“But you know, Louise,” she said, beginning quite seriously at the beginning, “papa would never have consented, never, never—poor papa! Indeed, I should never have asked him; it would only have been one humiliation more for him, poor papa! So it was well he was dead, if it was God’s will for it to be. Of course I had my dreams, like everybody. I was so blond, so blond, and so small; it seemed like a law I should marry a brun, a tall, handsome brun, with a mustache and a fine barytone voice. That was how I always arranged it, and—you will laugh—but a large, large house, and numbers of servants, and a good cook, but a superlatively good cuisine, and wine and all that, and long, trailing silk dresses, and theater every night, and voyages to Europe, and—well, everything God had to give, in fact. You know, I get that from papa, wanting everything God has to give! Poor papa! It seemed to me I was to meet him at any time, my handsome brun. I used to look for him positively on my way to school, and back home again, and whenever I would think of him I would try and walk so prettily, and look so pretty! Mon Dieu! I was not ten years old yet! And afterward it was only for that that I went into society. What should girls go into society for otherwise but to meet their brun or their blond? Do you think it is amusing, to economize and economize, and sew and sew, just to go to a party to dance? No! I assure you, I went into society only for that; and I do not believe what girls say—they go into society only for that too.
“You know at school how we used to tirer la bonne aventure. Well, every time he was not brun, riche, avenant, Jules, or Raoul, or Guy, I simply would not accept it, but would go on drawing until I obtained what I wanted. As I tell you, I thought it was my destiny. And when I would try with a flower to see if he loved me,—Il m’aime, un peu, beaucoup, passionement, pas du tout,—if it were pas du tout, I would always throw the flower away, and begin tearing off the leaves from another one immediately. Passionement was what I wanted, and I always got it in the end.
[Footnote 1: La bonne aventure is or was generally a very much battered foolscap copy-book, which contained a list of all possible elements of future (school-girl) happiness. Each item answered a question, and had a number affixed to it. To draw one’s fortune consisted in asking question after question, and guessing a number, a companion volunteering to read the answers. To avoid cheating, the books were revised from time to time, and the numbers changed.]