I had a number of beautiful seals and trinkets hanging from my watch- chain, and I had not had the time to put myself in a state of perfect decency again.
She noticed it, and by way of pretext she asked if she might look at them.
"As long as you like; you may look at them and touch them as well."
M---- M---- foresaw what would happen and left the room, saying that she would soon be back. I had intended to deprive the young boarder of all interest in my seals by shewing her a curiosity of another kind. She did not conceal her pleasure in satisfying her inquisitiveness on an object which was quite new to her, and which she was able to examine minutely for the first time in her life. But soon an effusion changed her curiosity into surprise, and I did not interrupt her in her delighted gaze.
I saw M---- M---- coming back slowly, and I lowered my shirt again, and sat down. My watch and chains were still on the ledge of the grating, and M---- M---- asked her young friend if the trinkets had pleased her.
"Yes," she replied, but in a dreamy and melancholy voice. She had learnt so much in the course of less than two hours that she had plenty to think over. I spent the rest of the day in telling M---- M---- the adventures I had encountered since I had left her; but as I had not time to finish my tale I promised to return the next day at the same time.
The little girl, who had been listening to me all the time, though I appeared to be only addressing her friend, said that she longed to know the end of my adventure with the Duke of Matelone's mistress.
I supped with the fair Desarmoises, and after giving her sundry proofs of my affection till midnight, and telling her that I only stopped on for her sake, I went to bed.
The next day after dinner I returned to the convent, and having sent up my name to M---- M---- I entered the room where the grating was more convenient.
Before long M---- M---- arrived alone, but she anticipated my thoughts by telling me that her pretty friend would soon join her.
"You have fired her imagination. She has told me all about it, playing a thousand wanton tricks, and calling me her dear husband. You have seduced the girl, and I am very glad you are going or else you would drive her mad. You will see how she has dressed herself."
"Are you sure of her discretion?"
"Perfectly, but I hope you won't do anything in my presence. When I see the time coming I will leave the room."
"You are an angel, dearest, but you might be something better than that if you would--"
"I want nothing for myself; it is out of the question."
"No, I will have nothing to do with a pastime which would rekindle fires that are hardly yet quenched. I have spoken; I suffer, but let us say no more about it."
At this moment the young adept came in smiling, with her eyes full of fire. She was dressed in a short pelisse, open in front, and an embroidered muslin skirt which did not go beyond her knees. She looked like a sylph.
We had scarcely sat down when she reminded me of the place where my tale had stopped. I continued my recital, and when I was telling them how Donna Lucrezia shewed me Leonilda naked, M---- M---- went out, and the sly little puss asked me how I assured myself that my daughter was a maid.
I took bold of her through the fatal grating, against which she placed her pretty body, and shewed her how assured myself of the fact, and the girl liked it so much that she pressed my hand to the spot. She then gave me her hand that I might share her pleasure, and whilst this enjoyable occupation was in progress M---- M---- appeared. My sweetheart said hastily,--
"Never mind, I told her all about it. She is a good creature and will not be vexed." Accordingly M---- M---- pretended not to see anything, and the precocious little girl wiped her hand in a kind of voluptuous ecstacy, which shewed how well she was pleased.
I proceeded with my history, but when I came to the episode of the poor girl who was 'tied', describing all the trouble I had vainly taken with her, the little boarder got so curious that she placed herself in the most seducing attitude so that I might be able to shew her what I did.