Blacky began to show signs of impatience and agitation. I could read him then like a book. It was time to go. I paid, got up, and while I went off to the right towards the path by which we came to the mountain, I saw Blacky go and plant himself on the left, at the opening of another path. He gave me a serious and severe look. What progress I had made during the last two hours, and how familiar Blacky’s eloquent silence had become!
“What must you think of me?” said Blacky to me. “Do you imagine I am going to take the same path twice? No, indeed. I am a good guide, and I know my business. We shall make the descent another way.”
We went back by another road, which was much prettier than the first. Blacky, quite sprightly, often turned around to me with an air of triumphant joy. We traversed the village, and at the station Blacky was assailed by three or four dogs of his acquaintance, who seemed desirous of a talk or game with their comrade. They attempted to block his way, but Blacky, grumbling and growling, repulsed their advances.
“Can’t you see what I am doing? I am taking this gentleman to the station.”
It was only in the waiting-room that he consented to leave me, after having eaten with relish the two last pieces of sugar. And this is how I interpreted the farewell look of Blacky:
“We are twenty minutes ahead of time. It isn’t I who would have let you lose the train. Well, good-bye—pleasant journey!”
On Friday, April 19th, Prince Agenor was really distracted at the opera during the second act of “Sigurd.” The prince kept going from box to box, and his enthusiasm increased as he went.
“That blonde! Oh, that blonde! She is ideal! Look at that blonde! Do you know that blonde?”
It was from the front part of Mme. de Marizy’s large first tier box that all these exclamations were coming at that moment.
“Which blonde?” asked Mme. de Marizy.
“Which blonde! Why, there is but one this evening in the house. Opposite to you, over there, in the first box, the Sainte Mesme’s box. Look, baroness, look straight over there—”
“Yes I am looking at her. She is atrociously got up, but pretty—”
“Pretty! She is a wonder! Simply a wonder! Got up? Yes, agreed—some country relative. The Sainte Mesmes have cousins in Perigord. But what a smile! How well her neck is set on! And the slope of the shoulders! Ah, especially the shoulders!”