Suffering is a human law; the world is an arena
The uncontested power which money brings
We had taken the dream of a day for eternal happiness
What is a man who remains useless
By GEORGES OHNET
THE FIRST BREAK
The first two months of this union were truly enchanting. Serge and Micheline never left each other. After an absence of eight days they had returned to Paris with Madame Desvarennes, and the hitherto dull mansion in the Rue Saint-Dominique was filled with joyful bustle. The splendid stables, formerly too large for the mistress’s three horses, were now insufficient for the service of the Prince. There were eight splendid carriage-horses, a pair of charming ponies—bought especially for Micheline’s use, but which the young wife had not been able to make up her mind to drive herself—four saddle-horses, upon which every morning about eight o’clock, when the freshness of night had perfumed the Bois de Boulogne, the young people took their ride round the lake.
A bright sun made the sheet of water sparkle between its borders of dark fir-trees; the flesh air played in Micheline’s veil, and the tawny leather of the saddles creaked. Those were happy days for Micheline, who was delighted at having Serge near her, attentive to her every want, and controlling his thoroughbred English horse to her gentle pace. Every now and then his mount would wheel about and rear in revolt, she following him with fond looks, proud of the elegant cavalier who could subdue without apparent effort, by the mere pressure of his thighs, that impetuous steed.
Then she would give her horse a touch with the whip, and off she would go at a gallop, feeling happy with the wind blowing in her face, and he whom she loved by her side to smile on and encourage her. Then they would scamper along; the dog with his thin body almost touching the ground, racing and frightening the rabbits, which shot across the road swift as bullets. Out of breath by the violent ride, Micheline would stop, and pat the neck of her lovely chestnut horse. Slowly the young people would return to the Rue Saint-Dominique, and, on arriving in the courtyard, there was such a pawing of feet as brought the clerks to the windows, hiding behind the curtains. Tired with healthy exercise, Micheline would go smiling to the office where her mother was hard at work, and say:
“Here we are, mamma!”
The mistress would rise and kiss her daughter beaming with freshness. Then they would go up to breakfast.