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18 o Lionel ‘‘Just who is this Zizi?’’—Deligny Chooses Africa—‘‘Do not let go of this, Céleste!’’—Maids, Too, Have Their Troubles— Letter of Reason and Death Certificate—For the Heart: Digitalis and the Sound of a Doorbell  ’ took so long in arriving that, to make the time pass more quickly, I went down to the shop. A few days earlier I had written to my friend in Holland. He sent me a note for two thousand francs to be cashed at a bank on Rue d’Hauteville. With these two thousand francs and my three hundred from the night before, I was rich. I stood in the doorway. A jumble of carriages was obstructing the entrance . A pretty phaeton led by two beautiful black horses was waiting to turn on Rue Geoffroy-Marie. The restless horses reared and one of the servants got out. ‘‘Leave it, leave it,’’ said the young man holding on to the reins. It was Lionel. He appeased his horses and disengaged his carriage with considerable ability. When I saw he was out of danger I crossed the street to go up to my apartment, but he saw me. ‘‘How pale you look!’’ ‘‘I got scared when I saw you jammed in with all those carriages on the corner of Faubourg Montmartre.’’ He started to laugh and offered his arm to accompany me upstairs. I was ill at ease next to him. I did not want to lower myself, yet I felt so beneath him that I did not dare stand in front of him. My unease was even more ridiculous because hewas unaffected, charming, and gallant. ‘‘I shall never again come with my horses,’’ he told me, ‘‘since I scared you. I do not know this neighborhood well (I live on Rue GrenelleSaint -Germain), but, if you will allow me, I shall come often.’’  Lionel I was reserved in my replies. However much a woman is or has been lost, when she is in love, she can retrieve a trace of modesty and virtue from her past. I loved him. ‘‘    ?’’ I wanted to elevate myself in my own esteem, but that was impossible. The scene from the night before had reminded me even more forcefully of who I was and what my life was. I had absolutely nothing to give. ‘‘Perhaps I am intruding?’’ he said rising to leave. ‘‘No, no, please stay.’’ ‘‘Céleste, are you aware that I have known you for a long time? I have often seen you at the Hippodrome, and each time I admired your dexterity and your courage.’’ It comforted me to think that he had found some merit in my courage ! Yes, I had some, since I was deathly afraid of horses. I did not know then that all my efforts would eventually be rewarded with one word from him. ‘‘Would you like to dine with me this evening?’’ ‘‘Yes, if you have nothing better to do.’’ ‘‘Be ready at six.’’ He came for me in one of his carriages. It was a lovely surrey lined in blue silk, so small that the two of us barely fit in it. I sank back into the cushions. ‘‘You are afraid of being seen?’’ he asked me. ‘‘Yes, by you.’’ We dined at Deffieux. I was morose. This love seemed like an illusion to me. He took me home and we spent the evening together. I was uncomfortable . I loved him too much to lie to him. I told him all I had done, all I had been. ‘‘Others would have told you,’’ I said, ‘‘enemies. You might have been sorry. I love you and I shall love you for a long time. A reproach from you would hurt me. I wish I could redo the past, but that is impossible. Do you want the present?’’ His answer was a kiss. It felt as though another woman had just awakened inside me. He did not like the neighborhood where I lived. He thought I lived too far away. I decided to rent an apartment at Place de la Madeleine and I gave the shop to my mother. At the risk of making a big dent in my resources, I paid two months in advance so I could move in as soon as my new lodgings were ready.  Lionel Sometimes Lionel liked to gamble. He gave a party in an apartment he owned on Rue Bleue. Lagie came with me. The...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780803202139
MARC Record
OCLC
50753843
Pages
325
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-11
Language
English
Open Access
No
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