The Guest of Quesnay eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 180 pages of information about The Guest of Quesnay.

“Pour qu’j’finisse
 Mon service
 Au Tonkin je suis parti—­
 Ah! quel beau pays, mesdames! 
 C’est l’paradis des p’tites femmes!”

I rose from the chair on my little porch, to go to bed; but I was reminded of something, and called to him.

“Monsieur?” his voice came briskly.

“How often do you see your friend, Jean Ferret, the gardener of Quesnay?”

“Frequently, monsieur.  To-morrow morning I could easily carry a message if—­”

“That is precisely what I do not wish.  And you may as well not mention me at all when you meet him.”

“It is understood.  Perfectly.”

“If it is well understood, there will be a beautiful present for a good maitre d’hotel some day.”

“Thank you, monsieur.”

“Good night, Amedee.”

“Good night, monsieur.”

Falling to sleep has always been an intricate matter with me:  I liken it to a nightly adventure in an enchanted palace.  Weary-limbed and with burning eyelids, after long waiting in the outer court of wakefulness, I enter a dim, cool antechamber where the heavy garment of the body is left behind and where, perhaps, some acquaintance or friend greets me with a familiar speech or a bit of nonsense—­or an unseen orchestra may play music that I know.  From here I go into a spacious apartment where the air and light are of a fine clarity, for it is the hall of revelations, and in it the secrets of secrets are told, mysteries are resolved, perplexities cleared up, and sometimes I learn what to do about a picture that has bothered me.  This is where I would linger, for beyond it I walk among crowding fantasies, delusions, terrors and shame, to a curtain of darkness where they take my memory from me, and I know nothing of my own adventures until I am pushed out of a secret door into the morning sunlight.  Amedee was the acquaintance who met me in the antechamber to-night.  He remarked that Madame d’Armand was the most beautiful woman in the world, and vanished.  And in the hall of revelations I thought that I found a statue of her—­but it was veiled.  I wished to remove the veil, but a passing stranger stopped and told me laughingly that the veil was all that would ever be revealed of her to me—­of her, or any other woman!

CHAPTER IV

I was up with the birds in the morning; had my breakfast with them—­a very drowsy-eyed Amedee assisting—­and made off for the forest to get the sunrise through the branches, a pack on my back and three sandwiches for lunch in my pocket.  I returned only with the failing light of evening, cheerfully tired and ready for a fine dinner and an early bed, both of which the good inn supplied.  It was my daily programme; a healthy life “far from the world,” as Amedee said, and I was sorry when the serpent entered and disturbed it, though he was my own.  He is a pet of mine; has been with me since my childhood.  He leaves me when I live alone, for he loves company, but returns whenever my kind are about me.  There are many names for snakes of his breed, but, to deal charitably with myself, I call mine Interest-In-Other-People’s-Affairs.

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Project Gutenberg
The Guest of Quesnay from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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