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Victor Cherbuliez
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 218 pages of information about Samuel Brohl and Company.
reduced to the society of Mlle. Moiseney, who, after having been her instructress, had become her demoiselle de compagnie.  She lived pretty much in the open air, walking about in the woods, reading, or painting; and the woods, her books, and her paint-brushes, to say nothing of her poor people, so agreeably occupied her time that she never experienced a quarter of an hour’s ennui.  She was too content with her lot to have the slightest inclination to change it; therefore she was in no hurry to marry.  She had completed twenty-four years of her existence, had refused several desirable offers, and wished nothing better than to retain her maidenhood.  It was the sole article concerning which this heiress had discussions with those around her.  When her father took it into his head to grow angry and cry, “You must!” she would burst out laughing; whereupon he would laugh also, and say:  “I’m not the master here; in fact, I am placed in the position of a ploughman arguing with a priest.”

It is very dangerous to tax one’s brains too much when one dines out frequently.  During the winter of 1875, M. Moriaz had undertaken an excess of work; he was overdriven, and his health suffered.  He was attacked by one of those anemic disorders of which we hear so much nowadays, and which may be called la maladie a la mode.  He was obliged to break in upon his daily routine, employ an assistant, and early in July his physician ordered him to set out for Engadine, and try the chalybeate water-cure at Saint Moritz.  The trip from Paris to Saint Moritz cannot be made without passing through Chur.  It was at Chur that Mlle. Antoinette Moriaz, who accompanied her father, met for the first time Count Abel Larinski.  When the decree of Destiny goes forth, the spider and the fly must inevitably meet.

Abel Larinski had arrived at Chur from Vienna, having taken the route through Milan and across the Splugen Pass.  Although he was very short of funds, upon reaching the capital of the canton of Grisons he had put up at the Hotel Steinbock, the best and most expensive in the place.  It was his opinion that he owed this mark of respect to Count Larinski; such duties he held to be very sacred, and he fulfilled them religiously.  He was in a very melancholy mood, and set out for a promenade in order to divert his mind.  In crossing the Plessur Bridge, he fixed his troubled eyes on the muddy waters of the stream, and he felt almost tempted to take the fatal leap; but in such a project there is considerable distance between the dream and its fulfilment, and Count Larinski experienced at this juncture that the most melancholy man in the world may find it difficult to conquer his passion for living.

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