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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet. rushed into the room he found his master lying dead upon his back. The pistol had been left loaded by some chance. then. he sat down at his table to write some letters." He looked at the little black. and yet. Then he said to himself: "It is impossible. he thought of dishonor. and took down Chateauvillard's Rules of Dueling. opening his mouth wide. and had made a great crimson stain beneath the words: . the contempt of women. but. some oversight. and the weapon shook in his grasp. in presence of his opponent. he knew. Every now and then his teeth chattered audibly. of the whispers at the clubs. the smiles in his friends' drawing-rooms."Thank you. death-spitting hole at the end of the pistol. he suddenly plunged the barrel of the pistol as far back as his throat. When the valet. Next he stood in the correct attitude for firing. 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. What. and raising the hammer. the veiled sneers of the newspapers. hounded out of society! And he felt. He tried to conjure up a picture of the duel. When he had traced at the top of a sheet of paper the words: "This is my last will and testament. When he was once more alone he felt as though he should go mad. he would be ruined forever. unmoved demeanor. and pressed the trigger. I cannot fight like this. and searched it from end to end. he knew not why. Georges Lamil was not mentioned. And yet he was brave. in spite of the exertion of all his will power. if he were not an adept." "You're all right?" asked the colonel. saw the glitter of the priming below it. "Quite calm?" "Perfectly calm. of decision in regard to anything. He would be branded. thank you. since the thought that followed was not even rounded to a finish in his mind. So he was going to fight! He could no longer avoid it. A spurt of blood had splashed the white paper on the table. he was fully determined to fight. and took from it a pistol. And the discovery rejoiced him. He still looked at the weapon. His servant having lighted the lamps. He thought he would read. possessed him? He wished to fight." he started from his seat. If he did not maintain." The two men withdrew. and that of his enemy. his own attitude. in spite of all his mental effort. stigmatized as a coward. and raised his arm. 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. But he was trembling from head to foot. feeling himself incapable of connected thought. the insults that would be hurled at him by cowards. alarmed at the report. 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. that he could not maintain that calm.

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

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

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

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

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

blue. I shall not die until I am very old. white. as it were an earnest of old age for himself. He immediately left off wearing light trousers and fancy waistcoats. The proprietor. she had frequent and prolonged fainting fits. first of all. was always the same. unless I meet with an accident. but because the long duration of his mother's life was. of which he formed a part. his two fat. He got shaved every morning. he said. Caravan grew quite tender-hearted when he mentioned her great age. majestic and condescending. Then." as Chenet called it to himself. which both of them were in the habit of frequenting. and I am sure that. who did not speak again until the tram put them down at their destination. his short. flabby legs. perhaps. changed his linen every two days. and raising the white Panama hat from his head. and from that day he was another Caravan. she would not take care of herself. various local abuses which disgusted them both. and wore black trousers and long coats. which.He knew nothing more about Paris than a blind man might know who was led to the same spot by his dog every day. which they shook across the bottles of the counter. being only an Offcier de Sante--whether he had often met anyone as old as that. and altogether changed him. in the semi-military public offices. and on that day they discussed. on which his ribbon. and glanced for a moment at his neighbor's red face." This rather upset Caravan. and when he went through the Avenue of the Champs-Elysees every evening. They . from the Arc de Triomphe to Neuilly. 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. for he was not fond of innovations. That unexpected dignity gave him a high and new idea of his own capacities. and Chenet asked his friend to have a glass of vermouth at the Cafe du Globe. thick neck. and I should say that your life is not a very good one. "my cross. and he had become so proud of it." at every moment. they appeared to him like fantastic tales. loyal services--of unfortunate convicts who are riveted to their desk." and he bore Chenet a particular grudge. and out of respect for the national Order. and at the stream of carriages. He did not read the political news. His mother had been causing him no little anxiety for some time. opposite. and then they joined three of their friends. that he could not bear to see men wearing any other ribbon in their button-holes. As he had completed his thirty years of obligatory service that year. as he met him on a tram-car every evening. although she was ninety. he said with a snigger: "I am not so sure of that. held out to them two fingers. from a legitimate sense of what was proper. who were playing dominoes. who was a friend of theirs. that he cared very much about seeing the good woman last forever here on earth. as invariably happens in the company of medical man Caravan began to enlarge on the chapter of illness. his "corporation. which his paper frequently altered as the cause which subsidized it might require. and he continued: "In my family. or green. where the two friends got out. which some pressman had made up out of his own head. And he rubbed his hands with pleasure. if he was careful not to show his hand. showed off better. and. At home. and the Mayor of Neuilly received his full share of their censure. and if he read the account of any uncommon events or scandals in his penny paper. your mother is as tough as nails. he had had the cross of the Legion of Honor bestowed upon him. not. old fellow. scrupulously clean. emphasizing the word doctor--although he was not fully qualified. which was very broad. orange. and who had been there since midday. he hoped to obtain a little gratuitous advice. on the first of January. we last long. he looked at the surging crowd of pedestrians. in order to amuse the inferior employees. and more than once asked Doctor Chenet. and the apoplectic rotundity of the old official. The conversation of the two men. as in that manner. wearing a decoration of one kind or another. manicured his nails more carefully. is a recompense for the miserable slavery--the official phrase is." The doctor looked at him with pity.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyone can see her. I want damages. I said: 'Look out. he stood for a minute bewildered at the glory of the setting sun. 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. I will catch her all right.' "We measured."To be brief. bookkeeper for Messieurs Labuze and Company. The jury. she will be of value. A beautiful woman she certainly was not. He was now making three thousand francs a year. as deep as a well. for there she is. It was always damp and cold. is it not. as his means did not allow him the luxury of a wife. but never mind. For forty years Monsieur Leras had been arriving every morning in this prison at eight o'clock.' I understand the matter.' "He replied: 'Do not be afraid. Brument went home to the domestic roof accompanied by his wife. That would have kept on till the Day of judgment. in consternation. "Then came the gendarmes! They swore at us. it being in liquids. I hit back. Not four pailfuls. and bawled again. and from this hole on which his window opened came the musty odor of a sewer. A Stroll When Old Man Leras. writing with the industry of a good clerk. retired to deliberate. handsome or ugly. he resumed: "In short. I will measure the deficit. it is all the same. Brument exclaimed: 'Nothing doing. "When that was done she ran away. I even let her keep on her chemise and stockings. "She told you about the proceeding. they took us off to prison. and establishing the precise limitations of business transactions. and as he had never enjoyed anything. Brument! she is escaping. to my own disadvantage. Ha!" The witness began to laugh so persistently that a gendarme was obliged to punch him in the back. Ha. He had remained a bachelor." He sat down. He had worked all day in the yellow light of a small jet of gas. Ha. Brument confirmed in every particular the statements of his accomplice. with some severe strictures on the dignity of marriage. seeing we were both drunk. on a narrow court. having started at fifteen hundred. that is not enough. At the end of an hour they returned a verdict of acquittal for the defendants. and he would remain there until seven at night. She will have to come back to sleep. Having quieted down.Cornu went back to his business.' I bawled and bawled. bending over his books. we reached his house and I took a look at its mistress. he punched me. far in the back of the store. he . I said to myself: 'She will not measure four hundred litres. monsieur le president?' And then I saw that she was as thin as a rail. left the store. I said to myself: 'I am disappointed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All were anxious to know what had happened. All waited for her return before commencing the meal. but she declined to enlighten them. crimson with indignation. she silenced him with much dignity. the Loiseaus and the nuns drank it from motives of economy." She left the room. the matter has nothing to do with you. Monsieur and Madame Follenvie dined at the end of the table." She hesitated. and he looked for all the world as if he were fulfilling the only function for which he was born. she . When he drank. and then declared roundly: "That may be. lectured. 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. and at last convinced. In spite of this coincidence. It never pays to resist those in authority. and each mentally rehearsed platitudes in case of being summoned also. was too short-winded to talk when he was eating. The man." They moved restlessly around her. the Prussian officer wishes to speak to you immediately. his eyes positively squinted in the endeavor not to lose sight of the beloved glass." "To me?" "Yes. and when the count pressed the point. but I'm not going. every one was afraid of the complications which might result from headstrong action on her part. madame. wheezing like a broken-down locomotive. if you are Mademoiselle Elisabeth Rousset. "And we are grateful to you. The others ordered wine. from which issued an odor of cabbage. saying: "No. reflected a moment. The count approached: "You are wrong. But the wife was not silent a moment." Then they took their places round a high soup tureen. every one wondered and speculated as to the cause of this order. Boule de Suif was begged. But at the end of ten minutes she reappeared breathing hard. which matched the color of his favorite beverage. it has probably been made because some formality or other was forgotten. and I cannot speak of it. Your compliance with this request cannot possibly be fraught with any danger. 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. his great beard. for your refusal may bring trouble not only on yourself but also on all your companions. Each was distressed that he or she had not been sent for rather than this impulsive. He had his own fashion of uncorking the bottle and making the beer foam."Mademoiselle. the supper was cheerful. Cornudet demanded beer. quick-tempered girl. urged. She said finally: "I am doing it for your sakes." All added their voices to that of the count. "Oh! the scoundrel! the scoundrel!" she stammered. remember that!" The countess took her hand. seemed to tremble with affection. The cider was good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and I went to him to ask the name of the proprietor of this jewel. Perhaps. solitary being had discovered this spot and created this dream house. intoxicating triumph and heartrending despair. and which is called the "Shell of Gold. to love each other in that antique island. caused throughout France. pink or yellow clusters framed each window. And she was there. I had heard them speak of this great actress. who had attained through her musical periods that are alive in the memories of all. it was so pretty: a small white house with brown trimmings. big pots flanked each side of every step of the porch. long ago. as was the fashion then. of all colors and all kinds.chalets. Now he was dead. mixed in a coquettish. they had crossed the sea. cheek to cheek. had a garland of enormous red bells." People told of their ascension of Mount Etna and how they had leaned over the immense crater. in a post-chaise. Behind the house I saw a long avenue of orange trees in blossom. The lawn was full of them. Over the door appeared the name. the heads of a whole generation." in small gold letters. well-planned disorder. overrun with rambler roses up to the top. periods of triumph and of despair. 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. which seemed to nestle in a nosegay. as if to throw themselves into the very abyss. A workman was breaking stones up the street. what inspired. the rival of Rachel. and the terrace with the stone balustrade. 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. so subtle and so mysterious that they opened a new world to the younger poets. in that house veiled by flowers. I did not hesitate. Julie Romain! In my childhood. and had recalled her eleven times in succession. arm in arm. "Villa d'Antan. seventy. which enclosed this pretty little dwelling. seventy-five! Julie Romain here. after her rupture with the former. but rang the bell. "It is Madame Julie Romain. in that immense orange wood which surrounds Palermo. A small servant answered. She had gone away with the poet. where the audience had applauded her for a whole half hour. The garden was a mass of flowers. that maker of verses so touching and so profound that they turned. begging her to receive me. like drops of blood. after a premiere. the daughter of Greece. I asked myself what poet or what fairy was living there. She had left one evening. The other one also was dead--the deserted one. if she knew my name. which went up to the foot of the mountain. . I wrote in pencil on my card a gallant compliment to the actress. she would open her door to me." he replied. a boy of eighteen with awkward mien and clumsy hands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He stooped forward in order to take off the handkerchief which covered her face. he ordered the postman to be sent up to him. called by Monsieur Renardet an electioneering circuit. for more than two hundred years. if such proof were there it might lose its value if touched by an awkward hand. in accordance with family traditions. It was called the Fox's tower." Mederic was recognized as a man of standing and authority. all but noble. and extended his hand toward her foot. felt his heart in his mouth. Mederic found the mayor seated at a long table covered with scattered papers. He was a large. had extricated him. as he said himself afterward. Pale and out of breath. but again another thought held him back. 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. If the little girl were still alive. He sank on his knees very gently. and his mouth parched. Rising up abruptly. it was said. . For the Renardets formed part of the upper middle class. he lived on his estate like a country gentleman. very old. and exclaimed: "Is the mayor up? I want to speak to him at once. filled with letters and newspapers. like indulgent and prudent friends. who stopped over in the village during an administrative circuit. passed through a neighbor's property? Had he not even caught by the collar the sub-prefect. and had stood many a siege in former days. borne by the owners of this fief. 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. gun in hand. Perhaps under this handkerchief evidence could be found to sustain a charge of murder. he rushed off under the trees toward Monsieur Renardet's house. with the terrible coldness of death which leaves us no longer in doubt. Almost forty years old and a widower for the past six months. then paused. he could not leave her lying there in this way. It was a big square house of gray stone. The letter carrier. for he was opposed to the government. with outstretched hand. with his cap in his hand. Then he raised himself with the intention of hastening toward the mayor's residence. his hands clenched and his head thrust forward. restrained by an idea that occurred to him. As soon as word was brought to Monsieur Renardet. by any chance. with his stick under his arm. without any one knowing exactly why. rising out of the water. to be met with so often in the province before the Revolution. as he touched her. and at the end of it was a huge tower. Micmac? Had he not broken the ribs of a gamekeeper who abused him for having. The mayor's residence was at the end of the wood which served as a park. and was greatly liked in the district. kept flapping at his side. heavy and red-faced. and from this appellation. strong as an ox. and they understood that something serious had happened. no doubt. through precaution. in fact. which had remained in the same family. It was icy cold. The postman dashed into the kitchen. had come the name Renardet. although of an excessively violent disposition. tall man. while his leathern bag. twenty metres high. a little distance from her. where the servants were taking breakfast. He walked on faster than ever. From the top of this fortress one could formerly see all the surrounding country. His choleric temperament had often brought him into trouble from which the magistrates of Roiiy-le-Tors.her name. and one side of it was washed by the Brindille.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a kind of stigma attached to her. however. more exasperated. this Miss Harriet. threw doubts into some minds. because he had served in Africa in his youth. render the charming cities of the Mediterranean uninhabitable. I adore him in all nature. of which England produces so many. but God does not wish the death of the sinner. It was asserted. simply to throw it back into the sea again. I admire him in all creation. The cure. "Madame Lecacheur. responded: "'She is a heretic. who had been consulted by Madame Lecacheur. "In. however. "One day I asked Mother Lecacheur : 'Well.' experiencing a singular pleasure in pronouncing aloud this word on perceiving her. I myself never called her anything now but 'the demoniac. Oh. He said with a roguish air: 'She is an old hag who has seen life. 'atheist. their indescribable toilets and a certain odor of india-rubber which makes one believe that at night they are slipped into a rubber casing. and I believe her to be a person of pure morals. entertained other opinions. 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. In fact. She said: 'That woman is a demoniac. one of those good and insupportable old maids who haunt the tables d'hote of every hotel in Europe. "Whenever I caught sight of one of these individuals in a hotel I fled like the birds who see a scarecrow in a field. poison Switzerland. She had found a phrase by which to describe her. one of those people of exalted principles. The sailor from whom she had bought it. applied to that austere and sentimental creature. one of those opinionated puritans. 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.' . when walking along the shore she bought a large fish which had just been caught."'I love the Saviour more than all. who was called Sapeur. what is our demoniac about to.' "And she would immediately present the old woman with one of her tracts which were destined to convert the universe. If that is not profanation I should like to know what is!' "On another occasion. yes! She was indeed a demoniac. a term of contempt that rose to her lips. the village she was not liked.' words which no one can precisely define.day?' "To which my rustic friend replied with a shocked air: "'What do you think. the schoolmaster having pronounced her an atheist. called forth by I know not what confused and mysterious mental ratiocination. who spoil Italy. seemed to me irresistibly droll. Why had her family cast her off? Because of her impiety. appeared so very singular that she did not displease me.' 'heretic. hostile by instinct to everything that was not rustic. now began to swear. and Mother Lecacheur must have had an inspiration in thus christening her.' This epithet. I carry him always in my heart. felt in her narrow soul a kind of hatred for the ecstatic declarations of the old maid. indeed.' "These words. although she paid him handsomely. "The stable boy. in fact. than if she had put her hand into his pocket and taken his money. carry everywhere their fantastic manias their manners of petrified vestals. of course! "She was.

And--must I avow it?--there was. I would have liked the whole world to see it at once. 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. "We became acquainted in a rather singular manner. come here and look at this. however. fixing on me terrified eyes like those of an owl surprised in open day. which seemed to glow with inward and profound happiness. across which the sun poured like a stream of oil. there! Mrs. my old beauty. but I was never able to understand why. A first bewildering study of blazing. of a different tongue and of another religion. attracted by I know not what. exclaiming as I did so: 'Look at that. to which I was attached by a thousand links of love for its wide and peaceful landscape. She was. as it sold for ten thousand francs fifteen years later. gorgeous light. yellow and red. besides. "I was so pleased with my work that I danced from sheer delight as I carried it back to the inn. I was happy in this sequestered farm. It was as simple. beautiful. and I would go toward her. as two and two make four and was not according to academic rules.' "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. which was at my back. a demoniac! "She passed her time wandering about the country. greenish. The light fell upon the rock as though it were aflame without the sun. sitting on the grass under the shadow of an apple tree. The whole right side of my canvas represented a rock. I found her one evening on her knees in a cluster of bushes. you will not often see its like again. walking quickly with her elastic English step. the slate-colored sea. Landlady. adoring and seeking God in nature. I had just finished a study which appeared to me to be worth something. brown. the good."If the poor woman had but known! "The little kind-hearted Celeste did not wait upon her willingly. covered with sea-wrack. "I would often encounter her also in the corner of a field. far removed from everything. of another race. being visible. Having discovered something red through the leaves. not the blue sea. "On the left was the sea. her dried-up. an enormous rock. a little curiosity which retained me at the residence of Mother Lecacheur. "Sometimes. in fact. Probably her only reason was that she was a stranger. when I was working among the rocks. shouting with all my might: "'Hullo. simply to see her illuminated visage. ineffable features. That was all.' "When I had reached the house I immediately called out to Mother Lecacheur. green earth. milky and solid beneath the deep-colored sky. confused at having been found thus. and so it was. . "I could not tear myself away from that quiet country neighborhood. I brushed aside the branches. She would be gazing in rapture at the vast sea glittering in the sunlight and the boundless sky with its golden tints. but in touch with the earth. I would suddenly descry her on the edge of the cliff like a lighthouse signal. with her little religious booklet lying open on her knee while she gazed out at the distance. I can remember that I showed it to a cow that was browsing by the wayside. but a sea of jade. and Miss Harriet at once rose to her feet. Sometimes I would distinguish her at the end of the valley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1884. one after the other. M. in an unedited letter. The coachman alone had gone to sleep. July 9. It was supposed that there was an epidemic due to the condition of the water. seemed suddenly torpid. The women wept. and more euphonious. "I was at that time imperial attorney in one of the provinces. resulting from drought. is no more like an English name than like a Turkish name. and recalls the greatest facts in English history. Miss Revel. upon those lips which had never before been kissed. 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. said: "Oh! I formerly knew a very curious affair. I will ask you therefore to substitute Harriet for Hastings." Leon Chenal remained silent. had slackened their pace and moved along slowly. they looked for the causes without being able to discover them. making a bar of light across the coverlet and across her hands. when suddenly five of his pupils died. enlarged. bending over the icy corpse. From this time he seemed to bestow upon the youngsters confided to his care all the tenderness of his heart. It ended however. a little taciturn. who had been attorney general under the Empire. Hastings is as much a name as Duval is with us. where he exercised his profession. Maloureau." 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. very religious. in a strange manner. by their ceding to De Maupassant. "I opened the window to its fullest extent and drew back the curtains that the whole heavens might look in upon us. under the title of Miss Hastings. A pale light at length announced the dawn of a new day. The horses. the more so that the symptoms were so peculiar. and the title of the operetta was changed to Miss Helyett. quiet. it is Miss Harriet. The drag. and. "The name Cherbuliez selected. he had married in the district of Boislinot. one after the other. they . without terror or disgust. This is what De Maupassant wrote to Editor Havard March 15. enjoyed an excellent reputation throughout the whole country. With his own money he bought toys for his best scholars and for the good boys. The story was later revised. then a red ray streamed in on the bed. [Miss Harriet appeared in Le Gaulois. 1890 They had given this title to an operetta about to be played at the Bouffes. who was a teacher in the north of France. The awakened birds began to sing in the trees. a long kiss. This was the hour she had so much loved.] Moiron Search on this Page: þÿ As we were still talking about Pranzini. "Monsieur Moiron. he gave them little dinners and stuffed them with delicacies. candy and cakes: Everybody loved this good man with his big heart. We heard on the box seat the Count d'Atraille blowing his nose from time to time. I had to take up the case which has remained famous under the name of the Moiron case."Hours passed away in this silent and sinister communion with the dead. I imprinted a kiss. hardly advancing at all. I took in my hands the mutilated head and slowly. who no longer felt the sting of the whip. The children seemed to be attacked by a feeling of lassitude. He was a person of intelligence. who had died of consumption. He had had three children. curious for several reasons. Besides. 1883. as you will see. and partly reconstructed. as if it had been freighted with sorrow. But here is another name as English as Hastings. inasmuch as it is known all over the world.

The man appeared to be so sure of himself and in such despair that we should undoubtedly have acquitted him. The conclusion arrived at was that the two youngsters must imprudently have eaten from some carelessly cleaned receptacle. his own snuffbox. "Why should this good. An examination of the bodies was again ordered. This brute. and died in frightful suffering. they complained of pains in their stomachs. so quiet. and the affair would have been pushed no further if Moiron's servant had not been taken sick at this time. determined on and sought by some peasant. dragged along for a short time. the best scholars in the class. and would break them to see whether they pleased him. The physician who was called in noticed the same symptoms he had seen in the children. whom he spoiled and stuffed with sweet things. 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. Moiron seemed so normal. Now. on his whole life. 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. The vitals were sent to Paris and analyzed. did not care about the other children who were forced to die as well. "A post-mortem examination was held over the last one. but he seemed so astonished and indignant at the suspicion hanging over him that he was almost released. "However. so rational and sensible that it seemed impossible to adjudge him insane. and he always asked for the thinnest needles he could find. and immediately recognized Moiron. "On an order from the court the schoolhouse was searched. religious man have killed little children. The man was brought forward in the presence of a dozen or more persons. "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. "The story was possible. and in both of them were discovered tiny fragments of crushed glass. Almost all these delicacies contained bits of crushed glass or pieces of broken needles! "Moiron was immediately arrested. and the very children whom he seemed to love the most. Moiron's favorites. . on the complete absence of any motive for such a crime. and they revealed the presence of no toxic substance. 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. simple. he claimed. The inquest revealed that the schoolmaster had indeed gone into Saint-Marlouf on the days mentioned by the tradesman. one after the other. as the ruse of the real unknown criminal. then two little boys. died within four days of each other. How ever. notwithstanding the charges against him.would not eat. for whom he spent half his salary in buying toys and bonbons? "One must consider him insane to believe him guilty of this act. and baffled in my mind my first conviction. based on his excellent reputation. "For a year nothing new developed. A glass broken over a pail of milk could have produced this frightful accident. and a closet was found which was full of toys and dainties destined for the children. indications of his guilt kept appearing. And he made up a whole story of an inheritance dependent on the death of a child. "The first one was a snuffbox full of crushed glass. if two crushing discoveries had not been made. hidden in the desk where he kept his money! "He explained this new find in an acceptable manner. but nothing was discovered. and promoted thus by casting suspicions on the schoolmaster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You always seem to like him. small. Men are very extraordinary at times.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." Then. that Paul is my lover?' "It is quite incomprehensible that you cannot understand how hateful he is to me. and replied: "But I do not defy him. be a little jealous. Then suddenly he thought: "I will surprise them this evening." Parent had got up. he was unsteady on his legs. and saying. Only he irritates me by his stupidity. and then you can clear away and go up to your room. above all. 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. and pink. it is ridiculous to defy this man as you do. instead of you." She took a cigarette from the mantelpiece. with long whiskers and the rather vulgar manners of a goodlooking man who is very well satisfied with himself." "Very well. Limousin will keep me company. you great booby. and you shake hands with him cordially. "go. tall. she said: "You had better put George to bed. waiting to catch a gesture. I shall not stir from here. fair. an intonation." They were close together: he. so I may not be in until late. brought up to entice customers to the store by her glances. she. turning to the maid. acts on my nerves? He exasperates me every moment by his stupidity." he went out. at any rate. I will see about getting another girl this very day. for the floor seemed to roll like a ship. unsophisticated man. surely. as I have dismissed Julie. which you call his kindness. too idiotic of him not to guess anything! I wish he would. how he irritates me. to a simple. I feel him between us. because everything that he says and does. while Henriette and Limousin went into the drawing. in consequence. born in the back room of a shop. dazed and bewildered. who saw her outside the door every morning when he went out and every evening when he came home. "But do you not understand. half cocotte and half bourgeoise. dark. in fact. because he is my husband. And then---and then! No. I think that you ought to see that. a word. after all. As soon as the door was shut. situated as we are. George had been carried out by his nurse. and married. I will go at once to procure one by to-morrow morning. it is. my dear." and he said: "My dear. because we both of us require him to trust us." she said. There are moments when I feel inclined to say to him: 'Do you not see. lighted it. "that I hate him just because he married me. because he bought me.room. although he does not interfere with us much. deceptive look the same as a sincere one? And he watched them. a little Parisian. We will wait for you." Limousin continued impatiently: "What you are doing is very foolish! I am only asking you to treat your husband gently. by his dullness. holding on to the wall. is very unpleasant?" Limousin threw himself into an easy-chair and crossed his legs. which you call his confidence. from morning till night. he said: "You must be mad. "I shall see you again later on." "One must know how to dissimulate." . but I think that. "I am not setting him up as a martyr in the least. quite the contrary. and then. everything that he thinks. and I treat him as he deserves." she replied. you stupid creature. of looking upon Parent as a martyr.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. he cast me while I was still in the prime of life. My dear child. I swear it. 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. with terrible suppositions. this slow. Oh! my son! my son! Is he dead? Is he living? Where is he hiding? Over there. no. endless waiting? Endless. I had brain fever. and thus I have lived for the last twenty years. for I had a strange feeling that."'And now I feared that they might meet. dear child. monsieur? "'My chambermaid. who found me in the throes of a nervous attack. perpetual laceration of a mother's heart. "'Can you imagine what all this meant to me? Can you understand this monstrous punishment. I stammered: "'Dead-dead. I sent her away with a word or a movement of the hand. it is about to end. Has he committed suicide? "'No. "'Then. naturally. into what depths of despair. leaving me to suffer until this moment. Go away! "He did go away. this abominable. who understood nothing. perhaps. his mother. and I--I have never consented to see him. and love her. that I had lost my reason. if he were to come back here." . "'You can understand my feelings. My dear son. can you not. for I am dying. came into the room every moment. for she has had to endure the most frightful penance ever inflicted on a woman. forgive her. who loved him with all the intensity of a mother's love? Oh! isn't it cruel. did I say? No. think of what the existence of your poor mother has been ever since the day you left her. believing. cruel? "'You will tell him all this. I saw beside my bed my--lover--alone. into what tortures. monsieur. my son would make his appearance at the same moment. who knew nothing. beyond the great ocean. "'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. What would they do in that case? What would my son do? My mind was torn with fearful doubts. after a long illness. But we have not found him in spite of all my efforts. my dear. when I am about to die--me. be less harsh toward poor women! Life is already brutal and savage enough in its dealings with them. "'I was put to bed. now that she is dead. "'When I regained consciousness. monsieur--will you not? You will repeat to him my last words: "'My child. "'I have never seen one or the other of them since. even for one second. She went for the doctor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These men still came together once in a while without their wives as they had done when they were bachelors. but religion is a sort of Freemasonry. stir up those old and joyful memories which bring a smile to the lip and a tremor to the heart. "I see you are going to give up Freemasonry for religion. and is rather a book of travels and adventures. and if that had been all I should not have cared so much. but the worst of it is that he has just made his will--yes. they would talk of everything. but I answered. altogether overwhelmed. One of them was saying: "Georges. you go to the country. uncle. the fields are full of flowers. in the springtime. you meet a young girl at some friend's house--crash! all is over. to-morrow. and then he repeated his breviary while I read a little book which he happened to have in his pocket. The conversation turned on marriage. so I got up." "A religious book. and all these things brought joy to the hearts. uncle. Gaston. and stammered: "Well. 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. to me it is all the same. such things are out of place at times. and I expect to have his convictions respected. or. They would eat for a long time. and each one said with a sincere air: "Oh. six of one and half a dozen of the other. and then. What these men have done is very grand." He was still rather confused." This rather upset me. rather--no. It is the history of their missions in Central Africa. uncle?" "