Three more weeks had passed, and the never-ending picture had undergone
so many touches that it was a little less advanced than before. It is
the certain sign that an artistic creation will not result: work
destroys it instead of improving it, and it is a proof, too, that we do
not accomplish works worthy of the name, they are made in us, without
effort, without will, almost unknown to us. The sittings, too, became
more and more irregular. Camille began to rehearse the piece to follow
_La Duchesse Blue_, and sometimes from one excuse, sometimes another,
one day because she was fatigued, another because she was studying her
part, she found a way of putting off half her visits to the studio. When
she did sit it was under very different conditions to the first
sittings. Her _tête-à-tête_ with me had been a necessity to her at the
time of her sweet confidences and even at the time of her tender uneasy
complaints. A fear came to her now that her jealousy of her rival would
endow her with an acute character of suspicious inquiry.

Not once during the three weeks, the anxious expectancy of which I am
summarizing here, did she come alone to the studio. Sometimes her
mother, sometimes her cousin, sometimes a companion accompanied her. I
should have known nothing of her but for guessing at her troubles from
the very pronounced alteration in her face and her increasing
nervousness on the one hand, and for having, on the other hand, three
conversations with Jacques which were very brief but well calculated to
edify me as to the cause of the poor Blue Duchess’ terrible trouble.

“Don’t talk to me of her,” he said on the first occasion with angry
harshness; “I should be unjust, for she loves me after all. But what a
character she has! what a character!”

“Ah! so she still continues to play to you her comedy of the beautiful
soul unappreciated,” he jeered on the second occasion. “Come, don’t let
us talk about her any more.”

On the last occasion he said violently: “As you are so interested in
her, I am going to give you a commission. If she wants to reach the
stage when I shall not recognize her if I meet her, you can tell her she
is well on the way to it. If I did not need her for my new comedy I
should not do so now.”

On neither of these three occasions had I insisted on knowing more. His
harshness, irony and violence made me a prey to a very strange fear. I
apprehended with real anguish the moment when he would say in his own
way. “It is all over. Madam de Bonnivet is my mistress.” Under any
circumstances it is saddening to receive such confidences. At least I
have always felt it so. It is so repugnant to me as to almost become
painful. Is it a result of the prudery with which Jacques reproached me?
Is it a persistent prejudice, the remains of a conventional imposition
before the woman’s modesty, as he also pretended?

I don’t think I am either prude or dupe. I see rather, in this aversion
for certain confessions which no longer allow any doubt as to certain
faults, first of all an excess of jealousy—why not?—and then the drawing
back before brutal reality which is in me a malady. Actually it is
without a doubt a relic of respectable and pious youth, and the evidence
that a woman who has been well brought up, who is married, is a mother,
and holds a position, has degraded herself to the physical filth of a
gallant adventure is intolerable to me. In its way this apprehension was
the more illogical and foolish as my comrade’s indiscretion had edified
me as regards the flirting and coquetry of which Madam de Bonnivet was
capable. Between coquetry, even foolishly light, and precision of the
last detail there is an abyss. In conclusion, if ever Jacques came to
pronounce to me that cruel phrase: “It is all over. Madam de Bonnivet is
my mistress,” I should have to see Camille with that phrase in my
memory, and then the reply to her questions would become to me a real
penance. To know nothing, on the other hand, was to retain the right to
reply to the poor actress without lying to her.

This voluntary ignorance did not prevent me from realizing that the
whole of Camille’s drama of sentiment was acted on this single point: on
the degree of intimacy established between Molan and Queen Anne depended
the sad remnant of happiness, the last charity of love which the poor
child still enjoyed. So although I tried not to find out anything
definite as to the result of the intrigue between Jacques and Madam de
Bonnivet, I did nothing but think of it, multiplying the hypotheses for
and against the latter’s absolute downfall. Alas! they were almost all
for it. How was I to wait for the revelation which put an end to my
uncertainty in a startling and entirely unexpected way?

It was towards the close of a February afternoon. Camille had missed
three set appointments without sending me a word of apology. I had spent
several hours, not in my studio, but in a little room adjoining it which
I adorned with the title of library. I keep there a number of books
which a painter, caring for his art alone, ought not to have. Why is it
that a poet and a novelist, even the most plastic, can teach an artist
who must live by his eyes and the reproduction of forms? It is true I
was not engaged in reading but in dreaming, glasses in hand, before the
half-burnt fire. The lamp, which had been brought in by a servant, lit
up half the room. I abandoned myself to that nervous languor which
resolves itself into, at such an hour, in such a season and such a
light, a half unconscious semi-intoxication. Anything accidental in us
is removed at such times. We seem to touch the bottom of our fund of
sensibility, the nerve itself of the internal organ through which we
suffer and enjoy, and the pulp which composes our being.

I felt in the twilight that I loved Camille as I imagine one must love
after death, if anything of our poor heart survives in the great mute
darkness. I told myself that I ought to go and see her, that there was
in the excess of my discretion apparent indifference. I evoked her and
spoke to her, telling her what I had never told her, and what I should
not dare to tell her. It was at the moment, when this opium of my
dream-passion most deeply engulfed me, that I was snatched with a start
from my dream by the sudden arrival of her who was its chief character.
My servant, whom I had told that I could see no one, entered the room to
tell me, with an air of embarrassment, that Mademoiselle Favier was
asking for me, that he had answered her according to his instructions,
and that she had sat down in the anteroom, declaring that she would not
go without seeing me.

“Is she alone?” I asked.

“Quite alone,” he answered with the familiarity of a bachelor’s servant
who has been in the same situation for twenty years—he saw my father die
and I am quite familiar with him. “I must tell you though, sir, that she
seems to be in great trouble. She is as white as a sheet; her voice is
changed, broken, and choked. One would think she cannot talk. It is a
great shame, considering how young and pretty she is!”

“Ah, well, show her in,” I said, “but no one else, you understand.”

“Even if M. Molan comes to see you too, sir?” he inquired.

“Even if M. Molan calls,” I replied.

The good fellow smiled the smile of an accomplice, which on any other
occasion I should have interpreted as a proof that he had guessed the
ill-concealed secret of my feelings. I did not have time to reflect upon
his greater or less penetration. Camille was already in the studio, and
the image of despair was before me, a despair verging on madness. I said
to her as I made her sit down: “Whatever is the matter?” and sat down
myself. She signed to me to ask her no questions, as it was impossible
for her to reply. She put her hand upon her breast and closed her eyes,
as if internal anguish there in her breast was inflicting upon her
suffering greater than she could bear. For a moment I thought she was
about to expire, so frightful was the convulsive pallor of her face.
When her eyes opened I could see that no tear moistened her blue eyes,
eyes which were now quite sombre. The flame of the most savage passion
burned in them. Then in a raucous and almost bass voice, as if a hand
had clutched her throat, she said to me as she pressed her fingers on
her forehead in bewilderment—

“There is a God, as I have found you. If you had not been at home I
think I should have lost my reason. Give me your hand, I want to clasp
it, to feel that I am not dreaming, that you are there, a friend. My
sufferings are so great.”

“Yes, a friend,” I replied, trying to calm her, “a true friend ready to
help you, to listen to you, to advise you, and to prevent you, too, from
giving way to your fancies.”

“Do not speak like that,” she interrupted, freeing her hand as she drew
back with almost hateful aversion, “or else I shall think you are in the
plot to lie to me. No. This man deceives you as he has me. You believe
in him as I have done. He would be ashamed to show himself in his true
colours before the honourable man you are. Listen.” She seized my arm
again and came so near me that I could feel the feverish heat of her
rapid breath. “Do you know where I, Camille Favier, have come from; I,
the recognized mistress of Jacques? I have come from a chamber where
that wretch, Madam de Bonnivet, has given herself to him, where the bed
is still in disorder and warm from their two bodies. Oh, what a hideous
thing it is!”

“Impossible!” I murmured, overwhelmed with fright at the words I had
just listened to and the tone in which they were spoken. “You have been
the dupe of an anonymous letter or a fancied resemblance.”

“Listen again,” she went on almost tragically, and her fingers bit into
my flesh, so furious was their grasp. “For a week I have had no doubt as
to the relations between Jacques and this woman. Suddenly he had become
tender to me with that tenderness which a mistress never mistakes. He
was humouring me. There was a certain expression in his eyes when he
looked at me. I would have liked to snatch away that look to read what
was behind it. Then I found around his eyes that voluptuous hollow I
knew in him too well. I recognized in his whole being that exhausted
languor which he used to have in the days gone by when we loved
passionately, and he avoided our appointments. He always had an excuse
to change and postpone them. You see, I am talking to you as I feel. It
is brutal, but what I am telling you is true, as I have always told the
truth to him and to you. It was I, you understand, who asked for these
appointments, I who did the hunting, while he refused me and escaped
from me. Is any other proof of a lover’s deception necessary? But this
week I began again to doubt. I received a visit from this woman’s
husband. She had the audacity to send him to me! He came with Senneterre
to ask me to act at a grand affair they are having next Monday.”

“I have an invitation to it,” I interrupted, suddenly recollecting that
I had received an invitation for it. “I was astonished at it, but I
understand now. It was an account of you.”

“Ah, well! you will not see me there,” she replied in a tone which froze
my heart, it was so ferocious, “and I have an idea that this function
will not take place.” Then with rising anger she said: “Now, see how
innocent I am still! When the fool of a husband asked me that, and I
said ‘yes,’ seeing that Jacques displayed no emotion, it seemed to me
impossible that this woman could really be his mistress. I did not
believe it of her, nor did I believe that he was her lover. I knew she
was a famous coquette, and you remember how I judged him? But this was
on her part such insolent audacity, and on his shameful cowardice! No.
Had you come yourself, even this morning, to tell me that she was his
mistress, I should not have believed it.”

She was so agonized at what she was preparing to tell that she had to
stop again. Her hands, which had let go of me again, trembled and her
eyes closed from her excessive suffering.

“And now?” I said to her.

“Now?” She burst into a nervous laugh. “Now I know of what they are
capable, he in particular. She is a woman of the world who has lovers.
But for him to have done what he has done! Oh, the wretch, the wicked
monster! I am going mad as I talk to you. But listen, listen,” she
repeated in a frenzy, as if she feared I should interrupt her story.
“To-day at two o’clock there was to have been a rehearsal of the new
comedy by Dorsenne at the theatre. He is altering an act and the
rehearsal was countermanded. I did not hear of it till I got to the
theatre. For that reason I found myself about two o’clock in the Rue de
la Chausée d’Antin with the afternoon before me. I had one or two calls
to make in the neighbourhood. I started, and then some clumsy person
trod on my skirt, tearing a flounce almost off. Look.” She showed me
that a large piece of the bottom of her skirt was torn. “It happened at
the top of the Rue de Clichy near the Rue Nouvelle.”

She had looked at me as she pronounced and emphasized these last few
words, as if they ought to awaken in me an association of ideas. She saw
that I made no sign. A look of astonishment passed over her face and she

“Does that name tell you nothing? I thought that Jacques, who confides
in you, would have told you that as well. Well”—she dropped her voice
still lower, “that is where we have our place of meeting. When he became
my lover, I should so much have liked to have belonged to him at his own
place, among the objects in the midst of which he lived, so that at
every minute, every second, these mute witnesses of our happiness would
recall me to his memory! He did not wish it to be so. I understand the
reason to-day; he was already thinking of the rupture. At that time I
believed everything he told me, and did everything he asked me to do. He
assured me that the rooms in the Rue Nouvelle had been fitted up by him
for me alone, and that he had put there the old furniture from the room
in which he wrote his early books: the room he lived in before moving to
the Place Delaborde. How stupid I was! How stupid I was! But it is
abominable to lie to a poor girl who has only her heart, who surrenders
it entirely as well as her person and would despise herself for any
distrust as if it were a crime! Ah! it is very easy to deceive any one
who surrenders herself like that.”

“But are you sure he deceived you?” I asked.

“Am I sure of it? You too—-” she replied in tones of passionate irony.
“Besides, I defy you to defend him when you hear the whole story. I was,
as I have just told you, near the Rue Nouvelle with my dress torn. I
must add, too, that in my foolishness I had left all sorts of little
things belonging to me in the rooms there, even needles and silk. It had
been one of my dreams, too, that this place might become a beloved
refuge for both of us, where Jacques would work at some beautiful
love-drama, written near me and for me, while I should be there to
employ myself—as his wife! It occurred to me to go there and mend my
torn flounce. I want you to believe me when I swear to you that there
was no idea of spying mixed up in my plan.”

“I know it,” I replied to her, and to spare her the details of a
confidence which I saw caused her great physical suffering, I asked her:
“And you found the room in disorder as you told me?”

“It was more terrible,” she said, and then had to remain silent for a
second to gain strength to continue: “The way in which these apartments
had been selected ought long ago to have told me that Jacques used them
for others as well as me. They are in a large double house, the rooms
face the street and are far enough from the porter’s lodge for any one
to ascend the staircase without being seen. What would be the use of all
these precautions if I were the only person to go there? Am I not free?
Am I afraid of any one but mother seeing me enter? Then there was the
porter’s glances, his indefinable expression of politeness and irony,
and his servility to Jacques, all of which would have proved to any one
else that the rooms had been for years in his occupation. I can see it
so clearly while I am talking to you! I cannot realize how I was so long
deceived! But I am losing myself, ideas keep rushing into my head. I had
got as far as the Rue Nouvelle with my dress torn. I had no key. Jacques
had never given it to me in spite of my requests. What another sign,
too! I knew that the porter kept one key so that he and his wife might
look after the place. An inside bolt allowed, when once a person was
inside, of the door being fastened against any intruder, so that very
often Jacques did not trouble to take the second key which was kept in
one of his drawers, and you may imagine I went to the porter’s lodge as
little as possible. I preferred, when I followed Jacques there, to go
straight upstairs and ring. Without these details what happened to me
would be unintelligible to you though it is so simple. This time I went
to the lodge for the key. There was no one there. The porter and his
wife were probably busy elsewhere, and the last person who went out had
neglected to shut the door. I saw our key in its usual place and took it
without the least scruple, and making as I did so a little motion of joy
at avoiding the porter. I must repeat—I swear it to you—that I was
absolutely ignorant of the incident I was about to encounter. I entered
the rooms with a certain feeling of melancholy, as you may imagine! It
was a fortnight since I had been there with Jacques. The windows were
closed. The little drawing-room with its tasteful tapestry and furniture
was still the same, and so was the bedroom with its red furniture. I
found out, on looking in a drawer where I had put my work-basket with my
odds and ends, that it was no longer there, and I was somewhat
astonished. But there was still a dressing-room and a little room which
we sometimes used as a dining-room. I thought that perhaps the porter,
when cleaning, had moved the things into the little room and forgotten
to replace them. I looked there, found the work-basket, and began to
mend my skirt. I took it off to do it more quickly. Suddenly I seemed to
hear the opening of doors. I had taken the key out of the lock without
shooting the bolt. My first thought was that Jacques was the unexpected
visitor. Had he not told me, and I had believed him, as usual, that he
sometimes came there to work out of remembrance of me and to assure
himself more solitude? I had not time to give myself up to the sweet
emotion this thought awakened in my heart. I could recognize two voices,
his and the other woman’s.”

“The voice of Madam de Bonnivet?” I asked as she remained silent after
the last few words, which were hardly audible. I was as much moved by
her story as she was herself. She bent her head to signify “yes” and
maintained her silence, so I dare not insist. The tragedy of the
situation, the facts of which she had placed before me so simply,
crushed me. She went on—

“I cannot describe to you what passed in me when I heard this woman,
who, thinking herself alone with her lover, was laughing loudly and
talking familiarly to him. I felt a sharp pain, as if the keen point of
a knife had wounded me in the inmost part of my being, and I began to
tremble in the whole of my body on the chair upon which I was sitting.
But even now at the thought, look at my hands! I desired to get up, to
go to them, and to drive them away, but I could not. I could not even
cry out. It seemed to me as if my life suddenly stood still in me. I
heard and listened. It was a pain greater than death, and I really
thought I should die where I sat! But here I am, and do you know the
reason? In that small room where I stayed like that without moving,
after the first moment of fearful pain had passed, I was overcome by
disgust, by inexpressible repugnance and horror which was absolutely
nauseating. Without a doubt if I had distinctly heard the words of this
man and woman the need of immediate vengeance would have been too strong
for me; but the indistinct, confused murmur, consisting of words I could
hear and words I could not hear, combined with the picture of what I
guessed was taking place on the other side of the wall, besides the
unutterable suffering it caused me, gave me an impression of something
very dirty, very ignoble, very disgusting, and very abject. There was
one phrase in particular, and such a phrase which made me feel that I
despised Jacques more than I loved him, and at the same time—how strange
the heart is!—I could only grasp the idea that if I entered the room he
would think that I came there to spy upon him. That pride in my feelings
ended by dominating everything else. I remained motionless in this small
room for perhaps an hour. Then they departed and I went into the room
they had just left. The bed was in disorder, but the pillows and
bedclothes were the same. Ah,” she groaned, uttering a cry which rent my
heart, and pressing her fingers into her eyes as if to crush the
eyeballs and with them a horrible vision of other infamous details which
she would not, could not mention then she cried: “Save me from myself,
Vincent. My friend, my only friend, do not leave me; I believe my head
will burst and I shall go mad! Oh, that bed! that bed! our bed!”

She got up as she said these words, rushed towards me and buried her
head against my shoulder, seizing me with her hands in an agony of
supreme grief. Her face contracted and turned up in a spasm of agony,
and I had only just time to catch her. She fell unconscious into my

Without doubt this unconsciousness saved her, with the help of the
torrent of tears which she shed when she recovered her senses. I saw her
reawaken to life and realize her misery. Her confidences and the period
of unconsciousness which followed them had moved me so deeply that I
could find nothing to say except those commonplace words used to comfort
a suffering person; and there is such difficulty in making use even of
those when one takes into account the legitimate reasons the person has
for suffering. Camille did not allow me to exhaust myself for long in
these useless consolations.

“I know that you love me,” she said with an attempt at a broken-hearted
smile, which even now when I think of it makes me ill, “and I know, too,
that you sincerely pity me. But you must let me weep, you know. With
these tears it seems to me that my folly departs. I would like only one
promise from you, a real man’s promise, your word of honour that you say
‘yes’ to the request I am going to make you.”

“You believe in my friendship,” I said to her. “You know that I will
obey all your designs, whatever they may be.”

“That is not sufficient,” she said at my evasive reply, behind which,
seeing her so excited, I had sheltered a last remnant of prudence. What
was she going to ask me? And she insisted: “It is your word of honour I

“You have it,” I told her, overcome by the sad supplication in her dear
blue eyes from which the tears still flowed.

“Thank you,” she said as she pressed my hand, and she added: “I want to
be sure that you will not say anything to Jacques of what I have told

“I give you my word of honour,” I replied; “but you yourself will not be
able to tell him.”

“I?” she replied, shaking her head with grim pride. “I shall tell him
nothing. I do not wish him to suspect me of spying upon him. I will
quarrel with him without giving a reason. I shall have courage against
my love now from disgust. I shall only have to recall what I have seen
and heard.”

After her departure my heart-broken pity for her changed into increasing
uneasiness. Was I to keep my word to the poor girl and not warn Molan? I
knew too well the value of lovers’ oaths to believe that, after
assisting in concealment at this rendezvous between her lover and her
rival, she would keep to her resolution of a silent rupture without
vengeance. It is in vain for a woman to try and bear in her heart that
sentimental pride, of which she had given proof in a very unlikely
fashion by remaining in her hiding-place; she is still a woman, and
sooner or later the pressure of her instinct will overcome her reason
and dignity. If a fresh attack of grief overwhelmed the outraged
mistress, would she not, when a prey to the delirium of jealousy, write
the truth to her rival’s husband? The look came to my mind which
Bonnivet had given at his table the woman who bore his name and who was
now the mistress of Jacques. How was it that this coquette, so obviously
gaunt, so profoundly ironical, and so little impulsive, had given
herself thus?

Curiosity to learn the details of this culpable adventure did not enter
into the temptation which seized me directly Camille had gone to go and
see my friend. At least I could warn him against danger and a surprise
likely to be tragic. I, however, resisted this desire, which was almost
a need, of warning him through a point of honour which I have never yet
failed to keep. That is the result of being the son of a Puritan. My
father’s words always came into my mind at times like this: “A promise
is not to be interpreted but to be kept.”

I have this principle in my blood and marrow. I cannot recall
circumstances when to keep a promise has cost me such an effort.

To remain faithful to my oath, I forbade myself going to see Jacques. He
came to see me on the day following the day I had received his mistress’
confidences which were so hard for me to keep. He had the previous
evening been to the theatre to see Camille. He had not been able to talk
to her because of her mother’s presence. This presence, which was
obviously at the daughter’s desire, had astonished him a little; then he
thought he noticed in the latter’s eyes and also in her acting something
strange, a sort of unhealthy excitement. As often happens when a person
has not a clear conscience, this something had sufficed to make him
uneasy. He therefore, had come to the studio with the vague hope of
meeting Camille and the certain object of making me talk. His epigrams
upon my part as eternal confidant were well justified. It is true that a
very simple pretext offered an explanation of his visit.

“I have had an invitation sent you for Madam de Bonnivet’s evening
party,” he stated after our greetings; “you will go, won’t you? Shall we
dine together that evening? Has Camille told you that she is acting

“Yes,” I replied, “and I thought the idea was in somewhat doubtful

“It was not my idea,” he said with a laugh; “I am a little afraid of
complications, and I avoid useless ones as much as possible. There are
already too many unavoidable ones. Senneterre and Bonnivet arranged the
party, one advising the other. They want to know the truth of my
courting Queen Anne. Seeing that Camille is my mistress, they think that
if Madam de Bonnivet is really her rival, the two women must detest each
other. You follow their reasoning? In that case Madam de Bonnivet would
refuse to have Camille there and Camille would refuse to go. I should
also decline the invitation to avoid any meeting between the two women.
But I accepted and so did Camille. Madam de Bonnivet placed no obstacle
in the way. I should like you to have seen the stupor, and then the joy,
first of Senneterre and then of Bonnivet. Ah! they are observers,
analysts, and psychologists, like Larcher or Dorsenne.” After this irony
he added: “I have not seen Camille for some days. How is the portrait

“You can judge for yourself,” I hastened to say, only too happy to seize
this pretext to avoid his questions, and I turned to show him the tall
canvas upon which was drawn the slender silhouette of the Blue Duchess
offering her flower—offering her flower to him who hardly looked at her.
Has he ever given five minutes’ attention to the artistic efforts of a
comrade? That day at least he had as an excuse his little inquiry to
make, and thus his critical situation between his two mistresses
rendered urgent. I was not offended when he continued, without the least
gleam of interest lighting up the glance, almost a wandering one, which
he fixed upon the picture.

“Is she still jealous of Madam de Bonnivet?” he asked.

“We have hardly mentioned that subject,” I replied with a blush at my
impudent untruth.

“Well, so much the better,” he went on without insisting. “She would
choose her time very badly. I must tell you that Queen Anne and I have
recognized that we have made a misdeal and have given up the game. Yes,
we are in a state of armed peace. We have measured our weapons and
concluded an armistice. It was written that I should not seduce her and
that she should not seduce me. We are good friends now, and I think we
shall remain so. I like it better that way, it is more comfortable.”

He looked at me, as he delivered this speech in a hesitating way, with a
keen perspicacity before which I did not flinch. If my face expressed
astonishment, it was at his assurance in the comedy. He no doubt
attributed it to my surprise at his fresh relations with her whom he
continued to call Queen Anne, and whom I knew deserved to be brutally
called Anne the Courtesan. I realize to-day that in observing this
strange discretion about his triumph he did not yield to a simple
prudent calculation. Without a doubt he was prudent, but he also counted
on my thinking him sincere, and putting more energy into destroying my
model’s ever-recurring suspicions. There was, too, in this discretion
succeeding the cynicism of his former confidences a singular turn in his
self-conceit, which is more obvious now at a distance of time.

I have often noticed in the person whom women call in their slang “the
man who talks” this anomaly. It is quite apparent. He tells you one by
one, embellishing them where necessary, the least important
preliminaries of an adventure with a person whose most trifling
imprudence ought to be sacred to him. Then when he sees that you are
quite convinced that he is going to become that woman’s lover, he
defends himself at the last stage with a defence which compromises her
as much as a positive avowal. This final silence prevents him from
judging himself too severely. The same vanity which made him talkative
before makes him silent afterwards. Vanity or remorse, calculation or a
last remnant of honour, whatever was the cause of this sudden
interruption in Jacques’ confidences, it is certain that on this
occasion he did not depart from his correct attitude of discretion. It
made my discretion seem the less meritorious. But suddenly events were
precipitated with the frightful rapidity of catastrophies in which
discussions and half-confidences have no place. I should like to narrate
this _dénouement_, not such as I saw it, but such as it was told to me.
God! if I could reproduce for this story the natural and violent
eloquence with which little Favier used to retrace these tragic scenes,
this clumsy narrative would live and become tinted with passion’s warm
tinge. Why did I not at once put it on paper in the form of notes, these
burning avowals which so long pursued me?


There is always a silent corner in a woman’s most sincere confession.
There was one in Camille’s. In telling me, with the pauses of jealousy
maddened by its certainty, of the dramatic discovery at the rooms in the
Rue Nouvelle she had not revealed the whole truth to me. She had already
resolved on an audacious plan for vengeance even at the time she
affirmed that she would not revenge herself. She confessed to me later
that she was afraid of my advice and reproaches. Among the phrases
audible through the thin partition which separated her from the bed
where her rival gave herself to their joint lover, she had seized upon a
few words more important to her than the rest. It was the day and hour
of their next meeting. This slender Madam de Bonnivet, in whom I had
diagnosed signs of the most immovable coldness—a detail which in
parenthesis Molan later on brutally confirmed—was like most women of
this kind, a seeker after sensations. At each fresh intrigue those
depraved women without temperaments persist in the hope that this time
they will experience that much-desired ecstasy of love which has always
shunned them.

I have learned since that it was she who, in spite of the danger, or
rather because of the danger, had multiplied the meetings each of which
risked a tragic termination. Camille had ascertained the secret of the
real relations between the two lovers one Tuesday, and on the Friday,
three days later, they were to meet at the same place. Knowing the exact
moment of the appointment a mad resolution took possession of the
suffering mind of the poor Blue Duchess: to wait for her rival at the
door of the house, to approach her as she got out of her cab and spit
out into her face her hatred and contempt there on the pavement in the
street. At the thought of the arrogant Madam de Bonnivet trembling
before her like a thief caught in the act, the outraged actress
experienced a tremor of satisfied revenge. Her vengeance would be more
complete still. The infamous trap into which Jacques and Madam de
Bonnivet had lured her, the abominable invitation to perform at her
rival’s evening party to reassure the husband, would be of use to her.
Out of prudence and with the idea of not compromising herself with her
husband, Madam de Bonnivet must give her that evening in spite of
everything. She, Camille, would appear there! She would see the woman
who had stolen her lover tremble before her gaze, the lover himself pale
with terror lest she should make a scene, and the fear of the guilty
couple was in advance of those atrocious pleasures which hatred conjures
up in the mind.

The three days which separated her from this Friday passed for Camille
in increasing expectancy. I did not see her during that time, for she
took a jealous care in avoiding me, for fear I should derange her plan.
But she told me afterwards that never since the beginning of her liaison
with Jacques had she felt such a fever of impatience. She passed the
night from Thursday to Friday like a mad woman, and when she left the
Rue de la Barouillére to go to the Rue Nouvelle, she had neither slept
nor eaten for thirty-six hours. At half-past three she was on the
pavement in front of the windows of the rooms walking up and down
wrapped in her cloak and unrecognizable through her double veil, never
losing sight of the door through which her rival must go. There was at
the corner of the Rue de Clichy a cabstand which she fixed as the
boundary of her promenade. Each time she passed she noticed the clock on
the cabstand. First it was twenty minutes to four, and more than twenty
minutes to wait. Then it was ten minutes to four, and she had ten
minutes to wait. Four o’clock struck. They were late. At twenty minutes
past four neither Jacques nor Madam de Bonnivet had appeared. What had

In face of this delay, the more inexplicable as, in the case of a woman
of position like the one for whom revenge was watching, her moments of
leisure are few, it seemed obvious to Camille that the lovers had
altered the time and place of the appointment, and the idea maddened
her. They had seen one another so often since she had listened to their
caresses and familiarity so close to her. Who knows? Perhaps the porter
had noticed her when she went out the other day, although she had taken
advantage of a moment when he was absent from the lodge and talking in
the courtyard to replace the key. Perhaps he had warned Jacques of the

It was half-past four, and still no one had appeared. Camille was at
last convinced that to remain longer watching was useless, all the more
since, as happens at this time in a cold February day, a bitter fog had
come down mixed with sleet, which made her shiver. She cast a desperate
glance at the impenetrable windows with their closed shutters from which
no gleam of light came, and was preparing to depart, when in searching
the short street with her eyes for the last time she saw a carriage stop
opposite the cabstand and a face look out of it which gave her one of
those attacks of terror which dissolve the forces of the body and soul:
it was the face of Pierre de Bonnivet!

Yes, it was indeed the husband of Molan’s mistress, no longer in his
laughable function as the shy and intimidated husband of a woman of the
world who endured the coquetry of the woman who bore his name,
submitting to it to profit by it. It was the assassin in his
hiding-place, the assassin in whom jealousy had suddenly awakened the
primitive male, the murderous brute, and whose eyes, nostrils, mouth
announced his desire to kill whatever happened. He was there scanning
the street with savage glances. The half turned-up otter-skin collar of
his overcoat gave to his red hair and high colour a more sinister look,
and the bare ungloved hand with which he lifted the curtain of the
window to enable him to see better seemed ready to grasp the weapon
which should avenge his honour at once on that pavement, without any
more thought of the world and of scandal than if Paris were still the
primeval forest of 3,000 years before, where prehistoric men fought with
stone axes for possession of a female clad in skins.

How had the jealous husband discovered the retreat where Queen Anne and
Jacques took shelter during their brief intrigue? Neither Camille, I,
nor Jacques himself have ever known. An anonymous letter had informed
him; but by whom was it written? Molan had at his heels a mob of the
envious; Madam de Bonnivet was in the same position, even without
reckoning her more or less disappointed suitors. Perhaps Bonnivet had
simply recourse to the vulgar but sure method of espionage. It is quite
certain that the porter had been questioned, and but for the fact that
he was a good fellow, who had been well supplied with theatre tickets by
his lodger, and was proud of the latter’s fame as an author, the rooms
which had seen the poor Blue Duchess so happy and so miserable in turn
without doubt would have served as the theatre for a sanguinary
dénouement. It was indeed the desire for a tragic vengeance which
Camille Favier saw upon the face, in the nostrils, around the mouth, and
in the eyes of the man’s face she had seen at the carriage window in the
dim light furnished by a gas jet in the darkness, looking for a proof of
his dishonour, and decided upon immediate vengeance. It is very likely,
too, that he had noticed the young woman. But he had only met her once
off the stage, and the high collar of her coat, a fur boa wound several
times round her neck, a hat worn over her eyes and a double veil made
Camille into an indecisive figure, a vague and indistinctive silhouette.
Bonnivet without doubt saw in her, if his fixed plan allowed him to
reason at all, a wanderer of the prostitute class exercising her
miserable trade as the darkness came on. Then he took no further notice
of her.

As for the charming and noble girl who was so magnanimous by nature that
it seemed a pity that she should have experienced such depraving
adventures, she had no sooner recognized Bonnivet than her first spite,
her furious jealousy, the legitimate sorrow of her wounded passion and
her appetite for revenge all combined into one feeling. She realized
nothing but the danger Jacques was in, and the necessity of warning him,
not to-morrow, or that evening, but at once. A few minutes before she
had made up her mind that the lovers had postponed their appointment
till another day.

An idea suddenly pierced her heart like a red-hot iron; suppose they had
only postponed the appointment till five o’clock? Suppose at that moment
they were preparing to set out for this street, at the top of which this
sinister watcher was waiting? The thought that, after all, that was
possible at once transformed itself, as often happens when the
imagination works around the danger to a person beloved, into a
certainty. She could distinctly see Jacques walking towards this
ambuscade. The resolution to stop him at once without a second’s delay
possessed her with irresistible force. What could she do but hasten to
the Place Delaborde, where she had a last chance of meeting Molan? She
was afraid she would be noticed by Bonnivet, or he might hear her voice,
if she took one of the cabs on the rank, so she hurried along the Rue de
Clichy like a mad woman, calling cab after cab, and feeling, when at
last she took her seat in an empty one, the horrible attack of a fresh
hypothesis which almost made her faint. Supposing the two lovers had, on
the other hand, put forward the time of their meeting and were in the
rooms, while the husband warned by a paid or gratuitous spy was waiting
for them? Camille could see them once more in her imagination, with the
same inability to distinguish the possible from the real. Yes, she could
see them, quite sure of their privacy, taking advantage of the gathering
darkness to emerge arm in arm, and she could see Bonnivet rush and
then…. This unknown conclusion varied between sudden murder and a
terrible duel.

The unfortunate creature had hardly conceived this second hypothesis,
when a tremor shook her to her very marrow. Her cab had set off at a
fast trot in the direction of the Place Delaborde. What could she do
then? In these instants when not only seconds, but halves and quarters
of a second are counted, does real sentiment possess a mysterious double
sight which decides persons with more certainty than any calculation or
reasoning could do? Or are there, as Jacques Molan loved to say,
destinies protected by singular favour of circumstance, which have
constantly good luck, just as others constantly have bad luck? Still
Camille, between two possibilities, chose by instinct that which turned
out to be the true one.

At the precise moment that the cab turned into the Place de la Trinité
she directed the driver to turn back to the Rue Nouvelle. Why? She could
not have told. She stopped the cab and paid her fare at the top of this
street. Her plan was made and she put it into execution with that
courageous decision which danger sometimes inspires in souls like hers,
passive on their own behalf, but all flame and energy in defence of
their love. She could see that Bonnivet’s carriage was still in the same
place. Her umbrella up to protect her from the sleet was sure to hide
her face as she walked bravely along past the carriage and reached the
house, the door of which the jealous husband was watching. Her doubts
were removed, for a stream of light through the cracks of the shutters
denoted some one’s presence in the rooms. She went in without hesitation
and walked straight to the porter, who saluted her in an embarrassed

“I can assure you, mademoiselle, that M. Molan is not here,” he replied
when she insisted, after his first denial.

“I tell you he is here with a lady,” she replied. “I saw the light
through the windows.” Then sharply with the inexpressible authority
which emanates from a person really in despair she said: “Wretch, you
will repent for the rest of your life of not answering me frankly now.
Stop,” she added, taking the astonished porter’s arm and pulling him out
of the lodge. “Look in that carriage at the corner of the street on the
right and take care you are not seen. You will see some one watching the
house. He is the woman’s husband. If you want blood here directly when
she leaves, all you have to do is to prevent me going up to warn them.
Good God, what are you afraid of? Search me if you want to make sure I
have no weapon and would not harm them. My lover deceives me, I know,
but I love him; do you hear? I love him, and I wish to save him. Cannot
you see that I am not lying to you?”

Dominated by a will stretched to its uttermost, the man allowed himself
to be pulled to the door. Luck, that blind and inexplicable chance which
is our salvation and destruction in similar crises, sometimes by the
most insignificant of coincidences, that luck whose constant favour to
the audacious Jacques I mentioned, willed that at the moment when the
porter looked towards the carriage Bonnivet leaned out a little. The man
turned to Camille Favier with an agitated look.

“I can see him,” he cried; “it is the gentleman who the day before
yesterday asked me some questions about the occupants of the house. He
asked me if a M. Molan lived here, and when I replied ‘No’ according to
orders, he took a pocket-book from his pocket. ‘What do you take me
for?’ I asked him. I ought to have given the rascal a good hiding. Wait
while I go and ask him if he has authority from the police to watch

“He will answer you that the street is common property, which is quite
true,” said Camille, whose coolness had returned with the danger. Was it
the inspiration of love? Was it a vague remembrance of the usual
happenings on the stage? For our profession acts in us like automatic
mechanism in the confusion of necessity. A plan formed itself in her
imagination in which the honest porter would take a part, she knew, for
Molan knew the way to make himself liked. “You will not prevent that man
from staying there,” she went on, “you will only make him think there is
something it is necessary to hide. He will make no mistake as to what
that something is. Before coming here he must have received positive
information. You want to help me to save your master, don’t you? Obey

“You are right, mademoiselle,” the porter answered, changing his tone;
“if I go and make a scene with him he will understand, and if it is his
wife, he has the right not to want to be what he is. I meant to have
warned M. Jacques when he went upstairs that I had been questioned, but
he came with that lady.”

“I will warn him,” Camille said, “I undertake to do so. Now go and call
a cab, but do not bring it into the courtyard, and leave me to act. I
swear I will save him.”

She ran upstairs while the porter called a cab as she had ordered him.
The simple object, if there must be a drama, of doing everything to
prevent it taking place in his house, had made him as docile as if
Camille had been the owner of the house, that incarnation of omnipotence
to the Paris porter. When the plucky girl reached the landing before
that door she had opened so many times with such sweet emotion, she had,
in spite of the imminent danger, a moment’s weakness. The woman in her
in a momentary flash revolted against the devotion love had suggested in
such a rapid, almost animal, way, just as she would have jumped into the
water to save Jacques if she had seen him drowning. Alas! she was not
saving him alone! The image of her rival rose in front of her with that
almost unbearable clearness of vision which accompanies the bitter
attacks of the jealousy which knows it is not mistaken. Vengeance was
there, however, so certain, so complete, so immediate and impersonal! It
was sufficient to allow events to take their course down the slope upon
which they had started.

When the poor child afterwards told me the details of this terrible day
she did not make herself better than she really was. She confessed to me
that the temptation was so strong that she had to act with frenzy and
fury to put something irreparable between herself that moment, so she
began to ring the bell at the door, first of all once, then twice, then
three times, then ten times, with that prolonged ring which gives an
accent of mad insistence to the bell. She could see in her mind as
clearly as if she were in the room the two lovers, attracted by the
bell, first laughing at the thought that it was an inopportune visitor,
then exchanging glances in silence, Madam de Bonnivet in affright, and
Jacques trying to reassure her, as they both got up. How she would have
liked to have shouted “quick, quick!” Then she began to knock repeatedly
at the door with her clenched fist. Afterwards she listened. It seemed
to her, for the over-excitement of her anguish doubled the power of her
senses, that she could distinguish a noise, a creaking of the floor
beneath a stealthy step on the other side of the still closed door; and
applying her mouth to the crack of the door to make sure of being heard—

“It is I, Jacques,” she cried, “It is I, Camille. Open the door, I beg
of you, your life is in danger. Open the door, Pierre de Bonnivet is in
the street.”

There was no reply. She was silent, listening once more and asking
herself whether she were mistaken in thinking she heard a footstep. Then
still more maddened, she began again to ring the bell at the risk of
attracting the attention of some other resident in the house; she
knocked at the door and called out: “Jacques, Jacques, open the door!”
and she repeated: “Pierre de Bonnivet is below!” There was still no
reply. In her paroxysm of fear a new idea occurred to her. She went down
to the porter, who had come back with the cab, and who was now
distracted and moaning in naïve egoism.

“This comes of being too good. If anything happens we shall get
discharged. Where shall we go then? Where shall we get another place?”

“Give me pencil and paper,” she said, “and see if the watcher is still

“He is still there,” the porter answered, and seeing Camille fold the
paper on which she had feverishly scribbled a few lines, “I see,” he
said, “you are going to slip the note under the door. But that won’t get
the lady out. If I had a row with the fellow, we should both be locked
up, and while explanations were taking place she could escape and there
would be no scandal in the house.”

“That would be one way,” Camille replied, though she could not, in spite
of the gravity of the danger, help smiling at the idea of a struggle
between the man of the people and the elegant sportsman Pierre de
Bonnivet; “but I think mine is the better plan.”

She rushed up the staircase once more, and after ringing the bell as
loudly as before, she slipped under the door, as the porter had guessed,
the bit of paper on which she had written: “Jacques, I want to save you.
At least believe in the love you have betrayed. What more can I say?
Open the door. I swear to you that B—— is at the corner of the street
watching for you. If you look to the right you will see his carriage,
and I swear to you, too, that I will save you.”

What a note, and how I preserve it, having obtained it from Jacques
himself, as a monument of harrowing tenderness! It is impossible for me
to transcribe it without shedding tears. The sublime lover had
calculated that sooner or later Jacques would have to come to the door
to go out. She also told herself that she would stand against the
staircase wall till, after reading her supplication, he opened the door.
With what a beating heart she watched her white note immediately
disappear! A hand drew it inside. She could hear the rustle of the paper
as the hand unfolded it and the noise of a window opening. Jacques was
looking into the street, as she had told him to do, to verify for
himself, in spite of the increasing darkness, the accuracy of the
information contained in the strange missive. To the poor Duchess,
although she had indicated the method of verification, this proof of
distrust at that moment was really like the probing of a wound, the most
painful spot in a painful wound! She had no time to think of this fresh
humiliation. The door opened at last and the two lovers were in the
anteroom facing one another: Camille a prey to her exaltation of
sacrifice and martyrdom so strangely mingled with contempt and almost
hatred; he pale and haggard, and looking untidy from his hasty toilet.

“Come,” he began in a low voice, “what is it? You know if you are lying,
and have come to make a scene.”

“Be quiet, wretch!” she replied without deigning to lower her voice; “if
I were a woman to make scenes, should I have neglected the opportunity
when you came here with her last Tuesday at three o’clock? Yes, I was in
that room, there behind the alcove, and I heard everything; do you
understand? everything, I did not come out and I let you go. There is no
question of that. The husband of that woman is at the corner of the
street watching for you. You looked out of the window and saw the
carriage. I don’t want him to kill you in spite of what you have done to
me. I love you too well. That is the reason I am here.”

Molan had watched this strange girl’s face while she talked. Suspicious
though he was, that being the punishment of men who have lied to women
too often, he realized that Camille was speaking the truth. Then he made
a generous movement, his first. If he is an egoist, comedian, and a
knave, he does not lack courage. He has several times, because of
slanderous articles, fought very unnecessarily and very bravely. Perhaps
too, for the idea of playing to the gallery is never absent from certain
minds even in solemn moments, he was thinking of the report of the
drama, if drama there was, which the newspapers would publish far and
wide. A few words he said to me later make one think so: “You must admit
that I missed a magnificent advertisement!” But who can tell what the
thought at the back of his head was, and perhaps after all those words
were only the after-thought of a man of his kind to conceal his rare
natural outbursts. Still, adjusting his jacket and taking his hat from a
peg in the anteroom, he answered in a loud voice—

“I believe you and thank you. It is enough. I know now what I have to

“Do you mean to go down?” she said. “You are going to meet danger? Will
that save you, answer me, when you go and ask that man—what? What he is
doing there? It would be sacrificing this woman, and you have no right
to do so. If Bonnivet himself followed you, he saw a woman enter. If he
had you followed, he knows that a woman is here. He must see a woman
leave with you in a cab and conceal herself. He must follow the cab and
leave this street clear for her to escape during that time. Ah, well!
you must go out with me. There is a cab waiting. I have had it fetched.
We will get into it; do not refuse and do not argue. Bonnivet will see
us do so and will follow us in his carriage. He will expect to surprise
you with her; he will surprise you with me, and you will be saved.” She
took him in her arms unconsciously, then pushed him violently away from
her and went on in a low voice: “We are almost the same height, go and
ask for her cloak. She will take mine and go five minutes after us,
after she has seen her husband’s carriage go. Wish her good-bye, and be
sure she does not come to thank me. If I saw her I might not be able to
control myself.”

She took off her long black cloak as she spoke and handed it to Jacques,
who received it without a word. Certain women’s sacrifices have a
magnificent simplicity which crushes the man who receives them. He can
only accept them and be ashamed. Besides there was no time to hesitate.
Necessity was there, implacable and inevitable. Jacques went into the
drawing-room into which the anteroom opened, while Camille remained
standing against the wall in the outer room. “I had a knife in my
heart,” she told me afterwards, “and also a savage joy at the idea that
I was overwhelming her by what I was doing; it was a sorrowful joy. I
also loved him again, and I have never loved him so much as at that
moment. I realized how pleasant it is to die for some one! At the same
time I was obliged to master myself to prevent entering and insulting
this wretch, tearing her chemise and striking her with my hands. Oh,
God, what moments they were!”

While this miracle of love was taking place in the commonplace
surroundings of this abode of love, the darkness had come. The street
noises penetrated into this anteroom with a sort of sinister far-away
sound, and the poor actress could hear a whispering quite close to her,
the discussion taking place in the other room between the traitor for
whom her devotion was meant and the accomplice in his treachery. At last
the door opened and Jacques reappeared. He had his hat on his head and
his fur collar turned up to conceal half his face. He had in his hand
Madam de Bonnivet’s astrakhan jacket which Camille put on with a
shudder. It was a little too large for her at the breast. “I thought she
must be more beautiful than I am in spite of her slender appearance,”
she said to me when telling me of this very feminine impression, and it
was another puncture in her wound.

“Come,” Jacques went on after a period of silence. He watched her put on
the jacket with an expression in which appeared the last gleam of that
distrust, the first sign of which had been the opening of the window
after the note to make sure that Bonnivet was really there. They
descended the staircase without exchanging a word. At the lodge, while
Jacques was telling the porter to call another cab as soon as the first
had gone, Camille fastened her double veil over her face and slipped
into the cab, hiding her face with a muff which she showed to Jacques
once the door was shut.

“It is my poor plush muff,” she said jokingly to make his courage return
by this proof of her coolness. “It does not go very well with this
millionairess’ jacket. But at this distance and this time in the evening
it will not be noticeable. Look through the window at the back of the
cab and see whether the carriage at the corner of the street is
following us.”

“He is following us,” Jacques said.

“Then you are saved,” she replied. She pressed his hand passionately, in
her clasp allaying the anxiety of the cruel moments which she had been
through and burst into tears. He could still find no words to thank her,
and to relieve his embarrassment he tried, as he had often done when
they were in a cab together, and had had a quarrel, to put his arm round
the young woman’s waist, draw her towards him and snatch a kiss. His
movement brought back her furious hatred and jealousy, and repulsing him
fiercely she said—

“No, never, never again.”

“My poor Mila,” he said, calling her by a pet name he used in moments of

“Don’t call me that,” she interrupted, “the woman of whom you are
talking is dead, you have killed her.”

“But you love me,” he insisted. “Ah! how you love me to have done what
you did just now!”

It was her turn to make him no answer. The cab reached the top of the
Rue de Babylone without the two lovers exchanging any other words than
this question which Camille asked from time to time: “Are we still being
followed?” and Jacques’ reply: “Yes.”

This furious pursuit by the jealous husband displayed such an evident
resolve for vengeance that the actress and her companion felt again the
anguish they had already experienced—she when she recognized the face of
the watcher at the window of the stationary carriage, he when the sound
of the bell surprised him in Madam de Bonnivet’s arms. Would the husband
be duped by the plan Camille had thought out? The fact of his waiting
till their cab stopped to approach the two fugitives testified to his
uncertainty, or else, sure of not losing sight of the cab, he preferred
to have an explanation with the man whom he believed to be his wife’s
lover in a more out-of-the-way place, where he would alight. At last
Camille recognized the church of Saint François Xavier which reared its
two slender towers through the mist.

“Here is a good place to stop,” she said as she tapped for the driver to
do so. “You will see the other carriage stop too and Bonnivet get out.
He will rush towards us, and then we shall need all our coolness. Let me
get out first, and if he asks why we conceal ourselves like this, talk
of mother.”

It was one of those rapid scenes, which the actors themselves, when they
recall them, think they have dreamt, and do not know whether they have
experienced a sensation of tragedy or comedy. Life is like that,
oscillating from one to the other of these two poles with an
instantaneousness which has never been expressed, I think, by any writer
and never will be. The change is too sudden. At the moment Camille set
foot upon the pavement at the foot of the church steps, she saw Pierre
de Bonnivet suddenly rise up before her; he took her arm and suddenly
recognized her.

“Mademoiselle Favier!” he cried. Then he stopped, quite out of
countenance, while Camille in terror cowered against Molan who had by
this time also got out of the cab, and who, as if surprised at
recognizing the man who had rushed toward his mistress, cried in a voice
in which there was a tremor—

“Why, it is M. de Bonnivet!”

“Good gracious, mademoiselle,” Queen Anne’s husband stammered after a
moment’s dead silence, “I must have seemed very strange to you just now,
but I thought I recognized some one else.” In his hesitation a sudden,
immense and unhoped-for joy quivered. The jealous husband had a proof
that his suspicions were false. “I thought I recognized the friend of a
friend of mine, and in Molan the friend himself. You will excuse me,
will you not? What would have been a joke to her becomes to a person
like yourself, whom I admire so much, and with whom I am so little
acquainted, an unpardonable familiarity.”

“You are quite forgiven,” said Camille with a laugh, adding with as much
presence of mind as if she had pronounced the phrase on the Vaudeville
stage in the course of an imaginary crisis, instead of finding herself
face to face with a real danger: “I live quite close here. I asked the
famous author to see me home after rehearsal, and I had scruples about
letting him return alone and on foot to civilization. I am going to get
into my cab and leave you my cavalier to accompany you, M. de Bonnivet.
Molan will explain to you that a woman can be an actress and a simple
ordinary woman as well, very simple and very ordinary. Good-bye, Molan;
good-bye, sir.”

She bowed her pretty head coquettishly, enveloping the two men in her
lovely smile, and made towards the left side of the church where the
sacristy was, while Jacques said to Bonnivet putting his finger to his

“Because of her mother, you know.”

“I understand, you bad boy,” the other man replied with a hearty laugh.
He continued to feel that gaiety of deliverance, so sweet as to be
almost intoxicating, on emerging from a torturing crisis like the one he
had just been through. He could have kissed where he stood the lover of
his wife, whom he had all day been planning to kill, and he pushed him
into his carriage, which was splashed with mud right up to the box
through this fierce pursuit across Paris, saying as he did so: “Where
shall I drop you? You know your Mademoiselle Favier is quite charming,
with such distinction of manner too! She had such a way, too, of
justifying her drive with you! Mind, I am asking no questions. I will
apologize again to her when she is acting at my house. You might do so,
too, for me, if you don’t mind! A likeness, you know, and at that hour a
mistake is so easily made.”