Short Stories,Guy de Maupassant | Duel


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a large. to Monsieur Parisse. and I looked after the woman. that name of the Trojan shepherd. he often strolled out to the cape. you know. However. There he met Madame Parisse. one of those little fat men with short legs. this fresh. a government official. I assured him that I did not know it. a young officer decorated during the war. city opposite another. 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. though a trifle stout. covered with gold lace. who trip along. confirmed me in my dream. one year before the war of 1870. As he found life exceedingly tedious in this fortress this stuffy mole. who passed by without seeing us. floated before the eyes of the officer as he continued his promenade. dark woman. who also came out in the summer evenings to get the fresh air under the trees. the pale skin. And Monsieur Martini told me the following story: Mademoiselle Combelombe was married. because it is in fact opposite to Nice. as doubtless the ladies of old walked. The coast of Asia and the coast of Europe resemble each other in their shores. . a kind of park or pine wood shaken by all the winds from the sea. dwelling on the final syllable. as slender and lively as she has now become stout and sad. the Romans turned Antibes into a municipal city. was walking along the road which skirts the sea in going to the cape. another colony from Marseilles. walking with steady and slow step. dreaming. She was perhaps thirty-five years old and still very beautiful. The image of the young woman with the brown eyes.meaning counter." muttered Monsieur Martini. She was then a handsome young girl. After the war Antibes was garrisoned by a single battalion commanded by Monsieur Jean de Carmelin. mentioned carelessly. its inhabitants receiving the rights of Roman citizenship. "That is Madame Parisse. in his close. handsome Southerner.hole enclosed by its enormous double walls. Unwillingly she had accepted Monsieur Parisse. I did not know." A footstep caused me to turn my head. I asked: "Who is this Madame Parisse?" He seemed astonished that I did not know the story. but that name. and the image of the commanding officer. a woman. who displayed her teeth in smiling. chewing his cigar instead of smoking it. with trousers that are always too large. I tell you that I see down there a city of the Odyssey. and when out of sight they doubtless thought of each other. and who had just received his four stripes. How did they come to love each other? Who knows? They met. "After the Gauls were conquered. "We know by an epigram of Martial that at this time----" I interrupted him: "I don't care what she was. they looked at each other.fitting coat. the black hair.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And you may be sure that he does not threaten idly.' "I in turn grew angry and told him the whole unfortunate occurrence. She used every argument. It's your duty to say that. "After half an hour some one knocked on my door." "'Let us now examine the question from another point of view. anyhow. And my good aunt added: 'Ask for her hand. you young fool. it is to marry Mademoiselle Dumoulin. the bridegroom's father. I can see only one way out of it for you. Then he went out to confer with the colonel. You shouldn't get yourself into such foolish situations. what do you expect to do?' "I answered simply: 'Why-leave as soon as my shoes are returned to me. do you hear?' Then he added more gently 'But. "I heard that a kind of jury of the mothers had been formed. perhaps. In this case. not knowing what to believe.' . I opened the door: "He was pale and furious. for a drunkard's excuses are never believed. I locked myself in and sat down with my feet on a chair. you made a mistake in the room. one should not go near a young girl--or else. I tell you that I will blow his brains out. doors being opened and closed. as you say. that's all right. The colonel has decided to blow your brains out as soon as he sees you."When we were separated. whisperings and rapid steps.' "He shrugged his shoulders! 'Don't talk nonsense. I escaped to my room. being drunk. Either you have misbehaved yourself-and then so much the worse for you. for my shoes had been left in the young girl's room. No one believed my story. it's even worse for you. The colonel had struck her. dumbfounded. to which were submitted the different phases of the situation.' I raised my hand. "I heard a great noise through the whole house. instead of leaving immediately-immediately after. sat down with the dignity of a judge and began: 'No matter what may be the situation. I was drunk and got into the wrong room. crying: 'Never! never!' "Gravely he asked: 'Well. They could not imagine that this young girl could have forgotten to lock her door in a house full of company. find some way out of it when we are drawing up the papers. He looked at me with a bewildered expression. She was crying. Think it over. It was a terrible and unforgettable scandal. uncle. The only real victim in the matter is the girl.' "He went away. "He came back an hour later. Whatever you may say. I spoke of a duel and he answered: "No.' "I bounded out of the chair. She had been crying the whole morning. why 'the