What followed that fatal night you know as well as I; but what you can not know,
what you can not suspect, is what I have suffered since our separation.
I heard that your father had taken you away with him, but I felt sure that you
could not live away from me for long, and when I met you in the Champs-
Elysees, I was a little upset, but by no means surprised.
Then began that series of days; each of them brought me a fresh insult from you.
I received them all with a kind of joy, for, besides proving to me that you still
loved me, it seemed to me as if the more you persecuted me the more I should
be raised in your eyes when you came to know the truth.
Do not wonder at my joy in martyrdom, Armand; your love for me had opened my
heart to noble enthusiasm.
Still, I was not so strong as that quite at once.
Between the time of the sacrifice made for you and the time of your return a long
while elapsed, during which I was obliged to have recourse to physical means in
order not to go mad, and in order to be blinded and deafened in the whirl of life
into which I flung myself. Prudence has told you (has she not?) how I went to all
the fetes and balls and orgies. I had a sort of hope that I should kill myself by all
these excesses, and I think it will not be long before this hope is realized. My
health naturally got worse and worse, and when I sent Mme. Duvernoy to ask
you for pity I was utterly worn out, body and soul.
I will not remind you, Armand, of the return you made for the last proof of love
that I gave you, and of the outrage by which you drove away a dying woman,
who could not resist your voice when you asked her for a night of love, and who,
like a fool, thought for one instant that she might again unite the past with the
present. You had the right to do what you did, Armand; people have not always
put so high a price on a night of mine!
I left everything after that. Olympe has taken my place with the Comte de N., and
has told him, I hear, the reasons for my leaving him. The Comte de G. was at
London. He is one of those men who give just enough importance to making love
to women like me for it to be an agreeable pastime, and who are thus able to
remain friends with women, not hating them because they have never been
jealous of them, and he is, too, one of those grand seigneurs who open only a
part of their hearts to us, but the whole of their purses. It was of him that I
immediately thought. I joined him in London. He received me as kindly as
possible, but he was the lover there of a woman in society, and he feared to