Là-bas eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 265 pages of information about L-bas.

“What a downright Satanist you are!”

“Maybe.  I have been so constantly associated with priests.”

“You’re a great one,” he said, bowing.  “Now listen to me, and do me a great favour.  You know Canon Docre?”

“I should say!”

“Well, what in the world is this man, about whom I hear so much?”

“From whom?”

“Gevingey and Des Hermies.”

“Ah, you consult the astrologer!  Yes, he met the Canon in my own house, but I didn’t know that Docre was acquainted with Des Hermies, who didn’t attend our receptions in those days”

“Des Hermies has never seen Docre.  He knows him, as I do, only by hearsay, from Gevingey.  Now, briefly, how much truth is there in the stories of the sacrileges of which this priest is accused?”

“I don’t know.  Docre is a gentleman, learned and well bred.  He was even the confessor of royalty, and he would certainly have become a bishop if he had not quitted the priesthood.  I have heard a great deal of evil spoken about him, but, especially in the clerical world, people are so fond of saying all sorts of things.”

“But you knew him personally.”

“Yes, I even had him for a confessor.”

“Then it isn’t possible that you don’t know what to make of him?”

“Very possible, indeed presumable.  Look here, you have been beating around the bush a long time.  Exactly what do you want to know?”

“Everything you care to tell me.  Is he young or old, handsome or ugly, rich or poor?”

“He is forty years old, very fastidious of his person, and he spends a lot of money.”

“Do you believe that he indulges in sorcery, that he celebrates the black mass?”

“It is quite possible.”

“Pardon me for dunning you, for extorting information from you as if with forceps—­suppose I were to ask you a really personal question—­this faculty of incubacy ...?”

“Why, certainly I got it from him.  I hope you are satisfied.”

“Yes and no.  Thanks for your kindness in telling me—­I know I am abusing your good nature—­but one more question.  Do you know of any way whereby I may see Canon Docre in person?”

“He is at Nimes.”

“Pardon me.  For the moment, he is in Paris.”

“Ah, you know that!  Well, if I knew of a way, I would not tell you, be sure.  It would not be good for you to get to seeing too much of this priest.”

“You admit, then, that he is dangerous?”

“I do not admit nor deny.  I tell you simply that you have nothing to do with him.”

“Yes I have.  I want to get material for my book from him.”

“Get it from somebody else.  Besides,” she said, putting on her hat in front of the glass, “my husband got a bad scare and broke with that man and refuses to receive him.”

“That is no reason why—­”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh, nothing.”  He repressed the remark:  “Why you should not see him.”

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Project Gutenberg
Là-bas from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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