The lesson will do him good. A little shame will teach him that he must mend his ways."
"You will see he won't come this evening."
"That may be, but do you think I shall care?"
"Well--yes, I did think so."
"Because we joked together, I suppose. He is a hare-brained fellow, to whom I do not give two thoughts in the year."
"I pity him, as heartily as I congratulate anyone of whom you do think."
"Maybe there is no such person"
"What! You have not yet met a man worthy of your regard?"
"Many worthy of regard, but none of love."
"Then you have never been in love?"
"Your heart is empty?"
"You make me laugh. Is it happiness, is it unhappiness? Who can say. If it be happiness, I am glad, and if it be unhappiness, I do not care, for I do not feel it to be so."
"Nevertheless, it is a misfortune, and you will know it to have been so on the day in which you love."
"And if I become unhappy through love, shall I not pronounce my emptiness of heart to have been happiness."
"I confess you would be right, but I am sure love would make you happy."
"I do not know. To be happy one must live in perfect agreement; that is no easy matter, and I believe it to be harder still when the bond is lifelong."
"I agree, but God sent us into the world that we might run the risk"
"To a man it may be a necessity and a delight, but a girl is bound by stricter laws."
"In nature the necessity is the same though the results are different, and the, laws you speak of are laid down by society."
The count came in at this point and was astonished to see us both together.
"I wish you would fall in love with one another," said he.
"You wish to see us unhappy, do you?" said she.
"What do you mean by that?" I cried.
"I should be unhappy with an inconstant lover, and you would be unhappy too, for you would feel bitter remorse for having destroyed my peace of mind."
After this she discreetly fled.
I remained still as if she had petrified me, but the count who never wearied himself with too much thinking, exclaimed,
"Clementine is rather too romantic; she will get over it, however; she is young yet."
We went to bid good day to the countess, whom we found suckling her baby.
"Do you know, my dear sister," said the count, "that the chevalier here is in love with Clementine, and she seems inclined to pay him back in his own coin?"
The countess smiled and said,--
"I hope a suitable match like that may make us relations."
There is something magical about the word "marriage."
What the countess said pleased me extremely, and I replied with a bow of the most gracious character.
We went to pay a call on the lady who had come to the castle the day before. There was a canon regular there, who after a great many polite speeches in praise of my country, which he knew only from books, asked me of what order was the cross I carried on my breast.
I replied, with a kind of boastful modesty, that it was a peculiar mark of the favour of the Holy Father, the Pope, who had freely made me a knight of the Order of St. John Lateran, and a prothonotary-apostolic.
This monk had stayed at home far from the world, or else he would not have asked me such a question. However, far from thinking he was offending me, he thought he was honouring me by giving me an opportunity of talking of my own merit.
At London, the greatest possible rudeness is to ask anyone what his religion is, and it is something the same in Germany; an Anabaptist is by no means ready to confess his creed. And in fact the best plan is never to ask any questions whatever, not even if a man has change for a louis.
Clementine was delightful at dinner. She replied wittily and gracefully to all the questions which were addressed to her. True, what she said was lost on the majority of her auditors--for wit cannot stand before stupidity--but I enjoyed her talk immensely. As she kept filling up my glass I reproached her, and this gave rise to the following little dialogue which completed my conquest.