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26 o Richard Stormy and Endangered Love Affair—Flowered Homage: Returned to Sender—Secrets among the Masters and among the Servants—The Critic Apologizes—Victorine and the Bottin Address Almanac   into the forest took place three times a week. Fora while I went along so I would not be alone, but they were too strenuous for a woman, and, because of my health, I had to give them up. I spent almost all my days and evenings alone in a large living room where the wind blew through the many openings. I told Lionel, ‘‘My friend, I am bored. Could you not stay with me more often? I do not like the country; I am used to the bustle of Paris. To agree to live here, I must love you a lot. If the time you spend here allows you to save money, I shall be patient, but hunting makes you incur tremendous expenses.’’ ‘‘Why do you stay? Am I keeping you here against your will? I love hunting, and I intend to go on hunting for as long as I wish. Those who are bothered by this are free to go. As for admonitions, I do not tolerate them from anyone.’’ I left the living room and went to my room. He had never addressed me in this fashion.      He followed me and surprised, asked, ‘‘But what are you doing?’’ ‘‘As you can see, I am packing my trunks. I shall leave tomorrow.’’ ‘‘Leave! But why?’’ ‘‘Because for a remark that was accurate, you threw me out. Well, I am telling you again, this way of life is ruining you. You will not be able to continue without adjoining another fortune toyours; that means you  Richard will have to marry. Then you will send me away once I have become accustomed to this life. Bringing me here was a regrettable decision on your part. I do not like the country. It is a grave where my vivaciousness is being buried. What interest could I possibly take in what is around me? What does it mean to me that the poplars are growing and earn twenty sous a year? My interest is dancing and the theater. I want to leave!’’ ‘‘Your nerves are distraught. I did not understand a word you just said. I did not do anything to hurt you. I let you sleep in my mother’s bedroom, you, Céleste, who just a while ago would grow pale when looking at her own past in the mirror! Forgive me this word, but it was a profanation. My family is alarmed since they know you are with me. Not a day goes by that I do not receive letters asking me to send you away. I do not have the courage to do so. You are my weakness. If I have any regrets, I forget them when I am kissing you. Do not make me unhappy ; stay near me; no one will love you more than I. You miss Paris. Well in a few days we shall go there. Please, unpack your trunk.’’ For a few days I was quite gloomy. Marie, the servant I had had for a long time, was being courted by the butler. Lionel asked me to send her away. I did so regretfully. My life was becoming a voluntary constraint. ‘‘Well,’’ Lionel told me, ‘‘get ready, we are going to spend a month in Paris. I received some business letters.’’ On the road, he told me he could not stay at my apartment because he was taking his cook and his butler with him. ‘‘But . . . until you have found . . . ?’’ ‘‘I wrote ahead, and an apartment was reserved for me at the Cité d’Antin. I shall stay there.’’ ‘‘Now, tell me the truth. You do not know how to lie. Why are you going to Paris?’’ ‘‘I am going to Paris to bring you back there, Céleste. I do not want to leave you, but I must pretend that I do. I must go out in society as my relatives wish. You shall go to balls on your own. Seeing us apart like this, they will believe we have broken up. You will come over every night, in hiding, and I shall give you one hundred francs every week.’’ My blood was boiling. It was a separation again. ‘‘Fine! I shall do as you say. There is a ball at the Jardin d’Hiver Saturday ; I am going.’’1 I was...


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