He added, with a sort of gayety:
“In that sense one may say one woman never belonged to two men. That is one of Paul Vence’s ideas.”
“I think it is true,” said Therese.
It was seven o’clock. She said she must go. Every day she returned home later. Her husband had noticed it. He had said: “We are the last to arrive at all the dinners; there is a fatality about it!” But, detained every day in the Chamber of Deputies, where the budget was being discussed, and absorbed by the work of a subcommittee of which he was the chairman, state reasons excused Therese’s lack of punctuality. She recalled smilingly a night when she had arrived at Madame Garain’s at half-past eight. She had feared to cause a scandal. But it was a day of great affairs. Her husband came from the Chamber at nine o’clock only, with Garain. They dined in morning dress. They had saved the Ministry.
Then she fell into a dream.
“When the Chamber shall be adjourned, my friend, I shall not have a pretext to remain in Paris. My father does not understand my devotion to my husband which makes me stay in Paris. In a week I shall have to go to Dinard. What will become of me without you?”
She clasped her hands and looked at him with a sadness infinitely tender. But he, more sombre, said:
“It is I, Therese, it is I who must ask anxiously, What will become of me without you? When you leave me alone I am assailed by painful thoughts; black ideas come and sit in a circle around me.”
She asked him what those ideas were.
“My beloved, I have already told you: I have to forget you with you. When you are gone, your memory will torment me. I have to pay for the happiness you give me.”
NEWS OF LE MENIL
The blue sea, studded with pink shoals, threw its silvery fringe softly on the fine sand of the beach, along the amphitheatre terminated by two golden horns. The beauty of the day threw a ray of sunlight on the tomb of Chateaubriand. In a room where a balcony looked out upon the beach, the ocean, the islands, and the promontories, Therese was reading the letters which she had found in the morning at the St. Malo post-office, and which she had not opened in the boat, loaded with passengers. At once, after breakfast, she had closeted herself in her room, and there, her letters unfolded on her knees, she relished hastily her furtive joy. She was to drive at two o’clock on the mall with her father, her husband, the Princess Seniavine; Madame Berthier-d’Eyzelles, the wife of the Deputy, and Madame Raymond, the wife of the Academician. She had two letters that day. The first one she read exhaled a tender aroma of love. Jacques had never displayed more simplicity, more happiness, and more charm.