My father was seated in my room in his dressing-gown; he was writing, and I saw
at once, by the way in which he raised his eyes to me when I came in, that there
was going to be a serious discussion. I went up to him, all the same, as if I had
seen nothing in his face, embraced him, and said:
"When did you come, father?"
"Did you come straight here, as usual?"
"I am very sorry not to have been here to receive you."
I expected that the sermon which my father's cold face threatened would begin at
once; but he said nothing, sealed the letter which he had just written, and gave it
to Joseph to post.
When we were alone, my father rose, and leaning against the mantel-piece, said
"My dear Armand, we have serious matters to discuss."
"I am listening, father."
"You promise me to be frank?"
"Am I not accustomed to be so?"
"Is it not true that you are living with a woman called Marguerite Gautier?"
"Do you know what this woman was?"
"A kept woman."
"And it is for her that you have forgotten to come and see your sister and me this
"Yes, father, I admit it."