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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"my cross. changed his linen every two days. who did not speak again until the tram put them down at their destination. orange. and the apoplectic rotundity of the old official. where the two friends got out. they appeared to him like fantastic tales. if he was careful not to show his hand. and altogether changed him. That unexpected dignity gave him a high and new idea of his own capacities. and who had been there since midday. he hoped to obtain a little gratuitous advice. she had frequent and prolonged fainting fits. and glanced for a moment at his neighbor's red face. which they shook across the bottles of the counter. his "corporation. his two fat. although she was ninety. as he met him on a tram-car every evening. and when he went through the Avenue of the Champs-Elysees every evening. thick neck. which was very broad. and he continued: "In my family. he said." This rather upset Caravan. she would not take care of herself. as in that manner. and I should say that your life is not a very good one. scrupulously clean. Then. and." as Chenet called it to himself. was always the same. he looked at the surging crowd of pedestrians. flabby legs. for he was not fond of innovations. and Chenet asked his friend to have a glass of vermouth at the Cafe du Globe. that he could not bear to see men wearing any other ribbon in their button-holes. and I am sure that. and if he read the account of any uncommon events or scandals in his penny paper. loyal services--of unfortunate convicts who are riveted to their desk. from the Arc de Triomphe to Neuilly. your mother is as tough as nails. which his paper frequently altered as the cause which subsidized it might require.He knew nothing more about Paris than a blind man might know who was led to the same spot by his dog every day. and he had become so proud of it. he said with a snigger: "I am not so sure of that. blue. who were playing dominoes. not. and from that day he was another Caravan. and the Mayor of Neuilly received his full share of their censure. and at the stream of carriages. wearing a decoration of one kind or another." at every moment. manicured his nails more carefully. and on that day they discussed. He became especially angry on seeing strange orders: "Which nobody ought to be allowed to wear in France. He immediately left off wearing light trousers and fancy waistcoats. on the first of January. opposite. As he had completed his thirty years of obligatory service that year. which. I shall not die until I am very old. 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." The doctor looked at him with pity. emphasizing the word doctor--although he was not fully qualified. which some pressman had made up out of his own head. At home. as invariably happens in the company of medical man Caravan began to enlarge on the chapter of illness. The proprietor. He got shaved every morning. we last long. He did not read the political news. that he cared very much about seeing the good woman last forever here on earth. as a traveller might who has lost his way in a strange country. which both of them were in the habit of frequenting. and wore black trousers and long coats. as it were an earnest of old age for himself. and then they joined three of their friends. who was a friend of theirs. in the semi-military public offices. old fellow. and more than once asked Doctor Chenet. The conversation of the two men. unless I meet with an accident. of which he formed a part. his short. majestic and condescending. They . he had had the cross of the Legion of Honor bestowed upon him. is a recompense for the miserable slavery--the official phrase is. in order to amuse the inferior employees. Caravan grew quite tender-hearted when he mentioned her great age. And he rubbed his hands with pleasure. first of all. showed off better. and raising the white Panama hat from his head. held out to them two fingers. from a legitimate sense of what was proper. or green. various local abuses which disgusted them both. white. but because the long duration of his mother's life was." and he bore Chenet a particular grudge. perhaps. and out of respect for the national Order. on which his ribbon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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