Maton was lying on her bed with all her clothes on, fast asleep, and perspiring with the heat. I woke her, telling her that another time she must sleep more comfortably, as such heats were injurious to health.
She got up and left the room, no doubt to wash, for she returned looking fresh and gay, and bade me good day, and asked me if I would like to give her a kiss.
"I shall be delighted," I replied; and, after kissing her, I made her hurry over the breakfast, as I wished to reach Dresden that evening. However, I could not manage it, my carriage broke down, and took five hours to mend, so I had to sleep at another posting station. Maton undressed this time, but I had the firmness not to look at her.
When I reached Dresden I put up at the "Hotel de Saxe," taking the whole of the first floor. My mother was in the country, and I paid her a visit, much to her delight; we made quite an affecting picture, with my arm in a sling. I also saw my brother John and his wife Therese, Roland, and a Roman girl whom I had known before him, and who made much of me. I also saw my sister, and I then went with my brother to pay my suit to Count Bruhl and to his wife, the daughter of the palatin of Kiowia, who was delighted to hear news of her family. I was welcomed everywhere, and everywhere I had to tell the story of my duel. I confess that very little pressing was required, for I was very proud of it.
At this period the States were assembled in Dresden, and Prince Xavier, uncle of the Elector, was regent during his minority.
The same evening I went to the opera-house, where faro was played. I played, but prudently, for my capital only consisted of eighteen hundred ducats.
When I came back we had a good supper, and Maton pleased me both by her appetite and amiability. When we had finished I affectionately asked her if she would like to share my bed, and she replied as tenderly that she was wholly mine. And so, after passing a voluptuous night, we rose in the morning the best friends in the world.
I spent the whole morning in furnishing her toilette. A good many people called on me, and wanted to be presented to Maton; but my answer was that, as she was only my housekeeper, and not my wife, I could not have the pleasure of introducing her. In the same way I had instructed her that she was not to let anyone in when I was away. She was working in her room on the linen I had provided for her, aided in her task by a seamstress. Nevertheless, I did not want to make her a slave, so I occasionally took her into the pleasant suburbs of Dresden, where she was at liberty to speak to any of my acquaintances we might meet.
This reserve of mine which lasted for the fortnight we stayed in Dresden was mortifying for all the young officers in the place, and especially for the Comte de Bellegarde, who was not accustomed to being denied any girl to whom he chose to take a fancy. He was a fine young fellow, of great boldness and even impudence, and one day he came into our room and asked me to give him a dinner just as Maton and myself were sitting down to table. I could not refuse him, and I could not request Maton to leave the room, so from the beginning to the end of the meal he showered his military jokes and attentions on her, though he was perfectly polite the whole time. Maton behaved very well; she was not prudish, nor did she forget the respect she owed to me and indeed to herself.
I was accustomed to take a siesta every day after dinner, so half an hour after the conclusion of the meal I stated the fact and begged him to leave us. He asked smilingly if the lady took a siesta too, and I replied that we usually took it together. This made him take up his hat and cane, and as he did so he asked us both to dine with him the next day. I replied that I never took Maton out anywhere, but that he would be welcome to come and take pot-luck with us every day if he liked.
This refusal exhausted his resources, and he took his leave if not angrily, at least very coldly.