At this point Armand stopped.
"Would you close the window for me?" he said. "I am beginning to feel cold.
Meanwhile, I will get into bed."
I closed the window. Armand, who was still very weak, took off his dressing-gown
and lay down in bed, resting his head for a few moments on the pillow, like a man
who is tired by much talking or disturbed by painful memories.
"Perhaps you have been talking too much," I said to him. "Would you rather for
me to go and leave you to sleep? You can tell me the rest of the story another
"Are you tired of listening to it?"
"Quite the contrary."
"Then I will go on. If you left me alone, I should not sleep."
When I returned home (he continued, without needing to pause and recollect
himself, so fresh were all the details in his mind), I did not go to bed, but began to
reflect over the day's adventure. The meeting, the introduction, the promise of
Marguerite, had followed one another so rapidly, and so unexpectedly, that there
were moments when it seemed to me I had been dreaming. Nevertheless, it was
not the first time that a girl like Marguerite had promised herself to a man on the
morrow of the day on which he had asked for the promise.
Though, indeed, I made this reflection, the first impression produced on me by
my future mistress was so strong that it still persisted. I refused obstinately to see
in her a woman like other women, and, with the vanity so common to all men, I
was ready to believe that she could not but share the attraction which drew me to
Yet, I had before me plenty of instances to the contrary, and I had often heard
that the affection of Marguerite was a thing to be had more or less dear,
according to the season.
But, on the other hand, how was I to reconcile this reputation with her constant
refusal of the young count whom we had found at her house? You may say that
he was unattractive to her, and that, as she was splendidly kept by the duke, she
would be more likely to choose a man who was attractive to her, if she were to
take another lover. If so, why did she not choose Gaston, who was rich, witty,