Through another woman?
I mean, supposing there was another woman who loved him—one who could be to him all he needed, who would understand, and who was all right. One he could marry.
And supposing this other woman had heard things about Arthur, and was terribly hurt, and Arthur knew she was, and that’s why he kept away; but your mother talked with her for a long while, and made her understand. Even sent for that woman—you know. And then this woman, the right one, did understand, and was ready to marry Arthur....
Margaret, are you crying? Are you crying, Margaret? Margaret, was it you?
Perron, a stout, middle-aged figure, is seated in front of his watchmaker’s establishment near the Place St. Sulpice. The awning sags, and the shop wears an air of sober discouragement. Whatever expression the years have left Perron’s round face capable of is concentrated upon the changing scenes cinematographed to his mind’s eye by some strong and unusual emotion. Alexandre, a tall, stooped man, with a flowing black tie, bows in passing with old-fashioned punctiliousness to Perron, who apparently is unaware of his presence. Suddenly Perron starts, rubs his eyes, and glares about.
Good day, my friend. You seem distraught.
Distraught! It was the strangest thing! But sit here with me. Do. I have something to tell you.
I regret exceedingly, but a stupid engagement.... Later, perhaps—
No! No! I insist! Only a great mind like yours can explain the strange thing which has happened.
Ah, in that case—what is a mere business affair compared with divine philosophy? Far from being presse, friend Perron, I have an eternity at your service.
First of all, tell me the exact date!
That I can do, and not on my own authority, which in such details is often unreliable. This morning my concierge announced with great delicacy and feeling that to-day is Friday, the fifteenth July, and my rent is once more due. My rent, which—