I gave her such a gratuity that she must have wished me to keep late hours for the rest of my stay.
I proceeded to sound her about Leah, but she told me nothing but good. If she was to be believed, Leah was a good girl, always at work, loved by all, and fancy free. The maid could not have praised her better if she had been paid to do so.
In the morning Leah brought the chocolate and sat down on my bed, saying that we should have some fine foie gras, and that she should have all the better appetite for dinner as she had not taken any supper.
"Why didn't you take any supper?"
"I suppose it was because of your excellent Cyprus wine, to which my father has taken a great liking."
"Ah! he like it? We will give him some."
Leah was in a state of undress as before, and the sight of her half- covered spheres drove me to distraction.
"Are you not aware that you have a beautiful breast?" said I.
"I thought all young girls were just the same."
"Have you no suspicion that the sight is a very pleasant one for me?"
"If that be so, I am very glad, for I have nothing to be ashamed of, for a girl has no call to hide her throat any more than her face, unless she is in grand company."
As she was speaking, Leah looked at a golden heart transfixed with an arrow and set with small diamonds which served me as a shirt stud.
"Do you like the little heart?" said I.
"Very much. Is it pure gold?"
"Certainly, and that being so I think I may offer it to you."
So saying I took it off, but she thanked me politely, and said that a girl who gave nothing must take nothing.
"Take it; I will never ask any favour of you."
"But I should be indebted to you, and that's the reason why I never take anything."
I saw that there was nothing to be done, or rather that it would be necessary to do too much to do anything, and that in any case the best plan would be to give her up.
I put aside all thoughts of violence, which would only anger her or make her laugh at me. I should either have been degraded, or rendered more amorous, and all for nothing. If she had taken offense she would not have come to see me any more, and I should have had nought to complain of. In fine I made up my mind to restrain myself, and indulge no more in amorous talk.
We dined very pleasantly together. The servant brought in some shell- fish, which are forbidden by the Mosaic Law. While the maid was in the room I asked Leah to take some, and she refused indignantly; but directly the girl was gone she took some of her own accord and ate them eagerly, assuring me that it was the first time she had had the pleasure of tasting shellfish.
"This girl," I said to myself, "who breaks the law of her religion with such levity, who likes pleasure and does not conceal it, this is the girl who wants to make me believe that she is insensible to the pleasures of love; that's impossible, though she may not love me. She must have some secret means of satisfying her passions, which in my opinion are very violent. We will see what can be done this evening with the help of a bottle of good Muscat."
However, when the evening came, she said she could not drink or eat anything, as a meal always prevented her sleeping.
The next day she brought me my chocolate, but her beautiful breast was covered with a white kerchief. She sat down on the bed as usual, and I observed in a melancholy manner that she had only covered her breast because I had said I took a pleasure in seeing it.
She replied that she had not thought of anything, and had only put on her kerchief because she had had no time to fasten her stays.
"You are whole right," I said, smilingly, "for if I were to see the whole breast I might not think it beautiful."
She gave no answer, and I finished my chocolate.
I recollected my collection of obscene pictures, and I begged Leah to give me the box, telling her that I would shew her some of the most beautiful breasts in the world.
"I shan't care to see them," said she; but she gave me the box, and sat down on my bed as before.