“What is the use of grieving beforehand?”
“I ask you how you will live to-morrow?” cried Jacques.
“I will sell my costume, and some other clothes. I will send you half the money, and keep the rest. That will last some days.”
don’t know—how can I tell you!
Afterwards—I’ll look about me.”
“Hear me, Cephyse,” resumed Jacques, with bitter agony. “It is now that I first know how mach I love you. My heart is pressed as in a vise at the thought of leaving you and I shudder to thinly what is to become of you.” Then—drawing his hand across his forehead, Jacques added: “You see we have been ruined by saying—’To-morrow will never come!’—for to morrow has come. When I am no longer with you, and you have spent the last penny of the money gained by the sale of your clothes—unfit for work as you have become—what will you do next? Must I tell you what you will do!—you will forget me and—” Then, as if he recoiled from his own thoughts, Jacques exclaimed, with a burst of rage and despair—“Great Heaven! if that were to happen, I should dash my brains out against the stones!”
Cephyse guessed the half-told meaning of Jacques, and throwing her arms around his neck, she said to him: “I take another lover?—never! I am like you, for I now first know how much I love you.”
“But, my poor Cephyse—how will you live?”
“Well, I shall take courage. I will go back and dwell, with my sister, as in old times; we will work together, and so earn our bread. I’ll never go out, except to visit you. In a few days your creditor will reflect, that, as you can’t pay him ten thousand francs, he may as well set you free. By that time I shall have once more acquired the habit of working. You shall see, you shall see!—and you also will again acquire this habit. We shall live poor, but content. After all, we have had plenty of amusement for six month, while so many others have never known pleasure all their lives. And believe me, my dear Jacques, when I say to you—I shall profit by this lesson. If you love me, do not feel the least uneasiness; I tell you, that I would rather die a hundred times, than have another lover.”
“Kiss me,” said Jacques, with eyes full of tears. “I believe you—yes, I believe you—and you give me back my courage, both for now and hereafter. You are right; we must try and get to work again, or else nothing remains but Father Arsene’s bushel of charcoal; for, my girl,” added Jacques, in a low and trembling voice, “I have been like a drunken man these six months, and now I am getting sober, and see whither we are going. Our means once exhausted, I might perhaps have become a robber, and you—”
“Oh, Jacques! don’t talk so—it is frightful,” interrupted Cephyse; “I swear to you that I will return to my sister—that I will work—that I will have courage!”