The Professor HTML version

Chapter 22
A WEEK is gone; le jour des noces arrived; the marriage was solemnized at St.
Jacques; Mdlle. Zoraide became Madame Pelet, née Reuter; and, in about an
hour after this transformation, "the happy pair," as newspapers phrase it, were on
their way to Paris; where, according to previous arrangement, the honeymoon
was to be spent. The next day I quitted the pensionnat. Myself and my chattels
(some books and clothes) were soon transferred to a modest lodging I had hired
in a street not far off. In half an hour my clothes were arranged in a commode,
my books on a shelf, and the "flitting" was effected. I should not have been
unhappy that day had not one pang tortured me--a longing to go to the Rue Notre
Dame aux Neiges, resisted, yet irritated by an inward resolve to avoid that street
till such time as the mist of doubt should clear from my prospects.
It was a sweet September evening--very mild, very still; I had nothing to do; at
that hour I knew Frances would be equally released from occupation; I thought
she might possibly be wishing for her master, I knew I wished for my pupil.
Imagination began with her low whispers, infusing into my soul the soft tale of
pleasures that might be.
"You will find her reading or writing," said she; "you can take your seat at her
side; you need not startle her peace by undue excitement; you need not
embarrass her manner by unusual action or language. Be as you always are;
look over what she has written; listen while she reads; chide her, or quietly
approve; you know the effect of either system; you know her smile when pleased,
you you know the play of her looks when roused; you have the secret of
awakening that expression you will, and you can choose amongst that pleasant
variety. With you she will sit silent as long as it suits you to talk alone; you can
hold her under a potent spell: intelligent as she is, eloquent as she can be, you
can seal her lips, and veil her bright countenance with diffidence; yet, you know,
she is not all monotonous mildness; you have seen, with a sort of strange
pleasure, revolt, scorn, austerity, bitterness, lay energetic claim to a place in her
feelings and physiognomy; you know that few could rule her as you do; you know
she might break, but never bend under the hand of Tyranny and Injustice, but
Reason and Affection can guide her by a sign. Try their influence now. Go--they
are not passions; you may handle them safely."
"I will not go was my answer to the sweet temptress. "A man is master of himself
to a certain point, but not beyond it. Could I seek Frances to-night, could I sit with
her alone in a quiet room, and address her only in the language of Reason and
"No," was the brief, fervent reply of that Love which had conquered and now
controlled me.
Time seemed to stagnate; the sun would not go down; my watch ticked, but I
thought the hands were paralyzed.