Samuel Brohl and Company eBook

Victor Cherbuliez
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 267 pages of information about Samuel Brohl and Company.

She walked several times around the terrace.  The gravel was elastic, and rebounded under her step.  Never had Mlle. Moriaz felt so light:  life, the present, the future, weighed no heavier on her brow than a bird in the hand that holds it and feels it tremble.  Her heart fluttered like a bird; like a bird it had wings, and only asked to fly.  She believed that there was happiness everywhere; there seemed to be joy diffused through the air, in the wind, in every sound, and in all silences.  She gazed smilingly on the vast landscape that was spread out before her eyes, and the sparkling Seine sent back her smile.

Some one came to announce that a lady, a stranger, had called, who wished to speak with her.  Immediately thereupon the stranger appeared, and Mlle. Moriaz was most disagreeably surprised to find herself in the presence of the Princess Gulof, whom she would willingly never have seen again.  “This is an unpleasant visit,” she thought, as she asked her guest to be seated on a rustic bench.  “What can this woman want with me?”

“It was M. Moriaz whom I desired to speak with,” began the princess.  “I am told that he is out.  I shall leave in a few hours for Calais; I cannot await his return, and I have, therefore, decided to address myself to you, mademoiselle.  I have come here to render you one of those little services that one woman owes to another; but, first of all, I would like to be assured that I may rely on your absolute discretion; I do not desire to appear in this affair.”

“In what affair, madame?”

“One of no little consequence; it concerns your marriage.”

“You are extremely kind to concern yourself with my marriage; but I do not understand——­”

“You will understand in a few moments.  So you promise me——­”

“I promise nothing, madame, before I understand.”

The princess looked in amazement at Mlle. Moriaz.  She had anticipated talking with a dove; she found that the dove had a less accommodating temper and a much stiffer neck than she had believed.  She hesitated for a moment whether she would not at once end the interview; she decided, however, to proceed: 

“I have a story to relate to you,” she continued, in a familiar tone; “listen with attention, I beg of you.  I err if in the end you do not find it interesting.  Thirteen or fourteen years ago, one of those unlucky chances, common in travelling, obliged me to pass several hours in a miserable little town in Galicia.  The inn, or rather the tavern, where I stopped, was very dirty; the tavern-keeper, an ill-looking little German Jew, was still dirtier than his tavern, and he had a son who was in no better condition.  I am given to forming illusions about people.  In spite of his filth, this youth interested me.  His stupid father refused him all instruction, and beat him unmercifully; he appeared intelligent; he made me think of a fresh-water fish condemned to live in a quagmire.  He was

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Samuel Brohl and Company from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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