“You need not answer, but come; else I will be displeased with you as long as I live.”
Samuel replied as follows to Mlle. Moriaz:
“Be assured I have suffered more than you. Forgive me; much should be forgiven a man who has suffered much. My imagination is subject to the wildest alarms. Great, unlooked-for joy has rendered me mistrustful. I have been especially low-spirited of late. After having resolutely fought against my happiness, I tremble now lest it escape me; it appears to me too beautiful not to prove only a dream. To be loved by you! How can I help fearing to lose the great boon? Each evening I ask myself: ‘Will she still love me to-morrow?’ Perhaps my anxiety is blended with secret remorse. My pride, ever on the alert to take umbrage, has often been my torment; you can tell me it is only self-love: I will endeavour to cure myself of it, but this cannot be done in a day. During these long months of waiting there will come to me more than one suspicion, more than one troubled thought. I promise you, however, that I shall maintain a rigid silence concerning them, and, if possible, hide them.
“You condemn me, for my punishment, to love you to-day more than yesterday; you know well this were impossible. No; I shall inflict upon myself another chastisement. Mme. de Lorcy has invited me to dinner. I suspect her of having a very mediocre feeling of good-will for me, and I also accuse her of being cold and insensible; of understanding nothing whatever of the heart’s unreasonableness, which is true wisdom. Nevertheless, I will refrain from declining her invitation. It is at Maisons and not at Cormeilles that I shall this day pass my evening. Are you content with me? Is not the penance severe enough?
“But to-morrow—oh! I shall arrive at your home to-morrow by two o’clock, and I shall enter by the little green gate at the foot of the orchard. Will you do me a favour? Promenade about two o’clock in the gravel-walk that I adore. The wall being low at that place, I shall perceive from afar, before entering, the white silk of your sun-umbrella. I am counting, you see, upon sunshine. How very childish! Yet, even this is not strange; I was born three months and a half ago; I commenced to live July 5th of this year; at four o’clock in the afternoon, in the cathedral at Chur. Forgive me all my errors, my suspicions, my childish absurdities.”
Mlle. Moriaz concluded that it would be well to shorten the term of waiting, and that she would ask Count Larinski to fix the date of their marriage himself. As to the contract, she had immediate occasion to speak of it to her father, who announced to her that he had invited his notary, Maitre Noirot, to dine with him the next day.
She was silent a few moments, and then said, “Can you explain to me the use of notaries?”
He replied about as did le Philosophe sans le savoir: “We only see the present; notaries foresee the future and possible contingencies.”