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   Chapter 2 No.2

The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) By Guy de Maupassant Characters: 2802

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


As he lived at Batignolles and was a clerk in the Public Education Office, he took the omnibus every morning, when he went to the center of Paris, sitting opposite a girl with whom he fell in love.

She went to the shop where she was employed, at the same time every day. She was a little brunette, one of those dark girls whose eyes are so dark that they look like spots, and whose complexion has a look like ivory. He always saw her coming at the corner of the same street, and she generally had to run to catch the heavy vehicle, and sprang upon the steps before the horses had quite stopped. Then she got inside, rather out of breath, and sitting down, she looked round her.

The first time that he saw her, Fran?ois Tessier felt that her face pleased him extremely. One sometimes meets one of those women whom one longs to clasp madly in one's arms immediately, without even knowing her. That girl answered to his inward desires, to his secret hopes, to that sort of ideal of love which one cherishes in the depths of the heart, without knowing it.

He looked at her intently, in spite of himself, and she grew embarrassed at his looks and blushed. He saw it and tried to turn away his eyes; but he involuntarily fixed them upon her again every moment, although he tried to look in another direction, and in a few days they knew each other without having spoken. He gave up his place to her

when the omnibus was full, and got outside, though he was very sorry to do it. By this time, she had got so far as to greet him with a little smile; and although she always dropped her eyes under his looks, which she felt were too ardent, yet she did not appear offended at being looked at in such a manner.

They ended by speaking. A kind of rapid intimacy had become established between them, a daily intimacy of half an hour, and that was certainly one of the most charming half hours in his life, to him. He thought of her all the rest of the time, saw her continually during the long office hours, for he was haunted and bewitched by that floating and yet tenacious recollection which the image of a beloved woman leaves in us, and it seemed to him that the entire possession of that little person would be maddening happiness to him, almost above human realization.

Every morning now she shook hands with him, and he preserved the feeling of that touch, and the recollection of the gentle pressure of her little fingers, until the next day, and he almost fancied that he preserved the imprint of it, on his skin, and he anxiously waited for this short omnibus ride, all the rest of the time, while Sundays seemed to him heart-breaking days. However, there was no doubt that she loved him, for one Saturday, in spring, she promised to go and lunch with him at Maisons-Laffitte the next day.

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