"You have come almost as quickly as we," said Prudence.
"Yes," I answered mechanically. "Where is Marguerite?"
"With M. de G."
I walked to and fro in the room.
"Well, what is the matter?"
"Do you think it amuses me to wait here till M. de G. leaves Marguerite's?"
"How unreasonable you are! Don't you see that Marguerite can't turn the count
out of doors? M. de G. has been with her for a long time; he has always given
her a lot of money; he still does. Marguerite spends more than a hundred
thousand francs a year; she has heaps of debts. The duke gives her all that she
asks for, but she does not always venture to ask him for all that she is in want of.
It would never do for her to quarrel with the count, who is worth to her at least ten
thousand francs a year. Marguerite is very fond of you, my dear fellow, but your
liaison with her, in her interests and in yours, ought not to be serious. You with
your seven or eight thousand francs a year, what could you do toward supplying
all the luxuries which a girl like that is in need of? It would not be enough to keep
her carriage. Take Marguerite for what she is, for a good, bright, pretty girl; be
her lover for a month, two months; give her flowers, sweets, boxes at the theatre;
but don't get any other ideas into your head, and don't make absurd scenes of
jealousy. You know whom you have to do with; Marguerite isn't a saint. She likes
you, you are very fond of her; let the rest alone. You amaze me when I see you
so touchy; you have the most charming mistress in Paris. She receives you in the
greatest style, she is covered with diamonds, she needn't cost you a penny,
unless you like, and you are not satisfied. My dear fellow, you ask too much!"
"You are right, but I can't help it; the idea that that man is her lover hurts me
"In the first place," replied Prudence; "is he still her lover? He is a man who is
useful to her, nothing more. She has closed her doors to him for two days; he
came this morning--she could not but accept the box and let him accompany her.
He saw her home; he has gone in for a moment, he is not staying, because you