorable day of my life. that is all." he said. rather. "Parbleu--she is prettier than ever. I should have fired a bullet into my brain. M. "Why. it was so full of things of all descriptions." "Do you know her?" Yes. or. one to the right and the other to the left. weapons. and exactly in the middle. Somewhat surprised. My host placed his hand on my shoulder. A name rose to my lips just now which I dared not utter. and the only thing that I have seen for ten years. draperies. and perceived a hairpin fastened in the centre of the glossy satin. for if you had said 'Dead' as you did of Sophie Astier. and the most admired in Paris.'" I sought for some commonplace remark. She leads a delightful existence and lives like a princess. But come out on my balcony. swords and pistols. strange things of various kinds that one felt must be souvenirs. He continued: "Is Jeanne de Limours still alive?" His eyes were fastened on mine and were full of a trembling anxiety. On the walls were two pretty paintings by wellknown artists. "That. I approached to look at it. girls. enclosed by high gray mountains. "Tell me about her. this very day.

from her gestures. quietly. also. I felt a furious desire to open my arms to embrace and strangle her. that tortures one cruelly. for she seems to glide rather than walk. by the very fact of her nature. in spite of me. the result of the occult blending of two unlike personalities who detest each other at the same time that they adore one another." "In three years this woman had ruined me. She was full of it. in spite of herself. Her slow grace pervades you little by little. She is Manon Lescaut come back to life. "It is now ten years since I saw her and I love her better than ever. gentle carriage. . but I must live. that I cannot live on air and weather. What is it? I do not know. and still it attached me to her all the more. from her pretty voice with its slight drawl that would seem to be the music of her smile. as with a venomous and intoxicating fluid. when I treated her as a common girl and a beggar. I love you very much. This creature in just walking along the street belonged to everyone. indifferent and fascinating smile that she wears like a mask." "And if I should tell you what a horrible life I led with her! When I looked at her I would just as soon have killed her as kissed her. the odious and seductive feminine. For three years she was the only being that existed for me on the earth! How I suffered. perhaps. from her slim figure that scarcely sways as she passes you. This exasperated me."Ah! For three years we lived in a state of terror and delight. She had." "You know her? There is something irresistible about her. exhales from her like a perfume." He was silent. Do you understand? "And what torture! At the theatre. Is it those gray eyes whose glance penetrates you like a gimlet and remains there like the point of an arrow? It is more likely the gentle. who could not love without deceiving. After a few minutes he resumed: "When I had spent my last sou on her she said simply: "'You understand. Poverty and I could not keep house together. Marion for whom love. although she had a modest. just for the pleasure of deceiving. But there is also assuredly an atrocious form." Night spread over the earth. And as soon as I left her she did belong to others." "There must be a simple form of love. and that was. Look. and intoxicate your vision with their harmony." "And when I went out with her she would look at all men in such a manner that she seemed to offer herself to each in a single glance. She was a woman to a greater extent than any one has ever been. eat them up with a gentle smile that seemed to fall from her eyes on to her lips. the result of the mutual impulse of two hearts and two souls. A strong perfume of orange blossoms pervaded the air. which are never exaggerated. but always appropriate. for she deceived me as she deceived everyone! Why? For no reason. She tried to pierce my eyes with that hairpin that you saw just now. the reason I loved her so well. do you see that little white spot beneath my left eye? We loved each other. overcharged. I almost killed her five or six times. at the restaurant she seemed to belong to others under my very eyes. The eternal feminine. back of her eyes. It is Manon. money. I said: . are all one. better than anyone. amusement. my dear boy. I had four million francs which she squandered in her calm manner. something false and intangible that made me execrate her. was stronger in her than in any other woman. she said quietly: 'Are we married?' "Since I have been here I have thought so much about her that at last I understand her. And when I found it out. How can I explain that infatuation? You would not understand it. . When I looked at her .

and the help--two women and three men are all there. The sweet scent of their blossoms mingles with the heavy smell of the earth and the penetrating odor of the stables. The French remained motionless. are in bloom. some of the Uhlans disappeared. had received and quartered them to the best of his ability. This vine is planted on the spot where their father had been shot. ten leagues away. my life will be finished. and yet. the fields are green as far as the eye can see. All are silent. of all those who were sent to the outposts. Father Pierre Milon. Of all the isolated scouts. a big fellow about forty years old."Will you see her again?" "Parbleu! I now have here. Perhaps we may get something from it. mother. in groups of not more than three. from a distance. every night. as gnarled as the peasants themselves. seven to eight thousand francs. look. I may possibly ask her to take me as a valet de chambre. with the Northern Division of the army. is watching a grape vine. The farms of Normandy. father. for all the ancient apple-trees. These murders seemed to be done by the same men. "After that. When I reach a million I shall sell out and go away. At last he says: "Father's vine is budding early this year. scattered over the plains and surrounded by a belt of tall beeches. The soup is eaten and then a dish of potatoes fried with bacon is brought on. Nature is expanding beneath its rays. The family is eating under the shade of a pear tree planted in front of the door. The Prussians were occupying the whole country. in land and money. The Prussians had established their headquarters at this farm. From time to time one of the women gets up and takes a pitcher down to the cellar to fetch more cider. still bare. The man. not one ever returned. The big azure dome of the sky is unclouded. the four children. who could never be found. General Faidherbe. That will be all." The woman then turns round and looks. without saying a word. . good-bye." "But after that?" I asked. And then. They were picked up the next morning in a field or in a ditch. For a month the German vanguard had been in this village. which is winding and twisting like a snake along the side of the house. Even their horses were found along the roads with their throats cut. On closer view. like little woods. The old farmer to whom it belonged. you imagine yourself in an immense garden. was opposing them. after lowering the worm-eaten wooden bars. I do not know. It is noon." Father Milon Search on this Page: þÿ For a month the hot sun has been parching the fields. I shall have enough to live on with her for a year--one whole year. It was during the war of 1870.

" The colonel. You have always been obliging and even attentive to us. he was continually swallowing his saliva. Father Milon was found stretched out in the barn. Nothing could be ascertained. Farmers were shot on suspicion. thin. Two Uhlans were found dead about a mile and a half from the farm. Father Milon stood impassive. in front of the kitchen table. But I want you to answer me! Do you understand? Do you know who killed the two Uhlans who were found this morning near Calvaire?" The old man answered clearly "I did. allowing patches of his scalp to be seen. throughout the country. He was sixty-eight years old. A court-martial was immediately held in the open air." "You killed them all?" . his daughter-in-law and his two grandchildren were standing a few feet behind him. with a visible effort. The brown and wrinkled skin of his neck showed big veins which disappeared behind his jaws and came out again at the temples. The colonel continued: "Your silence accuses you. Father Milon. They stood him up between four soldiers. which had been dragged outside. small. surprised. bent. his eyes lowered as though he were talking to the priest. looking straight at the prisoner. with two big hands resembling the claws of a crab. with a sword gash across his face. his son Jean. How did you receive that wound on your face?" The peasant answered nothing.The country was terrorized. But to-day a terrible accusation is hanging over you. one morning. Five officers and the colonel seated themselves opposite him. The colonel spoke in French: "Father Milon. His colorless hair was sparse and thin. children were frightened in order to try and obtain information. The colonel went on: "Do you also know who killed all the scouts who have been found dead. since we have been here we have only had praise for you. The old man was brought before it. He had the reputation of being miserly and hard to deal with. like the down of a young duck. But. Just one thing betrayed an uneasy mind. He had fought. bewildered and affrighted. and you must clear the matter up. as though his throat were terribly contracted. women were imprisoned. The man's family. every morning?" The old man answered with the same stupid look: "I did. was silent for a minute. tried to defend himself. for a month. with the stupid look of the peasant. in front of the farm. One of them was still holding his bloody sword in his hand.

the necessity for talking any length of time annoyed him visibly. The questioning began again. The officers remained speechless. you will find him tied up in a potatosack. "I got an idea. As soon as he thought the time ripe. You might as well make up your mind right away. The man put his ear to the ground in order to make sure that only one horseman was approaching. Finally. from his boots to his cap. And I cut his head off with one single blow. slipped into the woods. . so that he couldn't hear me. I took all his clothes. I went and got my scythe and crept up slowly behind him. One night he followed them. and then suddenly made up his mind to obey the order. with a stone fastened to it. How did you begin?" The man cast a troubled look toward his family. the man had lived with this one thought: "Kill the Prussians!" He hated them with the blind. "I was coming home one night at about ten o'clock." The colonel continued: "I warn you that you will have to tell me everything. Just then I noticed one of your soldiers who was smoking his pipe by the ditch behind the barn. He waited several days. He hesitated a minute longer. just so much will you make them pay back. having heard the name of the village to which the men were going. the night after you got here. and hid them away in the little wood behind the yard."Uh huh! I did. found the dead man's clothes and put them on. because he had shown himself so humble. listening to the slightest noises. just as I would a blade of grass. He stammered: "I dunno! I simply did it. Once this murder committed. You and your soldiers had taken more than fifty ecus worth of forage from me." The old man stopped." "You alone? All alone?" "Uh huh!" "Tell me how you did it. then he got ready. toward midnight. I said to myself: 'As much as they take from you. fierce hate of the greedy yet patriotic peasant. he heard the sound of a galloping horse. he approached the road and hid behind a bush." This time the man seemed moved. standing close behind him. He was allowed to go and come as he pleased. submissive and obliging to the invaders. and having learned the few words of German which he needed for his plan through associating with the soldiers. before he could say 'Booh!' If you should look at the bottom of the pond. He waited for a while.' And then I had other things on my mind which I will tell you. following along the hedges in order to keep out of sight. as wary as a poacher. Each night he saw the outposts leave. as he said. as well as a cow and two sheep. He left through the back yard. He had his idea. looking at each other. and this is what they learned. Then he began to crawl through the fields.

The old man passed between them like a cannon-ball. From that time on he did not stop. but as he reached home he began to feel faint. About an hour later he noticed two more Uhlans who were returning home. he suddenly lifted up his head and looked proudly at the Prussian officers. he had killed them both. in defending himself slashed the old peasant across the face with his sabre. in the pit of his stomach. waiting for the inquest to be terminated. but on the fifth day he went out again and killed two more soldiers by the same stratagem. Father Milon mounted him and started galloping across the plains. When he had finished his tale. one with his sabre and the other with a revolver. moaning: "Hilfe! Hilfe!" ( Help! Help!) The horseman stopped. When he was only a few feet away. a lost Uhlan. he slept until morning. toward noon. let him approach without distrust." "Have you been a soldier?" . he thought he was wounded and dismounted. Then he killed the horses. The colonel. and. side by side. I killed sixteen. not one more or less. in the moonlight. galloping through deserted fields. He left his uniform there and again put on his old clothes. He rode straight for them. and recognizing a German. Father Milon dragged himself across the road. Then the farmer. asked: "You have nothing else to say?" "Nothing more. on the straw. who was gnawing at his mustache. The horse quietly awaited its master. and had dragged himself as far as the stable. sometimes here and sometimes there. got up again. his task accomplished. But one of those whom he had attacked the night before. then going back into bed. leaving behind him the bodies lying along the roads. and just as he was leaning over the unknown man. a hunter of men. for his own pleasure. As he went. coming nearer without any suspicion. I have finished my task. cut the dead man's throat. quivering only in the final throes. carrying des patches. He dropped without suffering pain. bleeding. German horses! After that he quickly returned to the woods and hid one of the horses. However. the old farmer would return and hide his horse and uniform.An Uhlan came galloping along. radiant with the silent joy of an old peasant. he was all eyes and ears. He went. a heavy thrust from the long curved blade of the sabre. to carry oats and water quietly to his mount." "Do you know that you are going to die?" "I haven't asked for mercy. being unable to reach the house. He then dragged the body to the ditch and threw it in. killing Prussians. He had come back and hidden the horse and put on his ordinary clothes again. They had found him there. and he fed it well as he required from it a great amount of work. For four days he did not go out. Each night he wandered about in search of adventure. recognizing the uniform. once more crying "Hilfe! Hilfe!" The Prussians. he received. felling them both. Then.

ordering me about in my home as though it were your own. was defending the poor wretch. straightening up his bent back. I did not seek any quarrel with you. the disreputable story dies a natural death when it reaches the threshold of the house. he distorted his slashed face. with bated breath: "You've heard of that terrible affair in the Rivoil family?" And the mother answers: . was pushed up against the wall and shot. although they are discussed at table. And then."Yes. his eyes fixed on the hated officer. I don't know you. near Evreux. I owed you one for that. All the officers had jumped up and were shrieking orders at the same time. for changes in the Government take place at such a distance from them that they are spoken of as one speaks of a historical event. apart from all the rest of the world. Then the colonel arose and. a captain. Francois. swelling out his chest. but such variations are taken no account of in the placid family circle where traditional usages prevail year after year. his daughter-in-law and his two grandchildren. furious. approaching Father Milon. The father and mother may. The father says. his eldest son. I paid. The old man continued: "Eight for my father. while the wind played with the downy hair on his head. exchange a few words on the subject when alone together some evening." The officers were looking at each other. you had killed my father. who was a soldier of the first Emperor. as hard as he could. One of them. old man. right in the Prussian's face." And. And last month you killed my youngest son. Customs are modified in course of time. Such families know nothing of political events. perhaps. and for the second time the man spat in his face. he spat. Forgiveness Search on this Page: þÿ She had been brought up in one of those families who live entirely to themselves. eight for the boy--we are quits. raised his hand. there is perhaps a way of saving your life. We are quits. and. the old man folded his arms in the attitude of a modest hero. I served my time. I'm not sorry. said in a low voice: "Listen. The colonel. giving it a truly terrible expression. who witnessed this scene in dumb terror. The Prussians talked in a low tone for a long time. looking smilingly the while toward Jean. but they speak in hushed tones--for even walls have ears. and. I took my revenge upon the others. And here you are. And if some scandalous episode or other occurs in the neighborhood. such as the death of Louis XVI or the landing of Napoleon. fashions succeed one another. I don't even know where you come from. who had also lost his son the previous month. still impassive. it is to--" But the man was not listening. In less than a minute the old man.

who crowed like a cock?" Her friends were limited to two families related to her own.sometimes not until dawn--alleging business. whom he spoke of among his intimates as "my dear old fossils. who had dealings on the Stock Exchange. ignorant of the real side of life. they provided subjects of conversation for long afterward. its perfidy and its mysteries. believing themselves the playthings of a cruel fate. its pleasures and its customs--just as she remained ignorant also of life. well-mannered. not knowing that people do not think as they speak."Who would have dreamed of such a thing? It's dreadful. and exclaim: "Do you remember that actor dressed up as a general. Others. so pure-minded that nothing can open their eyes. . are dismayed. coming home when it suited him-. She became one of those provincial Parisians whose name is legion. He was handsome. but not putting himself out overmuch to account for his movements. unexplored city. not suspecting the fact that the simple are always deceived. and when she ventured into another part of Paris it seemed to her that she had accomplished a long and arduous journey into some unknown. or aware that they should live at war. She remained in complete ignorance of the great city. The Savignols married their daughter Bertha at the age of eighteen." Her husband lived as he pleased. make mistakes. of its social side. These were events the remembrance of which never grew dim. and the girl was rich. She wedded a young Parisian. but without fully understanding. the good maltreated. They settled down in Paris. But in the depths of his heart he somewhat despised his oldfashioned parents-in-law. She was thunderstruck--too simple-minded to understand the infamy of unsigned information and to despise the letter. hatred of evil. in a state of armed peace. Some go on till the day of their death in this blind probity and loyalty and honor. and do not speak as they act. George Baron by name. well aware that no suspicion would ever enter his wife's guileless soul. the writer of which declared himself inspired by interest in her happiness. and apparently all that could be desired. She spoke of them as "the Martinets" and "the Michelins. and become desperate." The children suspected nothing. undeceived. the sincere made sport of. the wretched victims of adverse circumstances. and love of truth. with the rest of mankind." He belonged to a good family. she knew scarcely anything beyond her own street. Sometimes three months afterward she would suddenly burst into laughter. Devoted to her house. or at all events. and exceptionally wicked men." Two or three times a year her husband took her to the theatre. and arrive in their turn at years of discretion with eyes and mind blindfolded. But one morning she received an anonymous letter. She would then say to her husband in the evening: "I have been through the boulevards to-day.

a friendship of heart and mind--absolute. and we'll go together and call on this lady. sisterly sort of way) that. consented to go and see this unknown widow. calm and contented. But. George introduced them: "My wife--Madame Julie Rosset. surprised and smiling. too. She opened it at once. just the least bit jealous. and a very dark. sometimes at the other. sometimes twice a day. she had been most anxious to know his young wife and to make friends with her. To her Madame Rosset represented perfection. He knocked at his wife's door. in order to be near her friend and spend even more time with her than hitherto. She spent her nights with her. in spite of everything.This missive told her that her husband had had for two years past. He adored his own fireside. tender. She was utterly happy. She entered a small. He had time to take in the situation and to prepare his reply. and ran forward with hands outstretched. rather plump young woman appeared. After waiting five minutes in a drawing-room rendered somewhat dark by its many curtains and hangings. She was so fond of George (she said "George" in a familiar. I have a friend named Madame Rosset. too. and fled to her room. but she was delighted to make her acquaintance. and of whom I have a very high opinion. I may add that I know scores of other people whose names I have never mentioned to you." She embraced her husband warmly. and in a tone of light raillery began: "My dear child. who will very soon become a friend of yours. She had not hoped. but dared not look at him. She felt instinctively that to know a danger is to be already armed against it. after a time. short. I am quite sure. a door opened. tastefully furnished flat on the fourth floor of an attractive house. Bertha could hardly speak without bringing in Julie's name. a flat in the house where Madame Rosset lived became vacant Madame Baron hastened to take it. . moved by that feminine spirit of curiosity which will not be lulled once it is aroused. sat down." The young widow uttered a half-suppressed cry of astonishment and joy. When. seeing that you do not care for society. burst into tears. or functions of any sort. Bertha hardly left her side. George no longer deserted his home. with whom he spent all his evenings. knowing that Madame Baron never saw any one. sometimes at one house. devoted. she said. or fresh acquaintances. as a matter of fact. and dined together every evening. drew her to his knee. and. They saw each other every day. I want you to put on your things after lunch. distracted with grief. By the end of a month the two new friends were inseparable. And for two whole years their friendship was without a cloud. He smiled. whom I have known for the last ten years. Bertha knew neither how to dissemble her grief nor how to spy on her husband. he said. But Madame Rosset fell ill. a sweetheart. a young widow named Madame Rosset. to make short work of such vile accusations as this. no longer talked of pressing business. to have this pleasure. When he came in for lunch she threw the letter down before him. even her husband seemed inconsolable. of whom she was.

She saw them again. as he did not reappear. and." And he hurried to his room to get his hat. after leaving the invalid's bedside. She understood the long years of deceit. turned pale as death. the idea of Julie's death being her uppermost thought. and insisted that her friends should go back to their own apartment to dinner. all the treachery and perfidy of which she had been the victim. Beside them lay a crumpled paper. and told them that he considered Julie's condition very grave. the way in which she had been made their puppet. As soon as he had gone the grief-stricken husband and wife sat down opposite each other and gave way to tears. She recognized it at once as the note George had received. recognized the tremulous. That night they both sat up with the patient. the first that had ever assailed her urged her to read it and discover the cause of her husband's abrupt departure. said to his wife in a constrained voice: "Wait for me. she would not go back to her friend till he returned. Bertha tenderly kissed her friend from time to time. my poor dear." .One morning the doctor. evidently thrown down in haste. it occurred to her to visit his room and see if he had taken his gloves. And a burning temptation. when the maid gave George a note. this penciled note threw a lurid light upon her whole existence. Bertha waited for him. suffering. scarcely even attempting to eat. glancing at each other at the end of each page. sitting side by side in the evening. while George stood at the foot of the bed. I must leave you a moment. At length. and shut herself in her own room. penciled writing as Julie's. she fled. his eyes gazing steadfastly on the invalid's face. smoothed it out. revealed the whole infamous truth. rising from the table. bleeding heart was cast into the depths of a despair which knew no bounds. Presently her husband called her: "Come quickly! Madame Rosset is dying. She seized the paper. Don't go away on any account. He opened it. and read: "Come alone and kiss me. But all at once the true meaning of what she read burst in a flash upon her. reading by lamplight out of the same book. This would show whether or not he had had a call to make. But. indignant. But toward evening she declared she felt better." At first she did not understand. took George and his wife aside. And her poor. The next day she was worse. I am dying. Footsteps drew near. a prey to fresh anxiety. They were sitting sadly in the dining-room. I shall be back in ten minutes. docile in everything. She saw them at the first glance. Her rebellious conscience protester' but a devouring and fearful curiosity prevailed.

and praying night and day to God. however. and. her eyes filling with tears." A carriage took them to the gate of the cemetery. They still lived in the same house. and sat opposite each other at table. Gradually his sorrow grew less acute. where they alighted. "Please carry these flowers. dazed with grief. and repeated: "Come at once! She's dying. He came-anxious and uneasy. she does not need me. in silence and despair. kneeling down. who passed her life in solitude. but she did not forgive him. we will be friends. but he led the way. And so their life went on. and returned alone to the dying woman's bedside." she said. She rose. she said to George: "Take me to her grave. "If you wish it. I tell you!" Bertha answered: "You would rather it were I. And she sent word to her husband that she wanted to speak to him. placed it on the grave. and with trembling lips replied: "Go back to her alone." He looked at her stupidly. overcome by recollections of the past. Found on a Drowned Man . with indignant anger. and returned about eight o'clock bearing in her hands an enormous bouquet of white roses. At last one morning she went out very early. and could not understand her motive. At last he stopped before a white marble slab. shamelessly. and held out her hands to him. indifferent to the sorrow of the wife who no longer spoke to him. no longer looked at him. to which he pointed without a word. Then.Bertha appeared at her door. heartfelt prayer. For a whole year they remained as complete strangers to each other as if they had never met. hedged round with disgust." He trembled. they are too heavy for me." Then at last he understood. still carrying the flowers. She took the bouquet from him." she said. Then she offered up a silent. He mourned her openly. "We are going out together. hard and bitter for them both. Behind her stood her husband. Bertha nearly lost her reason.

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Madame, you ask me whether I am laughing at you? You cannot believe that a man has never been in love. Well, then, no, no, I have never loved, never! Why is this? I really cannot tell. I have never experienced that intoxication of the heart which we call love! Never have I lived in that dream, in that exaltation, in that state of madness into which the image of a woman casts us. I have never been pursued, haunted, roused to fever heat, lifted up to Paradise by the thought of meeting, or by the possession of, a being who had suddenly become for me more desirable than any good fortune, more beautiful than any other creature, of more consequence than the whole world! I have never wept, I have never suffered on account of any of you. I have not passed my nights sleepless, while thinking of her. I have no experience of waking thoughts bright with thought and memories of her. I have never known the wild rapture of hope before her arrival, or the divine sadness of regret when she went from me, leaving behind her a delicate odor of violet powder. I have never been in love. I have also often asked myself why this is. And truly I can scarcely tell. Nevertheless I have found some reasons for it; but they are of a metaphysical character, and perhaps you will not be able to appreciate them. I suppose I am too critical of women to submit to their fascination. I ask you to forgive me for this remark. I will explain what I mean. In every creature there is a moral being and a physical being. In order to love, it would be necessary for me to find a harmony between these two beings which I have never found. One always predominates; sometimes the moral, sometimes the physical. The intellect which we have a right to require in a woman, in order to love her, is not the same as the virile intellect. It is more, and it is less. A woman must be frank, delicate, sensitive, refined, impressionable. She has no need of either power or initiative in thought, but she must have kindness, elegance, tenderness, coquetry and that faculty of assimilation which, in a little while, raises her to an equality with him who shares her life. Her greatest quality must be tact, that subtle sense which is to the mind what touch is to the body. It reveals to her a thousand little things, contours, angles and forms on the plane of the intellectual. Very frequently pretty women have not intellect to correspond with their personal charms. Now, the slightest lack of harmony strikes me and pains me at the first glance. In friendship this is not of importance. Friendship is a compact in which one fairly shares defects and merits. We may judge of friends, whether man or woman, giving them credit for what is good, and overlooking what is bad in them, appreciating them at their just value, while giving ourselves up to an intimate, intense and charming sympathy. In order to love, one must be blind, surrender one's self absolutely, see nothing, question nothing, understand nothing. One must adore the weakness as well as the beauty of the beloved object, renounce all judgment, all reflection, all perspicacity. I am incapable of such blindness and rebel at unreasoning subjugation. This is not all. I have such a high and subtle idea of harmony that nothing can ever fulfill my ideal. But you will call me a madman. Listen to me. A woman, in my opinion, may have an exquisite soul and charming body without that body and that soul being in perfect harmony with one another. I mean that persons who have noses made in a certain shape should not be expected to think in a certain fashion. The fat have no right to make use of the same words and phrases as the thin. You, who have blue eyes, madame, cannot look at life and judge of things and events as if you had black eyes. The shade of your eyes should correspond, by a sort of

fatality, with the shade of your thought. In perceiving these things, I have the scent of a bloodhound. Laugh if you like, but it is so. And yet, once I imagined that I was in love for an hour, for a day. I had foolishly yielded to the influence of surrounding circumstances. I allowed myself to be beguiled by a mirage of Dawn. Would you like me to tell you this short story? I met, one evening, a pretty, enthusiastic little woman who took a poetic fancy to spend a night with me in a boat on a river. I would have preferred a room and a bed; however, I consented to the river and the boat. It was in the month of June. My fair companion chose a moonlight night in order the better to stimulate her imagination. We had dined at a riverside inn and set out in the boat about ten o'clock. I thought it a rather foolish kind of adventure, but as my companion pleased me I did not worry about it. I sat down on the seat facing her; I seized the oars, and off we starred. I could not deny that the scene was picturesque. We glided past a wooded isle full of nightingales, and the current carried us rapidly over the river covered with silvery ripples. The tree toads uttered their shrill, monotonous cry; the frogs croaked in the grass by the river's bank, and the lapping of the water as it flowed on made around us a kind of confused murmur almost imperceptible, disquieting, and gave us a vague sensation of mysterious fear. The sweet charm of warm nights and of streams glittering in the moonlight penetrated us. It was delightful to be alive and to float along thus, and to dream and to feel at one's side a sympathetic and beautiful young woman. I was somewhat affected, somewhat agitated, somewhat intoxicated by the pale brightness of the night and the consciousness of my proximity to a lovely woman. "Come and sit beside me," she said. I obeyed. She went on: "Recite some poetry for me." This appeared to be rather too much. I declined; she persisted. She certainly wanted to play the game, to have a whole orchestra of sentiment, from the moon to the rhymes of poets. In the end I had to yield, and, as if in mockery, I repeated to her a charming little poem by Louis Bouilhet, of which the following are the last verses:
"I hate the poet who with tearful eye Murmurs some name while gazing tow'rds a star, Who sees no magic in the earth or sky, Unless Lizette or Ninon be not far. "The bard who in all Nature nothing sees Divine, unless a petticoat he ties Amorously to the branches of the trees Or nightcap to the grass, is scarcely wise. "He has not heard the Eternal's thunder tone,

The voice of Nature in her various moods, Who cannot tread the dim ravines alone, And of no woman dream mid whispering woods."

I expected some reproaches. Nothing of the sort. She murmured: "How true it is!" I was astonished. Had she understood? Our boat had gradually approached the bank and become entangled in the branches of a willow which impeded its progress. I placed my arm round my companion's waist, and very gently approached my lips towards her neck. But she repulsed me with an abrupt, angry movement. "Have done, pray! How rude you are!" I tried to draw her toward me. She resisted, caught hold of the tree, and was near flinging us both into the water. I deemed it prudent to cease my importunities. She said: "I would rather capsize you. I feel so happy. I want to dream. This is so delightful." Then, in a slightly malicious tone, she added: "Have you already forgotten the verses you repeated to me just now?" She was right. I became silent. She went on: "Come, now!" And I plied the oars once more. I began to think the night long and my position ridiculous. My companion said to me: "Will you make me a promise?" "Yes. What is it?" "To remain quiet, well-behaved and discreet, if I permit you--" "What? Say what you mean!" "Here is what I mean: I want to lie down on my back at the bottom of the boat with you by my side. But I forbid you to touch me, to embrace me-- in short--to caress me." I promised. She said warningly: "If you move, 'I'll capsize the boat."

And then we lay down side by side, our eyes turned toward the sky, while the boat glided slowly through the water. We were rocked by its gentle motion. The slight sounds of the night came to us more distinctly in the bottom of the boat, sometimes causing us to start. And I felt springing up within me a strange, poignant emotion, an infinite tenderness, something like an irresistible impulse to open my arms in order to embrace, to open my heart in order to love, to give myself, to give my thoughts, my body, my life, my entire being to some one. My companion murmured, like one in a dream: "Where are we; Where are we going? It seems to me that I am leaving the earth. How sweet it is! Ah, if you loved me--a little!!!" My heart began to throb. I had no answer to give. It seemed to me that I loved her. I had no longer any violent desire. I felt happy there by her side, and that was enough for me. And thus we remained for a long, long time without stirring. We had clasped each other's hands; some delightful force rendered us motionless, an unknown force stronger than ourselves, an alliance, chaste, intimate, absolute, of our beings lying there side by side, belonging to each other without contact. What was this? How do I know? Love, perhaps? Little by little the dawn appeared. It was three o'clock in the morning. Slowly a great brightness spread over the sky. The boat knocked up against something. I rose up. We had come close to a tiny islet. But I remained enchanted, in an ecstasy. Before us stretched the firmament, red, pink, violet, spotted with fiery clouds resembling golden vapor. The river was glowing with purple and three houses on one side of it seemed to be burning. I bent toward my companion. I was going to say, "Oh! look!" But I held my tongue, quite dazed, and I could no longer see anything except her. She, too, was rosy, with rosy flesh tints with a deeper tinge that was partly a reflection of the hue of the sky. Her tresses were rosy; her eyes were rosy; her teeth were rosy; her dress, her laces, her smile, all were rosy. And in truth I believed, so overpowering was the illusion, that the dawn was there in the flesh before me. She rose softly to her feet, holding out her lips to me; and I moved toward her, trembling, delirious feeling indeed that I was going to kiss Heaven, to kiss happiness, to kiss a dream that had become a woman, to kiss the ideal which had descended into human flesh. She said to me: "You have a caterpillar in your hair." And, suddenly, I felt as sad as if I had lost all hope in life. That is all, madame. It is puerile, silly, stupid. But I am sure that since that day it would be impossible for me to love. And yet--who can tell? [The young man upon whom this letter was found was yesterday taken out of the Seine between Bougival and Marly. An obliging bargeman, who had searched the pockets in order to ascertain the name of the deceased, brought this paper to the author.]

Friend Joseph
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They had been great friends all winter in Paris. As is always the case, they had lost sight of each other after leaving school, and had met again when they were old and gray-haired. One of them had married, but the other had remained in single blessedness. M. de Meroul lived for six months in Paris and for six months in his little chateau at Tourbeville. Having married the daughter of a neighboring, squire, he had lived a good and peaceful life in the indolence of a man who has nothing to do. Of a calm and quiet disposition, and not over-intelligent he used to spend his time quietly regretting the past, grieving over the customs and institutions of the day and continually repeating to his wife, who would lift her eyes, and sometimes her hands, to heaven, as a sign of energetic assent: "Good gracious! What a government!" Madame de Meroul resembled her husband intellectually as though she had been his sister. She knew, by tradition, that one should above all respect the Pope and the King! And she loved and respected them from the bottom of her heart, without knowing them, with a poetic fervor, with an hereditary devotion, with the tenderness of a wellborn woman. She was good to, the marrow of her bones. She had had no children, and never ceased mourning the fact. On meeting his old friend, Joseph Mouradour, at a ball, M. de Meroul was filled with a deep and simple joy, for in their youth they had been intimate friends. After the first exclamations of surprise at the changes which time had wrought in their bodies and countenances, they told each other about their lives since they had last met. Joseph Mouradour, who was from the south of France, had become a government official. His manner was frank; he spoke rapidly and without restraint, giving his opinions without any tact. He was a Republican, one of those good fellows who do not believe in standing on ceremony, and who exercise an almost brutal freedom of speech. He came to his friend's house and was immediately liked for his easy cordiality, in spite of his radical ideas. Madame de Meroul would exclaim: "What a shame! Such a charming man!" Monsieur de Meroul would say to his friend in a serious and confidential tone of voice; "You have no idea the harm that you are doing your country." He loved him all the same, for nothing is stronger than the ties of childhood taken up again at a riper age. Joseph Mouradour bantered the wife and the husband, calling them "my amiable snails," and sometimes he would solemnly declaim against people who were behind the times, against old prejudices and traditions. When he was once started on his democratic eloquence, the couple, somewhat ill at ease, would keep silent from politeness and good- breeding; then the husband would try to turn the conversation into some other channel in order to avoid a clash. Joseph Mouradour was only seen in the intimacy of the family. Summer came. The Merouls had no greater pleasure than to receive their friends at their country home at Tourbeville. It was a good, healthy pleasure, the enjoyments of good people and of country proprietors. They would meet their friends at the neighboring railroad station and would bring them back in their carriage, always on the lookout for compliments on the country, on its natural features, on the condition of the roads, on the cleanliness of the farm-houses, on the size of the cattle grazing in the fields, on everything within sight. They would call attention to the remarkable speed with which their horse trotted, surprising for an animal that did heavy work part of the year behind a plow; and they would anxiously await the opinion

of the newcomer on their family domain, sensitive to the least word, and thankful for the slightest good intention. Joseph Mouradour was invited, and he accepted the invitation. Husband and wife had come to the train, delighted to welcome him to their home. As soon as he saw them, Joseph Mouradour jumped from the train with a briskness which increased their satisfaction. He shook their hands, congratulated them, overwhelmed them with compliments. All the way home he was charming, remarking on the height of the trees, the goodness of the crops and the speed of the horse. When he stepped on the porch of the house, Monsieur de Meroul said, with a certain friendly solemnity: "Consider yourself at home now." Joseph Mouradour answered: "Thanks, my friend; I expected as much. Anyhow, I never stand on ceremony with my friends. That's how I understand hospitality." Then he went upstairs to dress as a farmer, he said, and he came back all togged out in blue linen, with a little straw hat and yellow shoes, a regular Parisian dressed for an outing. He also seemed to become more vulgar, more jovial, more familiar; having put on with his country clothes a free and easy manner which he judged suitable to the surroundings. His new manners shocked Monsieur and Madame de Meroul a little, for they always remained serious and dignified, even in the country, as though compelled by the two letters preceding their name to keep up a certain formality even in the closest intimacy. After lunch they all went out to visit the farms, and the Parisian astounded the respectful peasants by his tone of comradeship. In the evening the priest came to dinner, an old, fat priest, accustomed to dining there on Sundays, but who had been especially invited this day in honor of the new guest. Joseph, on seeing him, made a wry face. Then he observed him with surprise, as though he were a creature of some peculiar race, which he had never been able to observe at close quarters. During the meal he told some rather free stories, allowable in the intimacy of the family, but which seemed to the Merouls a little out of place in the presence of a minister of the Church. He did not say, "Monsieur l'abbe," but simply, "Monsieur." He embarrassed the priest greatly by philosophical discussions about diverse superstitions current all over the world. He said: "Your God, monsieur, is of those who should be respected, but also one of those who should be discussed. Mine is called Reason; he has always been the enemy of yours." The Merouls, distressed, tried to turn the trend of the conversation. The priest left very early. Then the husband said, very quietly: "Perhaps you went a little bit too far with the priest." But Joseph immediately exclaimed:

"Well, that's pretty good! As if I would be on my guard with a shaveling! And say, do me the pleasure of not imposing him on me any more at meals. You can both make use of him as much as you wish, but don't serve him up to your friends, hang it!" "But, my friends, think of his holy--" Joseph Mouradour interrupted him: "Yes, I know; they have to be treated like 'rosieres.' But let them respect my convictions, and I will respect theirs!" That was all for that day. As soon as Madame de Meroul entered the parlor, the next morning, she noticed in the middle of the table three newspapers which made her start the Voltaire, the Republique-Francaise and the Justice. Immediately Joseph Mouradour, still in blue, appeared on the threshold, attentively reading the Intransigeant. He cried: "There's a great article in this by Rochefort. That fellow is a wonder!" He read it aloud, emphasizing the parts which especially pleased him, so carried away by enthusiasm that he did not notice his friend's entrance. Monsieur de Meroul was holding in his hand the Gaulois for himself, the Clarion for his wife. The fiery prose of the master writer who overthrew the empire, spouted with violence, sung in the southern accent, rang throughout the peaceful parsons seemed to spatter the walls and century-old furniture with a hail of bold, ironical and destructive words. The man and the woman, one standing, the other sitting, were listening with astonishment, so shocked that they could not move. In a burst of eloquence Mouradour finished the last paragraph, then exclaimed triumphantly: "Well! that's pretty strong!" Then, suddenly, he noticed the two sheets which his friend was carrying, and he, in turn, stood speechless from surprise. Quickly walking toward him he demanded angrily: "What are you doing with those papers?" Monsieur de Meroul answered hesitatingly: "Why--those--those are my papers!" "Your papers! What are you doing--making fun of me? You will do me the pleasure of reading mine; they will limber up your ideas, and as for yours--there! that's what I do with them." And before his astonished host could stop him, he had seized the two newspapers and thrown them out of the window. Then he solemnly handed the Justice to Madame de Meroul, the Voltaire to her husband, while he sank down into an arm-chair to finish reading the Intransigeant. The couple, through delicacy, made a pretense of reading a little, they then handed him back the Republican sheets, which they handled gingerly, as though they might be poisoned.

He laughed and declared: "One week of this regime and I will have you converted to my ideas." In truth, at the end of a week he ruled the house. He had closed the door against the priest, whom Madame de Meroul had to visit secretly; he had forbidden the Gaulois and the Clarion to be brought into the house, so that a servant had to go mysteriously to the post-office to get them, and as soon as he entered they would be hidden under sofa cushions; he arranged everything to suit himself--always charming, always good- natured, a jovial and all-powerful tyrant. Other friends were expected, pious and conservative friends. The unhappy couple saw the impossibility of having them there then, and, not knowing what to do, one evening they announced to Joseph Mouradour that they would be obliged to absent themselves for a few days, on business, and they begged him to stay on alone. He did not appear disturbed, and answered: "Very well, I don't mind! I will wait here as long as you wish. I have already said that there should be no formality between friends. You are perfectly right-go ahead and attend to your business. It will not offend me in the least; quite the contrary, it will make me feel much more completely one of the family. Go ahead, my friends, I will wait for you!" Monsieur and Madame de Meroul left the following day. He is still waiting for them.

Friend Patience
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What became of Leremy?" "He is captain in the Sixth Dragoons." "And Pinson?" "He's a subprefect." "And Racollet?" "Dead." We were searching for other names which would remind us of the youthful faces of our younger days. Once in a while we had met some of these old comrades, bearded, bald, married, fathers of several children, and the realization of these changes had given us an unpleasant shudder, reminding us how short life is, how everything passes away, how everything changes. My friend asked me: "And Patience, fat Patience?" I almost, howled: "Oh! as for him, just listen to this. Four or five years ago I was in Limoges, on a tour of inspection, and I was waiting for dinner time. I was seated before the big cafe in the Place du Theatre, just bored to death. The tradespeople were coming by twos, threes or fours, to take their absinthe or vermouth, talking all the

time of their own or other people's business, laughing loudly, or lowering their voices in order to impart some important or delicate piece of news. "I was saying to myself: 'What shall I do after dinner?' And I thought of the long evening in this provincial town, of the slow, dreary walk through unknown streets, of the impression of deadly gloom which these provincial people produce on the lonely traveller, and of the whole oppressive atmosphere of the place. "I was thinking of all these things as I watched the little jets of gas flare up, feeling my loneliness increase with the falling shadows. "A big, fat man sat down at the next table and called in a stentorian voice: "'Waiter, my bitters!' "The 'my' came out like the report of a cannon. I immediately understood that everything was his in life, and not another's; that he had his nature, by Jove, his appetite, his trousers, his everything, his, more absolutely and more completely than anyone else's. Then he looked round him with a satisfied air. His bitters were brought, and he ordered: "'My newspaper!' "I wondered: 'Which newspaper can his be?' The title would certainly reveal to me his opinions, his theories, his principles, his hobbies, his weaknesses. "The waiter brought the Temps. I was surprised. Why the Temps, a serious, sombre, doctrinaire, impartial sheet? I thought: "'He must be a serious man with settled and regular habits; in short, a good bourgeois.' "He put on his gold-rimmed spectacles, leaned back before beginning to read, and once more glanced about him. He noticed me, and immediately began to stare at me in an annoying manner. I was even going to ask the reason for this attention, when he exclaimed from his seat: "'Well, by all that's holy, if this isn't Gontran Lardois.' "I answered: "'Yes, monsieur, you are not mistaken.' "Then he quickly rose and came toward me with hands outstretched: "'Well, old man, how are you?' "As I did not recognize him at all I was greatly embarrassed. I stammered: "'Why-very well-and-you?' "He began to laugh "'I bet you don't recognize me.' "'No, not exactly. It seems--however--' "He slapped me on the back:

"'Come on, no joking! I am Patience, Robert Patience, your friend, your chum.' "I recognized him. Yes, Robert Patience, my old college chum. It was he. I took his outstretched hand: "'And how are you?' "'Fine!' "His smile was like a paean of victory. "He asked: "'What are you doing here?' "I explained that I was government inspector of taxes. "He continued, pointing to my red ribbon: "'Then you have-been a success?' "I answered: "'Fairly so. And you?' "'I am doing well!' "'What are you doing?' "'I'm in business.' "'Making money?' "'Heaps. I'm very rich. But come around to lunch, to-morrow noon, 17 Rue du Coq-qui-Chante; you will see my place.' "He seemed to hesitate a second, then continued: "'Are you still the good sport that you used to be?' "'I--I hope so.' "'Not married?' "'No.' "'Good. And do you still love a good time and potatoes?' "I was beginning to find him hopelessly vulgar. Nevertheless, I answered "'Yes.' "'And pretty girls?' "'Most assuredly.'

"He began to laugh good-humoredly. "'Good, good! Do you remember our first escapade, in Bordeaux, after that dinner at Routie's? What a spree!' "I did, indeed, remember that spree; and the recollection of it cheered me up. This called to mind other pranks. He would say: "'Say, do you remember the time when we locked the proctor up in old man Latoque's cellar?' "And he laughed and banged the table with his fist, and then he continued: "'Yes-yes-yes-and do you remember the face of the geography teacher, M. Marin, the day we set off a firecracker in the globe, just as he was haranguing about the principal volcanoes of the earth?' "Then suddenly I asked him: "'And you, are you married?' "He exclaimed: "'Ten years, my boy, and I have four children, remarkable youngsters; but you'll see them and their mother.' "We were talking rather loud; the people around us looked at us in surprise. "Suddenly my friend looked at his watch, a chronometer the size of a pumpkin, and he cried: "'Thunder! I'm sorry, but I'll have to leave you; I am never free at night.' "He rose, took both my hands, shook them as though he were trying to wrench my arms from their sockets, and exclaimed: "'So long, then; till to-morrow noon!' "'So long!' "I spent the morning working in the office of the collector-general of the Department. The chief wished me to stay to luncheon, but I told him that I had an engagement with a friend. As he had to go out, he accompanied me. "I asked him: "'Can you tell me how I can find the Rue du Coq-qui-Chante?' "He answered: "'Yes, it's only five minutes' walk from here. As I have nothing special to do, I will take you there.' "We started out and soon found ourselves there. It was a wide, fine- looking street, on the outskirts of the town. I looked at the houses and I noticed No. 17. It was a large house with a garden behind it. The facade, decorated with frescoes, in the Italian style, appeared to me as being in bad taste. There were

goddesses holding vases, others swathed in clouds. Two stone cupids supported the number of the house. "I said to the treasurer: "'Here is where I am going.' "I held my hand out to him. He made a quick, strange gesture, said nothing and shook my hand. "I rang. A maid appeared. I asked: "'Monsieur Patience, if you please?' "She answered: "'Right here, sir. Is it to monsieur that you wish to speak?' "'Yes.' "The hall was decorated with paintings from the brush of some local artist. Pauls and Virginias were kissing each other under palm trees bathed in a pink light. A hideous Oriental lantern was ranging from the ceiling. Several doors were concealed by bright hangings. "But what struck me especially was the odor. It was a sickening and perfumed odor, reminding one of rice powder and the mouldy smell of a cellar. An indefinable odor in a heavy atmosphere as oppressive as that of public baths. I followed the maid up a marble stairway, covered with a green, Oriental carpet, and was ushered into a sumptubus parlor. "Left alone, I looked about me. "The room was richly furnished, but in the pretentious taste of a parvenu. Rather fine engravings of the last century represented women with powdered hair dressed high surprised by gentlemen in interesting positions. Another lady, lying in a large bed, was teasing with her foot a little dog, lost in the sheets. One drawing showed four feet, bodies concealed behind a curtain. The large room, surrounded by soft couches, was entirely impregnated with that enervating and insipid odor which I had already noticed. There seemed to be something suspicious about the walls, the hangings, the exaggerated luxury, everything. "I approached the window to look into the garden. It was very big, shady, beautiful. A wide path wound round a grass plot in the midst of which was a fountain, entered a shrubbery and came out farther away. And, suddenly, yonder, in the distance, between two clumps of bushes, three women appeared. They were walking slowly, arm in arm, clad in long, white tea-gowns covered with lace. Two were blondes and the other was dark-haired. Almost immediately they disappeared again behind the trees. I stood there entranced, delighted with this short and charming apparition, which brought to my mind a whole world of poetry. They had scarcely allowed themselves to be seen, in just the proper light, in that frame of foliage, in the midst of that mysterious, delightful park. It seemed to me that I had suddenly seen before me the great ladies of the last century, who were depicted in the engravings on the wall. And I began to think of the happy, joyous, witty and amorous times when manners were so graceful and lips so approachable. "A deep voice male me jump. Patience had come in, beaming, and held out his hands to me.

"He looked into my eyes with the sly look which one takes when divulging secrets of love, and, with a Napoleonic gesture, he showed me his sumptuous parlor, his park, the three women, who had reappeared in the back of it, then, in a triumphant voice, where the note of pride was prominent, he said: "'And to think that I began with nothing--my wife and my sister-in-law!'"

His Avenger
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When M. Antoine Leuillet married the widow, Madame Mathilde Souris, he had already been in love with her for ten years. M. Souris has been his friend, his old college chum. Leuillet was very much attached to him, but thought he was somewhat of a simpleton. He would often remark: "That poor Souris who will never set the world on fire." When Souris married Miss Mathilde Duval, Leuillet was astonished and somewhat annoyed, as he was slightly devoted to her, himself. She was the daughter of a neighbor, a former proprietor of a draper's establishment who had retired with quite a small fortune. She married Souris for his money. Then Leuillet thought he would start a flirtation with his friend's wife. He was a good-looking man, intelligent and also rich. He thought it would be all plain sailing, but he was mistaken. Then he really began to admire her with an admiration that his friendship for the husband obliged him to keep within the bounds of discretion, making him timid and embarrassed. Madame Souris believing that his presumptions had received a wholesome check now treated him as a good friend. This went on for nine years. One morning a messenger brought Leuillet a distracted note from the poor woman. Souris had just died suddenly from the rupture of an aneurism. He was dreadfully shocked, for they were just the same age. But almost immediately a feeling of profound joy, of intense relief, of emancipation filled his being. Madame Souris was free. He managed, however, to assume the sad, sympathetic expression that was appropriate, waited the required time, observed all social appearances. At the end of fifteen months he married the widow. This was considered to be a very natural, and even a generous action. It was the act of a good friend of an upright man. He was happy at last, perfectly happy. They lived in the most cordial intimacy, having understood and appreciated each other from the first. They had no secrets from one another and even confided to each other their most secret thoughts. Leuillet loved his wife now with a quiet and trustful affection; he loved her as a tender, devoted companion who is an equal and a confidante. But there lingered in his mind a strange and inexplicable bitterness towards the defunct Souris, who had first been the husband of this woman, who had had the flower of her youth and of her soul, and had even robbed her of some of her poetry. The memory of the dead husband marred the happiness of the living husband, and this posthumous jealousy tormented his heart by day and by night.

The consequence was he talked incessantly of Souris, asked about a thousand personal and secret minutia, wanted to know all about his habits and his person. And he sneered at him even in his grave, recalling with self-satisfaction his whims, ridiculing his absurdities, dwelling on his faults. He would call to his wife all over the house: "Hallo, Mathilde!" "Here I am, dear." "Come here a moment." She would come, always smiling, knowing well that he would say something about Souris and ready to flatter her new husband's inoffensive mania. "Tell me, do you remember one day how Souris insisted on explaining to me that little men always commanded more affection than big men?" And he made some remarks that were disparaging to the deceased, who was a small man, and decidedly flattering to himself, Leuillet, who was a tall man. Mme. Leuillet allowed him to think he was right, quite right, and she laughed heartily, gently ridiculing her former husband for the sake of pleasing the present one, who always ended by saying: "All the same, what a ninny that Souris was!" They were happy, quite happy, and Leuillet never ceased to show his devotion to his wife. One night, however, as they lay awake, Leuillet said as he kissed his wife: "See here, dearie." "Well?" "Was Souris--I don't exactly know how to say it--was Souris very loving?" She gave him a kiss for reply and murmured "Not as loving as you are, mon chat." He was flattered in his self-love and continued: "He must have been--a ninny--was he not?" She did not reply. She only smiled slyly and hid her face in her husband's neck. "He must have been a ninny and not--not--not smart?" She shook her head slightly to imply, "No--not at all smart." He continued: "He must have been an awful nuisance, eh?" This time she was frank and replied:

"Oh yes!" He kissed her again for this avowal and said: "What a brute he was! You were not happy with him?" "No," she replied. "It was not always pleasant." Leuillet was delighted, forming in his mind a comparison, much in his own favor, between his wife's former and present position. He was silent for a time, and then with a burst of laughter he asked: "Tell me?" "What?" "Will you be frank, very frank with me?" "Why yes, my dear." "Well then, tell me truly did you never feel tempted to--to--to deceive that imbecile Souris?" Mme. Leuillet said: "Oh!" pretending to be shocked and hid her face again on her husband's shoulder. But he saw that she was laughing. "Come now, own up," he persisted. "He looked like a ninny, that creature! It would be funny, so funny! Good old Souris! Come, come, dearie, you do not mind telling me, me, of all people." He insisted on the "me" thinking that if she had wished to deceive Souris she would have chosen him, and he was trembling in anticipation of her avowal, sure that if she had not been a virtuous woman she would have encouraged his own attentions. But she did not answer, laughing still, as at the recollection of something exceedingly comical. Leuillet, in his turn began to laugh, thinking he might have been the lucky man, and he muttered amid his mirth: "That poor Souris, that poor Souris, oh, yes, he looked like a fool!" Mme. Leuillet was almost in spasms of laughter. "Come, confess, be frank. You know I will not mind." Then she stammered out, almost choking with laughter: "Yes, yes." "Yes, what?" insisted her husband. "Come, tell all." She was quieter now and putting her mouth to her husband's ear, she whispered: "Yes, I did deceive him." He felt a chill run down his back and to his very bones, and he stammered out, dumfounded: "You-you--deceived him--criminally?" She still thought he was amused and replied: "Yes--yes, absolutely." He was obliged to sit up to recover his breath, he was so shocked and upset at what he had heard.

She had become serious, understanding too late what she had done. "With whom?" said Leuillet at length. She was silent seeking some excuse. "A young man," she replied at length. He turned suddenly toward her and said drily: "I did not suppose it was the cook. I want to know what young man, do you hear?" She did not answer. He snatched the covers from her face, repeating: "I want to know what young man, do you hear?" Then she said sorrowfully: "I was only in fun." But he was trembling with rage. "What? How? You were only in fun? You were making fun of me, then? But I am not satisfied, do you hear? I want the name of the young man!" She did not reply, but lay there motionless. He took her by the arm and squeezed it, saying: "Do you understand me, finally? I wish you to reply when I speak to you." "I think you are going crazy," she said nervously, "let me alone!" He was wild with rage, not knowing what to say, exasperated, and he shook her with all his might, repeating: "Do you hear me, do you hear me?" She made an abrupt effort to disengage herself and the tips of her fingers touched her husband's nose. He was furious, thinking she had tried to hit him, and he sprang upon her holding her down; and boxing her ears with all his might, he cried: "Take that, and that, there, there, wretch!" When he was out of breath and exhausted, he rose and went toward the dressing table to prepare a glass of eau sucree with orange flower, for he felt as if he should faint. She was weeping in bed, sobbing bitterly, for she felt as if her happiness was over, through her own fault. Then, amidst her tears, she stammered out: "Listen, Antoine, come here, I told you a lie, you will understand, listen." And prepared to defend herself now, armed with excuses and artifice, she raised her disheveled head with its nightcap all awry. Turning toward her, he approached, ashamed of having struck her, but feeling in the bottom of his heart as a husband, a relentless hatred toward this woman who had deceived the former husband, Souris.

but felt an irresistible desire to shower kisses on it. I felt an insane longing to open my arms and to carry her off somewhere. in spite of themselves. Steamboats were starting for Suresnes. to go--I did not exactly know where. when the awakening earth puts on its garment of green. my spirits as bright as the day. all the happiness which we are continually in search of. all the charm of tenderness." he said. and everybody moves about. light. for he added: "It is a matter of importance. Without knowing how or why. a little work-girl." . One morning on waking I saw from my window the blue sky glowing in the sun above the neighboring houses. One might almost have said that a breeze of love was blowing through the city. she smiled decidedly. which he no doubt saw. a desire to run. and I went out. She was charming. with light curly hair. a cheerful noise rose up from the streets. and descended to the nape of her neck. filled my heart with agitation. undefined longing for freedom. an air of happiness appeared to pervade everything in the warm light of returning spring.In the Spring Search on this Page: þÿ With the first day of spring. for happiness. and then immediately looked down. goes and comes and talks to his neighbor. The calm river grew wider. I had a girl neighbor. where it became such fine. the atmosphere was warm and perfectly still. I was just about to address her when somebody touched me on the shoulder. which looked like a shimmer of light as it danced in the wind. Everybody I met seemed to be smiling. pale down which the sun was gilding a little. in the depths of whose eyes there lurked a hidden tenderness. no doubt. to wander aimlessly. The deck of the Mouche was covered with passengers. My neighbor raised her eyes again. which I had hitherto been ignorant of. and suddenly I was seized by an unconquerable desire to take a walk through the woods. and the sight of the young women whom I saw in the streets in their morning toilets. and the warm. and in her passing glance I saw a thousand things. as if there were an overabundant supply of sap. I made a grimace. and who gazed at me sadly. who possessed the true Parisian charm: a little head. for I perceived unknown depths. also showed a fine. that was ready to break out into a smile. silky. to breathe in the spring. as I was still looking at her. "I should like to speak to you. we experience a vague. came down to her ears. and this time. for the sun in early spring draws one out of the house. and who walked with languid grace. this spring feeling was like a form of intoxication in May. and as I turned round in some surprise. so as to whisper the sweet music of words of love into her ears. Under my persistent gaze. but a murmur of life seemed to fill all space. and so were the servants on every floor. all the poetry which we dream of. The previous winter having been unusually severe. fragrant air fans our faces and fills our lungs and appears even to penetrate to our hearts. who was neither young nor old. I saw an ordinary-looking man. I found myself on the banks of the Seine.colored clown that one could scarcely see it. The canaries hanging in the windows were singing loudly. she turned her head toward me. while a slight crease at the side of her mouth.

It is just like drinking wine after cheese. I went to see my chief. with a small parcel in her hand. to go as far as Saint Cloud. monsieur. the trees. but it is surprising. in spite of my repugnance. where our chiefs. it was love. who was always in a rage. "It was about this time last year that it occurred. rheumatism and pleurisy. monsieur. I said: "Really. with its leaves and flowers. no matter what. he looked at me and said: 'I do not believe it. as that girl did at you. therefore. the river.' "Yes. the commissioners. but at last. you wear flannel.' "Then you are very careful. first of all. French citizens. how much prettier women seem to us when the day is fine at the beginning of the spring. nobody says to you: "'Monsieur. wet and snowy weather. bronchitis. But. the houses and my fellow-passengers. I loved everything--the steamer. with these words: 'Return of spring. ought I to let him perish? So just listen to my story and you will see why I ventured to speak to you like this. but all this does not prevent you from passing two months in bed. monsieur. and treat us like forecastle men on board a ship. Ah! what a good thing it would have been if my chief had refused me permission to leave the office that day! "I seemed to myself to expand in the sun. I say that the French Government ought to put large public notices on the walls. as the government will not do this. a short. all its weapons are sharpened. Then they have an intoxicating charm. all its guiles are prepared! Beware of love! Beware of love! It is more dangerous than brandy. Well. She was decidedly pretty. It was a day like this. at the Trocadero. beware of love!' just as they put: 'Beware of paint: "However. I must tell you that I am a clerk in the Admiralty. bad-tempered man. take their gold lace as quill-driving officials seriously. your doctor says to you constantly: 'Keep your feet warm. just now. but be off with you! Do you think that any office can go on with clerks like you?' I started at once and went down the Seine. its warm.I got up. and I felt inclined to dance among my portfolios." I was much astonished at this individual. "I looked at her and she also looked at me. colds. laying its snare. all its snares are laid. When I told him that I was not well. monsieur." He made an abrupt movement and replied: "Ah! monsieur. with its cold. and it is my duty to inform you of it. from my office I could see a small bit of blue sky and the swallows. Presently. monsieur! If I see that a man is in danger of being drowned at a dangerous spot. "My yearning for freedom grew so intense that. and followed him to the other end of the boat and then he said: "Monsieur. it is watching for you at every corner. and I took the Mouche. bronchitis or pleurisy! It never forgives and makes everybody commit irreparable follies. guard against chills. something quite peculiar about them. a girl. I felt inclined to kiss something. and assuming a dignified manner. came on board and sat down opposite me. you appear to me to be interfering in a matter which is no concern of yours. by dint of looking at each other constantly. soft breezes and its smell of the fields. when winter comes. beware of love! It is lying in ambush everywhere. I must supply its place. but only occasionally. all of which causes you vague disquiet and causeless emotion. just as in Russia they inform any one that his nose is frozen. it seemed to me that we knew each other well enough to . But when spring returns. a heavy greatcoat and thick shoes. and I say to you: 'Beware of love!' for it is just going to seize you.

' My heart beat so that it felt as if it would break my ribs. to every suburban resort of lovers. how it invades our very being. I took her to Bougival. and then. takes possession of us. and dominates us! How profound it seems. Then I knelt down and opened my heart to her and poured out all the affection that was suffocating me. that at last I asked her what was the matter. and. old fellow! Very well. 'Shall we go there for a walk. Saint-Germain.enter into conversation. "I saw her on the following Sunday. and we returned to SaintCloud. However. and the air was full of insects that were also making love to one another. do you know what those sacred marks of toil mean? They mean all the gossip of the workroom. Under the foliage. following her example. it was love. 'Ah! so that is the way women make a fool of you. when I ought to have been using my time to a better purpose. I walked by her side. 'Indeed. how full of infinite promises! People call that looking into each other's souls! Oh! monsieur. monsieur! "Then she sang unrestrainedly a thousand things. combined to their fullest extent in the girl whose fingers bear the sacred marks of toil. foolish chatter. and sat down on a grassy slope. I was sentimental.' I said. How silly we are at times. . it was the ideal. we should be more careful of what we did. My companion began to jump and to run. Poissy. her little hands. the mind soiled by all the filth that is talked. 'that this has been one of those days of which we have but few in life. and women artful dealers. monsieur. and every Sunday. and I followed her. and I did not leave her until we got to Paris. 'I am thinking. Oh! what power a woman's eye has! How it agitates us. and I ran and jumped. believe me. but what I wanted was not a woman's person. that were so marked with the needle. She was decidedly pretty and nice and she intoxicated me. the tall. and birds were singing in all directions. bright green grass was inundated by the sun. as if to see exactly what I was like. 'It would be very nice in the woods. mademoiselie?' "She gave me a quick upward look. She went and delivered her parcel.' she replied. but she had looked so sad as we were returning. walking side by side. "Then we looked into each other's eyes for a long while. and I spoke to her and she replied. what humbug! If we could see into each other's souls. then! I almost cried over it. I was captivated and was crazy about her and tried to take her into my arms. opera airs and the song of Musette! The song of Musette! How poetical it seemed to me. we are always novices. I said to myself: 'These are the sacred marks of toil. She seemed surprised at my change of manner and gave me a sidelong glance. and I saw my own stupidity later.' "In love. which was still rather scanty. she accepted my proposal. but she said: 'Paws off!'. and soon we were there. Ah! Those silly songs make us lose our heads. after a little hesitation. it would!' she replied. she got up. all the wretchedness of their everyday life. and the next Sunday. "As soon as she had had enough of my declarations of affection. and when she returned the boat had just started. and the warmth of the 'air made us both sigh. we will see. Maisons-Lafitte. all the narrowness of ideas which belongs to women of the lower orders. especially if she sings the song of Musette! "She soon grew tired. the whispered scandal. they mean lost chastity. thick. and I sat at her feet and took her hands. intoxicated by the air and the smell of the country. "No doubt I could have had her.' Oh! monsieur. and that filled me with emotion. as if to say. never marry a woman who sings in the country. monsieur! "She got out at Saint-Cloud.

quarrels with the charcoal dealer." He stopped. as he was rather out of breath and very much moved. while the woman. when a man is a clerk. was awaiting him at the Hotel de Ville. in turn. called out to him: "Here. seemed utterly dejected. go and have a look at the outskirts of the wood. She passed close to me. I altogether lost my head. with idiotic superstitions. The little woman on the landing-stage looked at me as I went off with an air of disappointment. "What can you expect. knows nothing. until. one of those smiles that drive you wild. and that the wheat was doing well. when the boat stopped. with defiant eyes. artless devil. with extraordinary ideas and monstrous prejudices. looked at the official who had arrested them. with two prisoners. or any one to advise him? One says to one's self: 'How sweet life would be with a wife!' "And so one gets married and she calls you names from morning till night. that I--for what I have said applies more particularly to myself--shed tears of discouragement every time I talk to her. and I was just going to give him some sort of answer. and gave me a sidelong glance and a furtive smile. top of her voice (oh! that song of Musette. sings the song of Musette at the. living alone. Hochedur?" The rural policeman made his deposition: He had gone out that morning at his usual time."The little jade. a little roundabout individual with shining cheeks. in order to patrol his beat from the forest of Champioux as far as the boundaries of Argenteuil. tells the janitor all her domestic details. word was brought to him that the rural policeman. discusses her husband with the tradespeople and has her head so stuffed with stupid stories. and I looked at him. Daddy Hochedur. pretended to love me. Then she jumped on the landing-stage. He went there at once and found old Hochedur standing guard before a middle-class couple whom he was regarding with a severe expression on his face." In the Wood Search on this Page: þÿ As the mayor was about to sit down to breakfast. when the son of old Bredel. without any relations. and the steamboat started. He had not noticed anything unusual in the country except that it was a fine day. at last. for I felt pity for this poor. a fat old fellow with a red nose and white hair. however. We were at Saint-Cloud. but without venturing to face scandal and ridicule. In the first thicket you will find a pair of pigeons who must be a hundred and thirty years old between them!" . whereupon he seized the skirt of my coat and pulled me back. confides all the secrets of her bedroom to the neighbor's servant. while my persecutor rubbed his hands and whispered to me: "You must acknowledge that I have done you a great service. I sprang forward to follow her. "What is it? What is it. and I remained standing motionless and furious. The man. who was going over his vines. The little woman who had so taken my fancy rose from her seat in order to land. monsieur. I shook myself loose. chatters continually. exclaiming: "You shall not go! you shall not go!" in such a loud voice that everybody turned round and laughed. understands nothing. and three months later I married her. how tired one gets of it!). but my neighbor laid hold of my arm.

on his hands and knees as if to surprise a poacher. my dear sir. beginning with the man. Advancing.He went in the direction indicated." "What have you to say in your defence?" "Nothing. "What is your name?" "Nicholas Beaurain. but we are living together!" "But in that case--you must be mad. and his hands hanging at his sides. and he muttered: "It was she who enticed me! I told her it was very stupid. who replied in such a weak voice that he could scarcely be heard. in Paris. therefore. and the mayor continued: "Do you deny what the officer of the municipal authorities states?" "No. in the Rue des Martyrs. for the man was certainly sixty. altogether mad." "Where did you meet the partner in your misdemeanor?" "She is my wife. and there he heard words which made him suspect a flagrant breach of morality. and he began to question them. he had arrested the couple whom he found there." "So you confess it?" "Yes." The haberdasher seemed ready to cry with shame. The mayor looked at the culprits in astonishment. monsieur. and the woman fiftyfive at least. entered the thicket." "Your occupation?" "Haberdasher." "Your wife?" "Yes. monsieur." "What were you doing in the wood?" The haberdasher remained silent. to get caught playing lovers in the country at ten o'clock in the morning. monsieur." . monsieur. monsieur. but when a woman once gets a thing into her head--you know--you cannot get it out." "Then--then--you do not live together-in Paris?" "I beg your pardon. monsieur. with his eyes on his fat paunch.

or rather like a poor woman? And I hope that you will be kind enough to send us home. It was a lovely day. who was looking at his feet in confusion. and he said he was a linen draper's assistant. Rose and her lover teased me because I looked rather stern. and I liked to see his embarrassment. and go to some other neighborhood! That's what it has come to. monsieur. Business did not prosper. and I began to talk. One has other things in one's . I made Monsieur Beaurain's acquaintance one Sunday in this neighborhood. but I had made up my mind not to encourage him. and in short he married me the next September. very fond of him! He was a good-looking fellow. Rose and Simon hugged and kissed each other every minute. we had got out of the way of them. the swallows flying so swiftly." Then Monsieur Beauain was seized with rage and turning to his wife. We talked for a few minutes. and when I am in the country I utterly lose my head.The mayor. just as it used to be formerly. "It was a hard struggle for some years. while I had none. He looked timid. without useless modesty. And then they began to kiss and hug again. like an honorable man. "Years ago. as I told you just now. and it seemed to penetrate your body through your eyes when you looked and through your mouth when you breathed." Madame Beaurain got up. the daisies. the contrary ought to have happened. The green grass. I used to come and spend Sundays here occasionally with a friend of mine. without putting any more restraint upon themselves than if we had not been there. the scarlet poppies. and without looking at her husband. and one Saturday he told me laughing that he should bring a friend with him the next day. Is not that true. He was employed in a draper's shop. monsieur. Monsieur Beaurain?" Monsieur Beaurain. the smell of the grass. but I told him sharply to keep his place. it was lovely weather. It is like champagne when one is not accustomed to it! "Well. besides. and that gave me a queer feeling! Monsieur Beaurain and I walked behind them. if she had had the idea only in her head. and we started in business in the Rue des Martyrs. all that makes me crazy. I know that we have made ourselves ridiculous. for when people do not know each other. and we four sat down. "The next day we met Monsieur Beaurain at the railway station. and she continued: "Then he saw that I was virtuous. "Of course. I remember it as if it were yesterday. alone with this young fellow whom I saw for the first time. who liked a joke. it was as cool as in a bath there. formerly. and in those days he was good-looking. You would not be here. and got up and went off among the trees. Will you allow me to plead my cause like an advocate. and from that time he came every Sunday. did not reply. When it is fine even now. smiled and replied: "In your case. for a breach of morals! And we shall have to shut up the shop. and I did not. I quite understood what he meant. Well. for I was virtuous. Rose Leveque. he said: "Do you see to what you have brought us with your poetry? And now we shall have to go before the courts at our age. she explained herself without embarrassment. He used to bring us here. and Rose had a sweetheart. the sort of day that touches your heart. monsieur. they do not find anything to talk about. when I was young. and we could not afford many country excursions. I asked him what his business was. You may fancy what I looked like. and he began to make love to me nicely. I felt so confused at seeing them go that it gave me courage. and. and then they whispered together. and that made him bold. warm and bright. we arrived at Bezons. but I replied that it would be no good. and I was a saleswoman in a ready-made clothing establishment. I was very fond of him also. and to spare us the disgrace of a prosecution. without speaking much. with whom I lived in the Rue Pigalle. for he was very much in love with me. but you will understand that I could not be otherwise. At last we got to the little wood. and he wanted to take liberties with me. and almost without hesitation. I grow quite foolish. without saying a word. sell our good will.

He agreed without mistrusting anything. for twenty years I might have gone and had kisses in the woods. I also understood quite well that I no longer appealed to any one! "Well. you must be mad! You are mad this morning! What is the matter with you?' I did not listen to him. One does not regret anything as long as one does not notice what one has lost. be more discreet. and send me back to sell my needles and cotton! And then. He could not distinguish the tenderness which this budding woman awoke in him from the vague and powerful emotion which the fresh salt air and the grand scenery of surf and sunshine and waves aroused in his soul. We were growing old by degrees without perceiving it. and we were tranquil as to the future! Then. I began to kiss him. when one is in business. for a woman's heart never grows old! And really. oh! yes. He had loved her. They had first met on the seashore. Monsieur Beaurain never said much to me. it looks like a river which is descending on Paris. He kept saying to me: 'Why. and I made him come into the wood with me. no. like other women. when one has worked all one's life? A moment comes in which one perceives that one could have done something else." Indiscretion Search on this Page: þÿ They had loved each other before marriage with a pure and lofty love. . you see. to speak the truth. and made my heart beat! Then I would get up and go out on the doorstep to look at the blue sky between the roofs. When one looks up at the sky from the street. I do not exactly know what went on in my mind. on the other hand." The mayor was a sensible man. and I proposed to him an excursion into the country. That is all. As true as I am standing here I was crazy. business became better. and thinks more of the cash box than of pretty speeches. until I felt inclined to drown myself. monsieur. rich. about nine o'clock. and we arrived here this morning. madame. as she passed by with her light-colored parasol and her dainty dress amid the marine landscape against the horizon. and the swallows pass to and fro in it like fish. monsieur. to the place where we had first become acquainted. "And then. and when you again visit our forests. "I felt quite young again when I got among the wheat. and that one regrets. monsieur. the whole truth. I made up my mind. "I did not venture to speak to Monsieur Beaurain about this at first. and he was more surprised than if I had tried to murder him. Monsieur le Maire. had loved him because he courted her. These ideas are very stupid at my age! But how can one help it. blond and slender. like quiet people who do not think much about love. I only listened to my own heart. I have spoken the truth. He rose from his chair. The sight of the little carts full of flowers which are drawn about the streets made me cry. kind. because he was young. winding as it flows. She had loved him because it is natural for young girls to love men who whisper sweet nothings to them. I no longer saw my husband as he is at present. but I began to dream like a little boarding-school girl. but just as he was formerly! That I will swear to you. She. behind my cash box. He had thought this young girl charming.head. smiled. but when I looked in the glass. I knew that he would make fun of me. in these surroundings of blue ocean and spacious sky. I used to think how delightful it would be to lie under the trees and be in love with some one! And I thought of it every day and every night! I dreamed of the moonlight on the water. one feels intense regret! Just think. I really do not know. the smell of violets sought me out in my easy-chair. and attentive. and said: "Go in peace.

Every glance and gesture was an expression of passion. no unexpected outburst. and you too--I want you to think that I am your sweetheart for one . in the freshness of the morning. no new way of expressing the well. oft-repeated verb. more refined caresses. seeing that she was thinking of something which she did not wish to tell. and new and foolish inventions. nothing more to learn from each other." "Go on. in the sweet warmth of the summer evenings: the poetry of mist-covered beaches. or in the evening on the sand. under the stars. for three months. After marriage their love descended to earth. But take me to one of the big places. She went on: "You know. sensuous passion.-I--oh! I will never dare say it!" "Go ahead.known. They tried." "No.So. But. and hand in hand." "Yes. I dare not. then exalted tenderness composed of tangible poetry. dearie. body and soul. to take me for such. Every day they tried some new trick or desperate attempt to bring back to their hearts the uncooled ardor of their first days of married life. Little secrets should no longer exist between us. no new tale of endearment. the excitement of public festivals. already had the flavor of kisses. don't be prudish. I understand--you mean in one of the cafes which are commonly called bohemian. you know--I--. Each dreamed of the other at night. very low. however. Love was still strong. each longer for the other." "Well. one where you are known. one where you have already supped--no--dined--well. they had lived side by side. one of those cafes--oh. and. It was at first a tireless. how can I explain myself?--a sporty cafe!" He smiled: "Of course. that's it. whispered low. in the warmth of a calm night. each thought of the other on awaking. they began to get tired of each other. but they had nothing more to reveal to each other. They tried moonlight walks under the trees. One morning Henriette said to Paul: "Will you take me to a cafe for dinner?" "Certainly. The greeting which they exchanged in the morning before the bath. Tell me. dearie. without even noticing it. little by little. without yet having voiced their sentiments." "To some well-known cafe?" "Of course!" He looked at her with a questioning glance. who do not know that you are married. though their lips had never met. to rekindle the dwindling flame of the first love. I--I--I want to be taken for your sweetheart--there! and I want the boys.

Paul. She continued: . Henriette drank glass after glass in order to keep up her courage. smiling. They sat on the couch. She was feeling strangely excited in this new place. Henriette was well under the influence of champagne." "Go on!" "Have you loved many women before me?" He hesitated. serious. and answered: "All right. "What do you want to eat?" "I don't care. sweetheart?" "I don't dare tell you. to entering the room only when it was necessary and to leaving it when they felt they were intruding. very dry. she." Toward seven o'clock they went up the stairs of one of the big cafes on the Boulevard. side by side. Don't look at me!" He laughed. The waiter looked at the young woman and smiled." Henriette was pleased to hear that this man knew her husband's name." After handing his coat to the waiter. with the look of a conqueror. Paul.hour. pleased. His eyes were sparkling. in that place which must hold so many memories for you. kept kissing his wife's hands. although she felt dizzy after the first few glasses. her cheeks flushed. he. her eyes glistening. a little guilty. Two waiters. excited by the memories which returned to him. a little perplexed. which seemed to increase the brilliancy a thousand-fold. I know--I am abominably ashamed. It's awful. not knowing whether he should hide his adventures or boast of them. restless. Ten candles lighted the room and were reflected in the mirrors all around them. but full of life. we will go to-night to a very swell place where I am well known. he ordered dinner and champagne. furnished with four large arm-chairs and a red plush couch. greatly amused. They were immediately shown to one of the luxurious private dining-rooms. I am as red as a peony. There! And I will play that I am your sweetheart. The head waiter entered and brought them the menu. Toward the middle of the dinner. Paul handed it to his wife. delighted. veiled. tell me everything. silent. accustomed to seeing and forgetting everything. He took the order and murmured: "Will Monsieur Paul have his champagne sweet or dry?" "Dry. and began to eat. order whatever is good. "Come. were silently flitting hither and thither. She was prattling along fearlessly. timid." "What.

it's dreadful to have one." "Oh! I think that is dreadful!" "Why dreadful?" "Because it's dreadful when you think of it--all those women--and always --always the same thing. just the same--more than a hundred women!" He was surprised that she should think that dreadful. and some years only a few. How many have you loved?" "A few. they can't be!" "Yes." "Then you must have loved a good many!" "Perhaps. with the air of superiority which men take with women when they wish to make them understand that they have said something foolish: "That's funny! If it is dreadful to have a hundred women. How do you expect me to know such things?" "Haven't you counted them?" "Of course not. not at all!" "Why not?" "Because with one woman you have a real bond of love which attaches you to her. just about. while with a hundred women it's not the same at all. Oh! it's dreadful. no."Oh! please tell me." "How many a year." "But I don't know. they are!" . Some years a good many. dearest." "About how many? Just tell me about how many." "No. sometimes only four or five." "Oh." "How many?" "I don't know. I don't understand how a man can associate with such women. and answered." "But they are all right." "Oh! that makes more than a hundred in all!" "Yes. did you say?" "Sometimes twenty or thirty. There is no real love.

people come to this spot of the earth for hardly any other purpose than to get embroiled or to throw away money on chance games. I stopped short before one of these . and behind them a wild fir wood slopes into two great valleys. backed out. through the caressing breeze. you disgust me!" "But then. And one dreams! What a flood of illusions. no. where one gambles. then putting it back on the table. arrogant and full of cupidity. In about five minutes the head waiter came back. or. staring at her champagne glass. or society women?" "A few of each. I was following that long road which goes from Saint Raphael to Italy. And I thought that from Cannes. to Monaco. and they awaken in your heart a longing for happiness which increases with the hun ger induced by walking. servile. sweetheart! how I love you!" He threw his arms around her in a passionate embrace. along the coast of the sea. and gazing into the amber liquid as though seeking unknown things. solemn and dignified. The fleeting. A waiter. why did you ask me how many sweethearts I had had?" "Because----" "That's no reason!" "What were they-actresses. splendid panoramic highway which seems made for the representation of all the love-poems of earth. It was full-. she threw her arms around her husband's neck and murmured in his ear: "Oh! how I love you. where one poses. She was once more holding between her fingers a full glass. bringing the fruit for dessert.she drank it in one gulp. little shop-girls. charming ideas fly and sing like birds. who was just entering. it's amusing to change. light air! You drink them in with the breeze. loves. rather." "It must have been rather monotonous toward the last. adventures pass through a pedestrian's mind during a two hours' march! What a crowd of confused and joyous hopes enter into you with the mild. Is there anything more pleasant than to meditate while walking at a good pace along a highway? One walks in the sunlight. closing the door discreetly. it must be fun!" Julie Romaine Search on this Page: þÿ Two years ago this spring I was making a walking tour along the shore of the Mediterranean. at the foot of the mountains. Suddenly I saw some villas in one of those ravishing bays that one meets at every turn of the mountain. She murmured in a dreamy voice: "Yes." "Oh." She remained thoughtful. ignorant. that long. that were untraversed by roads. showing up the human mind such as it is. there were only four or five fronting the sea at the foot of the mountains. stop. displaying under this delicious sky and in this garden of roses and oranges all base vanities and foolish pretensions and vile lusts."Oh.

pink or yellow clusters framed each window. arm in arm. I did not hesitate. as if to throw themselves into the very abyss. after a premiere. in that immense orange wood which surrounds Palermo. to love each other in that antique island. mixed in a coquettish. in a post-chaise. intoxicating triumph and heartrending despair. which seemed to nestle in a nosegay. she would open her door to me. . Over the door appeared the name. seventy-five! Julie Romain here. No woman ever was more applauded and more loved--especially more loved! What duets and suicides on her account and what sensational adventures! How old was this seductive woman now? Sixty. and had recalled her eleven times in succession. as was the fashion then. A small servant answered. solitary being had discovered this spot and created this dream house. long ago. She had left one evening. of all colors and all kinds. in this house! The woman who had been adored by the greatest musician and the most exquisite poet of our land! I still remember the sensation (I was then twelve years of age) which her flight to Sicily with the latter. The garden was a mass of flowers. The lawn was full of them." he replied. that maker of verses so touching and so profound that they turned. Behind the house I saw a long avenue of orange trees in blossom. Perhaps. seventy. A workman was breaking stones up the street. periods of triumph and of despair. well-planned disorder. who had attained through her musical periods that are alive in the memories of all. had a garland of enormous red bells. Julie Romain! In my childhood. and which is called the "Shell of Gold. but rang the bell. big pots flanked each side of every step of the porch. they had crossed the sea. caused throughout France. if she knew my name. the heads of a whole generation. the daughter of Greece. like drops of blood. so subtle and so mysterious that they opened a new world to the younger poets. and the terrace with the stone balustrade. which enclosed this pretty little dwelling. and I went to him to ask the name of the proprietor of this jewel. I had heard them speak of this great actress. where the audience had applauded her for a whole half hour. "It is Madame Julie Romain. She had gone away with the poet. what inspired. I wrote in pencil on my card a gallant compliment to the actress. I asked myself what poet or what fairy was living there. after her rupture with the former. "Villa d'Antan. Now he was dead. in that house veiled by flowers. the rival of Rachel. it was so pretty: a small white house with brown trimmings. overrun with rambler roses up to the top. begging her to receive me.chalets." People told of their ascension of Mount Etna and how they had leaned over the immense crater. a boy of eighteen with awkward mien and clumsy hands. And she was there. cheek to cheek. which went up to the foot of the mountain." in small gold letters. The other one also was dead--the deserted one.

sonorous and vibrant: "Thank you. but affected. that I had inquired for the proprietor's name. slender but not pretty. fine. and praising me greatly. The whole place had the air of a bygone time. Following my eye. that of the poet in his closefitting greatcoat and the ruffled shirt then in style. on learning it. poignant. but lifeless.The little valet took it in. satisfied men. then she looked at those of the two men. the sadness of existences that have had their day. took off the covers in my honor. and that of the musician seated at a piano. inside them I saw young. Those faces seemed to be already looking upon posterity. I am like a dead body." "How beautiful life must have been for you!" I said. pretty." After a few moments of silence. "This gives me all the more pleasure. old. monsieur. . rich and happy women and smiling. asking me to follow him. From my seat I could see on the highroad the handsome carriages that were whirling from Nice to Monaco. that of the actress in one of her roles. of days that were done and men who had vanished. the disdainful poet and the inspired musician. relating anecdotes and details of my life. On the walls hung three portraits. was smiling. blond. of whom no one will think until the day when I shall actually die. monsieur. she continued: "And this will not be so very long now. irresistible sadness overwhelmed my heart. with white hair and white eyebrows. the painting was careful. furnished in the Louis-Philippe style. charming. who seemed to say: "What does this ruin want of us?" An indefinable. nothing will remain but a little skeleton of this little woman who is now alive. with stiff and heavy furniture. I could not resist the desire to ring her bell. She held out her hand to me." I told her that her house had attracted me. and as quick and furtive of movement." she replied. She. and then came back. elegant. Then all will be over with me. reviving memories. according to the fashion of her day. she understood my thought and murmured with a smile of resignation: "One cannot both be and have been. In a few months. with the gracious note. How kind it is of the men of to-day to remember the women of yesterday! Sit down. "as it is the first time that such a thing has happened. in a few days. Then I was left alone. and that. like a person drowning in deep water. a veritable white mouse. I trembled as if an old friend who had disappeared for twenty years had been announced to me. from which a little maid of sixteen. A door opened and a little woman entered. very old. then the newspapers will mention Julie Romain for three days. When I received your card. saying in a voice still fresh. very small. whom no one remembers. He led me to a neat and decorous salon." She raised her eyes toward her portrait. with her pretty mouth and blue eyes. but who are still debating with their memories. which smiled down upon this caricature of herself.

looking off into the distance. I smiled. If others have loved me more. raising her eyes to the two portraits. monsieur. She wept silently. of her whole triumphant existence. his whole being. She resumed. while my poor heart is only twenty. Music and Poetry?" "No. But what interpreters!" "Are you sure that you have not been. while these gave you two redoubtable rivals. "Oh. "Both. with a sad glance: "It was with them. with my flowers and my dreams. your true happiness?" I asked. monsieur. your acknowledgment is not to them. but not a great man. gently and discreetly." "Which one?" I could not help asking. no!" she exclaimed emphatically. all his days. but these illusions lift you into the clouds. "Was it on the stage that you found your most intense joys. She spoke of her successes. but he would not have loved me as these did. with nearly every one the heart ages with the body. while realities always leave you trailing in the dust. through these two I have understood." There was a long silence between us." I saw that she was disposed to talk of herself. Ah! those two sang to me of the music of love as no one else in the world could have sung of it. How they intoxicated me! Could any other man express what they knew so well how to express in tones and in words? Is it enough merely to love if one cannot put all the poetry and all the music of heaven and earth into love? And they knew how to make a woman delirious with songs and with words. but to Love itself. perhaps there was more of illusion than of reality in our passion. which caused the soul to vibrate. They were merely its interpreters. She grew calmer and continued. no!" she replied quickly. And that is the reason why I live all alone." Suddenly she began to weep. "Beautiful and sweet! And for that reason I regret it so much. "Another one might perhaps have loved me more. But this has not happened with me. and then I feel remorse. who would have offered to you his whole life and heart. then. so I began to question her. all his thoughts. after a few minutes: "You see. Yes. she said. I pretended not to see. loved as well or better by a simple man. madame." "Then. felt and worshipped love. her intoxications and her friends. My body is sixty-nine years old. or that you might not have been.She heaved a great sigh." "That is possible. with that still youthful voice. as one might touch bruised flesh. shedding tears of despair. smiling: . I even confuse them up a little now in my old woman's memory.

" I accepted at once. she asked timidly: "Will you not dine with me? It would give me a great deal of pleasure. a long bright line. filled with shrubs. opened into the dining-room. and as the little domestic. removed the chair behind her. if you knew how I pass my evenings. I promise you that I will not laugh. at once. It seems to me that all my memories are there. indicated that the old actress often came there to sit down. and we became intimate friends. you would laugh at me. delighted. when she understood what a profound sympathy she had aroused in my heart. The full moon made a narrow path of silver." she said. Evening fell softly. which fell on the yellow sand. one of those calm. A low seat. "You promise me not to laugh?" "Yes. she whispered quickly a few words into his ear. as her lovers had once kissed them. pretty-if you only knew! But no. so thin and so cold!--and I kissed them one after the other. no--really--no. awkward in his green livery." he replied. she would not tell me what she did. let us look at the moon. then. . between the round. to look at the flowers. when the weather is fine. madame. She had taken two thimblefuls of wine. Then I rose to leave. now!" She hesitated. I cannot--I dare not--no. I swear it to you--come. "Already!" she exclaimed. The dinner was good and it lasted a long time." "Well. "Come. and that I need only look at her to bring them all back to me. tell me. hidden by plants. opaque crowns of the dark trees."How you would laugh at me. come. and had grown more confiding and expansive. Daylight was almost gone when we sat down at table. if you knew. She rang. moist evenings when the earth breathes forth all her perfumes. She has been the witness of my most intense joys. And as I said that I wished to dine at Monte Carlo. She was moved and hesitated. And even--some times--in the evening--I offer to myself a pretty play--yes. "Come. I took her hands--those poor little hands. and after giving some orders to the little maid she took me over her house. She took my arm and led me to the veranda. A kind of glass-enclosed veranda. now! come. as the phrase goes. "Yes. revealing at the farther end the long avenue of orange trees extending to the foot of the mountain. I am ashamed and I pity myself at the same time." Beg as I might. she and I." I implored her to tell me what it was. I swear it to you. The avenue of oranges was really splendid to see. several times. Then we went into the garden. "I adore the good moon." She rose.

Love has been turned into a liaison which very often begins with an unpaid dressmaker's bill. Legend of Mont St. The avenue seemed a sad place. Down there at the end of the avenue. false but charming. were two young people. The immense stretch of sand was red. for I guessed that this little play would last a long time. as a man whose leg is cut off resists the impulse to cry out. You no longer even know how to talk to us. little steps. but if you hold the woman more highly. "This is what makes one long for more life. so as not to see them again. I resisted. with their arms around each other's waist. and had on a hat with an ostrich plume. as it did. I took my leave at once. They went farther and farther away. their strong. and the high. But I did not laugh aloud. crossing the flakes of light. and standing in the middle of the avenue. you disappear. which still stirred the heart of this amorous old comedienne. You are speculators. convulsed and feeling almost ill. a whole past of love and of stage scenery. If you think the bill is dearer than the woman. interlaced. "Is it not true? Is it not true? You will see!" And she made me sit down beside her. in the moonlight. finally disappearing as a dream disappears. When I say 'you. awakening. They stopped a hundred paces from us. this fairy castle in the sea. the horizon was red. which illuminated them momentarily. such as men wore in the eighteenth century. I no longer saw them. powdered coiffure of the handsome dames of the time of the Regency. and then sinking back into the shadow. "Look!" I looked. you men of to-day. They were walking along. astonished and delighted. I saw it again from Avranches at sunset. The girl was arrayed in a gown with panniers. merchants and men of affairs. As the young pair turned toward the farther end of the avenue they again became delightful. Suddenly I recognized the two little servants. Michel Search on this Page: þÿ I had first seen it from Cancale. "Oh. and swarming among their dark foliage I saw thousands of fireflies. She smiled. deceitful and seductive. sweet perfume filled the night. Nice morals--and a nice kind of love!" She took my hand. the whole . which looked like seeds fallen from the stars. Then one of those dreadful fits of laughter that convulse you made me writhe in my chair. the artificial past. what a setting for a love scene!" I exclaimed. The youth was dressed in a suit of white satin. with short. charming. they kissed each other with graceful gestures.As these trees were in bloom. you pay it. I got an indistinct impression of it as of a gray shadow outlined against the misty sky. But you hardly think of these things.' I mean young men in general.

more treacherous even than the sea. I wandered through those halls supported by frail or massive columns. while the saint a ruled only over the sands. The negro has his ferocious man-eating idols. and it would be very curious to write the history of the local divinity of every continent as well as the history of the patron saints in each one of our provinces. Saint Michael watches over Lower Normandy. cut like a cameo. the hero of Heaven." The devil. the Greeks. The rocky castle rising out there in the distance like a weird. Saint Michael built himself." This saying is an eternal truth. the conqueror of Satan. cunning. the sword-carrier. But as he still feared the approaches of the wicked one. Saint Michael. a masterpiece of colossal and delicate architecture. raising my eyes in wonder to those spires which looked like rockets starting for the sky. He immediately rushed toward him. the polygamous Mahometan fills his paradise with women. as Satan kept a good hold on his crops. answered: "That will suit me. of slender and charming ornaments. as big as a mountain. the victorious. and as dainty as lace. and only such a saint could build a residence of such magnificence. of gargoyles. seignorial residence. As I was looking up in ecstasy a Lower Normandy peasant came up to me and told me the story of the great quarrel between Saint Michael and the devil. gigantic jewel. my eyes fastened on this. he surrounded his domains by quicksands. this habitation worthy of an archangel. but the matter was by no means easy. invited him in and offered him refreshments.boundless bay was red. The demon was eating his soup in front of his door when he saw the saint. Every village in France is under the influence of some protecting saint. in the open ocean. Therefore Satan was rich. but he owned all the salt marshes. But this is how the Lower Normandy peasant. the devil. then one morning he walked across to the shore. The nearer I approached the greater my admiration grew. deified all the passions. kissed the hem of his sleeve. the rich lands where grow the finest crops. The devil lived in a humble cottage on the hill. the wooded valleys and all the fertile hills of the country. strange and beautiful-this alone remained black in the crimson light of the dying day. As surprised as if I had discovered the habitation of a god. He thought the thing over for about six months. like a dream palace. The following morning at dawn I went toward it across the sands." . To escape from the malice of his neighbor. and to that marvellous assemblage of towers. for nothing in the world could be more wonderful or more perfect. a regular fireworks of stone. like a practical people. whereas Saint Michael was as poor as a church mouse. understands and tells of the struggle between the great saint and the devil. Saint Michael drank a bowl of milk and then began: "I have come here to propose to you a good bargain. A sceptical genius has said: "God made man in his image and man has returned the compliment. deceitful and tricky. candid and trustful. granite lace. the radiant and victorious angel. After a few years of fasting the saint grew tired of this state of affairs and began to think of some compromise with the devil. modelled according to the characteristics of the inhabitants.

calling Saint Michael a swindler. How does that suit you?" The devil. He only demanded in addition a few of those delicious gray mullet which are caught around the solitary mount. First there was a 'vol-au-vent'. salsify. magnificent colza." he said. the fertilizing. accepted eagerly. oats as big as beans. onions. everything that develops into grains or fruit in the sunlight. and we will share the crops equally. But the saint." answered Satan. one could see nothing but carrots." "Very well. growing alarmed. peas. who was naturally lazy. I'll give you some good things to eat. the sowing." Satan cried out: "I will take all that will be above ground. this year I'll let you take everything that is under the ground. accepted. Satan wished to break the contract. wished to speak "But--" She saint continued: "Listen first. "You have been very unfortunate in your dealings with me. everything. I hadn't thought of that at all. The following spring all the evil spirit's lands were covered with golden wheat. A whole year rolled by. From the top of his lonely manor Saint Michael looked at the distant and fertile lands and watched the devil direct the work. flax. I will take care of all the work. Saint Michael sat him down to a magnificent meal. full of cocks' crests and kidneys. And he grew angry. take in his crops and thresh the wheat. who had developed quite a taste for agriculture. and the saint continued: "See here. exasperated at his powerlessness. and he went out to invite him to dinner for the following Monday. As he was no longer able to deceive Satan. all over the immense domain of the devil. so that you will have nothing to complain of." Satan. all the plants whose juicy roots are good and savory and whose useless leaves are good for nothing but for feeding animals." Satan. "I know it. Give me all your lands. who was as greedy as he was lazy. He took back his fields and remained deaf to all the fresh propositions of his neighbor. They grasped hands and spat on the ground to show that it was a bargain. then two big gray mullet with cream sauce. went back to see the devil and said: "Really. and I expect you to dine with me. Once more Satan received nothing. it was just an accident. Six months later. a turkey stuffed with chestnuts . And he went away. the ploughing." "It's a bargain!" said the saint. and this time he completely lost his temper. red clover. no fault of mine. with meat-balls. And to make things fair with you."Here it is. turnips. choose that part of the crops which you prefer: the part that grows above ground or the part that stays in the ground. artichokes. Give me all your lands. cabbage. Saint Michael promised the fish. he decided to wreak vengeance on him. but I don't want any ill feeling between us. On the day appointed he donned his finest clothes and set out for the castle.

sands and pastures. sparkling cider and heady red wine. with its distant towns. and began to retch. his hills. leaving to his enemy his fields. crippled until the end of time. One morning the general sent for him. General Carrel's brigade. You will start at nightfall . rascal! You dare--before me--" Satan. limping. who will be destroyed if we do not go to his aid by sunrise to-morrow. the patron saint of Normandy. his valleys and his marshes. baffling all the enemy's cunning. His horns and claws stuck deep into the rock. eight leagues from here. from which could be seen the immense bay. separated from its division. which keeps through eternity the traces of this fall of Satan. which shot him through space like a cannonball. some salt-marsh lamb as tender as cake. wily and resourceful. Another people would have dreamed of this battle in an entirely different manner Lieutenant Lare's Marriage Search on this Page: þÿ Since the beginning of the campaign Lieutenant Lare had taken two cannon from the Prussians. who seemed to be everywhere at the same moment. He could no longer escape. lieutenant. thanks to the vigilance and agility of Lieutenant Lare. He shot through the air like a javelin and fell heavily before the town of Mortain. They drank new.soaked in wine. retreated continually. wary. The poor devil. vegetables which melted in the mouth and nice hot pancake which was brought on smoking and spreading a delicious odor of butter. The devil drank and ate to his heart's content. terrified. His general had said: "Thank you. Then Saint Michael arose in anger and cried in a voice like thunder: "What! before me. and as he looked at this fatal castle in the distance. and the saint came up behind him and gave him a furious kick. heading for distant countries. He stood up again. misleading their Uhlans and killing their vanguards. "Lieutenant. in fact he took so much that he was very uncomfortable. jumping from gargoyle to gargoyle. and after each course they whetted their appetites with some old apple brandy. They ran through the halls. frustrating their plans. scattering all around them a scum of freebooters. He is at Blainville. seizing a stick. galloping along the cornices. pursued him. and he went away limping. standing out against the setting sun. ran away. turning round the pillars. running up the staircases. But the invading army entered by every frontier like a surging sea. was running about madly and trying hard to escape. sweet. And this is how Saint Michael. "here is a dispatch from General de Lacere. Great waves of men arrived one after the other. fighting each day. At last he found himself at the top of the last terrace. but remaining almost intact. vanquished the devil. who was woefully ill. inventive. As he was as cautious as he was brave. he understood well that he would always be vanquished in this unequal struggle. right at the top. he was entrusted with a hundred soldiers and he organized a company of scouts who saved the army on several occasions during a retreat." said he. and the saint." and had given him the cross of honor.

At two o'clock it began to snow. It was the echelons who were to lead the army." said the lieutenant. "Father. One heard nothing but that indescribable. At six o'clock the detachment set out." "Is this your daughter?" . Then. All at once a woman's shrill cry was heard through the darkness. Around them was a dead silence." The lieutenant said a few words and four men moved away silently. a vague. Study the road carefully. ominous murmur. a little clear. I fear we may meet a division of the enemy. and as it did not melt on their uniforms." Presently the command "Halt" was passed along." A deeper voice replied: "Never fear. creeping under the trees. "it is the Ronfi wood. covered them with a white powder in the darkness. The rest followed them in two long columns. The lieutenant questioned them. The scouts slackened their pace." "Your profession?" "Butler to Comte de Ronfi. like shadows. I know the country as well as I know my pocket. musical young voice was heard amid the stillness of the wood. an old man and a young girl.with three hundred men. had undertaken a reconnoitering expedition to the chateau. we shall get lost in the snow. who. some soldiers marched in pairs. at a distance of about three hundred feet on either side. accompanied by only ten men. "Turn to the right. still in a low tone: "Your name?" "Pierre Bernard.which was still falling. A command was given in a low tone and when the troop resumed its march it left in its wake a sort of white phantom standing in the snow. It gradually grew fainter and finally disappeared. The detachment stopped and waited for the lieutenant. They advanced. I will follow you two hours later." It had been freezing hard for a week.. nameless flutter of falling snow--a sensation rather than a sound. From time to time they halted. Something was ahead of them. little daughter. quite near them. Two prisoners were brought back. Then came a platoon of ten men commanded by the lieutenant himself. The snow. To the right and left of the little band. and by night the ground was covered and heavy white swirls concealed objects hard by. Suddenly they all remained motionless. We shall never reach Blainville. the chateau is more to the left. Two men walked alone as scouts about three yards ahead. they were hardly distinguishable in the night amid the dead whiteness of the landscape. whom you will echelon along the road.

Her father wanted to carry her. and then four' hardy shoulders lifted her up. then back. dark shadow was moving." said the lieutenant." "Do you know the way?" "Perfectly." said he. animated by the presence of a woman. The young girl was wrapped up in these warm soldiers' capes. Leave us here." The officer had given a command. France before all. then suddenly coiling itself into a mass." "Well then. and like an Eastern queen borne by her slaves she was placed in the center of the detachment of soldiers. "Lieutenant. I was alarmed on account of the little one." "Why?" "Because there is a French army there.'Yes!' "What does she do?" "She is laundress at the chateau. She was shaking with cold and seemed about to lose consciousness." And she sat down. more cheerfulness. gently laid in the litter. and in a minute a litter was ready. and then forward again . All at once she stopped. follow us. The old man walked in silence beside the lieutenant. who resumed their march with more energy. Some men had started off. They shot three keepers and hanged the gardener. that sovereign inspiration that has stirred the old French blood to so many deeds of valor. more courage." "Whither are you bound?" "To Blainville. "Father." "Where are you going?" "We are making our escape. At the end of an hour they halted again and every one lay down in the snow. "we shall only impede your march. They came back with branches they had cut." "Why?" "Twelve Uhlans passed by this evening. darting forth again. Over yonder on the level country a big. sobbing. "I am so tired I cannot go any farther. "Who will give his cape to cover her?" Two hundred capes were taken off." she said. It looked like some weird monster stretching itself out like a serpent. his daughter walking at his side. but he was too old and too weak. "Here is a woman dying of cold." They rejoined the column and resumed their march across country. The whole detachment had joined them by this time.

and addressing the stranger. chatting with the old man whom they had come across during the night.Hortense-Genevieve de RonfiQuedissac were married in the church of St. clapped their hands and bore the young girl in triumph into the midst of the camp. gradually paling in the rosy light of dawn. and innumerable stars were sparkling in the sky behind them. monsieur. he is one of my best officers. Presently a voice far off in the distance cried out: "Who goes there?" Another voice nearer by gave the countersign. which died away in the snowy silence. and an occasional little. A cold wind was driving the clouds.without ceasing. A rapid fire was heard. and a smile as radiant as the morn. That evening." The old man took both his hands. "It is I. The old man whom they had captured acted as guide. some conferences took place. their horses with them. he was sent for by the general. Thomas Aquinas. They beat a retreat at noon. A brilliant flash suddenly revealed to them two hundred mete lying on the ground before them. I have only one way of thanking you. you have saved my daughter's life. with two eyes that were brighter than the stars that had just faded from sight." He smiled. as Lieutenant Lare. the form stirred. a dainty face appeared. metallic click was heard. After a long rest the march was resumed. A staff officer came forward to receive the detachment. She brought a dowry of six thousand francs. and twelve Uhlans were seen approaching at a gallop. turning to the astonished lieutenant. overcome by fatigue. They made another halt." Then." The soldiers. having lost their way in the darkness. . said: "My dear comte. The moving object suddenly came nearer. and added: "The best. and was said to be the prettiest bride that had been seen that year. two little hands moved aside the big blue army capes and. He found the commanding officer in his tent. Some whispered orders were passed around among the soldiers. Captain Lare and Miss Louise. this is the young man of whom you were telling me just now. At nine o'clock the Prussians made an attack. But when he asked who was being carried in the litter. saying: "My dear lieutenant. and all the twelve fell to the ground. wild with delight. lowered his tone. one behind the other. on the very same day. that was just getting to arms. Presently General Carrel arrived on the scene. It had stopped snowing. he presented "Comte de Ronfi. was sleeping on a bundle of straw." One year later. As soon as he entered the tent the general took his hand. dry. You may come in a few months to tell me--if you like her.Quedissac. rosy as the dawn.

as if he apprehended some danger. The wood." His blue blouse. had she been killed? He stopped close to her and gazed at her. but now he kept his eyes open. After passing through the village with his long stride. then. with a handrail of rope. left the post office of Roiiy-le-Tors at the usual hour. He had just recovered from the effects of the heat and resumed his quick pace when he noticed at the foot of a tree a knife. and his stout stick of holly kept time with his steady tread. he could not guess . but under the trees one found nothing but moss. He crossed the Brindille on a bridge consisting of a tree trunk. Mederic went on without stopping. Certainly he must know her. following the path along the water's edge to the village of Carvelin. But she had no wound-nothing save a spot of blood on her leg. fastened round his waist by a black leather belt." and he resumed his journey. her face covered with a handkerchief. Meredic advanced on tiptoe. so I must cross the wood. Alongside the water large shrubs had grown up in the sunlight. What was this? No doubt she was asleep. He walked quickly. How. soft and yielding. then.Little Louise Roque Search on this Page: þÿ The former soldier. thick. regular fashion above the green hedge of willow trees. above all. Ten paces in front of him lay stretched on her back on the moss a little girl. She was about twelve years old. And then a murder was such a rare thing in the country. expecting to find something else. then I have one for Monsieur Renardet. though it was not yet eight o'clock in the morning. an odor of dampness and of dead wood. which frothed. perfectly nude. straight as pillars and extending for about half a league along the left bank of the stream which served as a boundary to this immense dome of foliage. for it was by this time hot in the meadows. Mederic slackened his pace. he cut across the meadows of Villaume and reached the bank of the Brindille. and. When he picked it up he discovered a thimble and also a needlecase not far away. Then he reflected that a person does not go to sleep naked at half-past seven in the morning under the cool trees. and he glanced toward the spot uneasily. which belonged to Monsieur Renardet. where he commenced to deliver his letters. took off his black cap adorned with red lace and wiped his forehead. At this thought a cold shiver ran through his frame. the mayor of Carvelin and the largest landowner in the district. he thought: "I'll entrust them to the mayor. following the course of the narrow river. she must be dead. the murder of a child. while he leaned on his stick. and he must be face to face with a crime. in the still air. familiarly called Mederic by the country folks. fastened at either end to a stake driven into the ground. Mederic Rompel. but. a child's small knife. consisted of huge old trees. Having taken up these objects. although he was an old soldier. All of a sudden he stopped short. for he knew all the inhabitants of the district. with only this thought in his mind: "My first letter is for the Poivron family. moved in a quick. as if he had struck against a wooden barrier. not being able to get a look at her face. from which arose. that he could not believe his eyes. murmured and boiled in its grassy bed beneath an arch of willows. So.

It was called the Fox's tower. and extended his hand toward her foot. Had he the right to disarrange anything in the condition of the corpse before the official investigation? He pictured justice to himself as a kind of general whom nothing escapes and who attaches as much importance to a lost button as to the stab of a knife in the stomach. Pale and out of breath. restrained by an idea that occurred to him." Mederic was recognized as a man of standing and authority. He sank on his knees very gently. He was a large. for more than two hundred years. he rushed off under the trees toward Monsieur Renardet's house. he could not leave her lying there in this way. borne by the owners of this fief. The letter carrier. . with his cap in his hand. his hands clenched and his head thrust forward. and at the end of it was a huge tower. as he touched her. It was a big square house of gray stone. no doubt. while his leathern bag. and exclaimed: "Is the mayor up? I want to speak to him at once. rising out of the water. Then he raised himself with the intention of hastening toward the mayor's residence. and his mouth parched. with the terrible coldness of death which leaves us no longer in doubt. with his stick under his arm. and was greatly liked in the district. had come the name Renardet. and one side of it was washed by the Brindille. without any one knowing exactly why. felt his heart in his mouth. very old. Mederic found the mayor seated at a long table covered with scattered papers. although of an excessively violent disposition. like indulgent and prudent friends. It was icy cold.her name. His choleric temperament had often brought him into trouble from which the magistrates of Roiiy-le-Tors. where the servants were taking breakfast. if such proof were there it might lose its value if touched by an awkward hand. it was said. as he said himself afterward. with outstretched hand. Rising up abruptly. who stopped over in the village during an administrative circuit. From the top of this fortress one could formerly see all the surrounding country. Micmac? Had he not broken the ribs of a gamekeeper who abused him for having. twenty metres high. by any chance. and they understood that something serious had happened. and had stood many a siege in former days. which had remained in the same family. had extricated him. passed through a neighbor's property? Had he not even caught by the collar the sub-prefect. kept flapping at his side. called by Monsieur Renardet an electioneering circuit. to be met with so often in the province before the Revolution. all but noble. He stooped forward in order to take off the handkerchief which covered her face. The mayor's residence was at the end of the wood which served as a park. As soon as word was brought to Monsieur Renardet. tall man. through precaution. in accordance with family traditions. strong as an ox. gun in hand. For the Renardets formed part of the upper middle class. Had he not one day thrown the conductor of the diligence from the top of his seat because he came near running over his retriever. for he was opposed to the government. then paused. The postman dashed into the kitchen. Perhaps under this handkerchief evidence could be found to sustain a charge of murder. If the little girl were still alive. he ordered the postman to be sent up to him. a little distance from her. Almost forty years old and a widower for the past six months. filled with letters and newspapers. heavy and red-faced. in fact. he lived on his estate like a country gentleman. He walked on faster than ever. and from this appellation. but again another thought held him back.

gave full details and offered to conduct the mayor to the place. an entirely green flat sweep of country. stooping down. while at the left. dead--quite dead!" The mayor gave vent to an oath: "By God. The mayor. But Renardet became brusque: "No. which were always purple. obeyed and withdrew. quick. a little girl. "What do you say--a little girl?" "Yes. prepared to go out. a man used to discipline. the outhouses and all the buildings connected with the property. Send the watchman. Renardet slowly descended the steps in front of his house. Then the mayor resumed his journey. took off his hat and wiped his forehead as Mederic had done. under his white shirt collar. In front of him stretched a wide sward. Drops of water flowed down his temples over his ears. Where did you find her?" The postman described the spot. in which were three large beds of flowers in full bloom. angry and grieved at not being able to be present at the investigation. with blood on her. behind the stables. one facing the house and the others at either side of it. go and tell them to meet me in the wood. he began tapping with his foot." The letter carrier. which was wealthy. turning to the left. As nobody had appeared. the mayor's secretary and the doctor to me at once. stopped once more and retraced his steps. To the right. and. on her back. one after the other.The mayor asked: "What's the matter now. Farther on the outlying trees of the wood rose skyward. quite naked. over his strong red neck. beyond the Brindille. and made their way. in his turn. for the burning sun was darting its fiery rays on the earth. with bent head. Mederic?" "I found a little girl dead in your wood. his hand behind his back. intersected by trenches and hedges of pollard willows. m'sieu. gained the water's edge. Suddenly. which he followed at a slow pace. being mainly inhabited by cattle breeders. his face the color of brick. he steeped his handkerchief in the stream that glided along at his feet and spread it over his head. might be seen the village. I'd make a bet it is little Louise Roque! I have just learned that she did not go home to her mother last night. and from time to time glanced round in search of the persons he had sent for. Quick. When he stood beneath the trees he stopped. then he called out: "Hello! Hello!" A voice at his right answered: . under his hat. and resume your rounds. I don't need you." Renardet rose to his feet. took his big soft hat and paused for a few seconds on the threshold of his abode. could be seen long meadows. which at that spot widened into a pond. He walked on.

" The doctor lightly drew away the handkerchief which covered her face."Hello! Hello!" And the doctor appeared under the trees. followed by the two men. Their steps made no sound on the moss. said: "See. and had to use a stick to assist him in walking. a child found dead in the wood by Mederic. arrived together. Quite right. he again soaked his handkerchief in the water and placed it round his forehead. Suddenly the doctor." said the mayor. having been sent for at the same time. It is little Louise Roque. moreover. and turned round very quietly." He felt her neck. and hurried forward. Their eyes were gazing ahead in front of them. which looked black. Renardet said to the doctor: "You know what the trouble is about?" "Yes. Come on!" They walked along. "Strangled with the hands without leaving any special trace. the face covered and the arms extended as though on a crucifix. side by side. having been wounded while in the service. and moving their arms up and down so vigorously that they seemed to do more work with them than with their legs. as one does in examining some curious object. As they approached they gradually distinguished a human form lying there. Next came the watchman and the mayor's secretary. "I am fearfully warm. walking and running alternately to hasten their progress. without rising: "Violated and murdered. frightful. He limped. the tongue protruding. sure enough!" . This little girl. its head toward the river. He went on: "By heavens! She was strangled the moment the deed was done. He said. The doctor hastened his steps. neither the mark of the nails nor the imprint of the fingers. interested by the discovery. who passed in the neighborhood for a very skillful practitioner. an ex-military surgeon. extending his arm. as we shall prove presently. is almost a woman--look at her throat. who. He was a thin little man. there she is!" Far ahead of them under the trees they saw something white on which the sun gleamed down through the branches. and stooping down." "That's quite correct. the eyes bloodshot. he bent down to examine it without touching it. They looked scared. He had put on his pince-nez. As soon as they were near the corpse. out of breath.

" Renardet. with the shadow of a smile on his face: "And without a wife. We looked for her along the roads up to midnight." The doctor felt the hands. Maxime" (this was the watchman). he became reckless. resting on them as on the keys of a piano. You understand?" The two men started at once. No matter. the mother came last night to look for me about nine o'clock. Having neither a good supper nor a good bed. He murmured: "What a wretch! We must find the clothes. kept staring with a stony look at the little body exposed to view on the grass. Since we have become a Republic we meet only this kind of person along the roads." "Will you have a cigar?" said the doctor. "Yes. We must give notice of the matter to the authorities. This thing affects me so. "Thanks. Did you know that this little girl had disappeared?" And with the end of his stick he touched one after the other the stiffened fingers of the corpse." Both of them were Bonapartists. some workman out of employment. it must be some prowler. a vagabond without hearth or home. standing up.He carefully replaced the handkerchief. Principe" (this was his secretary). "There's nothing for me to do. However. with his hands behind his back. and Renardet said to the doctor: "What miscreant could have done such a deed in this part of the country?" The doctor murmured: "Who knows? Any one is capable of that. The mayor went on: "Yes. a passer-by. the legs. "go and find those clothes for me along the stream." The doctor added. we needed daylight to carry out a thorough search." The mayor thereupon gave directions: "Do you. You can't tell how many men there may be in the world capable of a crime at a given moment. You. He said: "She had been bathing no doubt. Every one in particular and nobody in general. I don't care to smoke. the arms. it can only be a stranger. They ought to be at the water's edge. She's been dead for the last hour at least. "hurry on toward Rouy-le-Tors and bring with you the magistrate with the gendarmes. They must be here within an hour. the child not having come home at seven to supper." . but we did not think of the wood.

Suddenly she saw the corpse. clasped her hands and raised both her arms while she uttered a sharp. nothing at all anywhere. He stammered: "Damn--damn--damned pig to do this! I would like to seem him guillotined. drawing his handkerchief from his pocket. plunged as he was in deep thought. with its close-clinging dress. Then he gave vent to a sort of loud sneeze.They remained standing beside the corpse of the young girl. face downward. she pressed her face against the ground and uttered frightful. replied in a thick voice. One could see her bony ankles and her dried-up calves covered with coarse blue stockings shaking horribly. It was the mother. coughing. black and distorted. jerky movements. said in a low tone: "Poor old woman!" Renardet felt a strange sensation. La Roque. shaken with spasms. M'sieu le Maire. sobbing and blowing his nose noisily. surprised by a shrill noise. and." The mayor." . a fly on the skin! The ladies of the last century had good reason to paste them on their faces. she rose to her feet with a shudder. She was digging the soil with her crooked fingers. When she saw that frightful countenance. drowned in tears: "What is that you could not find?" "The little girl's clothes. Her tall. Why has this fashion gone out?" The mayor seemed not to hear. But. The two men kept watching this wandering speck. Then she rushed toward the body. The doctor. alarmed." "Well--well--look again. He murmured: "I have found nothing. As soon as she saw Renardet she began to shriek: "My little girl! Where's my little girl?" so distractedly that she did not glance down at the ground. much affected. and find them--or you''ll have to answer to me. continuous screams on the thick moss. fell on her knees and snatched away the handkerchief that covered the face. was palpitating. A woman in a cap and blue apron was running toward them under the trees. he turned round. then sinking to the ground." Principe reappeared with his hands empty. as though she were trying to make a hole in which to hide herself. so pale on the dark moss. he began to weep internally. A big blue fly was walking over the body with his lively. all of a sudden. The doctor said: "How pretty it is. thin frame. stopped short. heartrending cry--the cry of a wounded animal.

with her hands clasped over her face. who was entirely hidden from view beneath the large garment. her wretched existence as a widow without resources and with a child to support. her marriage. dragging herself on her knees toward the corpse. sat down beside La Roque and spoke to her in order to distract her attention. in his shirt sleeves. But the mayor. a confused sound. and." The peasants were greatly afraid of him. Then they grew bolder. flung himself on his townspeople. casting a timid side glance at the corpse. set forth again with hesitating steps. knowing that the mayor would not brook opposition. She had only this one. The watchman had just found Monsieur Putoin. Renardet perceived this. They held back. Labarbe. Then they gathered together. Some of them even bent down to feel it with their fingers. and seizing Dr. The people of the neighborhood. the infancy of her daughter. a cattle drover. The doctor kept them back. advancing at a rapid trot. When they saw the body they stopped. emptying her grief in copious talk. had gossiped about it in the street. The crowd was discussing the affair. her mother. at the moment when he was mounting his horse to take his daily ride. her little Louise. to the great amusement of the officers. . eagerly watching all the mother's gestures. Then she felt anxious to see her again. He seemed exasperated by this curiosity on the part of the people and kept repeating: "If one of you come nearer I'll break his head just as I would a dog's. They talked over. The crowd remained silent. the doctor and Renardet a close circle. The mayor. who was bobbing up and down like a monkey on a big white mare. and. and the child had been killed--killed in this wood. abruptly taking off his coat. The secretary drew near quietly.The man. and a continuous hum of voices rose up under the tangled foliage of the tall trees. for he posed as a good horseman. from one threshold to another. in the course of his rounds. discussed and commented on the event for some minutes and had now come to see for themselves. escorting their captain and a little gentleman with red whiskers. the magistrate. went on a few steps. And now they touched the corpse. and speaking low. with his stick in his hands. who was smoking. she raised up one corner of the garment that covered her. the noise of an approaching crowd. remained standing. waking abruptly out of his torpor. not daring to advance. Dr. dazed at first. advanced once more. who had been gored to death. They arrived in groups. flew into a rage. he flung it over the little girl. restless and noisy. the death of her man. But suddenly there was a great commotion at the cry of "The gendarmes! the gendarmes!" Two gendarmes appeared in the distance. Labarbe's stick. in a fighting attitude. which crowded forward at the sudden impact of newcomers. The old woman at once removed her hands from her face and replied with a flood of tearful words. and young lads' eager eyes curiously scrutinized this nude young form. stopped again. She told the whole story of her life. Distant voices were heard under the trees. Mother La Roque had risen to a sitting posture and now remained weeping. for Mederic had. and presently formed around the dead girl. The wood was filled with people. then she let it fall again and began wailing once more. a little faltering and uneasy through fear of the first impression of such a scene on their minds. carried the news from door to door. stammering: "Clear out--clear out--you pack of brutes--clear out!" And in a second the crowd of sightseers had fallen back two hundred paces.

he first gave orders to disperse the crowd. the captain and the doctor set to work searching in pairs. "I can have the body brought to your house. turned toward the mayor. no one could explain it except on the theory of theft. and has thus left the body exposed. and pressed the hands of the mayor and the doctor. You know--I could no longer keep a single one. putting aside the smallest branch along the water. in the Fox's tower." And. I prefer that it should not come into my house on account of--on account of my servants. even this theory was inadmissible. crafty and sagacious. too. the doctor and the registrar of the court who had arrived in their turn. Renardet said to the judge: "How does it happen that this wretch has concealed or carried away the clothes. came back without having found any trace of the clothes. Renardet said suddenly: "Do you know that you are to take luncheon with me?" Every one smilingly accepted the invitation. who are already talking about ghosts in--in my tower. Maxime. on the other side of the stream. which Renardet noted down in his memorandum book. he said: "I can make use of your trap. They resumed their search. and the magistrate. taken down and commented on without leading to any discovery. casting a ferret-like glance on the linen coat beneath which lay the corpse. but who soon reappeared in the meadow and formed a hedge. in his turn. When he was made acquainted with all the facts. along with the captain. No--I prefer not to have it in my house. a big hedge of excited and moving heads. all chatting in an animated fashion. we'll easily succeed in finding him." The magistrate began to smile. The doctor. whom the gendarmes drove out of the wood. To tell the truth. can I not?" . In any case.He dismounted. in sight of every one?" The other. The magistrate. thinking that the case of little Louise Roque had occupied enough attention for one day. gave explanations. All the evidence was given. and as her rags were not worth twenty sous. the mayor. can I not? You have a room in which you can keep it for me till this evening?" The other became confused and stammered: "Yes--no--no. This disappearance surprised everybody. turning to his deputy." The noise of wheels made them turn their heads round. It was the deputy magistrate. answered: "Ha! ha! Perhaps a dodge? This crime has been committed either by a brute or by a sly scoundrel. "Good! I will have it taken at once to Roily for the legal examination.

" The cure. The mother's grief was modified by the sugary words of the clergyman. and. had just arrived. He took it on himself to accompany the mother." a new idea. she insisted on having the clothes." She rose up." They all came back to the place where the corpse lay. I promise you that. she exclaimed: "You shall not have it--it's mine--it's mine now. But she kept repeating: "If I had only her little cap. flinging herself on the body. Lying on top of the corpse. We must make a search for the man in order to punish him." This explanation bewildered the woman. had disappeared in the vehicle. a young priest. Mother La Roque. and I want to keep her-you shall not have her----" All the men. sustained by the mayor and the captain.her little cap."Yes. not even her little cap-. now seated beside her daughter. . certainly. so that she might not witness the dead girl's removal. rolled up in blankets which had been brought out from Renardet's house. who promised her a thousand compensations. Where have they been put?" They explained to her that they had not been found. and she asked: "Where are her clothes? They're mine. abruptly entered her mind. deciding to let them do as they liked. nothing in the world. crying and moaning. it is necessary. Without this. And when the little body. I want them. the old woman standing under the trees. They have killed her for me. which she had not previously thought of. we could not find out. La Roque. and a feeling of hatred manifested itself in her distracted glance. I promise you this. "They're mine--I want them. as much perhaps through the unconscious cupidity of a wretched being to whom a piece of silver represents a fortune as through maternal tenderness. affected and not knowing how to act. Renardet fell on his knees and said to her: "Listen. Where are they? I want them!" The more they tried to calm her the more she sobbed and persisted in her demands. nothing. exclaimed: "I have nothing. and they went away together toward the village. She no longer wanted the body." This idea now dominated every other. The two doctors endeavored to lead her away. but when the captain remarked: "It is surprising that her clothes were not found. in order to find out who killed her. she threw both arms round it. When we have found him we'll give her up to you. listless eye. remained standing around her. but she understood at once what they wanted to do. Then she demanded them persistently. was holding her hand and was staring right before her with a wandering. "So then they'll arrest him?" "Yes.

the postman. but it will take some time. a rich landowner. especially her little cap? Well. brought me the thimble. So.Renardet called from the distance: "You will lunch with us. Putoin sat astride a chair." . He went to bed early and was still asleep next morning when the magistrate entered his room." The priest turned his head round and replied: "With pleasure. returned to the wood. mayor. Renardet covered his chin with a white lather while he looked at himself in the glass. a rough man who beats guards and coachmen--" The examining magistrate burst out laughing. and we may begin at once. I attach special importance to the wooden shoes. the knife and the needle case of the dead girl. "What. Then he sharpened his razor on the strop and continued: "The principal inhabitant of Carvelin bears the name of Joseph Renardet. He rang for his shaving water and said: "With pleasure. Let us pass on to the next." M. They talked about the crime. Mederic." The mayor sat up in his bed. as they indicate a certain moral culture and a faculty for tenderness on the part of the assassin. then. Then the magistrates returned to Rouy. could be seen through the branches. my dear fellow. The meal lasted a long time. therefore. Monsieur le Maire. where he remained walking till nightfall with slow steps. if you have no objection. his hands behind his back. Monsieur l'Abbe--in an hour's time." The mayor got up. with the large tower built on the edge of the Brindille. the man in carrying off the clothes to hide them must have let fall the articles which were in the pocket." And they all directed their steps toward the house. It had been committed by some tramp passing there by mere chance while the little girl was bathing. I'll be with you at twelve. after a long walk through the meadows. As for me. "Ha! ha! You are still sleeping! Well. We will. You remember well how the mother clamored yesterday for some memento of her daughter. on opening her door this morning she found on the threshold her child's two little wooden shoes. He was rubbing his hands together with a self-satisfied air. we have news this morning. go over together the principal inhabitants of your district. Everybody was of the same opinion. announcing that they would return next day at an early hour. "That's enough. while Renardet. pray?" "Oh! Something strange. The doctor and the cure went to their respective homes. Besides. This proves that the crime was perpetrated by some one from the district. whose gray front. some one who felt pity for her.

swollen by the storms. reviewed the characters of all the inhabitants of Carvelin. the little soul of little Louise Roque. whirling round and round to the ground. but also and above all from that strange finding of the wooden shoes in front of La Roque's door the day after the crime. the slow. and the girls. Those who were suspected and arrested easily proved their innocence. And here was Renardet suddenly resuming his walks under the trees. rushed on more quickly. but he was not discovered. that he was still. discordant cries. Renardet. continuous rain suddenly grew heavier and became a rough storm that covered the moss with a thick yellow carpet that made a kind of creaking sound beneath one's feet. There remained in every one's mind a disquietude. Every day. II The search for the perpetrator of the crime lasted all summer. this dreaded and deserted wood where wandered lonely the soul. possessed all minds and seemed to brood over the neighborhood like a constant menace. descended the front steps slowly and entered the wood in a dreamy fashion."The second in importance is Pelledent. with his hands in his pockets. holding one another by the arms and screaming songs with their shrill voices. doubtless. a vague fear. would trip along. After two hours' discussion their suspicions were fixed on three individuals who had hitherto borne a shady reputation--a poacher named Cavalle. very sly." said M. yellow and angry. very close-fisted on every question of money. The wood had also become a dreaded spot. a place to be avoided and supposed to be haunted. They used to sit down on the moss at the feet of the huge tall trees or walk along the water's edge watching the trout gliding among the weeds. when a gust of wind swept over the tree tops. sorrowful trees. The Brindille. Formerly the inhabitants went there to spend every Sunday afternoon. and paced over the damp soft moss. at sunset. and the authorities were compelled to abandon the attempt to capture the criminal. a sensation of mysterious terror. in rows of four or five. an equally rich landowner. And the sound of the falling leaves seemed like a wail and the leaves themselves like tears shed by these great. a cattle breeder. The certainty that the murderer had assisted at the investigation. who caught trout and crabs. springing not merely from the impossibility of discovering any trace of the assassin. he came out of his house. bare. hide-and-seek and other games where the ground had been cleared and levelled. bordered by two thin. that wept in the silence of the bare and empty wood. Now nobody ventured there for fear of finding some corpse lying on the ground. The boy's used to play bowls." "Continue. while proceeding with his toilet. Sometimes. willow hedges. his deputy. the leaves began to fall from the tall trees. between its dry banks. Putoin. and a cattle drover named Clovis. a crafty peasant. Autumn arrived. living in the village. and the sky could be seen through the bare branches. but incapable in my opinion of having perpetrated such a crime. . But this murder seemed to have moved the entire country in a singular manner. a fisherman named Paquet. while a legion of rooks from all the neighboring haunts came thither to rest in the tall trees and then flew off like a black cloud uttering loud.

Night came on. then. he would go back to the house and sink into his armchair in front of the glowing hearth. They came to it one evening in the twilight. and Renardet was still strolling slowly under the trees. like a painful shock. The workmen." He did not reply and did not move away. as if he expected. renewed their efforts with greater vigor. He seemed ready to catch the beech tree in his open arms and to cast it on the ground like a wrestler. One morning an important bit of news was circulated through the district. the woodcutters wanted to stop their work. five men commenced hauling at the rope attached to the top. as an army loses its soldiers. with a sort of simultaneous motion. just as the tree came crashing down. all together. although notched to the centre. like two executioners ready to strike once more. nervous feeling. As it was dark. the mortal shock which would crush him to the earth. putting off till next day the fall of an enormous beech tree. and Renardet. bending backward and uttering a cry which timed and regulated their efforts. the slow destruction of his wood. which had sheltered the crime. stretching his damp feet toward the fire. When it falls it may hurt you. and down. Renardet suddenly made a forward step. When the lopper had laid it bare and the woodcutters had sapped its base. ready to fall. but still resisting. Monsieur le Maire. at the base of the tall column of wood there was a rent which seemed to run to the top. motionless. the mayor was having his wood cut down. They had commenced at the corner nearest to the house and worked rapidly in the master's presence. . throwing him on his face. One of the men said to him: "You are too near. was as rigid as iron. the sky being overcast. his shoulders raised to receive the irresistible shock. in a state of excitement. Two woodcutters standing close to the giant remained with axes in their grip. And each day the wood grew thinner. Twenty woodcutters were already at work. and. contemplating. only rubbed against his loins. it bent slightly. five metres away. then stopped. which fell down one by one. losing its trees. But the beech tree. but the mayor objected to this and insisted that they should at once lop and cut down this giant. its powerful trunk. He remained from morning till night. having deviated a little. with his hand on the trunk. with his hands behind his back.' strained at the rope. motionless. stiffened their arms. The tree resisted. calm impatience. Then he raised his eyes to the next with a kind of secret. When a tree fell he placed his foot on it as if it were a corpse. when the darkness prevented him from walking any longer. Renardet no longer walked up. hoped for something at the end of this slaughter. All at once. The men. awaited the fall with an uneasy. Meanwhile they were approaching the place where little Louise Roque had been found.

Then he took up the revolver. burying his head in his hands. It was a piece of stupidity. just as street boys rush in front of vehicles driving rapidly past. and speaking in a colorless tone. he dropped the pistol on the carpet. Each time he passed the table the gleaming revolver attracted his glance. Renardet gazed at it for some time with the uneasy glance of a drunken man. saying: "Till to-morrow. began walking up and down again. He walked from one end of the apartment to the other. rather. stupefied. opened his mouth wide with a frightful grimace and stuck the barrel into it as if he wanted to swallow it. He remained thus for a long time. then wiped his eyes. pulled out the middle drawer. he began to cry. He made this explanation in a slow tone. he had been thinking of his childhood days. Suddenly he opened the door of his dressing-room. The barrel of the firearm glittered. and. and. as he had done on the morning of the crime. Then he rose and began to pace up and down the room. He had already arisen to his knees. only to pace up and down again a moment afterward. suddenly seized with a shudder of horror. Then he. but every one has these moments of insanity and these temptations to boyish folly. searching for his words. or. my friends-till to-morrow. Then he went off.The workmen dashed forward to lift him up. as if he were awaking from an attack of madness. It was not yet six o'clock. that he thought he would have time to run under the tree. Then. tempted his hand. stopping from time to time. raised his head and looked at the clock. sobbing: "I cannot. He remained in this position for some seconds without moving. He thought: "I have time before dinner. that he had played at danger." As soon as he got back to his room he sat down at his table which his lamp lighted up brightly. with bewildered eyes and passing his hand across his forehead. questioned him. Taking from it a revolver. sitting down at his table. asking himself each time a tree began to fall whether he could pass beneath it without being touched. When he had got to his feet once more the men. but he kept watching the clock and reflected: "I have still time. astonished. He replied in faltering tones that he had been dazed for a moment. that for the past eight days he felt this desire growing stronger within him." And he went to the door and locked it. He then came back. he confessed. he laid it down on his papers in full view. I dare not! My God! my God! How can I have the courage to kill myself?'" . not being able to understand what he had done. He fell back on his armchair." It struck half-past six. giving out gleams of light. his finger on the trigger. steeped a towel in the water pitcher and moistened his forehead.

He had been scarcely six months a widower and he was already looking about in the district for some young girl or some widow he might marry when his period of mourning was at an end. in spite of himself. explored every corner. and. soothing breeze under the trees in the wood. and. It seemed to him that an unknown. invisible hand was strangling him. Then he lighted the candles on the mantelpiece. As soon as he had locked himself in he looked." He replied: "All right. for he knew well that he would see her." Then he picked up the revolver. Renardet reached the tall trees and began to walk over the moss where the Brindille produced a slight freshness of the air beneath the immense roof of branches. ran his eye all over the apartment with an anguish of terror that distorted his face. the morning of the horrible day. and he scarcely thought of anything. A servant said: "Monsieur's dinner is ready. suffered from it morally and physically. a little redder perhaps. from no longer being able to calm and rest himself in her arms. Every beast and bird. then. the thought of marrying again. I'm coming down. above all. were silent. as he did every night--little Louise Roque. Not a breath of wind stirred the leaves. the heavy. turning round several times. He went down and seated himself at table. scorching air of the plain oppressed him still more. who does not want to be alone.There was a knock at the door. as soon as he was outside. such as is made by a threshing machine or the distant passage of a train over a bridge. That was all. Since Madame Renardet's death he had suffered continually without knowing why. After that he went back to his room. he attempted to sing. Every night the odious vision came back again. But. he had need. Accustomed for ten years past to feeling a woman near him. the little girl he had attacked and afterward strangled. Then he commenced to gasp. which he attributed to the heat. The sun. toward the close of the afternoon. still high in the heavens. under the bed. with all the violent emotions he had experienced from the first minute to the last. a little dizziness and headache. an imperious and perplexing need of such association. But he felt ill at ease. After the meal he had taken a siesta. he had gone out to breathe the fresh. having usually few ideas in his head. For the last three months only one thought haunted him. His thoughts. bewildered. he tried to read. rummaged through all the furniture. First he seemed to hear a kind of roaring sound. like a man who wants to prolong the meal. habituated to her presence every moment. Then he smoked several pipes in the hall while the table was being cleared. He ate slowly. He rose up. to suffocate. It was in vain. opened all the closets. He had felt on rising that morning. locked it up again in the drawer and looked at himself in the mirror over the mantelpiece to see whether his face did not look too much troubled. . he had suffered at not feeling her dress brushing past him. so that he remained in his room until breakfast time. He suffered from living alone. even the grasshoppers. poured down on the parched soil waves of burning light. went back to the day of the murder and made him begin it all over again in all its most secret details. and he had to unbutton his collar and his belt. It was as red as usual. He moved about to make his blood circulate.

the desire suddenly came into his breast to bathe in the Brindille in order to refresh himself and cool his blood. . She was plump and developed. "Come now. not understanding what he was doing. overwhelmed with horror." Having this special morning had several of these visions. quite naked in the transparent water. he pushed aside the branches. She fell. rising from the eddies of the stream as the real Venus rose from the waves of the sea." But she did not hear him and went on sobbing. Then he stood up. which stirred his flesh. on account of the sharppointed stones. hold your tongue! Do hold your tongue! Keep quiet!" he continued. while preserving an air of youthful precocity. he felt himself pushed toward her by an irresistible force. like St. thought he heard a light sound. where the people of the neighborhood came sometimes to take a dip in summer. rushed on her and seized her in his arms. too terror-stricken to cry out. He had not intended to kill her. and. Renardet. and carnal imaginings began to disturb his sleep and his vigils. by a bestial transport of passion. and he murmured from time to time. looking for her clothes in order to dress herself.He had a chaste soul. but it was lodged in a powerful. A little girl. He no longer moved. he pressed his enormous hands on the little throat swollen with screaming. overcome with surprise. was beating the water with both hands. Thick willow trees hid this clear body of water where the current rested and went to sleep for a while before starting on its way again. Then. as he appeared. Suddenly the little girl came out of the water. She remained standing some seconds behind the willow tree which concealed him from view. with desire. as of one who had grown rapidly. holding his breath with a strange. The child burst out weeping. as if an impure fairy had conjured up before him this young creature. He was about to rush away when there sprang up in his agitated soul the mysterious and undefined instinct that guides all beings in the hour of danger. dreadful screams. smiling at himself: "Here I am. He went there. and in a few seconds he had strangled her. She lay before him. and he caught her by the neck to stop her mouth from uttering these heartrending. losing his reason entirely. She kept shrieking as she tried to free herself. without seeing him. his heart beating as if one of his sensuous dreams had just been realized. He remained there. "Hold your tongue! Hold your tongue!" he said. herculean body. He suddenly realized that he was ruined. As she approached gingerly. but only to make her keep quiet. "I'll give you money. He drove them away. She was not a child nor was she yet a woman. Anthony. they came back again. came over to where he stood. As she continued to struggle with the desperate strength of a being who is seeking to fly from death. poignant emotion. so furiously did he grip her. bewildered his mind and made him tremble from head to foot. her face bleeding and blackned. dancing about in it and dipping herself with pretty movements. He woke from his crime as one wakes from a nightmare. a little farther down. too terrified to offer any resistance. He knew of a large deep pool. a faint plashing which was not that of the stream on the banks. He softly put aside the leaves and looked. this little rustic Venus. He seemed possessed.

in a cloud of intoxication. He did not open his eyes until the first glimmer of dawn. He even took a keen and mournful pleasure in disturbing their investigations. however. took a wide turn in order to show himself to some peasants who dwelt some distance away at the opposite side of the district. Every moment his thoughts returned to that horrible scene. the one and the other having been invented by men to regulate social relations. from policy. reached the meadows. But the agonized cry of Mother Roque pierced his heart. And he had cherished in his heart.He was going to throw the body into the water. to ravage conquered countries and to massacre the vanquished. Then he had to be present at the inquiry as to the cause of death. telling his servants all that was supposed to have happened during his walk. although he mastered his irritability. Then. but he had experienced a profound emotion at the murder of this child. combated their opinions and demolished their arguments. perpetrated it in the heat of an irresistible gust of passion. brutish sleep like the sleep of certain persons condemned to death. and came back to dine at the usual hour. on his lips. waiting incessantly for the moment to reappear. however. He did so like a somnambulist. as long as it was necessary to lead justice astray he was calm. during the night to fish up the dead girl's wooden shoes. At that moment he had felt inclined to cast himself at the old woman's feet and to exclaim: "I am the guilty one!" But he had restrained himself. in his flesh. which he made into a small package. As long as the inquiry lasted. as well as a feeling of terrified horror. he tied it up and hid it in a deep portion of the stream. he scarcely took count of human life. as he had a piece of twine in his pocket. which impelled him to take long walks and to remain up whole nights pacing up and down his room. more excitable than he had been before. and. A man of energy and even of violence. though he put it aside with terror. he shuddered at the slightest thing and trembled sometimes from head to foot when a fly alighted on his forehead. born to make war. in the first place. even to the very tips of his murderous fingers a kind of bestial love. in showing the innocence of those whom they suspected. Sudden noises made him start with fear. he believed neither in God nor the devil. Though he respected the Church outwardly. It was not that he was goaded by remorse. He went back. in a kind of vision which showed him men and things as in a dream. and he waited till his usual hour for riding. . expecting neither chastisement nor recompense for his acts in another life. He discussed quietly with the magistrates all the suppositions that passed through their minds. he felt it surging through his soul. toward this little girl surprised by him and basely killed. that night. To kill any one in a duel. in order to place them on her mother's threshold. in a sort of tempest of the senses that had overpowered his reason. His brutal nature did not lend itself to any shade of sentiment or of moral terror. crafty and smiling. But as soon as the inquiry was abandoned he became gradually nervous. in embroiling their ideas. beneath the trunk of a tree that overhung the Brindille. or even through bravado would have seemed to him an amusing and clever thing and would not have left more impression on his mind than a shot fired at a hare. master of himself. though he endeavored to drive this picture from his mind. he slept with a heavy. with that sense of unreality which perplexes the mind at the time of the greatest catastrophes. but another impulse drove him toward the clothes. or in a quarrel. with disgust. Then he went off at a rapid pace. full of the savage instincts of the hunter and the fighter. and he regarded religion as a moral sanction of the law. or in war. or by accident. He slept. so as to excite no suspicion. moving about in him. His sole belief was a vague philosophy drawn from all the ideas of the encyclopedists of the last century. He had. or for the sake of revenge. Then he was seized with an imperious desire for motion.

He recoiled. Then he took a book and tried to read. and he swung round his armchair on one foot. swallowed a glass of wine and sat down again. so vast. such a slight thing. less than an undulation caused by the wind. so black. knocked over his chair and fell over on his back. a moving light. and he beheld little Louise Roque naked and bleeding on the moss. Was it true that this curtain did move? he asked himself. unquestionably. he felt that it was peopled with terrors. the vast. uneasily. a gentle flutter of drapery. All was black outside. Renardet placed his hands over his eyes. he was sure of it. a kind of trembling in its folds. He was thinking: "What am I to do if this occurs again?" And it would occur. thicker than walls and empty. stretched beyond as far as the invisible horizon. in which one might brush against frightful things. The curtain was moving again. But the night. What was it? He knew ere long. He remained there some minutes in anguish of mind. with beating heart. took four steps. the impenetrable night. He could no longer have any doubt about it. close beside him. It was. The night. besides. He did not venture to rise. then. all of a sudden. it called him. moreover. fearing that his eyes had deceived him. ashamed of his fear. He rushed forward and grasped it so violently that he pulled it down with its pole. and he would have liked to catch thieves in his house. he no longer ventured to breathe. for it was past midnight. the infinite night. Then he put his face close to the window pane. seized the drapery with both hands and pulled it wide apart. and this light rose up at the edge of the stream. Things and beings were visible then. The drapery did not stir. a hallucination due to the fact that a night marauder was walking with a lantern in his hand near the water's edge. appeared to him to conceal an unknown threatening danger. rather late one evening when he could not sleep. He sprang to his feet abruptly. and yet he was brave. thinking that a person looking for crabs might be poaching in the Brindille. At first he saw nothing but darkened glass. and he breathed with the joy of a man whose life has just been saved. The bright daylight did not lend itself to fears. As he was not yet able to see clearly. He did not yet know why the darkness seemed frightful to him. he turned his chair round. . Already his glance was drawn toward the window. He waited. frozen with horror. he felt it. as evening approached. He remained standing in front of this illimitable shadow. it moved once more. In order to avoid looking at it. he was afraid of the shadow falling around him. but he instinctively feared it. and suddenly he perceived a light. the night. it attracted him. He saw nothing. impenetrable night. resembling plates of glittering ink. He had had a hallucination--that was all. but it seemed to him that he presently heard something stirring behind him. Renardet sat still. under the trees. then he sat up and began to reflect.Then. and suddenly this light became an illumination. when one feels that a mysterious terror is wandering. and only natural things and beings could exhibit themselves in the light of day. it moved this time. As he sat in his armchair. What was there astonishing. Then he eagerly glued his face to the glass. prowling about. He had often fought. with staring eyes and outstretched neck. he thought he saw the curtain of his window move. in the circumstance that the recollection of his crime should sometimes bring before him the vision of the dead girl? He rose from the ground. which seemed some distance away.

Then the dead girl rose up and came toward him with little steps just as the child had done when she came out of the river. the wretched man. ever waiting to see his victim depart. his fingers clutching the clothes. Renardet uttered a cry and rushed toward his bed. straining his eyes he could perceive some stars. and in the stillness the pendulum kept ticking in time with the loud beating of his heart. He passed his days in apprehension of each succeeding night. And the man recoiled before the apparition--he retreated to his bed and sank down upon it. the window made a sort of gap. As soon as he had locked himself up in his room he strove to resist it. and he leaned on his elbow to try to distinguish the window which had still for him an unconquerable attraction. Then. fascinating and terrible. and he rose. Suddenly a great gleam of light flashed across his eyelids. He heard the clock striking the hours. he undressed. She came toward him as she had come on the day of the crime. he felt himself free. and he saw it at once. She advanced quietly. which presently moved. He knew well. and placed his forehead close to them. . And he suffered. but almost immediately he felt a longing to look out once more through the window. groped his way across the room. she remained there behind the curtain. however. And until daybreak he kept staring at this curtain with a fixed glance. An irresistible force lifted him up and pushed him against the window.Then he went back to his chair and sat down again. on which it was ineffaceably imprinted. By dint of. He slept several hours--a restless. his soul possessed by one thought alone. squeezed them as he had squeezed the throat of little Louise Roque. knowing well that the little one had entered the room and that she now was standing behind the curtain. He opened them. under the trees. was the only cause of his torture. lighting up the surrounding darkness. too. passing straight across the grass and over the bed of withered flowers. feverish sleep in which he retraced in dreams the horrible vision of the past night. as soon as a white streak of light on the ceiling announced the approaching day. Since the curtain had fallen down. When he went down to the late breakfast he felt exhausted as after unusual exertion. lying first in the spot where the crime was committed in the position in which it had been found. believing that his dwelling was on fire. he awaited sleep. From that moment his life became intolerable. on the dark landscape. which quivered tremulously now and then. more than any man had ever suffered before. Lying on his back motionless. All was black as before. Then she rose up in the air toward Renardet's window. but in vain. discovered the panes with his outstretched hands. lay the body of the little girl gleaming like phosphorus. where he lay till morning. In order not to yield to this dangerous temptation. blew out the light and closed his eyes. that he would never escape from the savage persecution of his memory. that it was not an apparition. as if to call the phantom. And Renardet. and each night the vision came back again. But she did not show herself any more. was what brought the dead girl back to life and raised her form before his eyes. by an indelible remembrance. and he went to sleep. his head hidden under the pillow. that there was no cure. still haunted as he was by the fear of what he had seen the night before. But he knew. alone at last. his skin warm and moist. and he scarcely ate anything. alone in his room. and he resolved to die rather than to endure these tortures any longer. and that his sick soul. that the dead do not come back. There below.

to draw him toward the doom that would avenge her. master of his courage and of his resolution. and it was in order to seize him in her turn." Then he fell on his knees and murmured: "My God! my God!" without believing. and would denounce himself as the perpetrator of the crime. So he determined to have the wood cut down and to simulate an accident. Something? What? A meeting with her. that something horrible would occur as soon as his life was ended. that she appeared thus every night. She was watching for him. first at the revolver on the table and next at the curtain which hid his window. he felt himself a coward. Oh! if he could only beg of some one to shoot him. to play some trick on himself which would not permit of any hesitation on his part. He began to cry like a child. And he no longer dared. any delay. And suddenly a fantastic idea entered his mind. she was calling him. He faltered: "I dare not venture it again--I dare not venture it. When he had risen up he said: "This cannot last. where his revolver gleamed. revealing how his soul had been tortured. It seemed to him.Then he thought of how he would kill himself. as he felt certain that his finger would always refuse to pull the trigger of his revolver. and to lead him to die. if after confessing his crime to a true friend who would never divulge it he could procure death at his hand. there must be an end of it" The sound of his voice in the silent room made a chill of fear pass through his limbs. Presently he would be ready. He would have to find some way in which he could force himself to die. which would preclude the idea of suicide. And he did not know what to do. and they would not hesitate to accuse him of the crime. repeating: "I will not venture it again--I will not venture it. decided. who was on terms of close friendship with him. to the name bequeathed to him by his ancestors. It must be something simple and natural. how he had resolved to die. A strange idea came into his head. to look at his window. But from whom could he ask this terrible service? From whom? He thought of all the people he knew. perhaps. but as he could not bring himself to come to a determination. that of allowing himself to be crushed by the tree at the foot of which he had assassinated little Louise Roque. brave. in God. he turned round to hide his head under the bedclothes and began to reflect. directed toward the mysterious crime. He would write to the magistrate. and he went upstairs again. The doctor? No. He could eat nothing. perhaps. toward the murderer who could not be found. a prey to utter despair. he would talk about it afterward. nevertheless. and if his death awakened any suspicion people's thoughts might be. he had snatched up his revolver. moreover. But the beech tree refused to crush his ribs. in fact. For he clung to his reputation. He would in this letter confess everything. Now that he had escaped the first time. how he had hesitated . He envied condemned criminals who are led to the scaffold surrounded by soldiers. any possible regrets. she was waiting for him. most probably. where he knew the apparition was hiding. now he was weak and feared death as much as he did the dead girl." Then he glanced with terror. The dinner bell summoned him. and then did not dare to fire it. Returning to his house. nor at his table.

absence. of happy days of shooting on the edges of pools where wild ducks sleep. an icy wind passed across his face. When he had finished this letter he saw that the day had dawned. sealed it and wrote the address. that he was going to execute the criminal. he knew him to be true. gazed at the vast tract of country before him. Why should he die? . What folly! All he needed was distraction. drew the bolts of the great door and climbed up to his tower to wait for the passing of the postman. Liberated! Saved! A cold dry wind. where he would soon be crushed to death. and when the man in the blue blouse had gone away. He could climb to the projecting stone which bore the flagstaff displayed on festivals. to be careful that there should never be any stain on his memory. he would cast himself head foremost on the rocks on which the foundations rested. Who would suspect that it was not an accident? And he would be killed outright. the good things of existence.about carrying out his resolution and what means he had employed to strengthen his failing courage. rushed to his memory. went over to the table and began to write. regulated by their reason alone. of rapid walks on the hard earth which rang beneath his footsteps. He closed. governed. owing to his weight and the height of the tower. He felt new life on that beautiful frosty morning. a wintry red. He inhaled it eagerly with open mouth. which made his hand tremble. the future was long. Renardet could rely on this magistrate. and he ended by announcing that he had passed sentence on himself. He felt self-possessed now. who was to bear away his death sentence. He omitted nothing. And in the name of their old friendship he would implore of the other to destroy the letter as soon as he had ascertained that the culprit had inflicted justice on himself. glistened under the first rays of the sun. Presently he got out of bed. He would take care to be seen first by the workmen who had cut down his wood. penetrated him with fresh desires. This night even he had not seen the little girl because his mind was preoccupied and had wandered toward some other subject. All the good things that he loved. a voyage in order to forget. certainly she would not follow him elsewhere! The earth was wide. At his feet he saw the Brindille flowing amid the rocks. awakened all the vigorous appetites of his active. He would write his letter slowly. He was calm now. recollections of similar mornings. A thousand recollections assailed him. the meadows to the left and to the right the village whose chimneys were beginning to smoke in preparation for the morning meal. powerful body. and when he had thrown into it this letter. not a single detail of the torments of his heart. hurried toward the little white box fastened to the outside wall in the corner of the farmhouse. whitened with frost. The sky was red. He was one of those men who have an inflexible conscience. his old friend. And he was about to die! Why? He was going to kill himself stupidly because he was afraid of a shadow-afraid of nothing! He was still rich and in the prime of life. then he would ascend his tower to watch for the postman's arrival. Perhaps he would not see her any more? And even if she still haunted him in this house. then at daybreak he would deposit it in the box nailed to the outside wall of his office. Scarcely had he formed this project when a strange feeling of joy took possession of his heart. directed. discreet. incapable of even an idle word. The light bathed him. he came back quickly. Then he descended with light steps. standing up. not a single detail of the crime. as if it were covered with powdered glass. his head bare. He would smash this pole with a shake and carry it along with him as he fell. and begged his friend. entered his being like a new-born hope. Renardet. drinking in its chilling kiss. and all the plain.

" Mederic now began to hesitate. to demand it back from the postman. There was perhaps a secret in that letter. lost countenance and faltered: "Oh! no-oh! no. You understand?" He said in reply: "What letter?" "The one you are going to give back to me. The latter had opened the little wooden door and drew forth the four papers deposited there by the inhabitants of the locality. I threw a letter into the box that I want back again. Renardet said to him: "Good-morrow. his hair was unbrushed. It was Mederic coming to bring letters from the town and to carry away those of the village. Mederic.His glance travelled across the meadows. I came to ask you to give it back to me. Monsieur le Maire--you'll get it. Only I jumped out of bed to ask you for this letter. a political secret. this letter of yours?" "To Monsieur Putoin. the magistrate--you know. and he perceived a blue spot in the path which wound alongside the Brindille. his beard untrimmed. a sensation of pain shot through his breast." "I say." And the postman raised his eyes. Little did it matter to him now whether he was seen. and he knew all the tricks and chicanery employed at elections. my friend. Monsieur le Maire. He knew Renardet was not a Republican. The mayor's attitude did not strike him as natural. Mederic. He stood petrified at the sight of Renardet's face. The mayor's cheeks were purple. his eyes were anxious and sunken. Monsieur le Maire?" The other. It was evident that he had not been in bed. He hurried across the grass damp from the light frost of the previous night and arrived in front of the box in the corner of the farmhouse exactly at the same time as the letter carrier. Monsieur Putoin!" . suddenly comprehending that his appearance must be unusual." "That's all right." "Good-morrow. with black circles round them. He asked: "To whom is it addressed. I was asleep. The postman asked: "Are you ill. and he rushed down the winding staircase to get back his letter. Renardet gave a start. his necktie unfastened.

" A tremor of rage passed through Renardet's soul. either. Monsieur le Maire. take care! You know that I never trifle and that I could get you out of your job." A dreadful pang wrung Renardet's heart and he murmured: "Why. I am the mayor of the district. Take care. So he flung the letter into his bag and fastened it up. You are even able to recognize my handwriting. much perplexed. Monsieur le Maire. or I'll strike. listen! I'll give you a thousand francs. much troubled by the fear of either committing a grave offence or of making an enemy of the mayor. and springing backward." "No. I can't. and without much delay. stammering: "Mederic. Stop! stop! I'll give you a hundred francs." The postman still went on without giving any answer. I'm only doing my duty!" Feeling that he was lost. losing his head. "Damn it all. you understand--a hundred francs!" The postman turned on his heel and started on his journey. Mederic. give me back that letter and I'll recompense you--I'll give you money. you know that I'm incapable of deceiving you--I tell you I want it. you understand--a thousand francs. with the reply: "No." "I can't. freeing himself by a strong effort. And then. I can't. Renardet suddenly became humble. Without losing his temper. appealing to him like a whimpering child: "Look here. turning it round and round between his fingers. I can't." "Look here. the letter carrier raised his big holly stick. out of breath. This abrupt action convinced Mederic that some important secret was at stake and made him resolve to do his duty. Seeing his hesitation. he said emphatically: "Don't touch me.The postman searched through the papers and found the one asked for. but. Mederic." Thereupon Renardet. and I now order you to give me back that paper. after all. my good fellow. Renardet went on: . I can't." The postman answered firmly: "No. cost what it may. caught hold of the postman's arms in order to take away his bag. Monsieur le Maire. Renardet made a movement for the purpose of seizing the letter and snatching it away from him. look here. my friend. gentle. I tell you I want that paper. Then he began looking at it. Renardet followed him. As long as it is for the magistrate. you know me well.

a hundred thousand--I say--a hundred thousand francs. my curiosity was aroused. he plunged into space. Mederic stopped and watched his flight with stupefaction. telling them an accident had occurred. and I thought to myself: "This is a non-religious funeral. however. Suddenly. . He saw the woodcutters going to work and called out to them. without the intervention of the Church. in his turn. consequently. planted with acacias. I went outside and stood there racking my brains to think of something to do. It was all over. He ran round the platform like a madman. He saw the mayor reenter his house. when I saw a funeral procession coming out of a side street into the one in which I was. It would. He turned back and rushed toward his house. but I did not see a single human being. The street was a kind of boulevard. Then. one of whom was weeping. What could I do with myself? I was already thinking of the inevitable and interminable visit to the small cafe at the railway station. its head crushed on a rock. A cur sniffed at every tree and hunted for scraps from the kitchens." and then I reflected that a town like Loubain must contain at least a hundred freethinkers. and he waited still. like a diver. and I felt listless and disheartened. all of a sudden. In fact. and over its clear. where I should have to sit over a glass of undrinkable beer and the illegible newspaper. with his two hands before him. his eye severe: "Enough of this. From time to time a cat crossed the street and jumped over the gutters carefully. at the extreme end of which there were some trees." The postman turned back. I had walked twenty miles and felt suddenly tired. or else I'll repeat to the magistrate everything you have just said to me. and ascended a slight hill. you understand--whatever you wish--fifty thousand francs--fifty thousand francs for that letter! What does it matter to you? You won't? Well. Then he seized the flagstaff and shook it furiously without succeeding in breaking it. The hearse was followed by eight gentlemen. but there was no priest. Not seeing anything on the station walls to amuse me. Mederic rushed forward to his assistance. At the foot of the walls they found a bleeding body. who would have made a point of making a manifestation. at any rate." Renardet stopped abruptly. and the sight of the hearse was a relief to me. presently the tall form of Renardet appeared on the summit of the Fox's tower. his face hard. and. running like a hunted animal. What could it be. calm waters could be seen a long red thread of mingled brains and blood. give me something to do for ten minutes. then? The rapid pace of the procession clearly proved that the body was to be buried without ceremony. then. Madame Baptiste Search on this Page: þÿ The first thing I did was to look at the clock as I entered the waiting. as if something astonishing were about to happen. and I found that I had to wait two hours and ten minutes for the Paris express."I'll make your fortune. Do you understand? A hundred thousand francs--a hundred thousand francs. as though it ended in a park. and on either side a row of houses of varying shape and different styles of architecture.room of the station at Loubain. houses such as one only sees in a small town. The Brindille surrounded this rock. while the others were chatting together.

People said to each other in a whisper: 'You know. That would take up my time for an hour." "It was a woman." On hearing this I uttered a prolonged "A-h!" of astonishment. and asked: "But it is a civil funeral. after bowing. The clergy have refused to allow us the use of the church. and I will tell it you. isolated. then said: "Yes and no. she had a shocking adventure. the two last turned round in surprise. as the other servants held aloof from her. We have plenty of time before getting to the cemetery. I said: "I beg your pardon." I replied with some hesitation: "You surprise and interest me very much. and that is the reason why she cannot be buried with any religious ceremony. seeing a civil funeral. Her parents could not even get a nurse to take her out for a walk. I was much surprised at hearing this." The gentleman took my arm familiarly. for interrupting your conversation. monsieur. and who is crying. without any companions. as if contact with her would poison everybody who came near her. and then spoke to each other in a low voice. . with a sad look on my face. is her husband. but. and. Shall I be indiscreet if I ask you to tell me the facts of the case? If I am troubling you. was the daughter of a wealthy merchant in the neighborhood. Madame Paul Hamot. and she became a sort of monster. and. the trees of which you see up yonder. who stared at me in turn. a footman attacked her and she nearly died. and grown-up people would scarcely kiss her. who evidently wished to tell me all about it. with the eight gentlemen. No doubt they were asking each other whether I belonged to the town. I could not understand it at all. "Not at all. not at all. "The little girl grew up. and then they consulted the two in front of them. and the man was sentenced to penal servitude for life.' and everybody turned away in the streets when she passed. a strange idea struck me. is it not?" The other gentleman. This young woman committed suicide. When she was a mere child of eleven. stigmatized by disgrace. gentlemen." And he began: "This young woman. I have followed it. Let us linger a little behind the others. The gentleman who is walking first. Monsieur Fontanelle. which was to follow it. although it is a very sad story. but my obliging neighbor continued: "It is rather a long story." one of them said. for it is a stiff pull up this hill. forget that I have said anything about the matter. although I did not know the deceased gentleman whom you are accompanying. a phenomenon to all the town. and I accordingly walked with the others. and as the hearse passed me. A terrible criminal case was the result.My idle curiosity framed the most complicated surmises. at least. little Fontanelle. on seeing this. and to put an end to it I went up to them. for they thought that they would soil their lips if they touched her forehead. This close scrutiny annoyed me.

"It is strange. And immediately the mothers. trembling as they enlighten them on the night of their marriage. I shall live tranquilly with that woman. eighteen months ago. Sometimes. distinguished-looking. the other girls. as if she had been definitely purified by maternity. terrible adventure. surrounded by his staff and the authorities. and immediately turned their heads absently. "Well. and then she used to run and hide her head in her nurse's lap. They kept the girls from her. in a word. always accompanied by her governess. but for that unfortunate affair. he merely said: 'Bah! That is just a guarantee for the future. Some people returned them. not being deficient in assurance. as if they bore her a constant grudge for some irreparable fault. her parents feared some fresh. for. he had restored her to honor and to social life. that almost before she could read she had penetrated that redoubtable mystery which mothers scarcely allow their daughters to guess at. "An honest man would not willingly give his hand to a liberated convict. and the mothers pretended not to see her. without understanding what it meant. had braved public opinion. after the name of the footman who had attacked her.' "He paid his addresses to her. and mingled with a group. nearly heartbroken with grief. who had lived in the Latin Quarter. He saw Mademoiselle Fontanelle and fell in love with her. and she felt the most exalted and tender love for him. if she happened to look at them. the most particular people and the greatest sticklers opened their doors to her. and then. and. Remember that she had nothing to learn. he brought his private secretary with him. "She adored her husband as if he had been a god. with furtive steps. whispered and giggled as they looked at her knowingly. which was the feast of the patron saint of our town. even if that convict were his own son? And Monsieur and Madame Fontanelle looked on their daughter as they would have done on a son who had just been released from the hulks. monsieur. People scarcely greeted her. and thus everything was going on as well as possible until the other day. as if she were stricken with the plague. standing by her maid and looking at the other children amusing themselves. others did not. as if conscious of her own disgrace. as if nothing had happened. with her eyes cast down under the load of that mysterious disgrace which she felt was always weighing upon her. nothing. aunts and nurses would come running from every seat and take the children entrusted to their care by the hand and drag them brutally away. "As she grew up. . at last. "Nobody knew the secret torture of her mind. he paid wedding calls. she advanced timidly. who were not nearly so innocent as people thought. you must remember. slender. it appears. when a new sub-prefect was appointed here. The prefect. and she would have pleased me very much. but so it is. with nervous gestures. but. faced insults. as if. the affair began to be forgotten. "Little Fontanelle remained isolated. sobbing. She remained quite by herself. He was a queer sort of fellow. She was pretty and pale."It was pitiable to see the poor child go and play every afternoon. and her parents themselves appeared uncomfortable in her presence. performed such a courageous act as few men would undertake. only a few men bowed to her. and I would rather it should have happened before I married her than afterward. and when told of what occurred. "When she became enceinte. tall. that she no longer had the right to the symbolical wreath of orange-flowers. asked for her hand and married her. wretched. and never laughed. while some young blackguards called her Madame Baptiste. and she took her proper place in society. yielding to an irresistible desire to mix with the other children. for she hardly ever spoke. "When she went through the streets. and then she began to cry. and it was known. it was worse still. would he.

in his turn. Ah! If it had been a religious funeral the whole town would have been present. and laughter was heard all over the place.presided at the musical competition. and. "As you know. and it was two hours before her body was recovered. This band was only to receive a second-class medal. we were present at the sight! She got up and fell back on her chair three times in succession. which make people forget all propriety. monsieur. people stood on tiptoe to see the unhappy woman's face. Monsieur Hamot had seized the ruffian by the throat. Her eyelids blinked quickly. and she breathed heavily. husbands lifted their wives up in their arms. and every eye was turned toward that poor lady. . Meanwhile." And I was not sorry that I had followed the funeral. until the coffin had been lowered into the grave. and then. Of course. Have you ever seen a woman going mad. You owe him a first-class one. and then another voice in the crowd exclaimed: "'Oh! Oh! Madame Baptiste!' "And a great uproar. but who was trembling as if all her nerves had been set in motion by springs. so that it almost broke one's heart to see her. "An hour later. There are some things which cannot be wiped out. and people asked: "'Which is she? The one in blue?' "The boys crowed like cocks. and the ceremony was interrupted. which Paul Hamot. so that they might see her. amid a scene of indescribable confusion. The water is very deep under the arches. before I went up to the poor fellow who was sobbing violently. The word was repeated over and over again. The common herd are neither charitable nor refined." The narrator stopped and then added: "It was. partly of laughter and partly of indignation. but you can understand that her suicide added to the other affair and made families abstain from attending her funeral. there are always jealousies and rivalries. his private secretary. can one? But when the private secretary handed him his badge. and they were rolling on the ground together. and when he had finished his speech the distribution of medals began. as if she wished to make her escape. just as you do me. as the Hamots were returning home. also. perhaps. He looked at me in surprise through his tears and then said: "Thank you. All the ladies of the town were there on the platform. but saw that she could not make her way through the crowd. the man threw it in his face and exclaimed: "'You may keep your medal for Baptiste. monsieur? Well. handed to those who were entitled to them. to press his hand warmly. and now you understand why the clergy refused to have her taken into church. She could not move. the bandmaster from the village of Mourmillon came up. however. nor hide her face. arose. the best thing she could do under the circumstances. like a horse that is going up a steep hill. nor conceal herself. for one cannot give first-class medals to everybody. as if a vivid light were shining on them. the young woman. she was dead. who had not uttered a word since the insult. much moved by what I had heard.' "There were a number of people there who began to laugh. "She did not move now on her state chair." We passed through the cemetery gates and I waited. it is not an easy matter here to attend a funeral which is performed without religious rites. suddenly sprang over the parapet of the bridge and threw herself into the river before her husband could prevent her. but sat just as if she had been put there for the crowd to look at.

puffed. inviting me to come and see him. for the train was not going at full speed. on the door of the house he pointed out. One of the wheels of the engine had broken. and lay beside this mutilated engine.Madame Husson's Rosier Search on this Page: þÿ We had just left Gisors. There were no dead or wounded." A name suddenly came to my mind. As I was walking along I said to myself: "Gisors. which rattled. "Albert Marambot. I rang the bell. sputtered." He was an old school friend whom I had not seen for at least twelve years. But at last I would take advantage of this opportunity. but the servant. their nostrils steaming and their whole body trembling. groaned. for no doubt they would have to send to Paris for a special train to come to our aid. Marambot lives?" He replied." I presently saw. where I was awakened to hearing the name of the town called out by the guards. a large brass plate on which was engraved the name of my old chum. and resembled those horses that fall in the street with their flanks heaving. He had often written. And we looked with sorrow at the great crippled iron creature that could not draw us along any more. carrying a dinner napkin in his hand. and I at once decided to go back to Gisors for breakfast. without hesitation. I asked the first passer-by: "Do you know where Dr." I heard a sound of forks and of glasses and I cried: "Hallo. with whiskers and a cross look on his face. without keeping my word. and I had always promised to do so. hissed. a yellow-haired girl who moved slowly. but incapable of the slightest effort to rise and start off again. perhaps for some time. I know someone there! Who is it? Gisors? Let me see. I have a friend in this town. Marambot!" A door opened and a large man. . and with the drawling accent of the Normans: "Rue Dauphine. said with a Stupid air: "He isn't here. and I was dozing off again when a terrific shock threw me forward on top of a large lady who sat opposite me. he isn't here. The tender and the baggage car were also derailed. and that blocked the track. and who was practicing medicine in Gisors. It was then ten o'clock in the morning. appeared. Gisors--why. their breast palpitating. only a few with bruises. and the engine itself lay across the track.

but Gournay laughs at Gisors. from its beginning up to the present time. hard-boiled eggs wrapped in a covering of meat jelly flavored with herbs and put on ice for a few moments. his after-dinner naps from the torpor of a slow indigestion aided by cognac. When you know all the windows in a street." I said. very amusing. all the provincial life which makes one grow heavy. I come from Gournay. I said as I smacked my lips to compliment Marambot: . You have no idea what queer history it has. Gournay is to Gisors what Lucullus was to Cicero. they say 'the chewers of Gournay. they say 'the proud people of Gisors." "How fortunate! I was just sitting down to table and I have an excellent trout. its neighbor and rival. I could see his life. and his vague glances cast on the patient while he thought of the chicken that was roasting before the fire. "A little town is very amusing. I am busy. each one of them interests you and puzzles you more than a whole street in Paris. He opened his arms and gave me such a hug that I thought he would choke me. "You have not breakfasted. In a single flash of thought.' Gisors despises Gournay. his manner of existence. but one meets them more frequently. is like a large one. the way of preparing certain dishes and of blending certain sauces were revealed to me at sight of his puffy red cheeks. It is a very comical country. not when one knows how to fill in the time. about cider. I said: "Are you a bachelor?" "Yes. my dear boy. A little town. indeed. "You do not recognize me. you know. his line of thought and his theories of things in general. everything is for glory. have good health. enjoy laughing and shooting. and." "And do you like it here?" "Time does not hang heavy. this. The incidents and amusements are less varied. I know it at the tips of my fingers. brandy and wine. I have patients and friends. everything is for the stomach. I eat well. have you?" "No. Why. his heavy lips and his lustreless eyes. Here. His conversations about cooking." I perceived that I was eating something very delicious. I get along." "Do you belong to Gisors?" "I? No. very amusing. take Gisors. in a second." Five minutes later I was sitting opposite him at breakfast. quicker than the act of extending my hand to him. I am Raoul Aubertin.I certainly should not have recognized him.' At Gournay. One would have said he was forty-five at least. dull and old came before me. but one makes more of them." "Is not life very monotonous in this little town?" "No. I guessed at the prolonged meals that had rounded out his stomach. one has fewer acquaintances. in fact.

it means to be deprived of an essential organ. and the fools of which our race is composed. It is easy to tell that you do not belong to Gisors. a symphony of Beethoven for a military march composed by the bandmaster of a regiment.000 inhabitants in the department of Eure. in beef. and a Cresane from a Duchess pear. my friend. One is a gourmand as one is an artist." He smiled. and good eggs. is very delicate. in a word. in everything. the unfortunate. "Who is General de Blaumont?" "Oh. and with a good flavor! I have two poultry yards. overlooks. He made me eat until I was almost choking. the faculty of discerning the quality of food. Gisors." . capable of perfection. and quite as worthy of respect as the eye and the ear. just like the mind of an animal. But let us finish breakfast first. or in mutton. mentioned in Caesar's Commentaries: Caesaris ostium.' and never was an epithet better deserved. the juice. and ought to taste. of something that belongs to higher humanity. and his whiskers spreading round his mouth as it kept working. as I was about to return to the railway station. good jelly. provincial type. Then. it means to belong to one of those innumerable classes of the infirm. that they called the inhabitants of this town 'the proud people of Gisors. that's true. It was amusing to see him. it means to have the mouth of an animal. you do not know. his cheeks flushed. the quintessence of all the food on which the animal has fed. green valley. and then I will tell you about our town and take you to see it. just as one may lack the faculty of discerning the beauties of a book or of a work of art. A man who cannot distinguish one kind of lobster from another. I feed my laying hens in a special manner. The town. commanded by its citadel. in milk. my dear boy. of a pretty. with the yolks slightly reddish. one perceives. as one is learned. The doctor quoted: "'Gisors. may be compared to a man who should mistake Balzac for Eugene Sue. where the large Norman cows graze and ruminate in the pastures. his eyes eager."That is good. then Caesartium. It is only imbeciles who are not. a herring-that admirable fish that has all the flavors. the most curious monument of military architecture of the seventh century to be found in France. in its turn. with a napkin tied around his neck. how rare good eggs are. I have my own ideas on the subject. the remains of which are still in existence. The sense of taste. all the odors of the sea--from a mackerel or a whiting. as in the meat of a chicken. and the Apollo Belvidere for the statue of General de Blaumont. How much better food we could have if more attention were paid to this!" I laughed as I said: "You are a gourmand?" "Parbleu. I told you just now." He stopped talking every now and then while he slowly drank a glass of wine which he gazed at affectionately as he replaced the glass on the table. Gisortium. he seized me by the arm and took me through the streets. Caesortium. a town of 4. as one is a poet. A person who lacks this sense is deprived of an exquisite faculty. In an egg. one for eggs and the other for chickens.' I shall not take you to visit the old Roman encampment. Oh. which is hard to get. "Two things are necessary. a long.

because the frontier that I do not know is the high road to my province. . here is the statue of the general. . ." resumed Marambot. X. . . . Suddenly there appeared at the farther end of the street a drunken man who was staggering along. History of Gisors. is nothing but natural patriotism. six. where about fifteen red. As I read the titles. "The spirit of provincialism." We were traversing along street with a gentle incline. or ten steps and then stop. it is called the spirit of provincialism. . B. . my town and my province because I discover in them the customs of my own village. I began to laugh idiotically. it is because I feel that my home is in danger. by Doctor C. Then he would dart off in any direction." He stopped abruptly. with a June sun beating down on it and driving the residents into their houses. it seems to me that you are affected with a special malady that. Gasors from the time of Caesar to the present day. for the English traversed this soil inhabited by my ancestors. and my aversion to this perfidious people was transmitted to me at birth by my father. and among those who are living. its origin. yellow and blue volumes attracted the eye. . by M. the real. Landowner. a true Norman. "Oh. When these energetic movements landed him in the middle of the road he stopped short and swayed on his feet. I do not detest them." "What general?" "General Blaumont! We had to have a statue. They read: Gisors. The Glories of Gisors. Charles Lapierre . my friend. and brought to the notice of collectors the wonderful Hispano-Arabic china. Then he would suddenly turn round and look ahead of him. and many others. Look in this bookseller's window. well. but if I love my country. I am a Norman. the very eminent editor of the Nouvelliste de Rouen. In literature we have a very clever journalist. by the Abbe A . we now have twenty-three. you understand.. now dead. with his head forward his arms and legs limp." He drew me towards the bookstore. not a single year. against which he seemed to be fastened. member of several learned societies. only the principal ones." "And the glories of Gisors?" I asked. D. Charles Brainne. hesitating between falling and a fresh start. in spite of my hatred of the German and my desire for revenge. many others. then Baron Davillier.. He would walk forward rapidly three." he said. as a doctor. sometimes falling against the wall of a house. "not a year. and getting away from the wall by a movement of the hips. See. I do not hate them by instinct as I hate the English. We are not 'the proud people of Gisors' for nothing! So we discovered General de Blaumont. . as though he were trying to get in through the wall.. Gisors and its environs. the celebrated ceramist who explored Spain and the Balearic Isles. I will not mention them all. . passes without a fresh history of Gisors being published here. "I love my house. you ought to study. by a Discoverer. . "My friend. its future. For instance. . . We had first General de Blaumont. if I become angry when a neighbor sets foot in it. he started off once more. hereditary natural enemy of the Normans. his mouth open and his eyes blinking in the sunlight. by M.I laughed and replied: "My dear friend. plundered and ravaged it twenty times. .

..... an inborn horror of vice........ Husson took a special interest in good works.. "Hallo.... the ironer. Francoise.... polite. an old woman called Francoise. However.... Husson got the idea that she would institute a similar ceremony at Gisors....... this was the period when they presented a prize as a reward of virtue to any girl in the environs of Paris who was found to be chaste.. She was a little woman with a quick walk and wore a black wig.. in particular. and Mme... She collected all the scandal... That she might omit nothing.." "Is it an amusing story?" "Very amusing.... all the tattle.. all the stories. on very good terms with the Almighty in the person of Abby Malon..... "Oh... try and find out what reputation they bear in the district.........four sous Milk.two sous Butter . Husson.eight sous Malvina Levesque got into trouble last year with Mathurin Poilu... Any irregularity before marriage made her furious.... She was ceremonious.. and.one sou Vinegar. read as follows: Bread......... on July the 20th about dusk...... exasperated her till she was beside herself..... "Madame Husson's 'Rosier'..... and starting off when he started. and handed it each morning to Mme.. You know. then... followed him... a half-starved cur.... who at once made out a list of candidates." said Marambot. who... Mme...... all the suspicions.one sou Rosalie Vatinel was seen in the Riboudet woods with Cesaire Pienoir. stopping when he stopped.... Leg of mutton....... "What do you mean?" The doctor began to laugh.... here are the girls whose names M.. Now....... as upright as her mistress.... Mme.two sous .... that is what we call drunkards round here." And Francoise set out. tell it to me..... Radishes... although it is true in all respects. As soon as the priest had left....... The name comes from an old story which has now become a legend. Onesime.....two sous Oxalic acid........ she wrote it all down together with her memoranda in her housekeeping book." "Well.." There lived formerly in this town a very upright old lady who was a great guardian of morals and was called Mme.. She spoke about it to Abbe Malon. "there is Madame Husson's 'Rosier'. I am telling you the real names and not imaginary ones..... by Mme. and had a profound horror.. She was called a Rosiere. le cure has submitted to me for the prize of virtue.... barking....." I exclaimed in astonishment.A little yellow dog................. in helping the poor and encouraging the deserving. Husson had a servant. madame called the servant and said: "Here. Husson..." "I will......... after adjusting her spectacles on her thin nose.... of the vice the Church calls lasciviousness..twenty-five sous Salt...

She knew him well. seated on a chair outside the door. and who sent her a present of a cap by diligence. His proverbial virtue had been the delight of Gisors for several years. never been seen at night on the street. most incredulous. and of amusement to the young girls who loved to tease him. cracking jokes that made him go into the store.Josephine Durdent. No one. They consulted the mayor. coarse expressions. He went to bed at eight o'clock and rose at four. Those of Dr. Barbesol were equally unlucky. Husson remained thoughtful. like Caesar's wife. although she corresponds with young Oportun. the teaching sisters at school. unassailable virtue. saddened and in despair at the record in her servant's housekeeping account-book. The abbe responded: . They then extended their circle of inquiries to the neighboring villages. Barbesol had nicknamed him "the thermometer of modesty. and she resolved to consult Abbe Malon. would have dared. But one morning Francoise. but with no satisfaction. and she was horrified. Isidore was an exceptional case of notorious. brought the color to his cheeks so quickly that Dr. Bold words. indecent allusions. should be above suspicion. He was past twenty-one. there is only Isidore in all the country round. He had an abnormal dread of a petticoat and cast down his eyes whenever a female customer looked at him smilingly. there was not found in all the countryside one young girl whose name was free from some scandal. Certainly." Was he as innocent as he looked? illnatured people asked themselves. The girls amused themselves by walking up and down before him. and served as an entertaining theme of conversation in the town. to amuse themselves. that if you wish to give a prize to anyone." Mme. His candidates failed. made appointments with him and proposed all sorts of things. to suspect Isidore of the slightest infraction of any law of morality. So Madame Husson had become thoughtful. who is not believed to have committed a fault. As there is not a girl in the world about whom gossips have not found something to say. slow and timid. said to her mistress: "You see. Not one came out unscathed in this rigorous inquisition. The boldest among them teased him to his face just to have a laugh. The idea of substituting a boy for a girl." troubled her. in spite of the exactness of his scientific vouchers. But Mme. He had never been seen in a cafe. the son of Virginie the greengrocer. among the most sceptical. helped his mother in the business. Was it the mere presentiment of unknown and shameful mysteries or else indignation at the relations ordained as the concomitant of love that so strongly affected the son of Virginie the greengrocer? The urchins of the neighborhood as they ran past the shop would fling disgusting remarks at him just to see him cast down his eyes. neighbors. this Isidore. on returning from one of her expeditions. would have been able. Husson desired that the "Rosiere" of Gisors. was tall. the principal. who is in service in Rouen. and spent his days picking over fruit and vegetables. and this well-known timidity made him the butt of all the wags in the country. a pearl. But Mme. Husson still hesitated. and gathered the slightest details. madame. a "rosier" for a rosiere. Francoise inquired of everyone. worried her a little. He was a perfection. drapers. awkward.

madame? It is virtue. She alighted from her carriage. They had scattered flowers all along the road as they do for processions at the Fete-Dieu. before the princess. Oh. the people. I do not remember which one. or beadle. their ridicule. The evening before the 15th of August the entire Rue Dauphine was decorated with flags. blushed deeply and seemed happy. flattered at this honor paid to a citizen of Gisors." But to come back to Isidore. while visiting Gisors had been feted so much by the authorities that during a triumphal procession through the town she stopped before one of the houses in this street. It will even be a good example that we shall set to Nanterre. who was sent for and brought. an old soldier of the Grand Army. Mme. wishing to go over it from top to bottom. is it not. the festival of the Virgin Mary and of the Emperor Napoleon. proud and embarrassed. With the natural revulsion of public feeling." he said. halting the procession. "And another year if we can find a girl as worthy as Isidore we will give the reward to her. the pretty house! How I should like to go through it! To whom does it belong?" They told her the name of the owner. priest. But with some water only. He approved heartily."What do you desire to reward. if it is masculine or feminine? Virtue is eternal. and even shut herself in one of the rooms alone for a few seconds. and glory enough and to spare." Isidore. It seems that the wife or mother of the dauphin. Commandant Desbarres. Let us not be exclusive. who had been told about this. and Isidore. had suddenly become respected and envied. and the National Guard was present. I forgot to tell you why this street had been called Rue Dauphine. Had baptized it. When she came out. as it would bring him in five hundred francs besides a savings bank book. ridiculed hitherto. The municipality had decided to make an imposing ceremony and had built the platform on the couronneaux. "We will have a fine ceremony. shouted "Long live the dauphine!" But a rhymester wrote some words to a refrain. had now a little contented air that bespoke his internal satisfaction. Without bell. and exclaimed: "Oh. who pointed with pride to the beard of a Cossack cut with a single sword stroke . it has neither sex nor country. acting on the orders of their chief. a mountain of consideration. let us welcome all merit. The girls now regretted their frivolity. it is 'Virtue. and nothing but virtue? What does it matter to you. although still modest and timid. therefore. the virtue of Isidore. their bold manners. Husson went to see the mayor. a delightful extension of the ramparts of the old citadel where I will take you presently. for "The princess. The ceremony was fixed for the 15th of August. went into the house.'" Thus encouraged. and the street retained the title of her royal highness. in a hurry.

whom the whole country is thanking here. The regiment that he commanded was."replied the general." The mayor advanced three steps. opened his arms and pressed Isidore to his heart. the mayor gave an address. of these soldiercitizens who have taken up their arms in your honor. But Francoise. the happy and benevolent idea. through me. and which hung beside the frame containing the cross of the Legion of Honor presented to him by the emperor himself. a picked regiment celebrated all through the province." murmured the king. his godmother. a woman of means. After a short mass and an affecting discourse by Abbe Malon. young man. induced her to decide on the white suit. "Do not forget. where the banquet was served in a tent. are the first to be rewarded in this dynasty of goodness and chastity. your whole life. Husson a good deal. So Commandant Desbarres came at the head of his men. The question of his clothes had bothered Mme.from the chin of its owner by the commandant during the retreat in Russia. to applaud virtue. the "Rosier" himself appeared--on the threshold. and she hesitated some time between the black coat of those who make their first communion and an entire white suit. in presence of this noble woman. Commandant Desbarres gave the order "Present arms!" The procession resumed its march towards the church amid an immense crowd of people who has gathered from the neighboring districts. while reviewing the militia of Eure. After a little air had been played by the band beneath the windows. This is it. Behind him came his guardian. Your name will remain at the head of this list of the most deserving. and your life. who are those splendid grenadiers?" "The grenadiers of Gisors. they continued on their way to the couronneaux. stopped in astonishment before the company from Gisors. virtue. with all of us. pointing out that the Rosier would look like a swan. her counsellor. word for word. you make a solemn contract with the town. to get Isidore in his mother's store. Husson. affected. that you are the first seed cast into this field of hope. preceded by the band. assembled to applaud you. He was dressed in white duck from head to foot and wore a straw hat with a little bunch of orange blossoms as a cockade. Husson. The drums beat. and the mayor placed himself on the other side of the Rosier. "I might have known it. in presence of this populace. or. and the company of grenadiers of Gisors was called on to attend all important ceremonies for a distance of fifteen to twenty leagues. She took his arm to go out of the store. Mme. To-day. Before taking their seats at table. besides. exclaiming: "Oh. of founding in this town a prize for. had the idea. in triumph. The story goes that Louis Philippe. beloved by the poor and respected by the rich. young man. which should serve as a valuable encouragement to the inhabitants of this beautiful country. . in your person. must correspond to this happy commencement. give us the fruits that we expect of you. Mme. to continue until your death the excellent example of your youth. understand me. "You. I learned it by heart: "Young man. rather.

He was surprised. although he was as full as an egg. The mayor. Five hundred francs! What a fortune! He poured the gold pieces out on the counter and spread them out with his big hand with a slow. excellent advice. he began to dance about the store. what imaginations. he ceased eating in order to take up his glass and hold it to his mouth as long as possible. The rattle of plates. penetrating odor of strawberries and the delicate. as if he had never eaten or drunk before. the cows were lowing in the distance amid the mists of the pasture. They were many and loudly applauded. which he replaced in his pocket. from a confused emotion. Then the mayor placed in one hand a silk purse in which gold tingled-. and put his hand in his pocket and brought out the purse containing the five hundred francs.five hundred francs in gold!--and in his other hand a savings bank book. and onions gave out their strong odor of vegetables in the closed room. slight. Fine. and the "Rosier" was left at his mother's house. and was dispersed abroad in the clear sky where the swallows were flying. all at once. The "Rosier" took one of these and ate it. Then. without speaking. The feast was over. Carrots. that coarse smell of the garden blended with the sweet. she had taken luncheon with her sister after having followed the procession as far as the banqueting tent. walked in detachments. drank. to enjoy the taste slowly. Husson had taken Isidore's arm and was giving him a quantity of urgent. He had let out a reef in his belt and. and of music softly played. the light night-robe of streams and meadows. And he said in a solemn tone: "Homage. excited by the wine and by pride. They stopped at the door of the fruit store. and something rattled in his waistcoat. Then he put them back in the purse. the tumultuous attack of Satan. the temptations which he offered to this timid virgin heart? What suggestions. his artifices. There were twenty-five. Husson occasionally readjusted her black wig. Evening was approaching and they had been at the table since noon. Then they all sat down at the table where the banquet was served. what desires were not invented by the evil . caressing touch so as to see them all at the same time. talked politics with Commandant Desbarres. who was excited. and the crowd applauded. the sun neared the horizon." Commandant Desbarres shouted "Bravo!" the grenadiers vociferated. wild with joy. She had not come home yet. one by one. becoming aware for the first time of the pleasure of having one's belly full of good things which tickle the palate in the first place. glory and riches to virtue. now disbanded. and Isidore ate. He sat down on a chair. He helped himself repeatedly to all the dishes. which he had forgotten in his agitation. Who will ever know or who can tell what a terrible conflict took place in the soul of the "Rosier" between good and evil. made an incessant deep hum. and looked about him. yellow cider and red wine in fraternal contact blended in the stomach of the guests. evanescent fragrance of a basket of peaches. all gold! They glistened on the wood in the dim light and he counted them over and over. cabbages. and chatted with Abbe Malon. milky vapors were already floating in the air in the valley. Having been invited by her family to celebrate her son's triumph. twenty-five round gold pieces. in her turn. The procession. So Isidore remained alone in the store. They returned to Gisors. the sound of voices. It was time for the toasts. which was growing dark. from pride and a vague and happy feeling of tenderness. which would slip over on one side. Mme. and although he was a little uneasy at a wine stain on his white waistcoat. One course followed another. The repast was magnificent and seemed interminable. Husson wiped her eyes. Mme. Mme.The "Rosier" was sobbing without knowing why.

on learning that her son had returned. Nothing could cure him. who was sleeping with his head leaning against the wall. the fruiterer.one to excite and destroy this chosen one? He seized his hat. alone. The days followed one another. What could it be? Commandant Desbarres notified the police. and on the high road to Pontoise they found the little bunch of orange blossoms. He approached him and recognized Isidore. It was placed on a table around which the authorities were deliberating. torn. but in what way? What means had been employed to kidnap this innocent creature. the fruiterer. That gave a suggestion as to what treatment he would require. but could not find him. Letters passed between the mayor and the chief of police in Paris. perceived. carrots and onions. remained watching and weeping. shut up. muddy. and going out through the alley at the back of the house. She immediately put on her wig. but did not succeed in doing so. . Isidore was drunk. a week passed. Mme. one morning. and when the doctor sniffed at it. The ex-"Rosier" was in that profound. who made a circuit of the town. and destroyed. invincible sleep that is alarming. Husson's saint. in surprise. Mme. whose plebeian soul was readily moved. a man dressed in a grimy linen suit. was weeping copiously amid her cabbages. They began to look for him. he declared that it had contained brandy. His beautiful white duck suit was a gray rag. Dr. They succeeded in rousing him. but two hours later he returned laughing and rolling against the walls. sitting on a doorstep. The following evening. or the bankbook. On the fifth day he ventured into the Rue Dauphine. The "Rosier" must have been the victim of some stratagem. The mayor knew nothing. and did not leave the house for four days. They could not find on him either his purse. Virginie. He was drunk. a sacred heirloom left by his father. sermonized. Virginie. handing over a gold piece and receiving the change. when the coach passed by on its return from Paris. went to the mayor. he disappeared in the darkness. had climbed up on it and paid his fare. He seemed ashamed and repentant. who had gone out early. except that he had left him at the door of his home. drunk and so disgusting that a ragman would not have touched him. Virginie. His mother. greasy. absolutely drunk. went home at once. or even his silver watch. some jealousy. and the doctor. but at the end of a quarter of an hour she made inquiries. When they lifted him up they found an empty bottle under him. dressed herself and went to Virginie's house. Curious glances followed him and he walked along with a furtive expression in his eyes and his head bent down. drunk and degraded by a week of guzzling. in alarm. There was great excitement all through the countryside. and found the house empty. The neighbors had seen Isidore come home and had not seen him go out again. She waited. and with what object? Weary of looking for him without any result. some trick. and he smelt of the gutter and of vice. went to seek assistance to help him in carrying the young man to Boncheval's drugstore. Barbesol. Gisors learned with astonishment that its "Rosier" had stopped the vehicle at a distance of about two hundred metres from the town. They feared some accident had befallen him. containing the five hundred francs. his hat. As he got outside the town towards the valley they lost sight of him. He tried to rouse him. without thinking anything about it at first. which still bore the little bunch of orange blossoms. but brought no result. He was washed. and that he had quietly alighted in the centre of the great city. Now. Husson had just retired when they informed her that her protege had disappeared.

after a silence. bishop of Rouen.. etc. restored later to Charles VIII by Richard de Marbury. Bouffe was a painter on glass. covered the walls of his dungeon with sculptures. a pile of ruined walls dominated by the enormous tower of St. was set on fire by Edward III of England.Driven from home by his mother. etc." "What did he die of?" "An attack of delirium tremens." "And Bouffe. was defended by Robert de Candos. His reputation as a drunkard became so well known and spread so far that even at Evreux they talked of Mme." "You are joking!" "No. was retaken by the English in consequence of the treachery of the Knights-Templars. How is it you do not know these things?" . I did not know it. was finally ceded to Louis le Gros by Geoffry Plantagenet. then by the Norman barons. he said: "Did you know that Henry Monnier was one of the most untiring fishermen on the banks of the Epte?" "No. Saint Romain. A good deed is never lost. Marambot told me the story of this prisoner. I had the honor of closing his eyes. continued: "What beggars. which is still in existence. that Gisors ceased to be the capital of the whole of Vexin after the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte. constructed there a powerful fortress that was attacked later by Louis le Gros. Robert de Bellesme. Dr. Thomas of Canterbury and the one called the Prisoner's Tower. inhabited by Henry IV. I also learned that Clothaire II had given the patrimony of Gisors to his cousin. And Marambot. and that in consequence of this advantage she was taken and retaken over and over again. was again taken by the English in 1419. eager and almost eloquent." We had arrived at the old citadel. stretching out his arm towards the tiny river that glistened in the meadows." and the sots of the countryside have been given that nickname. my boy. was contested by Philippe-Augustus and Richard the Lionhearted. with the aid of a nail. I asked: "Did you know the 'Rosier'?" "Yes. was taken by the Duke of Calabria occupied by the League. who. the eminent engineer. of course. those English! And what sots. they are all 'Rosiers. that the town is the chief strategic centre of all that portion of France. who could not take the castle. At the command of William the Red. and drove the charcoal wagons for the Pougrisel firm.' those hypocrites!" Then. my boy. indeed. tracing the reflections of the sun as it glanced through the narrow slit of a loophole. he became a wagon driver. Husson's "Rosier. Marambot rubbed his hands as he finished his story.

that enormous distant wall of snow which enclosed the entire horizon. The great waves. "But I have seen nothing more wonderful than Antibes. and beyond the ramparts the houses climbed up the hill. like a mist of milk. One sees. astounded. verses of Homer come into my mind. coming in from the ocean. suffers. near the village of Salis. in the Lipari Islands. this is a city of the ancient East. about 340 B. the weird sulphur crater of the Volcanello. Two great sails. which rose up into the sky. one after the other. fifty kilometers long. Martini drew the Sarty guide-book out of his pocket and read: "This city was originally a colony founded by the Phocians of Marseilles. bathed in the setting sun.C. although Troy was very far from the sea. in the middle of the immense Gulf of Nice. Between the white foam at the foot of the walls and the white snow on the sky-line the little city. this is Troy. "I have seen. stretched like a white thread between the sea and the mountain. as far as the two towers. I turned to my companion. rise out of the sand at sunrise. "I have seen Mont Saint-Michel. in the Sahara. Lake Raianechergui. driven by a strong breeze. whose stem is a volcano. is moved and loves with the eyes. dazzling against the bluish background of the nearest mountain ranges. shining under a moon as brilliant as our sun and breathing up toward it a white cloud. whose facades were also white. extended into the open sea. broke at its feet. and on the other side of the gulf Nice. thinks. a city of the odyssey. "This is certainly one of the rarest sights which it has been vouchsafed to me to admire. M. like the peaks of an ancient helmet. I had never before seen anything so wonderful and so beautiful. They gave it the Greek name of Antipolis. enclosed by its massive ramparts. presented to the rays of the setting sun a pyramid of red-roofed houses. looking at Antibes. an enormous yellow flower. And these two towers were outlined against the milky whiteness of the Alps. a pureblooded Southerner. standing against the Alps in the setting sun. And the sky above the Alps was itself of a blue that was almost white. a giant flower which smokes and burns. that monstrous granite jewel. seemed to skim over the waves. built by Monsieur de Vauban. exquisite and deep pleasure in looking at men and things as the man with the delicate and sensitive ear. like the memory of a great happiness. surrounding it with a wreath of foam. rare. This view was one of those sweet. "And I know not how it is that memories of antiquity haunt me. delightful things that seem to permeate you and are unforgettable. The small town." M. whose soul music overwhelms. . "I have seen. but so different one from another that they seemed to be of all tints.Madame Parisse Search on this Page: þÿ I was sitting on the pier of the small port of Obernon. He who can feel with the eye experiences the same keen. I looked upon all this. Martini. some silvery clouds were floating just over the pale summits. opening out in the midst of the sea. as if the snow had tinted it. lying close to the water.

covered with gold lace. the Romans turned Antibes into a municipal city. dark woman.fitting coat. a government official. who trip along. another colony from Marseilles. you know. and who had just received his four stripes. After the war Antibes was garrisoned by a single battalion commanded by Monsieur Jean de Carmelin. and I looked after the woman. but that name. handsome Southerner. the pale skin. who also came out in the summer evenings to get the fresh air under the trees. As he found life exceedingly tedious in this fortress this stuffy mole. I tell you that I see down there a city of the Odyssey. because it is in fact opposite to Nice. dwelling on the final syllable. I asked: "Who is this Madame Parisse?" He seemed astonished that I did not know the story. and there is no city on the other coast of the Mediterranean which awakens in me the memories of the heroic age as this one does. a large. floated before the eyes of the officer as he continued his promenade. I did not know. though a trifle stout. city opposite another. The coast of Asia and the coast of Europe resemble each other in their shores. as slender and lively as she has now become stout and sad." muttered Monsieur Martini. was walking along the road which skirts the sea in going to the cape. they looked at each other. walking with steady and slow step. this fresh. who passed by without seeing us. She was then a handsome young girl. And Monsieur Martini told me the following story: Mademoiselle Combelombe was married. its inhabitants receiving the rights of Roman citizenship. he often strolled out to the cape. "That is Madame Parisse. a young officer decorated during the war. mentioned carelessly. There he met Madame Parisse. "We know by an epigram of Martial that at this time----" I interrupted him: "I don't care what she was. and when out of sight they doubtless thought of each other. No.city. as doubtless the ladies of old walked. However. dreaming. the black hair. The image of the young woman with the brown eyes. chewing his cigar instead of smoking it. a kind of park or pine wood shaken by all the winds from the sea.hole enclosed by its enormous double walls. . in his close. that name of the Trojan shepherd. to Monsieur Parisse. confirmed me in my dream. Unwillingly she had accepted Monsieur Parisse." A footstep caused me to turn my head. How did they come to love each other? Who knows? They met. I assured him that I did not know it. one year before the war of 1870. who displayed her teeth in smiling. with trousers that are always too large. one of those little fat men with short legs. "After the Gauls were conquered. She was perhaps thirty-five years old and still very beautiful. and the image of the commanding officer.meaning counter. a woman.

And then he would take her hand. Of what? Doubtless of the setting sun. He passed part of it in curling his hair and perfuming himself. but very. those secret. appearing to be annoyed. o'clock train." The commandant let loose such a vehement oath that the waiter dropped the soup-tureen on the floor. And it was agreed between them that they would love each other without evidencing it by anything sensual or brutal. without seeming to hear them. and that cause the heart to beat. They admired it together. even before they were side by side. going from one exercise field to the other. would not hear of it. charming things that are reflected in the gentle emotion of the glance. and the next morning at dawn he went out on the ramparts in a rage. and went home. came home to supper in the evening. Then they ventured to take a few steps together. when her husband. bowed in return. looking for it in each other's eyes more often than on the horizon. they felt as if they knew each other. half shaven and ill-clad. He certainly bowed to her. The commandant was in a bad humor all the evening. and in it he found the following telegram: "My Love: Business completed.and his red trousers. And she. dealing out punishment to the officers and men as one might fling stones into a crowd. and a little blond mustache. murmuring those words which the woman divines. But one evening she said to him casually: "My husband has just gone to Marseilles." And he gave one hundred sous without any reason to the waiter. very slightly. would pass before the eyes of Madame Parisse. then. surprised. but their eyes were already saying to each other a thousand more intimate things. On going in to breakfast he found an envelope under his napkin with these four words: "To-night at ten. He will be away four days. And every evening for two weeks this was the commonplace and persistent pretext for a few minutes' chat. She resisted. but he wanted more. But she would not listen to him. short-legged and big-bellied. imploring her to open her door to him that very night at eleven o'clock. He spoke to her. The day seemed endless to him. just enough not to appear impolite. But after two weeks she returned his salutation from a distance. for they are a better revelation of the soul than the spoken ward. seeing each other again and again." Jean de Carmelin threw himself at her feet. they perhaps smiled at the next meeting. I return this evening on the nine PARISSE. talking of anything that came into their minds. . As he was sitting down to the dinner-table another envelope was handed to him. seemed determined not to give way. She would have remained indefinitely at this stage of intimacy. As they met so often. And every day he urged her more hotly to give in to his ardent desire.

one kilometer distant. even to arresting and imprisoning the husband. Fear nothing. You understand me?" "Yes. the second in command. The train from Marseilles arrived at the station at nine o'clock sharp. will either enter or leave before six in the morning. rolling between his fingers the crumpled telegram of Monsieur Parisse: "Captain. Then a mad thought struck him. commandant. giving their names. You will immediately have all the gates of the city closed and guarded.What should he do? He certainly wanted her. Frightened. But on arriving at the gate of the port the guards crossed their bayonets. for they threatened to shoot. commanding them to retire. This likewise was closed and guarded by a menacing sentinel. appearing not to know me. they retired to deliberate. to reach the city. no one. on my honor as an officer. and the other. One of them. surprised. so that no one. which it is impossible for me to communicate to you. my dear captain. Making the tour of the ramparts. I have just received a telegram of a very singular nature. Saribe and Parisse. was Monsieur Saribe." "Would you like to have a glass of chartreuse?" "With great pleasure. they presented themselves at the gate on the route to Cannes. Any one found outside beyond that time will be conducted to his home 'manu militari'. But the soldiers evidently had strict orders. And having sent off this letter. after having taken counsel one with the other. which impeded their flight. cowed with astonishment. and the two scared travellers ran off. I will answer for everything. commandant. tall and thin. Calling for paper. mind me. he quietly ate his dinner. If your men meet me this night they will at once go out of my way. that very. evening at whatever cost. short and fat. Messrs. with their valises. Toward eight o'clock he sent for Captain Gribois. then. the oil merchant. I swear it to you. since it was not safe to be near the fortifications after sundown. like the prudent men they were. they came back cautiously to parley. throwing away their valises. He would resort to any means. was Monsieur Parisse. and said. he wrote the following note: MADAME: He will not come back this evening. who will compel the inhabitants to retire to their houses at nine o'clock. at ten o'clock. You will also have men patrol the streets. commandant. and he would have her. JEAN DE CARMELIN." "I hold you responsible for the execution of my orders." They clinked glasses drank down the brown liquor and Captain Gribois left the room. desisted from their efforts and went back to the station for shelter. Together they set out. . left two passengers on the platform and went on toward Nice. you know where." "Yes.--and I shall be.

Madame Parisse returned. They set out for the city. with her eyes fixed on the Alps. notched by the penknife of the victorious officer. I longed to speak to her. still somewhat anxious. The truth was suspected only later. with his booted feet on the beautiful marble mantelpiece where his spurs had made two holes. handsome. which was stained with liqueur. others of the landing of the prince imperial and others again believed that there was an Orleanist conspiracy. was reading his newspaper as he lay back in a great easy-chair. Some spoke of a surprise planned by the Italians. too scared to think of sleeping. . the Commandant de Carmelin. grotesque and yet heroic. with sly glance and mustache curled up.The station agent. in the dark. And to-day he had probably forgotten her. to jot down figures. the Prussian commandant. came himself to look at them and question them. strong as Achilles and more cunning than Ulysses Mademoiselle Fifi Search on this Page: þÿ Major Graf Von Farlsberg. comical and tender farce to his comrades over their cups. when it became known that the battalion of the commandant had been sent away. surprised and sleepy. It was a long and weary night for them. And yet the hero of this deserted woman was brave. burned by cigars. or to make a drawing on it. this poor. And they sat there side by side. Had she seen him again? Did she still love him? And I thought: Here is an instance of modern love. permitted them to stay till morning in the waiting-room. The people of Antibes were scared to death. who would ever be thinking of that night of love. daring. on the green velvet sofa. if he did not relate this audacious. Then he bowed to them politely. who occasionally would stop while sharpening a pencil. She passed gravely near me. her promenade being ended. and of the bold man who for the sake of a kiss from her had dared to put a city into a state of siege and to compromise his whole future. excusing himself for having caused them a bad night. The Homer who should sing of this new Helen and the adventure of her Menelaus must be gifted with the soul of a Paul de Kock. which had grown deeper every day during the three months that he had been in the chateau of Uville. At half-past six in the morning they were informed that the gates were open and that people could now enter Antibes. now long past. just as it took his fancy. whose summits now gleamed rosy in the last rays of the setting sun. but failed to find their abandoned valises on the road. to a distance and that Monsieur de Carmelin had been severely punished. Monsieur Martini had finished his story. sad woman. A cup of coffee was smoking on a small inlaid table. But he had to carry out orders. When they passed through the gates of the city.

which was overflowing its banks. a cardinal and a judge. which he pronounced with a slight whistle when he wished to express his sovereign contempt for persons or things. which his orderly had brought him. which made him look like a monk. he was said to be an honorable man. his red hair was cropped quite close to his head. They had given him that nickname on account of his dandified style and small waist. and after throwing three or four enormous pieces of green wood on the fire. . but the captain. Captain Baron van Kelweinstein. His whole solemn person suggested the idea of a military peacock. and then they both went to the window and declared that it was a very unpleasant outlook. which looked as if it were being poured out by some furious person. The rain was descending in torrents. opaque as a curtain. was angry at having to be shut up for three months in that wretched hole. with a wife at home. and hanging in rags in places from sword-cuts. Otto von Grossling. who was proud and brutal toward men. and which deluged everything. and this sometimes made him speak unintelligibly. The major. "Come in. bright golden hair. he was drumming a waltz with his fingers on the window-panes. while a lady in a long. The captain. as well as a brave officer. though he could not quite remember how." one of the orderlies appeared. and he had a bald patch on top of his head surrounded by a fringe of curly. although its old oak floor had become as solid as the stone floor of an inn. Fritz Scheuneberg and Baron von Eyrick. whose fine old mirrors. a rain such as one frequently experiences in the neighborhood of Rouen. red-faced man. on which his budding mustache scarcely showed. The commandant shook hands with him and drank his cup of coffee (the sixth that morning). told too well what Mademoiselle Fifi's occupation was during his spare time. drawn with charcoal. when a noise made him turn round. a short. which he had received in the war with Austria. and when the commandant said. a very short. a regular Normandy rain. that were cracked by pistol bullets. In the dining-room they met three other officers of lower rank--a lieutenant. gentle blue eyes. a peacock who was carrying his tail spread out on his breast. There were three family portraits on the walls a steel-clad knight. who was a quiet man. fan-like beard. 'Fi. with broad shoulders and a long. while he listened to his subordinate's report of what had occurred. could accommodate himself to everything. who were all smoking long porcelain pipes. was tightly belted in at the waist. which formed a kind of wall with diagonal stripes. For a long time the officer looked at the sodden turf and at the swollen Andelle beyond it. he went to the window. It was his second in command. which hung down like a curtain to his chest.When he had read his letters and the German newspapers. He had cold. harsh toward prisoners and as explosive as gunpowder. The dining-room of the chateau was a magnificent long room. fair-haired man. and two sub-lieutenants. for these gentlemen were gradually cutting down the park in order to keep themselves warm. and on account of the habit he had acquired of employing the French expression. The major was a giant. and a scar from a swordcut. and enjoying women's society. The officers ate their breakfast almost in silence in that mutilated room. of his pale face. fi donc'. Since he had been in France his comrades had called him nothing but Mademoiselle Fifi. and whose Flemish tapestry. and in certain lights he almost looked as if he had been rubbed over with phosphorus. There was a knock at the door. pointed waist proudly exhibited a pair of enormous mustaches. He had lost two front teeth one night. which had been inserted into holes in the canvas. which was cut to ribbons. which looked as if he wore corsets. who led a fast life. a slanting rain. who was in the habit of frequenting low resorts. and by his mere presence announced that breakfast was ready. he got up. which looked dull in the rain and melancholy in its dilapidated condition. which is the watering-pot of France.

which had been stowed away in a hole made in one of the walls. Expensive oil paintings." "What sort of an entertainment. we shall have a jolly evening. and then went out. and on those occasions all . and five minutes later a large military wagon. but who carried out all the orders of his superiors to the letter. and he will bring back some ladies. stupid intoxication. "I will arrange all that." Graf von Farlsberg shrugged his shoulders with a smile: "You must surely be mad. "I will send Le Devoir to Rouen. which terminated in china bowls. and the conversation was suddenly interrupted. as if they had found some fresh and powerful subject of interest. The officers all seemed to awaken from their lethargy.. I know where they can be found. while he received the baron's instructions. and all sat back in their chairs and took repeated sips from their glasses. that condition of stupid intoxication of men who have nothing to do. his method of destruction." But all the other officers had risen and surrounded their chief." And on hearing this. they began. looking at the lady with the mustaches. we must get up some entertainment. at least. which opened into the diningroom. He got up and sat down again. We will have supper here. statuettes. no matter what they might be." the baron said. with an impassive face. heavy German countenance. the lawful owner. He stood there. commandant. saying: "Let the captain have his way. with a gesture of resigned weariness. old ivory and Venetian glass. and Lieutenant von Grossling said with conviction that the sky was clearing up. for the major would not have allowed that. the major declared that it was not so dark. said: "What. groups of Dresden china and grotesque Chinese figures. The mine was his invention. The bottles of brandy and of liqueur passed from hand to hand. They were enveloped in a cloud of strong tobacco smoke. "Let us make a mine!" he then exclaimed." And the major ended by yielding. as usual. covered with tarpaulin. on the hanging shelves and in elegant glass cupboards there were a thousand ornaments: small vases. to berate the dull life they were leading. before his precipitate flight. and his bright eyes seemed to be looking for something to destroy. which filled the large room with their costly and fantastic array. the young fellow pulled out his revolver and said: "You shall not see it. captain?" the major asked. Comte Fernand d'Amoys d'Uville. while Mademoiselle Fifi did not seem to be able to keep still. who preeminently possessed the serious. looked like a gallery in a museum. Although it was raining as hard as ever. scarcely removing from their mouths the long. taking his pipe out of his mouth. captain?" He thought for a few moments and then replied: "What? Why. their looks brightened. who had never been seen to smile. but Mademoiselle Fifi emptied his every minute. Scarcely anything was left now." And without leaving his seat he aimed. and a soldier immediately gave him another. "Very well. As he was very rich and had good taste. and his favorite amusement. but Mademoiselle Fifi would every now and then have a mine. when suddenly the baron sat up and said: "Heavens! This cannot go on. galloped off as fast as four horses could draw it in the pouring rain. water colors and drawings hung against the walls. commandant. and with two successive bullets cut out both the eyes of the portrait." he replied. Lieutenant Otto and Sub-lieutenant Fritz. He was an old non-commissioned officer. and the baron immediately sent for Le Devoir. the large drawing-room. As soon as their glasses were empty they filled them again.When they had finished eating and were smoking and drinking. my friend. it is terribly dull here. as all the materials are at hand and. had not had time to carry away or to hide anything except the plate. and seemed to be sunk in a state of drowsy. painted in a manner to delight a Hottentot. curved stems. while on the tables. we must think of something to do. When he left the chateau. not that the things had been stolen. if the commandant will allow us. and they began to talk. Suddenly.

mingled with the tobacco smoke. and carefully introduced a piece of punk through the spout. he would sooner have allowed himself to be shot. They looked at the tall trees which were dripping with rain. The little marquis went into the drawingroom to get what he wanted. The parish priest had not refused to take in and to feed the Prussian soldiers. breathing in the moist air. while the major was looking with a paternal eye at the large drawing-room. . Mademoiselle Fifi made a mine in the Chateau d'Uville. that they could not breathe. and all the officers. they all rushed in at once. who got in first. which was suitable to a priest. was ready to back up their pastor and to risk anything. and he brought back a small. that they had set an equally valuable example. Mademoiselle Fifi. bringing with it a sort of powdery spray. while the captain had plenty to do in arranging for the dinner. That was the only resistance which the invaders had met with in the neighborhood. and not of blood.the officers thoroughly enjoyed themselves for five minutes. smiling curiosity. at the broad valley which was covered with mist. praised Abbe Chantavoine's firmness and heroism in venturing to proclaim the public mourning by the obstinate silence of his church bells. and every one. so the commandant opened the window. he had several times even drunk a bottle of beer or claret with the hostile commandant. delicate china teapot. but it was no use to ask him for a single stroke of the bells." just once. but he came back immediately and shut the door. The moist air blew into the room. and to console himself. The five men stood there together for five minutes. The bells had not rung since their arrival. Then they separated. clapped his hands in delight at the sight of a terra-cotta Venus. only just once. He went out first and said with a smile: "That was a great success this time. This he lighted and took his infernal machine into the next room. went up to it. a peaceful and silent protest. When they met again toward evening they began to laugh at seeing each other as spick and span and smart as on the day of a grand review. each to his duty. ding-dong. and at the church spire in the distance. which had been wrecked after the fashion of a Nero. whose head had been blown off." But there was such a cloud of smoke in the dining-room. who was a man of mildness. he said. and that the name of their little village would become immortalized by that. It seemed to the peasants that thus they deserved better of their country than Belfort and Strassburg. The whole village. and as the people in the whole country round showed themselves obliging and compliant toward them. and as soon as the explosion had shaken the chateau. who had returned for a last glass of cognac. the only one. for they looked upon that silent protest as the safeguard of the national honor. with that exception. and at last Lieutenant Fritz said with a laugh: "The ladies will certainly not have fine weather for their drive. and was strewn with the fragments of works of art. they willingly tolerated their silent patriotism. leaving only his mustache. but. Little Baron Wilhelm alone would have liked to have forced them to ring the bells. who often employed him as a benevolent intermediary. they refused their Prussian conquerors nothing. for twenty-five miles round. He was very angry at his superior's politic compliance with the priest's scruples. enthusiastic at his resistance. tender voice of some loved woman who is bent on obtaining her wish. The commandant's hair did not look so gray as it was in the morning. which rose up like a gray point in the beating rain. which sprinkled their beards. The commandant and his officers laughed among themselves at this inoffensive courage. but the commandant would not yield. which made him look as if he had a streak of fire under his nose. which he filled with gunpowder. The Germans all stood expectant. And he asked it in the coaxing. and every day begged the commandant to allow him to sound "ding-dong. That was his way of protesting against the invasion. their faces full of childish. and each picked up pieces of porcelain and wondered at the strange shape of the fragments. just by way of a joke. and the captain had shaved.

reserving to himself the right to apportion them justly. Under pretence of kissing her. They were all pretty and plump. They went at once into the dining-room. Suddenly Rachel choked. They all rushed down. and all had a similarity of complexion and figure. with eyes as black as ink. to whom Le Devoir had presented his card. captain. as they had got to know the Prussians in the three months during which they had had to do with them. and the plate. he made Pamela sit on his right. the beautiful china and glass. under the pretext that they might wish to freshen their toilets. who were as polite as if they had been with fashionable ladies. Then they all began to laugh at once like crazy women and fell against each other. from between his two broken teeth. only fit for a low pothouse. and one of them went to listen from time to time. however. made obscene remarks and seemed on fire with his crown of red hair." she replied. and so they resigned themselves to the men as they did to the state of affairs. where they were supping after committing a robbery in the place. called Pamela. She did not fly into a rage and did not say a word. to avoid all discussion. They had not required much pressing. and addressing the tallest. which the baron then began to say all wrong. which had been found in the hole in the wall where its owner had hidden it. he proffered stout Amanda to Lieutenant Otto. having kissed Blondina. He paid the women compliments in French of the Rhine. and his experience in such matters carried the day. and when the three young men wanted to appropriate one each. and Blondina on his left. and presently the wagon drove up at a gallop with its four horses steaming and blowing. a very young. in order that he might have the pleasure of hearing them say dirty things. Eva. is adjudged to the commandant. but the captain wisely opposed this. he placed them all in a row according to height. five handsome girls whom a comrade of the captain. and sputtered out gallant remarks. "the Tomato. jarring. had selected with care. The captain was radiant. and at a quarter past six the baron said he heard a rumbling in the distance.lieutenant Fritz. as he unfolded his table napkin: "That was a delightful idea of yours. The three young men wished to carry off their prizes immediately. dark girl. without any distinctive features. the shortest of them all. And then he said: "Number One. according to their several ranks. while the table covered with choice dishes. and suspicion of partiality. while smoke came through her nostrils. whose snub nose proved the rule which allots hooked noses to all her race. but Baron von Kelweinstein beamed. and their intelligence did not seem to be awakened until he uttered foul words and broad expressions. and splashed with mud to their girths. the second. and put his arm round the women as if he were familiar with them. he opposed them authoritatively. They sat down to dinner. which looked still more dismal in its dilapidated condition when it was lighted up. they left the window open. the count had blown a whiff of tobacco into her mouth. as a sign of proprietorship." to Sub. which were mangled by his accent. repeating the words. raising her voice. for he said they were quite fit to sit down to dinner. he said in a voice of command: "What is your name?" "Pamela. and said. frail Count Wilhelm d'Eyrick. They did not understand him. and began to cough until the tears came into her eyes. The commandant seemed delighted." Then. There were only many kisses. so as not to offend the higher powers. rather intimidated their guests. Five women dismounted. a Jewess. Therefore. They . but she looked at her tormentor with latent hatred in her dark eyes." Lieutenants Otto and Fritz. to the youngest officer. expectant kisses. gave it the appearance of a bandits' inn. and Rachel.In spite of the rain.

getting excited. and in the same voice in which he would have drunk to the health of the Empress Augusta. drank out of every glass and sang French couplets and bits of German songs which they had picked up in their daily intercourse with the enemy. the women were silent. you dirty scoundrel!" For a moment he looked at her steadily with his bright eyes upon her. and tormented by his desire to hurt her. and said: "Ha! ha! ha! I have never met any of them myself. trembling. They got up. forcing themselves to be funny." But the little count. but Rachel turned round. began to laugh. for the wine had made him very merry. I know some Frenchmen in whose presence you would not dare say that. and suddenly seized by an access of alcoholic patriotism. He often held her close to him and pressed a long kiss on the Jewess' rosy mouth until she lost her breath. toasts worthy of the lowest soldiers and of drunkards. As soon as we show ourselves. one after the other. the woods. mingled with obscene jokes. that!" But he merely laughed a hard laugh and said: "I will pay. which were made still more brutal by their ignorance of the language. he drank: "To our ladies!" And a series of toasts began. she said: "You will have to pay for. pinched their arms. and. seized their glasses. for they were reduced to silence and were afraid. who was in a terrible rage. and the commandant rose. thereupon Lieutenant Otto. the fields and the houses of France belong to us!" The others. who were so drunk that they almost fell off their chairs. For the second time she looked him full in the face." At dessert champagne was served. shouted into his face: "You are lying. he exclaimed: "We are the masters! France belongs to us!" She made one spring from his knee and threw herself into her chair. Then the little marquis put his champagne glass. while the soldiers behind them waited on them stolidly. raised his glass again and said: "To our victories over hearts and. the enthusiasm of brutes. and resuming their usual habits and manners. The captain. he cried: "To our victories over France!" Drunk as they were. for he was seized by a species of ferocity. "Long live Prussia!" they emptied them at a draught. The girls did not protest. Soon the men themselves became very unrestrained. as he had looked at the portrait before he destroyed it with bullets from his revolver. shouted and broke the plates and dishes. at one moment he kissed the little black curls on her neck and at another he pinched her furiously and made her scream. and then he began to laugh: "Ah! yes. they kissed the officers to right and left of them. and said: "See here. and as she bathed the wound. who was a species of bear from the Black Forest. who no doubt wished to impart an appearance of gallantry to the orgy. for they were drunk after the first bottle of wine. and shouting. trying to say something witty. and who were suddenly seized by military enthusiasm. Mademoiselle Fifi had taken Rachel on his knee.gave him as much of that stuff as he wanted. held out his glass over the table and repeated: "France and the French. as she had no reply to make. with vacant looks and clammy tongues applauded madly each time. while he arose. who were quite drunk. getting excited. Even Rachel did not say a word. inflamed and saturated with drink. uttered wild cries. talk about them. my dear! Should we be here now if they were brave?" And. still holding her on his knee. jumped up. on the head of the Jewess and exclaimed: "All the women in France belong to us also!" . and the women. The commandant was the only one who kept any restraint upon himself. and at last he bit her until a stream of blood ran down her chin and on to her bodice. which had just been refilled. they run away!" The girl.

who fell down at full length. for the first time the bell sounded its funeral knell in a lively manner. in his exasperation. she ran to the window. but he severely censured the commandant. for in her agitation she did not understand him at first. carried by soldiers. the priest showed himself humble and most respectful. In two minutes Mademoiselle Fifi was dead. he sent for the priest and ordered him to have the bell tolled at the funeral of Baron von Eyrick. the country was scoured and beaten up. and stammered out in a voice choked with rage: "That--that--that--is not true--for you shall not have the women of France!" He sat down again so as to laugh at his ease. but. and broke into a hundred fragments. and when Mademoiselle Fifi's body left the Chateau d'Uville on its way to the cemetery. Two soldiers had been killed and three others wounded by their comrades in the ardor of that chase and in the confusion of that nocturnal pursuit. At night it rang again. Suddenly a shot was heard and then another. she defied the looks of the officer. The table. Then the inhabitants of the district were terrorized." Graf von Farlsberg. she seized a small dessert knife with a silver blade from the table and. made up his mind to have his revenge on the district.colored wine on her black hair as if to baptize her. but as soon as she grasped his meaning she said to him indignantly and vehemently: "I! I! I am not a woman. and the four officers stood at the windows. who in turn punished his inferiors. as if a friendly hand were caressing it." Almost before she had finished he slapped her full in the face. The general had said: "One does not go to war in order to amuse one's self and to caress prostitutes. opened it before they could seize her and jumped out into the night and the pouring rain. strange words of challenge. who threw themselves at their feet and clung to their knees. my dear?" She was thunderstruck and made no reply for a moment. and Fritz and Otto drew their swords and wanted to kill the women. Something that he was going to say was cut short in his throat. almost mad with rage. very good! Then why did you come here. spilling the amber. but the Jewess did not seem to have left a single trace of her passage behind her. and then he organized the pursuit of the fugitive as carefully as if he were about to engage in a skirmish. over and over again. now served as a bed on which to lay out the lieutenant. In the morning they all returned.At that she got up so quickly that the glass upset. Contrary to all expectation. and tried to pierce through the darkness of the night amid the steady torrent of rain. which had been cleared immediately. trying to speak with the Parisian accent. as if to strike her. as it fell to the floor. a long way off. but as he was raising his hand again. the houses were turned topsy-turvy. When the general was told of it he gave orders to hush up the affair. and the next day. Sometimes even it . and for four hours they heard from time to time near or distant reports and rallying cries. it rang as much as any one could desire. surrounded and followed by soldiers who marched with loaded rifles. All the officers shouted in horror and leaped up tumultuously. and that is all that Prussians want. stabbed him right in the hollow of his neck. and. he said: "She is good. I am only a strumpet. rigid and sobered with the stern faces of soldiers on duty. With some difficulty the major stopped the slaughter and had the four terrified girls locked up in a room under the care of two soldiers. feeling quite sure that she would be caught. throwing her chair between the legs of Lieutenant Otto. and he sat there with his mouth half open and a terrible look in his eyes. Her lips trembling. and every day. preceded. but they had not caught Rachel. who was still laughing. uttered in guttural voices. but as he required a pretext for showing severity. so as not to set a bad example to the army.

who was his most intimate friend. and she quickly went back on foot to the establishment from which she had come. Mademoiselle Chantal passes everything in review. Thus warned against famine. mysteriously. This is how they go to purchase their provisions: Mademoiselle Pearl. etc. they are so far. beans. Of Paris. My father. sugar. The Chantals lead a peculiar existence. rice. I continued the custom.would start at night and sound gently through the darkness. from time to time. and only return at dinner time. preserves. Mademoiselle Pearl gives warning that the supply of sugar is low. They live there as though they were in the country. And they went because a poor girl was living there in grief and solitude and provided for secretly by those two men. coffee. Then she puts down a lot of figures and goes through lengthy calculations and long discussions with Mademoiselle Pearl. where the proprietress. the roof of which is covered with bundles and bags. lobster. like an express wagon. Madame Chantal and Mademoiselle Pearl make this trip together. who thought that she was dead. and who afterward loved her for herself. and then one evening the priest borrowed the baker's cart and himself drove his prisoner to Rouen. they take a trip into it. or Ponta-Mousson. used to take me round there when I was a child. awakened one could not tell why. prunes. that the preserves are giving out. that there is not much left in the bottom of the coffee bag. and they decide upon the quantity of each thing of which they will lay in a three months' provision. they suspect nothing. so far away! However. they live in Paris as though they were in Grasse. the real Paris. and shaken up by the cab. þÿ . At last they manage to agree. and who liked her because of her bold deed. tired out. All the peasants in the neighborhood declared that it was bewitched. seized with a strange joy. as it is called in the family. She remained there until the German troops departed. and I doubtless shall continue it as long as I live and as long as there is a Chantal in this world.. noisy population. When they got there he embraced her. who has the keys to the kitchen closet (for the linen closets are administered by the mistress herself). Evetot. and which throws money out of the windows. although still excited. taking notes on a pad. Mademoiselle Chantal goes to lay in her provisions. and nobody except the priest and the sacristan would now go near the church tower. a section inhabited by a strange. they know nothing at all. spends its days in dissipation. cans of peas. its nights in revelry. They have a house with a little garden near the observatory. salt or smoked fish. which cares little for honor. For the Chantals all that part of Paris situated on the other side of the Seine constitutes the new quarter. After which the day for the purchasing is determined on and they go in a cab with a railing round the top and drive to a large grocery store on the other side of the river in the new sections of the town. was very glad to see her. A short time afterward a patriot who had no prejudices. married her and made her a lady quite as good as many others. Mademoiselle Pearl Search on this Page: I What a strange idea it was for me to choose Mademoiselle Pearl for queen that evening! Every year I celebrate Twelfth Night with my old friend Chantal. etc. From time to time.

but he likes calm and quiet above all else. The Chantals have limited connections carefully chosen in the neighborhood. Gently I took this thing from my mouth and I saw that it was a little porcelain doll. I take dinner with them on the fifteenth of August and on Twelfth Night. There are other people whose ideas always strike me as being round and rolling like a hoop. so much so that they pass by unperceived like two pretty dolls. well educated. about what had happened on the boulevards. The slightest thing moves him. coming out in ten. without any reason at all. At dessert the Twelfth Night cake was brought on. twenty. At present the young ladies are respectively nineteen and seventeen. large and small. whose ideas always gave me the impression of being carved out square like building stones. one almost feels indecent when bowing to them. Madame Chantal and Mademoiselle Pearl. in fact. Chantal had been king every year. the young girls are taken to the Opera-Comique or the Theatre Francais. On the fifteenth of August a few friends are invited. a fat lady. and Chantal clapped his hands and cried: "It's Gaston! It's Gaston! Long live the king! Long live the king!" All took up the chorus: "Long live the king!" And I blushed to the tip of my ears. one behind the other. and makes him suffer. I was greatly surprised to find something very hard. to the end of the horizon. Well. Surprise caused me to exclaim: "Ah!" All looked at me. no bigger than a bean. and about our representatives in Parliament. Lack of contact and of elbowing with the world has made his moral skin very tender and sensitive. but everything that she says takes that shape in my head: a big square. Now. about politics. We sat down as usual and finished our dinner without anything out of the ordinary being said. Chantal. cordial. As soon as they begin a sentence on any subject it rolls on and on. but on Twelfth Night I am the only stranger. very well brought up. I went to the Chantals' for my Epiphany dinner. fifty round ideas. I don't know whether this was the result of continued chance or a family convention. Chantal. as every former year. frank. I sat there looking at my plate. in a mouthful of cake. They also exchange two or three yearly visits with relatives who live in the distance. this year. with four symmetrical angles. loves to talk and is readily affected. excites him.however. I kissed M. forcing myself to laugh and not knowing what to do or say. Madame Chantal. I was questioned about a thousand and one things. Never would the idea come to me to pay the slightest attention or to pay court to one of the young Chantal ladies. and I made a deep bow to the Misses Louise and Pauline. That is as much one of my duties as Easter communion is for a Catholic. and has thus contributed greatly to the mummifying of his family in order to live as he pleased in stagnant quiescence. tall and fresh. they are so immaculate that one hardly dares speak to them. M. They are two pretty girls. in situations which are a little foolish. According to my usual custom. you must choose a queen!" . he is a charming man. too well brought up. As for the father. about how matters stood in Tong-King. but he unfailingly found the bean in his piece of cake. Other people have pointed ideas--but enough of this. Therefore. As for me. when the play is recommended by the paper which is read by M. was accustomed to exclaiming at the end of every political discussion: "All that is seed which does not promise much for the future!" Why have I always imagined that Madame Chantal's ideas are square? I don't know. which I see rolling along. and he would proclaim Madame Chantal to be queen. He reads a lot. with this absurd little bit of pottery in my fingers. as one often does. when Chantal once more cried out: "Now. which almost made me break a tooth.

in spite of me. two beautiful eyes which had kept the expression of naive wonder of a young girl. Truly. I drank to her health. What a dainty mouth! and such pretty teeth! But one would have thought that she did not dare smile. I held my glass up to the queen and. two wrinkles of long sadness. She was treated in a friendly manner. I was surprised at my observation. In a second a thousand thoughts and suppositions flashed through my mind. she had such simple." The young ladies: "Mademoiselle Pearl. you suddenly think: "Why. lead me gently into matrimonial ties. and then you discover that the wood has been worked by a real artist and that the material is remarkable. How old could she be? Forty? Yes. She was a part of the Chantal family. because a ray of sunshine happens to strike the seat. she was not in the least ridiculous. that chair is very curious". so humble.Then I was thunderstruck. of youthful sensations. but who was by no means insignificant. She fixed her hair and dressed in a ridiculous manner. and takes every shape and disguise. I was accustomed to seeing her in this house. I was suddenly struck by this fact. and. so timid. direct hint of the parents toward a possible marriage? The idea of marriage roams continually in houses with grown-up girls. I began to observe her. Suddenly I had an inspiration. But how? By what right? She was a tall. then two blue eyes. then they doubtless appreciated my delicacy and discretion. daintier. Her whole face was refined and discreet." with an air of greater respect. with a well. At first every one was surprised. and then the fear of launching myself into an affair which might. prouder. forty. just as one sees old upholstered armchairs on which one has been sitting since childhood without ever noticing them. she was so amazed that she completely lost control of herself. and also of sorrow. A dread of compromising myself took hold of me as well as an extreme timidity before the obstinately correct and reserved attitude of the Misses Louise and Pauline. for they applauded furiously. large and tender. Then. better than a housekeeper. One day. that was all. notwithstanding all that. most absurd. light. thin person who tried to remain in the background. but beneath this one could see a large. as she was dipping her . cut by two deep lines." and Chantal only addressed her as "Mademoiselle. Did they expect me to pick out one of the young Chantal ladies? Was that a trick to make me say which one I prefer? Was it a gentle. a hundred times better. Madame Chantal said: "Pearl. and I held out to Mademoiselle Pearl the symbolical emblem. a face the expression of which seemed to have gone out without being used up or faded by the fatigues and great emotions of life. so bashful.turned compliment.not me--please--not me--I beg of you----" Then for the first time in my life I looked at Mademoiselle Pearl and wondered what she was. she was trembling and stammering: "No--no--oh! no-. poor old maid. She was not old. which had softened without spoiling them. with no reason at all. To choose one of them in preference to the other seemed to me as difficult as choosing between two drops of water. she made herself old. what a strange creature! How was it I had never observed her before? She dressed her hair in a grotesque manner with little old maid curls. veiled and hidden. natural gracefulness. I had never taken any notice of Mademoiselle Pearl. They were pouring out champagne. Everybody was crying: "Long live the queen! Long live the queen!" As for herself. I could see that she felt inclined to hide her head in her napkin. I suddenly observed several shades of distinction which I had never noticed before. calm brow. not so well as a relative. by means as wary and imperceptible and as calm as this insignificant royalty--the fear of all this haunted me. Suddenly I compared her to Madame Chantal! Undoubtedly Mademoiselle Pearl was the better of the two. and employs every subterfuge. more noble. perhaps.

well. I suddenly asked: "By the way. but in order that you may understand. would bring their provisions up this way. frozen country. there are only three of us left: my wife. on a mound which overlooks a great stretch of prairie. Monsieur Chantal." although I was twenty-five. I missed some others. One might have thought that the world was coming to an end. the following events occurred: We were then living at Roiiy-le. "You now understand the place. my boy!" He called me "my boy. they were pretty little girls. everybody cried: "The queen drinks! the queen drinks!" She almost turned purple and choked.Tors. and then continued: "And if you only knew how peculiar it is that you should ask me that to. for the peasants.day. in order to avoid the roundabout way. As soon as dinner was over Chantal took me by the arm." "Didn't your father ever tell you?" "No. is Mademoiselle Pearl a relative of yours?" Greatly surprised. Zounds! how quickly . my uncle and aunt. when guests came to dinner he would take them to the billiard room and smoke while playing. Forty-one years ago to day. it's a regular romance!" He paused. I. and my sister-in-law. don't you? Well. would chill our very souls. or. I married the youngest. We had a house there with a beautiful hanging garden supported by the old battlemented wall. at the bottom of a secret stairway in the thick wall--the kind you read about in novels. I started the game and made a few carroms. this year. so that the house was in the town on the streets. he stopped playing and looked at me: "What! Don't you know? Haven't you heard about Mademoiselle Pearl?" "No. it had been snowing for a week. One might have thought that the Lord had packed the world in cotton to put it away in the storeroom for old worlds. but I could see that all loved her. I can assure you that it was dreary looking. but he had known me as a young child. That evening they had built a fire to celebrate Twelfth Night. but as the thought of Mademoiselle Pearl kept returning to my mind. a very fine one. my two brothers and four cousins. I must first explain the house. When alone he would smoke it out in the street. at Epiphany. while the garden overlooked the plain. which was provided with a big bell. listen. the day of the Epiphany. this immense white. rather. on Twelfth Night!" "Why?" "Why? Well. Of all that crowd. which shone like varnish. Everybody was laughing. It was time for his cigar. Roily is built on a hill. and chalked it with great care. A road passed in front of this door. on the ramparts. my mother. who lives in Marseilles. then he said: "You break. my old friend took his cue." "Well. When we went to the ramparts to look over the plain. "We were a very numerous family at that time my father. that's funny! That certainly is funny! Why.lips in the clear wine. a sacred hour. There was a door leading from the garden to the open country.

especially the young people. and being unable to. he has returned to our door. we felt that all was not over. that he wished to find out what was the matter and that he was going. swearing: 'Nothing at all. and shaken by a kind of supernatural fear. white garment. and we were all happy. followed. "We sat down to dinner. aged eighteen and twenty. awaiting dinner. but every one was excited. After ringing once. declared.' "My Uncle Francois arose. The pines were bending under this heavy.a family like that dwindles away! I tremble when I think of it! I was fifteen years old then. which made one think of death. swore so furiously that he would murder it. since I am fifty-six now. Everything went well up to the roast. My father said to him: 'Take a gun. My father and uncle were walking ahead with Baptiste. but we were all uneasy. furious. "It rang just as the Twelfth Night cake was being cut. My father tried to reassure us: 'Just wait and see. When the man returned he declared that he had seen nothing. although very calm and a little helpless (he limped ever since he had broken his leg when thrown by a horse). It had the deep sound of a church bell. Jacques and Paul. seeing that the door was not immediately opened. whatever it might be. My brothers. Baptiste. Francois. A shiver ran through everybody. that my mother and my aunt threw themselves on him to prevent his going. Do not go alone. 'it will be some beggar or some traveller lost in the snow. who stood in front of the house with her sister and my cousins. that something was going to happen. He was a kind of Hercules. then the bell began to ring again. and looked like white pyramids or enormous sugar cones. If I had taken a gun I would have killed him to make him keep quiet. "At last my mother spoke: 'It's surprising that they should have waited so long to come back. very happy! Everybody was in the parlor.' "We sat down to dinner again. "We were going to celebrate the Epiphany. All the men jumped up together. in turn. ran to get their guns. "It had been snowing again for the last hour. three times in succession. and as no one was paying any attention to me I snatched up a little rifle that was used in the garden and got ready to accompany the expedition. There is no telling what it might be.' "Our uncle seemed to stay away an hour. We waited in complete silence. My Uncle. the poor beast must be lost. fork in the air. one of these gentlemen will accompany you. and the trees were weighted down.' he said. who was carrying a lantern. At last he came back. we were thinking of the snow which covered the ground. My brothers. "It started out immediately. We sat there looking at each other. long strokes which vibrated to the tips of our fingers and which stopped our conversation short.' "But my uncle only took a cane and went out with the servant. and feared nothing in the world. who had been drinking champagne. and through the gray curtains of small hurrying flakes could be seen the lighter bushes which stood out pale in the . said: 'There has been a dog howling out in the plain for about ten minutes. and my oldest brother. My father. Jacques. still listening. three heavy. that the bell would soon ring again. it's some practical joker! There is nothing but that damned dog howling away at about a hundred yards from the walls. and I trailed on behind in spite of the prayers of my mother. without eating or speaking. My father called the servant and told him to go outside and look. "We others remained there trembling with fear and apprehension. and always from the same spot. very proud of his strength. he attempted again to find his way.' "He had hardly stopped talking when the garden bell began to ring. The dog kept up its ceaseless howling.

I felt as though some one were walking behind me. opposite us. When he saw us approaching the dog sat down. endless veil of snow. "My uncle said: 'That's peculiar. "We were so astonished that we couldn't speak.' "So we started out through this mist.shadow. Instead. as I would have had to cross the garden all alone. My uncle continued: 'Listen! There is the dog howling again.' "My father answered in a firm voice: 'No. Thinking out loud. I did not dare. which looked like a rolling kennel. below. We started out again cautiously. he is calling like a man in distress. As we advanced the dog's voice became clearer and stronger. I will teach him how I shoot. we could only see a thick. I feel like taking a shot at him. through this thick continuous fall of snow. He did not move. he stretched his hand over the roof of the carriage and said: 'Poor little waif. we saw in it a little baby sleeping peacefully. or. and we had to lift our feet very high in order to walk. He did not look wicked. you shall be one of us!' And he ordered my brother Jacques to roll the foundling ahead of us. anyhow. My uncle cried: 'Here he is!' We stopped to observe him as one does when he meets an enemy at night. We carefully took off these coverings. cold mass. That will be something gained." "There was indeed something behind him.' . went on: 'It will be much better to go on and get the poor animal. floated. everywhere. and I felt a strong desire to return. When we began to go down the winding stairway in the wall I really grew frightened. The dog licked his hands. and chilled the skin with a burning sensation like a sharp. and I caught sight of him. rapid pain as each flake melted. "I could see nothing. he seemed pleased at having been able to attract the attention of some one. fell. my uncle began to swear again. the swine!' "It was a discouraging thing to see this great expanse of plain. and as Baptiste approached his lantern to the front of this little vehicle. to the right. above. something gray. which moved. he was a big black shepherd's dog with long hair and a wolf's head. impossible to distinguish. he was frightful and weirdlooking. Let us go to him. were going to grab me by the shoulders and carry me away. exclaiming: 'By ---! He has gone again! If I can catch sight of even his shadow. rather. which filled the air. and as he had a warm heart and a broad mind. to feel it before us. he is neither advancing nor retreating. but. But the lantern threw a bright light around us. My father was the first to collect his wits.' "But my father. he was silently watching us. for we could not see it. my father continued: "'Some child of love whose poor mother rang at my door on this night of Epiphany in memory of the Child of God. a sort of toy carriage entirely wrapped up in three or four woolen blankets.' "Then my brother Jacques added: 'But he is not alone. There is something behind him. We saw that he was tied to the wheel of a little carriage. "My father went straight to him and petted him. who is crying for hunger. who was kind-hearted. we must capture him. I heard some one opening the door leading to the plain. so I ran up to the others. The snow was falling so thick that we could hardly see ten feet ahead of us. The poor fellow is barking for help. standing just within the gleam of light cast by our lantern on the snow. We were sinking in up to our knees in this soft. to the left. I'll take care not to miss him.

just as you did to-day. and for queen I took Mademoiselle Pearl. she acquainted her with her story and gently. even tenderly. He was a stranger in the country. but in the darkness he crossed himself. "I can assure you that our return to the diningroom was amusing. Mademoiselle Pearl entered the Chantal household. my mother would raise her spectacles on her forehead. to have chosen them thus. taken in. At any rate. at the age of six weeks. It was still sleeping. She was so gentle and loving and minded so well that every one would have spoiled her abominably had not my mother prevented it. It was a girl about six weeks old. Therefore. a thing which always indicated emotion with her. "That is how. the person who rang three times at our door must have known my parents well. a perfect pearl!' This name stuck to the little Claire. but. "Ah! But you should have seen us when we got to the house! At first we had a lot of trouble in getting the carriage up through the winding stairway. and our positions well established. In its clothes we found ten thousand francs in gold. he murmured: 'What if you had shot the dog. the child was adopted and brought up in the family. my boy. they looked like four chickens around a nest. notwithstanding his blustering manner. She consented to treat little Claire as she did her own sons. ten thousand francs!-. "Well. and the years flew by. she was an adopted daughter. nevertheless. "We sat down to dinner again and the cake was cut. but we never found out anything-never the slightest clue. "My mother was an orderly woman with a great respect for class distinctions. and she would repeat: 'This child is a pearl. she wished the distance which separated us to be well marked. "It was not until later that she was called Mademoiselle Pearl."He once more stopped and called at the top of his lungs through the night to the four corners of the heavens: 'We have found it!' Then. for. but we succeeded and even rolled it into the vestibule. impressed on the little one's mind that. when the little one had done something kind and good. gracefulness and gentleness that she often brought tears to my father's eyes. Francois?' "My uncle did not answer. On that day she did not appreciate the honor that was being shown her.' Claire being intended. nevertheless. She was at first baptized 'Marie Simonne Claire. perhaps. the child of some nobleman and a little bourgeoise of the town--or again--we made a thousand suppositions." II .which papa saved for her dowry. but. as soon as the child could understand. but. it was not a child of poor people. for the Chantals. and to keep it with so much tact. The dog himself was recognized by no one. "The dog. she knew how to take the place which was allotted her. My mother herself was often moved by the passionate gratitude and timid devotion of this dainty and loving little creature that she began calling her: 'My daughter. At last we took the child from the carriage. a stranger.' At times. Claire understood the situation with peculiar intelligence and with surprising instinct. yes. I was king. who became and remained for us Mademoiselle Pearl. Therefore. putting his hand on his brother's shoulder. with this baby now awake and looking round her at these people and these lights with her vague blue questioning eyes. which had been untied. he was very religious. "How funny mamma was! How happy and astonished! And my four little cousins (the youngest was only six). for her family name. She grew. was following us.

round. After a slight pause he continued: "By Jove! She was pretty at eighteen--and graceful--and perfect. not even the silent and resigned victims. I asked: "Why did she never marry?" He answered. anyone can see that--and it's even on account of her that you delayed for so long your marriage to your cousin who had been waiting for you for six years. and it seemed to me that I was looking into his very soul. gently drifting through the old scenes and events which awoke in his mind. each walk. like a sponge which one squeezes. he buried his face in it and began to sob. Chantal stopped. He was weeping with his eyes. and I was suddenly witnessing one of those humble and cruel tragedies of honest." "Why?" "Because you loved her more than your cousin. He was coughing. I wanted to run away." He stared at me with strange. do. then the tears would again begin to flow down the wrinkles on his face and he would make a strange gurgling noise in his throat. or attempt. bewildered eyes and stammered: "I loved her--I? How? Who told you that?" "Why. to whom I had been engaged for six years. Monsieur Chantal!" He started. straightforward.blue-transparent--clear--such eyes as I have never seen since!" He was once more silent. while with his right he crumpled a rag which served to rub the chalk marks from the slate. just as we walk through old family gardens where we were brought up and where each tree. one of those secret tragedies known to no one. each hedge reminds us of some occurrence. . ashamed. I stood opposite him leaning against the wall. That was when I married my cousin." I looked at M. A rash curiosity suddenly impelled me to exclaim: "You should have married her. Ah! She was so sweet--and good and true--and charming! She had such eyes." He dropped the ball which he was holding in his left hand. he was talking away to himself now. and said: "I? Marry whom?" "Mademoiselle Pearl. and was playing with a ball with his left hand. looked at me. blameless hearts. seizing the chalk rag in both hands. lost in his memories. I felt bewildered. my hands resting on my idle cue. my wife. but to the word "marry" which had caught his ear: "Why? why? She never would--she never would! She had a dowry of thirty thousand francs. his voice thick. and. He was sitting on the edge of the billiard table. his feet hanging. not to me. and she received several offers--but she never would! She seemed sad at that time. spitting and blowing his nose in the chalk rag. wiping his eyes and sneezing. A little red in the face.M. Chantal. and I no longer knew what to say. nose and mouth in a heartbreaking yet ridiculous manner. little Charlotte.

saying: "Yes--yes--there are difficult moments. or guess. to find out whether she. and I could observe her heart beating under her waist. muttering: "I beg your pardon. and. we are coming right down. which could not be found. for the last two or three years. I beg your pardon. half white and half red. just as I had into Monsieur Chantal's. She must indeed have been pretty." He went downstairs rubbing his eyes with his handkerchief. cheeks and chin covered with chalk. and stories were told of similar cases where it had been necessary to call in a physician. from this long. candid face had wept on the soft pillow and she had sobbed. looking at himself in the mirror. Monsieur Chantal. but I thought of a little stratagem. madame. so simple and devoted. still full of tears. All were worried." Then I rushed to her husband. I went over to Mademoiselle Pearl and watched her. know. tormented by an ardent curiosity. listen to me. seizing him by the shoulders. poignant grief. had been used for marking off the chalk from the slate. calm eyes." He squeezed my hand. pull yourself together. Her gown was a little ridiculous. but which breaks forth at night in the loneliness of the dark room. I cried: "Monsieur Chantal. As he was growing worried. each one wished to look for the speck. I was watching her. asking: "What? He was weeping?" "Ah." She started. and his eyes swollen. "Haven't you men almost finished smoking your cigars?" I opened the door and cried: "Yes." Then he plunged his face into a bowl of water." He stammered: "Yes--yes--I am coming--poor girl! I am coming--tell her that I am coming. I caught him by the hands and dragged him into his bedroom. so large that it looked as though she never closed them like other mortals. which one cannot see. and I wondered whether this sweet. secret. I said to him: "All you have to do is to say that a little dust flew into your eye and you can cry before everybody to your heart's content. had loved him. with her gentle. your wife is calling. a real old maid's gown." He began conscientiously to wipe his face on the cloth which. I said to her in a low voice. we must go downstairs. as he had. I felt an irresistible longing to question her. then he appeared. which was unbecoming without appearing clumsy. It seemed to me as though I were looking into her soul. his forehead. When he emerged from it he did not yet seem to me to be presentable. too. yes. that I was looking right from one end to the other of this humble life. whether she also had suffered.Suddenly Madame Chantal's voice sounded on the stairs. which was turning to positive suffering. like a child who is breaking a toy to see what is inside: "If you could have seen Monsieur Chantal crying a while ago it would have moved you. my friend Chantal. her whole body shaken by the violence of her anguish. he was indeed weeping!" "Why?" She seemed deeply moved. I answered: . nose. for having caused you such sorrow--but--I did not know--you--you understand.

she is a fine girl. water and vinegar. brought to life in a second. however. and. She. And yet sometimes I felt pleased. her broad shoulders and prominent hips. she is a fine girl. my heart heavy. that Martine. who was also going home. just as some people carry a bullet in a closed wound. Suddenly he said: "Nom d'un nom. laced up in a corset which she wore only once a week. He was walking home from church along the by-road that led to his house when he saw ahead of him Martine. with her squeezed-in waist. the rapid and divine sensation of this intoxication. also this short embrace may infuse in their veins a little of this thrill which they would not have known without it. I was asking myself: "Did I do wrong or right?" They had that shut up in their hearts. She slipped from her chair to the floor. made by a milliner at Yvetot. Discarding the smock. She wore a hat trimmed with flowers. and while they were looking for towels. perhaps. Her father walked beside his daughter with the important gait of a rich farmer. suddenly closed so quickly that they seemed shut forever. no. all the same. reddened by the sun and air. having ever noticed it more closely than he did now. He was telling me how much he had loved you in the days gone by." "On my account?" "Yes. And perhaps some evening next spring. he wore a short coat of gray cloth and on his head a round-topped hat with wide brim. which always remained open. I grabbed my hat and ran away. supple neck. and will give to those two dead souls." . but he knew well the face he loved. admiring her hastily."On your account. and slowly. feeling a desire taking possession of him." Her pale face seemed to grow a little longer. I cried: "Help! help! Mademoiselle Pearl is ill." He watched her as she walked. He did not long to see her face again. I felt as though I had done a praiseworthy and necessary act. I walked away with rapid strides. swinging herself a little. walked along erect. moved by a beam of moonlight falling through the branches on the grass at their feet. Benoist saw only her back. of this madness which gives to lovers more happiness in an instant than other men can gather during a whole lifetime! Martine Search on this Page: þÿ It came to him one Sunday after mass. and displayed the back of her full. my mind full of remorse and regret. without. Will they not be happier now? It was too late for their torture to begin over again and early enough for them to remember it with tenderness. they will join and press their hands in memory of all this cruel and suppressed suffering. and what a pang it had given him to marry his cousin instead of you. He kept gazing at her figure." Madame Chantal and her daughters rushed forward. gently sank down as would a fallen garment. on which fluttered little stray locks of hair. her calm eyes. repeating to himself: "Nom d'un nom. round.

I feel as if I had some pap in my stomach and that takes away my appetite. He thought of Martine. it starts off buzzing again. and the upturned earth ready for the seed showed broad brown patches of stubble of wheat and oats that had lately been harvested. who looked to her very comical. When he reached home the soup was on the table. The country was deserted. and said aloud in the stillness of the country: "If you want a fine girl. good. Benoist sat down on a ditch. nor make it keep still. and with such force that he could not eat. positively. said: "No. . The recollection of Martine disturbed Benoist's mind like an imprisoned fly. but all at once it begins again. He sat down opposite his mother beside the farm hand and the hired man. all the same. He ate a few spoonfuls. obliging you to look up.Martine turned to the right to enter "La Martiniere. pushing away his plate. and in the morning when he awoke. they should force themselves to eat. His mother said: "Don't you feel well?" "No." the farm of her father. and that it came to him. When one has no appetite. He did not touch the stew. Benoist. Martine. chewing their cud under a blazing sun. promising a cool evening after the sun had set." and went on his way. Here and there in a field of clover cows were moving along heavily. nor kill it. then. as he cut himself a piece of bread from time to time and carried it lazily to his mouth. mait Martin. It was something that had hold of him." He swallowed a few morsels. Sometimes a big fly is shut up in a room. Suddenly it stops. it is loin of mutton. all at once. he was not discontented. She saw Benoist. in his bed. something fastened in his mind. "She is a fine girl." And to think that he had not noticed it before. nor drive it away. You hear it flying about. and she cast a glance behind her as she turned round. His mother said: "Come. just like that. irritates you. You cannot catch it. He was not sad. She called out: "Good-morning. an idea that would not leave him and that produced a sort of tickling sensation in his heart. Unharnessed plows were standing at the end of a furrow. A rather dry autumn wind blew across the plain. she is a fine girl. with full bellies. Benoist." He watched the others eating. I can't go that. try and eat a little. buzzing. he could not have told what ailed him. Jean Martin." He replied: "Good-morning. while the maid servant went to draw some cider.morning." He thought of it again at night. as it was the day of rest. masticating it slowly. then pushed away his plate. and the noise haunts you." When they rose from table he walked round the farm. telling the farm hand he might go home and that he would drive up the animals as he passed by them. it will do you good. As soon as it settles for a second. placed his hat on his knees as if he needed to cool off his head. you forget it.

nor anything. concealed by the hedge. and she had answered "Yes. On Sunday. He saw her. he had night sweats that kept him from sleeping. in by-roads or else at twilight on the edge of a field. nor rest. And one Sunday. rage. make her part of himself. Then he walked right up to her. They said they were engaged. eat her. were waiting for an opportunity to talk to their parents about it. as if they were one being. One evening. Martine. she stopped coming to meet him at the usual hour. From that day they met each other along the roadside. She stopped short when she saw him coming. Benoist?" "My thinking of you as many hours as there are in the day. but determined to speak to her. She had on only a short skirt and her chemise. showing the curves of her figure as she hung up the towels." he answered. He could not eat. He did not even see her as he wandered round the farm. besides. for more than an hour." She replied as if she wanted to tease him: "What cannot go on any longer. . hanging out some clothes on a line stretched between two apple trees. He felt himself carried. even after she had left. when he was going home with his horses and she was driving her cows home to the stable. after the sermon. he trembled when her name was mentioned in his presence. She hit him a punch in the stomach and ran off. "I cannot sleep. It was a warm day. nor eat. She put her hands on her hips." "What do you need to cure you of all that?" she asked. asked her if she would be his wife. at mass. People gossiped about it in the countryside. He remained there. to think she did not belong to him entirely. he never took his eyes off her. the priest actually published the banns of marriage between Victoire. strangle her. it is you. choking with fear and emotion. For a month his mind was full of her. He could only catch a glimpse of her at mass on Sunday. he suddenly met her in the road. his eyes staring. flattered at his appreciation.Then he longed to see her again and walked past the Martiniere several times. But. He began falteringly: "See here. his arms swinging. He returned home more obsessed with her image than ever." he stammered. this cannot go on like this any longer. at last. impatience. all at once. She noticed it and smiled at him. And he trembled with impotence. He stood there in dismay. "I do not oblige you to do so. his mouth agape. He had. cast toward her by a strong impulse of his heart and body." "Yes. He would have liked to squeeze her." They.Adelaide Martin and Josephin-Isidore Vallin.

his hands grasping the wooden bars of the gate. his flesh. . three calves were walking slowly. Benoist and he did not speak now. He avoided the roads that led past her home. his soul. and saw her lying on the floor. Benoist!" He looked at her. crossed the grass patch. here I am. and could hear nothing. The whole dwelling seemed empty. They were more separated by that than by her marriage. and this obliged him to make a great circuit morning and evening. For a month he stayed in his room. in there. and be obliged to speak to her. pushed open the door. the cocks crowed on the dung hill. and stammered: "Here I am. the farm hands had gone to the fields to their spring toil. A big turkey was strutting before the door. Months passed. He really preferred that it should be so. not knowing what to say. She began to cry out again: "Oh. Then he went back to his work. She had acted horridly after all her promises. do not leave me. in the throes of childbirth. Martine!" She replied in gasps: "Oh. He had a buzzing in the ears. it is killing me. He caught sight of her. and listened attentively. he heard that she was enceinte. occasionally. It was she who was crying like that! He darted inside. Benoist!" She writhed frightfully. her body drawn up. He stopped near the gate and looked into the yard. What could he say to her now. And he turned out of his way so as not to pass her and meet her glance. as Benoist was passing the town hall. It was over. heartrending cry. what to do. and presently he perceived that his tears were falling on his prayer book. The dog was asleep outside his kennel. one behind the other. And one day he took the old road that led past the farm where she now lived. her face livid. a loud cry for help coming from the house. leaving only sadness behind. parading before the turkey hens like a singer at the opera. on the contrary. Oh. He looked at the roof from a distance. trembling and paler than she was. a prolonged. the richest farmer in the district. He was struck with dismay. Benoist leaned against the gate post and was suddenly seized with a desire to weep. But suddenly. Instead of experiencing a feeling of sorrow. after all he had said formerly. He stood there. so that he might not even see the trees in the yard. oh. now. he heard a cry. a feeling of relief. By degrees his grief diminished. though they had been comrades from childhood. he experienced. all over. But he was not cured.Benoist felt a sensation in his hands as if the blood had been drained off. She was now married to Vallin. He dreaded the thought that he might one morning meet her face to face. lowered her head and quickened her pace. Another cry. her eyes haggard. reached his ears. going to the village with a heavier step than usual. and it was always in his mind. towards the pond. One evening. and more months. that she lived with another! The apple trees were in bloom. when he held her hands as he kissed her hair beside her cheeks? He often thought of those meetings along the roadside. It was there. do not leave me. She blushed as she saw him.

then he changed the bedclothes and put her back into bed. her jacket. you have a noble heart. then all at once he guessed. Benoist. took the little mite of humanity that he held out to him. She asked. It was all over. unable to speak from emotion for a few seconds. Benoist. What had happened had cured him better than ten years of absence. when the door opened. his eyes full of tears. Why? How? He could not have said.Benoist was suddenly seized with a frantic longing to help her. He did not love her any longer. and Isidore Vallin appeared. certainly. saying: "Your hand upon it. Benoist. and mares: he assisted in delivering her and found in his hands a large infant who was moaning. He wiped it off and wrapped it up in a towel that was drying in front of the fire. and while she kept on moaning he began to take off her clothes. ewes." And then she wept a little as if she felt regretful. She bit her fists to keep from crying out." Then they were silent again. not the least bit. Then he did as he was accustomed to doing for cows. kissed it. in a weak voice. At the end of a few moments. we will be a pair of friends. Then he went back to the mother. He leaned over. in consternation. he held out both hands to Benoist." He took up the little one and was showing it to her as if he were holding the consecrated wafer. stammered out: "I was passing. He did not understand at first." Miss Harriet Search on this Page: þÿ . a pair of friends!" And Benoist replied: "Indeed I will. If you are willing. then placing the child on the bed. stepped forward. From now on we understand each other. I was just passing by when f heard her crying out. her skirt and her petticoat. He took her up and placed her on the floor again. Benoist. She faltered: "Thank you. lifted her up and laid her on her bed. and I came--there is your child. and laid it on a bundle of clothes ready for ironing that was on the table. said: "Show her to me. to quiet her. indeed I will. to remove her pain. exhausted and trembling: "What is it?" He replied calmly: "It is a very fine girl. Vallin!" Then the husband. the mother.

took his long white beard in his hand and smiled. stopped anew. uncertain what route to take. Then. an old painter. Larks were singing high up in the air. Setting out from Etretat at break of day in order to visit the ruins of Tancarville. who were little accustomed to these early excursions. stopped. in which one is perfectly free. shaking off her torpor. only its large ears showing. Sometimes it is the perfume of clematis which decides one in his choice or the roguish glance of the servant at an inn." She answered with a sleepy smile: "How stupid you are!" Then. Reassure yourself. benumbed by the fresh air of the morning. quite insensible to the beauties of the dawn. I call 'pillaging' wandering about. tell us a love story in which you have played a part. baroness. pointing to a patch of clover. four women and three men. at a snail's pace. and in proportion as it ascended. One stops because a running brook attracts one. The Comte d'Etraille. nodding their heads or yawning. when suddenly it began to run with great bounds. very proud of his physique and very popular with women. One goes in any direction one pleases. The women especially. after a few moments' reflection. she added: "Now. Monsieur Chenal. started off again at full speed. Rene Lamanoir exclaimed: "We are not at all gallant this morning. The moist earth seemed to steam. who struggled against sleep. who was seated on the box. "Ladies. half opened and closed their eyes every moment. regarding his neighbor. yellowed by the stubble of wheat and oats which covered the soil like a beard that had been badly shaved. Do not despise me for my affection for these rustics. It was autumn. All the men had waked up to watch the course of the animal. disappearing finally in a large patch of beet-root. without thinking even of the morrow. because the smell of potatoes frying tickles one's olfactories on passing an inn. who had once been very handsome. without any guide save his fancy. uneasy. We were ascending." and. one of the latter sat on the box seat beside the coachman. who have the reputation of having had more love affairs than the Due de Richelieu. he will not return before Saturday. from inn to inn. very strong. cried: "Look! look! a hare!" and he extended his arm toward the left. the winding road up the steep cliff along the coast. to shake itself like a young girl leaving her bed in her white robe of vapor. almost hidden by the clover. to smile. bright red on the plane of the horizon. under the pretext of making studies and sketching landscapes.There were seven of us on a drag. "I was twenty-five years of age and was pillaging along the coast of Normandy. the country seemed to awake. growing clearer from minute to minute. You. I knew nothing more enjoyable than that happy-go-lucky wandering life. the little Baroness de Serennes. changed its course. with a knapsack on one's back. he suddenly became serious. without preoccupation. without care. so you have still four days. anything you like. The sun rose at length in front of us. for I am going to relate to you the saddest love affair of my life. without shackles of any kind. let somebody say something to make us laugh. without any counsellor save his eyes. spying out every danger. we were still half asleep. while other birds piped in the bushes. The animal scurried along. not to mention firm cheeks and fresh . it will not be an amusing tale. These girls have a soul as well as senses. he said to her in a low tone: "You are thinking of your husband. and I sincerely hope that none of my friends may ever pass through a similar experience." Leon Chenal. Then it swerved across a furrow. On both sides of the road stretched the bare fields.

and you feel on your skin. an eye that weeps when you go away are things so rare. come whence it may. And. with a kind of defiance. the moonlight. the light and gentle quivering of the stream. but all the same I can find out. A heart that beats at your approach. you plunge in quite naked. "She was an old. Love is always love. everything is let. so precious that they must never be despised. "I said: 'Well. still warm from the heat of the day. looking sometimes at the slow circling flight of a gull with its white curved wings outlined on the blue sky. she answered: "'That depends. following the coast. more delicate in their unaffected sincerity than the subtle favors of charming and distinguished women. Sometimes. singing lustily. the woods. which stood in the centre of a Norman courtyard surrounded by a double row of beeches. are this year. as it were. "A little farmhouse where travellers were lodged was pointed out to me. who seemed always to receive customers under protest. melancholy on the edge of ponds. frank kisses. "You sit down by the side of a spring which gushes out at the foot of an oak. for the painter. an icy and delicious caress. the rising of the sun." . In short. sometimes at the brown sails of a fishing bark on the green sea. in wandering through the same country where we. glistening with life. you think of a thousand strange things which would never have occurred to your mind under the brilliant light of day. so sweet. with its projecting chalk cliffs descending perpendicularly into the sea. which was hemmed in by great trees.lips. The spreading apple trees covered the court with a shower of blossoms which rained unceasingly both upon people and upon the grass. wrinkled and stern peasant woman. and when you open your eyes in the full glare of the sunlight you descry in the distance the little village with its pointed clock tower which sounds the hour of noon. I came from Fecamp. You go down on your knees. inspired when the sun is setting in an ocean of blood-red clouds and casts red reflections or the river. on the cliff between Yport and Etretat. as though you kissed the spring. kept by a peasant woman. I had walked since early morning on the short grass. "It was the month of May. Madame Lecacheur. "But what one loves most amid all these varied adventures is the country. a day of liberty and of freedom from care. bend forward and drink that cold. from head to foot. when you find a deep hole along the course of these tiny brooks. You go to sleep in the fields. under the moon. lip to lip. pellucid water which wets your mustache and nose. which passes across the vault of heaven. I have recollections of coarse gray cloth covering supple peasant skin and regrets for simple. and I presented myself at the house of Mother Lecacheur. "Leaving the coast. a high coast as straight as a wall. have you a room for me?' "Astonished to find that I knew her name. amid marguerites and poppies. I walked with long strides. a kind of inn. behind the cow stable and in barns among the straw. And at night. smooth and yielding as a carpet. "I have had rendezvous in ditches full of primroses. the twilight. These are. "So. I came to the little village of Benouville. I reached the hamlet. "You are gay on the hills. while their hearty and willing kisses have the flavor of wild fruit. that grows on the edge of the cliff. One is alone with her in that long and quiet association. you drink it with a physical pleasure. I had passed a happy day. honeymoon trips with Nature. amid a growth of tall. slender weeds.

was insensible even to my little attentions. of a pickled herring in curl papers. I know not why. She was very thin. A slight. if one had not seen a long hand appear just above the hips. Her face was like that of a mummy. "Suddenly the wooden gate which gave on the highway was opened. I perceived. "'You have travellers. very tall. "I washed my hands. one might have said a pole decked out with flags. then. She occupies the other room. and a strange lady directed her steps toward the house. "My place was set outside the door. "I ceased occupying myself with her. she suddenly disappeared. The old woman was making a chicken fricassee for dinner in the large fireplace in which hung the iron pot. who was a widow. "That singular apparition cheered me. where the lodgers took their meals with the people of the farm and the landlady. surrounded with curls of gray hair. On seeing me. Lowering her eyes. holding a white tourist umbrella. Seeking out a secluded village in which to pass the summer. were her only acknowledgments. which was four days old but excellent. She gave a copy of it to everybody. a table and a washbowl. the English lady of mature age of whom our hostess had spoken. She undoubtedly was my neighbor. so tightly enveloped in a red Scotch plaid shawl that one might have supposed she had no arms. and I was beginning to gnaw the lean limbs of the Normandy chicken. movement of the head and an English word. black with smoke. so as to make the acquaintance of this odd character. conveyed by an urchin to whom she had paid two sous commission. She said sometimes to our hostess abruptly. without preparing her in the least for the declaration: . smoky kitchen. furnished with a bed. she passed quickly in front of me and entered the house. "She was called Miss Harriet. almost imperceptible. who has reached years of maturity. she had been attracted to Benouville some six months before and did not seem disposed to leave it. It was she. something singular standing on the crest of the cliff. reading all the while a small book of the Protestant propaganda. I passed her the dishes with great eagerness. after which I went out. The next day. "At the end of three days I knew as much about her as did Madame Lecacheur herself. "I did not see her again that day. two chairs. She never spoke at table. and I deposited my bag upon the earthen floor of a rustic room. when I had settled myself to commence painting at the end of that beautiful valley which you know and which extends as far as Etretat. an English lady. murmured so low that I did not understand it. by means of an extra five sous a day. I reentered the house at midday for lunch and took my seat at the general table. But she did not respond to my polite advances. to drink the clear cider and to munch the hunk of white bread. ate rapidly. "She answered in an offended tone of voice: "'I have a lady. The cure himself had received no less than four copies. the privilege of dining alone out in the yard when the weather was fine. I poured out water for her persistently. The room looked into the large. at the present time?' said I to her."In five minutes we had come to an agreement. which tossed about at every step she took and made me think. although she had disturbed my thoughts.' "I obtained. on lifting my eyes suddenly.

felt in her narrow soul a kind of hatred for the ecstatic declarations of the old maid. in fact. than if she had put her hand into his pocket and taken his money. called forth by I know not what confused and mysterious mental ratiocination. seemed to me irresistibly droll. more exasperated. appeared so very singular that she did not displease me. because he had served in Africa in his youth. and Mother Lecacheur must have had an inspiration in thus christening her. "Whenever I caught sight of one of these individuals in a hotel I fled like the birds who see a scarecrow in a field. who had been consulted by Madame Lecacheur. that this English woman was rich and that she had passed her life in travelling through every country in the world because her family had cast her off. "This woman. I carry him always in my heart. yes! She was indeed a demoniac. render the charming cities of the Mediterranean uninhabitable. The cure.' "And she would immediately present the old woman with one of her tracts which were destined to convert the universe. of which England produces so many. "One day I asked Mother Lecacheur : 'Well. responded: "'She is a heretic. threw doubts into some minds. entertained other opinions. however.' "These words. a term of contempt that rose to her lips. It was asserted. this Miss Harriet. He said with a roguish air: 'She is an old hag who has seen life. but God does not wish the death of the sinner. She had found a phrase by which to describe her.' This epithet. their indescribable toilets and a certain odor of india-rubber which makes one believe that at night they are slipped into a rubber casing. the schoolmaster having pronounced her an atheist. "In. hostile by instinct to everything that was not rustic.' 'heretic."'I love the Saviour more than all. when walking along the shore she bought a large fish which had just been caught. She said: 'That woman is a demoniac. however. I adore him in all nature. now began to swear. simply to throw it back into the sea again. who was called Sapeur. of course! "She was. Why had her family cast her off? Because of her impiety.' experiencing a singular pleasure in pronouncing aloud this word on perceiving her. Oh. "The stable boy. carry everywhere their fantastic manias their manners of petrified vestals. I admire him in all creation. although she paid him handsomely. I myself never called her anything now but 'the demoniac. "Madame Lecacheur. one of those people of exalted principles. the village she was not liked. If that is not profanation I should like to know what is!' "On another occasion. who spoil Italy. In fact. For more than a month he could not speak of the circumstance without becoming furious and denouncing it as an outrage. sir? She picked up a toad which had had its paw crushed and carried it to her room and has put it in her washbasin and bandaged it as if it were a man. what is our demoniac about to. indeed.day?' "To which my rustic friend replied with a shocked air: "'What do you think.' . one of those opinionated puritans. poison Switzerland. 'atheist. one of those good and insupportable old maids who haunt the tables d'hote of every hotel in Europe. a kind of stigma attached to her.' words which no one can precisely define. applied to that austere and sentimental creature. and I believe her to be a person of pure morals. The sailor from whom she had bought it.

gorgeous light. with her little religious booklet lying open on her knee while she gazed out at the distance.' "The rustic approached and looked at my work with her stupid eyes which distinguished nothing and could not even tell whether the picture represented an ox or a house. That was all. She was. brown. but a sea of jade. besides. "I would often encounter her also in the corner of a field. beautiful. A first bewildering study of blazing. I found her one evening on her knees in a cluster of bushes. shouting with all my might: "'Hullo. and Miss Harriet at once rose to her feet. "I could not tear myself away from that quiet country neighborhood."If the poor woman had but known! "The little kind-hearted Celeste did not wait upon her willingly. the slate-colored sea. in fact. I would have liked the whole world to see it at once. across which the sun poured like a stream of oil. milky and solid beneath the deep-colored sky. I brushed aside the branches. attracted by I know not what. Probably her only reason was that she was a stranger. and I would go toward her. her dried-up. The whole right side of my canvas represented a rock. Sometimes I would distinguish her at the end of the valley. a demoniac! "She passed her time wandering about the country. which seemed to glow with inward and profound happiness. as two and two make four and was not according to academic rules. come here and look at this. covered with sea-wrack. She would be gazing in rapture at the vast sea glittering in the sunlight and the boundless sky with its golden tints. Landlady. "We became acquainted in a rather singular manner. yellow and red. when I was working among the rocks. as it sold for ten thousand francs fifteen years later. but I was never able to understand why. of another race. simply to see her illuminated visage. of a different tongue and of another religion. far removed from everything. walking quickly with her elastic English step. not the blue sea. the good. you will not often see its like again. a little curiosity which retained me at the residence of Mother Lecacheur. adoring and seeking God in nature. exclaiming as I did so: 'Look at that. I wished to become acquainted a little with this strange Miss Harriet and to know what transpires in the solitary souls of those wandering old English women. fixing on me terrified eyes like those of an owl surprised in open day. sitting on the grass under the shadow of an apple tree. but in touch with the earth. I had just finished a study which appeared to me to be worth something. greenish. green earth. to which I was attached by a thousand links of love for its wide and peaceful landscape. I can remember that I showed it to a cow that was browsing by the wayside. And--must I avow it?--there was. I was happy in this sequestered farm. confused at having been found thus. being visible. which was at my back. "Sometimes. I would suddenly descry her on the edge of the cliff like a lighthouse signal. ineffable features. however. The light fell upon the rock as though it were aflame without the sun. "I was so pleased with my work that I danced from sheer delight as I carried it back to the inn. my old beauty. an enormous rock. Having discovered something red through the leaves.' "When I had reached the house I immediately called out to Mother Lecacheur. . It was as simple. "On the left was the sea. there! Mrs. and so it was.

the one which she climbed to dream away her time undisturbed. She now accepted these with a little smile of a mummy. laden with the perfume of grasses and the smell of seaweed."Miss Harriet just then came home. passed along. and said: "'This is my latest study. in its dazzling effulgence. for I took care to exhibit the thing in such a way that it could not escape her notice. She continued: 'I wish I were a little bird. mademoiselle. She stopped abruptly and stood motionless. I opened the gate which led to the cliff.' which was at once so accentuated and so flattering that I turned round to her. "It was one of those warm. soft evenings which impart a sense of ease to flesh and spirit alike. looked as though framed in a flame of fire. attracted doubtless by the fiery glow which the setting sun cast over the surface of the sea. that came from the ocean and passed across our faces.' "I passed her some bread. "Wrapped in her plaid shawl. with a look of inspiration as she faced the breeze. Far off in the distance a threemaster in full sail was outlined on the blood-red sky and a steamship. smiling. briny from kissing the waves. I could have embraced her. "I took my seat at table beside her as usual. astonished. soothes the palate with its sea savor. She seemed longing to embrace the sky.' "She murmured rapturously. some water. soothes the mind with its pervading sweetness. so that I could mount up into the firmament. somewhat nearer. the sea. and we walked along side by side. All is enjoyment. The demoniac could not help but see it. leaving behind it a trail of smoke on the horizon. "She uttered a British 'Aoh. high above the boundless sea which rolled its little waves below us at a distance of a hundred metres. "She murmured: 'Aoh! I love--I love' I saw a tear in her eye. It was her rock which was depicted. For the first time she spoke. and she passed behind me just as I was holding out my canvas at arm's length.' . The balmy air. then. the English woman gazed fixedly at the great sun ball as it descended toward the horizon. everything charms.' "I colored and was more touched by that compliment than if it had come from a queen. swallowed up by the ocean. We saw it plunge. as contented as two persons might be who have just learned to understand and penetrate each other's motives and feelings. which. soothes the olfactory sense with its wild fragrance. the whole landscape. I then began to talk about the scenery. grow smaller and disappear. "After the meal we rose from the table together and walked leisurely across the courtyard. "Miss Harriet gazed in rapture at the last gleams of the dying day. "We were now walking along the edge of the cliff. upon my honor. The red sun globe sank slowly lower and lower and presently touched the water just behind the motionless vessel. conquered. some wine. you understand nature as a living thing. vanquished. thinking aloud: "'Oh! I do love nature. comically and tenderly: "'Oh! monsieur. And we drank in with open mouth and expanded chest that fresh breeze. exhibiting it to our landlady. I was captured.

eagerly seeking to divine the meaning of the terms. so as to understand my thoughts. She had the most tender respect for my canvases. From time to time she would exclaim: 'Oh! I understand. Then she would leave me abruptly and walk away quickly with her springy step. "I turned away so as not to laugh.' and walked away. with the idea of converting me. she involuntarily uttered a little 'Ah!' of astonishment. She listened attentively. When I started out in the morning with my knapsack on my back. where I had begun a large picture. My studies appeared to her a kind of religious pictures. Are you willing? I have been very curious. affected her perceptibly. a love like old wine fermented through age. It is very interesting. I understand. It would have been a caricature of ecstasy. "She remained standing behind me. with their open mouths and their enormous heads. of joy.' "We returned home. that the sight of a bitch nursing her puppies. She seemed to be preserved in a pickle of innocence. of admiration. which became enthusiastic at a bound. "She was a good creature who had a kind of soul on springs. She lacked equilibrium like all women who are spinsters at the age of fifty. her face as red as her shawl. When I obtained unexpectedly just the effect I wanted by a dash of color put on with the palette knife. Then. evidently struggling to find words with which to begin a conversation. and sometimes she spoke to me of God. she approached me. "Poor. her countenance exhibiting visible pleasure. She loved both nature and animals with a fervor. but dare not. on seeing me. "One thing is certain. silent and motionless. She carried her camp stool under her arm. using the technical terms common among the devotees of the profession. I should have liked to have sketched her in my album. sad. "I then spoke to her of painting as I would have done to a fellow artist. and accompanied me every day. but her heart still retained something very youthful and inflammable. and I was amused at her timidity. suddenly. not permitting me to carry it. "One day. in its every movement. following all my gestures with concentrated attention. cordially holding out her hand. she would accompany me in silence as far as the end of the village.' "And she blushed as if she had said something very audacious. "But she soon became more friendly. . with a sensuous love that she had never bestowed on men. an almost religious respect for that human reproduction of a part of nature's work divine. however. wandering beings! I love you ever since I became acquainted with Miss Harriet. a mare roaming in a meadow with a foal at its side. solitary. "The next day. "I soon discovered that she had something she would like to tell me. fearing perhaps that she was disturbing me. she said: 'Thank you. She would remain there for hours. and we at once became firm friends. she plucked up courage: "I would like to see how you paint pictures. perched on the cliff. following with her eyes the point of my brush. a bird's nest full of young ones. screaming. "I conducted her to the bottom of the Petit-Val."She remained standing as I had often before seen her.

and when I would say. she would turn ashy pale and seem about to faint away. in my polished shoes. always offended her "'You are as beautiful as a star to-day. those little pious tracts which she no doubt. somewhat modified no doubt in my honor during the first days of our acquaintance. "When she returned to the farm. "Then she would suddenly become quite reserved and cease coming to watch me paint. as though he were powerless to prevent them. "Almost every day I found in my pockets. the blush of a young girl. which. however. however. I concluded at length that I must have offended her in some way. for she always figured him to herself as inconsolable over injustices committed under his eyes. with familiar gallantry. "I treated her as one would an old friend. however. and we spoke but little. I paid little attention to it. She would say: "'God wills' or 'God does not will. I thought. why is it that you do not act toward me as formerly? What have I done to displease you? You are causing me much pain!' "She replied in a most comical tone of anger: . and when I spoke to her she would answer me either with affected indifference or with sullen annoyance. "I finally came to the conclusion that those were her normal manners. the breeze.' a blush would immediately rise to her cheeks. it will blow over. impatient and nervous."Oh. "When I was painting. without any reason. she would break off in the middle of a sentence. and she would come to dinner without embarrassment all dishevelled by her sister. in my hat when I lifted it from the ground. received directly from Paradise. standing in front of my door in the morning. Her face would be red. in my paintbox.' "At the bottom of her heart she deplored my ignorance of the intentions of the Eternal. I never saw her now except at meals. her long curls often hung straight down. after walking for hours on the windy coast. though. of a girl of fifteen. 'This is only a fit of temper. for a while. Miss Harriet. with unaffected cordiality. without warning. But now she would go to her room and arrange the untidy locks. "She became by turns rude. this God of hers! He was a sort of village philosopher without any great resources and without great power. that English red which is denied to the people of all other countries. I would see her suddenly appear with her rapid. whether in my valley or in some country lane. I said to her one evening: "'Miss Harriet. accordingly. But I soon perceived that she had changed somewhat in her manner. "She was. he was a queer. then. "Then. springy walk. affecting even to be the confidante of his secrets and of his troubles. out of breath.' just like a sergeant announcing to a recruit: 'The colonel has commanded. She would then sit down abruptly.' But it did not always blow over. good-natured being. as if their springs had been broken. which she endeavored to impart to me. This had hitherto seldom given her any concern. her natural color would return and she would begin to speak. spring up from her seat and walk away so rapidly and so strangely that I was at my wits' ends to discover whether I had done or said anything to displease or wound her. and. as though she had been running or were overcome by some profound emotion. Gradually. on excellent terms with him.

but stood for a long time. I have often said to myself since then that those who are condemned to death must look thus when they are informed that their last day has come. "For some time I had commenced to work. motionless. Suddenly something rose up in front of me like a phantom. surmounted by two thickets of trees and vines. for I had felt it. It is not true. She walked away before I had time to say a word. for the unattained and unattainable. whether she be of the people or of society. and I could not be deceived. . their arms interlaced. looking at it. Ah! the love tremor of a woman. rather. I knew it. an insanity at once mystical and violent. but who can do so no longer and abandon themselves to grief. and even. their lips meeting. embracing each other. a true French impulse which acts before it reflects. whether she be fifteen or fifty years of age. as soon as daylight appeared. a youth and a maiden. though still resisting. in that cloud like cotton down that sometimes floats over valleys at daybreak. rather. that a couple of human beings were approaching. "Occasionally she would look at me in a peculiar manner.' and she ran upstairs and shut herself up in her room. But what do I know? What do I know? "It was indeed a singular revelation. She said nothing. submerged in that milky vapor. it was Miss Harriet. impatient and impotent. pierced that fog of the dawn. and suddenly she burst into tears. goes so straight to my heart that I never have any hesitation in understanding it! "Her whole frail being had trembled. their heads inclined toward each other. by chance. transparent fog one saw. It was well done. I handed her my sketch."'I am just the same with you as formerly. and I took her by the hand with an impulse of brusque affection. moved at the sight of a sorrow I did not comprehend. a human couple. In her eye there lurked a species of insanity. Then she withdrew her hands abruptly. On seeing me she was about to flee. saying: 'Come here.' "She came forward. looking on the adventure as both comic and deplorable and my position as ridiculous. "A first ray of the sun. "I recognized that tremor. indeed. illuminated it with a rosy reflection just behind the rustic lovers. On this particular morning I had. the sort of floating vapor which I needed. She wept spasmodically. or. extended into the distance and was lost. snatched them away. I went to take a turn on the edge of the cliff. framing their vague shadows in a silvery background. a fever. glistening through the branches. well done. like men who have striven hard to restrain their tears. leaving me as surprised as if I had witnessed a miracle and as troubled as if I had committed a crime. perhaps. been overcome. believing her unhappy enough to go insane. But I called after her. yes. And at the extreme end of that heavy. "I was working on the declivity which led to the Valley of Etretat. an aggravated longing. I have a nice little picture for you. and even more. surmised. I sprang to my feet. on a picture the subject of which was as follows: "A deep ravine. it seemed to me there was also going on within her a struggle in which her heart wrestled with an unknown force that she sought to master. something else. not true. mademoiselle. "Nay. and I felt them quiver as if all her nerves were being wrenched. enclosed. vibrated. or. come here. "She let her hands rest in mine for a few seconds. feeling that I would just as lief weep as laugh. though with seeming reluctance. "I did not go in to breakfast.

Her countenance did not change in the least. at once surprised and troubled. fresh. who had seen us and who stood in front of us motionless as a spectre. "Nobody seemed surprised at this. "I was ashamed. But Celeste. not knowing what kind of expression to put on. eating away solemnly. rosy. that passionate and grotesque attachment for me. when I descried Celeste. She was a fat girl. Miss Harriet was there. the same as usual. "The dinner being at length over. it will not be long now before I shall have to take my leave of you. I thought several times that I heard some one walking up and down in the house and opening the hall door. Why did I suddenly loose my grip of her? Why did I at once experience a shock? What was it that I heard behind me? "It was Miss Harriet. who had come upon us. . "I waited patiently till the meal had been finished. gave me a tickling sensation of kisses on the lips and in my veins a something which urged me on to commit some folly. after the manner of travellers--nothing more. Moreover. and as she got up from closing the small trapdoor by which the chickens got in and out. I clasped her in my arms and rained on her coarse. turning toward the landlady. in order to see the sun rise. I got up late and did not go downstairs until the late breakfast. "I sat down at the table as usual. perhaps also that look which the servant had cast on me at the announcement of my departure--all these things. who had gone to fasten up the poultry yard at the other end of the enclosure. running so noiselessly that she heard nothing. "I slept badly that night. embarrassed. She struggled. We waited for her at table. of about eighteen years of age. what is it you say? You are going to leave us after I have become so accustomed to you?' "I glanced at Miss Harriet out of the corner of my eye. All the reflections which I had made during the day. "Toward morning I was overcome by fatigue and fell asleep. At length Mother Lecacheur went to her room. I went to smoke my pipe under the apple trees. laughing all the time. Her manner and expression were. more desperate at having been thus surprised by her than if she had caught me committing some criminal act. and possessing the rare attribute of cleanliness. when.' "The good woman. as strong as a horse. walking up and down from one end of the enclosure to the other. but in this I was no doubt deceived. and I immediately resolved to do so. "No one had seen Miss Harriet. I had kissed her at odd times in outof-the-way corners. It seemed best for me to leave the place. replied in her drawling voice: 'My dear sir. without speaking to any one. without even lifting her eyes. as she was wont to do. She must have set out at break of day. casting its dark shadows under the trees. I wandered about until dinner time and entered the farmhouse just when the soup had been served up. I seemed to hear loud weeping. I was completely unnerved and haunted by sad thoughts. Madame Lecacheur. recollections at once charming and perplexing. mixed up and combined. the recollections which that revelation had suddenly called up. The English woman had gone out. however. looked up at me. put me now in a reckless humor. but she did not appear. as she was accustomed to do in such circumstances. "Somewhat sad and perplexed. Then she disappeared in the darkness. fat face a shower of kisses. I said: 'Well. and we began to eat in silence."I asked myself what I ought to do. being still in a bewildered state. "Night was coming on. I darted toward her. the strange discovery of the morning. the little servant.

I begged the servant to go and draw me a pitcher of cold water. "I stammered out in a loud voice. under an apple tree. very hot. declaring that the well was dry. announcing that one could see clearly something in the well. and I was in terror lest I should let the man fall to the bottom. the whole body and the other leg were completely under water."The weather was hot. watching him disappear in the darkness. everybody was so thirsty. Sapeur and Celeste having now joined us. one of those broiling. Sapeur exclaimed: "'It is a horse. It must have got out of the meadow during the night and fallen in headlong. but on drawing the pitcher up again it was empty. something altogether unusual. . incomprehensible. But this no doubt was bundles of straw. I attached the young man securely by the waist to the end of the pulley rope and lowered him very slowly. When his head appeared at the brink I asked: "'Well?' as if I expected he had a message from the drowned woman. In one hand he held the lantern and a rope in the other. the first of the season.' "But suddenly a cold shiver froze me to the marrow. Afterward she placed before us a dish of strawberries. "In about five minutes she returned. but I felt my arms crack. He had witnessed many such scenes in Africa. He then bound the two feet together and shouted anew: "'Haul up!' "I began to wind up. and from time to time Sapeur had gone to the cellar to draw a jug of cider. All four of us were leaning over the opening. which seemed to come from the centre of the earth. She had lowered the pitcher to the full extent of the cord and had touched the bottom. trembling so violently that the lantern danced hither and thither over the slipper: "'It is a woman! Who-who-can it be? It is Miss Harriet!' "Sapeur alone did not manifest horror. When I did so the yellow flame danced on the layers of stone and gradually became clearer. "As I wished to wash and freshen these. Celeste brought the dishes from the kitchen. I perceived indistinctly a white object. went and looked down the hole. heavy days when not a leaf stirs. Mother Lecacheur. "But it was necessary to recover the corpse of the dead woman. "I wished to look down the well also. I first recognized a foot. which a neighbor had thrown in out of spite. The table had been placed out of doors. Soon I recognized his voice. "Mother Lecacheur and Celeste began to utter piercing screams and ran away. What could it be? I then conceived the idea of lowering a lantern at the end of a cord. I see the hoofs. and I perched myself close to the brink. anxious to examine the thing for herself. The lantern rested on a black-and-white indistinct mass. hoping I might be able to clear up the mystery. my muscles twitch. saying: 'Stop!' "I then saw him fish something out of the water. singular. then a leg sticking up. It was the other leg. She returned. a ragout of mutton with potatoes. a cold rabbit and a salad.

and I watched beside her all night. baring. with the assistance of the stable lad. . as though I had been guilty of some profanation. bluets. I braided as well as I could her dishevelled hair and with my clumsy hands arranged on her head a novel and singular coiffure. Then I took off her dripping wet garments. being bruised and lacerated. She would blossom in the sun. a wanderer.' exclaimed Sapeur in a contemptuous tone. "I then had to go through the usual formalities. sweet-smelling grass with which to strew her funeral couch. in turn. She would now disintegrate and become. "I looked at the corpse by the flickering light of the candles. "We carried her into the room. The head was shocking to look at. but I would not allow a single person to enter. unknown to us all. lost like a dog driven from home? What secrets of sufferings and of despair were sealed up in that unprepossessing body. all love? "How many unhappy beings there are! I felt that there weighed upon that human creature the eternal injustice of implacable nature! It was all over with her. "Mother Lecacheur and Celeste watched us from a distance. "I next went to fetch some flowers. When they saw issuing from the hole the black slippers and white stockings of the drowned person they disappeared. A sad suspicion weighed on my heart. her shoulders and her chest and her long arms. who had died in such a lamentable manner and so far away from home. the birds would bear away the seeds. fled from the face of others? Why did she love everything so tenderly and so passionately. I wanted to be alone. a plant. out of curl forevermore. hanging down tangled and disordered. the hope of being loved once! Otherwise why should she thus have concealed herself. Was it not on my account that she wished to be laid to rest in this place? "Toward evening all the female gossips of the locality came to view the remains of the defunct. But that which is called the soul had been extinguished at the bottom of the dark well. and through these changes she would become again human flesh. Had she left no friends. that which sustains the greatest outcasts to wit. "Sapeur seized the ankles."We both got on the stone slab at the edge of the well and from opposite sides we began to haul up the body. requested that her body be buried in the village in which she had passed the last days of her life. as I was alone to attend to everything. marguerites and fresh. the cattle would browse on her leaves. poppies. not without a feeling of shame. without her ever having experienced. no relations behind her? What had her infancy been? What had been her life? Whence had she come thither alone. She suffered no longer. and the long gray hair. "I washed her disfigured face. that terrible look of a corpse which seems to come from the beyond. She had given her life for that of others yet to come. and as the women did not put in an appearance I. cold look. perhaps. A letter found in her pocket. "'In the name of all that is holy! how lean she is. in that poor body whose outward appearance had driven from her all affection. Under the touch of my finger an eye was slightly opened and regarded me with that pale. at this unhappy woman. everything living that was not a man? "I recognized the fact that she believed in a God. and we drew up the body of the poor woman. as slim as the twigs of a tree. written at the last moment. concealed from view behind the wall of the house. and that she hoped to receive compensation from the latter for all the miseries she had endured. dressed the corpse for burial.

and more euphonious. and. He was a person of intelligence. one after the other. and the title of the operetta was changed to Miss Helyett. said: "Oh! I formerly knew a very curious affair. 1884. then a red ray streamed in on the bed. who had been attorney general under the Empire. curious for several reasons. in a strange manner. The coachman alone had gone to sleep. resulting from drought. I took in my hands the mutilated head and slowly. a long kiss. as you will see. The drag. A pale light at length announced the dawn of a new day." It was in regard to this very tittle that De Maupassant had a disagreement with Audran and Boucheron director of the Bouffes Parisiens in October. it is Miss Harriet. making a bar of light across the coverlet and across her hands."Hours passed away in this silent and sinister communion with the dead. "The name Cherbuliez selected. I imprinted a kiss. seemed suddenly torpid. This is what De Maupassant wrote to Editor Havard March 15. they looked for the causes without being able to discover them. I will ask you therefore to substitute Harriet for Hastings. He had had three children. enlarged. and recalls the greatest facts in English history." Leon Chenal remained silent. quiet. who no longer felt the sting of the whip. From this time he seemed to bestow upon the youngsters confided to his care all the tenderness of his heart. The horses. and partly reconstructed. upon those lips which had never before been kissed. Miss Revel. under the title of Miss Hastings. who had died of consumption. they . [Miss Harriet appeared in Le Gaulois. who was a teacher in the north of France.] Moiron Search on this Page: þÿ As we were still talking about Pranzini. 1883. "I opened the window to its fullest extent and drew back the curtains that the whole heavens might look in upon us. in regard to the title of the story that was to give its name to the volume: "I do not believe that Hastings is a bad name. had slackened their pace and moved along slowly. is no more like an English name than like a Turkish name. The women wept. The children seemed to be attacked by a feeling of lassitude. as if it had been freighted with sorrow. It ended however. We heard on the box seat the Count d'Atraille blowing his nose from time to time. But here is another name as English as Hastings. he had married in the district of Boislinot. the more so that the symptoms were so peculiar. he gave them little dinners and stuffed them with delicacies. It was supposed that there was an epidemic due to the condition of the water. The story was later revised. July 9. where he exercised his profession. M. without terror or disgust. Besides. bending over the icy corpse. by their ceding to De Maupassant. The awakened birds began to sing in the trees. in an unedited letter. "Monsieur Moiron. inasmuch as it is known all over the world. candy and cakes: Everybody loved this good man with his big heart. This was the hour she had so much loved. very religious. Hastings is as much a name as Duval is with us. With his own money he bought toys for his best scholars and for the good boys. "I was at that time imperial attorney in one of the provinces. hardly advancing at all. when suddenly five of his pupils died. enjoyed an excellent reputation throughout the whole country. I had to take up the case which has remained famous under the name of the Moiron case. one after the other. a little taciturn. Maloureau. 1890 They had given this title to an operetta about to be played at the Bouffes.

The conclusion arrived at was that the two youngsters must imprudently have eaten from some carelessly cleaned receptacle. for whom he spent half his salary in buying toys and bonbons? "One must consider him insane to believe him guilty of this act. so rational and sensible that it seemed impossible to adjudge him insane. hidden in the desk where he kept his money! "He explained this new find in an acceptable manner. he claimed. his own snuffbox. "Why should this good. they complained of pains in their stomachs. Now. died within four days of each other. And he made up a whole story of an inheritance dependent on the death of a child. Moiron's favorites. and they revealed the presence of no toxic substance. and immediately recognized Moiron. so quiet. He questioned her and obtained the admission that she had stolen and eaten some candies that had been bought by the teacher for his scholars. "He then insisted that an unknown enemy must have opened his cupboard with a false key in order to introduce the glass and the needles into the eatables. A glass broken over a pail of milk could have produced this frightful accident. and baffled in my mind my first conviction. religious man have killed little children. the best scholars in the class. whom he spoiled and stuffed with sweet things. if two crushing discoveries had not been made. But a mercer from Saint-Marlouf came to the presiding judge and said that a gentleman had several times come to his store to buy some needles. and promoted thus by casting suspicions on the schoolmaster. on his whole life. "The story was possible. The man was brought forward in the presence of a dozen or more persons. The man appeared to be so sure of himself and in such despair that we should undoubtedly have acquitted him. but nothing was discovered. and would break them to see whether they pleased him. as the ruse of the real unknown criminal. . The vitals were sent to Paris and analyzed. Moiron seemed so normal. and he always asked for the thinnest needles he could find. and in both of them were discovered tiny fragments of crushed glass. and the affair would have been pushed no further if Moiron's servant had not been taken sick at this time. then two little boys. How ever. and died in frightful suffering. and the very children whom he seemed to love the most. determined on and sought by some peasant. "A post-mortem examination was held over the last one. indications of his guilt kept appearing. based on his excellent reputation. on the complete absence of any motive for such a crime. the proofs kept growing! In none of the candies that were bought at the places where the schoolmaster secured his provisions could the slightest trace of anything suspicious be found. An examination of the bodies was again ordered. one after the other. "The first one was a snuffbox full of crushed glass. The physician who was called in noticed the same symptoms he had seen in the children. simple. "On an order from the court the schoolhouse was searched. notwithstanding the charges against him. Almost all these delicacies contained bits of crushed glass or pieces of broken needles! "Moiron was immediately arrested. but he seemed so astonished and indignant at the suspicion hanging over him that he was almost released. did not care about the other children who were forced to die as well. "For a year nothing new developed. and a closet was found which was full of toys and dainties destined for the children. The inquest revealed that the schoolmaster had indeed gone into Saint-Marlouf on the days mentioned by the tradesman. "However. dragged along for a short time. This brute.would not eat.

I described the whole case. "I explained my hesitancy to their majesties. while I was spending a summer near Lille with my cousin. and his appeal was rejected. kept repeating: 'Never mind! It is better to spare a criminal than to kill an innocent man!' Her advice was taken. opening those lips. in order to save a life. I was informed one evening.' "Then he left without bowing. I was still often called upon in similar circumstances. sitting with his back against the wall. Napoleon. He was a sort of skeleton. urged on one side by his natural kindness and held back on the other by the fear of being deceived by a criminal. who led me to a miserable little room in a large tenement house. He must. The emperor remained undecided. consulted her. although I had been set aside by the Republic. appeared. After talking for a few minutes about one thing and another. He had pronounced them in such a sincere and solemn manner. closed and sealed by the secret of confession. I knew through my father that the emperor would not grant it. "The following day I was received. the dupe of a cunning criminal who had employed the priest and confession as a last means of defence."I will pass over the terrible testimony of children on the choice of dainties and the care which he took to have them eat the things in his presence. who supposed he was alone. "I had him shown in and he begged me to come to a dying man who desired absolutely to see me. De Larielle. and I was just telling about the priest's visit when a door opened behind the sovereign's chair and the empress. His majesty was working in a little reception room when we were introduced. gleaming eyes. . nervous. as I was working in my study. He seemed troubled. "Public indignation demanded capital punishment. since he is innocent. he arose and said suddenly: 'If Moiron is executed. and my father immediately asked that I be granted an audience with the emperor.' "Why did this sudden conviction of a religious woman cast a terrible doubt in my mind? "Until then I had ardently desired a change of sentence. This had often happened to me in my long career as a magistrate. but the empress. leaving me behind with the deep impression made by his words. you will have put an innocent man to death. He was an old priest who knew men well and understood the habits of criminals. "There I found a strange-looking man on a bed of straw. His majesty. and to remove the slightest traces. "One morning. As soon as she had heard the matter. "Moiron was condemned to death. she exclaimed: 'This man must be pardoned. the visit of the prison almoner was announced. monsieur. and it became more and more insistent. with dark. just as we were sitting down to dinner. The death sentence was commuted to one of hard labor. and. in order to get his breath. who was convinced that the priest had obeyed a divine inspiration. that a young priest wished to speak to me. "For a long time I heard nothing more of this man. And now I suddenly felt myself the toy. "But about two years ago. "An hour later I left for Paris. Nothing was left for him but the imperial pardon. "A few years later I heard that Moiron had again been called to the emperor's attention on account of his exemplary conduct in the prison at Toulon and was now employed as a servant by the director of the penitentiary. I therefore followed the priest. overturning all objections. ill at ease.

the plague. I was an honest. There! "'I was to be executed. pure man--adoring God--this good Father--this Master who teaches us to love. All three of them died! Why? why? What had I done? I was rebellious. is a murderer! He needs death every day. and I loved them as no father or mother ever loved their children. I haven't time to tell it. And He makes it of every variety. He has invented sickness and accidents in order to give Him diversion all through the months and the years. the murderer who governs the earth. "'I married and had children. It was not He. and not the false God. everything possible! But this does not satisfy Him. Wretch! "'Then. as men become better than He.' "'I am Moiron. flies who die by the millions in one hour. furious. diphtheria. I lied and I lived. I was as good as it is possible to be. Why had He killed my children? I opened my eyes and saw that He loves to kill. He watches them and is amused. I lived only for them. and so many."As soon as he saw me. in order to see men hunt them. I understood that God is bad. And then. and so from time to time He has wars.' "I felt a shiver run through me. but I! And I would have killed many others. monsieur. ants which we are continually crushing under our feet. He gives life but to destroy it! God.' "His hands clutched the straw of his bed through the sheet and he continued in a hoarse. for He sees everything. He did not get those. I! How He would have laughed! Then I asked for a priest. but you caught me. straightforward.' "'How do you happen to be here?' "'The story is too long. And all these things are continually killing each other and dying. in order the better to be amused. their arms and legs torn off. and I lied. smallpox. I had never committed an evil act. kill them and eat them. He has made men who eat each other. in order to see two hundred thousand soldiers killed at once. the executioner. That is not all. cholera. I confessed to him. crushed in blood and in the mud. I was wild about them. He has made beasts. the robber. he murmured: 'Don't you recognize me?' "'No. and I asked 'The schoolmaster?' "'Yes. monsieur. the big ones as well as the little ones. He has made tiny little animals which live one day. . "'But this is not all. their heads smashed by bullets. He has epidemics. monsieur. and when He grows tired of this. "'It is I who killed the children--all of them. monsieur. those who are in the drops of water and those in the other firmaments. I did it--for revenge! "'Listen. and suddenly my eyes were opened as if I were waking up out of a sleep. I had never done any harm. like eggs that fall on the ground. blown apart. It is to you that I wish to confess--since you were the one who once saved my life. forcible and low tone: 'You see--I owe you the truth--I owe it to you--for it must be told to some one before I leave this earth. all these things are too similar. I began to kill children played a trick on Him. And the good Lord looks on and is amused. many others that we cannot even imagine. He loves only that. I was going to die --and that priest was brought to me-and as I knew that you were here I sent for you.

picking at his bed and moving his thin legs under a grimy sheet as though trying to escape. The chestnut trees were lighted up by its yellow rays. which was covered with sand. all is over. whose dark outline stood out against the wall. At last he reached his house. saw that he was five minutes late. "Has madame come in yet?" he asked anxiously. His father saw no one but him in that public park full of people. opening an enormous mouth in order to utter words which could scarcely be heard. as little George piled up the sand into heaps during one of their walks. took the child by the arm. opened the door to him. I despise Him too much. Monsieur l'Abbe?' "'Yes. and rather stout. wiped his hands. and the child could not keep up with him. and the three fountains before the lofty porch of the church had the appearance of liquid silver. watching his little son with concentrated affection and attention. monsieur." Monsieur Parent Search on this Page: þÿ George's father was sitting in an iron chair. shook his dress. I no longer fear Him. He walked quickly. Monsieur Parent. so as not to get in after his wife. already turning gray. yes. and led him in the direction of the Rue Blanche.' "'Then. one of those trusted servants who are the tyrants of families.' "I had had enough of this. make a mound of it. He was a man of forty. till some day----' "I turned to the ashen-faced priest. He sends His vultures to the corpses. and put a chestnut leaf on top. monsieur. and asked: 'Are you going to stay here.' "'Farewell."'Now. I opened the door and ran away. accidentally looking up at the church clock. He would take up the sand with both hands. monsieur.' "Then the dying man sneered: 'Yes. monsieur?" . but still shed its rays obliquely on that little. "Oh! The mere remembrance of it is frightful! "'You have nothing more to say?' I asked. overdressed crowd. The servant shrugged her shoulders: "When have you ever known madame to come home at half-past six. He took him up and carried him. I can no longer escape from Him. "'No.' "This poor wretch was frightful to see as he lay there gasping. his breath rattling. An old servant who had brought him up. The sun was just disappearing behind the roofs of the Rue Saint-Lazare. though it made him pant when he had to walk up the steep street. farewell. He got up.

who laughed until his big stomach shook."Very well. "Julie. all the better. Just suppose that he only had his mother to look after him! She cares a great deal about her child. monsieur. monsieur. and smiling. he made him ride a-cock-horse." Parent gave an uneasy and resigned look at the clock and replied: "Yes. happy at having nothing to fear. for his wife had always shown herself cold and reserved. as he was tired with all his exertion. "You are covered with perspiration." "Well. and he started up. and if. as if he had been expected in the next room for some event of extreme importance. resigned. but went into his own room. You understand me." . she is a mother! What a pity it is that there should be any mothers like her!" Parent thought it was time to cut short a threatened scene. brushed. I have made up my mind not to have dinner ready on time. He remained sitting there." The servant looked at him with angry and contemptuous pity. Then. and only to have to wait until half-past seven. he tried to turn it aside. for I am very warm. as did his father. but it was just as impossible to uphold her against his wife. Parent took him up in his arms and kissed him passionately. without him I should-be very miserable. yes." she grumbled. What could he do? To get rid of Julie seemed to him such a formidable thing to do that he hardly ventured to think of it. and which had never found an outlet. "I will not allow you to speak like that of your mistress. locked the door. then he tossed him into the air. with a pale face and glistening eyes. vaguely trying to discover some means to set matters straight. so as to be alone. and the boy came in. we will speak about her. quite alone. and then sat down again. He loved him with mad bursts of affection. do you not? Do not forget it in the future. and as soon as he got in. Just then Julie came to the door. went and looked out of the window. for it amused him almost more than it did the child. I shall get it for eight o'clock. and held him up to the ceiling. and before another month the situation would become unbearable between the two. it certainly is half-past seven. hastily finished his toilet. I suppose you walked quickly and carried the child. "Oh. you have to wait. washed. He was so used now to being abused and badly treated that he never thought himself safe except when he was locked in. He glanced at the newspaper. for madame. taking George on his knee. and he had not even changed his clothes. my dinner is quite ready now. but without success. but soon sat down again. when the door opened. with caresses and with all the bashful tenderness which was hidden in him. it will give me time to change my things. and went into the drawing-room. and said in a voice which trembled with exasperation: "It is half-past seven. he undressed. perhaps. I cannot help it. Seven o'clock. with his arms hanging down. The child laughed and clapped his hands and shouted with pleasure. Nervous and breathless. "But did you not tell me when I came in that it would not be ready before eight?" "Eight! what are you thinking about? You surely do not mean to let the child dine at eight o'clock? It would ruin his stomach. put on a clean shirt. Parent loved him with all the heart of a weak. even at the early period of his married life. He said to himself: "It is lucky that I have George. ill-used man. I can see that well enough." Just then the clock struck seven." Seeing the storm which was coming. roast meat ought not to be burnt!" Monsieur Parent pretended not to hear." he said. Oh.

my good Julie. although I do not like to repeat it. so miserable that it has almost broken my heart when I have seen it. as she was not satisfied with having married you. she seemed resolved on everything. "No. however. The reason why madame comes in at any time she chooses is that she is doing abominable things. If you remember how the marriage was brought about. She had lost her look of exasperation. my good Julie. I have said nothing. or----" She went on. You need only reflect for a few moments to understand it. and remained behind his father. but always for your sake.hold your tongue. but it is too much. and Parent stammered: "Why. when she screamed in his face: . she has made your life miserable. but now she put on an air of cold and determined resolution." He seemed stupefied and not to understand. He rushed at Julie with both arms raised. which was still more formidable. certainly. as she did not love you. madame would never have married Monsieur Parent. that you have never had to find fault with me--" "Certainly. turned and went out. then. monsieur." He walked up and down the room with hands clenched. would not yield. George. slamming the door so violently after her that the lustres on the chandelier rattled." "Very well. and she deceived you from the very first day. and then. "I served your mother until the day of her death. roaring. "that I have never done anything for the sake of money. it cannot go on any longer like this. She married you from interest. and filled him with rage and courage. however: "No. and stammered out. and so I must tell you also. out of respect and liking for you. Everybody knows about it. I must tell you everything now. and left you in your ignorance. and could only stammer out: "Hold your tongue. you would understand the matter from beginning to end." she said. His son's screams exasperated Parent. Eight o'clock struck. and for some seconds it sounded as if a number of little invisible bells were ringing in the drawing-room. You will drive the child out of his senses. Ah! you may be sure that if Monsieur Limousin had been rich." He already had his hand on her. the door opened. began to utter shrill screams." "You know quite well. and I have attended to you from your birth until now. exclaiming: "Ah! you wretch. you know I have forbidden you----" But she interrupted him with irresistible resolution. It was all settled between them beforehand. "Monsieur. The old servant." Parent had risen." She waited for a reply. and Julie came in again. ready to strike her. with his face puckered up and his mouth open." she continued. For a long time madame has been carrying on with Monsieur Limousin. that I have never deceived you nor lied to you. I have seen them kiss scores of times behind the door. his face livid: "Hold your tongue. monsieur. and every one in the neighborhood is laughing at you. and I think it may be said that I am devoted to the family. who was nearly choked with surprise. yes. repeating: "Hold your tongue--hold your tongue----" For he could find nothing else to say. who had been at first astonished and then frightened at those angry voices. I mean to tell you everything.The old servant.

"Viper. mad. "You need only go out this evening after dinner. that gentle warmth soothed him." He had taken her by the shoulders. He understood nothing. It was one of those low scandals which spring from servants' brains! And he repeated: "George--my dear little George. crying. that he was his own child. or cheeks. and looked at the child with dull eyes. Then. which was laid for dinner. He fell into a chair. Then he put the small. "to know who is its father! He is the very image of Monsieur Limousin. at any rate! What did the rest matter? He held him in his arms and pressed his lips to his light hair. me who reared you. up the back stairs to her bedroom. and looked at it affectionately. surely. and tried to discover whether there was any likeness in his forehead. Then. as if he had just fallen on his head. and covered him with kisses." He then went slowly downstairs again." was her reply."Monsieur. monsieur. breaking the glasses. mouth. into which she had locked herself. he whispered: "George--my little George--my dear little George----" But he suddenly remembered what Julie had said! Yes. where little George was sitting on the floor. and happiness. or I shall kill you! Go out! Go out!" And with a desperate effort he threw her into the next room. courage. by degrees. and he scarcely even remembered the dreadful things the servant had told him. You need only look at his eyes and forehead. Why. became calmer and clearer. and went back to the drawing-room. He could not believe it. he felt dazed. His thoughts wandered as they do when a person is going mad. Oh! it could not be possible. and you will see. but. viper! Go out. after all!" He looked at him with haggard." she added. could not doubt. viper!" he said. stupefied. and remained standing opposite to her. "You need only to look at the child. troubled eyes. so overwhelmed that he could understand nothing more. but that will not prevent your wife from deceiving you. and was now shaking her with all his might. or alter the fact that your child is not yours----" He stopped suddenly. The child was quiet now and sitting on the carpet. knew nothing more. rising to her feet. and it filled him with love. he said: "You will leave my house this very instant!" "You may be certain of that." She had reached the kitchen door and escaped. and assumed a strange look and improbable resemblances. in his nose. she put the table between her master and herself. "In an hour's time I shall not be here any longer. and the abominable revelations began to work in his heart. still repeating: "George! Oh. now that his father was fondling him. While he was pursuing her. like muddy water. He was no longer thinking of George. a blind man could not be mistaken in him. she flung terrible words at him. his mind. she had said that he was Limousin's child. in order to take hold of her again. curly head away from him a little. . She fell across the table. and come in again immediately. you may beat me if you like. His child remained to him. and you will see! You will see whether I have been lying! Just try it. Parent felt the warmth of the little chest penetrate through his clothes. and knocking at the door. even for a moment. took him in his arms." The youngster was quiet again. and his child's face changed in his eyes. His father ran to him. "Go out the room. fortified him and saved him. and. relieved and composed. let his arms fall. but he ran after her. he began to cry. holding on to the banister so as not to fall. my little George!" But suddenly he thought: "Suppose he were to resemble Limousin. seeing that no notice was being taken of him.

He wished to know the truth. which also betrayed a little irritation. and with the tenacity of an easy-going man who has been exasperated. He seized the lock. he trembled." "What was she insolent about?" "About you. Does one know how much excited cowardice there often is in boldness? He went to the door with furtive steps. and then he remembered that Julie had left. say?" . turned the key. she said: "So you open the door now? Where is Julie?" His throat felt tight and his breathing was labored as he tried to. she has gone altogether.The hall bell rang. reply. He felt an intense hatred rise up in him for that insolent woman who was standing before him. I sent her away. ready for dissimulation and the struggle. saw his wife and Limousin standing before him on the stairs." "About me?" "Yes." "Julie?" "Yes--Julie. and because--because she was ill-using the child. because the dinner was burnt. to have time to bathe his eyes. and opening the door. "There she is." "And she said----" "She said--offensive things about you--which I ought not--which I could not listen to----" "What did she. Suddenly. "Are you dumb?" she continued. Nevertheless. "Yes. and so nobody would go to open the door. however. the noise of the bell over his head startled him like an explosion." "Yes." he said. "What do you mean by gone? Where has she gone? Why?" By degrees he regained his coolness. "What shall I do?" And he ran and locked himself up in his room." "You have sent away Julie? Why. he desired it with the rage of a timid man. But in a few moments another ring at the bell made him jump again. and stopped to listen. "I asked you where Julie is?" "She--she--has--gone----" he managed to stammer. resolute. and you did not come in. I sent her away because she was insolent. his heart beat furiously. without being able to utter a word. His wife began to get angry. Parent gave a bound as if a bullet had gone through him. What was he to do? He went himself. without the housemaid knowing it. With an air of astonishment. The terrible blow had matured him in a few moments. and suddenly he felt brave. you must be mad.

I waited for you. and tried to find a pretext for a quarrel. my dear. "You might have guessed that I was detained. however." Then Limousin." she said. by way of excuse. and that then she had gone with him to have something to eat in a restaurant. took the high hand." "I want to hear them. although she was faint with hunger." She trembled with a violent longing to tear out his beard and scratch his face. "I suppose you have had dinner?" she asked. That was how she had dined with Limousin. very far off. haughty words that. saying: "Are you very well?" Parent took his hand." he replied. and shaking it gently. "Although I was late? One might really think that it was one o'clock in the morning. for they had only some soup and half a chicken. and that I spent my nights away from home. I am not finding fault with you. came forward and put out his hand." The young woman had gone into the anteroom. he replied: "I say nothing. disorderly. in the Rue de Rennes." She shrugged her shoulders impatiently. and that I did not find fault with you for it. you were quite right. having to buy some furniture in a shop a long distance off. and going straight up to her husband. "It is very stupid of you to wait after half-past seven. careless. "No. and I wish you to remark that I turned her off just on account of what she said. had not spoken till then. "Finding fault! Why do you speak of finding fault? One might think that you meant to imply something. that I had a good many things to do. In his voice and manner she felt that he was asserting his position as master. and who had been half hidden behind Henriette."It is no good repeating them. followed by Limousin. she stammered out: "You say? You say? That I am----" Very pale and calm. I am very well. visits and shopping. who did not say a word at this unexpected condition of things." And then. as she did not like to go to one by herself. and told him in abrupt." "She said it was unfortunate for a man like me to be married to a woman like you. she had met Limousin at past seven o'clock on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. she felt that she wanted to explain how she had spent her time. unpunctual. she tried to assume the offensive by saying something unpleasant. I am simply repeating what Julie said to me. "I simply meant that I was not at all anxious although you were late. and a bad wife. who. replied: "Yes. as you wanted to know what it was. suddenly." But the young woman had felt a reproach in her husband's last words. Although she had nothing to say by way of reply." . Parent replied simply: "Well." "Not at all. as they were in a great hurry to get back." She. if it could be called dining. She shut the door quickly. threw her cloak on a chair. a bad mother.

and ran into the dining room. and you returned at half. I should like to have been here for a minute." Then she opened the drawing-room door and ran to George. for he had nearly lost his wits through the overwhelming scene and the explanation. "Why. no-oh. my darling. turns my house upside down. mamma." "What has the wretch been doing to him?" "Oh nothing much. my pretty one. I am not at all surprised. and he fell down. utterly mad! It is half-past eight." "But you pronounce them as if I had been out all night. my dear. Ah! she must have said some nice things to you. I expected you every moment. as I have got rid of her. beats my child. what is it." "Really! You have got rid of her! But you ought to have given her in charge. It would have been very difficult----" She shrugged her shoulders disdainfully. breaks my plates and dishes." Then she again turned furiously upon her husband. She gave him a push. your Julie."Certainly not. we were waiting for you. even. You said you should be back at half-past six. I understand it perfectly well. and felt crushed by this ruin of his life. took him into her arms and kissed him. my treasure?" Then. who----" But she interrupted him furiously: "That is too much." She wanted to see her child. with some feeling: "What is the matter with the child?" "I told you that Julie had been rather unkind to him. my dear. As you come home late every day. to make you turn her off like that. and George has had no dinner!" He excused himself as best he could. and she was going into her own room. my pet?" "No." "Oh. no!" She saw that he would yield on every point. without any firmness or energy.past eight. with broken decanters and glasses and overturned saltcellars. "But. only for a minute. as I did not wish to dine without you. But--but--I can hardly use any other word. a man without a will. one ought to call in the Commissary of Police!" "But--my dear--I really could not. wretched fellow. and it appears that you think it all quite natural. you must be mad. "It was Julie." "Certainly not. and said: "Georgie. "There! you will never be anything but a poor. and then she asked. I said late because I could find no other word. she said: "But the child has had no dinner? You have had nothing to eat. In such cases. suddenly turning to another idea. "Who did all that mischief?" she asked. That was surely being late." . There was no reason. really! Julie speaks of me as if I were a shameless woman. when at last she noticed that George was screaming. but stopped short at the sight of the table covered with spilt wine.

"I am hungry." she replied. but he could only swallow with an effort. quite forgetting that her child had not had anything to eat. Yes. He picked up the broken glasses which strewed the table and took them out. and replied: "Well. and mashed potatoes. Parent could not guess that you would come here so late. By degrees he was seized with an insane desire to look at Limousin. the father of his son. Limousin immediately set to work to help his friend. after having sent away Julie?" But Henriette was very angry. I suppose. her white neck and her plump hands stood out from that coquettish and perfumed dress as though it were a sea shell edged with foam. perhaps. under the pretext of feeding him. for he felt that his anger was getting the upper hand. as you never do so. was. and bite the furniture.She threw her bonnet. if he had been their dupe since the first day! Was it possible to make a fool of a man. I am. in the slightest features. as she had heard nothing in George's room. A terrible pain. however. as his throat felt paralyzed. in great astonishment. and her fair head. but Limousin interposed. and put the child into his high chair. that tranquil man who was sitting on the other side of the table. said: "My dear friend. although he almost fancied that he had never examined it carefully. you. brought in the soup." she said. he made up his mind to do so. Parent sat by the side of the child. one of those attacks of pain which make men scream. as it was after half-past seven. He gave the boy his dinner. where she had been working. and turning toward the young woman. a burnt leg of mutton. and then he looked at his son. he could not swallow any more. and gave a quick. at any rate. how could you expect him to get over the difficulty all by himself. and endeavored to eat something himself. and in an angry voice she said: "It is really intolerable to have to do with people who can understand nothing. "are not you. which she had kept on till then. was tearing at his entrails. into an easy. I was prevented from coming home. Parent left off eating. making bread pellets. and then. It looked so different to what he had imagined. sharp look at the face which he knew so well.chair. of George. What fun they must be making of him. of his little George. She had on a pink teagown trimmed with white lace. that man. Parent asked himself "Have they had dinner? Or are they late because they have had a lovers' meeting?" They both ate with a very good appetite. trying to recognize a likeness in the smallest lines of his face. and then said: "Yes. The girl came in. but laughed and joked. upon my word." She had the leg of mutton brought in again. to see whether George was like him. Henriette was very calm. if I were to come in at twelve o'clock at night. replaced the plates and knives and forks. the child would have had nothing to eat? Just as if you could not have understood that. but he did not venture to raise his eyes for some time. He started when he heard the door open. Her husband watched her furtively. very much upset and distressed at all that had happened. that I had met with some hindrance!" Parent trembled. for I will not help him. he must get over the difficulty himself. At last. So. From time to time he looked at Limousin. Limousin?" He hesitated a little. Two words were sounding in his ears: "His father! his father! his father!" They buzzed in his temples at every beat of his heart. are altogether unjust. however. who was sitting opposite to him. His wife came in. and he felt inclined to take a knife and plunge it into his stomach. who can divine nothing and do nothing by themselves. She soon. "Let him settle it!" And she went into her own room. while Parent went to look for the chambermaid to wait at table. roll on the ground. because his father had left him a little money? Why could one . of a worthy man.

brought up to entice customers to the store by her glances. fair. be a little jealous. is very unpleasant?" Limousin threw himself into an easy-chair and crossed his legs. but I think that. because he is my husband. and you shake hands with him cordially." Limousin continued impatiently: "What you are doing is very foolish! I am only asking you to treat your husband gently. how he irritates me. I think that you ought to see that. from morning till night. so I may not be in until late." . surely. situated as we are. you great booby. As soon as the door was shut. and then. George had been carried out by his nurse. above all." "Very well. I feel him between us." he went out. it is ridiculous to defy this man as you do. tall. of looking upon Parent as a martyr." She took a cigarette from the mantelpiece. instead of you. by his dullness. a little Parisian. lighted it. after all. and replied: "But I do not defy him. dark. quite the contrary. that Paul is my lover?' "It is quite incomprehensible that you cannot understand how hateful he is to me. to a simple. I shall not stir from here. We will wait for you. for the floor seemed to roll like a ship. and I treat him as he deserves. And then---and then! No." she replied. and married. because he bought me. everything that he thinks. turning to the maid." Parent had got up. in consequence. she said: "You had better put George to bed. born in the back room of a shop. which you call his confidence. half cocotte and half bourgeoise.not see into people's souls? How was it that nothing revealed to upright hearts the deceits of infamous hearts? How was it that voices had the same sound for adoring as for lying? Why was a false. "I am not setting him up as a martyr in the least." Then." she said. although he does not interfere with us much. too idiotic of him not to guess anything! I wish he would." "One must know how to dissimulate. There are moments when I feel inclined to say to him: 'Do you not see. "I shall see you again later on. to torment your husband as you do?" She immediately turned on him: "Ah! Do you know that I think the habit you have got into lately. as I have dismissed Julie. it is. my dear. she. dazed and bewildered. "that I hate him just because he married me. and saying. Men are very extraordinary at times. an intonation." They were close together: he. and pink. waiting to catch a gesture. deceptive look the same as a sincere one? And he watched them. I will see about getting another girl this very day. while Henriette and Limousin went into the drawing. holding on to the wall." and he said: "My dear. a word. and then you can clear away and go up to your room. he was unsteady on his legs. Then suddenly he thought: "I will surprise them this evening. Only he irritates me by his stupidity. he said: "You must be mad. I will go at once to procure one by to-morrow morning. Limousin will keep me company. because we both of us require him to trust us. with long whiskers and the rather vulgar manners of a goodlooking man who is very well satisfied with himself.room. at any rate. small. You always seem to like him. who saw her outside the door every morning when he went out and every evening when he came home. which you call his kindness. you stupid creature. because everything that he says and does. "go. in fact. unsophisticated man. acts on my nerves? He exasperates me every moment by his stupidity. "But do you not understand.

And as they stood in front of the mantel mirror. she threw herself on Parent. too startled to understand anything as yet. against the wall. she put both her hands on his shoulders and held up her lips to him. round table. without his shoes on and his hat over his forehead. neither the noise of the key nor the creaking of the door. beating the air with his hand. half-strangled and choking. who was hanging to his neck. As soon as he could speak. you would not understand. she squeezed him so tightly. and she bit his shoulder. rosy fingers into his neck. He stooped down and clasped her closely in his arms. both of you! Immediately. Putting his arms round her waist. however. and his strength was soon exhausted. Then. loosened his hold on Limousin. One might think that. it is quite useless! You men have no delicacy of feeling. with the gentle contempt of an impure woman. with her hands resting on a small. as if she wished to tear it with her teeth. with a quick glance of his eyes and without moving his head. that is one of those things which one feels and cannot express." And smiling. moreover. he said: "Go away--both of you--immediately! Go away!" Limousin remained motionless in his corner. Parent continued in a stronger voice: "Go away immediately. livid with rage. too frightened to move a finger. and they saw Parent looking at them. her hair hanging down. When Henriette saw that her husband was going to murder her lover. took two steps toward him."It is no question of dissimulation. one after the other. that she could not prove her innocence. in order to shake off his wife. panting. and that he knew everything. However. you like each other better on that account. without saying a word. pushed Limousin away with both her arms. too much! I heard everything! Everything--do you understand? Everything! You wretch--you wretch! You are two wretches! Get out of the house. and his unwonted energy ended in a gasping for breath. while Henriette. and her hatred for the man. he threw himself on Limousin. as his passion was short-lived. He appeared beside himself. however. and raising his fist to strike her. and that she must comply. her head bent forward. when you men deceive one another. and digging her ten delicate. seized him by the neck. another couple exactly like them embraced behind the clock. and. He looked at each. and flung him into the opposite corner of the room so violently that the other lost his balance. which was . or I shall kill you! Leave the house!" She saw that it was all over. His brutal fury had expended itself in that effort. that the blood spurted out under her nails. he flung her also to the other end of the drawing-room. waited like a wild animal which is about to spring." "You do not see it? You do not see it? You all of you are wanting in refinement of feeling." "I do not see why one should hate an excellent fellow because one is friendly with his wife. Parent. But all her impudence had returned to her. she said: "Have you lost your head? What is the matter with you? What is the meaning of this unjustifiable violence?" But he turned toward her. seized him as if he were going to strangle him. Then. the bodice of her dress unfastened. and their lips met. one ought not. seeing that he had got over his first exasperation grew bolder. worn out. They had heard nothing. but of feeling. and. And then. grown almost insolent. struck his head violently against the wall. he stammered out: "Oh--oh--this is too much. drew herself up. not knowing what to do next. like the froth of a bottle of champagne. with all the vigor of a desperate woman. with a loud cry. Get out of the house!" His wife. while we women hate a man from the moment that we have betrayed him. like that of most good-tempered men. he remained standing between the two. but suddenly Henriette. No.

he suddenly thought he heard George calling out "Papa. and you have no right to keep him. double-locked and bolted it." and his heart would begin to beat. in a fresh access of rage. Do come!" As she went out she turned round to her husband. to which he appeared fixed. his habits of lounging. trying to think of something that she could do. Parent threw him into his wife's arms. this is his father. when he was at home alone at night. and stammered: "Your--your--child? You dare to talk of your child? You venture-you venture to ask for your child-." But Limousin did not move. he made his wife an allowance. she said: "I want my child. and then. and rushed into the next room. because he is not yours--do you understand? He is not yours! He is Limousin's!" And Parent cried out in bewilderment: "You lie--you lie--worthless woman!" But she continued: "You fool! Everybody knows it except you. that is too much! Go. from motives of prudence. he pushed her roughly out toward the stairs. . and took his meals at a restaurant. You need only look at him to see it. took a candle. the feeling of surprise at his new life prevented him from thinking much. The child. you vile creature! Go!" She went up to him again. the child might have returned. By degrees. about. carrying little George wrapped up in his bedclothes. and he would get up quickly and open the door. Twenty or a hundred times a day he asked himself the question whether he was or was not George's father. took her lover by the arm. something that she could invent to wound him to the heart as she left the house. and she said in a clear voice: "Come. quite alone.aggravated now. Often. he would sit down in his armchair again and think of the boy. cried out: "Go. saying: "Do come. the thought of the child began to haunt him. He would think of him for hours and whole days. During the five weeks that followed their separation. He had resumed his bachelor life. oh. by chance. and the remembrance of all those childish ways made him suffer as a man might for some beloved woman who has left him. as he is going to turn me out of doors. drove her to audacity. however. Henriette walked quickly across the room. as dogs or pigeons do. It was not only a moral. returning almost immediately. made her feel the need of bravado. was crying from fright. He felt the child's little arms around his neck. standing close to him. but still more a physical obsession. a nervous longing to kiss him. to hold and fondle him. which was arranged by their lawyers. and Parent. and defying him. and then he suddenly turned round. to take him on his knees and dance him. where Limousin was waiting. his little mouth pressing a kiss on his beard. my friend--you see that the man is mad. you wretches! Or else--or else----" He seized a chair and whirled it over his head. without speaking. Limousin. almost smiling. but had scarcely got back into the drawingroom when he fell to the floor at full length. and face to face. Parent lived alone. deadly ideas in which all a woman's perfidy shows itself. almost avenged already. one of those venomous. and of defying him. Then he shut the door again. and she said resolutely: "I am going to take my child with me. Why should a child have less instinct than an animal? On finding that he was mistaken. I will go to your lodgings with you. will you? Go.after-after--Oh. who had been suddenly awakened." Parent staggered backward. I tell you. dragged him from the wall. and an idea struck her. As he wished to avoid any scandal. his soft hair tickling his cheeks." Parent was stupefied. as he had done formerly. and led him toward the door. and almost before he was in bed every night he recommenced the same series of despairing questionings. to see whether.

Above all things. awaking. a good room on the ground floor. during more than an hour. and then came back to the seat which had been reserved for him. all these people were happy. and took up the newspapers again." which he would drink slowly. but he did not stop. He almost lived there. the melancholy feeling of the twilight. he raised himself on the red velvet seat. so as to see the passers-by. He would talk to the regular customers whose acquaintance he had made. feeling uneasy every time a customer got up to go. and looked sadly at the shoes standing in couples outside them. for he wished to see them. He no longer saw any of his old friends. He was as afraid of his own thoughts as men are of criminals. so much did he dread the time when the waiter should come up to him and say sharply: "Come. horrible dwelling and the deserted streets. he heard voices in the adjoining rooms. a torrent of despair which seemed to overwhelm him and drive him mad. Parent got a side view of her and recognized her pretty features. when he was taking his usual walk between the Madeleine and the Rue Drouot. well-lighted. Henriette was leaning on Paul's arm. and of mental agony. women's little boots by the side of men's thick ones. monsieur. dark. and all three were walking in front of him. where the isolated foot passenger whom one hears in the distance seems to be a night prowler. He went there as flies go to a candle. A tall gentleman and a child were with her. pulled down his cuffs. in which. her smile. and soon. to get a little fresh air. and when his former sufferings tormented him too much at the sight of his bed. the fear of solitude and silence drove him into some large cafe full of drinkers and of light. from beginning to end. They discussed the news of the day and political events. That was a terible moment for him when he was obliged to go out into the dark. Between four and five o'clock he went for a walk on the boulevards. and that carried him on till dinner time. Then. He was no longer alone in that great building. which was turned down. his little George. he took a room in a large hotel. it is closing time!" He thus got into the habit of going to the beer houses. and he would sit down at one of the little round tables and ask for a "bock. populous streets. and were sleeping in their warm beds. a gas lamp flickered. no doubt. he sipped three or four small glasses of brandy. Then a flood of sorrow invaded his heart. the movements of her lips. and he fled before them as one does from wild beasts. and asked for his absinthe. here and there. And in spite of himself. They looked like a family of the better middle class. Parent went in the direction of the broad. he feared his empty. while the heavy beer dulls the mind and calms the heart. and when he was tired of walking aimlessly about among the moving crowd. and he thought that. hold him back. After every meal. into his empty room full of dreadful recollections. He would have liked to take him by the arm. He asked himself where he had seen them before. none of his relatives. and her coaxing glances. where the heavy clouds of tobacco smoke lull disquietude. But the child chiefly took up his attention. though he had already seen them in the morning. and he spent the evening as he had the afternoon. and he followed them. according to whether he is coming toward you or following you. How tall and strong he was! Parent could not see his . and then his head drooped on his chest. and went to sleep. he went out into the wide passages and walked up and down them like a sentinel. his wife with Limousin and his child. he took his meals there. five miserable years. and of his solitary fireplace. and speaking to him in a low voice. His heart beat as if it would suffocate him. when he saw the foot passengers becoming more scarce and the pavements less crowded. But as his apartments were a hell to him. until it was time to close. and beg him to stay a little longer. he shut his eyes. he suddenly saw a lady whose bearing struck him. as he felt too lazy to move. when suddenly he recognized a movement of her hand. as he used to say.He especially dreaded the darkness of the evening. occupied his mind and distracted his thoughts. which stupefied him by degrees. where the continual elbowing of the drinkers brings you in contact with a familiar and silent public. and makes one walk faster or slower. it was his wife. Five years passed thus. He was scarcely up before he went there to find people to distract his glances and his thoughts. and read them all through again. and by instinct. and looking at him sideways occasionally. nobody who might remind him of his past life. He felt people swarming round him. of horrible thoughts. before all the closed doors. straightened his waistcoat. The light and the crowd attracted him. But one day.

But the life he had led since then had worn him out. the child he had so much loved and so often kissed. monsieur. if I could. because they were quite uneventful. for twenty years had passed since that terrible evening. Two or three times a year he went to the theatre. full of pity and kindness for such a regular customer. was George. One morning he said to her: "Do you know where one can get a good luncheon in the neighborhood of Paris?" . The boy turned round and looked at the clumsy man angrily.topped tables and wear out their clothes on the threadbare velvet of the couches. whether she thought it suited him. It was another matter. was as young looking as ever. a little boy with bare legs. and he knocked against him as if by accident. Oh. and in the summer he sometimes spent his evenings at one of the open-air concerts in the Champs Elysees. seized with a horrible fear lest he should have been seen and recognized by his wife and her lover. who was watching him with interest. that will put him straight. The landlord of his cafe would often say to him: "You ought to pull yourself together a little. you should get some fresh air and go into the country. and had grown stouter. Advise him to go out of town for a day occasionally. They went on again and Parent followed them. He grew old amid the smoke from pipes. and short. but only his long. The child's love was dead. and he saw a new one. When he got to his cafe in a new hat he would look at himself in the glass for a long time before sitting down. all three. said to Parent every day: "Come. disappeared in the far distance. the lady at the bar. fair curls. the child would not have held out his arms when he saw him. as they stopped in front of a shop. it is bad never to get out of Paris. and pursued by that look. I would spend my life there!" By degrees he was seized with a vague desire to go just once and see whether it was really as pleasant there as she said. and at last ask his friend. Limousin had grown very gray. He began once more to live nearly like everybody else. father. mother.face. and Parent hurried away. He went to his cafe without stopping. That evening he drank three absinthes. who was walking by his mother's side like a little man. Then. monotonous. and that new. he was so different from what he had been formerly. happy and tranquil. had aged and was thinner. like a brother of the first. He very rarely now thought of the dreadful drama which had wrecked his life. He walked on quickly. the image that had appeared to his eyes and which haunted his nights became more indistinct and less frequent. who did not know him! He suffered terribly at that thought. and child walking on the boulevard before going in to dinner. passed them. He went off like a thief. another hallucination now. He had even looked at him angrily. I assure you that you have changed very much within the last few months. and take it off and put it on again several times. like all those idle people who drink beer off marble. on his fortnightly visit to the barber's to have his hair cut. and also a fresh pain. and on the purchase of a new coat or hat as an event. As he passed the child he felt a mad longing to take him into his arms and run off with him. hurt. and then turned round. shocked. his wife. He saw them suddenly. vision effaced the old one. George he would not have recognized. and fell breathless into his chair. Monsieur Parent. It is so charming in the country when the weather is fine. Summer will soon be here. And so the years followed each other slow. by degrees he grew calmer. on the contrary." And she. so as to meet them face to face. outside the walls of the great city. he has confidence in you. Little George. make up your mind to get a little fresh air. his mental torture diminished. there was no bond between them. That tall boy with bare legs. looked upon his weekly bath. Every night he saw the three again." And when his customer had gone out be used to say to the barmaid: "That poor Monsieur Parent is booked for another world. For four months he felt the pain of that meeting in his heart. lost his hair under the gas lights. his little George.

and he was seized with a feeling of misery and a wish to run away. He might have traveled as others did. in his cafe and his lethargy! All the thoughts. "George. for he already felt tired. and she held her head forward as she ate for fear of spotting her dress. and walked slowly. always inexplicable and strange. and asked to be served at once. that mysterious life which is either charming or painful. Parent got out. Then some more people arrived and sat down at tables near him. and to vivify his blood. Parent felt that if he were to remain there any longer he should lose his reason. for no special reason. he found the Seine interesting every time he crossed it. Three persons were eating luncheon near him. as one looks at total strangers. he would have liked to get out at every station and sit down in the cafe which he saw outside and drink a "bock" or two. He felt more comfortable. and at any rate to have some one to speak to. however. to enliven his spirits.Germain. flowed round the villages and along the slopes. in arts and science. to try and forget his troubles under--the influence of wine and alcohol. without hope. He saw his twenty years of cafe life--dull. monotonous. it is delightful there!" He had been there formerly. heartbreaking. to unknown countries beyond the sea. even when they have nothing to do all the week. have gone among foreigners. The sun bathed the whole landscape in its full." Parent looked up. warm light. and he chose a Sunday. He took a small table in one of the arbors. His wife had grown quite white and very stout. have interested himself somewhat in everything which other men are passionately devoted to. to hide himself in Paris. However." it said."Go to the Terrace at Saint-Germain. constantly changing. The journey seemed very long to him. He would go on drinking "bock" after "bock" until he died. without any family. while he himself was motionless. and when he got to the iron balustrade. without any curiosity about anything. "will you carve the chicken?" And another voice replied: "Yes. He looked at them two or three times without seeing them clearly. and presently stopped at the platform. an elderly. but he found it very trying and fatiguing to remain sitting while he was being whirled along. Suddenly a woman's voice sent a shiver through him which seemed to penetrate to his very marrow. stopped to look at the distant horizon. toward the Terrace. without friends. and stopped again to look about him. The Seine wound like an endless serpent through the plain. and he made haste to get to the Pavilion Henri IV for lunch. and then take the first train back to Paris. but merely because people generally do go out on Sundays. ordered his lunch. He was thirsty. serious. respectable lady. Parent inhaled the warm breeze." Then he went on a few steps. as long as he had the same motionless objects before his eyes. Now. with his hands behind his back. and at having broken through his usual habits. The immense plain spread out before him vast as the sea. all the desires which are dormant in the slough of stagnating hearts had reawakened. He felt low-spirited and vexed at having yielded to that new longing. it is delightful here. it was too late. he guessed immediately who those people were! He should certainly not have known them again. The utter misery of his existence seemed to be brought into full relief by the intense light which inundated the landscape. although she . and he understood. Under the bridge at Chatou he saw some small boats going at great speed under the vigorous strokes of the bare-armed oarsmen. from which one can see all the surrounding country. which seemed to make his heart young again. just when he became engaged. and to see the whole country fly by. brought to life by those rays of sunlight on the plain. he was no longer alone. and he thought: "There are some fellows who are certainly enjoying themselves!" The train entered the tunnel just before you get to the station at Saint-Germain. mamma. all the dreams. and so one Sunday morning he went to Saint. He could remain sitting for whole days. and said to himself: "Why. almost as populous as towns. green and studded with large villages. He made up his mind to go there again. he might have enjoyed life in a thousand forms.

the face of wife or child which smiles when it sees you. as he might never have another. and he left off drinking to mature it. to throw his siphon of Seltzer water at them. Parent looked at them. any prospects. breathing hard with emotion and fatigue. but was seized with fear. a terrible idea. positively his? Does anybody bring up other people's children? And now they were there. go into all the houses in Paris. He might go among other nations. light-haired lad who put on insolent airs. He might have been taken for a retired diplomat. He soon came up to them. devout woman. jovial man. to every mental torture and every physical misery! They had made him a useless. but he saw their quiet gestures. a poor old man without any pleasures. for he looked a man of great importance. quite close to him. They had had a calm and pleasant existence. they came and took luncheon in the country at wellknown restaurants. a white waistcoat. the idea of a door which one opens. an inexplicable fear. to see and to embrace somebody behind it. She had assumed a haughty air. we will see!" They finished their luncheon slowly. of that infamous friend. George had become a man. Was that George. and was eating. and was especially exasperated at their placid and satisfied looks. filled with all those trifles which make life agreeable. the innocent. Parent. hiding himself so as not to excite their suspicion too soon. on his money. expecting nothing from anybody or anything. simple-minded. to that abominable life which he had led. with his shoulders rather bent. He had a slight beard. Limousin had his back to him. his son? No. with his soft white whiskers. conversing with perfect unconcern. as he had them under his hand. robbed him. Parent came up to them by degrees. a waif in the world. for he was unused to walking now. Parent followed them at a distance. he pictured such dreadful things as one reads of in the newspapers occasionally. aimless being. no doubt. iron-clad in virtue. but could not hit on anything practical. that uneven and almost colorless beard which adorns the cheeks of youths. he did not know that young man.had a table napkin tucked under her chin. This idea worked upon him more than any other. because it looked swell. to split open Limousin's head as he every moment bent it over his plate. Parent then noticed Limousin. and then they went. with all those tender words which people exchange continually when they love each other. All three of them seemed happy and satisfied. or go about the streets. I have them! We will see. and of that tall. ruined him! They had condemned him. They paid their bill and got up from table. irritated and excited at the recollection of all his sufferings and of his despair. But how? He tried to think of some means. Suddenly an idea struck him. the air of a comfortable. a family existence in a warm and comfortable house. raising it again immediately. sheathed in principles. to all the miseries of solitude. and a monocle. to give himself courage not to allow such an opportunity to escape him. thanks to him. He wore a high hat. For him. those three who had made him suffer so much. but he would not find inside any door the beloved face. the world was empty. devout woman. And that was the fault of those three wretches! The fault of that worthless woman. He felt inclined to kill them. between the pavement and a bar-room. with affection. He smiled as he murmured: "I have them. on the spot. the tips of which touched his coat collar. Parent rose and followed them. His wife's face especially exasperated him. They walked away. Parent could not hear what they were saying. because he loved nothing in the world. after having deceived him. And he went on drinking to excite himself. into the forest. open every room. Parent looked at him in astonishment. of an unapproachable. First they went up and down the terrace. Now he felt as angry with the child as he did with the other two. He would have his revenge now. They had lived thus. and calmly admired the landscape. and he passed . there could be nothing in common between them. Was he not Limousin's son? Would Limousin have kept him and loved him otherwise? Would not Limousin very quickly have got rid of the mother and of the child if he had not felt sure that it was his.

continued: "So now we will have an explanation. that I am his father because his name is George Parent. as soon as he was released. who seemed to be insane. you see. at the foot of a huge tree. He said in a very low voice: "Hold your tongue! Hold your tongue! Do you understand what you are doing?" . hid her face in her hands. George sprang up. "Well." Henriette. however. "I want to tell you who these people are. after gasping for breath. thunderstruck. Ah! but here I am once more. murmuring: "Oh! Good heavens!" Seeing this stranger. Limousin. He walked on." George. and were still chatting. and you thought that I should never catch you!" The young man took him by the shoulders and pushed him back.them. thunderstruck. the proper moment has come! Ah! you deceived me. Tell him who you are. approached her." said Parent. who. There. You thought it was all over. feeling that they were just behind him now. his heart beating. or I shall give you a thrashing!" "What do I want?" replied Parent. unclenched his fists and turned toward his mother. and he said to himself: "Come. Paul. Will you tell him also why I drove you out? Because I surprised you with this beggar. in a voice broken by emotion: "It is I! Here I am! I suppose you did not expect me?" They all three stared at this man. They were all three sitting on the grass. looked in horror at this apparition. he said abruptly. and who I am----" He stammered and gasped for breath in his rage. Courage! courage! Now is the moment!" He turned round. you condemned me to the life of a convict. an honorable man. because you are all three living on my money. Just look at me! I am Parent. was in a rage. "I am your father. and now we will have an explanation. on the allowance of ten thousand francs which I have made you since I drove you out of my house. He continued: "One would suppose that you did not know me again. and shook him. The woman exclaimed in a heartrending voice: "Paul. Parent. stopping in front of them in the middle of tile road. "Let me go. this wretch. "tell him yourself who I am! Tell him that my name is Henri Parent. and that you would never see me again. the wretches!" The young man. now is the time. make him be quiet! Do not let him say this before my son!" Limousin had also risen to his feet. see whether they recognize me now." he said. terrified. "What do you want? Go on your way immediately. and was even going to strike him. and walked back rapidly. who seemed to be threatening his mother. so as to turn round and meet them face to face. He made up his mind. whom you married for money. and whom you deceived from the very first day. ready to seize him by the collar. Henri Parent. "Are you mad?" he asked. your lover! Tell him what I was. stop him. because you are my wife.

when one is not used to going out. . During the journey his anger calmed down. Give me an answer. swearing that I was not your father. will you not? I am living at the Hotel des Continents . he went to have a "bock" at his brewery. sneering in his fury. Look here . She does not know . How can one know such things? You will not know either. with which she had covered her face. Come! Come! tell us. which was full of the fragrance of growing plants. . . something that has tormented me for twenty years. I should be glad to know . . the cool air. my boy. that he was your father. You ought to know as well as she. . . and he has the right to know who his father is. he regained his senses and returned to Paris. "If you will not tell me. He did not turn round to look at them. . . I shall not stir out. . . under a storm of passion. Tell me. Good evening . . If she makes up her mind to tell you. your husband or your lover. Good evening . . Nevertheless. ."I quite know what I am doing. ." She could not persuade him to tell her about his little excursion. I do not know. but. but she also wanted to drive me to despair. never. I do not know either . tragic and terrible. When she left my house she thought it was not enough to have deceived me. walking under the stimulus of his rage. with that one fixed idea in his mind. . You can choose . ." And he went away gesticulating. and she took you with her." Then. No . Mademoiselle Zoe asked in surprise: "What! back already? are you tired?" "Yes--yes. You were my only consolation. . he continued: "Well. . you will come and let me know. he or I. never! I cannot tell you. . Was she lying? I do not know. . tell me yourself. . full of aches and pains as if he had broken some bones. I will make a bet that she does not know . ." He seemed to be losing his senses. . I shall not go into the country again. When she saw him come in." resumed Parent. . . nor do you." Limousin rushed at him. who was leaning against a tree in consternation. never. Very well! If she will not reply. nor does he. his voice grew shrill and he worked his arms about as if he had an epileptic 'fit. . I am tired . . and. . For the future. . It is all over. I've had enough of it. It would have been better to have stayed here. he said: "Ah! you are brave now! You are braver than you were that day when you ran downstairs because you thought I was going to murder you. . "and that is not all." He went close up to her. turning to George. by Jove! Ha! ha! ha! Nobody knows . He is a man. You know. pulling away her hands. . . . . astonished at his own boldness. A train was about to start and he got in. . are you this young fellow's father? Come! Come! Tell me!" He turned to his wife again. he said: "Listen to me. now! I call upon you to tell me which of us two is the father of this young man. "Come! . . I hope you will enjoy yourselves very much . yes. now. in the quiet. very tired . . you will not know any more than I do . . Ask her you will find that she does not know . There is one thing that I will know. you can choose him or me. Parent pushed him back. she does not know. . . . nobody knows. and. . . . talking to himself under the tall trees. and I never did know. but went straight on. You can choose . . I have been asking myself the question for the last twenty years. nobody . my boy. much as she wished to. All at once he found himself outside the station. Choose. . at any rate tell your son.

raven-black hue. Her sister continued: "What has happened to you? What is the matter with you? Answer me!" Then. Moonlight Search on this Page: þÿ Madame Julie Roubere was expecting her elder sister. nothing. and this change had come on suddenly since her departure for Switzerland." They remained face to face. and her sister appeared. raising her. Without moving. Were you noticing my white hair?" But Madame Roubere impetuously seized her by the shoulders. only desisting for a moment to give each other another hug. broken sentences as they followed each other about. and had to be carried home. The Letore household had left nearly five weeks before. tears rising to her eyes. At last. had two pearly tears in the corners of her drooping eyes. I assure you. the other replied: "Why. they clasped each other in an affectionate embrace. who looked as if she were about to faint. she scanned her sister's face. eyes whenever she heard a sound. In the quiet parlor Madame Roubere was reading in the twilight in an absent-minded way. Madame Henriette Letore. Madame Roubere rang for a lamp. she heard a ring at the door. repeated: "What is the matter with you? Tell me what is the matter with you. And if you tell me a falsehood. but there alone. She asked: "What is the matter with you. And without any formal greeting. about their respective families. It was now quite dark. and Madame Henriette. scared and astonished at the other's appearance. in a subdued voice. Madame Henriette had allowed her husband to return alone to their estate in Calvados. and as soon as it was brought in. Madame Roubere gazed at her in amazement. All the rest of her hair was of a glossy. where some business required his attention. and was on the point of embracing her once more. two silvery streams which were immediately lost in the black mass surrounding them. while Madame Henriette was removing her hat and veil. the other murmured: . jerking out hurried. as it were. ran. and with a searching glance at her. gossiping. Then they talked about their health. nevertheless. as she thought that some mysterious and terrible calamity must have befallen her sister. Night came on. and a thousand other things. She was. only twentyfour years old. wrapped in a travelling cloak. On her temples Madame Letore had two large locks of white hair. But she held back. I'll soon find it out. Henriette?" Smiling with a sad face. who had just returned from a trip to Switzerland.For the first time in his life he got thoroughly drunk that night. and had come to spend a few days in Paris with her sister. at each side of her head. the smile of one who is heartsick.

The air was mild. how vibrating the heart is at such moments! how quickly it beats. Oh! how I sometimes have wished that he would clasp me roughly in his arms. Thereupon. "One evening (we had for four days been staying in a hotel at Fluelen) Robert. which we all have at certain moments. But how sensitive. and said to him: 'How beautiful it is. in the presence of beautiful scenes. I was almost like a boiler filled with steam and hermetically sealed. to cherish something. having one of his sick headaches. The full moon showed itself in the middle of the sky. they ought to feel more moved by love than ever. with a smile of chilling kindliness: 'There is no reason why we should kiss each other because you like the landscape. and you know how fond I am of him. of my tears! "This all seems very silly. extinguished my poetic ardor. went to bed immediately after dinner. and the younger sister. with their snowy crests. always good."I have--I have a lover. streams. the tall mountains. in the transparent morning haze. I was brimming over with poetry which he kept me from expressing. she sobbed. to be deeply affected without any apparent cause. to empty this sorrow of hers into a sympathetic heart. and villages. but he is mature and sensible. I clasped my hands with delight. dear! Give me a kiss! Kiss me now!' He only answered. she commenced to unbosom herself. one of those sudden fits of melancholy which come over you. "During the month when we were travelling together. Then. "You know my husband. we saw. always kind. the waters of the lake glittered with tiny shining ripples. to love. and cannot even comprehend the tender vibrations of a woman's heart. without reason. I do not understand myself. "It was a night such as one reads of in fairy tales. hiding her forehead on the shoulder of her younger sister. sweet kisses which make two beings intermingle. always smiling. Be careful. and since that day I feel as if I were mad. always perfect. with his calm indifference. which are like mute confidences! How I have wished that he were foolish. how quickly we yield. without love. woods. simply because the moon shone one night on the Lake of Lucerne. and drawing her close to her heart. He is always the same. when the heaving of her breast had subsided. without anything. that he would embrace me with those slow. holding each other's hands tightly clasped. of my caresses." And. into which they sank. "In fact. the two women went over to a sofa in a dark corner of the room. How can we help it? "And yet the thought of deceiving him never entered my mind. one of those longings to open. when as the four horses galloped along with the diligence. seemed to wear silver crowns. and I went to take a walk all alone along the edge of the lake. and how intense is its emotion! .' "And his words froze me to the heart. your arms. It takes so little. my husband. as if to cast forth this secret from herself. so little. even weak. valleys. a moment of tenderness. with that kind of penetrating warmth which enervates us till we are ready to faint. paralyzed my enthusiasm. my child. so that he should have need of me. listened. so little. but we women are made like that. passing her arm over the elder one's neck. Now it has happened. about yourself--be careful! If you only knew how weak we are. when she had grown a little calmer. It seems to me that when people love each other. When we were descending the mountain paths at sunrise. and fall. "Oh! I know that there was no excuse for me.

melancholy. She said to me: . but love itself. le Brument. I heard something stirring behind me. When I turned my head round. who was sometimes called "the illustrious judge" and at other times "the illustrious lawyer. delicious. the lake. "He gave me his card!" And. were singing to me about things ineffably sweet. I told him I felt ill. a thing which possibly happens every day. I felt myself choking. "And it happened. feverish love in the moonlit shadows of a summer's night? "And I burst out weeping like a crazy woman. and gazed at that vast. said: "'You are weeping. and which is nevertheless one of the most dreadful things I know. with a self-contained and serious air. said very gently: "You see. Madame Letore broke into groans-. along a moon-kissed bank like this? Was I never to feel on my lips those kisses so deep. "He walked on by my side in a natural and respectful manner. in a sort of hallucination. And all of a sudden he repeated some verses of Alfred de Musset. Then. And your real lover that night was the moonlight. and. and whom we had often met. and intoxicating which lovers exchange on nights that seem to have been made by God for tenderness? Was I never to know ardent. I don't know how. All that I had felt he translated into words. His eyes had frequently followed me. and a strange feeling arose in me. I did not see him again till the morning of his departure." Mother and Son Search on this Page: þÿ A party of men were chatting in the smoking room after dinner. everything that made me thrill he understood perfectly." went and stood with his back to the fire. with a man I loved. very often it is not a man that we love. "I was so confused that I did not know what answer to give or what to think of the situation. seized with indescribable emotion. arm in arm. It seemed to me that the mountains themselves. strange inheritances. I don't know why. gazing at me." said he. "to search for an heir who disappeared under peculiarly distressing circumstances. It is one of those simple and terrible dramas of ordinary life. A man stood there. madame?' "It was a young barrister who was travelling with his mother. and fascinating lake. "As for him. "I have. he recognized me. sister. and began talking to me about what we had seen during our trip. Madame Roubere. I was seized with an insatiable need of love. Then M. better than I did myself. We were talking of unexpected legacies.almost into shrieks. sinking into her sister's arms. a revolt against the gloomy dullness of my life."I sat down on the grass. the moonlight. advancing. What! would it never be my fate to wander. Here are the facts: "Nearly six months ago I was called to the bedside of a dying woman.

in order that you. Not long afterward. and whom. a boy. What sufferings we women have sometimes to endure! "'I had only him in the world. for he had been equally cherished and cared for by both of us. I want to intrust to you the most delicate. I loved a young man. the frenzied words. He came to see me at first as a friend. the appeals on bended knees. "It was a very wealthy establishment. the most difficult. in his turn. whom we want to gratify even in his slightest wishes. through obedience. broken and gasping. What could I do? I was alone. When he saw that I was a widow. whom I know to be a kind-hearted man as well as a man of the world. was upholstered with materials as thick as walls. "'We brought up my son together. for her voice.enough to finish it. so hopeless! And I loved him still. The boy reached the age of seventeen. whom we desire to crown with every possible happiness. and of a hundred thousand francs if you do succeed. "'I had a child. Perhaps I ought not to have received him. monsieur. I should not have let him come so often. "'He. My husband died in the course of a few years. which is there on the table. and the most wearisome mission that can be conceived. of an elegant simplicity. was whistling in her throat. seeing that he was married. he wept and sobbed so bitterly. almost as fond of him as I was myself. I will try to have strength . so solitary. of large and generous ideas. Be good enough to notice my will. and refuse to yield to the prayers. "'Listen to me: "'Before my marriage. He came to see me. he spent whole evenings with me. that it is always in our power to resist. I was his mistress. we must drive to despair? What strength would it not require? What a renunciation of happiness? what selfdenial? and even what virtuous selfishness? "'In short. I married a man of great wealth. "'How can I tell it?--he became my lover. that it was enough to break my heart. and I was happy. in order that she might talk with greater ease. intelligent.' "She asked me to assist her to sit up in bed. through indifference. the transports of passion. he was crushed by grief at knowing he was not free. I married him through ignorance. whose suit was rejected by my family because he was not rich enough. was fond of my--my lover. full of sense and resolution. I became--and this was my greatest weakness and my greatest piece of cowardice-I became his wife's friend. the supplications. "'He whom I had loved had married. He came frequently. monsieur. A sum of five thousand francs is left to you as a fee if you do not succeed.' and respected him . the young man. may have a sincere desire to aid me with all your power. The luxurious apartment. But I had not enough willpower to prevent him from coming. He used to call him his 'dear friend. You must know all. as young girls do marry. a thorough man. we made a man of him."'Monsieur. with a soft inviting surface. "The dying woman continued: "'You are the first to hear my horrible story. with which we are pursued by the man we adore. How did this come about? Can I explain it? Can any one explain such things? Do you think it could be otherwise when two human beings are drawn to each other by the irresistible force of mutual affection? Do you believe. the tears. so sad. if we are to be guided by a worldly code of honor. my parents being dead. that we can keep up the struggle forever. I want you to find my son after my death.

What was going to happen? I tried to imagine. "'I waited--waited in a distracted frame of mind. Where was my son? What was he doing? "'About midnight. shaken with spasms. to speak to me." "'I wrote in pencil on the same slip of paper: "'Jean has not returned. "'There was a moment of atrocious confusion. all my nerves writhing with the horrible sensation of an irreparable. to roll on the ground. And yet I did not even stir. I went toward him. trembling at the least sound. In short. Then convulsive sobs rose in my throat. starting with fear and with some unutterably strange and intolerable emotion at every slight crackling of the fire in the grate. not venturing to approach. to flee. and at his side. I am down here. I still know its contents by heart: "'Has your son returned? I did not find him. I do not want to go up at this hour. Jean. a faint rustling. You must find him. and to disappear forever. having never received from him anything but wise counsels and an example of integrity. or to touch me. and I felt a desire. with outstretched arms. as a sort of moral father. I longed to run wildly about. always concerned about us both. guardian. protector--how am I to describe it? "'Perhaps the reason why he never asked any questions was that he had been accustomed from his earliest years to see this man in my house. waiting for him. in spite of my efforts. in such moments as this. He had gone. and with that dreadful sense of shame which. He looked upon him as an old loyal and devoted comrade of his mother." "'And I 'remained all night in the armchair. I must see him and let him know----" "'And he hurried away. but kept waiting hour after hour. two hours. at my side. and he pressed my lips in a long. delicious kiss. a slight sound. and probity. "'All of a sudden. such anguish that I would not wish the greatest criminal to endure ten minutes of such misery. But I could form no conception. in spite of the tortures of my soul! . "'I felt as if I were going mad.immensely. a vague. holding out my hand toward my son as if in supplication. unable to utter a word. livid. staring at us. "'We remained facing each other--my lover and I--crushed. that mysterious sensation which indicates the presence of another person. to guess. a messenger brought me a note from my lover. The door opened. "'I waited an hour. At last he said: "'I am going to follow him-to talk to him--to explain matters to him. my heart breaking. made us start and turn round abruptly. feeling my heart swell with a dread I had never before experienced. my son. asking myself which of them would be the first to arrive. it was my old friend. honor. to go out into the night. fills a mother's heart. I sank into an armchair. powerful desire. for fear of the boy's return. "'He looked at me in a terrified manner. stood there. "'One evening the three of us were to dine together--this was my chief amusement--and I waited for the two men. but I could not see him. misfortune. and I wept. I drew back.

no. for I am dying. after a long illness. who understood nothing. and thus I have lived for the last twenty years. Go away! "He did go away. "'Then." . now that she is dead. think of what the existence of your poor mother has been ever since the day you left her. beyond the great ocean. when I am about to die--me. I saw beside my bed my--lover--alone. I swear it. But we have not found him in spite of all my efforts. naturally. be less harsh toward poor women! Life is already brutal and savage enough in its dealings with them. She went for the doctor. perhaps. did I say? No. dear child. it is about to end. his mother. who loved him with all the intensity of a mother's love? Oh! isn't it cruel. "'You can understand my feelings. monsieur. forgive her. and I--I have never consented to see him. "'Can you imagine what all this meant to me? Can you understand this monstrous punishment. cruel? "'You will tell him all this. "'When I regained consciousness. that I had lost my reason. with terrible suppositions. into what depths of despair. he cast me while I was still in the prime of life. and love her. who found me in the throes of a nervous attack. even for one second. leaving me to suffer until this moment."'And now I feared that they might meet. monsieur--will you not? You will repeat to him my last words: "'My child. for she has had to endure the most frightful penance ever inflicted on a woman. my son would make his appearance at the same moment. My dear child. came into the room every moment. this abominable. this slow. Oh! my son! my son! Is he dead? Is he living? Where is he hiding? Over there. my dear. believing. I sent her away with a word or a movement of the hand. I stammered: "'Dead-dead. endless waiting? Endless. My dear son. becoming suddenly exasperated and even indignant--for women are subject to such outbursts of unaccountable and unreasoning anger--I said: "'I forbid you to come near me or to see me again unless you find him. monsieur? "'My chambermaid. who knew nothing. can you not. I had brain fever. "'I exclaimed: "'My son? Where is my son? "'He made no reply. in some country so far away that even its very name is unknown to me! Does he ever think of me? Ah! if he only knew! How cruel one's children are! Did he understand to what frightful suffering he condemned me. Has he committed suicide? "'No. I am dying without ever again seeing either of them--either one or the other! "'He--the man I loved--has written to me every day for the last twenty years. perpetual laceration of a mother's heart. What would they do in that case? What would my son do? My mind was torn with fearful doubts. into what tortures. if he were to come back here. "'I was put to bed. "'I have never seen one or the other of them since. for I had a strange feeling that.

You fished in them for crawfish. The father. whom the country enchants. monsieurs. or an orchard filled with flowers. I was stepping along light as a goat. or the end of a bank. monsieur. then.'" Maitre Le Brument added: "And I left the house. had been killed by the gendarmes. dramas like this are being enacted all around us! "I have not found the son--that son--well. covered with vines. a hundred metres to my right. I beg of you. keep tender memories of certain springs. I want to die all alone. trout and eels. she said: "'Leave me now. leaving in soul and body an unsatisfied desire which is not to be forgotten. since they are not with me. every day. At Virelogne I loved the whole countryside.' "Once more she ceased speaking. was beating a field of lucerne."She gasped for breath. You love it with a physical love. trembling. gauzy dresses. "And to think that. say what you like about him. that my coachman turned round to stare at me. who had at last rebuilt his chateau. but I call him that criminal son!" Mother Sauvage Search on this Page: þÿ Fifteen years had passed since I was at Virelogne. the good woman had given me a glass of wine to drink and that Serval had told me the history of its people. I returned there in the autumn to shoot with my friend Serval. which the Prussians had destroyed. certain hills seen very often which have stirred us like joyful events. Suddenly I remembered it as I had seen it the last time. yet remaining in our hearts like the image of certain women met in the street on a spring morning in their light. neat. with its skeleton standing bare and sinister? I also recalled that inside its doors. I loved that district. certain pools. "Then she added: "'You will tell him also. I turned round by the thicket which forms the boundary of the wood of Sandres and I saw a cottage in ruins." . seen but a single time on some bright day. The son. certain woods. People called them "Les Sauvage. in 1869. with chickens before the door. indeed. dotted with little woods and crossed by brooks which sparkled in the sun and looked like veins carrying blood to the earth. so bitterly. in a broken voice. We. a feeling that you have just passed by happiness. whom I had once seen. that I never again saw-the other. It is one of those delightful spots which have a sensuous charm for the eyes. as if she had addressed the last words to her son and as if he stood by her bedside. watching my two dogs running ahead of me. Sometimes our thoughts turn back to a corner in a forest. What is sadder than a dead house. Serval. Divine happiness! You could bathe in places and you often found snipe among the high grass which grew along the borders of these small water courses. after a very tiring day. crying like a fool. was a tall. an old poacher. dry fellow who also passed for a fierce slayer of game.

doing up all the housework like four good sons around their mother. splitting wood. all expense and fatigue. She asked every day of each of the soldiers who were installed beside her hearth: "Do you know where the French marching regiment. enlisted. rusty and with the butt worn by the rubbing of the hand--and she was a strange sight. Then she returned to her house. who seldom laughed and with whom one never jested. while La Mere Sauvage went and came. I asked him: "What's become of those people?" This was his story: When war was declared the son Sauvage. who had not grown thin in spite of the fatigue which they had endured already and who also. according to the property and resources of each. those who pay the most because they are poor and because every new burden crushes them down. however. on the edge of the wood." They invariably answered. so tall and thin. leading a melancholy. Mother Sauvage continued her ordinary existence in her cottage. being of the same strain as the men folk--a hardy old woman. we don't know. No. She was not afraid. which no one had ever seen. going with slow strides over the snow. They would be seen cleaning the kitchen. As there was talk of wolves. since the peasantry have no patriotic hatred. who make the true cannon's prey because they are so many. They could be seen. stern countenances. they knew it." a little bent. splashing with great swishes of water their pink-white northern skin. she went out with a gun upon her shoulder--her son's gun. Four were allotted to the old woman. which confined her head and imprisoned her white hair. He came up with his long strides like a crane. that belongs to the upper class alone. making their toilet at the well in their shirt-sleeves in the gray dawn. Alone with this aged woman. tall and thin. sparing her. who suffer most cruelly the atrocious miseries of war because they are the feeblest and offer least resistance--they hardly understand at all those bellicose . The humble. They were four great fellows with fair complexion." And. had remained kind and gentle. who was then thirty-three years old. She remained entirely alone in that isolated dwelling. It was billeted upon the inhabitants. so far from the village. preparing their soup. But they themselves have sad and narrowed hearts. there at home--they rendered her a thousand little services. was sent? My boy is in it. 23. But the old woman thought always of her own son. too. The peasants imbibe a little noisy merriment at the tavern. with his hooked nose and his brown eyes and his heavy mustache which made a roll of black hair upon his lip. in fine. People did not pity the old woman very much because she had money. gloomy life. who was known to be rich. She came to the village once a week to get bread and a little meat. "No. her four enemies. One day a Prussian force arrived. The women of the fields laugh but little in any case. that is men's business. The muscles of their faces have never learned the motions of laughter. rubbing the tiles. the muzzle of the piece extending beyond the black headdress. those who are killed in masses. though in a conquered country. blond beards and blue eyes. as much as they could.Was that a name or a nickname? I called to Serval. the tall "Sauvage. moreover. all four of them. She loved them well. which was soon covered by the snows. they showed themselves full of consideration. understanding her pain and her uneasiness--they who had mothers. peeling potatoes. those. leaving his mother alone in the house. don't know a thing at all. but their helpmates always have grave.

He had been cut in two by a cannon-ball. the conqueror with the conquered. which was in his pocket. like this still palpitating animal. having had time to wipe her eyes. doubtless--and they made signs to the old woman that there was to be something good to east. bloody. so overcome and stupefied that she did not even suffer as yet. . without speaking. I took his watch. her child. but when it came to killing the rabbit. She thought: "There's Victor killed now. She seemed to see the thing. She did not cry at all. one by one. Her thoughts came. far off on the plain. her big boy. They said in the district. as we stood next each other in the company. the eyes open.ardors. She remained motionless. for they brought with them a fine rabbit--stolen. and which she felt cooling and coagulating. the horrible thing: the head falling. she observed. CESAIRE RIVOT. 23. The beast once dead. and which covered her hands. while he chewed the corner of his big mustache as he always did in moments of anger. She looked at them sideways. Soon she recognized him. March. to bring it back to you when the war is done. and she kept seeing her big boy cut in two. dreadful. a man coming toward her dwelling." Now. not even a mouthful." Then little by little the tears came to her eyes and the sorrow filled her heart. Reg. She would never kiss him again. One of the soldiers struck it down with a blow of his fist behind the ears. with her ordinary face. made her tremble from head to foot. that excitable sense of honor or those pretended political combinations which in six months exhaust two nations. She set herself to work at once to prepare breakfast. No. and he told me about you and asked me to let you know on the same day if anything happened to him. What had they done with his body afterward? If they had only let her have her boy back as they had brought back her husband--with the bullet in the middle of the forehead! But she heard a noise of voices. never again! The gendarmes had killed the father. They devoured the rabbit without bothering themselves about her. and she received them quietly. delighted. in speaking of the Germans of La Mere Sauvage: "There are four who have found a soft place. all four. She sat down at table with the Prussians. The letter was dated three weeks back. her face so impassive that they perceived nothing. They were laughing. the Prussians had killed the son. Your boy Victor was killed yesterday by a shell which almost cut him in two. Soldier of the 2d class. but the sight of the blood which she was touching. He gave her a folded paper and she drew out of her case the spectacles which she used for sewing. she skinned the red body. but she could not eat. Then she read: MADAME SAUVAGE: This letter is to tell you sad news. And yet it was not the first. She hid her letter very quickly in her pocket. it was the postman to distribute the letters. one morning. I was near by. when the old woman was alone in the house. torturing. her heart failed her. It was the Prussians returning from the village.

and. her son's gun. pierced the straw roof. Then she kindled a good fire to warm herself. she threw one of the bundles into the fireplace. began to toll. People were coming. with the addresses of their families. As soon as they closed the trapdoor the old woman removed the ladder. it was a clamor of men shouting heartrending calls of anguish and of terror. not without difficulty. She went barefoot in the snow. In a few seconds the whole interior of the cottage was illumined with a brilliant light and became a frightful brasier.All of a sudden she said: "I don't even know your names. warm and perfumed. on top of the letter which told her of the death of her son. the falling of the rafters. That was not sufficient. then folded the sheet and put it in her pocket. She told him that she had pains in her stomach. a whirlwind of fire shot up into the loft. and they helped her. far off. lit up by the fire. and in that manner they made a sort of great chamber with four walls of fodder. At dinner one of them was worried to see that La Mere Sauvage still ate nothing. When the meal was ended she said to the men: "I am going to work for you. armed with her gun. a gigantic fiery furnace." They understood. the peasants. The old "Sauvage" stood before her ruined dwelling. shone like a cloth of silver tinted with red. where they should sleep splendidly. A loud report followed. the cracking of the walls. all white. she threw her weapon into the brasier. amid a cloud of smoke. The country. and when it was alight she scattered it over all the others. and all the cottage flared. Then a great cry issued from the top of the house. the Prussians. Suddenly the roof fell in and the burning carcass of the dwelling hurled a great plume of sparks into the air. for fear one of those men might escape. Nothing more was heard therein but the crackling of the fire. and here's a whole month that we've been together. . resting her spectacles on her great nose. so softly that no sound was heard. with which she filled her kitchen. From time to time she listened to the sonorous and unequal snoring of the four soldiers who were fast asleep. When she judged her preparations to be sufficient. They heaped the stacks of hay as high as the straw roof. Then she went outside again and looked. They were astonished at her taking all this trouble. and told their names. what she wanted. she explained to them that thus they would not be so cold. then opened the outside door noiselessly and went back to look for more bundles of straw. Finally the trapdoor having given way. and the four Germans ascended to their lodging-place by the ladder which served them every night for this purpose. rose to the sky like the immense flame of a torch. whose glare streamed out of the narrow window and threw a glittering beam upon the snow. When she saw that it was ended." And she began to carry up hay into the loft where they slept. she had them written for her on a paper. A bell. she contemplated that strange handwriting.

The Prussian asked: "How did it take fire?" "It was I who set it on fire. and in her withered hand she held her letter bathed with blood. followed instantly by a long report. after the others. My friend Serval added: "It was by way of reprisal that the Germans destroyed the chateau of the district. She was almost cut in two. and you must say to their mothers that it was I who did that. in order to distinguish them by the last gleams of the fire. demanded: "Where are your soldiers?" She reached her bony arm toward the red heap of fire which was almost out and answered with a strong voice: "There!" They crowded round her. Then she said." She quietly held a sheet of paper out to the officer. Then twelve men drew quickly up before her. from the arrival of the letter to the last shriek of the men who were burned with her house. showing one: "That. While all pressed round and listened. at twenty paces." The officer shouted some orders in German. she told the story from beginning to end. indicating the red ruins with a bend of the head: "Here are their names. they thought that the sudden disaster had made her crazy. The Prussian officer approached. still hot.They found the woman seated on the trunk of a tree. She had understood. that is the death of Victor. she drew two pieces of paper from her pocket. The old woman did not fall. When she had finished." I thought of the mothers of those four fine fellows burned in that house and of the horrible heroism of that other mother shot against the wall. who held her by the shoulders. They seized her. she added. she again adjusted her spectacles. and she continued: "You must write how it happened. And I picked up a little stone. and. but speaking French like a son of France. so that you can write home. Victoire Simon. she waited. la Sauvage! Do not forget. She sank as though they had cut off her legs. they threw her against the walls of her house." Showing the other. She did not move. An order rang out." They did not believe her. A German officer. My Twenty-Five Days . calm and satisfied. and never omitted a detail. A belated shot went off by itself. still blackened by the flames. which belonged to me.

at the left. "At the first glance it is not lively. "CHATEL-GUYON.' "The people who chat resemble mutes who merely open their mouths to simulate sounds. the same silence. To-day I have done nothing as yet. One ought to write at the entrance to this district: 'No one laughs here. when I opened the drawer which is in this piece of furniture. severe fatigue duty. and their faces reflect the conviction of a superiority of which it might be difficult for some to give actual proofs. and here and there big gray patches. at the end of the valley. A great silence reigns in the walks shaded by trees. On the bank of the stream. It is for their benefit that I transcribe them without altering a letter. and one gets well. Sad people wander around this building--the invalids. Their manners bespeak good breeding. for this is not a pleasure resort. exactly between the. in the midst of several hillocks on which are a casino. covered with woods. a narrow den between two papered partitions. so it seems. no votive offering is hung around the cashier's office. but a true health resort. a little wooden but perched on a hillock. of the last occupant of my room. These notes may be of some interest to sensible and healthy persons who never leave their own homes. where you dine solemnly with people of good position. that the mineral springs perform true miracles here. The twenty-five days of any one taking the baths are very like the twenty-eight days of the reserves. the first great billows of the mountains of Auvergne. they take care of their health. However. and to get thin. which shelters a woman of smiling and gentle aspect. some houses. so afraid are they that their voices might escape. The guest drinks and goes off with a grave step to resume his interrupted walk beneath the trees. and I was beginning to arrange my clothes and linen in the wardrobe with a long mirror. and a spring boiling in a basin of cement: Not a word is exchanged between the invalid and the female custodian of the healing water. I have been getting settled. It was the diary of a guest at the watering place. "Those who know affirm. and some stone crosses. even. to have my liver and stomach treated.Search on this Page: þÿ I had just taken possession of my room in the hotel. this is the bathing establishment. I am going to spend twenty-five days here. But the view from that height is admirable. Having opened it. I have made the acquaintance of the locality and of the doctor. Chatel-Guyon consists of a stream in which flows yellow water. "At two o'clock I made my way up to the Casino. and had been forgotten at the moment of departure. I spread it out before me. July 15th. I immediately noticed a roll of paper. Chatel-Guyon is situated in a very narrow valley. no breath of air in the leaves. through which I could hear every sound made by my neighbors. It is a big hotel. no voice passes through this silence. this country. and read this title: My Twenty-five Days. they are all devoted to fatigue duty. plain and the mountain. which one reaches by a goat path. hard masses of . "No noise in the little park. "From time to time a gentleman or a lady comes over to a kiosk with a slate roof. "In the hotel. I perceive. one takes care of one's health as a business. She hands the newcomer a little glass in which air bubbles sparkle in the transparent liquid. who have nothing to say to each other. may be seen a square building surrounded by a little garden. However.

in front of me. They are very pretty. My overtures were received without embarrassment. although sad. I have begun my twenty-five days. steeped in a bluish fog which lets one only dimly discern the villages. A stream flows amid the heaped-up boulders.--Long walk in a charming wooded valley. A man with a big black hat on his head is driving them with a slender stick. One meets along the mountain roads long wagons loaded with hay.--Nothing new. tipping them on the side or on the forehead. as far as the Hermitage of Sans-Souci. They knew. They have style and a little indescribable air which I like very much. "July 19th. and I soon perceived the two mysterious ladies of my hotel.--Saw the two pretty women again. an energetic and serious gesture. which plays airs just as a foolish bird might sing all alone in the desert. I have swallowed three glasses of water. H'm? "I offered to accompany them to Royat tomorrow. . and I have walked along the paths in the park. "The night has come. many people whom I knew. always enveloped in a light veil of vapor. by Jove!-one a brunette and the other a blonde. then half an hour after the last. the little orchestra of the Casino. who were chatting. infinite as the sea. through the narrow cut of the valley. They say they are widows. too. a quarter of an hour between each glass. the towns. And this odor is a perfume. which are yoked together. "July 21st. There is nothing more amusing than such meetings as this. for we are at the foot of the extinct volcanoes. I have taken a bath and then a shower bath. after having dined alone.--Remarked two mysterious. "Chatel-Guyon is less sad than I thought on my arrival. "July 20th. it seemed. when it would be a stench if it came from other animals. It is the Limagne. "July 22d. the dust bears with it a light odor of vanilla and of the stable. This great calm does one good. Who can they be? "I shall see them to-morrow. seated on a stone. I write these lines beside my open window. I hear. "July 18th.--Day passed almost entirely with the two unknown ladies.--Nothing new. so green. It is a narrow gorge inclosed by superb rocks at the very foot of the mountain. and they accepted my offer. I discover a plain. and I introduced myself without hesitation. And. if it is very warm. drawn by two cows at a slow pace or held back by them in going down the slopes with a great effort of their heads. "July 16th. This country is delightful. "July 17th. so sweet. but so calm. and often with a simple gesture. the yellow fields of ripe grain. an immense level.--Excursion to the valley of the Enval. "The air is good to inhale in these valleys. over there. We walked back together to the hotel. "The occasion appeared to me a good one. and the green squares of meadowland shaded with apple trees. At the right. "As I reached the bottom of this ravine I heard women's voices. pretty women who are taking their baths and their meals after every one else has finished. he suddenly halts them when the excessive load precipitates their journey down the too rugged descents. Goodnight. for so many cows pass over these routes that they leave reminders everywhere. "A dog barks at intervals.lava. And we talked about Paris. And now.

without doubt. sloping sides shut in the lake. the other is wooded. and that you will. therefore the one that we should seek by preference to exhibit to the jealous eyes of the world. One supposes you must be a notary or a magistrate. which would still prove that others also consider her charming. as these two professions have a monopoly of grotesque and well-dowered spouses. all at once. After a long journey through the mountains we suddenly perceived an admirable little lake. is this not distressing to a man? And then. I am loved by her. but then. Good season.' they said. "July 25th. I exclaim: "'Supposing we bathe?' "'Yes. are the two most humiliating things that could happen to a sensitive heart that values the opinion of others. "My fair companions are very popular. and are even under a legal obligation. He opens his dwelling for us. it seems to proclaim to the public that you have the odious courage. A great many people there. "To go to the Bois. for how could it be supposed that you would have an unattractive sweetheart? A true woman may be ungraceful. she is. An idea comes into my head. In the midst of the trees is a small house where sleeps a good-natured. her ugliness implies a thousand disagreeable things for you. or to go out into the boulevard escorted by a plain woman.--I never leave the side of the two unknown widows. perhaps. clear as glass. An exquisite and unexpected jaunt decided on at luncheon. every kind of jealousy. Now.' "'Bah! we are in the wilderness. It is as much as to say: 'Look here! I am rich. Superb view of the Puyde-Dome. whom I am beginning to know quite well. very blue. The man who escorts a pretty woman always believes himself crowned with an aureole. the man who is accompanied by one on each side of him. . "To exhibit to the world a pretty woman leaning on your arm is to excite. at the gate of Clermont-Ferrand. We started immediately on rising from table. Royat is a little patch of hotels at the bottom of a valley. I have taste. The treatment is doing me an immense amount of good. even. 'but costumes. intellectual man. with much more reason. "July 24th. be shameless enough to make a mother of this by no means desirable being--which is the very height of the ridiculous. quite round. which is flattering to me. motionless."July 23d. they assume she must be your wife.--Day spent at Royat. she is the one that costs most and which we desire most.' "And we did bathe! "If I were a poet. to caress that ridiculous face and that ill.--Drive in a landau to the lake of Tazenat. a sage who passes his days in this Virgilian region. This country is delightful and our hotel is excellent. "But. unless I am deceived by her. since I have known how to discover this pearl. how I would describe this unforgettable vision of those lissome young forms in the transparency of the water! The high. woman is the rarest and the most distinguished.shaped body. Of all luxuries. and there is nothing better calculated to exalt a man in the estimation of his neighbors. in a trap drawn by a sorry nag. since I possess this rare and costly object. Nothing is so pleasant as to dine in a fashionable restaurant with a female companion at whom everybody stares. what a disgrace it is to walk about town with an ugly woman! "And how many humiliating things this gives people to understand! "In the first place. seen at the end of a perspective of valleys. A large park full of life. One side of this immense basin is barren. and situated at the bottom of an extinct crater.

I will not mention the name of the country through respect for its women.--Ditto. how's this! My two widows have been visited by two gentlemen who came to look for them.--Alone! Long excursion on foot to the extinct crater of Nachere. I am drawing the notice of the municipality to the abominable sewer which poisons the road in front of the hotel. Everything that appears to be amusing becomes immediately a breach of good breeding or morality. all the wealth of the district. They have written to me on fancy notepaper. I take a little of each people's notion of duty.--Nothing. and of the whole I make a result comparable to the morality of good King Solomon. "July 28th. Englishmen. Ditto. "August 2d. "July 31st. It constitutes. A sad town whose anagram constitutes it an objectionable neighbor to healing springs: Riom. I arrived at a rather pretty village on the banks of a river in the midst of an admirable wood of walnut trees. This is a good way to breed cholera. But then? "August 7th. "I will cite a single example. This pretty country is full of polluted streams. I had not yet seen a forest of walnut trees of such dimensions in Auvergne. "August 4th. and Frenchmen.--Good news. duty begins in England at nine years of age. who imagine that life consists in being bored. a place of sojourn for rheumatic patients. in France at fifteen. I am taking the treatment. After four hours on the road. where everybody is lame. Excellent. and that there are very virtuous people among all these nations.--Ditto. this water of Chatel-Guyon! I am taking the widows to dine at Riom.gleaming and round. the sun pours into it a flood of warm light. Ditto. I have lost 620 grams in weight. "July 27th. On the sand at the bottom of the lake one could see their shadows as they moved along. Nothing can be queerer than this population of cripples! "August 3d.--Drove sixty-six kilometres in a carriage on the mountain. This . Mori.--Despair! I have just weighed myself. As regards women. "August 1st. "August 6th. They are leaving this evening. The treatment. for it is planted on the village common. to the fact that duty is not the same for Mormons. There are some people. Ditto. as a silver coin.--Ditto.--Hello. "July 29th. "This excursion had been pointed out to me as a beautiful one. The treatment.--Nothing. Turks. and one that was rarely made. "July 30th.--Nothing. and along the rocks the fair forms move in the almost invisible water in which the swimmers seemed suspended. All the kitchen refuse of the establishment is thrown into it. Splendid view. Two widowers. then. without doubt. I have gained 310 grams. moreover. "I would draw their attention. For them duty has inflexible and mortally tedious rules. with all respect.--Admirable walk to Chateauneuf.--Some persons seem to look with shocked and disapproving eyes at my rapid intimacy with the two fair widows. Arabs Zulus. As for me. "August 5th. "July 26th.

"August 8th. I will add nothing to it. My companion. and it has a curious name: it is called the Sins of the Cure. to the green mountain. "Since we have been seeking for so many ways of rewooding France. the immense plain of the Limagne. Joseph Davranche. man should always show her that she pleases him. For I did not find the two widows! My Uncle Jules Search on this Page: þÿ A white-haired old man begged us for alms. The authorities had tried in vain to get it cultivated. he said: "That poor unfortunate reminds me of a story which I shall tell you.--I am packing up my trunks and saying good-by to the charming little district so calm and silent. this way of looking at the matter is the only one that is logical and reasonable. lighter than in the plain. for I would consider that he had failed in appreciation of my beauty. Noticing my surprised look. Here it is: . gave him five francs. from which you can see. a man who failed to show me respect at our first meeting. and if he does not take more he is only a blockhead. If we consider this fairly. it is almost an insult to her. as gallant as they were natural.common was formerly only a hillside covered with brushwood. and my feminine qualities. A bachelor who meets them owes them at least a kiss. I would not receive. a second time. These are the Sins of the Cure. "So the bachelors of the village X often proved to the women of the district that they found them to their taste. "August 7th. my impressions of the country not having been exactly the same as those of my predecessor. "To-day it is a superb wood. thanks to the women. And every night lanterns were seen moving about like will-o'-the-wisps on the hillock. whether she be of the town or the country. as the cure was unable to prevent these demonstrations. and. "I shall leave to-morrow. this means that he considers her ugly. If I were a woman. almost veiled by its light.--Treatment. bluish mist. he resolved to utilize them for the benefit of the general prosperity." Here the manuscript stopped. If he abstains from every sort of demonstration. the memory of which continually pursues me. the Administration of Forests might surely enter into some arrangement with the clergy to employ a method so simple as that employed by this humble cure. to the quiet valleys. As woman. and to-day they calculate that there are more than three thousand trees around the belfry which rings out the services amid their foliage. for the erring ones scarcely like to perform their penance in broad daylight. There was scarcely enough pasture on it to feed a few sheep. has her natural mission to please man. "Now I must say that the women of the mountain districts have the reputation of being light. my charm. to the deserted Casino. "In two years there was no longer any room on the lands belonging to the village. So he imposed as a penance on every woman who had gone wrong that she should plant a walnut tree on the common.

he had squandered a little money. veiled and sly reproaches. when the big steamers were returning from unknown and distant countries. and taking off her gloves in order not to spoil them. I knew every detail of his life up to the day of his departure for America. for consequences alone determine the seriousness of the act. in his shirt sleeves. who were always ready first. I had heard about him since childhood. My father worked hard. as if something of extreme importance depended upon their appearance. his silk hat on his head. I felt his helpless suffering. With rich people a man who amuses himself only sows his wild oats. that is to say. Uncle Jules had visibly diminished the inheritance on which my father had counted. Then. came home late from the office. . according to the custom of the times. They moved slowly. All our provisions were bought at bargain sales. They say it is wholesome and nourishing. They were of marriageable age and had to be displayed. would await the signal for leaving. would offer his arm to my mother. "My mother suffered a good deal from our reduced circumstances. My sisters made their own gowns. was the only hope of the family. but at the last minute some one always found a spot on my father's frock coat. and she often had harsh words for her husband. and it had to be wiped away quickly with a rag moistened with benzine. decked out and beribboned like a ship on a holiday. a rascal. I remember the pompous air of my poor parents in these Sunday walks. "Well. high hat and kid gloves. would make haste. although this period of his life was spoken of only in hushed tones. "Every Sunday. a scamp. my father's brother."My family. prepared with every kind of sauce. their bodies straight. My sisters marched on ahead. after he had swallowed his own to the last penny. arm in arm. "I used to go through terrible scenes on account of lost buttons and torn trousers. would await the completion of the operation. with a serious expression. I had two sisters. as if to wipe away perspiration which did not exist. "It seems that he had led a bad life. and never would accept an invitation to dinner. "Then we set out ceremoniously. My sisters. their stiff walk. Our meals usually consisted cf soup and beef. I walked on the left of my mother and my father on her right. and long discussions would arise on the price of a piece of braid worth fifteen centimes a yard. but I should have preferred a change. while my mother. in a frock coat. and it seemed to me that I should recognize him immediately. We economized on everything. is one of the greatest crimes. and earned very little. "Every Sunday. my father would invariably utter the same words: "'What a surprise it would be if Jules were on that one! Eh?' "My Uncle Jules.for-nothing. he had been shipped off to America on a freighter going from Havre to New York. "My father. was not rich. knowing as much about him as I did. we would take our walk along the breakwater. which came originally from Havre. My father. in a poor family. and he would answer nothing. putting on her spectacles. their legs stiff. although the action be the same. which action. after being its only fear. so as not to have to return the courtesy. their stern expression. And this distinction is just. But among needy families a boy who forces his parents to break into the capital becomes a good. dressed in our best. He would pass his open hand over his forehead. The poor man then made a gesture which used to distress me. He is what is generally called a sport. We just managed to make both ends meet.

with a two hours' sail. I may be away for several years without sending you any news. which was shown him one evening. and that was a great grief to every one. also. There is one who knew how to get along!' "And every Sunday. was our sole anticipation. we were even to buy a little house with my uncle's money --a little place in the country near Ingouville.' "This letter became the gospel of the family. I am writing to tell you not to worry about my health. and my mother. suddenly became a good man. He was a clerk. our position will be different. In fact. I leave to-morrow for a long trip to South America. "The elder of my sisters was then twenty-eight. the constant thought of our minds. true and honest like all the Davranches. Thus. as this little island belongs to England. one crosses a strip of sea in a steamer and lands on foreign soil. I have always been morally certain that Uncle Jules' letter. a kind-hearted fellow. I wouldn't swear that my father had not already begun negotiations. If I shouldn't write. bewildered. This letter caused a profound emotion in the family. Business is good. Jules. and it was shown to everybody. When my fortune is made I shall return to Havre. but as time went on my father's hope grew. "Two years later a second letter came. I hope that it will not be too long and that we shall all live happily together . had swept away the young man's hesitation and definitely decided him. who up to that time had not been worth his salt. . "For ten years nothing was heard from Uncle Jules. I see it as plainly as if it had happened yesterday."Once there. not rich. the other twenty-six. can observe a neighboring people at home and study their customs. . while watching the big steamers approaching from the horizon. "One of the captains told us that he had rented a large shop and was doing an important business. "This trip to Jersey completely absorbed our ideas. "At last a suitor presented himself for the younger one. "At last we left. often said: "'When that good Jules is here. "Jersey is the ideal trip for poor people. It is not far. "He was accepted eagerly. my uncle began to sell something or other. and he soon wrote that he was making a little money and that he soon hoped to be able to indemnify my father for the harm he had done him. They were not yet married. pouring out a stream of smoke. was superintending the loading of our three pieces of . my father. and it was decided that after the wedding the whole family should take a trip to Jersey. but honorable. a Frenchman. It was read on the slightest provocation. saying: 'My dear Philippe. don't worry. my father would repeat his eternal question: "'What a surprise it would be if Jules were on that one! Eh?' "We almost expected to see him waving his handkerchief and crying: "'Hey! Philippe!' "Thousands of schemes had been planned on the strength of this expected return. The boat was getting up steam against the quay at Granville. . which is excellent.

I heard my mother mutter: "'He would do far better to keep quiet. which had that morning been very carefully cleaned.' "Bewildered. I should think it was he. who always stayed behind. and quickly came toward us. turning toward me. behind us came the bride and groom. and my father showed my sisters how to eat them without spilling the liquor. They ate them in a dainty manner. it would make them sick. but my two sisters immediately accepted. "The two ladies had just left. with a peculiar look.' "But. suddenly. "My father was swelling out his chest in the breeze. finding this discrimination unjust. refined. He seemed very pale. and. If I did not know that he was well off in America. a thing that often made me turn round. Offer the children some. he retreated a few steps. who would then offer them to the ladies. An old. leaving the breakwater. beneath his frock coat. nervous. stared at his family gathered around the old shell opener. like the last chicken of a brood. In a low voice he said to my mother: "'It's extraordinary how that man opening the oysters looks like Jules. my mother asked: "'What Jules?' "My father continued: "'Why. and he spread around him that odor of benzine which always made me recognize Sunday. Then they would drink the liquid with a rapid little motion and throw the shell overboard. my mother stammered: . I watched my father as he pompously conducted my two sisters and his son-in-law toward the ragged old sailor. forged ahead through a sea as flat as a marble table. and the vessel. happy and proud. We watched the coast disappear in the distance.baggage.' "However. and seized an oyster. but not too much. "The whistle sounded. Boys shouldn't be spoiled. had taken the arm of my unmarried sister. "My father was probably pleased with this delicate manner of eating oysters on a moving ship. ragged sailor was opening them with his knife and passing them to the gentlemen. He considered it good form. going up to my mother and sisters. my father appeared to be worried. he asked: "'Would you like me to offer you some oysters?' "My mother hesitated on account of the expense. We got on board. who seemed lost since the departure of the other one. He attempted to imitate the ladies. my mother. my brother. like all who do not travel much. I remained beside my mother. He even tried to give them an example. and immediately spilled all the liquid over his coat.' Then. Suddenly he noticed two elegantly dressed ladies to whom two gentlemen were offering oysters. he doesn't need any. holding the shell on a fine handkerchief and advancing their mouths a little in order not to spot their dresses. My mother said in a provoked manner: "'I am afraid that they will hurt my stomach. she added: "'As for Joseph.' "Astonished.

Do you know anything about him?' "The captain. He was old.' "He sank down on a bench and stammered: "'It's he! It's he!' "Then he asked: "'What are we going to do?' "She answered quickly: . and did not lift his eyes from his work. captain. I. He returned to my mother so upset that she said to him: "'Sit down. a tall. some one will notice that something is the matter. his eyes haggard. I felt strangely moved. It seems that he has some relatives in Havre. I noticed that she was trembling. and questioned him about his profession. etc."'You are crazy! As long as you know that it is not he. "My mother returned. his throat contracted. It seems that he was once rich over there. "My father addressed him ceremoniously. was watching the man. dirty. I'm not in the least surprised. was walking along the bridge with an important air as if he were commanding the Indian mail steamer.. Why don't you ask the captain? But be very careful that we don't have this rogue on our hands again!' "My father walked away. thin man.' "He went away. Thank you very much. wrinkled. She exclaimed quickly: "'I believe that it is he.' "My father turned ashy pale and muttered. "The captain.' "She arose and walked to her daughters. and the astonished sailor watched him disappear. His name is Jules--Jules Darmanche or Darvanche or something like that. and I brought him back. Clarisse! I would rather have you see with your own eyes. "'Ah! ah! very well. very well. but I followed him. but that he doesn't wish to return to them because he owes them money. with blond whiskers. but you can see what's left of him now. whom this conversation began to weary. answered dryly: "'He is some old French tramp whom I found last year in America. why do you say such foolish things?' "But my father insisted: "'Go on over and see. adding many compliments: "'What might be the importance of Jersey? What did it produce? What was the population? The customs? The nature of the soil?' etc. too. "'You have there an old shell opener who seems quite interesting.

She added: "'Give Joseph some money so that he can pay for the oysters. it was a poor. When I returned the two francs to my father. to that vagabond--' . Since Joseph knows everything.' "I held out my five francs and he returned the change. as he always did when his wife reproached him.' "My father seemed absolutely bewildered. my mother asked me in surprise: "'Was there three francs' worth? That is impossible. I couldn't help thinking that he must have begged over there! My sisters looked at me. That would be very pleasant! Let's get down to the other end of the boat. my sisters were awaiting their father. and."'We must get the children out of the way. We must take good care that our son. All that it needed to cap the climax would be to be recognized by that beggar. and I looked at his face. and take care that that man doesn't come near us!' "They gave me five francs and walked away.' "I answered in a firm voice "'I gave ten cents as a tip. "Astonished. and I asked the shell opener: "'How much do we owe you. He murmured: "'What a catastrophe!' "Suddenly growing furious. monsieur?' "I felt like laughing: he was my uncle! He answered: "'Two francs fifty.' "My mother started. my young sir!' "He spoke like a poor man receiving alms. staring at me. my mother exclaimed: "'I always thought that that thief never would do anything. the brother of my father.in-law doesn't find out. I said to myself: "'That is my uncle. sailor's hand. and that he would drop down on us again! As if one could expect anything from a Davranche!' "My father passed his hand over his forehead. an unhappy old face. surprised at my generosity. wrinkled. I looked at his hand. my uncle!' "I gave him a ten-cent tip. I said that mamma had felt a sudden attack of seasickness. he can go and get them. He thanked me: "'God bless you. she exclaimed: "'You must be crazy! Give ten cents to that man.

" "My dear boy. if you declare that it is indispensable to all political ambitions because it changes all its members into electoral agents. I see no harm in it. Instead of destroying." The only difference consists in the tickling. Protestant. if you admitted only Freethinkers among you. forgetting that the latter action showed a belief after all. on the distant horizon. And then." "Very well. and would then touch a piece of iron when the priest's back was turned. and I maintain it. That is my opinion. something tender. or Mohammedan. with a wink. I will grant it. "You old idiot! it is just that which I am blaming you for. Now." my uncle would reply. What is their object? Mutual help to be obtained by tickling the palms of each other's hands. a purple shadow seemed to rise out of the sea. He would shake his fist and make grimaces at him. one should have all or none at all. having probably gone below to the dirty hold which was the home of the poor wretch. of those who are demolishing all deities. . to drill them to go to the polls as soldiers are sent under fire. even the leaders of the party. you are very clever! If you tell me that Freemasonry is an election machine. Then everybody was silent. Freemasonry is the stronghold. I myself am a Freethinker. it is only a case of lowering prices. but it does not seem worth while to make such a fuss about lending a poor devil half a crown. Russian. Roman." I would reply--in my heart I felt inclined to say. I think it is an extremely weak one." My Uncle Sosthenes Search on this Page: þÿ Some people are Freethinkers from sheer stupidity. to say to him something consoling. if we must have any religion at all. My Uncle Sosthenes was one of these. But as no one was eating any more oysters. be they Catholic. "we are most to be dreaded in politics. who was pointing at his son-in. You have a number of Catholics among you. and I used to declare that they are stupider than old women devotees."She stopped at a look from my father. Free Thought will kill clericalism.' But when you tell me that it serves to undermine the monarchical spirit. but feel no anger toward places of worship. If you call a society with such an organization a bulwark against clericalism. if you say that it is only used to hoodwink people. slowly and surely we are everywhere undermining the monarchical spirit. Apostolic. Greek. I agree with you. my dear uncle. Jewish. The very sight of a priest threw my uncle into a violent rage. I can only laugh in your face. I should say to you: 'That is as clear as the sun. the old one is good enough for me. Buddhist. he had disappeared. you are organizing competition. To all my arguments my uncle's reply used to be: "We are raising up a religion against a religion. the belief in the evil eye. I revolt at all dogmas. "As we approached the breakwater a violent desire seized me once more to see my Uncle Jules. Some people are often religious for the same reason." Then I broke out: "Yes. to be near him.law. Pius IX is said to have been one of you before he became pope. I could understand it. I will never deny that it is used as a machine to control candidates of all shades. when beliefs are unreasonable. "Before us. for they put into practice the Christian precept: "Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you. It was Jersey. but you admit anybody. My uncle was a Freemason.

in our town there really was an old Jesuit who was my uncle's detestation. Why should you manifest? What does it matter to you if people do not eat any meat?" But my uncle would not be persuaded. in a manner as if to say: "We know all about it. and as he was going to pay the bill I had certainly. Every time he met him. and through my fault. and at ten o'clock we had not yet finished. each of them filled with a different liqueur. and one could easily foresee that his anti. Then my uncle proposed what he was in the habit of calling "the archbishop's circuit. you toad. and this was how it happened. one after another. or if he only saw him at a distance." "You are quite right. as you call it. and of drinking to each other. is an idiotic idea. At four o'clock we took a conspicuous place in the most frequented restaurant in the town. he used to say: "Get away.clerical demonstration would end in a terrible fit of indigestion. mysterious signs. ." Each man put six small glasses in front of him."Just consider that gigantic and secret democratic association which had Prince Napoleon for its grand master under the Empire. being rather drunk myself. with a cheerful drunkenness. "but all these persons are serving our projects without guessing it. but my uncle thought it was very suitable to the occasion. no scruples about manifesting. Now." my uncle said. So we had to take him home in a cab and put him to bed. which has the Crown Prince for its grand master in Germany. while one of the waiters counted twenty. He asked three of his friends to dine with him at one of the best restaurants in the town. We sat down punctually. On meeting they shook hands in a manner that was irresistibly funny. with his favorite chitterlings and black puddings. still wine and four of champagne." My uncle spoke quite truly. indeed a sight to see my uncle when he had a Freemason to dinner. I resisted as much as I could. I feel sure of it. the Czar's brother in Russia. a real dinner. taking my arm. and they had all to be emptied at one gulp. It was close on Holy Week. It was. he would whisper to me: "See here. Then my uncle would take his friend into a corner to tell him something important. and my uncle made up his mind to give a dinner on Good Friday." And then. a Machiavellian idea struck me which satisfied all my sceptical instincts. At eleven o'clock he was as drunk as a fly. don't we?" And to think that there are millions on the face of the globe who are amused at such monkey tricks! I would sooner be a Jesuit. and said: "I shall eat meat on that day. quite by myself. however. that fellow will play me a trick some day or other. and at dinner they had a peculiar way of looking at each other. and to which the Prince of Wales and King Humbert. Your manifestation. and nearly all the crowned heads of the globe belong. but at home." I felt inclined to tell him he was talking a pack of nonsense. It was very stupid. after all. As I was going back to my lodgings. Five of us had drunk eighteen bottles of choice. and my uncle ordered dinner in a loud voice for six o'clock. one could see that they were going through a series of secret.

said to me: "Wait a moment. what disputes. and came down without his cassock. but I knew that he would scarcely be able to move an arm. I told him in a breathless voice that my uncle. explained matters to him. and almost trembling. what a hubbub. and open the door. and said half aloud: "Oh. despairing. I even refused to come and fetch you. We were utterly astonished. not venturing to go into the house myself. he wishes it. The priest consented and went off quickly. and what would be the issue of the situation. and I thought: "They are having an argument. so as to be able to cross the dreaded threshold at peace with himself. two. . and I noticed that the Jesuit stayed a long time. kind man put on his trousers as quickly as he could.I arranged my necktie. knocked at my uncle's door. and fearing it was going to be something serious. much to his amusement and astonishment." But I replied: "Pardon me. and I added in a mocking tone: "At any rate. I was very uneasy. and went and. my uncle would have halfmurdered the Jesuit. and still the reverend father did not come out. and. I hid under a neighboring gateway to wait results. a poor. and was soon let in. I shouted out at the top of my voice: "Make haste. and to confess." The good. What had happened? Had my uncle died in a fit when he saw him. At two o'clock I. went to one of my friends who lived opposite. and wished to see the priest and talk to him. Had he been well. delighted. At last the day broke. my son. but at length appeared at his window in a cotton nightcap and asked what I wanted. if I do not go with you. to have his advice and comfort. and I saw the black cassock disappear within that stronghold of Free Thought. I suppose. reverend father. three hours passed. rang loudly at the old Jesuit's door. and I got a little sleep. or had he killed the cassocked gentleman? Perhaps they had mutually devoured each other? This last supposition appeared very unlikely. for I fancied that my uncle was quite incapable of swallowing a grain more nourishment at that moment. As he was deaf he made me wait a longish while. which my uncle's indignation would render still more tragic? I laughed till my sides ached. the Freethinker. he had been seized with a sudden dread of death. I will come with you. but to declare that you had a presentiment--a sort of revelation of his illness. to make his peace with the Church. I woke him up. who was startled. replaced him. and if it does him no good it can do him no harm. and I asked myself gleefully what sort of a scene would take place between these antagonists. so I beg you not to say that you have seen me." The old Jesuit. and took possession of his window. what arguments. but my convictions will not allow me to do so. what a joke. reverend sir. had been taken suddenly ill. in my turn. sick man is in need of your spiritual ministrations. At nine o'clock he relieved me." One. what a joke!" Meanwhile it was getting very cold. put on a look of great distress.

so as not to burst out laughing. and we saw him go away with a quiet step. Then. and when the servant opened it I did not dare to ask her any questions. "Why. with weary. really!" "Yes. those men all know a little of medicine. and then added: . nearly dead. but went upstairs without saying a word. He had it at a table by my bedside while I drank a cup of tea. with a very happy and satisfied look on his face." I pretended to sneeze. as if I had said something very uncalled for. a Freemason? You did not have him thrown out of doors?" He seemed confused. A little religious picture was fastened to one of the bed curtains with a pin. I have been very ill. In about a minute I managed to say indignantly: "And you received him." I was seized with an almost uncontrollable desire to laugh. it seems he knew him formerly. pale and exhausted." I said. I was a revelation. and with difficulty said: "Oh. uncle? But that is no reason for receiving a Jesuit." "And he ate meat?" My uncle looked vexed. a Freethinker. "in bed still? Are you not well?" He replied in a feeble voice: "Oh." "I know that. uncle? You. that excellent man whom I have made such fun of--had a divine revelation of my state. uncle?" "I don't know." "Your father. and stammered: "Listen a moment. it is so astonishing--so astonishing and providential! He also spoke to me about my father. because I was going to die. I kept him to breakfast after all his kindness." "That is quite true. on his bed. it was most surprising. uncle. He heard a voice telling him to get up and come to me. I felt inclined to roll on the ground with amusement. my dear boy. timid and ashamed. and came to see me. I went and knocked at the door of my uncle's house. sorrowful eyes and heavy arms." "Oh! he looked after you all night? But you said just now that he had only been gone a very short time.At six o'clock the Jesuit left. no doubt he saved my life. My uncle was lying. but I was very ill. he came. and he looked after me most devotedly all night long. He was perfect. But what is stranger still is that the Jesuit priest who has just left-you know." "How was that.

and which was not by any means badly written. and what did you do after breakfast?" "We played a game of bezique." I went out. and no. you are a renegade." He was still rather confused. but the worst of it is that he has just made his will--yes. stir up those old and joyful memories which bring a smile to the lip and a tremor to the heart. to-morrow. and is rather a book of travels and adventures. they would talk of everything. and each one said with a sincere air: "Oh. and then he repeated his breviary while I read a little book which he happened to have in his pocket. It is the history of their missions in Central Africa. to me it is all the same. such things are out of place at times. "I don't--I don't know exactly. or. altogether overwhelmed. so I got up. uncle. the weather is warm. You return married!" . do you remember our excursion to Saint-Germain with those two little girls from Montmartre?" "I should say I do!" And a little detail here or there would be remembered." I said. and if that had been all I should not have cared so much. you go to the country. perhaps." "When is your Jesuit coming back?" I asked. and then. They would eat for a long time. and I expect to have his convictions respected. "I see you are going to give up Freemasonry for religion. uncle. Clerical or Freemason. and all these things brought joy to the hearts. "Well. One of them was saying: "Georges. you meet a young girl at some friend's house--crash! all is over. uncle?" "Yes. What these men have done is very grand."Don't joke. if it were to do over again!" Georges Duportin added: "It's strange how easily one falls into it. You have fully decided never to marry. My joke turned out very badly for me! My uncle became thoroughly converted. but I answered." "A religious book. in the springtime." I began to feel that matters were going badly. nevertheless: "Very well. but it is not certain. but religion is a sort of Freemasonry. six of one and half a dozen of the other. Gaston. and stammered: "Well." This rather upset me. These men still came together once in a while without their wives as they had done when they were bachelors. made his will--and he has disinherited me in favor of that rascally Jesuit! My Wife Search on this Page: þÿ It had been a stag dinner. the summer is beautiful.by. drink for a long time. The conversation turned on marriage. rather--no. the fields are full of flowers. good. He has shown me more devotion than many a relation would have done.

for the occasion. bored me to death. Farmers and peasant girls were jumping about in a circle yelling at the top of their lungs a dance air which was feebly accompanied by two violins and a clarinet. but I certainly married her much against my will. butter. blond. Young girls seemed to me to be inane. you have no cause to complain. panting peasant woman and I jumped her about until I was out of breath. On a table were bread. dragged me into the park. but tomorrow I'll get out. I must admit that I was probably a little tipsy.Pierre Letoile exclaimed: "Correct! that is exactly my case. daughter of a retired colonel. and jumped about heavily with the grace of cows. and the parched dancers. Two men were kept busy rinsing the glasses or bowls in a bucket and immediately holding them under the spigots. "I grabbed the hand of a big. pretty." The other one continued: "It's not my fault. and I loved pleasure. in Normandy." "Nonsense!" "Yes--this is the adventure. amiable. "During the month of May I was invited to the wedding of my cousin. with a Mademoiselle Dumoulin. contained drinks for the crowd. perfect! You are undoubtedly the happiest one of us all. interrupted by the unrestrained voices. surrounded by flaming torches. and under the starlit sky this healthy and violent exercise was a pleasing sight. well formed. and I began to bounce around as if possessed. ." "How so?" "It is true that I have a perfect wife. Simon d'Erabel. I had been paired off. the girls panting. came up. and the weak music. and I had no more idea of marrying than I had of hanging myself. We sat down at the table at five o'clock in the evening and at eleven o'clock we were still eating. I was thirty-five. The boys. the girls all wished to dance with me. delighted. soldierly person. It was a regular Normandy wedding. That's all there is to it!' "Toward eleven o'clock at night the women retired to their rooms. threw back their heads and poured down their throats the drink which they preferred. Each one would step up from time to time and swallow a mouthful. the old ones quietly. and made one also feel like drinking from these enormous casks and eating the crisp bread and butter with a raw onion. smoking while they drank or drinking while they smoked. I said to myself: 'That's all very well for to-day. a young. I swallowed a bowlful of cider. "I was very light on my feet. but I was soon entirely so. and I left my companions. made me dance willy-nilly. cheese and sausages. only there were some peculiar incidents--" His friend interrupted him: "As for you. Two enormous casks. In order to refresh myself afterward. She took complete possession of me for the whole day. seemed to come to us in little f