I happened to be writing at the time, and as she had come up on tiptoe I was surprised, though in a very agreeable manner. She fled to her bed, saying saucily,
"You are frightened of me, I think?"
"You are wrong, but you surprised me. Come back, I want to see you fall asleep in my arms."
"Come and see me sleep."
"Will you sleep all the time?"
"Of course I shall."
"We will see about that."
I flung the pen down, and in a moment I held her in my arms, smiling, ardent, submissive to my desires, and only entreating me to spare her. I did my best, and though she helped me to the best of her ability, the first assault was a labour of Hercules. The others were pleasanter, for it is only the first step that is painful, and when the field had been stained with the blood of three successive battles, we abandoned ourselves to repose. At five o'clock in the morning Clairmont knocked, and I told him to get us some coffee. I was obliged to get up without giving fair Adele good day, but I promised that she should have it on the way.
When she was dressed she looked at the altar where she had offered her first sacrifice to love, and viewed the signs of her defeat with a sigh. She was pensive for some time, but when we were in the carriage again her gaiety returned, and in our mutual transports we forgot to grieve over our approaching parting.
We found Moreau at Nevers; he was in a great state because he could not get his money before noon. He dared not ask me to wait for him, but I said that we would have a good dinner and start when the money was paid.
While dinner was being prepared we shut ourselves up in a room to avoid the crowd of women who pestered us to buy a thousand trifles, and at two o'clock we started, Moreau having got his money. We got to Cosne at twilight, and though Clairmont was waiting for us at Briane, I decided on stopping where I was, and this night proved superior to the first. The next day we made a breakfast of the meal which had been prepared for our supper, and we slept at Fontainebleau, where I enjoyed Adele for the last time. In the morning I promised to come and see her at Louviers, when I returned from England, but I could not keep my word.
We took four hours to get from Fontainebleau to Paris, but how quickly the time passed. I stopped the carriage near the Pont St. Michel, opposite to a clockmaker's shop, and after looking at several watches I gave one to Adele, and then dropped her and her father at the corner of the Rue aux Ours. I got down at the "Hotel de Montmorenci," not wanting to stop with Madame d'Urfe, but after dressing I went to dine with her.
I Drive My Brother The Abbe From Paris--Madame du Rumain Recovers Her Voice Through My Cabala--A Bad Joke--The Corticelli--I Take d'Aranda to London My Arrival At Calais
As usual, Madame d'Urfe received me with open arms, but I was surprised at hearing her tell Aranda to fetch the sealed letter she had given him in the morning. I opened it, found it was dated the same day, and contained the following:
"My genius told me at day-break that Galtinardus was starting from Fontainebleau, and that he will come and dine with me to-day."
She chanced to be right, but I have had many similar experiences in the course of my life-experiences which would have turned any other man's head. I confess they have surprised me, but they have never made me lose my reasoning powers. Men make a guess which turns out to be correct, and they immediately claim prophetic power; but they forgot all about the many cases in which they have been mistaken. Six months ago I was silly enough to bet that a bitch would have a litter of five bitch pups on a certain day, and I won. Everyone thought it a marvel except myself, for if I had chanced to lose I should have been the first to laugh.
I naturally expressed my admiration for Madame d'Urfe's genius, and shared her joy in finding herself so well during her pregnancy. The worthy lunatic had given orders that she was not at home to her usual callers, in expectation of my arrival, and so we spent the rest of the day together, consulting how we could make Aranda go to London of his own free will; and as I did not in the least know how it was to be done, the replies of the oracle were very obscure.