Think of it! This time to-morrow my name will be Gurrage! And Augustus will have the right to—Merciful God! stop my heart from beating in this sickening fashion, and let me remember the motto of my race—“Sans bruit.”
Oh, grandmamma, if I could go on your journey with you! The first jump out into the dark might be fearful, but afterwards it would be quiet and still, and there would be no caterpillars!
That was a beautiful flash of lightning! The storm is coming nearer. Sparks flew from my diamond fender on the dressing-table. Well—well—I—I wish I had seen Sir Antony again. Just now he sent me a present. It is a knife for my chatelaine, the hilt studded with diamonds, and there is a note which says that there is still time to cut the Gordian knot.
What does it mean? I feel cold, as if I could not understand things to-night.
The Marquis gave me some conseils de mariage this afternoon.
“Remain placid,” he said, “fermez les yeux et pensez a autrui—apres vous aurez les agrements.”
Grandmamma has not even kissed me. Her eyes resemble a hawk’s still, but have the look of a tortured tiger as well sometimes. She has grown terribly feeble, and has twice had fainting-fits like the one that changed my destiny. I believe she is remaining alive simply by strength of will and that she will die when all is over.
She has given me the greatest treasure of her life, the miniature of Ambrosine Eustasie. I have it here by my side for my very own.
Yes, Ambrosine Eustasie, for me to-morrow there is also the guillotine; and perhaps I, too, could walk up the steps smiling if I were allowed a rose to keep off the smell of the common people; Augustus’s mother uses patchouli.
No one can possibly imagine the unpleasantness of a honey-moon until they have tried it. It is no wonder one is told nothing at all about it. Even to keep my word and obey grandmamma I could never have undertaken it if I had had an idea what it would be like. Really, girls’ dreams are the silliest things in the world. I can’t help staring at all the married people I see about. “You—poor wretches!—have gone through this,” I say to myself; and then I wonder and wonder that they can smile and look gay. I long to ask them when the calmness and indifference set in; how long I shall have to wait before I can really profit by grandmamma’s lesson of the caterpillar. It was useful for the fiancailles, but it has not comforted me much since my wedding.
In old-fashioned books, when the heroine comes to anything exciting, or when the situation is too difficult for the author to describe, there is always a row of stars. It seems to mean a jump, a break to be filled up as each person pleases. I feel I must leave this part of my life marked with this row of stars.