"I shouldn't mind it if I were not afraid of going to sleep and falling on you."
"Why, I should like it. A pretty girl like you is an agreeable burden."
She made no reply, but I saw that she understood; my declaration was made, but something more was wanted before I could rely on her docility. I relapsed into silence again till we got to Varennes, and then I said,--
"If I thought you could eat a roast fowl with as good an appetite as mine, I would dine here."
"Try me, I will endeavour to match you."
We ate well and drank better, and by the time we started again we were a little drunk. Adele, who was only accustomed to drink wine two or three times a year, laughed at not being able to stand upright, but seemed to be afraid that something would happen. I comforted her by saying that the fumes of champagne soon evaporated; but though she strove with all her might to keep awake, nature conquered, and letting her pretty head fall on my breast she fell asleep, and did not rouse herself for two hours. I treated her with the greatest respect, though I could not resist ascertaining that the article of clothing which had displeased me so much had entirely disappeared.
While she slept I enjoyed the pleasure of gazing on the swelling curves of her budding breast, but I restrained my ardour, as the disappearance of the black breeches assured me that I should find her perfectly submissive whenever I chose to make the assault. I wished, however, that she should give herself up to me of her own free will, or at any rate come half-way to meet me, and I knew that I had only to smooth the path to make her do so.
When she awoke and found that she had been sleeping in my arms, her astonishment was extreme. She apologized and begged me to forgive her, while I thought the best way to put her at ease would be to give her an affectionate kiss. The result was satisfactory; who does not know the effect of a kiss given at the proper time?
As her dress was in some disorder she tried to adjust it, but we were rather pushed for space, and by an awkward movement she uncovered her knee. I burst out laughing and she joined me, and had the presence of mind to say:
"I hope the black colour has given you no funereal thoughts this time."
"The hue of the rose, dear Adele, can only inspire me with delicious fancies."
I saw that she lowered her eyes, but in a manner that shewed she was pleased.
With this talk--and, so to speak, casting oil on the flames--we reached Moulin, and got down for a few moments. A crowd of women assailed us with knives and edged tools of all sorts, and I bought the father and daughter whatever they fancied. We went on our way, leaving the women quarrelling and fighting because some had sold their wares and others had not.
In the evening we reached St. Pierre; but during the four hours that had elapsed since we left Moulin we had made way, and Adele had become quite familiar with me.
Thanks to Clairmont, who had arrived two hours before, an excellent supper awaited us. We supped in a large room, where two great white beds stood ready to receive us.
I told Moreau that he and his daughter should sleep in one bed, and I in the other; but he replied that I and Adele could each have a bed to ourselves, as he wanted to start for Nevers directly after supper, so as to be able to catch-his debtor at daybreak, and to rejoin us when we got there the following day.
"If you had told me before, we would have gone on to Nevers and slept there."
"You are too kind. I mean to ride the three and a half stages. The riding will do me good, and I like it. I leave my daughter in your care. She will not be so near you as in the carriage."
"Oh, we will be very discreet, you may be sure!"
After his departure I told Adele to go to bed in her clothes, if she were afraid of me.
"I shan't be offended," I added.
"It would be very wrong of me," she answered, "to give you such a proof of my want of confidence."
She rose, went out a moment, and when she came back she locked the door, and as soon as she was ready to slip off her last article of clothing came and kissed me.