The room to which she had fled was lit only by a single candle. She lay back on a
great sofa, her dress undone, holding one hand on her heart, and letting the
other hang by her side. On the table was a basin half full of water, and the water
was stained with streaks of blood.
Very pale, her mouth half open, Marguerite tried to recover breath. Now and
again her bosom was raised by a long sigh, which seemed to relieve her a little,
and for a few seconds she would seem to be quite comfortable.
I went up to her; she made no movement, and I sat down and took the hand
which was lying on the sofa.
"Ah! it is you," she said, with a smile.
I must have looked greatly agitated, for she added:
"Are you unwell, too?"
"No, but you: do you still suffer?"
"Very little;" and she wiped off with her handkerchief the tears which the
coughing had brought to her eyes; "I am used to it now."
"You are killing yourself, madame," I said to her in a moved voice. "I wish I were
a friend, a relation of yours, that I might keep you from doing yourself harm like
"Ah! it is really not worth your while to alarm yourself," she replied in a somewhat
bitter tone; "see how much notice the others take of me! They know too well that
there is nothing to be done."
Thereupon she got up, and, taking the candle, put it on the mantel-piece and
looked at herself in the glass.
"How pale I am!" she said, as she fastened her dress and passed her fingers
over her loosened hair. "Come, let us go back to supper. Are you coming?"
I sat still and did not move.
She saw how deeply I had been affected by the whole scene, and, coming up to
me, held out her hand, saying: