Joseph Schmoll and General Lariviere came out of the smoking-room. The General took a seat between Princess Seniavine and Madame Martin.
“I met this morning, in the park, Baronne Warburg, mounted on a magnificent horse. She said, ’General, how do you manage to have such fine horses?’ I replied: Madame, to have fine horses, you must be either very wealthy or very clever.’”
He was so well satisfied with his reply that he repeated it twice.
Paul Vence came near Countess Martin:
“I know that senator’s name: it is Lyer. He is the vice-president of a political society, and author of a book entitled, The Crime of December Second.”
The General continued:
“The weather was horrible. I went into a hut and found Le Menil there. I was in a bad humor. He was making fun of me, I saw, because I sought shelter. He imagines that because I am a general I must like wind and snow. He said that he liked bad weather, and that he was to go foxhunting with friends next week.”
There was a pause; the General continued:
“I wish him much joy, but I don’t envy him. Foxhunting is not agreeable.”
“But it is useful,” said Montessuy.
The General shrugged his shoulders.
“Foxes are dangerous for chicken-coops in the spring when the fowls have to feed their families.”
“Foxes are sly poachers, who do less harm to farmers than to hunters. I know something of this.”
Therese was not listening to the Princess, who was talking to her. She was thinking:
“He did not tell me that he was going away!”
“Of what are you thinking, dear?” inquired the Princess.
“Of nothing interesting,” Therese replied.
THE END OF A DREAM
In the little shadowy room, where sound was deadened by curtains, portieres, cushions, bearskins, and carpets from the Orient, the firelight shone on glittering swords hanging among the faded favors of the cotillons of three winters. The rosewood chiffonier was surmounted by a silver cup, a prize from some sporting club. On a porcelain plaque, in the centre of the table, stood a crystal vase which held branches of white lilacs; and lights palpitated in the warm shadows. Therese and Robert, their eyes accustomed to obscurity, moved easily among these familiar objects. He lighted a cigarette while she arranged her hair, standing before the mirror, in a corner so dim she could hardly see herself. She took pins from the little Bohemian glass cup standing on the table, where she had kept it for three years. He looked at her, passing her light fingers quickly through the gold ripples of her hair, while her face, hardened and bronzed by the shadow, took on a mysterious expression. She did not speak.
He said to her:
“You are not cross now, my dear?”