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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

one summer. motionless and silent. It happened suddenly. would cry. He was supposed to be sensual and a fast liver. In a bag she had a large piece of sausage. Semillante had had nothing to eat for two days. Nicolas!" He turned around. while Semillante dug her fangs into his throat and tore it to ribbons. watching the women coming out of the water. Then she would look up to her mistress. For a few seconds he squirmed. as a reward. The old woman kept letting her smell the food and whetting her appetite. one Sunday morning she partook of communion with an ecstatic fervor. seated before their door.The old woman. She went to a baker's shop and asked for Nicolas Ravolati. It was therefore by the . who. He had taken up his old trade. the widow went to confession and. beating the ground with his feet. When she thought that the proper time had come. at the seashore. He raised his eyes and was delighted with the whole person. He was working alone at the back of his store. she cried: "Go. to this meal conquered by a fight. She no longer chained her up. At nightfall the old woman was at home again. putting on men's clothes and looking like an old tramp. but he suddenly changed his mind. she would give her a piece of sausage. made her fast for two more days and began this strange performance again. Semillante would begin to tremble. lifting her finger. remembered perfectly having seen an old beggar come out with a thin. clasped the dog and rolled to the ground. She slept well that night. 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. They got to Longosardo. As soon as she saw the man. she struck a bargain with a Sardinian fisherman who carried her and her dog to the other side of the straits. go! Eat him up! eat him up!" The maddened animal sprang for his throat. "Go!" in a shrill tone. Then. Then she chained the beast up again. The old woman opened the door and called: "Hallo. Then releasing her dog. although in fact he could see nothing but the ankles and the head emerging from a flannel bathrobe carefully held closed. The Corsican woman walked with a limp. a little foot had struck him by its neatness and daintiness. Then he stopped moving. A Wedding Gift For a long time Jacques Bourdillere had sworn that he would never marry. black dog which was eating something that its master was giving him. was watching eagerly. The man stretched out his arms. One morning as he lay stretched out on the sand. that of carpenter. For three months she accustomed her to this battle. Then. Two neighbors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

" Limousin continued impatiently: "What you are doing is very foolish! I am only asking you to treat your husband gently. dazed and bewildered. small. because he is my husband. although he does not interfere with us much. is very unpleasant?" Limousin threw himself into an easy-chair and crossed his legs. surely. holding on to the wall. turning to the maid. and saying. so I may not be in until late." They were close together: he. I will go at once to procure one by to-morrow morning. and then. she." Parent had got up. how he irritates me. and married." . for the floor seemed to roll like a ship. of looking upon Parent as a martyr. you stupid creature. because everything that he says and does." Then. I think that you ought to see that." "Very well. and then you can clear away and go up to your room. I shall not stir from here. and replied: "But I do not defy him. and I treat him as he deserves. unsophisticated man. tall." she said. Men are very extraordinary at times. "go. "that I hate him just because he married me. it is ridiculous to defy this man as you do. because he bought me. There are moments when I feel inclined to say to him: 'Do you not see. Only he irritates me by his stupidity. too idiotic of him not to guess anything! I wish he would. deceptive look the same as a sincere one? And he watched them. that Paul is my lover?' "It is quite incomprehensible that you cannot understand how hateful he is to me. above all. a little Parisian. situated as we are. which you call his confidence. in consequence. be a little jealous. Limousin will keep me company. half cocotte and half bourgeoise. it is." "One must know how to dissimulate. acts on my nerves? He exasperates me every moment by his stupidity. everything that he thinks. You always seem to like him. lighted it. as I have dismissed Julie. at any rate. Then suddenly he thought: "I will surprise them this evening. because we both of us require him to trust us. I feel him between us. George had been carried out by his nurse. an intonation." and he said: "My dear.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. We will wait for you. fair. As soon as the door was shut." She took a cigarette from the mantelpiece. and pink. in fact. by his dullness. which you call his kindness." she replied. my dear. quite the contrary. to a simple. I will see about getting another girl this very day. a word." he went out. waiting to catch a gesture. brought up to entice customers to the store by her glances. with long whiskers and the rather vulgar manners of a goodlooking man who is very well satisfied with himself. 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. while Henriette and Limousin went into the drawing. "But do you not understand. instead of you. you great booby. who saw her outside the door every morning when he went out and every evening when he came home. she said: "You had better put George to bed. but I think that. "I shall see you again later on. after all. he was unsteady on his legs. born in the back room of a shop. "I am not setting him up as a martyr in the least. And then---and then! and you shake hands with him cordially. from morning till night. dark. he said: "You must be mad.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

' "In bewilderment I wondered what this dialogue meant. It would have taken me at least two hours. I had a lot of trouble to find the banister. At last I found the third door. I again counted out loud: 'Two. I unbuttoned my waistcoat. I started. I felt one door. and even then I might not have succeeded. We were rolling around. and a terrific struggle ensued. Where was I? What had I done? My mind was wandering. It would probably have taken me that long also to undress. A furious grasp seized me. I avoided falling completely. The door opened.' and I turned the knob. The blinds were open and the shades drawn. I loosened my trousers and went to sleep. Notwithstanding my befuddled state."After each dance I drank a glass of wine or a glass of cider. but a sudden dizziness made me lose my hold on the wall. "At last I reached the second floor and I set out in my journey along the hall. which was choking me. I began to travel along again until I met another door. The voice asked: 'Who is there?' I took good care not to answer. I in turn seized him. neighbors. As soon as I reached the vestibule I began to. still surrounded by a heavy fog. I immediately stretched myself out on it. and. prudently. knocking over the furniture and crashing against the walls. In order to be sure to make no mistake. I was struggling with Colonel Dumoulin "I had slept beside his daughter's bed! . not without difficulty. In my hands I firmly gripped the iron railing in order not to fall. I was suddenly awakened by a deep voice which was saying: 'What. "This undoubtedly lasted for a long time. frightened women crowded around us. still in bed? It's ten o'clock!' "A woman's voice answered: 'Already! I was so tired yesterday. I sat up. Completely at a loss what to do. and toward two o'clock in the morning I was so drunk that I could hardly stand up. Then a hand was placed on my head. "I had no matches and everybody was in bed. I bumped against something soft: my easy-chair. and I began to ascend. "I realized my condition and tried to reach my room. feeling my way by the walls. it was the third door to the left.' "I heard steps approaching me. I stepped out in the darkness. my candles. I gave it up.' I started out on my walk again. "I only took my shoes off. Fortunately I had not forgotten that. and took great pains to make no noise. my matches. by accident. you lazy girl. Armed with this knowledge. make a strange turn and fall up against the other wall. I said: 'Three. I thought: 'Since the door opens. At last I reached the shore. "In my condition it would not have been wise to look for my bureau. I counted: 'One'. that's my room. The first voice continued: 'I'm going to raise your curtains. I wished to turn in a straight line: The crossing was long and full of hardships. "Only three or four times did my foot miss the steps. At last. and I went down on my knees. but thanks to the energy of my arms and the strength of my will. Everybody was asleep and the house was silent and dark. feel dizzy. "My room was on the second floor.' After softly closing the door. and I sat down on the first step of the stairs in order to try to gather my scattered wits. my hand came in contact with it. A woman's voice was shrieking: 'Help! help!' "Servants. step by step. I arose. this must be home.

to which were submitted the different phases of the situation. dumbfounded. why 'the devil did you let yourself get caught at ten o'clock in the morning? You go to sleep like a log in that room. crying: 'Never! never!' "Gravely he asked: 'Well. you made a mistake in the room. I assure you that nothing occurred.' "My uncle continued: 'Please do not jest. And you may be sure that he does not threaten idly. Then my aunt came. The only real victim in the matter is the girl. that's all right. find some way out of it when we are drawing up the papers. perhaps. I tell you that I will blow his brains out." "'Let us now examine the question from another point of view. Whatever you may say. Think it over. anyhow.' I raised my hand. exclaiming: 'I swear to you on my honor. "After half an hour some one knocked on my door. for my shoes had been left in the young girl's room. Either you have misbehaved yourself-and then so much the worse for you.' "He went away. They could not imagine that this young girl could have forgotten to lock her door in a house full of company. and he treated me harshly: 'You have behaved like a scoundrel in my house. my boy. while I cried after him: 'Say what you will. I spoke of a duel and he answered: "No. Then he went out to confer with the colonel.' "I in turn grew angry and told him the whole unfortunate occurrence. She had been crying the whole morning. In this case. you young fool. I'll not marry her!' "I stayed alone for another hour. The colonel has decided to blow your brains out as soon as he sees you.' "I exclaimed: 'But.' "I bounded out of the chair. You shouldn't get yourself into such foolish situations. I was drunk and got into the wrong room.' "He shrugged his shoulders! 'Don't talk nonsense. instead of leaving immediately-immediately after. the poor girl's reputation is lost. No one believed my story. I cried: 'Who is there?' It was my uncle. not knowing what to believe. I locked myself in and sat down with my feet on a chair. She was crying. "He came back an hour later. sat down with the dignity of a judge and began: 'No matter what may be the situation. uncle. what do you expect to do?' "I answered simply: 'Why-leave as soon as my shoes are returned to me."When we were separated. I can see only one way out of it for you. the bridegroom's father. I opened the door: "He was pale and furious. We may. one should not go near a young girl--or else. whisperings and rapid steps. as you say. I escaped to my room. And my good aunt added: 'Ask for her hand. It's your duty to say that. He looked at me with a bewildered expression. "I heard a great noise through the whole house. do you hear?' Then he added more gently 'But. "I heard that a kind of jury of the mothers had been formed. for a drunkard's excuses are never believed.' My uncle continued: 'Yes. it's even worse for you. It was a terrible and unforgettable scandal. it is to marry Mademoiselle Dumoulin. She used every argument. doors being opened and closed. The colonel had struck her.' . being drunk.

"This prospect relieved me. all along the mounds of earth which the plough had just turned up. of fallen leaves. "Then. I do not regret it in the least. red . pale and with red eyes. scattered through the fields. of dead grass made the stagnant evening air more thick and heavy. One