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Samuel Brohl and Company By Victor Cherbuliez Characters: 31259

Updated: 2017-11-28 00:07

In all that Samuel Brohl did, even in his wildest freaks, there was somewhat of calculation, or contrivance. Unquestionably, he had experienced intense displeasure at encountering M. Camille Langis at Cormeilles; he had, doubtless, very particular and very personal reasons for not liking him. He knew, however, that there was need for controlling his temper, his impressions, his rancour; and, if he ceased to do so for a moment, it was because he counted upon deriving advantage therefrom. He was impatient to enter into possession, to feel his good-fortune sheltered from all hazards; delays, procrastinations, long waiting, displeased and irritated him. He suspected M. Moriaz of purposely putting his shoulder to the wheel of time, and of preparing a contract that would completely tie the hands of Count Larinski. He resolved to seize the first opportunity of proving that he was mistrustful, stormy, susceptible, in the hope that Mlle. Moriaz would become alarmed and say to her father, "I intend to marry in three weeks, and without any conditions." The opportunity had presented itself, and Samuel Brohl had taken good care not to lose it.

The next day he received the following note:

"You have caused me pain, a great deal of pain. Already! I passed a sorrowful evening, and slept wretchedly all night. I have reflected seriously upon our dispute; I have endeavoured to persuade myself that I was in the wrong: I have neither been able to succeed, nor to comprehend you. Ah! how your lack of confidence astonishes me! It is so easy to believe when one loves. Please write me word quickly that you also have reflected, and that you have acknowledged your misdemeanour. I will not insist upon your doing penance, your face humbled to the ground; but I will condemn you to love me to-day more than yesterday, to-morrow more than to-day. Upon these conditions, I will pass a sponge across your grave error, and we shall speak of it no more.

"Ever yours. It is agreed, is it not?" Samuel Brohl had the surprise of receiving at the same time another letter, thus worded:

"MY DEAR COUNT: I cannot explain to myself your conduct; you no longer give me any signs of life. I believed that I had some claims upon you, and that you would hasten to announce to me in person the great event of events, and seek my congratulations. Come, I beg of you, and dine this evening at Maisons with Abbe Miollens, who is dying to embrace you; he studies men in Horace, you know, and he finds none whom he prefers to you.

"You need not answer, but come; else I will be displeased with you as long as I live."

Samuel replied as follows to Mlle. Moriaz:

"Be assured I have suffered more than you. Forgive me; much should be forgiven a man who has suffered much. My imagination is subject to the wildest alarms. Great, unlooked-for joy has rendered me mistrustful. I have been especially low-spirited of late. After having resolutely fought against my happiness, I tremble now lest it escape me; it appears to me too beautiful not to prove only a dream. To be loved by you! How can I help fearing to lose the great boon? Each evening I ask myself: 'Will she still love me to-morrow?' Perhaps my anxiety is blended with secret remorse. My pride, ever on the alert to take umbrage, has often been my torment; you can tell me it is only self-love: I will endeavour to cure myself of it, but this cannot be done in a day. During these long months of waiting there will come to me more than one suspicion, more than one troubled thought. I promise you, however, that I shall maintain a rigid silence concerning them, and, if possible, hide them.

"You condemn me, for my punishment, to love you to-day more than yesterday; you know well this were impossible. No; I shall inflict upon myself another chastisement. Mme. de Lorcy has invited me to dinner. I suspect her of having a very mediocre feeling of good-will for me, and I also accuse her of being cold and insensible; of understanding nothing whatever of the heart's unreasonableness, which is true wisdom. Nevertheless, I will refrain from declining her invitation. It is at Maisons and not at Cormeilles that I shall this day pass my evening. Are you content with me? Is not the penance severe enough?

"But to-morrow-oh! I shall arrive at your home to-morrow by two o'clock, and I shall enter by the little green gate at the foot of the orchard. Will you do me a favour? Promenade about two o'clock in the gravel-walk that I adore. The wall being low at that place, I shall perceive from afar, before entering, the white silk of your sun-umbrella. I am counting, you see, upon sunshine. How very childish! Yet, even this is not strange; I was born three months and a half ago; I commenced to live July 5th of this year; at four o'clock in the afternoon, in the cathedral at Chur. Forgive me all my errors, my suspicions, my childish absurdities."

Mlle. Moriaz concluded that it would be well to shorten the term of waiting, and that she would ask Count Larinski to fix the date of their marriage himself. As to the contract, she had immediate occasion to speak of it to her father, who announced to her that he had invited his notary, Maitre Noirot, to dine with him the next day.

She was silent a few moments, and then said, "Can you explain to me the use of notaries?"

He replied about as did le Philosophe sans le savoir: "We only see the present; notaries foresee the future and possible contingencies."

She replied that she did not believe in contingencies, and that she did not like precautions, because they presupposed distrust, and might appear offensive.

"We have charming weather to-day," said her father; "nevertheless there is a possibility of rain to-morrow. If I started this evening on a journey, I should carry my umbrella, without fearing to insult Providence. Who speaks to you of offending M. Larinski? Not content with approving of the step I propose taking, he will thank me for it. Why did he at first refuse to marry you? Because you are rich, and he is poor. The contract I wish to have drawn up will thoroughly set at ease his disinterestedness and his pride."

"The question of money no longer exists for him," she eagerly replied; "it is my desire that it should not be started again. And since you like comparisons, let us suppose that you invited one of your friends to take a turn in your garden. Your espaliers are laden with fruit, and you know that your friend is an honest man, and that, besides, he does not care for pears. Suppose you were to put handcuffs on him, would he or would he not be insulted?"

He answered in an exceedingly vexed tone, that this was entirely different, and Mlle. Moiseney having taken the liberty to interfere in the discussion in Antoinette's behalf, declaring that Counts Larinski are not to be distrusted, and that men of science are incapable of comprehending delicacy of sentiment, he gave full vent to his wrath, telling the worthy demoiselle to meddle with what concerned her. For the first time in his life he was seriously angry. Antoinette caressed him into good-humour, promised that she would put on the best possible face to Maitre Noirot, that she would pay religious attention to his counsels, and that she would endeavour to profit by them.

While M. Moriaz was engaged in this stormy interview with his daughter, Samuel Brohl was en route for Maisons. After the first flush of astonishment, the note and invitation of Mme. de Lorcy had pleased him immensely; he saw in it the proof that she had ceased to struggle against the inevitable-against Samuel Brohl and destiny; that she had resolved to bear her disappointment with a cheerful countenance. He formed the generous resolution to console her for her vexation; to gain her good-will by force of modesty and graceful attentions.

Alone in his compartment of the cars, Samuel Brohl was happy, perfectly happy. He was nearing port; he held it for an established fact that, before a fortnight, the banns would be published. Was he alone in his compartment? An adored image kept him company; he spoke to it, it replied to him. Blended with a rather uncommon frigidity of soul, Samuel Brohl had an imagination that readily took fire, and, when his imagination was kindled, he felt within him something warm, which he took for a heart, and sincerely persuaded himself that he had such an organ. At this moment he saw Antoinette as he had left her the evening previous, her face animated, her cheeks flushed, her countenance full of reproach, her eyes tearful. She never had appeared to him so charming. He believed himself so madly in love that he was inclined to mock a little at himself. He teased in anticipation the joys that were in reserve for him; he revelled in thought of the day and the hour when this superb creature would be his, when he could view her as his own undisputed possession, and devour page after page, chapter after chapter, of this elegantly printed, richly bound book.

However, he was not the man to wholly absorb himself in such a reverie. His thoughts travelled farther; in idea he embraced his entire future, which he fashioned out at pleasure. He took leave of his sorrowful past as a blind man who by some miracle recovers his sight, parts from his dog and his staff-troublesome witnesses of evil days. He had done with petty employments, with ungrateful toil, with humiliating servitude, with anxiety about the morrow, with the necessity for counting every sou, with meagre repasts, with sordid expedients, with sorrow, distress, and usuries; to all these he said farewell. Henceforth he would pick up silver and gold by the shovelful; he would have a share in abundance of festivals-the joy of doing nothing-the pleasure of commanding-all the sweetness and all the calm satisfaction of delightful egotism-reposing in a bed of eider-down-fed upon delicate birds-owning two or three houses, a carriage, horses, and a box at the opera. What a future! At intervals Samuel Brohl passed his tongue over his lips; they were parched with thirst.

Alnaschar the Lazy received one hundred drachms of silver as his entire patrimony, and he promised himself that he would one day marry the daughter of the grand-vizier. He meant to clothe himself like a prince, to mount upon a horse with a saddle of fine gold and housings of gold, richly embroidered with diamonds and pearls. He proposed to see that his wife formed good habits, to train her to obedience, to teach her to stand before him and be always ready to wait upon him; he resolved to discipline her with his looks, his hand, and his foot. Samuel Brohl possessed a calmer spirit than the Athenian Hippoclide; he was less brutal than Alnaschar of Bagdad: was he much less ferocious? He proposed, he also, to educate his wife; he intended that the daughter of the grand-vizier should consecrate herself wholly to his happiness, to his service. To possess a beautiful slave, with velvety eyes, chestnut hair, tinged with gold, who would make of Samuel Brohl her padishah and her god, who would pass her life at his knees on the alert for his wishes, reading his good pleasure in his face, attentive to his fancies and to his eye-brows, belonging to him body and soul, uplifting to him the gaze of a timid gazelle or a faithful spaniel-such was his dream of conjugal felicity. And little need would he have to exert himself much in the education of Mlle. Antoinette Moriaz. Love would charge itself with that. She adored Samuel Brohl, and he relied upon her devotion; it were impossible that she could refuse him anything! She was prepared in advance for every compliance, every obedience; she was ready to be his humble servant in all things. Knaves make it their boast that they can readily fathom honest people; the truth is, they only half comprehend them. Honest people have sentiments, as do certain languages, reputed easy, which are full of mystery, of refined delicacy, inaccessible to the vulgar mind. A commercial traveller often learns to speak Italian in three weeks, and yet never really knows the language; Samuel Brohl had gained a superficial knowledge of Mlle. Moriaz in a few days, and yet he was far from having a true comprehension of her.

He arrived at Maisons in the most cheerful, self-satisfied frame of mind. As he walked through the park, he remembered that Mme. de Lorcy had lost her only two children when they were still of a tender age; that she was therefore free to will her property as she pleased; that she had a short neck, an apoplectic temperament; that Antoinette was her goddaughter; that although she was piqued with Count Larinski the count was adroit, and would find a way to regain her sympathies. The park appeared to him magnificent; he admired its long, regular alleys, which had the appearance of extending as far as Peking; he paused some moments before the purple beech, and it seemed to him that there must be some resemblance between this beautiful tree and himself. He contemplated with the eyes of proprietorship the terrace planted with superb lindens, and he decided that he would establish himself in his Maisons chateau, that his pretty Cormeilles villa would merely be his country-seat. As it may be seen, his imagination refused him nothing; it placed happiness and wealth untold at his command.

We are unable to state whether Mme. de Lorcy actually had an apoplectic temperament; the one thing certain is, that she was not dead. Samuel Brohl perceived her from afar on the veranda, which she had just stepped out upon in order to watch for his arrival. He had forgotten himself in the park, which should one day be his park, and she was beginning to be uneasy about his coming.

She cried out to him: "At last! You always make us wait for you," adding, in a most affable tone, "We meet to-day under less tragic circumstances than the last time you were here, and I hope you will bear away a pleasanter remembrance of Maisons."

He respectfully kissed her hand, saying: "Happiness must be purchased; I cannot pay too dearly for mine."

She ushered him into the salon, where he had scarcely set foot, when he descried an old woman lounging on a causeuse, fanning herself as she chatted with Abbe Miollens. He remained motionless, his eyes fixed, scarcely breathing, cold as marble; it seemed to him that the four walls of the salon swayed from right to left, and left to right, and that the floor was sliding from under his feet like the deck of a pitching vessel.

The previous day, Antoinette once departed, Mme. de Lorcy had resumed her attack on Princess Gulof, and the princess had ended by consenting to delay her departure, to dine with the adventurer of the green eyes, and to subject him to a close scrutiny. There she was; yes, it was indeed she! The first impulse of Samuel Brohl was to regain the door as speedily as possible; but he did nothing of the kind. He looked at Mme. de Lorcy: she herself was regarding him with astonishment; she wondered what could suddenly have overcome him; she could find no explanation for the bewilderment apparent in his countenance. "It is a mere chance," he thought at last; "she has not intentionally drawn me into a snare." This thought was productive of a sort of half relief.

"Eh bien! what is it?" she asked. "Has my poor salon still the misfortune to be hurtful to you?"

He pointed to a jardiniere, saying: "You are fond of hyacinths and tuberoses; their perfume overpowered me for a moment. I fear you think me very effeminate."

She replied in a caressing voice: "I take you for a most worthy man

who has terrible nerves; but you know by experience that if you have weaknesses I have salts. Will you have my smelling-bottle?"

"You are a thousand times too good," he rejoined, and bravely marched forward to face the danger. It is a well-known fact that dangers in a silken robe are the most formidable of all.

Mme. de Lorcy presented him to the princess, who raised her chin to examine him with her little glittering eyes. It seemed to him that those gray orbs directed at him were two balls, which struck him in the heart; he quivered from head to foot and asked himself confusedly whether he were dead or living. He soon perceived that he was still living; the princess had remained impassible-not a muscle of her face had moved. She ended by bestowing upon Samuel a smile that was almost gracious, and addressing to him some insignificant words, which he only half understood, but which seemed to him exquisite-delicious. He fancied that she was saying to him: "You have a chance, you were born lucky; my sight has been impaired for some years, and I do not recognise you. Bless your star, you are saved!" He experienced such a transport of joy that he could have flung his arms about the neck of Abbe Miollens, who came up to him with extended hand, saying:

"What have you been thinking about, my dear count? Since we last met a very great event has been accomplished. What woman wishes, God wishes; but, after all, my own humble efforts were not without avail, and I am proud of it."

Mme. de Lorcy requested Count Larinski to offer his arm to Princess Gulof and lead her out to dinner. He mechanically complied; but he had not the strength to utter a syllable as he conducted the princess to table. She herself said nothing; she seemed wholly busied in arranging with her unoccupied hand a lock of her gray hair, which had strayed too far over her forehead. He looked fixedly at this short, plump hand, which one day in a fit of jealous fury had administered to him two smart blows; his cheeks recognised it.

During dinner the princess was very gay: she paid more attention to Abbe Miollens than to Count Larinski; she took pleasure in teasing the good priest-in endeavouring to shock him a little. It was not easy to shock him; to his natural, easy good-nature he united an innate respect for grandeurs and for princesses. She did not neglect so good an opportunity to air her monkey-development theories. He merrily flung back the ball; he declared that he should prefer to be a fallen angel rather than a perfected monkey; that in his estimation a parvenu made a much sorrier figure in the world than the descendent of an old family of ruined nobility. She replied that she was more democratic than he. "It is pleasant to me," said she, "to think that I am a progressive ape, who has a wide future before him, and who, by taking proper pains, may hope to attain new advancement."

While they were thus chatting, Samuel Brohl was striving with all his might to recover from the terrible blow he had received. He noted with keen satisfaction that the eyesight of the princess was considerably impaired; that the microscopic studies, for which she had always had a taste, had resulted in rendering her somewhat near-sighted; that she was obliged to look out carefully to find her way among her wine-glasses. "She has not seen me for six years," thought he, "and I have become a different man, I have undergone a complete metamorphosis; I have difficulty sometimes in recognising myself. Formerly, my face was close-shaven, now I have let my entire beard grow. My voice, my accent, the poise of my head, my manners, the expression of my countenance, all are changed; Poland has entered my blood-I am Samuel no longer, I am Larinski." He blessed the microscope, which enfeebled the sight of old women; he blessed Count Abel Larinski, who had made of him his twin brother. Before the end of the repast he had recovered all his assurance, all his aplomb. He began to take part in the conversation: he recounted in a sorrowful tone a sorrowful little story; he retailed sundry playful anecdotes with a melancholy grace and sprightliness; he expressed the most chivalrous sentiments; shaking his lion's mane, he spoke of the prisoner at the Vatican with tears in his voice. It were impossible to be a more thorough Larinski.

The princess manifested, in listening to him, an astonished curiosity; she concluded by saying to him: "Count, I admire you; but I believe only in physiology, and you are a little too much of a Pole for me."

After they had left the table and repaired to the salon, several callers dropped in. It was like a deliverance to Samuel. If the society was not numerous enough for him to lose himself in it, at least it served him as a shield. He held it for a certainty that the princess had not recognised him; yet he did not cease feeling in her presence unutterably ill at ease. This Calmuck visage of hers recalled to him all the miseries, the shame, the hard, grinding slavery of his youth; he could not look at her without feeling his brow burn as though it were being seared with a hot iron.

He entered into conversation with a supercilious, haughty, and pedantic counsellor-at-law, whose interminable monologues distilled ennui. This fine speaker seemed charming to Samuel, who found in him wit, knowledge, scholarship, and taste; he possessed the (in his eyes) meritorious quality of not knowing Samuel Brohl. For Samuel had come to divide the human race into two categories: the first comprehended those well-to-do, thriving people who did not know a certain Brohl; he placed in the second old women who did know him. He interrogated the counsellor with deference, he hung upon his words, he smiled with an air of approbation at all the absurdities that escaped him; he would have been willing to have his discourse last three hours by the watch; if this charming bore had shown symptoms of escaping him, he would have held him back by the button.

Suddenly he heard a harsh voice, saying to Mme. de Lorcy: "Where is Count Larinski? Bring him to me; I want to have a discussion with him."

He could not do otherwise than comply; he quitted his counsellor with regret, went over and took a seat in the arm-chair that Mme. de Lorcy drew up for him at the side of the princess, and which had for him the effect of a stool of repentance. Mme. de Lorcy moved away, and he was left tete-a-tete with Princess Gulof, who said to him, "I have been told that congratulations are due to you, and I must make them at once-although we are enemies."

"By what right are we enemies, princess?" he asked with a slightly troubled feeling, which quickly passed away as she answered:

"I am a Russian and you are a Pole, but we shall have no time for fighting; I leave for London to-morrow morning at seven o'clock."

He was on the point of casting himself at her feet and tenderly kissing her two hands, in testimony of his gratitude. "To-morrow at seven o'clock," he mentally ejaculated. "I have slandered her; she has some good in her."

"When I say that I am a Russian," resumed the princess, "it is merely a formal speech. Love of country is a prejudice, an idea that has had its day, that had sense in the times of Epaminondas or of Theseus, but that has it no longer. We live in the age of the telegraph, the locomotive; and I know of nothing more absurd now than a frontier, or more ridiculous than a patriot. Rumour says that you fought like a hero in the insurrection of 1863; that you gave proof of incomparable prowess, and that you killed with your own hand ten Cossacks? What harm had they done you, those poor Cossacks? Do they not sometimes haunt your dreams? Can you think of your victims without disquietude and without remorse?"

He replied, in a dry, haughty tone: "I really do not know, princess, how many Cossacks I have killed; but I do know that there are some subjects on which I do not love to expatiate."

"You are right-I should not comprehend you. Don Quixote did not do Sancho the honour to explain himself to him every day."

"Ah, I beg of you, let us talk a little of the man-monkey," he observed, in a rather more pliant tone than he had at first assumed. "That is a question that has the advantage of being neither Russian nor Polish."

"You will not succeed that way in throwing me off the track. I mean to tell you all the evil I think of you, no matter how it may incense you. You uttered, at table, theories that displeased me. You are not only a Polish patriot; you are an idealist, a true disciple of Plato, and you do not know how I always have detested this man. In all these sixty years that I have been in this world, I have seen nothing but selfishness, and grasping after self-gratification. Twice during dinner you spoke of an ideal world. What is an ideal world? Where is it situated? You speak of it as of a house whose inhabitants you are well acquainted with, whose key is in your pocket. Can you show me the key? I promise not to steal it from you. O poet!-for you are quite as much of a poet as of a Pole, which is not saying much-"

"Nothing remains but to hang me," he interposed, smilingly.

"No, I shall not hang you. Opinions are free, and there is room enough in the world for all, even idealists. Besides, if you were to be hanged, it would bring to the verge of despair a charming girl who adores you, who was created expressly for you, and whom you will shortly marry. When will the ceremony take place?"

"If I dared hope that you would do me the honour of being present, princess, I should postpone it until your return from England."

"You are too amiable; but I could not on any consideration retard the happiness of Mlle. Moriaz. There, my dear count, I congratulate you sincerely. I had the pleasure to meet here the future Countess Larinski. She is adorable! It is an exquisite nature, hers-a true poet's wife. She must have brains, discernment; she has chosen you-that says everything. As to her fortune, I dare not ask you if she has any; you would turn away from me in disgust. Do idealists trouble their heads with such vile questions?"

She leaned towards him, and, fanning herself excitedly, added: "These poor idealists! they have one misfortune."

"And what is that, princess?"

"They dream with open eyes, and the awakening is sometimes disagreeable. Ah, my dear Count Larinski, this, that, and the other, et cetera. Thus endeth the adventure."

Then, stretching out her neck until her face was close to his, she darted at him a venomous, viper-like look, and, in a voice that seemed to cut into his tympanum like a sharp-toothed saw, she hissed, "Samuel Brohl, the man with the green eyes, sooner or later the mountains must meet!"

It seemed to him that the candelabra on the mantel-piece darted out jets of flame, whose green, blue, and rose-coloured tongues ascended to the ceiling; and it appeared to him as though his heart was beating as noisily as a clock-pendulum, and that every one would turn to inquire whence came the noise. But every one was occupied; no one turned round; no one suspected that there was a man present on whom a thunderbolt had just fallen.

The man passed his hand over his brow, which was covered with a cold sweat; then dispelling, by an effort of will, the cloud that veiled his eyes, he, in turn, leaned towards the princess, and with quivering lip and evil, sardonic glance, said to her, in a low voice:

"Princess, I have a slight acquaintance with this Samuel Brohl of whom you speak. He is not a man who will allow himself to be strangled without a great deal of outcry. You are not much in the habit of writing, nevertheless he received from you two letters, which he copied, placing the originals in safety. If ever he sees the necessity of appearing in a court of justice, these two letters can be made to create quite a sensation, and unquestionably they will be the delight of all the petty journals of Paris."

Thereupon he made a profound bow, respectfully took leave of Mme. de Lorcy, and retired, followed by Abbe Miollens, who inflicted a real torture by insisting on accompanying him to the station.

No longer restrained by Mme. de Lorcy's presence, the abbe spoke freely of the happy event in which he prided himself to have been a co-operator; he overwhelmed him with congratulation, and all the good wishes he could possibly think of for his happiness. During a quarter of an hour he lavished on him his myrrh and honey. Samuel would gladly have wrung his neck. He could not breathe until the abbe had freed him from his obtrusive society.

A storm muttered in the almost cloudless sky. It was a dry storm; the rain fell elsewhere. The incessant lightning, accompanied by distant thunder, gleamed from all quarters of the horizon, and darted its luminous flashes over the whole extent of the plain. At intervals the hills seemed to be on fire. Several times Samuel, who stood with his nose against the glass of the car-door, thought that he saw in the direction of Cormeilles the flaring light of a conflagration, in which were blazing his dream and two millions, to say nothing of his great expectations.

He bitterly reproached himself for his folly of the previous day. "If I had passed yesterday evening with her," he thought, "surely she would have spoken of the Princess Gulof. I would have taken measures accordingly, and nothing would have happened." It was all M. Langis's fault; it was to him that he imputed the disaster, and he hated him all the more.

However, as he approached Paris, he felt his courage returning.

"Those two letters frightened the old fairy," he thought. "She will think twice before she declares war with me. No, she will not dare." He added: "And if she dared, Antoinette loves me so much that I can make her believe what I please."

And he prepared in his mind what he should say, in case the event occurred.

At that very moment Mme. de Lorcy, who was alone with Princess Gulof, was saying: "Well, my dear, you have talked with my man. What do you think of him?"

The princess distressed her by her reply. "I think, my dear," she rejoined, "that Count Larinski is the last of the heroes of romance-or, if you like better, the last of the troubadours; but I have no reason to believe him to be an adventurer."

Mme. de Lorcy could get nothing further from Princess Gulof; she had invited her to remain overnight; she got no pay for her hospitality. The princess spent part of the night in reflecting and deliberating. Samuel Brohl's insolent menace had produced some effect. She sought to remember the exact purport of the two letters that formerly she had had the imprudence to write him from London, while he was fulfilling a business commission for her in Paris. On his return she had required Samuel to burn these two compromising epistles, in her presence; he had deceived her; he burned the envelopes and blank paper. The thought of some day having her composition quoted in court, and printed verbatim in the petty journals, terrified her, and made her blood boil in her veins; she hardly cared to take Paris and St. Petersburg into her confidence concerning an experience the recollection of which caused her disgust-but to let such an admirable opportunity of vengeance escape her! renounce the delight of the gods and of princesses! permit this man who had just defied her to accomplish his underhand intrigue! She could not resign herself to the idea, and the consequence was that, during the night she spent at Maisons, she scarcely closed her eyes.

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