But there was no killing. The Father of the Republic knew how to handle the clashing parties, with the same skill that he always employed in the corridors of the Senate during a ministerial crisis. The scandal was hushed up. Marguerite went to live with her mother and took the first steps for a divorce.
Some evenings, when the studio clock was striking seven, she would yawn and say sadly: “I must go. . . . I have to go, although this is my true home. . . . Ah, what a pity that we are not married!”
And he, feeling a whole garden of bourgeois virtues, hitherto ignored, bursting into bloom, repeated in a tone of conviction:
“That’s so; why are we not married!”
Their wishes could be realized. The husband was facilitating the step by his unexpected intervention. So young Desnoyers set forth for South America in order to raise the money and marry Marguerite.
THE COUSIN FROM BERLIN
The studio of Julio Desnoyers was on the top floor, both the stairway and the elevator stopping before his door. The two tiny apartments at the back were lighted by an interior court, their only means of communication being the service stairway which went on up to the garrets.
While his comrade was away, Argensola had made the acquaintance of those in the neighboring lodgings. The largest of the apartments was empty during the day, its occupants not returning till after they had taken their evening meal in a restaurant. As both husband and wife were employed outside, they could not remain at home except on holidays. The man, vigorous and of a martial aspect, was superintendent in a big department store. . . . He had been a soldier in Africa, wore a military decoration, and had the rank of sub-lieutenant in the Reserves. She was a blonde, heavy and rather anaemic, with bright eyes and a sentimental expression. On holidays she spent long hours at the piano, playing musical reveries, always the same. At other times Argensola saw her through the interior window working in the kitchen aided by her companion, the two laughing over their clumsiness and inexperience in preparing the Sunday dinner.
The concierge thought that this woman was a German, but she herself said that she was Swiss. She was a cashier in a shop—not the one in which her husband was employed. In the mornings they left home together, separating in the Place d’Etoile. At seven in the evening they met here, greeting each other with a kiss, like lovers who meet for the first time; and then after supper, they returned to their nest in the rue de la Pompe. All Argensola’s attempts at friendliness with these neighbors were repulsed because of their self-centredness. They responded with freezing courtesy; they lived only for themselves.