He sent her a cheque for twenty million reis. I was not aware of the small value of the coin, and was in an ecstasy; but Pauline laughed, and said it only came to two thousand pounds, which was a sufficient sum, however, to allow her to travel in the style of a duchess. The minister wanted her to come by sea, and all she had to do was to communicate with the Portuguese ambassador, who had orders to give her a passage on a Portuguese frigate which happened to be riding in an English port. Pauline would not hear of the voyage, or of applying to the ambassador, for she did not want anyone to think that she had been obliged to return. She was angry with the minister for having sent her a cheque, thinking that he must be aware that she had been in need, but I soon brought her to see reason on this point, telling her that it was a very thoughtful and delicate proceeding on the part of Oeiras, and that he had merely lent-her the money, and not given it to her.
Pauline was rich, and she was a high-minded woman. Her generosity may be estimated by her giving me her ring when she was in want, and she certainly never counted on my purse, though she may have felt sure that I would not abandon her. I am sure she believed me to be very rich, and my conduct was certainly calculated to favour that idea.
The day and even the night passed sadly. The next day Pauline addressed me as follows:
"We must part, dear friend, and try to forget one another, for my honour obliges me to become the wife of the count as soon as I arrive in Lisbon. The first fancy of my heart, which you have almost effaced, will regain all its old force when I see you no longer, and I am sure I shall love my husband, for he is a goodhearted, honest, and pleasant young man; that much I know from the few days we lived together.
"Now I have a favour to ask of you, which I am sure you will grant. Promise me never to come to Lisbon without my permission. I hope you will not seek to know my reasons; you would not, I am sure, come to trouble my peace, for if I sinned I should be unhappy, and you would not desire that for me. I have dreamed we have lived together as man and wife, and now we are parted I shall fancy myself a widow about to undertake another marriage."
I burst into tears, and pressing her to my breast promised I would do as she wished.
Pauline wrote to her aunt and Oeiras that she would be in Lisbon in October, and that they should have further news of her when she reached Spain. She had plenty of money, and bought a carriage and engaged a maid, and these arrangements took up her time during the last week she spent with me. I made her promise me to let Clairmont accompany her as far as Madrid. She was to send me back my faithful servant when she reached the Spanish capital, but fate had decreed that I should see his face no more.
The last few days were spent partly in sorrow and partly in delight. We looked at each other without speaking, and spoke without knowing what we said. We forgot to eat, and went to bed hoping that love and anguish would keep us awake, but our exhausted bodies fell into a heavy sleep, and when we awoke we could only sigh and kiss again.
Pauline allowed me to escort her as far as Calais, and we started on the 10th of August, only stopping at Dover to embark the carriage on the packet, and four hours afterwards we disembarked at Calais, and Pauline, considering her widowhood had begun, begged me to sleep in another room. She started on the 12th of August, preceded by my poor Clairmont, and resolved only to travel by daytime.
The analogy between my parting with Pauline and my parting with Henriette fifteen years before, was exceedingly striking; the two women were of very similar character, and both were equally beautiful, though their beauty was of a different kind. Thus I fell as madly in love with the second as with the first, both being equally intelligent. The fact that one had more talent and less prejudices than the other must have been an effect of their different educations.