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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hung her head." Not understanding well. 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. and he muttered behind his long beard: "It was not he. At last he exclaimed. like a malefactor who is admitting a fatal crime: "I had a sentiment for madame! There!" She answered nothing. with a sad but not angry expression. that you make me eat chicken every day?" She answered. If your stomach were well." He rose and began to push the wheeled chair. exclaiming: "Well. exasperated. As they approached the village they saw Captain Maramballe coming toward them." He lost his temper: "Chicken! chicken! always chicken! By all that's holy. I could give you many things which I do not dare set before you now. with a visible desire of getting angry: "What have we for dinner?" "Some chicken with flageolets. my poor Alexandre! How so?" He began to look up in the air. in a resigned tone: "But. gentleness. my dear. without saying anything. if my stomach is out of order it's the fault of that brute. then to one side. It's the best thing for your stomach. with the courage of a trooper who is ordered to the line of fire: "You see. Then. you know that the doctor has ordered it for you. in order to see the old domestic. then toward the distance. who had a sweet face. All Over . she questioned him "Explain yourself. he planted himself in front of Alexandre. In a second she saw the immense devotion of this poor creature. and that settled it." Then he cried out. reason. She was good. with a snowy line of curly white hair between her forehead and her bonnet. and thought." Madame Maramballe suddenly turned about completely. turning his head as do timid people when forced to admit shameful secrets. As soon as he joined them he asked his wife. full of justice. Their eyes met. and tenderness. she said: "Let us return home." He was fidgeting about on his bench visibly embarrassed. it was you!" The old lady. stopped looking at him. turned around in her chair and observed her servant with a surprised look. For thirty-five years he has been poisoning me with his abominable cooking. it's this way--the first time I brought a letter to mademoiselle from the lieutenant. mademoiselle gave me a franc and a smile. who had given up everything in order to live beside her." Then. And she felt as if she could cry. exclaiming: "I.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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was a man of forty. He walked quickly.' "Then the dying man sneered: 'Yes. farewell. shook his dress. "Has madame come in yet?" he asked anxiously. and asked: 'Are you going to stay here. till some day----' "I turned to the ashen-faced priest." Monsieur Parent Search on this Page: þÿ George's father was sitting in an iron chair. monsieur. "'No. The servant shrugged her shoulders: "When have you ever known madame to come home at half-past six. and put a chestnut leaf on top. He would take up the sand with both hands.' "I had had enough of this. already turning gray. but still shed its rays obliquely on that little. one of those trusted servants who are the tyrants of families. opened the door to him. whose dark outline stood out against the wall. opening an enormous mouth in order to utter words which could scarcely be heard. saw that he was five minutes late. and the child could not keep up with him. which was covered with sand. He got up. The chestnut trees were lighted up by its yellow rays. so as not to get in after his wife.' "'Farewell. The sun was just disappearing behind the roofs of the Rue Saint-Lazare. monsieur?" . and the three fountains before the lofty porch of the church had the appearance of liquid silver. "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.' "This poor wretch was frightful to see as he lay there gasping. I despise Him too much. and rather stout. and led him in the direction of the Rue Blanche. At last he reached his house. wiped his hands. all is over. his breath rattling. He sends His vultures to the corpses. yes. I can no longer escape from Him."'Now. took the child by the arm. I no longer fear Him. An old servant who had brought him up. Monsieur l'Abbe?' "'Yes. I opened the door and ran away. overdressed crowd. His father saw no one but him in that public park full of people. as little George piled up the sand into heaps during one of their walks.' "'Then. accidentally looking up at the church clock. Monsieur Parent. He took him up and carried him. monsieur. make a mound of it. monsieur. picking at his bed and moving his thin legs under a grimy sheet as though trying to escape. watching his little son with concentrated affection and attention.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She was a big. continuous movement. I kissed her. stopped near the child. An hour later I left for Paris. before I had been able to find any excuse. beside a weeping young girl. I found her sitting in an armchair. A man who was passing. I am ready to do whatever you may command. the contract signed. a very small boy seated with his legs apart was playing with a potato. With a slow. of dead grass made the stagnant evening air more thick and heavy. the announce