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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Search on this Page:


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
Search on this Page:

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
Search on this Page:

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
Search on this Page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She said to me: . strange inheritances. said: "'You are weeping. were singing to me about things ineffably sweet. His eyes had frequently followed me. he recognized me. and intoxicating which lovers exchange on nights that seem to have been made by God for tenderness? Was I never to know ardent."I sat down on the grass. said very gently: "You see. "And it happened. "I was so confused that I did not know what answer to give or what to think of the situation. Madame Letore broke into groans-. All that I had felt he translated into words. a thing which possibly happens every day. advancing. with a self-contained and serious air. When I turned my head round. in a sort of hallucination. I heard something stirring behind me. "to search for an heir who disappeared under peculiarly distressing circumstances. with a man I loved. I told him I felt ill. sister. A man stood there. seized with indescribable emotion. everything that made me thrill he understood perfectly. I was seized with an insatiable need of love.almost into shrieks. sinking into her sister's arms. and which is nevertheless one of the most dreadful things I know. but love itself. a revolt against the gloomy dullness of my life. "I have. and began talking to me about what we had seen during our trip. and a strange feeling arose in me. feverish love in the moonlit shadows of a summer's night? "And I burst out weeping like a crazy woman. What! would it never be my fate to wander. And your real lover that night was the moonlight." Mother and Son Search on this Page: þÿ A party of men were chatting in the smoking room after dinner. Then. and gazed at that vast. Here are the facts: "Nearly six months ago I was called to the bedside of a dying woman. melancholy. Madame Roubere." went and stood with his back to the fire. delicious. le Brument. the lake. It is one of those simple and terrible dramas of ordinary life. I felt myself choking. and fascinating lake. and whom we had often met. who was sometimes called "the illustrious judge" and at other times "the illustrious lawyer. Then M. along a moon-kissed bank like this? Was I never to feel on my lips those kisses so deep. "As for him. very often it is not a man that we love. It seemed to me that the mountains themselves. I don't know why. We were talking of unexpected legacies. "He walked on by my side in a natural and respectful manner. and. madame?' "It was a young barrister who was travelling with his mother. I don't know how. the moonlight. gazing at me. "He gave me his card!" And. better than I did myself. arm in arm. And all of a sudden he repeated some verses of Alfred de Musset. I did not see him again till the morning of his departure." said 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. he was crushed by grief at knowing he was not free. Be good enough to notice my will. "'We brought up my son together. was upholstered with materials as thick as walls. "It was a very wealthy establishment. of large and generous ideas. What sufferings we women have sometimes to endure! "'I had only him in the world. through obedience. for her voice. full of sense and resolution. But I had not enough willpower to prevent him from coming. whom we want to gratify even in his slightest wishes. that it was enough to break my heart. and the most wearisome mission that can be conceived. the tears. so sad. for he had been equally cherished and cared for by both of us. I married a man of great wealth. was whistling in her throat. almost as fond of him as I was myself. with a soft inviting surface. with which we are pursued by the man we adore. He came to see me. "'Listen to me: "'Before my marriage. the young man. the most difficult. A sum of five thousand francs is left to you as a fee if you do not succeed. "'He whom I had loved had married. He came to see me at first as a friend. I married him through ignorance. The boy reached the age of seventeen. the frenzied words. intelligent.' and respected him . Perhaps I ought not to have received him. "'He. so solitary.' "She asked me to assist her to sit up in bed. monsieur. in his turn. which is there on the table. whose suit was rejected by my family because he was not rich enough. and I was happy. seeing that he was married. we made a man of him. I want you to find my son after my death. When he saw that I was a widow. I loved a young man. as young girls do marry. He used to call him his 'dear friend. may have a sincere desire to aid me with all your power. monsieur. and of a hundred thousand francs if you do succeed. 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. He came frequently. whom I know to be a kind-hearted man as well as a man of the world. the appeals on bended knees. and whom. broken and gasping."'Monsieur. through indifference. Not long afterward. my parents being dead. he spent whole evenings with me. he wept and sobbed so bitterly. the supplications. in order that you. I want to intrust to you the most delicate. was fond of my--my lover. I became--and this was my greatest weakness and my greatest piece of cowardice-I became his wife's friend. "The dying woman continued: "'You are the first to hear my horrible story. the transports of passion. and refuse to yield to the prayers. I will try to have strength . of an elegant simplicity. "'I had a child. if we are to be guided by a worldly code of honor. You must know all. My husband died in the course of a few years. "'How can I tell it?--he became my lover. that it is always in our power to resist. I was his mistress.enough to finish it. that we can keep up the struggle forever. What could I do? I was alone. a thorough man. The luxurious apartment. whom we desire to crown with every possible happiness. so hopeless! And I loved him still. in order that she might talk with greater ease. a boy. I should not have let him come so often.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I found her sitting in an armchair. I kissed her. I have now been married five years. with a whip in his hand. continuous movement. on a heap of clothes. and one Monday morning I found myself in a church. The odor o