My Arrival at Marseilles—Madame d’Urfe—My Niece Is Welcomed by Madame Audibert I Get Rid of My Brother and Possano—Regeneration—Departure of Madame d’Urfe—Marcoline Remains Constant
My niece, now my mistress, grew more dear to me every day, and I could not help trembling when I reflected that Marseilles would be the tomb of our love. Though I could not help arriving there, I prolonged my happiness as long as I could by travelling by short stages. I got to Frejus in less than three hours, and stopped there, and telling Possano and the abbe to do as they liked during our stay, I ordered a delicate supper and choice wine for myself and my nymphs. Our repast lasted till midnight, then we went to bed, and passed the time in sweet sleep and sweeter pleasures. I made the same arrangements at Lucca, Brignoles, and Aubayne, where I passed the sixth and last night of happiness.
As soon as I got to Marseilles I conducted my niece to Madame Audibert’s, and sent Possano and my brother to the “Trieze Cantons” inn, bidding them observe the strictest silence with regard to me, for Madame d’Urfe had been awaiting me for three weeks, and I wished to be my own herald to her.
It was at Madame Audibert’s that my niece had met Croce. She was a clever woman, and had known the girl from her childhood, and it was through her that my niece hoped to be restored to her father’s good graces. We had agreed that I should leave my niece and Marcoline in the carriage, and should interview Madame Audibert, whose acquaintance I had made before, and with whom I could make arrangements for my niece’s lodging till some arrangement was come to.
Madame Audibert saw me getting out of my carriage, and as she did not recognize me her curiosity made her come down and open the door. She soon recognized me, and consented to let me have a private interview with the best grace in the world.
I did not lose any time in leading up to the subject, and after I had given her a rapid sketch of the affair, how misfortune had obliged La Croix to abandon Mdlle. Crosin, how I had been able to be of service to her, and finally, how she had had the good luck to meet a wealthy and distinguished person, who would come to Marseilles to ask her hand in a fortnight, I concluded by saying that I should have the happiness of restoring to her hands the dear girl whose preserver I had been.
“Where is she?” cried Madame Audibert.
“In my carriage. I have lowered the blinds.”
“Bring her in, quick! I will see to everything. Nobody shall know that she is in my house.”
Happier than a prince, I made one bound to the carriage and, concealing her face with her cloak and hood, I led my niece to her friend’s arms. This was a dramatic scene full of satisfaction for me. Kisses were given and received, tears of happiness and repentance shed, I wept myself from mingled feelings of emotion, happiness, and regret.