“Monsieur Alexis, do not cry like that, Monsieur le Vicomte de Sylvanie may give you a horse.
-A big horse, Beppo, or a pony?
“Perhaps a great horse like that of M. Cardenio. But do not cry like that … the day of your thirteen years!
The hope of receiving a horse and the memory of his thirteen years made Alexis’s eyes shine through tears. But he was not comforted because he had to go to see his uncle Baldassare Silvande, Viscount Sylvanie. Of course, since the day he had heard that his uncle’s illness was incurable, Alexis had seen it several times. But since then, everything had changed. Baldassare had realized his pain and now knew he had no more than three years to live. Alexis, without understanding how this certainty had not killed his uncle or made his uncle mad, felt unable to bear the pain of seeing him. Persuaded that he was going to speak to him of his approaching end, he did not believe himself to be the strength, not only to comfort him, but even to restrain his sobs. He had always adored his uncle, the tallest, most handsome, youngest, brightest, sweetest of his parents. He loved his gray eyes, his fair mustache, his knees, a deep and sweet place of pleasure and refuge when he was smaller, and which seemed to him then inaccessible like a citadel, amusing like wooden horses and more inviolable than a temple. Alexis, who strongly disapproved of his father’s dark and severe bet, and dreamed of a future where, always on horseback, he would be as elegant as a lady and as splendid as a king, recognized in Baldassare the highest ideal he was forming. of a man; he knew that his uncle was handsome, that he looked like him, he also knew that he was intelligent, generous, that he had power equal to that of a bishop or a general. In truth, the criticisms of his parents had taught him that the viscount had defects. He even remembered the violence of his anger the day his cousin Jean Galeas mocked him, how much the brilliance of his eyes had betrayed the pleasures of his vanity when the Duke of Parma had offered him the hand of his Sister (he was then, trying to hide his pleasure, clenched his teeth and made a grimace that was usual and displeasing to Alexis) and the contemptuous tone of which he spoke to Lucretia who made a profession of not liking his music.
Often his parents were referring to other acts of his uncle that Alexis did not know, but he was keen to blame.
But all the defects of Baldassare, his vulgar grimace, had certainly disappeared. When his uncle had known that in two years perhaps he would have died, how much the mockeries of Jean Galeas, the friendship of the Duke of Parma, and his own music must have become indifferent to him. Alexis pictured it as beautiful, but solemn and more perfect than it was before. Yes, solemn and already quite of this world. So to his despair was mixed a little anxiety and fright.
The horses had been hitched for a long time, they had to leave; he got into the carriage, then went down again to ask his preceptor for a final advice. At the moment of speaking, he became very red:
-Mr. Legrand, is it better for my uncle to believe or not believe that I know he knows he has to die?
-That he does not believe it, Alexis!
“But, if he speaks to me about it?
He will not talk to you about it.
-He will not talk to me about it? said Alexis, astonished, for it was the only alternative he had not foreseen: Every time he began to imagine his visit to his uncle, he heard her talking to him about death with the gentleness of a priest .
“But, finally, if he tells me about it?
“You will say that he is mistaken.
-And if I cry?
“You cried too much this morning, you will not cry at home.
-I will not cry! exclaimed Alexis in despair, but he will believe that I have no grief, that I do not love him – my little uncle!
And he began to burst into tears. Her mother, impatient to wait, came to fetch him; they left.
When Alexis had given his little overcoat to a valet in green and white livery, with the arms of Sylvanie, who was standing in the vestibule, he stopped a moment with his mother to listen to a violin tune that came from a neighboring room . Then they were led into a huge, round, glass room where the Viscount often stood. On entering, you could see the sea in front of you, and, turning your head, lawns, pastures, and woods; in the back of the room there were two cats, roses, poppies and many musical instruments. They waited a moment.
Alexis threw herself on his mother, she thought he wanted to kiss her, but he asked her very softly, his mouth stuck to his ear:
-What age does my uncle have?
-He will be thirty-six years old in the month of June.
He wanted to ask, “Do you think he’ll be thirty-six?” But he did not dare.
A door opened, Alexis trembled, a servant said:
“Monsieur le Vicomte is coming at once.
Soon the servant returned, bringing in two peacocks and a goat, which the viscount took with him everywhere. Then we heard new steps and the door opened again.
“It’s nothing,” said Alexis, whose heart beat every time he heard a noise, “it’s probably a servant, yes, most likely a servant.” But at the same time, he heard a soft voice:
-Hello, my little Alexis, I wish you a happy birthday.
And his uncle kissing him reads him scared. He no doubt noticed it, and without paying any more attention to him, to give him time to recover, he began to talk gaily with the mother of Alexis, his sister-in-law, who, since the death of his mother, was the one he loved most in the world.
Now Alexis, reassured, felt only an immense tenderness for this young man, still so charming, scarcely more pale, heroic to the point of playing gayety in these tragic moments. He would have liked to throw himself on his neck and did not dare, fearing to break the energy of his uncle who could no longer remain master of him. The viscount’s sad and sweet look made him want to cry. Alexis knew that his eyes had always been sad and even, in the happiest moments, seemed to implore a consolation for evils that he did not seem to feel. But at that moment he thought that the sadness of his uncle, courageously banished from his conversation, had taken refuge in his eyes, which alone, in his whole person, were then sincere with his thin cheeks.
“I know you would like to drive a car with two horses, my little Alexis,” said Baldassare, “a horse will be brought to you tomorrow. Next year I will complete the pair and in two years I will give you the car. But, perhaps, this year, will you always be able to ride the horse, we will try it on my return. Because I’m leaving tomorrow, he added, but not for long. Before a month I’ll be back and we’ll go together in the morning, you know, to see the comedy where I promised to drive you.
Alexis knew that his uncle was going to spend a few weeks with one of his friends, he also knew that his uncle was still allowed to go to the theater; but, penetrated as he was by the idea of death, which had deeply upset him before going to his uncle, his words caused him a deep and painful astonishment.
“I will not go,” he said to himself. How he would suffer to hear the antics of the actors and the laughter of the audience! ”
-What is that pretty fiddle tune we heard on entering? asked Alexis’s mother.
Ah! did you find it pretty? said Baldassare, with a happy air. This is the romance I told you about.
“Does he play comedy? Alexis wondered. How can the success of his music still please him? ”
At this moment the viscount’s face took on an expression of profound grief; his cheeks had turned pale, he frowned at his lips and his eyebrows, his eyes filled with tears.
“My God! Alexis exclaimed, this role is beyond his strength. My poor uncle! But also why is he so afraid of hurting us? Why take this point on him? ”
But the pains of general paralysis, which at times clashed with Baldassare, as in an iron corset, until he left on his body marks of blows, and whose acuteness had contracted his face in spite of himself, had dissipated.
He went on talking in a good mood, after wiping his eyes.
“It seems to me that the Duke of Parma has been less kind to you for some time? awkwardly asked Alexis’s mother.
“The Duke of Parma! exclaimed Baldassare furious, the duke of Parma, less amiable! but what are you thinking of, my dear? He wrote me again this morning to put his castle of Illyria at my disposal if the air of the mountains could do me good.
He got up quickly, but at the same time woke up his excruciating pain, he had to stop for a moment; as soon as she was calmed, he called:
-Give me the letter that is near my bed.
And he read eagerly:
“My dear Baldassare.
“How bored I do not see you, etc., etc.”
As the prince’s amiability developed, Baldassare’s face softened and shone with happy confidence. Suddenly, wanting to conceal a joy that he did not consider very high, he clenched his teeth and made the pretty little vulgar grimace that Alexis had thought forever banished from his face pacified by death.
While wringing the mouth of Baldassare as formerly, this little grin unfolded the eyes of Alexis who, since he was near his uncle had believed, had wanted to contemplate the face of a dying man forever detached from the vulgar realities and where could not more to float than a heroically constrained smile, sadly tender, heavenly and disenchanted. Now he no longer doubted that Jean Galeas, by teasing his uncle, would have put him, as before, in anger, that in the gaiety of the patient, in his desire to go to the theater he entered neither dissimulation nor courage, and that so close to death, Baldassare continued to think only of life.
On returning home, Alexis was deeply struck by the thought that he too would one day die, and that if he still had much more time in front of him than his uncle, the old gardener of Baldassare and his cousin, the Duchess of Alecouvres , certainly would not survive him for long. Yet, rich enough to retire, Rocco continued to work incessantly to earn more money, and was reluctant to win a prize for his roses. The Duchess, in spite of her seventy years, took great care to dye herself, and in the newspapers she paid for articles in which the youth of her walk was celebrated, the elegance of her receptions, the refinements of her table, and of his mind.
These examples did not diminish the astonishment at which his uncle’s attitude had plunged Alexis, but he inspired a similar one which, gaining from one to another, spread like an immense stupefaction over the universal scandal of those existences of which he not except his own, walking to death backwards, looking at life.
Resolved not to imitate such a shocking aberration, he decided, in imitation of the ancient prophets whose glory he had been taught, to retire to the desert with some of his little friends and share them with his parents.
Fortunately, more powerful than their mockery, the life of which he had not yet exhausted the fortifying and sweet milk stretched his breast to dissuade him. And he began to drink there with a joyous greed which his credulous and rich imagination naively listened to the grievances and magnificently repaired the troubles.
dizziness and head ache
The day after Alexis’s visit, the Viscount of Sylvania had gone to the neighboring castle where he was to spend three or four weeks and the presence of many guests could distract the sadness that often followed his crises.
Soon all the pleasures were summed up for him in the company of a young woman who doubled them by sharing them. He thought he felt that she loved him, but kept some reserve with her. He knew she was absolutely pure, impatiently awaiting the arrival of her husband; then he was not sure of truly loving him and vaguely felt what a sin it would be to drag him to do evil. When their reports had been distorted, he could never remember. Now, as under a tacit agreement, the timing of which he could not determine, he kissed her wrists and passed her hand around his neck. She seemed so happy that one evening he did more: he began by kissing her; then he caressed her for a long time and again kissed the eyes, the cheek, the lip, the neck, the corners of the nose. The young woman’s mouth was smiling in anticipation of caresses, and her eyes shone in their depths like warm water of the sun. The caresses of Baldassare, however, had become more daring; at one moment he looked at her; he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. in the neck, at the corners of the nose. The young woman’s mouth was smiling in anticipation of caresses, and her eyes shone in their depths like warm water of the sun. The caresses of Baldassare, however, had become more daring; at one moment he looked at her; he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. in the neck, at the corners of the nose. The young woman’s mouth was smiling in anticipation of caresses, and her eyes shone in their depths like warm water of the sun. The caresses of Baldassare, however, had become more daring; at one moment he looked at her; he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. and his eyes shone in their depths like warm water of the sun. The caresses of Baldassare, however, had become more daring; at one moment he looked at her; he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. and his eyes shone in their depths like warm water of the sun. The caresses of Baldassare, however, had become more daring; at one moment he looked at her; he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again. he was struck by his pallor, by the infinite despair expressed by his dead brow, by his weary, weary eyes, by looks more sad than by tears, like the torture endured during a crucifixion or after the irreparable loss of a to be worshiped. He looked at her for a moment; and then in a supreme effort she raised to him her supplicating eyes, which begged for mercy, at the same time that her greedy mouth, with an unconscious and convulsive movement, asked for kisses again.
Taken together by the pleasure that floated around them in the scent of their kisses and the memory of their caresses, they threw themselves on each other closing now eyes, those cruel eyes that showed them the distress of their souls, they did not want to see her and he especially closed his eyes with all his strength like a remorse-stricken executioner who feels that his arm would tremble at the moment of striking his victim, if instead of imagining it still exciting for his rage and forcing him to satiate him, he could look at her face and feel for a moment his pain.
Night had come and she was still in her room, her eyes vague and without tears. She left without saying a word, kissing her hand with passionate sadness.
He, however, could not sleep, and if he didzed off for a moment, shivered as he felt the supplicating and desperate eyes of the sweet victim. Suddenly, he pictured her as she must be now, unable to sleep either and feeling so lonely. He got dressed, walked slowly to his room, not daring to make a sound so as not to wake her if she slept, not daring to go back to her room where the sky and the earth and her soul choked him with their weight. He remained there on the threshold of the young woman’s room, believing at all times that he could not restrain himself a moment longer and that he was about to enter; then, terrified at the thought of breaking this sweet forgetfulness that she slept with a breath of which he perceived the equal sweetness, in order to deliver her cruelly to remorse and despair, out of the catches of which she found repose for a moment, he remained there on the threshold, sometimes seated, sometimes on her knees, sometimes lying down. In the morning, he returned to his room, cold and calmed, slept a long time and awoke full of well-being.
They mutually reciprocated to reassure their consciences, they became accustomed to the remorse which diminished, to the pleasure which became also less acute, and when he returned to Sylvania, he kept with it only a sweet memory and a little cold of those inflamed and cruel minutes.
dizziness and head ache
When Alexis, on the day of his fourteenth birthday, went to see his uncle Baldassare, he did not feel renewed, as he had expected, the violent emotions of the preceding year. The incessant strokes on the horse his uncle had given him, developing his strength, had wearied his nervousness and heightened in him this continuous feeling of good health, which is then added to the youth, as the dark consciousness of the depth of his resources and the power of his joy. To feel, under the breeze aroused by his gallop, his chest swollen like a sail, his body burning like a winter fire and his forehead as fresh as the fugitive foliage that tied him in the way, to stiffen by returning his body under the cold water or to relax for a long time during tasty digestions,
Nothing in Alexis could faint from the weakness of her uncle, die to an end soon. The buzzing buzz of his blood in his veins and his desires in his head prevented him from hearing the exhausted complaints of the sick man. Alexis had entered this fiery period when the body is working so hard to raise its palates between him and the soul that it seems to have disappeared until the day the sickness or sorrow slowly undermined the painful fissure at the end of which she reappears, he had become accustomed to the deadly disease of his uncle as to all that lasts around us, and although he still lived, because he had made her cry once what makes us cry the dead he had acted with him as with a dead man, he had begun to forget.
When his uncle told him that day, “My little Alexis, I give you the car at the same time as the second horse,” he understood that his uncle thought, “because otherwise you would never have the car And he knew it was an extremely sad thought. But he did not feel it as such, because now there was no place in him for deep sadness.
A few days later, he was struck in a reading by the portrait of a villain whom the most touching tenderness of a dying man who adored him had not moved.
In the evening, the fear of being the scoundrel in whom he thought he recognized himself prevented him falling asleep. But the next day he made such a good ride, worked so well, felt so much tenderness for his living relatives that he began to enjoy unscrupulously and sleep without remorse.
However, the Viscount Sylvanie, who was beginning to be unable to walk, hardly came out of the castle. His friends and relatives spent the whole day with him, and he could confess the most blameworthy madness, the most absurd expense, show the paradox or let glimpse the most shocking defect without his parents blame him, that his friends allow themselves a joke or a contradiction. It seemed that tacitly he had been deprived of responsibility for his actions and words. It seemed above all that they wanted to prevent him from hearing them softly, if not to conquer them by caresses, the last creaking of his body which life left.
He spent long, charming hours lying face to face with himself, the only guest he had neglected to invite to supper during his life. He tried to parry his aching body, to condone his resignation at the window while looking at the sea, a melancholy joy. He surrounded images of this world of which he was still full, but that the distance, in detaching already, made him vague and beautiful, the scene of his death, long since premeditated but constantly retouched, as well as a work of art, with an ardent sadness. Already fancied in his imagination his adieux to the Duchess Oliviane, his great platonic friend, in whose salon he reigned, despite the fact that all the greatest lords, the most glorious artists and the most intellectuals of Europe were united.
“… The sun was setting, and the sea we could see through the apple trees was mauve. Light as pale wreaths withered and persistent as regrets, small blue and pink clouds floated on the horizon. A melancholy file of poplars plunged into the shadows, their heads resigned in a church rose; the last rays, without touching their trunks, dyed their branches hanging garlands of light from these shadowy balustrades. The breeze mingled the three smells of the sea, wet leaves and milk. Sylvanie’s campaign had never softened the melancholy of evening.
“I loved you very much, but I did not give you much, my poor friend,” she said to him.
“What do you say, Oliviane? how, you gave me little? You have given me all the more because I asked you less, and much more indeed, than if the senses had had any part in our tenderness. Supernatural as a Madonna, sweet as a nurse, I adored you and you rocked me. I loved you with an affection of which no hope of carnal pleasure came to disconcert sensible sagacity. Did you not bring me in exchange an incomparable friendship, an exquisite tea, a naturally ornamented conversation, and how many tufts of fresh roses. You alone have known from your maternal and expressive hands to refresh my burning forehead with fever, to pour honey between my faded lips, to put in my life noble images.
“Dear friend, give me your hands as I fuck them …”
Only the indifference of Pia, a little Syracusan princess, whom he still loved with all her senses and with her heart, and who had fallen for Castruccio with an invincible and angry love, reminded her from time to time of a reality more cruel, but he tried to forget. Until the last days, he had sometimes been in parties where, while walking on his arm, he thought he was humiliating his rival; but there, while he was walking beside her, he felt his deep eyes distracted by another love which only his pity for the patient made him try to conceal. And now, that he could not do it anymore. The incoherence of his leg movements had become such that he could not go out. But she often came to see him, and as if she had entered into the great conspiracy of gentleness of others, she spoke to him incessantly with ingenious tenderness, which never ceased, as formerly, the cry of her indifference or the avowal of her anger. And more than all the others, he felt the appeasement of this sweetness spread over him and delight him.
But one day, as he was getting up from his chair to table, his astonished servant saw him walking much better. He asked for the doctor who waited to speak. The next day he was doing well. After eight days, he was allowed out. His parents and friends then conceived an immense hope. The doctor thought that perhaps a simple curable nervous malady had first affected the symptoms of general paralysis, which now began to disappear. He presented his doubts to Baldassare as a certainty and said to him:
-You are saved!
The condemned man let out an emotional joy as he learned of his grace. But after some time, the better having been accentuated, an acute anxiety began to pierce under his joy which had already weakened such a short habit. Sheltered from the inclemency of life, in this favorable atmosphere of ambient sweetness, of forced calm and of free meditation, had darkly begun to germinate in him the desire for death. He was far from suspecting it yet, and felt only a vague terror at the thought of resuming his life, of wiping the blows he had lost, and of losing the caresses with which he had been surrounded. He also felt confusedly that it would be wrong to forget himself in pleasure or in action, now that he had made himself acquainted with himself, with the fraternal stranger who, while he watched the boats roam the sea, conversed with him for hours, and so far, and so near, in himself. As if now he felt a new, yet unknown, native love awaken in him, as well as in a young man who would have been deceived on the place of his first homeland, he felt nostalgia for death, where it was first, as for an eternal exile that he felt himself leaving.
He made an idea, and Jean Galeas, who knew him cured, contradicted him violently and joked him. His sister-in-law, who had been coming for two months in the morning and in the evening, stayed two days without coming to see him. It was too much! It had been too long since he had gotten out of the pack of life, he did not want to take it back. It was because she had not recovered it by her charms. His strength returned and with them all his desires to live; he went out, began to live again and died a second time to himself. At the end of a month, the symptoms of general paralysis reappeared. Little by little, as in the past, the march became difficult, impossible, and gradual enough for him to get used to his return to death and have time to turn his head. The relapse did not even have the virtue that had had the first attack towards the end of which he had begun to detach himself from life, not to see it again in his reality, but to look at it like a painting. Now, on the contrary, he was more and more conceited, irascible, burnt with regret for pleasures he could no longer taste.
His sister-in-law, whom he loved tenderly, put a little sweetness into his end by coming several times a day with Alexis.
One afternoon when she was going to see the Viscount, almost at the moment of arriving home, his horses became frightened; she was thrown violently on the ground, trampled by a horseman, who was galloping past, and carried away to Baldassare’s house, unconscious, with an open skull.
The coachman, who had not been wounded, immediately announced the accident to the Viscount, whose face was turning yellow. His teeth were tight, his eyes gleamed over the orbit, and, in a fit of terrible anger, he longed for the coachman; but it seemed that the bursts of his violence were trying to conceal a painful appeal which, in their intervals, was softly heard. It seemed as if a patient was complaining beside the furious viscount. Soon this complaint, weak at first, stifled the cries of his anger, and he sobbed into a chair.
Then he wanted to have his face washed so that his sister-in-law would not be disturbed by the signs of her grief. The servant shook his head sadly, the patient had not regained consciousness. The Viscount spent two days and two desperate nights with his sister-in-law. Every moment she could die. The second night, we tried a risky operation. On the morning of the third day, the fever had fallen, and the patient looked at Baldassare smiling, who, unable to contain her tears, cried with joy without stopping. When death had come to him little by little he had not wanted to see her; now he had suddenly found himself in his presence. She had terrified him by threatening what was most dear to him; he had begged for it, he had bent it.
He felt strong and free, proud to feel that his own life was not precious to him as much as that of his sister-in-law, and that he felt as much contempt for her that the other had inspired him with pity. It was death now that he was looking in the face, not the scenes that would surround his death. He wanted to remain so until the end, not to be reprimanded by the lie, who, by wanting to make him a beautiful and famous agony, would have completed his profanations by defiling the mysteries of his death as he had stolen from them mysteries of his life.
dizziness and head ache
The emotions and fatigues of Baldassare during his sister-in-law’s illness had precipitated the march of his own. He had just learned from his confessor that he had not a month to live; it was ten o’clock in the morning, it was raining heavily. A car stopped in front of the castle. It was the Duchess Oliviane. He had said to himself that he harmoniously adorned the scenes of his death:
“… it will be a clear evening. The sun will be down, and the sea we see between the apple trees will be mauve. Light as pale wreaths withered and persistent as regrets, small blue and pink clouds will float on the horizon … ”
It was at ten o’clock in the morning, under a low and dirty sky, by a pouring rain, that came the Duchess Oliviane; and, fatigued by his evil, entirely to higher interests, and no longer feeling the grace of things which had formerly seemed to him the price, the charm, and the refined glory of life, he demanded that the Duchess be told that he was too weak. She insisted, but he did not want to receive it. It was not even from duty: it was nothing to him. Death had quickly broken the ties he had been dreading for a few weeks in slavery. In trying to think of her, he saw nothing appear in the eyes of his mind: those of his imagination and his vanity were closed.
Yet a week or so before his death, the announcement of a ball at the Duchess of Bohemia where Pia was to lead the cotillion with Castruccio, who was leaving for Denmark the following day, furiously aroused her jealousy. He asked for Pia to be called; her sister-in-law resisted a little; he thought he was prevented from seeing her, persecuted him, became angry, and not to torment him, she was immediately sought.
When she arrived, he was quite calm, but profoundly sad. He drew her close to her bed and spoke to her immediately about the Duchess of Bohemia’s ball. He tells him:
-We were not parents, you will not mourn, but I want to say a prayer: Do not go to this ball, promise me.
They looked at each other in the eyes, showing themselves on the edge of the eyes their souls, their melancholy and passionate souls that death had not been able to unite.
He understood his hesitation, painfully contracted his lips and gently said to him:
-Oh! do not promise it! do not miss a promise made to a dying person. If you are not sure of yourself, do not promise.
“I can not promise you, I have not seen him for two months, and may never see him again; I would remain inconsolable for eternity for not having been to this ball.
“You are right, since you love him, that one can die, and that you are still living with all your strength. But you will do a little for me; on the time that you spend at this ball, take the one that, to baffle the suspicions, you would have been obliged to spend with me. Invite my soul to remember for a few moments with you, have some thought for me.
“I hardly dare to promise you, the ball will last so little. By not leaving him, I will hardly have time to see him. I will give you a moment every day that will follow.
“You will not be able to, you will forget me; but if, after a year, alas! more perhaps, a sad reading, a death, a rainy evening make you think of me, what charity you will do to me. I can never, never see you … only in the soul, and for that we should think of each other together. I will always think of you so that my soul may be constantly open to you if you please enter it. But that the guest will be long wait! The rains of November will have rotten the flowers of my tomb, June will have burned them and my soul will always cry with impatience. Ah! I hope one day the sight of a memory, the return of a birthday, the slope of your thoughts will lead your memory to the vicinity of my tenderness; then it will be as if I have heard you, seen, an enchantment will have all flourished for your coming. Think of the dead. But unfortunately! may I hope that death and your gravity will accomplish what life with its ardor, and our tears, and our gaiety, and our lips, could not do.