"We have the same privilege. Our hair is cut once, and then we may let it grow as long as we like."

"Then you have long hair?"

"As long as in the picture; but you would not like my hair as it is black."

"Why, black is my favourite colour. In the name of God, let me see it."

"You ask me in God's name to commit a sin; I shall incur another excommunication, but I cannot refuse you anything. You shall see my hair after supper, as I don't want to scandalize the countrywoman."

"You are right; I think you are the sweetest of your sex. I shall die of grief when you leave this cottage to return to your sad prison."

"I must indeed return and do penance for my sins."

"I hope you have the wit to laugh at the abbess's silly excommunications?"

"I begin not to dread them so much as I used to."

"I am delighted to hear it, as I see you will make me perfectly happy after supper."

The country-woman came up, and I gave her another ten louis; but it suddenly dawned upon me that she took me for a madman. To disabuse her of this idea I told her that I was very rich, and that I wanted to make her understand that I could not give her enough to testify my gratitude to her for the care she had taken of the good nun. She wept, kissed my hand, and served us a delicious supper. The nun ate well and drank indifferently, but I was in too great a hurry to see the beautiful black hair of this victim to her goodness of heart, and I could not follow her example. The one appetite drove out the other.

As soon as we were relieved of the country-woman's presence, she removed her hood, and let a mass of ebon hair fall upon her alabaster shoulders, making a truly ravishing contrast. She put the portrait before her, and proceeded to arrange her hair like the first M---- M----.

"You are handsomer than your sister," said I, "but I think she was more affectionate than you."

"She may have been more affectionate, but she had not a better heart."

"She was much more amorous than you."

"I daresay; I have never been in love."

"That is strange; how about your nature and the impulse of the senses?"

"We arrange all that easily at the convent. We accuse ourselves to the confessor, for we know it is a sin, but he treats it as a childish fault, and absolves us without imposing any penances."

"He knows human nature, and makes allowances for your sad position."

"He is an old man, very learned, and of ascetic habits, but he is all indulgence. It will be a sad day when we lose him."

"But in your amorous combats with another nun, don't you feel as if you would like her to change into a man?"

"You make me laugh. To be sure, if my sweetheart became a man I should not be sorry, but we do not desire such a miracle."

"That is, perhaps, through a coldness of temperament. In that your sister was better, for she liked me much more than C---- C----, and you do not like me as well as the sweetheart you left behind you at the convent."

"Certainly not, for with you I should violate my own chastity and expose myself to consequences I tremble to think of."

"You do not love me, then?"

"What are you saying? I adore you, and I am very sorry you are not a woman."

"I love you too, but your desire makes me laugh; for I would rather not be turned into a woman to please you, especially as I expect I should not think you nearly as beautiful. Sit down, my dear, and let me see your fine hair flowing over your beautiful body."

"Do you want me to take off my chemise?"

"Of course; how handsome you look without it. Let me suck your pretty breasts, as I am your baby."

She granted me this privilege, and looking at me with a face full of pleasure, she allowed me to press her naked body to my breast, not seeing, or pretending not to see, the acuteness of my enjoyment. She then said,

"If such delights as these were allowed friendship, I should say it is better than love; for I have never experienced so great pleasure as when you put your lips to my bosom. Let me do the same to you."

"I wish you could, but you will find nothing there."

"Never mind; it will amuse us."

After she had fulfilled her desire, we spent a quarter of an hour in mutual embraces, and my excitement was more than I could bear.

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