Next day Marguerite sent me away very early, saying that the duke was coming
at an early hour, and promising to write to me the moment he went, and to make
an appointment for the evening. In the course of the day I received this note:
"I am going to Bougival with the duke; be at Prudence's to-night at eight."
At the appointed hour Marguerite came to me at Mme. Duvernoy's. "Well, it is all
settled," she said, as she entered. "The house is taken?" asked Prudence. "Yes;
he agreed at once."
I did not know the duke, but I felt ashamed of deceiving him.
"But that is not all," continued Marguerite.
"What else is there?"
"I have been seeing about a place for Armand to stay."
"In the same house?" asked Prudence, laughing.
"No, at Point du Jour, where we had dinner, the duke and I. While he was
admiring the view, I asked Mme. Arnould (she is called Mme. Arnould, isn't she?)
if there were any suitable rooms, and she showed me just the very thing: salon,
anteroom, and bed-room, at sixty francs a month; the whole place furnished in a
way to divert a hypochondriac. I took it. Was I right?" I flung my arms around her
neck and kissed her.
"It will be charming," she continued. "You have the key of the little door, and I
have promised the duke the key of the front door, which he will not take, because
he will come during the day when he comes. I think, between ourselves, that he
is enchanted with a caprice which will keep me out of Paris for a time, and so
silence the objections of his family. However, he has asked me how I, loving
Paris as I do, could make up my mind to bury myself in the country. I told him
that I was ill, and that I wanted rest. He seemed to have some difficulty in
believing me. The poor old man is always on the watch. We must take every
precaution, my dear Armand, for he will have me watched while I am there; and it
isn't only the question of his taking a house for me, but he has my debts to pay,
and unluckily I have plenty. Does all that suit you?"
"Yes," I answered, trying to quiet the scruples which this way of living awoke in
me from time to time.