At these words, he made a grand gesture, as if to banish the phantom that he had conjured up, and that fled away trembling with sorrow, shame, and indignation. The peacock cried anew a mournful shriek. “Stupid bird!” thought Samuel Brohl, quaking with sudden dread.
He looked at his watch, and reflected that the hour was advancing—that he was losing time with the spirits. He rose hastily, and wended his way toward Cormeilles; thence he wished to come upon a sunny path that led to the banks of the Seine, and Sartrouville, the belfry of which was plainly visible. When he reached the foot of the declivity, he turned his head and saw, on the summit of the hill, through the space left by the crooked branches of two plantains, a white wall, that seemed to laugh amid the verdure, and a little higher the pointed roof of the dove-cote, where Mlle. Moriaz’s doves had their nests. He did not need to look long at this roof to recognise it. He threw a burning kiss in the air—a kiss that was sent to the doves as well as to the dove-cote—to the house as well as to the woman—to the woman as well as the house. For the first time in his life, Samuel Brohl was in love; but Samuel Brohl’s love differed from Abel Larinski’s. When they adore a woman, be she as beautiful as a picture, the frame, if it is a rich one, pleases them as much as the painting; and they propose to possess their mistress with all her appendages and appurtenances.