Happiness enjoyed alone is never complete. Mine was not until I assured myself, by looking at my sweetheart's features, that the part she had taken had not been an entirely passive one; and I escorted the ladies to their room. There, without any conceit, I was certain that I saw sadness and love upon that fair creature's face. I could see that she was neither cold nor insensible, and that the obstacles she had put in my way were only suggested by fear and virtue. I gave Madame Morin a farewell kiss, and she was kind enough to tell her niece to give me a similar mark of friendship, which she did in a way that shewed me how completely she had shared my ardour.
I left them, feeling amorous and sorry I had obliged myself to go. On entering my room I found the three nymphs together, which vexed me as I only wanted one. I whispered my wishes to Rose as she curled my hair, but she told me it was impossible for her to slip away as they all slept in one room. I then told them that I was going away the next day, and that if they would pass the night with me I would give them a present of six louis each. They laughed at my proposal and said it couldn't possibly be done. I saw by this they had not made confidantes of one another, as girls mostly do, and I also saw that they were jealous of each other. I wished them a good night, and as soon as I was in bed the god of dreams took me under his care, and made me pass the night with the adorable Mdlle. Roman.
I rang rather late in the morning, and the cousin came in and said that Rose would bring my chocolate, and that M. Charles Ivanoff wanted to speak to me. I guessed that this was the Russian, but as he had not been introduced to me I thought I might decline to see him.
"Tell him I don't know his name."
Rose went out, and came in again saying he was the gentleman who had had the honour of supping with me at Madame Morin's.
"Tell him to come in."
"Sir," said he, "I want to speak with you in private."
"I cannot order these young ladies to leave my room, sir. Be kind enough to wait for me outside till I have put on my dressing-gown, and then I shall be ready to speak to you."
"If I am troubling you, I will call again to-morrow."
"You would not find me, as I am leaving Grenoble to-day."
"In that case I will wait."
I got up in haste and went out to him.
"Sir," said he, "I must leave this place, and I have not a penny to pay my landlord. I beg of you to come to my aid. I dare not have recourse to anyone else in the town for fear of exposing myself to the insult of a refusal."
"Perhaps I ought to feel myself flattered at the preference you have shewn me, but without wishing to insult you in any way I am afraid I shall be obliged to refuse your request."
"If you knew who I am I am sure you would not refuse me some small help."
"If you think so, tell me who you are; you may count on my silence."
"I am Charles, second son of Ivan, Duke of Courland, who is in exile in Siberia. I made my escape."
"If you go to Genoa you will find yourself beyond the reach of poverty; for no doubt the brother of your lady-mother would never abandon you."
"He died in Silesia."
"Two years ago, I believe."
"You have been deceived, for I saw him at Stuttgart scarcely six months ago. He is the Baron de Treiden."
It did not cost me much to get wind of the adventurer, but I felt angry that he had had the impudence to try and dupe me. If it had not been for that I would willingly have given him six louis, for it would have been bad form on my part to declare war against adventurers, as I was one myself, and I ought to have pardoned his lies as nearly all adventurers are more or less impostors. I gave a glance at his diamond buckles, which were considered real at Grenoble, and I saw directly that they were counterfeits of a kind made in Venice, which imitate the facets of the diamonds in perfection, except to people who are experienced in diamonds.
"You have diamond buckles," said I.