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L162 



THE NOVELS, TALES AND LETTERS 



PROSPER MERIMEE 

EDITED BY PROF. GEORGE SAINTSBURY, M.A. 



COMPLETE IN EIGHT VOLUMES 



THE 



DOUBLE MISTAKE 

SOULS IN PURGATORY 
THE VENUS OF ILLE 



Translated by 

WILLIAM M. ARNOLD 

OLIVE EDWARDS PALMER AKD 

EMILY MARY WALLER 

With Illustrations by 

GUSTAVE FRAIPONT, A. BRAMTOT 
AND J. J. ARANDA 




NEW YORK PHILADELPHIA 

FRANK S. HOLBY 
MCMVI 



COPYRIGHT, 1905 
BT FRANK S. HOLBY 



A II rights reserved 



845 M 54 

TS 

v.4 



CONTENTS 

PAGI 

THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 1 

SOULS IN PURGATORY 115 

THE VENUS OF ILLE 223 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

VOLUME IV. 

Senor Pedro de Ojeda," cried Don Juan, kill me 

if you will, I shall not fight." (p. 208 ) Frontispiece 
Etched by Le Rat from a painting by J. J. Aranda 

PACE 

She had recognized Darcy. She was expecting him . 7t> 
An etching from a drawing by G. Fraipont 

With some difficulty he took off his diamond ring, and 
I went nearer to take it, but he forestalled me, ran 
to the Venus, slipped the ring on its fourth finger 257 
Etched by Toussiant from a painting by Bramtot 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

Zagala, mas que las flores blanca, rubia y qjos verdes, 

Si piensas seguir amores pierdete bien, pues te pierdes ! * 



JULIE DE CHAVERNY had been mar- 
ried for about six years, and for nearly 
five years and six months she had had her 
eyes open not only to the impossibility of loving 
her husband, but also to the difficulty of merely 
giving him a place in her esteem. 

This husband was not boorish. He was neither 
stupid nor foolish. Still there may have been, 
perhaps, a mingling of all those qualities in him. 
If she had recalled the past she might have re- 
membered that once upon a time she had found 
him pleasant: but now he bored her. Every- 
thing about him seemed to her repulsive. His 
way of eating, of drinking coffee, of speaking, 
gave her nervous shudders. They seldom met or 
talked together except at table; but they dined 
together several times a week and that was suffi- 
cient to keep Julie's aversion alive. 

* Little one, fairer than flowers, rosy with eyes of green, if you 
think to follow love you are lost, alas ! you are wholly lost ! 

3 



4 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

As for Chaverny, he was rather a fine-looking 
man, a little too stout for his age, clean-skinned 
and ruddy, not by nature given to those vague 
uneasinesses which often torture the imaginative. 
He piously believed that his wife felt for him a 
calm affection (he was too much of a philosopher 
to believe that he was loved as upon the first day 
of his married life), and this belief caused him 
neither pain nor pleasure; if the contrary had 
been true, he would have made the best of it in 
the same way. He had served for some years in a 
cavalry regiment, but falling heir to considerable 
fortune he took a dislike to a soldier's life, retired 
from the army and married. It may seem a 
somewhat difficult undertaking to try to explain 
the marriage of two people who had not a single 
idea in common. On the one hand, grandparents 
and officious friends, who, like Phrosine, would 
marry the Venetian Republic to the Grand Turk, 
had busied themselves in arranging matters. On 
the other hand Chaverny belonged to a good 
family ; in those days he was not too stout ; he was 
merry and he was, in the full acceptation of the 
term, what is called " a good fellow." Julie was 
always glad to see him come to her mother's house 
because he made her laugh with his tales of the 
army, tales in a vein of humorous wit which was 
not always of the most unquestionable taste. She 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 5 

thought him very pleasant because he danced 
with her at all the balls, and there was never a 
lack of good reasons to persuade Julie's mother 
to stay late, to go to the theatre, or to the Bois 
de Boulogne. Finally Julie thought him a hero 
because he had fought two or three duels with 
honour. But what completed the triumph of 
Chaverny was his description of a certain car- 
riage which he would have built after a plan of 
his own, and in which he himself would take 
Julie for a drive after she had consented to give 
him her hand. 

At the end of several months of married life 
all Chaverny's good qualities had greatly de- 
creased in merit. He no longer danced with his 
wife needless to say. His amusing stories had 
all been told three or four times. Now he com- 
plained that balls were kept up far too long. 
He yawned at the theatre and objected to the 
custom of dressing for dinner as being a perfect 
nuisance. His chief fault was laziness. If he 
made an effort to make himself pleasing to his 
wife he might perhaps have succeeded; but any 
kind of restraint seemed to him perfect torture; 
a view which he held in common with nearly all 
stout people. Society bored him because in it we 
are cordially received only in proportion as we 
exert ourselves to be agreeable. Coarse pleasures 



6 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

seemed to him decidedly preferable to all more 
refined amusements; for to make himself promi- 
nent among persons of his own taste the only 
trouble he had to- take was to shout louder than 
the others, which, for one with lungs as vigorous 
as his, was not very difficult. Moreover he prided 
himself on drinking more champagne than an 
ordinary man, and took his horse easily over a 
four-bar fence. As a consequence, he enjoyed 
a legitimately acquired esteem among those be- 
ings who are so hard to define, whom we call 
" young people," and who throng our boulevards 
about five in the afternoon. Hunting parties, 
country expeditions, races, bachelor dinners, 
bachelor suppers he sought out eagerly. Twenty 
times a day he said that he was the happiest of 
men, and every time that Julie heard him she cast 
her eyes upward, and her little mouth took on an 
indescribable expression of disdain. 

Beautiful, young and married to a man who 
was uncongenial, she would naturally be sur- 
rounded by interested homage. But, in addition 
to the protection of her mother a most prudent 
woman her own pride (which was her great 
failing) had up to that time defended her against 
the seductions of the world. Moreover the dis- 
appointment following her marriage, by giving 
ber a certain. kind of experience, had made it 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 7 

hard for her to grow enthusiastic over anything. 
She was proud of seeing herself pitied in society, 
and quoted as a model of resignation. After all, 
she was nearly happy, for she was in love with no 
one, and her husband kft her entirely free. Her 
coquetry (and it must be confessed that she 
rather liked to show that her husband did not 
know what a treasure he possessed), her co- 
quetry, instinctive, as that of a child, accorded 
very well with a certain disdainful reserve which 
was not prudery. She had the art of being pleas- 
ant to every one, bat to every one without dis- 
tinction. Scandal could not find the slightest 
trifle with which to reproach her. 



n 

The husband and wife had been dining at the 
house of Madame de Lussan. Julie's mother, who 
was about to leave for Nice. Chaverny. who was 
always bored to death at his mother-in-law's, had 
been obliged to spend the evening there in spite 
of his desire to join his friends on the boulevard. 
After dinner he settled himself on a comfortable 
sofa and passed two hours without uttering a 
syllable. The reason was simple. He was sleep- 
ing, decorously enough, seated, with his head 



8 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

bent to one side, as if he were following the con- 
versation with interest; he afterwards awoke and 
made some remark. 

Then he had been obliged to take a hand at 
whist, a game which he detested because it re- 
quires a certain amount of application. All of 
which had kept him rather late. It had just 
struck eleven. Chaverny had no engagement for 
the evening he really did not know what to do. 
While he was in this state of perplexity his car- 
riage was announced. If he returned to the 
house he would have to take his wife home. The 
prospect of a twenty minutes' tete-a-tete with his 
wife was enough to frighten him; but he had no 
cigars in his pocket and he was dying to open a 
box which he had received from Havre just 
as he was starting out for dinner. So he re- 
signed himself to his fate. 

As he was wrapping his wife up in her shawl 
he could not restrain a smile as he caught in a 
mirror a reflection of himself showing the little 
attentions of a husband who has been married 
for a week. He also looked at his wife, whom he 
had scarcely noticed. That evening she seemed 
to him prettier than usual ; so he spent some little 
time wrapping the shawl about her shoulders. 
Julie was as much put out as he at the prospect 
of the conjugal tete-a-tete that was in store for 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 9 

them. Involuntarily her mouth drew itself down 
into a little pout, and her arched brows drew to- 
gether. All of which gave her an air of such 
charming grace that even a husband could not 
remain unmoved. Their eyes met in the mirror 
during the operation of which I have just been 
speaking. Both were greatly embarrassed. To 
hide his confusion Chaverny, with a smile, kissed 
the hand which his wife raised to arrange her 
shawl. 

" How they love each other," said Madame de 
Lussan to herself, noticing neither the cold dis- 
dain of the wife nor the indifferent air of the 
husband. 

When they were both seated in their carriage, 
so close that they almost touched each other, they 
remained for some time without speaking. 
Chaverny was well aware that it would be very 
suitable to say something, but nothing occurred 
to him. Julie, on the other hand, maintained a 
silence that drove him to despair. He yawned 
three or four times, until he was ashamed of it 
himself, and the last time he felt called upon to 
apologise to his wife. 

" It was a long evening," he added, by way 
of excuse. 

Julie saw in this sentence merely a wish to 
criticise the evenings at her mother's and to say 



10 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

something disagreeable. For some time past she 
had been in the habit of avoiding any discussion 
with her husband; so she continued to maintain 
her silence. 

Chaverny, who that evening felt like talking 
in spite of himself, continued, after a couple of 
minutes : 

"I had a good dinner to-day; but I really 
must say that your mother's champagne is too 
sweet." 

"I beg your pardon?" said Julie, turning 
her head toward him with a very nonchalant air, 
and pretending that she had heard nothing. 

" I was saying that your mother's champagne 
is too sweet. I forgot to tell her so. Really it 
is most astonishing, but people imagine that it is 
easy to select champagne. Well! Nothing could 
be more difficult. To twenty kinds of bad cham- 
pagne there is only one kind that is good." 

" Ah! " and Julie, after having accorded this 
interjection to courtesy, turned away her head 
and began looking out of the carriage windows. 
Chaverny leaned back and placed his feet on the 
cushion in the front of the carriage, a little morti- 
fied that his wife should show herself so insensi- 
ble to all the trouble which he was taking to open 
up a conversation. 

However, after having yawned two or three 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 11 

times more, he continued, drawing nearer to 
Julie: 

" That dress you have on is wonderfully be- 
coming, Julie. Where did you get it? " 

" Doubtless he wishes to buy one like it for his 
mistress," thought Julie. " At Burty's," she an- 
swered, with a slight smile. 

' Why are you laughing? " asked Chaverny, 
taking his feet off the cushion, and drawing still 
nearer. At the same time he took one of her 
sleeves and began to touch it somewhat after the 
manner of Tartufe. 

" I am laughing," said Julie, " because you 
noticed my gown. Be careful, you are rumpling 
my sleeves," and she drew away her sleeve out 
of Chaverny's hand. 

" I assure you I pay particular attention to 
your gowns, and I have the greatest admiration 
for your taste. No, my word of honour, I was 
speaking about it the other day to a woman 
who is always badly dressed although she 
spends a shocking amount on clothes. She would 
ruin ... I was telling her ... I was 
quoting you . . ." 

Julie was enjoying his embarrassment, and 
did not make any effort to relieve it by inter- 
rupting him. 

" Your horses are really wretched. They 



12 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

don't go at all. I shall have to change them for 
you," said Chaverny, completely disconcerted. 

During the rest of the drive the conversation 
was not any more animated; both stopped short 
at simple replies. 

At last they reached Rue . . . and 
separated, after bidding each other good-night. 

Julie began to undress, and her maid had just 
left the room on some errand or other when the 
door of her bedroom opened somewhat suddenly 
and Chaverny entered. Julie hurriedly covered 
her shoulders. 

" Excuse me," said he, " I should like to have 
the latest volume of Scott to read myself asleep. 
. . . It is ' Quentin Durward,' isn't it? " 

" It must be in your room," answered Julie ; 
" there are no books here." 

Chaverny looked at his wife in her semi- 
disorder which is so becoming to beauty. She 
seemed to him " piquant," to use an expression 
which I detest. " She is really a most beautiful 
woman," he thought. He remained standing be- 
fore her, without moving, his candlestick in his 
hand. Julie standing in front of him crumpled 
her cap and seemed to wait impatiently until he 
would leave her alone. 

'* The deuce take it, but you are charming 
this evening!" cried Chaverny, taking a step 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 13 

forward, and setting down his candle. " How 
I like to see women with their hair in disorder ! " 
And as he spoke he took in one hand the long 
tresses which covered Julie's shoulders, and 
slipped his arm almost tenderly around her waist. 

" Good Heavens ! How horribly you smell 
of tobacco!" cried Julie, turning away. "Let 
go of my hair, you will get it simply saturated 
with the odour, and I shall never be able to get 
myself rid of it." 

"Bah! You say that at random because you 
know that I smoke sometimes. Don't be so 
stand-offish, little wife." 

And she could not free herself from his arms 
quickly enough to avoid a kiss which he imprinted 
on her shoulder. 

Fortunately for Julie her maid returned; for 
there is nothing that a woman finds more odious 
than those caresses which it is almost as ridicu- 
lous to refuse as to accept. 

"Marie," said Madame de Chaverny, "the 
bodice of my blue gown is far too long. I saw 
Madame de Begy to-day, and her clothes are al- 
ways in perfect taste; her bodice was certainly 
two good fingers shorter than mine. Here, take 
it in with pins, to try the effect." 

Whereupon there arose between the mistress 
and maid a most interesting dialogue upon the 



14 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

exact dimensions befitting a bodice. Julie knew 
that Chaverny hated nothing so much as to hear 
fashions discussed, and that she was going to put 
him to flight. As a matter of fact, after five 
minutes of pacing up and down, Chaverny, see- 
ing that Julie was completely taken up with her 
bodice, yawned inordinately, took up his candle 
again, and went out, this time not to return. 

Ill 

Commandant Perrin was seated by a little 
table reading attentively. His carefully brushed 
frock-coat, his police-force cap, and especially, 
the inflexible stiffness of his shoulders bespoke 
the old soldier. Everything in his room was very 
neat but exceedingly simple. An inkwell and 
two quills ready for use lay on his table beside a 
quire of note-paper, of which he had not used a 
single sheet in at least a year. If Commandant 
Perrin did not write, he read a great deal. At 
that moment he was perusing the " Lettres 
Personnes "and smoking his pipe with the amber 
mouthpiece, and these two occupations so com- 
pletely absorbed his attention that he did not at 
first notice the entrance of Commandant de 
Chateaufort. The latter was a young officer 
from his regiment, with a charming countenance, 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 15 

exceedingly agreeable, somewhat vain, and under 
the patronage of the minister of war in a word, 
the opposite of Commandant Pen-in in almost 
every respect. Still they were friends, I know 
not why, and saw each other every day. 

Chateauf ort clapped Commandant Perrin on 
the shoulder. The latter turned his head without 
removing his pipe. His first expression was one 
of pleasure at seeing his friend; the second of 
regret, worthy man! because he was going to be 
obliged to leave his book ; the third indicated that 
his mind was made up and that he was going to 
do the honours of his apartment to the best of 
his ability. He fumbled in his pocket to find the 
key of the cupboard in which was shut up the 
precious box of cigars, which the Commandant 
did not smoke himself, but which he gave one at 
a time to his friend; but Chateauf ort, who had 
seen him make the same gesture a hundred times, 
cried: " Stop, Papa Perrin, keep your cigars, I 
have one about me! " Then drawing out of an 
elegant case a cinnamon-coloured cigar beauti- 
fully slender at both ends, he lighted it, stretched 
himself out on a little sofa which Perrin never 
used, with his head on a pillow and his feet on 
the other arm. Chateaufort began by veiling 
himself in a cloud of smoke, while with closed 
eyes, he seemed to meditate profoundly on what 



16 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

he had to say. His face was beaming with joy, 
and he seemed to have great difficulty in keeping 
locked in his breast the secret of a joy which he 
was burning to have guessed. Commandant 
Pen-in, having placed his chair in front of the 
sofa, smoked for some time without saying any- 
thing; then as Chateaufort was in no hurry to 
speak, he said to him : 

"How is Ourika?" 

He referred to a black mare which Chateau- 
fort had somewhat overdriven, and which was 
threatened with becoming broken-winded. 

' Very well," said Chateaufort, who had not 
listened to the question. " Perrin," he cried, 
stretching out toward him the leg which was 
resting on the arm of the sofa, " do you know 
that you are lucky to have me for a friend? " 

The old Commandant tried to think of the 
advantages he had gained from his acquaintance 
with Chateaufort, but nothing occurred to him 
except the gift of a few books of Kanaster, and 
a few days enforced confinement to which he 
had been obliged to submit for having been in- 
volved in a duel in which Chateaufort had played 
a leading part. His friend bestowed upon him, 
it is true, numerous marks of confidence. 
Chateaufort always applied to him when he 
wished a substitute on duty, or a second. 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 17 

Chateauf ort did not leave him much time for 
reflection, and handed him a note written on 
satin-finished English paper, in a pretty angular 
hand. Commandant Perrin made a grimace 
which with him was equivalent to a smile. He 
had often seen these satin-finished letters covered 
with dainty writing, addressed to his friend. 

" Here," said the latter, " take it and read 
it. You owe all this to me" 

Perrin read as follows : 

' We shall be very happy if you will dine 
with us. M. de Chaverny would have gone to 
ask you in person, but he was obliged to go to a 
hunt. I do not know the address of M. le Com- 
mandant Perrin, and so can not write to ask him 
to accompany you. You have made me eager to 
know him, and I shall be doubly indebted to you 
if you can bring him with you. 

" JULIE DE CHAVERNY." 

" P. S. My warmest thanks for the music 
you were so good as to copy for me. It is de- 
lightful, and you always show such good taste. 
You have given up coming to our Thursday re- 
ceptions; and yet you know what pleasure it 
gives us all to see you." 

" A pretty writing, but very fine," said Per- 
rin as he finished. " But the deuce ! What a nui- 
sance her dinner is; for I shall have to get into 



18 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

silk stockings, and there will be no smoking after 
dinner! " 

" A terrible misfortune surely, to be obliged 
to prefer the prettiest woman in Paris to a pipe. 
What I admire most of all, however, is your 
gratitude. You don't thank me at all for this 
mark of favour which you owe to me." 

' Thank you ! But I don't owe you the pleas- 
ure of being asked to this dinner if there is any 
pleasure about it." 

"To whom, then?" 

;< To Chaverny, who was captain in our regi- 
ment. He must have said to his wife, ' Ask Per- 
rin, he is a good old chap ! ' How can you sup- 
pose that a pretty woman whom I have seen only 
once would think of inviting an old herring 
like me?" 

Chateau fort smiled as he looked at himself 
in the very narrow mirror which adorned the 
Commandant's wall. 

' You show no insight at all to-day, Papa 
Perrin. Just read this note over again and you 
may find something that you had not noticed 
before." 

The Commandant read and re-read the note, 
but he could see nothing. 

" What, you old dragon," cried Chateau- 
fort, " you don't see that she is inviting you to 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 19 

please me, just to show me that she makes much 
of my friends, that she wishes to give me a proof 
of ... ?" 

" Of what? " interrupted Perrin. 

" Of . . . you know very well what." 

" That she loves you? " asked the Com- 
mandant, with a doubtful air. 

Chateaufort whistled without answering. 

" She has told you so? " 

" But . . . it is evident ... I should 
say." 

"What? In this letter? " 

" Of course." 

Now came Perrin's turn to whistle. His 
whistle was as significant as the famous Lilli- 
bulero of my Uncle Toby. 

' What ! " cried Chateaufort, snatching the 
letter out of Perrin's hands, " you don't see how 
much . . . tenderness . . . yes, tender- 
ness there is in it? What have you to say to this: 
' My Dear Sir? ' Notice that in the other note 
which she wrote me she wrote simply, ' Sir,' noth- 
ing more. ' I shall be doubly indebted,' that is 
proof positive. And do you see, a word has been 
eif aced just after it, it is a thousand; she wished 
to write ' a thousand times my love,' but she did 
not dare ; * a thousand good wishes ' was not 
enough. . . . She did not finish the note ! Oh, 



20 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

my good old chap, do you think that a woman of 
good family, like Madame de Chaverny, would 
throw herself at the head of your humble servant 
as if she were a woman of the streets? I tell you 
her letter is charming, and one would be blind 
not to feel the passion which it breathes. And 
the reproaches at the end because I missed a sin- 
gle Thursday, what have you to say to that? " 

"Poor little woman!" cried Pen-in, "don't 
grow sentimental over this rascal, or you will 
soon repent it." 

Chateau fort paid no attention to his friend's 
apostrophe; but assuming a lower, wheedling 
tone: 

" Do you know, old fellow," he said, " you 
can do me a great service." 

"How?" 

' You must help me in this matter. I know 
that her husband is not at all good to her he is 
a beast and makes her very unhappy. You used 
to know him, Perrin; just tell his wife that he is 
a brutal fellow, and that he has the worst possible 
reputation. . . ." 

"Oh!" 

" A libertine. . . . You know it. He had 
mistresses when he was in the army; and what 
kind of mistresses ! Tell all that to his wife." 

"Oh! How could I say all that? It is dan- 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 21 

gerous to put your hand between the tree and the 
bark." 

" Oh, good heavens! There is a way of say- 
ing anything. But especially, be sure to speak 
well of me." 

' That, now, is something easier. Still . . ." 

" Not so easy. Now listen to me, for if I let 
you have your say, you would make a eulogy of 
me, which would not in the least help on my 
plans. Tell her that for some time past you have 
noticed that I am sad, that I have become silent, 
and have lost my appetite . . ." 

'The very dickens!" cried Perrin, with a 
great burst of laughter, which made his pipe 
twist about absurdly; " I could never in the world 
look Madame de Chaverny in the face and tell 
her that. Only last evening I was almost obliged 
to carry you away from the dinner the fellows 
gave us." 

" Maybe. But there is no use in telling her 
about that. It is well that she should know that 
I am in love with her; and novelists have per- 
suaded women that a man who eats and drinks 
can not be in love." 

" For my own part, I don't know of any- 
thing that makes me stop eating or drinking." 

" Well, my dear Perrin," said Chateaufort, 
putting on his hat and arranging his curls, 



22 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

" that's agreed, isn't it? Next Thursday I am 
to call for you ; silk stockings and buckled shoes, 
correct evening dress! And above all don't for- 
get to say shocking things about the husband and 
very nice things about me." 

He went out twirling his cane gracefully and 
leaving Commandant Perrin much taken up with 
the invitation which he had just received, and 
still more concerned as he thought of the silk 
stockings, buckled shoes, and the strict evening 
dress. 

IV 

The fact that several of Madame de Cha- 
verny's guests had begged off, put a certain dam- 
per on the gaiety of the evening. Chateaufort, 
who sat next to Julie, showed himself exceedingly 
attentive in supplying her wants, and was gallant 
and agreeable as usual. As for Chaverny, having 
taken a long ride during the day, he had a most 
prodigious appetite. So he ate and drank in a 
way that would have whetted the appetite of the 
most ill. Commandant Perrin kept him com- 
pany, often filling his glass and laughing till the 
glass jingled whenever his host's coarse gaiety 
provoked him to laughter. Chaverny, finding 
himself in the company of soldiers once more, 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 23 

hail regained immediately the good humour and 
manners of his soldiering days. Moreover, he had 
never shown great delicacy of feeling in his selec- 
tion of jokes. His wife assumed an air of cold 
disdain at each fresh incongruous sally; then she 
turned toward Chateaufort, and began an aside 
with him, so that she would seem not to hear a 
conversation which was unspeakably disagreea- 
ble to her. 

Here is a sample of the urbanity of this 
model husband. Toward the end of the dinner, 
conversation happened to turn upon the opera, 
and the relative merits of several ballet dancers 
was discussed, and, among others, Mademoiselle 
was greatly praised. Whereupon Chateau- 
fort even outdid the others, praising especially 
her grace, her figure, and her modest air. 

Perrin, whom Chateaufort had taken to the 
opera a few days before, and who had gone only 
the once, remembered mademoiselle very well. 

" Is she," he asked, " the little one in pink, 
who frisks about like a lamb? the one whose legs 
you talked about so much, Chateaufort? " 

"Ah! You were talking about her legs?" 
cried Chaverny ; " but don't you know if you talk 
too much about them you will get into trouble 

with your general, the Due de ? Have a 

care, my friend! " 



24 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

" But I do not suppose that he is so jealous 
that he would forbid looking at them through an 
opera-glass." 

" Quite the contrary, for he is as proud of 
them as if he himself had discovered them. 
What have you to say about them, Command- 
ant Perrin? " 

" I don't know much about any but horses' 
legs," answered the old soldier modestly. 

' They are really stunning," continued Cha- 
verny, " and there are none finer in Paris except 
those . . ." He stopped and began to twirl 
his moustache with a knowing air, and looked at 
his wife, who blushed to the very roots of her 
hair. 

"Except those of Mademoiselle D ?" 

interposed Chateau fort, naming another ballet 
girl. 

" No ! " answered Chaverny, with the tragic 
voice of a Hamlet; " but look at my wife" 

Julie became purple with indignation. She 
flashed upon her husband a glance quick as light- 
ning, in which were expressed scorn and fury. 
Then, making an effort to control herself, she 
turned sharply toward Chateaufort. 

' We must," she said in a voice that trembled 
slightly, " study the duet from Maometto. It 
must exactly suit your voice." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 25 

Chaverny was not easily discountenanced. 
" Chateaufort," he continued, " do you know 
that I wished to have a cast taken of the legs I 
am telling you about. But I was never allowed 
to do it." 

Chateaufort, who felt a keen joy at hearing 
this impertinent revelation, pretended to hear 
nothing and talked about Maometta with 
Madame de Chaverny. 

; ' The person of whom I speak," continued 
the pitiless husband, " was usually horrified when 
her superiority in this direction was acknowl- 
edged, but in reality she was not at all vexed. 
Do you know she used to have her measure taken 
by the man from whom she buys her stockings 
my dear, don't be vexed the woman from whom 
she buys her stockings, I mean to say. And 
when I was at Brussels I took with me three 
pages of her writing with the most detailed direc- 
tions for buying stockings." 

But he talked on in vain, Julie was deter- 
mined to hear nothing. She talked to Chateau- 
fort with assumed gaiety, and her charming smile 
tried to convince him that she was listening to 
him alone. Chateaufort, for his part, seemed to 
be quite absorbed by the discussion of Maometto ; 
but he did not miss one of Chaverny's coarse 
jokes. 



26 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

They had some music after dinner, and 
Madame de Chaverny sang at the piano with 
Chateau fort. Chaverny disappeared the mo- 
ment the piano was opened. Several callers came 
in, but did not prevent Chateaufort having fre- 
quent little asides with Julie. As they were leav- 
ing he assured Perrin that the evening had not 
been lost, and this his affairs were moving on 
satisfactorily. 

To Perrin it seemed perfectly natural that a 
husband should talk of his wife's legs; so when 
he was alone in the street with Chateaufort he 
said to him in moved tones: 

" How can you have the heart to disturb that 
nice home? He is so fond of his little wife! " 



For a month Chaverny had been absorbed by 
the idea of becoming a gentleman-in-waiting. 

It may seem surprising that a stout, lazy man, 
very fond of taking his ease, should be stirred by 
an ambitious thought ; but he had no lack of good 
reasons to justify himself. " First," he told his 
friends, " I spend a great deal of money on the 
theatre boxes which I give to women. When I 
have a position at Court I shall have as many 
boxes as I wish, without being put to a penny's 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 27 

expense. And then, you know all that goes 
along with boxes. Besides, I am very fond of 
hunting and I shall be able to ride to the royal 
hunts. Moreover, now that I have no longer a 
uniform, I do not know how I should dress to go 
to balls with my wife. I do not like the dress of 
a marquis ; but the attire of a gentleman-in-wait- 
ing would suit me very well." Consequently he 
canvassed ; he would have liked his wife to do the 
same, but she obstinately refused, although she 
had several very influential friends. As he had 
several times been of some slight service to the 

Due de H , who had at that time a good deal 

of influence at Court, he counted much upon his 
protection. His friend Chateaufort, who also 
had influential friends, worked for him with a 
zeal and devotion such as you may perchance 
meet with if you are the husband of a pretty 
woman. 

One incident did much to help forward 
Chaverny's schemes, although it may have had 
for him dire enough consequences. Madame 
de Chaverny had procured, not without consid- 
erable difficulty, a box at the opera for a certain 
first night. This box had seats for six. Her 
husband, strange to say, and only after violently 
protesting, had consented to go with her. Now 
Julie wished to invite Chateaufort, and feeling 



28 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

that she could not go alone with him to the opera 
she had compelled her husband to go too. 

Directly after the first act Chaverny went 
out, leaving his wife alone with his friend. At 
first they maintained a somewhat constrained 
silence ; Julie, because for some time past, she had 
had a certain feeling of embarrassment when- 
ever she found herself alone with Chateau fort; 
Chateaufort, because he had his plans and he 
had deemed it fitting to seem moved. Casting a 
sidelong glance over the theatre he saw with 
pleasure that the glasses of several of his friends 
were directed toward the box. He felt a lively 
satisfaction as he thought that some of his 
friends were envying his good fortune, and that, 
judging from appearances, they would think it 
much greater than it really was. 

Julie, after having several times sniffed at 
her smelling salts and her bouquet, spoke of the 
heat, the opera, and the gowns before them. 
Chateaufort listened with an air of abstraction, 
sighed, moved about on his chair, looked at Julie 
and sighed again. Julie was beginning to grow 
uneasy. Suddenly he cried: 

" How I regret that the days of chivalry are 
past!" 

"The days of chivalry! Why, tell me?" 
asked Julie. " Doubtless because the costume 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 29 

of a knight of the Middle Ages would be very; 
becoming to you? " 

' You think me a perfect coxcomb," he said 
in a tone of mingled bitterness and sadness. 
" No, I regret that those days are past . . . 
because a man who felt his heart beating with- 
in him could . . . aspire ... to much. 
As a matter of fact all you needed to do was to 
cleave through a giant to win a lady's favour. 
. . . Look, you see that great fellow in the 
balcony? I wish that you would command me to 
go and demand his moustache from him, in order 
that I might then have permission to say three 
little words to you without vexing you." 

' What nonsense," cried Julie, blushing 
crimson, for she at once guessed those three little 
words. " But do look at Madame de Sainte 
Hermine, decolletee at her age, and in a ball 
gown! " 

" I see only one thing, and that is that you 
are not willing to listen to me, and I have noticed 
it for a long time. . . . You wish it, so I keep 
silence; but . . ." he added in a low voice, 
and heaving a sigh, " you understood what I 
meant? " 

" Indeed I did not," answered Julie sharply. 
" But where can my husband have gone? " 

Very fortunately some one came into their 



30 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

box and so relieved the embarrassment of the 
situation. Chateaufort did not open his lips. 
He was pale and seemed deeply moved. When 
their caller departed he made some indifferent 
remarks about the opera. There were long inter- 
vals of silence between them. 

The second act was just going to begin when 
the door of their box opened, and Chaverny ap- 
peared, bringing with him a pretty woman ele- 
gantly gowned, wearing magnificent pink feath- 
ers in her hair. He was followed by the Due 
deH . 

" My dear," he said to his wife, " I found my 
friends in a wretched box over at one side, where 
they couldn't see the stage decorations at all. 
They have been so good as to accept a place in 
our box." 

Julie bowed coldly. She did not care for the 

Due de H . The Duke and the lady with 

the pink feathers were profuse in their apolo- 
gies and their expressions of fear that they were 
disturbing her. They all arose, and each urged 
the others to take the best places. In the confu- 
sion which followed Chateaufort leaned over 
Julie and whispered to her, very softly, and very 
quickly : 

" In Heaven's name, don't sit in the front 
row." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 31 

Julie was much astonished and kept her seat. 
When all were seated again she turned toward 
Chateau fort and asked him by a somewhat severe 
glance what this enigma meant. He was sitting 
with his head erect, and his lips compressed, 
while his whole attitude showed that he was 
deeply vexed. Julie put an unfavourable enough 
construction upon Chateaufort's advice. She 
thought that he wished to hold a whispered con- 
versation with her during the evening, and to 
continue his strange speeches; which would be 
impossible if she remained in the front row. 
When she looked over the house she noticed that 
several women were directing their glasses 
toward her box, but that is what always happens 
when a new face appears. People were whisper- 
ing and smiling, but what was there so extraordi- 
nary in that? The opera is as gossipy as a little 
village. 

The unknown lady leaned over Julie's bou- 
quet and said with a radiant smile: 

' That's a superb bouquet you have. I am 
sure it must have been very dear at this time of 
year. Ten francs at least; but I suppose it was 
given to you. No doubt it was a present; ladies 
never buy their own bouquets." 

Julie opened her eyes in astonishment, not 
knowing with what country guest she had to do. 



32 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

" Duke," said the lady, with a languishing 
air, " you didn't give me a bouquet." 

Chaverny hastened toward the door. The 
Duke tried to stop him and the lady too. She no 
longer cared to have a bouquet. Julie exchanged 
a glance with Chateaufort. It seemed to say, " I 
thank you, but it is too late." But even then she 
had not guessed the truth. 

During the whole evening the lady with the 
feathers drummed with her fingers, out of time, 
and indulged in the most absurd conversation 
about music. She asked Julie the cost of her 
dress, of her jewels, of her horses. Never had 
Julie had any experience of such manners. She 
concluded that the unknown woman must be a 
relative of the Duke's who had recently come 
from Lower Brittany. When Chaverny at last 
came back with an immense bouquet, much more 
beautiful than that which he had given his wife, 
there was an outburst of thanks, admiration and 
endless excuses. 

" M. de Chaverny, I am not ungrateful; to 
prove it, ' remind me to promise you something,' 
as Potier said. Truly, I will embroider you a 
purse, when I have finished the one I promised 
to the Duke." 

At last the opera finished, to the great satis- 
faction of Julie, who felt ill at ease beside her 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 33 

singular neighbour. The Duke gave her his 
arm, Chaverny offered his to the other lady. 
Chateaufort, sombre and ill-pleased looking, 
walked behind Julie, bowing stiffly to the ac- 
quaintances whom he met on the stairway. 

Some women passed close by them. Julie 
knew them by sight. A young man was talking 
to them and grinning ; they immediately looked at 
Chaverny and his wife with an air of keen curi- 
osity and one of them cried: "Is it possible? " 

The Duke's carriage drove up. He bowed 
to Madame de Chaverny, and repeated with 
great warmth his thanks for her kindness. In 
the meantime Chaverny wished to conduct the 
unknown lady to the door of the Duke's carriage, 
and Julie and Chateaufort remained alone for a 
moment. 

" Who can that woman be? " Julie asked. 

" I should not tell you, . . . for it is really 
very extraordinary." 

" What do you mean? " 

" Besides, all the people who know you will 
know very well what to think of it. But Cha- 
verny! I should never have thought itl " 

" What is it then? In Heaven's name, tell me 
who is this woman." 

Chaverny was coming back, Chateaufort an- 
swered in a low voice : 



34 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

" Madame Melanie R , the mistress of 

theDucdeH ." 

" Good heavens," cried Julie, looking at 
Chateau fort with a stupefied air, " it can't be 
possible." 

Chateaufort shrugged his shoulders, and as 
he was taking her to her carriage he added: 

' That is just what those ladies said whom 
we met on the stairway. As for that other 
woman, she is a proper enough sort of woman in 
her way. She must be treated with care and con- 
sideration. She has even a husband." 

" My dear," said Chaverny joyously, " you 
don't need me to take you home. Good night ; I 
am going to the Duke's for supper." 

Julie made no answer. 

" Chateaufort," continued Chaverny, " do 
you care to come with me to the Duke's? There 
is an invitation for you. They have just told me 
they were interested in you. You made an im- 
pression, lucky dog." 

Chateaufort declined coolly with thanks. He 
bowed to Madame de Chaverny, who was gnaw- 
ing her handkerchief with rage when her carriage 
started away. 

" Ah, by the way, old fellow," said Chaverny, 
" at least you will take me in your carriage to the 
lady's door." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 35 

" With pleasure," answered Chateaufort 
gaily, " but, by the way, do you know that your 
wife understood before the evening was over by 
whom she was sitting? " 

" Impossible." 

" Oh, you can be sure of it, and it really 
wasn't right of you." 

" Nonsense, she is very good form; and then 
she isn't very generally known ; besides, the Duke 
takes her everywhere." 

VI 

Madame de Chaverny spent a very restless 
and excited night. The conduct of her husband 
at the opera added the last straw to the burden 
of her wrongs, and required, so it seemed to her, 
an immediate separation. She would have an 
explanation with him the next day, and would 
declare to him her intention of no longer living 
under the same roof with a man who had so 
cruelly compromised her. Still, the prospect of 
this interview frightened her. Never had she 
had a really serious conversation with her hus- 
band. Up to that time she had expressed her 
vexation merely by seasons of injured silence, to 
which Chaverny had paid no attention ; for, leav- 
ing his wife entirely free, it would never have 



36 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

occurred to him that she could refuse him the 
indulgence, which, if there were need of it, he 
would have shown her. She was especially afraid 
of weeping in the midst of this explanation, and 
of Chaverny's attributing these tears to wounded 
love. Then it was that she bitterly regretted the 
absence of her mother, who would have been able 
to give her good advice, or to take upon herself 
the task of pronouncing sentence of separation. 
All of these considerations threw her into a state 
of the greatest uncertainty, and when at last she 
fell asleep she had decided to go for advice to 
one of her friends who had known her since she 
was a tiny child and to rely upon this friend's 
prudence as to the course of conduct which she 
should pursue toward Chaverny. 

While giving way to her indignation she had 
not been able to prevent herself from comparing 
her husband and Chateau fort. The unmitigated 
coarseness of the former contrasted strongly with 
the delicacy of feeling of the latter and, while 
still reproaching herself for it, she felt a certain 
pleasure in recognising the fact that her lover 
was more solicitous for her reputation than her 
husband. This comparison of character led her 
on, in spite of herself, to consider the elegance of 
Chateau fort's manners and the very slightly dis- 
tinguished bearing of Chaverny. She pictured 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 37 

to herself her husband with his thick girth mak- 
ing unwieldy efforts to play the gallant with the 
mistress of the Due de H , whilst Chateau- 
fort, with even more deference than usual in his 
manner, seemed to be trying to preserve for her 
that respect which her husband might cause her 
to lose. At last, as in spite of ourselves, our 
imagination often carries us very far, she 
thought more than once that she might become a 
widow and that then, young, and rich, there 
would be no obstacle in the way of her rewarding 
the constant love of the young officer. One un- 
fortunate experiment proved nothing conclu- 
sively against marriage, and if Chateaufort's 
attachment was really deep. . . . But she ban- 
ished these thoughts at which she blushed, and 
she promised herself that she would be more re- 
served than ever in her relations with him. 

She awoke the next morning with a severe 
headache, and as little resolved, as the evening 
before, to have a decisive interview with her hus- 
band. She did not wish to go down to breakfast 
for fear she would meet him, so she had tea 
brought to her room and ordered her carriage, to 
go to call on Madame Lambert, this friend whom 
she had wished to consult. Madame Lambert 
was then at her country house at P . 

As she was breakfasting she opened a news- 



38 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

paper. The first item which met her eyes read 
as follows: " M. Darcy, first secretary of the 
French Embassy, Constantinople, reached Paris 
yesterday in charge of important despatches. 
The young diplomatist, directly after his arrival, 
had a long conference with His Excellency the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs." 

"Darcy in Paris," she cried; "how glad I 
shall be to see him! I wonder if he has grown 
very formal? The young diplomatist! Darcy 
a young diplomatist! " And she could not help 
laughing at the mere sound of the words. " A 
young diplomatist! " 

This Darcy used to come with marked regu- 
larity to Madame de Lussan's evenings; he was 
then an attache at the office of the Minister of 
Foreign Affairs. He had left Paris some time 
before Julie's marriage and she had not seen him 
since. All that she knew was that he travelled a 
great deal and that he had obtained rapid ad- 
vancement. 

She was still holding the paper in her hand 
when her husband entered. He seemed in the 
best of good -humour. As he appeared, she arose 
to go out, but as it would have been necessary to 
pass near him to go into her dressing-room, she 
remained standing in the same place, but so 
overcome with emotion that her hand which 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 39 

rested on the tea-table made the teacups dis- 
tinctly rattle. 

" My dear," said Chaverny, " I have come to 
say good-bye to you for a few days. I am going 

to hunt with the Due de H , and I must tell 

you that he was delighted by your hospitality 
yesterday evening. My little affair is getting 
on very well, and he has promised to recommend 
me to the King with all the warmth possible." 

Julie grew red and white in turn as she lis- 
tened to him. 

" The Due de H owes you that, at least," 

she said in a trembling voice. " He could not do 
less for one who so scandalously compromises his 
wife with the mistresses of his patron." 

Then, making a last and desperate effort, she 
crossed the room with a stately step and entered 
her dressing-room, slamming the door behind 
her. 

Chaverny stood for a moment in confusion 
and hanging his head. " How the dickens does 
she know that? " he thought. " But what mat- 
ter, after all? What is done is done." 

And as it was not his habit to dwell long upon 
a disagreeable thought, he whirled about, took a 
lump of sugar from the sugar-bowl, and with 
his mouth full called to the maid who was com- 
ing in: " Tell my wife that I will stay for four 



40 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

or five days with the Due de H , and that I 
will send her home some game." 

And he left the room with not another 
thought in his mind but of the pheasants and 
deer which he was going to kill. 



VII 

Julie set out for P with her anger for 

her husband considerably deepened, but this time 
it was on account of a rather slight cause. He 
had taken the new carriage to go to the chateau 

of the Due de H , and had left for his wife 

another, which, according to the coachman, was 
in need of repairs. 

As she was driving along, Madame de Cha- 
verny rehearsed the tale which she was to tell to 
Madame Lambert. In spite of her chagrin she 
was not insensible to the satisfaction which a 
well-told story gives to every narrator, and she 
prepared her tale, trying to think of a suitable 
introduction, and beginning sometimes in one 
way and sometimes in another. As a result she 
saw the delinquencies of her husband from every 
point of view and her resentment was propor- 
tionately increased. 

As every one knows, it is four leagues from 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 41 

Paris to P , and however long might be 

Madame de Chaverny's list of charges you can 
imagine that it is impossible, even with the most 
envenomed hate, to dwell upon the same idea for 
four successive leagues. To the violent anger, 
with which her husband's wrongs had inspired 
her, succeeded sweet and sad memories by that 
strange faculty of the human mind which often 
associates a smiling picture with a painful sensa- 
tion. 

The clear, sharp air, the bright sunshine, and 
unconcerned faces of the passers-by all helped to 
turn away her mind from these bitter thoughts. 
She remembered scenes of her childhood, and the 
days when she used to take trips into the country 
with young people of her own age. She saw 
again her convent friends ; she took part in their 
games, their meals. She tried to understand the 
mysterious confidences which she heard amongst 
the older girls, and she could not suppress a smile 
as she thought of a hundred little incidents which 
so early betrayed the instinct of coquetry in 
women. 

Then she pictured to herself her entrance into 
society. Once more she danced at the most bril- 
liant balls which she had seen the year after she 
left the convent. The other balls she had for- 
gotten. One grows blase so quickly; but those 



42 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

balls brought back to her the memory of her hus- 
band. " Fool that I was," she said to herself, 
" why couldn't I see from the very first that I 
should be unhappy with him? " All the ill-timed 
remarks and all the platitudes with which poor 
Chaverny used to regale her with such assurance, 
one month before their marriage, she now found 
noted and carefully registered in her memory. 
At the same time she could not help thinking of 
the many admirers whom her marriage had re- 
duced to despair, but who had nevertheless mar- 
ried or otherwise consoled themselves a few 
months later. " Should I have been happy with 
another? " she asked herself. " A - is decid- 
edly stupid, but he is not offensive. Amelie 
leads him around by the nose. One could 
always manage to live with a husband who was 
obedient. B - has mistresses, and his wife 
is good enough to be deeply grieved by it. 
Otherwise he is very attentive to her, and I 
should ask for nothing more. The Comte de 

C , who is always reading pamphlets, and 

who takes so much trouble that he may some 
day become a good depute, perhaps he would 
be a good husband. Yes, but all those people 
are tiresome, ugly, and stupid." As she was 
thus passing in review all the young men whom 
she had known before her marriage the name 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 43 

of Darcy presented itself to her mind for the 
second time. 

Darcy used to count in the society of 
Madame de Lussan as a person of no impor- 
tance, that is to say, they knew . . . the moth- 
ers knew . . . that his fortune would not 
permit of his marrying their daughters. To 
them there was nothing about him that could turn 
their young heads. Moreover, he had a reputation 
for gallantry. He was somewhat misanthropic 
and caustic, and it amused him greatly when 
he was the only man in a group of young 
girls to make fun of the weaknesses and preten- 
sions of other young men. When he held a 
whispered conversation with young girls, their 
mothers were in nowise alarmed, for their 
daughters laughed aloud and the mothers of 
those who had pretty teeth even said that M. 
Darcy was an exceedingly delightful young man. 

A similarity of tastes and the fear which each 
had of the other's sharp tongue had drawn Julie 
and Darcy together. After a few skirmishes 
they had signed a treaty of peace, an offensive 
and defensive alliance: they spared each other 
and they were always united in attacking their 
acquaintances. 

One evening Julie had been asked to sing 
some song or other. She had a beautiful voice 



44 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

and she knew it. As she went to the piano she 
looked at the women with a proud air as if she 
wished to challenge them. Now this evening 
some slight indisposition, or unfortunate fatality, 
had almost completely deprived her of her accus- 
tomed power. The first note of her usually musi- 
cal voice was decidedly a false one. She became 
confused, blundered and completely lost her 
bearings ; in short, it was a flat and dismal failure. 
Confused and ready to burst into tears poor 
Julie left the piano, and as she went back to her 
seat she could not help seeing the malicious joy, 
which her companions scarcely took the pains to 
conceal, as they saw this humiliation of her pride. 
Even the men seemed to have difficulty in sup- 
pressing a mocking smile. She lowered her eyes 
in shame and anger and for some moments did 
not dare to raise them again. When she raised 
her head the first friendly face that she saw was 
that of Darcy. He was pale and his eyes were 
filled with tears ; he seemed even more touched by 
her mishap than she had been herself. " He 
loves me," she thought. " He truly loves me." 
That night she had scarcely slept and the sad 
face of Darcy was always before her eyes. 

For two days she thought only of him and 
the secret passion which he must cherish for her. 
The romance was already making progress, when 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 45 

Madame de Lussan found one day the card of 
M. Darcy with these three letters: "P. P. C." 
' Where then is M. Darcy going? " Julie asked 
a young man whom she knew. 

' Where is he going? Don't you know? To 
Constantinople. He is leaving to-night." 

; ' Then he doesn't love me," she thought. 

Eight days later Darcy was forgotten. 
Darcy, for his part, being in those days rather 
romantic, took eight months to forget Julie. In 
order to excuse the latter and to explain the dif- 
ference in their constancy it must be remembered 
that Darcy was living in the midst of barbarians, 
while Julie was in Paris, surrounded by atten- 
tions and pleasures. 

However that may be, six or seven years 
after the separation Julie, in her carriage on the 

way to P , remembered Darcy 's melancholy 

expression on the day when she sung so badly; 
and it must be confessed she thought of the love 
which he probably had for her then, perhaps she 
even thought of the sentiment which he still 
might have for her. All of which kept her mind 
actively employed for half a league. Then for 
a third time M. Darcy was forgotten. 



46 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 



VIII 

It was the cause of no small vexation to Julie, 
upon entering P , to see horses being unhar- 
nessed from a carriage in Madame Lambert's 
court-yard, which announced a visit that was to 
be of some duration. Consequently it would be 
impossible to begin a discussion of her grievances 
against M. de Chaverny. 

Madame Lambert, when Julie entered the 
salon, had with her a woman whom Julie had 
often met in society, but whom she scarcely knew 
by name. It was by an effort that she concealed 
displeasure which she felt when she found that 
she had made this trip to P - in vain. 

' Welcome, my dear," cried Madame Lam- 
bert, kissing her. " How glad I am to see that 
you haven't forgotten me! You couldn't have 
come at a more fortunate moment, for I am ex- 
pecting to-day, I can't tell you how many people 
who are your devoted friends." 

Julie answered with a slightly constrained 
air that she had expected to find Madame Lam- 
bert quite alone. 

' They will be delighted to see you," contin- 
ued Madame Lambert. " My house has been so 
dull since my daughter's marriage that I am 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 47 

only too glad when my friends arrange to meet 
here. But, my dear child, what have you done 
with your rosy cheeks? It seems to me that you 
are very pale to-day." 

Julie invented some little excuse, the long 
trip, the dust, the sun. 

" It just happens that one of your admirers 
is going to dine with me, and he will be agreeably 
surprised. M. de Chateaufort and his faithful 
Achates, Commandant Perrin." 

" I had the pleasure of entertaining Com- 
mandant Perrin a short time ago," said Julie 
with a slight blush, for she w r as thinking of 
Chateaufort. 

" M. de Saint-Leger is coming, too. We 
must really arrange for an evening of charades 
next month and you must have a role, my dear- 
est; you were our bright and particular star in 
charades two years ago." 

" Realty it is so long since I played charades 
that I am sure I should never be able to regain 
my former assurance. I know I should be 
obliged to have recourse to ... But I think 
I hear some one coming . . ." 

" Ah, but Julie, my child, just guess whom 
else we are expecting. But if you are to remem- 
ber his name, my dear, you will have to search 
your memory well." 



48 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

The name of Darcy at once presented itself 
to Julie's mind. 

" His name is really becoming an obsession," 
she thought. " Search my memory, madame. 
That I can easily do." 

' But I mean you must go back six or seven 
years. Do you remember one of your gallants 
when you were a little girl and wore your hair 
in braids? " 

" Really, I can't guess at all." 

" For shame, my dear. The idea of forget- 
ting in that way a delightful fellow who, unless 
I am greatly mistaken, found such favour with 
you once upon a time, that your mother almost 
took alarm. Come now, my dear, since you thus 
forget your admirers, I shall be obliged to re- 
mind you of their names: you are to see M. 
Darcy." 

"M. Darcy?" 

' Yes, at last he has come back from Con- 
stantinople, only a few days ago. The day be- 
fore yesterday he came to see me and I invited 
him for to-night. Do you know, ungrateful 
little wretch that you are, he asked for news of 
you with an interest that seemed to me quite 
significant? " 

" M. Darcy?" said Julie hesitatingly, and 
with an assumed air of abstraction. " M. Darcy? 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 49 

Isn't he the tall, fair young man . . . who is 
Secretary of the Embassy? " 

* Yes, my dear, but you won't recognise him; 
he is greatly changed. He is pale, or rather 
olive colour, his eyes have sunken, and he has lost 
a good deal of his hair on account of the heat, 
so he says. In two or three years, if he keeps on, 
he will be completely bald in front. And still 
he isn't thirty yet." 

At this point the lady who was listening to 
the recital of the misfortune of Darcy strongly 
advised using kalydor, from which she had de- 
rived much benefit after an illness which had 
caused her hair to fall out. As she spoke she 
ran her fingers through the heavy curls of her 
beautiful chestnut hair. 

" Has M. Darcy been staying in Constanti- 
nople all this time? " asked Madame de Cha- 
verny. 

" Not all the time, for he has travelled a 
great deal. He was in Russia and then he trav- 
elled all over Greece. You haven't heard of his 
good luck? His uncle died and left him a fine 
fortune. He has also been in Asia Minor in 
oh, what do you call it Caramania. He is 
charming, my dear; he has the most entertain- 
ing stories, which will delight you, I know. 
Yesterday he told me such good ones that I 



52 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

end he put the woman into a place of safe-keep- 
ing. It seems even," continued Madame Duma- 
noir, suddenly changing her expression, and 
assuming a nasal tone of piety, " it seems that 
M. Darcy saw to it that she was converted, and 
she was baptised." 

" And did M. Darcy marry her? " asked 
Julie with a smile. 

" About that I can tell you nothing; but the 
Turkish woman she had a singular name, she 
was called Emineh conceived a violent passion 
for M. Darcy. My sister told me that she 
always called him Sotir , Sotir that means ' my 
saviour ' in Turkish and in Greek. Eulalie told 
me that she was the most beautiful creature 
imaginable." 

' We must declare war upon this fair Turk," 
cried Madame Lambert, " mustn't we, ladies? 
We must tease him a little. But this incident of 
Darcy's doesn't surprise me in the least. He is 
one of the noblest men I know of, and there are 
actions of his that bring the tears to my eyes 
whenever I tell about them. His uncle died, 
leaving a natural daughter whom he had never 
recognised. As he had not left a will, she had 
no claim upon the property. Darcy, who was 
the sole heir, wished her to have her share, and 
it is probable that this share is much larger 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 53 

than his uncle himself would ever have made 
it." 

" And is she pretty, this natural daughter? " 
asked Madame de Chaverny, with a rather mali- 
cious air, for she began to feel the need of saying 
something against this M. Darcy whom she 
could not drive out of her thoughts. 

" Oh, my dear, how can you suppose? . . . 
But, moreover, M. Darcy was still in Constanti- 
nople when his uncle died and he had probably 
never seen the girl." 

The arrival of Chateaufort, of Command- 
ant Perrin and some others put an end to this 
conversation. Chateaufort sat down beside 
Madame de Chaverny, and seizing upon a mo- 
ment when all the others were talking loudly: 

' You seem sad," he said to her; " I should 
be very unhappy if what I said to you yesterday 
is the cause of it." 

Madame de Chaverny did not hear what he 
said, or rather did not wish to hear, so Chateau- 
fort had the mortification of being obliged to 
repeat his sentence, a mortification which was in- 
creased by Julie's rather dry answer. After 
which she took part in the general conversation; 
and changing her place, she left her unhappy 
admirer. 

Not allowing himself to be discouraged, 



52 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

end he put the woman into a place of safe-keep- 
ing. It seems even," continued Madame Duma- 
noir, suddenly changing her expression, and 
assuming a nasal tone of piety, " it seems that 
M. Darcy saw to it that she was converted, and 
she was baptised." 

"And did M. Darcy marry her?" asked 
Julie with a smile. 

" About that I can tell you nothing; but the 
Turkish woman she had a singular name, she 
was called Emineh conceived a violent passion 
for M. Darcy. My sister told me that she 
always called him Sotir, Sotir that means ' my 
saviour ' in Turkish and in Greek. Eulalie told 
me that she was the most beautiful creature 
imaginable." 

" We must declare war upon this fair Turk," 
cried Madame Lambert, " mustn't we, ladies? 
We must tease him a little. But this incident of 
Darcy's doesn't surprise me in the least. He is 
one of the noblest men I know of, and there are 
actions of his that bring the tears to my eyes 
whenever I tell about them. His uncle died, 
leaving a natural daughter whom he had never 
recognised. As he had not left a will, she had 
no claim upon the property. Darcy, who was 
the sole heir, wished her to have her share, and 
it is probable that this share is much larger 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 53 

than his uncle himself would ever have made 
it." 

" And is she pretty, this natural daughter? " 
asked Madame de Chaverny, with a rather mali- 
cious air, for she began to feel the need of saying 
something against this M. Darcy whom she 
could not drive out of her thoughts. 

" Oh, my dear, how can you suppose? . . . 
But, moreover, M. Darcy was still in Constanti- 
nople when his uncle died and he had probably 
never seen the girl." 

The arrival of Chateaufort, of Command- 
ant Perrin and some others put an end to this 
conversation. Chateaufort sat down beside 
Madame de Chaverny, and seizing upon a mo- 
ment when all the others were talking loudly: 

' You seem sad," he said to her; " I should 
be very unhappy if what I said to you yesterday 
is the cause of it." 

Madame de Chaverny did not hear what he 
said, or rather did not wish to hear, so Chateau- 
fort had the mortification of being obliged to 
repeat his sentence, a mortification which was in- 
creased by Julie's rather dry answer. After 
which she took part in the general conversation; 
and changing her place, she left her unhappy 
admirer. 

Xot allowing himself to be discouraged, 



54 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

Chateau fort indulged in a considerable display 
of wit, all in vain. Madame de Chaverny, to 
whom alone he was trying to make himself 
pleasing, listened with an air of abstraction. 
She was thinking of the approaching arrival of 
M. Darcy, and asking herself why her mind so 
dwelt upon a man whom she should have for- 
gotten and who in all probability had forgotten 
her long since. At last the sound of an ap- 
proaching carriage was heard; the drawing- 
room door was thrown open. 

" Ah, there he is," cried Madame Lambert. 

Julie did not dare to turn her head, but grew 
deathly pale. She felt a sudden and sharp sen- 
sation of cold, and she felt the need of gathering 
together all her strength to recover her poise and 
to prevent Chateaufort's seeing her change of 
expression. 

Darcy kissed Madame Lambert's hand, and 
stood talking to her for some moments. Then 
a profound silence fell upon the room. Madame 
Lambert seemed to be expecting and giving 
time for a scrutiny of her guest. Chateaufort 
and the men, with the exception of the worthy 
Commandant Perrin, were watching Darcy with 
a curiosity tinged with jealousy. Since he had 
just come from Constantinople, he had a great 
advantage over them, and this was sufficient 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 55 

reason to cause them to wrap themselves in that 
self-contained reserve which is usually assumed 
with strangers. Darcy, who had paid attention 
to no one, was the first to break silence. He 
spoke of the weather and of the roads, it mat- 
tered not what. His voice was soft and musical. 
Madame de Chaverny risked a glance at him, she 
saw him in profile. It seemed to her that he had 
grown thinner and his expression had changed. 
In short she approved of him. 

" My dear Darcy," said Madame Lambert, 
" look carefully about you and see if you can't 
find here some ladies whom you used to know." 

Darcy turned his head and saw Julie, whose 
face till then had been hidden under the brim of 
her hat. He rose hurriedly with an exclamation 
of surprise, went to her, holding out his hand, 
then suddenly checking himself, as if repenting 
his excessive familiarity, he bowed low to Julie, 
and expressed to her in very correct language the 
great pleasure which he felt at seeing her again. 
Julie stammered out a few conventional words 
and blushed deeply as she saw that Darcy still 
remained standing before her, looking fixedly 
at her. 

Her presence of mind soon returned, and 
she in her turn looked at him with a gaze which 
is at the same time absent-minded and observant, 



56 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

and which people in society can assume at will. 
He was a tall, pale young man upon whose fea- 
tures was imprinted an expression of calm ; but a 
calm which seemed to result less from some 
habitual state of the soul, than from the control 
which it had succeeded in gaining over his 
countenance. Deep lines already furrowed his 
brow. His eyes were sunken, the corners of his 
mouth had dropped, and the hair on his temples 
had already begun to grow thin. Yet he was 
not more than thirty years old. Darcy was very 
simply attired, but with that elegance which 
indicates familiarity with good society and an 
indifference to a subject which occupies the 
thoughts of so many young men. Julie observed 
all this with pleasure. She noticed, too, that he 
had on his brow a long scar, which he only par- 
tially covered with a lock of hair, and which 
seemed to come from a sabre-cut. 

Julie was sitting beside Madame Lambert, 
there was a chair between her and Chateaufort; 
but as soon as Darcy arose Chateaufort put his 
hand upon the back of the chair, which he kept 
balanced upon one of its feet. It was evident 
that he intended to keep it, like a dog in the 
manger. Madame Lambert was sorry for 
Darcy, who still remained standing before 
de Chaverny, made room upon the sofa 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 57 

beside her, and asked Darcy to sit down there; 
by which means he found himself near Julie. 
He hastened to profit by this advantageous posi- 
tion, and entered into conversation with her. 

Still he had to submit to the usual list of 
questions about his travels from Madame Lam- 
bert and a few others, but he answered them 
briefly, and seized upon every occasion to begin 
again the almost private conversation which he 
was carrying on with Madame de Chaverny. 

;< Take Madame de Chaverny into dinner," 
said Madame Lambert, when the castle bell an- 
nounced dinner. 

Chateauf ort bit his lips with vexation, but he 
arranged to be seated near enough to Julie at 
table to follow all her movements. 



IX 

After dinner, as it was a beautiful warm 
evening, they gathered in the garden around a 
rustic table for coffee. 

Chateauf ort had noticed with increasing vex- 
ation the attentions which Darcy lavished upon 
Madame de Chaverny. As he observed the 
interest which she seemed to be taking in the 
conversation of the new-comer, he himself grew 
less and less agreeable, and the jealousy which 



58 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

he felt, had merely the effect of depriving him 
of all power to make himself attractive to her. 
He walked up and down on the terrace where 
the others were seated, unable to remain in one 
place, as is usual with people who are uneasy, 
looking often at the great black clouds which 
were gathering and which announced a storm, 
and looking still oftener at his rival, who was 
conversing in low tones with Julie. Sometimes he 
saw her smile, sometimes she grew serious, some- 
times she timidly lowered her eyes. In short, he 
saw that Darcy could not utter a single word 
without its producing a marked effect upon her; 
and what especially chagrined him was, that the 
varied expressions which passed over Julie's 
face seemed to be but an image and reflection of 
Darcy 's mobile countenance. At last, being no 
longer able to endure this torture, he drew near 
her, and leaning over the back of her chair just 
as Darcy w r as giving some one information about 
the beard of the Sultan Mahmoud, " Madame," 
he said in a bitter tone, " M. Darcy seems to be 
a very delightful gentleman." 

" Oh, yes," answered Madame de Chaverny, 
with an expression of enthusiasm which she could 
not hide. 

" So it seems," continued Chateaufort, " for 
he makes you forget your old friends." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 59 

"My old friends!" said Julie in somewhat 
severe tones, " I do not know what you mean." 
Then she turned her back upon him. Then tak- 
ing a corner of the handkerchief that Madame 
Lambert held in her hand : 

" How exquisite the embroidery is in this 
handkerchief. It is a wonderful bit of work." 

" Do you think so, my dear? It is a present 
from M. Darcy, who has brought me back I can't 
tell you how many handkerchiefs from Con- 
stantinople. By the way, Darcy, was it your 
fair Turk who embroidered them for you? " 

"My fair Turk, what fair Turk?" 

" Oh, the beautiful Sultana whose life you 
saved and w r ho used to call you . . . oh, we 
know all about it ... who used to call you 
her saviour, in fact. You must know the word 
for it in Turkish." 

Darcy smote his brow, laughing: 

" Is it possible," he cried, " that a report of 
my misadventure has already reached Paris? " 

" But there is no misadventure about it, there 
may be perhaps for the Mamamouchi who lost 
his favourite." 

"Alas!" answered Darcy, "I see that you 
knew only half of the story, for this adventure 
was as unfortunate for me as was that of the 
windmills for Don Quixote. And must I, after 



60 

having been such a subject of laughter in the 
East, still be made sport of in Paris, for the one 
deed of knight-errantry of which I have ever 
been guilty? " 

'What! we know nothing about this. Tell 
us about it," cried all the ladies at once. 

" I should leave you," said Darcy, " with the 
tale which you already know and do away with 
the continuation, the recollection of which has 
nothing very agreeable for me; but one of my 
friends I beg permission to present him to you 
some day, Madame Lambert Sir John Tyrrel 
and an actor too in this serio-comic scene, 
is going to come to Paris soon, and it is quite 
possible that he might take a malicious pleasure 
in representing me in a role still more ridiculous 
than that which I really played. Here are the 
facts in the case: This unfortunate woman, 
when she was once safely settled in the French 
Consulate . . ." 

" Oh, but begin at the beginning," cried 
Madame Lambert. 

" But, you have heard that already." 

" We know nothing at all, and we wish you 
to tell us the whole story from beginning to 
end." 

" Well, you must know that I was at Larnaca 
in 18 . One day I went outside the city to 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 61 

sketch. With me was a very pleasant young 
Englishman, a jolly companion and a bon- 
vivant, one of these men who are invaluable 
when you are travelling, because they think of 
the dinner and never forget provisions and are 
always in good-humour. Moreover, he was trav- 
elling without any particular aim in view, and 
knew nothing of either geology or botany, 
sciences which are exceedingly disagreeable in 
travelling companions. 

" I was sitting in the shadow of a stone wall, 
some two hundred paces from the sea, along 
which at this point runs a line of precipitous 
cliffs. I was very busy drawing all that remains 
of an ancient sarcophagus, while Sir John, 
stretched out on the grass, was making fun of 
my unfortunate passion for the fine arts, and 
smoking some delicious Turkish tobacco. Be- 
side us a Turkish dragoman., whom we had taken 
into our service, was making coffee for us. He 
was the best coffee-maker and the worst coward 
of all the Turks whom I have ever known. 

" Suddenly Sir John cried joyfully: 

' Here are some people coming down the 
mountain with snow! we'll buy some from them 
and then we can make orange sherbet.' 

" I raised my eyes, and I saw coming toward 
us a donkey, upon which a great bundle had been 



62 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

laid crosswise; two slaves were steadying it on 
each side. The driver was walking in front, 
leading the donkey, and behind a venerable 
Turk, with a white beard, closed the procession, 
mounted upon a fairly good horse. All the pro- 
cession advanced slowly and with much so- 
lemnity. 

" Our Turk, as he sat blowing upon the fire, 
cast a sidelong glance at the donkey's burden, 
and said to us with a singular smile, ' It is not 
snow.' Then he busied himself with our coffee 
with his usual stolidity. * What is it ? ' asked 
Tyrrel. * Is it something to eat? ' 

4 Yes, for the fishes,' answered the Turk. 

" At that moment the man on horseback 
started away at a gallop, and turning in the 
direction of the sea, he passed close to us, but not 
without casting upon us one of those scornful 
glances with which the Mussulmans so readily 
favour Christians. He urged his horse on, to 
the precipitous cliffs of which I have spoken, and 
stopped short at a point where they fell sheer 
away. He looked at the sea and seemed to be 
looking for the best place from which he might 
hurl himself down. 

' We examined then more attentively the 
bundle which the donkey was carrying and \ve 
were struck "then by its strange shape. All the 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 63 

stories we had ever heard of women drowned by 
their jealous husbands came back to our minds, 
and we told each other of what we were thinking. 
' Ask those scamps,' said Sir John to our 
Turk, ' if it isn't a woman they are carrying/ 

" The Turk opened wide his frightened eyes 
but not his mouth. It was evident that he found 
our question altogether too much out of the way. 

" At that moment, as the sack was near us, 
we distinctly saw it moving, and we even heard 
a sort of moan, or grumbling, which came out 
of it. 

;< Tyrrel, although he is somewhat of an epi- 
cure, is exceedingly chivalrous. He sprang to 
his feet like a madman, ran to the donkey driver, 
and asked him in English, so confused was he 
by his rage, what it was that he had there, and 
what he was intending to do with his sack. The 
donkey driver was careful not to make any an- 
swer. But the sack moved violently about, and 
the cries of a woman's voice were heard, where- 
upon the two slaves began to beat the sack with 
heavy blows from the thongs which they used 
to urge on the donkey. Tyrrel was incensed be- 
yond all self-control. With a vigorous, well- 
aimed blow he threw the donkey driver to the 
ground and then seized one of the slaves by 
the throat, whereupon the sack, being roughly 



64 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

jostled in the struggle, fell heavily upon the 
grass. 

" I ran up. The other slave had taken upon 
himself to gather up stones, and the donkey 
driver was struggling to his feet. In spite of my 
aversion to interfering in the affairs of others, it 
was impossible for me not to come to the rescue of 
my companion. Having seized the picket which 
served to hold my umbrella in place when I was 
sketching, I brandished it about my head, threat- 
ening the slaves and the donkey driver with the 
most martial air which I could assume. All was 
going well when that infernal Turk on horse- 
back, having finished his contemplation of the 
sea, turned around at the noise which we made 
and started off quick as an arrow and was upon 
us before we thought of it. In his hand he held 
a sort of ugly cutlass." 

" An ataghan," said Chateaufort, who loved 
local colour. 

" An ataghan," continued Darcy, with an ap- 
proving smile. " He passed close to me and gave 
me a blow on the head with that same ataghan 
which made me ' see thirty-six candles,' as my 
friend, the Marquis de Roseville, has so ele- 
gantly put it. I answered by planting a good 
picket blow in his side. Then I played windmill 
to the best of my ability, striking donkey driver, 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE , 65 

slaves, horse and Turk, having become myself 
ten times more furious than my friend Sir John 
Tyrrel. The affair would doubtless have 
ended very badly for us. Our dragoman ob- 
served a strict neutrality, and we could not de- 
fend ourselves very long with a stick against 
three infantrymen, a cavalryman, and an ata- 
ghan. Fortunately Sir John remembered a pair 
of pistols we had brought with us ; he seized them, 
threw one to me and aimed the other immediately 
at the horseman who was giving us so much 
trouble. The sight of these arms and the click- 
ing of the trigger of the pistol produced a magi- 
cal effect upon our enemies. They shamefully 
took to their heels, leaving us masters of the field 
of battle, of the sack and even of the donkey. 
In spite of our anger we had not fired, which was 
a fortunate thing, for you can not kill a good 
Mussulman with impunity, and it cost dear 
enough to give him a beating. 

' When we had wiped off some of the dust, 
our first care was, as you can easily imagine, to 
go to the sack and open it. We found in it a 
rather pretty woman, a little too fat perhaps, 
with beautiful black hair, and wearing a single 
garment of blue wool, somewhat less transparent 
than Madame de Chaverny's scarf. 

" She drew herself nimbly out of the sack, 



66 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

and without seeming very embarrassed she ad- 
dressed to us a long speech which no doubt was 
very pathetic, but of which we did not under- 
stand a single word. At the end of it she kissed 
my hand. It is the only time, ladies, that a lady 
has done me such honour. 

' We had in the meantime regained our com- 
posure, and saw our dragoman tearing out his 
beard like a man distraught. I was busy wrap- 
ping up my head as best I could with a handker- 
chief. Tyrrel was saying : ' What the deuce can 
we do with this woman? If we stay here the 
husband will come back with a force and at- 
tack us. If we return to Larnaca with her in 
this fine equipage, the mob will certainly stone 
us." 

' Tyrrel, embarrassed by all these considera- 
tions, and having recovered his British stolidity, 
cried : ' Why the deuce did you take it into your 
head to come sketching here to-day ? ' 

" His exclamation made me laugh, and the 
woman, who had understood nothing of what 
was said, began to laugh too. 

" However, we had to decide upon some 
course of action. I thought the best thing we 
could do was to place ourselves under the pro- 
tection of the French Consul; the difficulty was 
to get back into Larnaca. Night was falling, 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 67 

which was a fortunate thing for us. Our Turk 
took us by some long by-path, and thanks to the 
cover of night and this precaution, we reached 
without any mishap the house of the Consul, 
which is outside of the town. I forgot to tell you 
that we composed for the woman a costume, 
which was almost seemly, out of the sack and the 
turban of our interpreter. 

* The Consul, who was far from pleased at 
seeing us, told us that we were mad, and that one 
should respect the usages and customs of the 
country in which one is travelling, and that one 
should not try to ' put the finger between the bark 
and the tree.' In short, he accused us of self- 
importance, and he was quite right, for we had 
done enough to give rise to a violent riot and to 
cause a massacre of all the Europeans in the 
Island of Cyprus. His wife showed more 
humanity. She had read many novels and 
thought that ours was a most noble course of 
action. As a matter of fact, we had acted like 
heroes in a novel. This excellent woman was 
very pious. She thought that she would have no 
difficulty in converting the infidel whom we had 
brought to her, and that this conversion would 
be mentioned in the Moniteur and that her hus- 
band would be appointed Consul-General. This 
whole plan outlined itself in a moment in her 



68 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

mind. She kissed the Turkish woman, gave her 
a dress, put the Consul to shame for his cruelty, 
and sent him to the Pasha to patch up the matter. 
' The Pasha was very angry. The jealous 
husband was a person of importance, and was 
breathing out threatenings and slaughter. It was 
a scandal, he said, that dogs of Christians should 
hinder a man like him from casting his slave into 
the sea. The Consul was in sore straits ; he talked 
much of the King, his master, and still more of a 
frigate of sixty tons, which had just appeared 
in the waters of Larnaca, but the argument 
which produced the most effect was the proposal 
which he made in our name of paying a fair 
price for the slave. 

" Alas! If you only knew what the fair price 
of a Turk is! We had to pay the husband, pay 
the Pasha, pay the donkey driver for whom 
Tyrrel had broken two teeth, pay for the scandal, 
pay for everything. How often did Tyrrel 
sadly cry : * Why the dickens did you have to 
go sketching by the sea-side ? ' 

' What an adventure, my poor Darcy," cried 
Madame Lambert. ' That is how you received 
that terrible wound then. Do please raise your 
hair for a moment. What a wonder that it 
didn't lay your head open." 

Julie, during this whole recital, had not once 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 69 

taken her eyes off the brow of the narrator. At 
last she asked in a timid voice : 

' What became of the woman? " 

' That is just the part of the story that I 
don't care very much to tell; the end was so un- 
fortunate for me, that at the present moment 
people still make fun of our chivalrous adven- 
ture." 

' Was this woman pretty? " asked Madame 
de Chaverny, blushing a little. 

'* What was her name? " asked Madame 
Lambert. 

" Her name was Emineh." 

" Pretty? " 

1 Yes, she was pretty enough, but too plump, 
and all smeared over with paint, according to the 
custom of her country. It takes a long time to 
grow to appreciate the charms of a Turkish 
beauty. So Emineh was installed in the Consul's 
house. She was a Mingrelian and told Madame 

C , the Consul's wife, that she was the 

daughter of a prince. In that country every 
rascal who commands ten other rascals is a 
prince. So she was treated like a princess. She 
dined at table with the Consul's family, and ate 
enough for four. Then when they talked to her 
about religion she regularly fell asleep. So 
things went on for some time. At last the day 



70 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

was fixed for her baptism. Madame C- - ap- 
pointed herself godmother, and wished me to 
stand as godfather, so there were sweets and 
gifts and all the rest of it. It had been decreed 
that this wretched Emineh should ruin me. 
Madame C- - said that Emineh liked me better 
than Tyrrel, because when she served me with 
coffee she always let some spill upon my clothes. 
I was preparing for this christianing with a com- 
punction that was truly evangelical, when the 
night before the ceremony the fair Emineh dis- 
appeared. Must I tell you the whole truth ? The 
Consul had for a cook a Mingrelian, a great ras- 
cal certainly, but an adept in preparing pilaf. 
This Mingrelian had found favour in Emineh's 
eyes, and she was without doubt a patriot in her 
own way. He carried her off, and with her a 
considerable sum of money belonging to M. 
C- , w r ho could never find him again. So the 
Consul was out his money, his wife the outfit 
which she had given to Emineh, and I the gloves 
and sweets, not to mention the blows which I had 
received. The worst of it is that I was made 
responsible for the whole adventure. They 
maintained that it was I who freed this wretched 
woman, whom I would have been glad to know 
was at the bottom of the sea, and who had brought 
down so many misfortunes upon the heads of my 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 71 

friends. Tyrrel managed to squirm out of it. 
He posed as the victim, while in reality he was 
the cause of the whole fiasco, and I was left with 
a reputation of a Don Quixote, and the scar 
which you see, which greatly stands in the way 
of my popularity." 

When the story was finished they all went 
back into the salon. Darcy continued to chat 
for some time with Madame de Chaverny. Then 
he was obliged to leave her to have presented to 
him a young man who was a learned political 
economist, who was preparing himself to be 
depute and who wished to have some statistics on 
the Ottoman Empire. 



X 

Julie, after Darcy left her, looked often at 
the clock. She listened abstractedly to Chateau- 
fort and her eyes turned involuntarily to Darcy, 
who was talking at the other end of the salon. 
Sometimes he looked at her as he continued to 
talk to his statistician and she could not meet 
his penetrating but calm glance. She felt that 
he had already taken an extraordinary hold upon 
her, and she no longer thought of making any 
effort to free herself. 



72 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

At last she called for her carriage, and either 
by design or accident she looked at Darcy as she 
called for it, with a glance which seemed to say, 
' You have wasted a half-hour which we might 
have spent together.' The carriage was ready, 
Darcy was still talking, but he seemed tired and 
bored by the questioner, who would not let him 
go. Julie rose slowly, pressed Madame Lam- 
bert's hand, then went toward the door of the 
salon, surprised and almost piqued at seeing 
Darcy still remaining in the same place. Cha- 
teaufort was near her and offered her his arm, 
which she took mechanically, without listening to 
him and almost without noticing his presence. 
She crossed the hall, accompanied by Madame 
Lambert and two others, who went with her to 
her carriage. Darcy had stayed in the salon. 
When she was seated in her carriage Chateauf ort 
asked her with a smile if she would not be afraid 
all alone on the road in the night, adding that he 
was going to follow close behind her in his gig, 
as soon as Commandant Perrin had finished his 
game of billiards. Julie, who seemed to be in a 
dream, was recalled to herself by the sound of 
his voice, but she had not understood what he 
said. She did what any other woman would 
have done under similar circumstances she 
smiled. Then with a nod she said good-night to 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 73 

those who were gathered in the doorway, and her 
horses set off at a rapid trot. 

But just at the moment when her carriage was 
starting away she had seen Darcy come out of 
the salon, pale and sad, with his eyes fixed upon 
her, as if he were begging her for a special adieu. 
She started away, carrying with her the regret 
that she had not been able to give him a bow for 
himself alone, and she even thought that he would 
be piqued by it. She had already forgotten that 
he had left it to another to accompany her to her 
carriage. Now the wrongs were all on her side, 
and she reproached herself with them as if she 
had been guilty of a great crime. The feeling 
which she had had for Darcy a few years before, 
when she had left him after the evening she had 
sung so badly, was much less deep than that 
which she carried away with her this time. As a 
matter of fact not only had the years deepened 
her impressions, but all the accumulated anger 
which she felt at her husband had helped to in- 
crease them. Perhaps even the inclination which 
she had had for Chateaufort, and which at this 
moment was completely forgotten, had prepared 
her to give place without too much remorse to the 
much deeper feeling which she felt for Darcy. 

As for him, his thoughts were those of a 
much calmer nature. He had felt pleasure in 



74 

meeting a pretty woman who recalled happy 
days and whose acquaintance would probably be 
very agreeable during the winter, which he was 
going to spend in Paris. But as soon as she was 
no longer before his eyes, all that remained with 
him was the memory of a few hours gaily spent 
together, a memory whose pleasantness was 
somewhat impaired by the prospect of getting to 
bed late and driving four leagues before reach- 
ing home. Let us leave him with his prosaic 
thoughts, carefully wrapping himself in his coat, 
and settling himself comfortably in his hired 
conveyance, roaming in his thoughts from 
Madame Lambert's salon to Constantinople, 
from Constantinople to Corfu, and from Corfu 
to a slight doze. 

Dear reader, we will now follow, if it may 
please you, Madame de Chaverny. 



XI 

When Madame de Chaverny left Madame 
Lambert's chateau the night was horribly black 
and the atmosphere heavy and oppressive. From 
time to time vivid flashes of lightning illumi- 
nated the country, and the black silhouettes of 
the trees stood out against a background of vivid 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 75 

orange. After each flash the darkness seemed 
blacker than before, and the coachman could not 
see the horses before him. A violent storm burst 
upon her. At first, a few occasional large drops 
of rain fell, but in a short time there was a heavy 
downpour. The heavens all around seemed to 
be aflame, and the roar of the celestial artillery 
soon became deafening. The terrified horses 
snorted and reared instead of going forward ; but 
the coachman had eaten a good dinner and his 
thick coat and the copious draughts of wine 
which he had drunk took away from him all fear 
of rain or bad roads. He energetically bela- 
boured the poor beasts, no less fearless than 
Caesar in the storm when he said to his pilot: 
' Thou art bearing Caesar and his fortune." 

As Madame de Chaverny had no fear of 
thunder she paid little attention to the storm. 
She said over to herself all that Darcy had told 
her, and she regretted that she had not said a 
hundred things that she might have said to him, 
when she was suddenly interrupted in her medita- 
tion by a sudden violent jolt. At the same time 
the windows of her carriage were shivered to 
pieces, an ominous crackling was heard and her 
carriage rolled over into the ditch. Julie was 
quite unharmed, but the rain continued to fall, 
one wheel was broken and the lamps were put 



76 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

out, and there was not a single house to be seen 
whither she might go for shelter. The coachman 
was swearing, the footman was fuming at the 
coachman, and cursing his awkwardness. Julie 
remained in her carriage, asking how they could 
get back to P , or what they would have to 
do. But each one of her questions received the 
discouraging answer: " It isn't possible." In 
the meantime the dull rumble of an approaching 
carriage was to be heard in the distance. Soon 
Madame de Chaverny's coachman recognised, to 
his great satisfaction, one of his colleagues with 
whom he had laid the foundations of a tender 
friendship in Madame Lambert's pantry. He 
called to him to stop. 

The carriage stopped, and scarcely had the 
name of Madame de Chaverny been mentioned 
than a young man who was in the coupe opened 
the door himself, crying: " Is she hurt? " And 
with a single bound he reached Julie's carriage. 
She had recognised Darcy. She was expect- 
ing him. 

Their hands met in the darkness and it 
seemed to Darcy that Madame de Chaverny 
gave his a slight pressure, but that may have 
been a result of her fear. After the first ques- 
tions, Darcy naturally offered her his carriage. 
At first Julie did not answer, for she was quite 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 77 

undecided as to what course she would pursue. 
On the one hand she thought of the three or four 
leagues that she would have to travel all alone 
with a young man, if she wished to go to Paris ; 
on the other hand, if she went back to the chateau 
to ask hospitality from Madame Lambert, she 
shuddered at the thought of being obliged to re- 
count the romantic accident of the overturned 
carriage and the help that she would have re- 
ceived from Darcy. To reappear in the salon 
in the midst of a game of whist saved by Darcy, 
like the Turkish woman, she really couldn't think 
of it! But then, too, the three long leagues to 
Paris ! As she was thus hesitating and stammer- 
ing awkwardly enough a few commonplaces on 
the inconvenience to which she had put him, 
Darcy, who seemed to read all that was going on 
in her mind, said to her coldly: " I beg you to 
take my carriage; I will stay in yours until some 
one passes on the way to Paris." 

Julie, who was afraid of showing too much 
prudery, hastened to accept the first offer, but 
not the second, and as her decision was very sud- 
denly made, she had not time to decide the im- 
portant question as to whether she should go to 

P or to Paris. She was already seated in 

Darcy's carriage, wrapped up in the greatcoat, 
which he had hastened to offer her, and the 



78 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

horses were trotting briskly toward Paris, before 
it occurred to her to tell him where she wished to 
go. Her servant had chosen for her when he 
gave the coachman his mistress's street and 
number. 

The conversation began with a good deal of 
awkwardness on both sides. Darcy spoke briefly, 
and in a tone which seemed to indicate a slight 
displeasure. Julie thought that her lack of reso- 
lution had offended him and that he considered 
her a ridiculous prude. Already she was so 
completely under the influence of this man that 
she was violently reproaching herself, and her 
one thought \vas to drive away this displeasure 
for which she blamed herself. Darcy's coat was 
damp, she noticed, and at once taking off the 
coat which he had lent her, she insisted upon his 
wrapping himself up in it. Thereupon ensued 
a discussion, the result of which was that they 
split the difference and each one had his share 
of the coat, a great imprudence which she would 
not have committed but for this one moment of 
hesitation which she wished to make him forget. 
They were seated so close to each other that Julie 
could feel Darcy's breath upon her cheek, and 
sometimes a violent jolt from the carriage threw 
them even closer together. 

'* This cloak which wraps us both up reminds 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 79 

me of our charades in the old days. You remem- 
ber being my Virginia when we both wrapped 
up in your grandmother's mantle? " 

* Yes, and do you remember the reproof she 
gave me upon that occasion? " 

" Ah," cried Darcy, " what happy times 
those were! How often have I thought with 
mingled sadness and pleasure of those glorious 
evenings in the Rue Bellechasse. Do you remem- 
ber those splendid vulture's wings that were 
fastened to your shoulders with pink ribbons, 
and the beak of gold paper that I manufactured 
for you with such skill." 

" Yes," answered Julie ; " you were Prome- 
theus and I was the vulture. But what a mem- 
ory you have ! How can you remember all those 
trifles? And, what a long time it is since we last 
saw each other." 

" Are you asking for a compliment? " said 
Darcy, smiling, and leaning forward so as to 
look into her face. Then in a more serious tone, 
" Really," he continued, " it is not so remarkable 
that I should remember the happiest days of 
my life." 

" What a talent you had for charades," said 
Julie, who was afraid the conversation might 
take too sentimental a turn. 

"Do you wish me to give you another proof 



80 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

of my memory," interrupted Darcy. " Do you 
remember the compact that we made at Madame 
Lambert's? We agreed to say ill of the whole 
universe, but we were to defend each other 
against all comers. But our treaty shared the 
fate of most treaties it was not carried out." 

" How do you know? " 

" I fancy that you have not often had a 

chance to defend me, for once away from Paris, 

what idle fellow would give me even a thought? " 

' To defend you, no, but to speak of you to 

your friends." 

" Oh, my friends," cried Darcy, with a smile 
tinged with sadness, " I had few enough in those 
days with whom you were acquainted at least. 
The young men who frequented your father's 
house hated me, I don't know why, and the 
women gave small thought to the attache of the 
Minister of Foreign Affairs." 

' The trouble was that you didn't pay any 
attention to them." 

" That is quite true. I never could play the 
gallant to people for whom I didn't care." 

If it had been possible in the darkness to see 
Julie's face, Darcy might have observed that a 
deep blush overspread her countenance as she 
heard this last sentence, into which she had read 
a meaning that Darcy had never intended. 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 81 

However that may be, laying aside these 
memories, which had been only too well kept by 
both of them, Julie wished to lead him back to 
the subject of his travels, hoping that by this 
means she herself might avoid talking. This 
plan of action almost always succeeds with trav- 
ellers, especially with those who have visited some 
distant country. 

!< What a delightful journey you had," she 
said, " and how sorry I am that I have never been 
able to take one like it." 

But Darcy was no longer in a mood to tell 
of his travels. 

'* Who is the young man with a moustache 
who was talking with you a little while ago? " 

This time Julie blushed more deeply than 
ever. " He is a friend of my husband," she an- 
swered, " one of the officers of his regiment. 
They say," she continued, not wishing to 
abandon her Oriental theme, " that those who 
have once seen the blue sky of the Orient find 
it impossible to live elsewhere." 

" Singularly unpleasing, I don't know just 
why, ... I mean your husband's friend, not 
the blue sky. As for this blue sky, Heaven save 
you from it ! One comes to take so violent a dis- 
like to it from always seeing it the same, un- 
changing, that a dirty Paris fog would seem the 



82 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

most beautiful sight in the world. Believe me, 
nothing gets on the nerves as does this blue sky, 
which was blue yesterday, and which will be blue 
to-morrow. If you only knew with what im- 
patience, with what ever-renewed disappoint- 
ment, we wait for and hope for a cloud." 

" And yet you stayed a long time under this 
blue sky." 

" All, you see, I should have found it rather 
difficult to do anything else. If I had been able 
to merely follow my own inclination, I should 
have come back quickly enough to the region of 
Rue Bellechasse, after having satisfied the curi- 
osity which the strange sights of the Orient 
awake." 

" I believe that many travellers would say 
the same if they were as frank as you are. How 
do people spend their time in Constantinople 
and the other cities of the East? " 

' There, as elsewhere, there are different 
ways of killing time; the English drink, the 
French play cards, the Germans smoke, and 
some clever people, in order to vary their pleas- 
ures, get themselves shot when they climb upon 
the house-tops to turn their opera-glasses on the 
native women." 

" Doubtless this last occupation was the one 
which you preferred." 



83 

" Not at all. I studied Turkish and Greek, 
which made me seem very ridiculous. When I 
had finished my despatches at the Embassy I 
used to draw, I used to gallop out to the Eaux- 
Douces, and then I used to go to the sea-shore to 
see if some human face would not appear from 
France or elsewhere." 

" It must be a great pleasure for you to 
see a Frenchman at so great a distance from 
France." 

' Yes, but for an intelligent man, it seemed 
that there appeared so often merchants selling 
hardware, and cashmeres, or what is much worse, 
young poets, as soon as they saw somebody from 
the Embassy, crying: ' Take me to see the ruins, 
take me to Saint Sophia, take me to the moun- 
tains, to the azure sea, I wish to see the spot 
where Hero sighed.' Then when they had got 
a sunstroke they would shut themselves up in 
their rooms and not wish to see anything except 
the latest numbers of the Constitutionnel." 

" Oh, you are looking on the dark side of 
everything, an old habit of yours you haven't 
corrected it, you know; you are just as cynical as 
ever." 

' Tell me now, isn't a condemned soul who 
is frying in the pan permitted to cheer himself 
a little at the expense of his frying companions? 



84 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

On my word, you don't know how wretched life 
is over there; we secretaries of embassies are like 
the swallows that never alight. For us there are 
none of those intimate relations that make the 
happiness of life." (He uttered these last words 
in a singularly strange tone, drawing closer to 
Julie.) "For six years I have found no one 
with whom I could exchange my thoughts." 
' Then you had no friends over there." 

" I have just been telling you that it is impos- 
sible to have any in a foreign country. I left 
two in France, one is dead, the other is in 
America, whence he will not return for some 
years, if the yellow fever does not keep him 
there for ever." 

" So you are alone? " 

" Alone." 

" And ladies' society, what is it like in the 
East? Was there no satisfaction in it? " 

" Oh, that was the worst of all. Turkish 
women were not to be thought of. As for the 
Greeks and Armenians, the best that one can say 
of them is that they are very pretty. When it 
comes to the wives of consuls and ambassadors, 
you must excuse me from discussing them. That 
is a diplomatic question, and if I said what I 
really think, I might harm my prospects in for- 
eign affairs." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 85 

" You don't seem to care very much for your 
calling. In the old days you were so anxious to 
enter upon diplomatic life." 

" In those days I knew nothing about the 
profession. Now I'd rather be inspector of 
street cleaning in Paris." 

" Heavens, how can you say that? Paris, the 
most wretched hole in the world." 

" Don't blaspheme. I should like to hear your 
palinode of Naples after two years' sojourn in 
Italy." 

" To see Naples ! There is nothing in the 
world I should like better," she answered with 
a sigh, " provided my friends were with me." 

" Oh, under those conditions, I would take a 
trip around the world; travelling with one's 
friends is like sitting comfortably in a salon 
while the world files by before your windows, 
like a panorama that is unfolding itself." 

' Well, if that is asking too much, I should 
like to travel with one with two friends 
only." 

" For my part I am not so ambitious. I 
should ask for only one man, or one woman," he 
added with a smile, " but this is a good fortune 
which has never befallen me, and which will never 
befall me." Then, more gaily, he continued, 
" As a matter of fact, luck has never come my 



86 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

way, I have really wished for only two tilings, 
and I have never been able to get them." 

"What were they?" 

" Oh, nothing so very out of the way. For 
instance, I was wildly anxious to waltz with some 
one. I made a most careful study of the waltz, 
I practised for whole months alone with a chair 
to overcome the giddiness which never failed to 
seize upon me, and when at last I succeeded in 
freeing myself of these dizzy turns . . ." 

' With whom did you wish to waltz? " 

;< What would you say if I should tell you 
that it was you? When, as a result of much toil, 
I had become a finished waltzer your grand- 
mother, who had just taken a Jansenist confes- 
sor, forbade waltzing by an order which has still 
left a scar on my heart." 

" And the second wish ? " asked Julie, in deep 
confusion. 

" My second wish I will confess to you. I 
should have liked ... it was far too ambi- 
tious on my part ... I should have liked to 
have been loved, really loved. It was before the 
waltz that I had formulated this wish I am not 
following chronological order. I should have 
liked, I say, to have been loved by a woman who 
would have preferred me to a ball (the most dan- 
gerous of all rivals) , by a woman whom I might 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 87 

have gone to see in muddy boots, just as she was 
preparing to enter a carriage on the way to a 
ball she would have been in ball dress and she 
would have said to me : * Let us stay at home.' 
But that was madness. We should ask only 
for what is possible." 

" Oh, how malicious you are; still your same 
old ironical remarks! You spare nothing, you 
are pitiless toward women." 

" I ? Heaven forbid ! It is rather myself that 
I am slandering. Am I saying ill of women 
when I say that they prefer a pleasant evening 
party to a tete-a-tete with me? " 

" A ball, evening dress, ah, good heavens, 
who cares for balls now? " She little thought of 
justifying all her sex who were thus arraigned. 
She thought that she understood Darcy's 
thought, and the poor woman understood noth- 
ing but her own heart. 

" Oh, speaking about ball dress, what a pity 
that the carnival is over. I have brought back 
the costume of a Turkish woman, and it is really 
very pretty and it would be wonderfully becom- 
ing to you." 

' You must make a drawing of it for me." 

" Gladly, and you will see what progress I 
have made since the days when I used to scribble 
men's heads on your mother's tea-table. By the 



88 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

way, too, I must congratulate you. I was told 
this morning at the Minister's office that M. de 
Chaverny was to be appointed gentleman-in- 
waiting. I was delighted to hear it." 

Julie involuntarily started. Darcy continued 
without noticing this movement: "Let me be- 
speak your patronage at once. But really I am 
not altogether too pleased about your new dig- 
nity. I am afraid that you may be obliged to go 
to Saint Cloud for the summers. Then I shall 
not have the pleasure of seeing you so often." 

" I shall never go to Saint Cloud," said Julie, 
in a voice choked with emotion. 

" Ah, so much the better, for Paris, don't you 
see, is a paradise which you should never leave, 
except occasionally to go to dine in the country 
at Madame Lambert's, provided one comes home 
in the evening. How fortunate you are to live in 
Paris. You can't imagine how happy I who am 
here for perhaps a short time only am in the 
little apartment that my aunt has given to me. 
And you, so I have been told, live in the Fau- 
burg Saint-Honore. Your house was pointed 
out to me. You must have a delightful garden 
if the mania for building has not already 
changed your arbours into shops." 

" No, my garden is still untouched, thank 
Heaven." 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 89 

" What day are you at home? " 

" I am at home nearly every evening, and I 
shall be delighted if you will come to see me some- 
times." 

' You see, I am acting as if our old contract 
still continued. I am inviting myself without 
ceremony and without being officially presented. 
You will forgive me, won't you? You and Ma- 
dame Lambert are the only two whom I know in 
Paris now ; every one has forgotten me, but your 
two houses are the only ones I thought of with 
regret during my exile. Your salon especially 
must be delightful. You used to choose your 
friends so well. Do you remember the plans you 
used to make for the time when you would be 
mistress of a house? a salon that was inaccessi- 
ble to bores, music sometimes, and always conver- 
sation, and all till very late hours. No pretentious 
people, and a small number of persons who were 
perfectly well acquainted, and who consequently 
never tried to tell what was not true, nor to seek 
effect, two or three witty women (and it is im- 
possible that your friends should be otherwise), 
and your house is the most delightful in Paris. 
Yes, you are the happiest of women, and you 
make happy all those who come near you." 

Whilst Darcy was talking, Julie was thinking 
that this happiness which he so vividly described 



90 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

might have been attainable if she had been mar- 
ried to a different husband to Darcy, for in- 
stance. Instead of this imaginary salon, so ele- 
gant and so delightful, she thought of the bores 
whom Chaverny had gathered about him ; instead 
of these merry conversations, she recalled conju- 
gal scenes such as that which had sent her to 
P . She saw herself, moreover, for ever un- 
happy, and bound for life to the destiny of a man 
whom she hated and scorned; whilst he, whom 
she found the most pleasant in the world, he to 
whom she would have been glad to trust her hap- 
piness, must for ever remain a stranger to her. 
It was her duty to avoid him, to separate herself 
from him, and he was so near her that his coat 
brushed against the sleeve of her gown. 

Darcy continued for some time to depict the 
pleasures of a Parisian life with all the eloquence 
which long privation had given him. Julie in the 
meantime felt the tears streaming down her 
cheeks. She trembled lest Darcy should notice 
it, and the restraint under which she held herself 
gave added force to her emotion. She choked, 
she did not dare make the slightest movement. 
At last a sob escaped her and all was lost. She 
buried her face in her hands, half suffocated with 
tears and with shame. 

Darcy, who was wholly unprepared for it, 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 91 

was greatly astonished; for a moment he was si- 
lent with surprise, but as her sobs increased he 
felt obliged to speak and to ask the cause of her 
sudden tears. 

' What is wrong? In Heaven's name, do tell 
me what has happened." 

And, as poor Julie, in answer to all these ques- 
tions, merely covered her eyes more tightly with 
her handkerchief, he took her hands, and gently 
pushing aside the handkerchief: 

" I beg you," he said in a changed voice, 
which went to Julie's heart, " I beg you to tell 
me what the trouble is. Have I unwittingly of- 
fended you? Your silence drives me to despair." 

"Ah," cried Julie, unable to contain herself 
any longer, " I am very unhappy," and she sobbed 
more violently than ever. 

" Unhappy, why? What do you mean? 
Who could make you unhappy? " 

And so speaking he pressed her hands, and his 
head almost touched that of Julie, who wept in- 
stead of answering. Darcy did not know what 
to think, but he was touched by her tears. He felt 
six years younger, and he began to have a vision 
of the future which had not yet presented itself 
to his imagination that of the role of confidant, 
which he might possibly change to a more inti- 
mate one. 



92 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

As she persisted in giving no reply, Darcy, 
fearing that she felt faint, lowered one of the 
windows in the carriage, untied the ribbons of 
Julie's hat, and loosened her cloak and her shawl. 
Men are awkward in doing these little services. 
He wished to have the carriage stopped near a 
village, and he was already calling to the coach- 
man, when Julie, seizing him by the arm, begged 
him not to stop, and assured him that she felt 
much better. The coachman had heard nothing 
and continued to drive toward Paris. 

" But I beg you, dear Madame de Chaverny," 
said Darcy, again taking her hand, which he had 
for a moment given up, " I beg you to tell me 
what the trouble is. I am afraid ... I don't 
understand in what way I was so unfortunate as 
to hurt you." 

" Ah, you did not do it," cried Julie, and she 
gave his hand a slight pressure. 

' Well, tell me who it is who can make you 
weep. Speak to me with confidence; are we not 
old friends? " he added, smiling and in his turn 
pressing Julie's hand. 

' You were speaking of the happiness with 
which you believed I was surrounded, and this 
happiness is so far from me." 

' What, have you not every aid to happi- 
ness? You are young, rich, and beautiful; your 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 93 

husband occupies a prominent place in so- 
ciety." 

" I hate him," cried Julie, beside herself; " I 
scorn him," and she hid her face in her handker- 
chief, sobbing more bitterly than ever. 

" Oh," thought Darcy, " this is becoming 
serious." 

And skilfully taking advantage of one of the 
jolts of the carriage, he drew still closer to the un- 
fortunate Julie. 

' Why," he said to her in the softest and most 
tender voice in the world, " why do you give way 
to grief? Is it possible that a being whom you 
scorn has so much influence on your life? Why 
do you allow him, him alone to embitter your life? 
Is it from him that you must seek happiness? " 
and he kissed her hand. She at once withdrew her 
hand in terror; he feared that he had gone too far, 
but, determined to carry out his adventure to the 
end, he said with a hypocritical sigh : 

" How mistaken I was ! When I heard of 
your marriage, I thought that you really loved 
M. de Chaverny." 

" Ah, M. Darcy, you never knew me." 

And her tone said distinctly, " I have always 
loved you, and you never would see it." At that 
moment the poor woman believed in all good 
faith that she had loved Darcy the whole time, 



94 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

during the six years that had just passed, as 
deeply as she loved him at that moment. 

" And you," said Darcy, with increasing ani- 
mation, " have you ever really understood me? 
Did you ever know what my real feeling was? 
Ah! if you had only known me better, doubtless 
we should both have been happy now." 

"Ah, how unhappy I am!" repeated Julie, 
with a fresh outburst of tears, and holding his 
hand tight. 

" But even if you had understood me," con- 
tinued Darcy with that expression of ironical mel- 
ancholy which was habitual with him, " what 
would the result have been? I was penniless and 
you had a considerable fortune. Your mother 
would have rejected my offer with scorn. I was 
condemned beforehand. You, yourself, yes, you, 
Julie, before a fatal experience had shown you 
where true happiness lies, you would doubtless 
have laughed at my presumption. A well-ap- 
pointed carriage, with a count's coronet on the 
door, would doubtless have been the best and sur- 
est means of being acceptable in your sight at 
that time." 

" Good heavens, you too ! Will no one then 
have pity upon me? " 

" Forgive me, then, dear Julie," he cried, 
deeply touched himself; " forgive me, I beg you; 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 95 

forget these reproaches ; I have no right to make 
them. I am guiltier than you, but I did not know 
your real worth. I thought that you were weak, 
like the women of the world amongst whom you 
lived; I doubted your courage, dear Julie, and I 
have been cruelly punished." 

He ardently kissed her hands, and she did not 
withdraw them. He was going to press her to 
his breast, but Julie thrust him back with a terri- 
fied expression and drew away from him as far as 
the width of the carriage would allow. 

Whereupon Darcy in a voice whose very gen- 
tleness made it still more thrilling said : 

" Forgive me, I was forgetting Paris. I re- 
member now that people marry there, but they 
do not love.'* 

" Oh, yes, I love you," she murmured between 
her sobs, and she let her head fall upon Darcy's 
shoulder. 

Darcy enfolded her in his arms in an ecstasy, 
trying to stop her tears with his kisses. Once 
more she tried to free herself from his embrace, 
but this was her last effort. 



96 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 



XII 

Darcy had been mistaken as to the nature of 
his emotion; it must be said at once that he was 
not in love. He had taken advantage of a bit of 
good fortune which had seemed to throw itself at 
his head, and which was too good to be allowed to 
let pass. Moreover, like all men, he was much 
more eloquent when pleading than when thank- 
ing. However, he was polite, and politeness often 
takes the place of more worthy sentiments. When 
the first moment of intoxication was passed he 
breathed into Julie's ears tender sentiments, which 
he composed without any great difficulty, and 
which he accompanied with many kisses upon her 
hands, so saving himself from speech. He no- 
ticed without any great regret that the carriage 
had already reached the fortifications, and that 
in a few minutes he would be obliged to separate 
himself from his conquest. The silence of Ma- 
dame de Chaverny in the midst of his protesta- 
tions, the dejection in which he seemed plunged, 
rendered difficult, even tiresome, if I may dare to 
say it, the position of her new lover. She sat mo- 
tionless in the corner of her carriage, mechani- 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 97 

cally drawing her shawl tight around her shoul- 
ders. She was no longer weeping, her eyes were 
fixed, and when Darcy took her hand to kiss it, 
this hand, as soon as he released his hold, fell back 
upon her knees inertly. She did not speak and 
she scarcely heard; but torturing thoughts 
crowded in upon her brain, and if she essayed to 
express one of them, another instantly succeeded 
to seal her lips. How can I describe the chaos 
of her thoughts, or rather of those images which 
succeeded one another as rapidly as the pulsations 
of her heart ? She thought that she heard a ring- 
ing in her ears without rhyme or reason, but all 
with a terrible meaning. That morning she had 
accused her husband ; he was vile in her eyes, now 
she was a hundred times more despicable. It 
seemed to her that her shame was public ; the mis- 
tress of the Due de H would scorn her in her 

turn. Madame Lambert and all her friends 
would refuse to see her, and Darcy, did he love 
her? He scarcely knew her; he had forgotten 
her, he had not at once recognised her. Perhaps 
he had found her terribly changed. He was cold 
toward her; that was the coup de grace. Her 
infatuation for a man who scarcely knew her, who 
had not shown for her any love, . . . but 
merely politeness. It was impossible that he 
should love her. She, herself, did she love him? 



98 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

No, since she had married almost as soon as he had 
gone away. 

When the carriage entered Paris the clocks 
were striking one o'clock. At four o'clock she 
had seen Darcy for the first time. Notwithstand- 
ing their early acquaintance she had forgotten his 
features, his voice, he had been a stranger to her ; 
nine hours later she had become his mistress, nine 
hours had sufficed for the singular fascination, 
had sufficed to dishonour her in her own eyes, in 
the eyes of Darcy himself. For what could he 
think of so weak a woman? How could he help 
scorning her? 

Sometimes the gentleness of Darcy's voice, 
the tender words which he uttered revived her a 
little. Then she tried to make herself believe that 
he really felt the love of which he spoke. She had 
not so lightly surrendered herself. Their love 
had lasted since the time when Darcy had left her. 
Darcy must know that she had married only be- 
cause of the vexation which his departure had 
caused her. It was Darcy who had been to blame. 
Nevertheless he had always loved her during his 
long absence, and upon his return he had been 
happy to find her as faithful as he had been. Her 
frank avowal, her very weakness must be pleas- 
ing to Darcy, who hated dissimulation. But the 
absurdity of these arguments soon became ap- 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 99 

parent to her. These consoling thoughts van- 
ished and she was left a prey to shame and 
despair. 

At one moment she wished to give utterance 
to what she felt. She had just thought of her- 
self as being outlawed by the world and aban- 
doned by her family. After having so grievously 
given offence to her husband, her pride would not 
allow her to see him again. " Darcy loves me," 
she told herself, " and I can love no one but him; 
without him I can never be happy. I shall be 
happy everywhere with him. Let us go together 
then, to some spot where I can never see a face 
that will bring a blush to my face. Let him take 
me to Constantinople with him." 

Darcy never for an instant dreamed what was 
going on in Julie's heart. He had just noticed 
that they had turned into the street where Ma- 
dame de Chaverny lived, and he was drawing on 
his kid gloves with great calm. 

" By the way," he said, " I must be officially 
presented to M. de Chaverny. I have no doubt 
that we shall soon be good friends, as I am pre- 
sented by Madame Lambert. I shall be on a 
pleasant footing in your house. In the meantime, 
as he is in the country, I may come to see you? " 

Speech entirely failed Julie. Every word 
that Darcy uttered cut her to the quick. How 



100 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

could she talk of flight, of elopement with this 
man who was so calm, so cool, and whose one 
thought was to arrange his liaison in the most con- 
venient manner possible? In her rage she broke 
the necklace she wore, and twisted the chain be- 
tween her fingers. The carriage stopped at the 
door of her house; Darcy was very attentive in 
wrapping her shawl around her and helping her 
to readjust her hat. When the carriage-door was 
opened, he very respectfully offered her his arm, 
but Julie stepped out without help from him. 

" I shall beg permission," he said with a deep 
bow, " to call to inquire for you." 

" Good-bye," said Julie in a choked voice. 

Darcy once more got into his carriage and 
drove home, w r histling with the air of a man who 
is well pleased with his day's work. 



XIII 

As soon as he found himself once more in his 
bachelor apartments Darcy got into a Turkish 
dressing-gown, put on slippers, and having filled 
with Turkish tobacco his long pipe with the brier- 
wood stem and amber mouthpiece, he settled him- 
self down to enjoy it, leaning back in a great 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 101 

leather-covered arm-chair which was comfortably 
padded. To those persons who may be astonished 
at seeing him engaged in this vulgar occupation 
at a moment when he might perhaps be given up 
to more poetical dreams, I will answer that a good 
pipe is a useful, not to say necessary, adjunct to 
reverie, and that the truest way of really enjoying 
a pleasure is to connect it with some other pleas- 
ure. One of my friends, a very luxurious man, 
never used to open a letter from his mistress with- 
out having first taken off his necktie, stirred up 
the fire, if it were winter-time, and comfortably 
stretched himself out on the sofa. 

" Really," said Darcy to himself, " I should 
have been a great idiot if I had followed Tyrrel's 
advice and bought a Greek slave to bring her 
back to Paris. On my word, that would have 
been, as my friend Haleb-Effendi used to say, 
bringing figs to Damascus. Thank fortune, civ- 
ilisation has made great progress during my ab- 
sence, and strictness does not seem to have been 
carried to excess. Poor Chaverny! ah! ah! if, 
however, I had been rich enough a few years ago, 
I should have married Julie, and perhaps it would 
have been Chaverny who would have brought her 
home to-night. If ever I marry, I shall have my 
wife's carriage frequently overhauled, so that she 
will have no need of wandering knights to rescue 



102 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

her from ditches. Let us consider the matter. 
Taking it all in all, she is a very pretty woman; 
she is witty, and if I were not as old as I am, I 
should be inclined to think that it is owing to my 
own great merit. . . . Ah! my own great 
merit. . . . Alas! in a month perhaps my 
merit will be on a level with that of the gentle- 
man with the moustache. How I wish that that 
little Nastasia whom I liked so much had been 
able to read and write, and been able to talk about 
things with intelligent people; for I think she 
is the only woman who really loved me. Poor 
child ! " His pipe went out and he soon fell 
asleep. 

XIV 

When Madame de Chaverny entered her own 
apartments, she made a powerful effort to con- 
trol herself to tell her maid in a natural voice that 
she did not need her, and wished to be left alone. 
As soon as this servant had gone out she threw 
herself upon her bed and there she began to weep 
all the more bitterly, now that she was alone, since 
Darcy's presence had obliged her to keep herself 
under control. 

Night certainly has a great influence on moral 
as well as physical suffering. It gives a gloomy 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 103 

tinge to everything, and ideas, which in the day- 
time would seem harmless or even pleasant, trou- 
ble and torture us at night just like the spectres 
which have no power except in the darkness. It 
seems that in the night-time our thoughts in- 
crease in activity and that reason loses its sway, 
a sort of inner phantasmagoria disturbs and 
frightens us without our being able to cast aside 
the cause of our fear or to calmly examine its 
reality. 

Picture then poor Julie stretched out upon 
her bed, half dressed, ceaselessly tossing about, 
sometimes a prey to burning heat, sometimes 
shivering with cold, starting at the slightest 
cracking of the woodwork, and hearing distinctly 
every heart-beat. All that she was aware of was 
an indescribable anguish, the cause of which she 
sought in vain. Then suddenly the memory of 
the fatal evening flashed into her mind as quick 
as lightning, and with it there came a sharp, fierce 
pain like that which a red-hot iron would produce 
if applied to a freshly healed wound. 

Sometimes she looked at her lamp, noticing 
with dull attention all the flickerings of the flame 
until the tears which gathered in her eyes, she 
knew not why, dimmed the light before her. 

" Why these tears? " she said to herself. 
" Ah! I have lost my honour I " 



104 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

Sometimes she counted the balls of the fringe 
of her bed-curtains, but she could never remember 
the number. ' What can this madness be? " she 
thought to herself. " Madness? yes! for an hour 
ago I abandoned myself like a miserable courte- 
san to a man whom I do not know." Then with 
dull eye she followed the hands of her watch with 
the anxiety of a condemned man who sees the 
hour of his execution approaching. ' Three 
hours ago," she said to herself with a sudden start, 
" I was with him, and I have lost my honour." 

She spent the whole night in this feverish agi- 
tation. When day dawned she opened her win- 
dow and the fresh, sharp morning air brought her 
a little relief. Leaning out of her window, which 
opened into her garden, she breathed in the cold 
air with a certain enjoyment. Little by little her 
ideas became less confused. To the vague tor- 
ture and delirium which had agitated her there 
succeeded a concentrated despair which by com- 
parison seemed a repose of spirit. 

She must come to some decision, so she tried 
to think of what she must do, but not once did she 
think of seeing Darcy again. That seemed to 
her perfectly impossible. She would have died of 
shame upon seeing him. She must leave Paris, or 
in two days all the world would be pointing the 
finger of scorn at her. Her mother was at Nice ; 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 105 

she would go to her, would confess all to her ; then 
after having poured out her confession upon her 
breast, she would have only one thing to do, and 
that was to seek out some lonely spot in Italy, un- 
known to travellers, where she would go to live 
alone and ere long die. When once she had taken 
this resolution she felt quieter. She sat down be- 
fore a little table in front of the window, and with 
her head in his hands she wept. This time with- 
out bitterness. But at last fatigue and exhaustion 
overcame her and she fell asleep, or rather for 
nearly an hour she ceased all thought. She wak- 
ened with a feverish shudder. The weather had 
changed. The sky was gray, and a fine, cold rain 
foretold a cold, wet day. Julie rang for her maid. 
" My mother is ill," she said. " I must leave at 
once for Xice. Pack my trunk; I must leave in 
an hour." 

" Oh, my lady, what is wrong? Are you not 
ill? My lady did not go to bed! " cried the maid, 
surprised and alarmed at the change which she 
saw in her mistress. 

" I wish to leave," said Julie impatiently, 
" It is absolutely necessary that I leave. Pack a 
trunk for me." 

In our modern civilisation it is not sufficient 
simply to will it to go from one place to another ; 
one has to pack, carry boxes, and busy oneself 



106 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

with a hundred tiresome preparations, which are 
enough to take away all desire to travel. But 
Julie's impatience greatly shortened all these 
necessary delays. She went and came from room 
to room, helped herself in packing the trunks, 
crushing in hats and dresses that were usually so 
carefully handled. Nevertheless, all her activity 
served rather to delay her servants than to help 
them on. 

" My lady has doubtless told M. de Cha- 
verny? " the maid timidly asked. 

Julie without answering took a sheet of pa- 
per. She wrote: " My mother is ill at Nice; I am 
going to her." She folded the paper, but she 
could not make up her mind to write the address 
upon it. 

Whilst she was in the midst of preparing to 
depart a servant entered. 

" M. de Chateaufort asks if my lady is receiv- 
ing. There is also another gentleman who came 
at the same time, whom I do not know. Here is 
his card." 

She read: " E. Darcy, Secretary of the Em- 
bassy." She could scarcely suppress a cry. 

" I am not at home to any one," she cried. 
" Say that I am ill; do not say that I am going 
away." 

She could not understand how Chateaufort 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 107 

and Darcy were coming at the same time to see 
her, and in her confusion she did not for a moment 
doubt that Darcy had already chosen Chateau- 
fort as his confidant. Nothing was more simple, 
however, than their simultaneous appearance. 
Led there by the same reason, they had met at the 
door, and after having exchanged exceedingly 
cool salutations, they had inwardly cursed each 
other with all their hearts. 

Having received the servant's message, they 
went down the stairway together, bowed once 
more, even more coldly than before, and sepa- 
rated, each going in an opposite direction. 

Chateaufort had noticed the particular atten- 
tion which Madame de Chaverny had shown 
Darcy, and from that moment he had been filled 
with hate for him. For his part, Darcy, who 
prided himself upon reading faces, had not no- 
ticed Chateaufort's air of constraint and vexation 
without concluding that he was in love with Julie, 
and since as a diplomat he was inclined to put the 
worst construction upon things a priori, he had 
very lightly supposed that Julie was not cruel 
toward Chateaufort. 

" That strange flirt," he said to himself, " did 
not wish to receive us together for fear of having 
an interview like that in the ' Misanthrope,' but I 
should have been very dull indeed if I could not 



have found some excuse for out-staying this 
young fop. Certainly if I had just waited until 
he had had his back turned I should have been ad- 
mitted to her presence, for I hold over him the un- 
questionable advantage of novelty." 

So thinking, he stopped, then he turned back, 
then he went again to Madame de Chaverny's 
door. Chateaufort, who had also turned round 
several times to observe him, retraced his steps 
and stationed himself like a sentinel a short dis- 
tance away to watch him. 

Darcy said to the servant, who looked sur- 
prised at seeing him again, that he had forgotten 
to give him a line for his mistress, that it was an 
urgent matter, and had to do with a message 
which a lady had given to him for Madame de 
Chaverny. Remembering that Julie understood 
English, he wrote in pencil upon his card: " Begs 
leave to ask when he can show to Madame de 
Chaverny his Turkish album." He handed his 
card to the servant and said he would wait for an 
answer. 

This answer was a long time in coming. At 
last the servant came back and seemed much 
troubled. " My mistress," he said, " fainted a 
few moments ago and is not well enough now to 
give you an answer." 

All this had lasted just about half an hour. 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 109 

Darcy had small belief in the account of Madame 
de Chaverny's fainting, but it was perfectly evi- 
dent that she did not wish to see him. He ac- 
cepted his fate philosophically, and remembering 
that he had some visits to make in the neighbour- 
hood, he left without being otherwise put about 
by this contretemps. 

Chateaufort awaited him in furious anxiety, 
and seeing him pass he did not for a moment 
doubt that he was a successful rival, and he vowed 
that upon the first occasion he would avenge him- 
self upon the faithless woman and her companion 
in guilt. Commandant Perrin, whom he very 
opportunely met, listened to his tale and con- 
soled him as best he could, not without arguing 
with him the probable groundlessness of his sus- 
picions. 

XV 

Julie had really fainted when she received 
Darcy's second card. Her swoon had been fol- 
lowed by a hemorrhage which had greatly weak- 
ened her. Her maid had sent for the doctor, but 
Julie obstinately refused to see him. About four 
o'clock the post-chaise came, her trunks had 
been strapped on, everything was ready for her 
departure. Julie stepped into her coach, cough- 



110 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

ing terribly, and in a pitiable state. During the 
whole evening and the whole night she spoke 
only to the servant who was on the box, and then 
merely to tell him to have the postilions urge 
on the horses. She continued to cough and 
seemed to suffer great distress in her chest; she 
was so weak that she fainted when the door was 
opened. They took her into a wretched inn, 
where they put her to bed. The village doctor 
was called in. He found her in a raging fever 
and forbade her to continue her journey. Nev- 
ertheless, she was still anxious to go on. In the 
evening she became delirious and all her symp- 
toms were more unfavourable. She talked inces- 
santly and with great rapidity, so that it was 
difficult to understand her. The names of 
Darcy, Chateaufort and of Madame Lambert 
frequently recurred in her incoherent sentences. 
The maid wrote to M. de Chaverny to tell him 
of his wife's illness, but she was nearly thirty 
leagues from Paris. Chaverny was hunting with 
the Due de H , and her illness was making 
such progress that it was doubtful if he could 
arrive in time. 

The man-servant in the meantime had gone 
on horseback to a neighbouring town and had 
brought back a doctor. The latter found fault 
with his confrere's treatment, said that he had 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 111 

been called in very late and that her condition 
was very serious. 

Her delirium disappeared toward daybreak, 
and she then fell into a deep sleep. When she 
awoke two or three days later, she seemed to have 
great difficulty in remembering by what series 
of events she found herself in bed in the 
wretched sleeping-room of the inn. Neverthe- 
less, her memory soon returned. She said that 
she felt better and she even spoke of setting out 
again the next day. Then after having seemed 
to meditate for a long time, with her hand 
pressed to her forehad, she called for ink and 
paper and tried to write. Her maid saw her be- 
gin letters which she always tore up after she had 
written the first few words. At the same time 
she charged them to burn the scraps of paper. 
The maid noticed on several of the scraps this 
word: " Sir," which seemed to her very extraor- 
dinary, she said, for she thought that her mistress 
was writing to her mother or to her husband. 
On another bit of paper she read : ' You must 
indeed scorn me." For nearly half an hour she 
made vain efforts to write this letter which 
seemed to be weighing upon her mind. At last, 
prevented by her extreme exhaustion from con- 
tinuing, she pushed away the desk that they had 
placed upon her bed, and said with a bewildered 



112 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

air to her maid: ;< Write yourself to M. 
Darcy." 

" What must I write, my lady? " asked the 
maid, convinced that her delirium was return- 
ing. " Write to him that he does not know me 
and that I do not know him." 

And she fell back exhausted upon her pillow. 

These were the last connected words that she 
spoke. Her delirium returned and did not leave 
her. She died the next day without any great 
apparent suffering. 



XVI 

Chaverny arrived three days after the burial. 
His grief seemed deep and real and all the vil- 
lagers wept as they saw him standing in the 
graveyard looking down upon the freshly turned 
earth which covered his wife's coffin. At first he 
wished to have her body taken up and carried to 
Paris, but as the Mayor had objected and the 
notary had warned him that there would be end- 
less formalities, he contented himself with order- 
ing a costly gravestone and making arrange- 
ments for the erection of a handsome but chaste 
monument. 

Chateaufort was much touched by this sud- 



THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 113 

den death. He declined several ball invitations 
and for some time he wore nothing but black. 



XVII 

Society gave several accounts of Madame de 
Chaverny's death. According to some she had 
a vision, or, if you prefer it, a presentiment that 
her mother was ill. She had been so impressed 
by it that she had at once set out for Nice, in 
spite of a heavy cold which she had caught on the 
way home from Madame Lambert's, and this 
cold had run on into pneumonia. Others who 
showed more penetration said, with a mysterious 
air, that Madame de Chaverny, not being able 
to conceal the love which she really felt for M. 
de Chateaufort, had wished to go to her mother 
to seek courage to resist her temptation, and that 
the cold and pneumonia were a result of her 
hurried departure. Upon this point all were 
agreed. 

Darcy never spoke of her. Three or four 
months after her death he married well. When 
his marriage was announced to Madame Lam- 
bert, she said as she was congratulating him: 

" Really, your wife is charming, and no one 
but my poor dear Julie could have been so well 



114 THE DOUBLE MISTAKE 

suited to you. What a pity that you were too 
poor for her when she married." 

Darcy smiled with his habitual ironical smile, 
but he made no answer. 

These two hearts who had failed to under- 
stand each other were, perhaps, made one for the 
other. 

1833. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 

Les 'Ames du Purgatoire 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 

CICERO has said somewhere, I think it 
is in his treatise, " On the Nature of the 
Gods," that there were many Jupiters 
a Jupiter in Crete, another at Olympus, another 
somewhere else; so that in all Greece there was 
not a city of any importance whatever that did 
not possess a Jupiter of her own. From all these 
a single Jupiter has arisen, and to him have been 
attributed all the adventures of his namesakes. 
It is this fact which accounts for the prodigious 
number of exploits imputed to this god. 

The same confusion has obtained concerning 
Don Juan, a personage whose celebrity ap- 
proaches closely to that of Jupiter. Seville alone 
claimed several Don Juans, and many another 
city had hers. In the beginning, each had his 
distinct legend, but in the course of time all be- 
came merged into one. 

Upon close examination, however, it is not 
difficult to assign to each his own share in the 
mythical story, or, at least, to distinguish two of 
these heroes, to wit : Don Juan Tenorio, who, as 

117 



118 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

every one knows, was carried away by a marble 
statue ; and Don Juan de Marana, whose end was 
quite different. 

The stories told of the lives of both men are 
very nearly the same; it is the conclusion alone 
that distinguishes them. There is an ending to 
suit every taste, like the productions of Ducis, 
which conclude happily or otherwise, according 
to the sensitiveness of the reader. 

As to the truth of this story, or rather of 
these two stories, there is no question, and the local 
patriotism of the Sevillians would be deeply of- 
fended were we to doubt the existence of these 
scapegraces, who have cast suspicion upon the 
genealogy of their most aristocratic families. 
The home of Don Juan Tenorio is still pointed 
out to strangers, and no friend of art has ever 
been to Seville without visiting the Church de la 
Caridad. There he will have seen the tomb of the 
Caballero de Marana, with this inscription, in- 
spired by his humility, or if one prefers, by his 
pride: Aqui yace el peor hombre que fue en el 
mundo. After seeing this, how could it be possi- 
ble to doubt? 

It is true that your guide, after conducting 
you to these two monuments, will go on to tell 
you how Don Juan (which one, is not known) 
made extraordinary overtures to Giralda, the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 119 

bronze statue which surmounts the Moorish tower 
of the Cathedral; and how Giralda accepted 
them ; and how, mellow with wine, Don Juan was 
strolling along the left bank of the Guadalquivir 
and asked a light of a man who was walking on 
the right bank smoking a cigar; and how the 
smoker's arm ( for it was no other than the devil 
himself) became longer and longer until it 
reached across the river, and presented his cigar 
to Don Juan, who lighted his own without so 
much as moving a muscle, and so hardened was 
he, that he failed to profit by the warning, 
and . . . 

I have endeavoured to give to each of these 
Don Juans the share which belongs to him in 
their common career of wickedness and crime. 
For want of a better way, I have made a studious 
effort to relate of my hero, Don Juan de Marana, 
only such adventures as do not, by right of pre- 
scription, belong to Don Juan Tenorio, so famil- 
iar to us in the works of Moliere and Mozart. 

Count Don Carlos de Marana was one of the 
richest and most highly respected noblemen of 
Seville. He was of illustrious birth, and in the 
war against the Moors he gave proof that he had 
lost none of the courage of his ancestors. After 
the Alpuxarres had been reduced to submission, 



120 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

he returned to Seville with a scar upon his brow 
and a multitude of children captured from the 
infidels. These he took care to have baptised, 
after which he sold them at a profit into Chris- 
tian homes. 

His wounds proved no obstacle to his winning 
the love of a young girl of good family, who gave 
him the preference over many other suitors. Of 
this marriage several daughters were born, some 
of whom married in the course of time, and the 
others took the vocation of religion. Don Carlos 
de Marana was beginning to despair of ever hav- 
ing an heir, when the birth of a son overwhelmed 
him with joy and revived his hope that the old 
estate would not revert to a collateral branch of 
the family. 

Don Juan, this son so fondly desired, and the 
hero of this true story, was indulged by his par- 
ents as the only son and heir to a famous name 
and an immense fortune should be. While still a 
child he was almost absolute master of his own 
actions and in his father's palace no one would 
have had the hardihood to contradict him. To 
be sure, his mother wished him to be pious, as she 
herself was, and his father desired his son to be 
brave like himself. The former, by means of pet- 
ting and sweetmeats, succeeded in having the 
child learn the litany, the rosary, in fact, all the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 121 

prayers of the Church, both required and volun- 
tary. She lulled him to sleep at night by reading 
religious legends. His father, on the other hand, 
taught his son the romances of the Cid and of 
Bernard del Carpio; he told him of the revolt of 
the Moors, and encouraged him to practise daily 
throwing the javelin, shooting the cross-bow or 
even the arquebus, at a figure dressed as a Moor 
which he had had made and placed at the end of 
the garden. 

In the oratory of the Countess de Marana 
was a picture painted in the heavy, severe style of 
Morales, which portrayed the torments of pur- 
gatory. Every sort of punishment which the 
painter had been able to imagine was depicted 
with such realism that the torturer of the Inqui- 
sition would have found in it nothing to criticise. 
The souls in purgatory were represented as con- 
fined in a monstrous cavern, at the top of which 
was an opening. Beside this opening stood an 
angel, grasping the hand of a soul who was leav- 
ing this abode of sorrows, while kneeling at one 
side of the angel was an aged man with a chaplet 
in his hands, which were clasped together in an 
attitude of fervent prayer. This man was the 
donor of the picture, which he had had painted for 
a church in Huesca. During the revolution, the 
Moors had set fire to the town; the church was 



122 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

burned, but the picture was miraculously pre- 
served. The Count de Marana had brought it 
home with him and had used it to embellish his 
wife's oratory. When little Juan entered his 
mother's apartment he usually stood a long time 
in silent contemplation before this picture, which 
terrified and at the same time fascinated him. 
There was one man especially from whom he 
could not turn away, a man at whose entrails a 
serpent seemed to gnaw, as he hung suspended by 
hooks caught in his side over a glowing brasier. 
With beseeching eyes lifted to the opening of the 
cave, the victim seemed to beg the donor for pray- 
ers to rescue him from such an agony of suffer- 
ing. The Countess never failed to explain to her 
son that the unfortunate man was enduring this 
punishment because he had not learned his cate- 
chism, or because he had mocked at a priest, or had 
been inattentive in church. The soul, flying away 
toward Paradise, had belonged to a relative of the 
Marana family. He had, no doubt, a few petty 
offences to expiate, but Count de Marana had 
prayed for him, he had paid a great deal of 
money to the priests to ransom him from fire and 
torment, so that he had had the satisfaction of 
sending his relative's soul to Paradise before he 
had been in purgatory long enough to become 
tired of it. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 123 

" Nevertheless, Juanito," added the Countess, 
" perhaps I shall suffer like that some day, and I 
shall have to remain in purgatory millions of 
years unless you remember to have masses said 
to get me out! How dreadful it would be to 
leave in torment the mother who has cherished 
you ! " At this the child would weep, and 
if he had a few coins in his pocket he would 
hasten to give them to the collector who took 
care of the money-box for the souls in pur- 
gatory. 

When he visited his father's room he saw ar- 
mour scarred with the indentations of arquebus- 
balls, a helmet which the Count de Marana had 
worn at the siege of Almeria, and which bore the 
impress of a Mussulman's axe. Moorish lances 
and sabres and standards, captured from the infi- 
dels, decorated the apartment. 

" This cimeter," said the Count, " I took 
from the Cadi de Vejer, who struck me with it 
three times before I took his life. This banner 
was carried by the rebels from the mountain of 
Elvire. They had just sacked a Christian village ; 
I hurried thither with twenty knights to meet 
them. Four times I tried to penetrate their bat- 
talion in order to capture that standard; four 
times was I driven back. The fifth time I made 
the sign of the cross. I cried: ' Saint James! ' 



124 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

and plunged into the ranks of the pagans. And 
do you see this golden cup which I have here with 
my armour? A Moorish alfaqui had stolen it 
from a church in which he had been guilty of a 
thousand sacrileges. His horses had eaten their 
barley on the altar, and his soldiers had scattered 
the bones of the saints. The alfaqui was drinking 
sherbet from this cup, and I surprised him in his 
tent just as he was carrying the sacred vessel to 
his lips. Before he could swallow the drink or 
had time to say, ' Allah ! ' with this good sword 
I cut off the shaven head of the dog, and the blade 
sank through to the teeth. In recognition of this 
act of righteous vengeance the King permitted 
me to bear a golden cup with my armour. I tell 
you these things, Juanito, that you may relate it 
to your children, so that they may know why your 
coat of arms is not exactly like your grandfa- 
ther's, which you see there painted beneath his 
portrait." 

Divided between war and religion, the child 
passed his time in making little crosses carved 
from laths, or else, armed with a wooden sword, 
he waged war in the garden against the pump- 
kins, the form of which, in his opinion, bore a 
strong resemblance to the heads of Moors draped 
in their turbans. 

By the time he was eighteen, Don Juan could 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 125 

translate Latin only tolerably well, he could assist 
the priest at mass very intelligently, and he han- 
dled the rapier and the sword better than the Cid 
himself had done. His father, thinking that a 
gentleman of the house of Marana should acquire 
other accomplishments than these, decided to send 
him to Salamanca. The preparations for the 
journey were soon made. His mother gave him 
numerous rosaries, scapulars, and medals which 
had been blessed by the Pope. She also taught 
him many prayers, which would be of special effi- 
cacy in a multitude of life's vicissitudes. His 
father presented him with a sword, whose hilt of 
damascened silver was ornamented with the fam- 
ily coat of arms. He said to him : 

" Hitherto you have associated only with chil- 
dren ; you are now going to live among men. Re- 
member that the most precious possession of a 
gentleman is his honour; and your honour is the 
honour of the house of Marana. Perish the last 
scion of our family rather than let a blemish stain 
our honour! Take this sword ; if you are at- 
tacked, it will defend you. Never be the first to 
draw it, but remember that no ancestor of yours 
ever returned his sword to the scabbard until he 
had conquered and was avenged." 

Thus fortified with arms both spiritual and 
temporal, the descendant of the house of Marana 



126 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

mounted his horse and left the home of his 
fathers. 

The University of Salamanca was at that time 
at the zenith of its glory. Never had its students 
been more numerous, never its professors more 
erudite ; but never also had the citizens been made 
to suffer so much from the insolence of the unruly 
youths who lived, or rather who reigned in their 
city. Serenades, charivaris, every sort of noctur- 
nal revelry these were everyday occurrences, 
the monotony of which was relieved from time to 
time by an abduction of women or young girls, 
by a robbery or an assault and battery. 

When he first arrived in Salamanca, Don 
Juan spent a few days presenting letters of intro- 
duction to his father's friends, calling to see his 
professors, visiting the churches, and examining 
the sacred relics which they contained. In obe- 
dience to his father's wish, he deposited with one 
of the professors a considerable sum of money to 
be distributed among the needy students. This 
act of liberality had a tremendous success and won 
him immediately a host of friends. 

Don Juan was ambitious to acquire learning. 
He determined to hear every word that fell from 
the lips of his professors, as he would listen to the 
inspired Gospel ; and he desired to sit as near the 
desk as possible so that not a syllable might escape 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 127 

him. Entering the class-room for the first time he 
observed, as close to the professor as he could 
wish, a vacant seat, which he took. A dirty, un- 
kempt student, clad in rags, like so many in the 
universities, raised his eyes from his book for a 
moment and stared at Don Juan with an expres- 
sion of stupefied amazement. 

" Are you going to take that seat? " said he, 
and his voice expressed something akin to terror. 
" Are you aware that Don Garcia Navarro usu- 
ally sits there? " 

Don Juan replied that he had always heard 
that the seats were free to the first occupant, and 
finding this one vacant he supposed he might take 
it unless Senor Don Garcia had asked his neigh- 
bour to reserve it for him. 

' You are a stranger here, I can see that," 
said the student, " and you must have arrived very 
recently, since you do not know Don Garcia. I 
will tell you, then, that he is one of the most " 

Here the student lowered his voice as if he 
were afraid of being heard by the other stu- 
dents. 

" Don Garcia is a terrible man. Woe to any 
one who offends him! His patience is short, but 
his sword is long, and you may be sure if any one 
sits in a place that Don Garcia has twice occu- 
pied, that is sufficient ground for a quarrel, for 



128 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

he is extremely touchy and irritable. When he 
quarrels he strikes, and when he strikes he kills. 
Now then, I have warned you and you can do as 
you please about it." 

Don Juan thought it most extraordinary that 
this Don Garcia should pretend to reserve the best 
seats for himself without taking the trouble to 
merit them by being punctual. At the same time 
he noticed that several students were staring at 
him, and he realised that it would be embarrassing 
to vacate the seat now that he had occupied it. On 
the other hand, he by no means wished to have a 
quarrel on his hands so soon after his arrival, and 
especially with a man so dangerous as this Don 
Garcia appeared to be. He was in this perplex- 
ing attitude, uncertain what to do, and still re- 
maining instinctively where he was, when a stu- 
dent entered the room and came straight toward 
him. 

" Here comes Don Garcia," said his neigh- 
bour. 

This Garcia was a strapping, broad-shoul- 
dered young fellow, with swarthy complexion, a 
spirited eye, and a scornful expression of the 
mouth. He wore a shabby doublet, which once 
must have been black, and a ragged cloak. Out- 
side of these garments hung a long gold chain. 
It is well known that from time out of mind the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 129 

students of Salamanca, and indeed, of all the 
Spanish universities, have considered it a point of 
honour to appear in rags and tatters, intending 
thus to demonstrate probably that genuine worth 
is able to dispense with the adornments which 
wealth can give. 

Don Garcia approached the place where Don 
Juan was seated and greeted him with the utmost 
courtesy. 

" Fellow-student," said he, " you have recent- 
ly come among us, and yet your name is perfectly 
familiar to me. Our fathers have been good 
friends, and, if it is agreeable to you, their sons 
will be good friends also." 

While speaking in this way, he extended his 
hand with the greatest cordiality. Don Juan, 
who was expecting an altogether different recep- 
tion, met Don Garcia's politeness with a cordial- 
ity equal to his own, and replied that he should 
feel highly honoured by the friendship of such a 
gentleman as himself. 

' You are not yet familiar with Salamanca," 
continued Don Garcia, " and if you will accept 
me as your guide, I shall be delighted to show you 
everything there is to see in this place, from the 
cedar even unto the hyssop." Then, turning to 
the student who was seated beside Don Juan: 
" Come, Perico, get you gone. Do you think a 



130 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

booby like you ought to sit so near the Senor Don 
Juan de Marana? " 

And with this he pushed him roughly away, 
and took the seat which the student abandoned 
without delay. 

At the close of the lecture Don Garcia gave 
his address to his new acquaintance and made him 
promise to come to see him. Then with a cordial 
and familiar parting salutation, he left the room, 
drawing about him gracefully, as he went, his 
cloak, which was as full of holes as a pock-marked 
face. 

Don Juan, carrying his books under his arm, 
had lingered in one of the corridors of the build- 
ing to examine the old inscriptions that covered 
the walls, when he noticed that the student who 
had just spoken to him was approaching, as if he 
also wished to look at the inscriptions. After 
bowing slightly, to show that he recognised him, 
Don Juan was about to leave, but the student 
touched him on his sleeve as if to stop him. 

" Senor Don Juan," said he, " if you are not 
in a hurry, would you be good enough to grant 
me a moment's interview? " 

' Willingly," replied Don Juan, and leaning 
back against a pillar, said: " I am listening." 

Perico looked anxiously on all sides, as if 
afraid of being seen, and came very close to Don 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 131 

Juan so that he might whisper, a useless precau- 
tion, it seemed, for no one but themselves was in 
the vast Gothic corridor. After a moment's 
hesitation : 

" Could you tell me, Senor Don Juan," asked 
the student in a low and almost trembling voice, 
" could you tell me if your father really knew 
Don Garcia Navarro's father? " 

Don Juan gave a start of surprise. " You 
heard Don Garcia say so but a moment ago." 

' Yes," replied the student, speaking in a still 
lower tone, " but have you ever heard your father 
say that he was acquainted with Senor Navarro? " 

1 Yes, of course I have, and he was with him 
in the war against the Moors." 

' Very well ; but have you ever heard that that 
gentleman had a son? " 

" Indeed, I have never paid much attention 
to what my father may have said about him. 
But what is the object of these questions? Is 
not Don Garcia Senor Navarre's son? Is he a 
bastard?" 

" I swear before Heaven that I said nothing 
of the kind," cried the terrified student, peering 
behind the column against which Don Juan was 
leaning. " I only meant to ask whether you had 
heard an extraordinary story that many people 
tell about this Don Garcia? " 



132 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

" I have never heard a word of it," said Don 
Juan. 

"It is said mark that I only repeat what I 
have heard it is said that Don Diego Xavarro 
had a son who, when he was six or seven years old, 
fell ill of so strange and serious a malady that the 
physicians did not know what remedies to admin- 
ister. Then the father, who had no other child, 
sent rich gifts to many churches, and carried the 
sick boy to touch the sacred relics, but all in vain. 
At last one day, in despair, I have been assured- 
one day while he was looking at a picture of Saint 
Michel he exclaimed: * Since you are unable to 
cure my son, I'll see whether the person under 
your feet has not more power than you.' ' 

'What abominable blasphemy!" cried Don 
Juan, scandalised to the last degree. 

" After a little while the child recovered and 
that child was is Don Garcia!" 

" So ever since then Don Garcia has been the 
devil incarnate," said Don Garcia himself, shout- 
ing with laughter, appearing at this moment from 
behind a pillar, where he must have overheard the 
conversation. 

' Indeed, Perico," said he coldly and scorn- 
fully to the terror-stricken student, " if you were 
not such a sneaking coward, I should make you 
repent your audacity in speaking of me. Seiior 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 133 

Don Juan," he continued, speaking to Marana, 
" when you are better acquainted with us, you will 
not waste your time listening to this gossip. And, 
see here, to prove that I am not such a devil of a 
fellow, do me the honour to accompany me at 
once to Saint Peter's Church ; after we have con- 
cluded our devotions there I shall invite you to 
join me and several of my comrades at a poor 
dinner." 

At these words he took Don Juan's arm. The 
latter, mortified that he had been surprised listen- 
ing to Perico's strange story, accepted with alac- 
rity the invitation of his new friend to prove that 
the scandal he had just heard had made no im- 
pression upon him. 

After entering the church of Saint Peter, Don 
Juan and Don Garcia knelt before an altar, 
around which were gathered an immense crowd 
of the faithful. Don Juan repeated his prayers 
in a low tone ; and, although he remained a suita- 
ble length of time in this pious occupation, he 
found when he raised his head that his comrade 
seemed to be still lost in religious ecstasy ; his lips 
were moving softly; he was evidently not half 
through with his devotions. Somewhat ashamed 
of having finished so soon, Don Juan began to 
recite in a whisper all the litanies that he could 
recall. The litanies despatched, Don Garcia had 



134 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

not budged. Don Juan went mechanically 
through several minor prayers; then, seeing that 
his companion had not yet stirred, he thought it 
would be permissible for him to look round about 
him a little to pass the time while waiting for the 
termination of this unending orison. Three 
women who were kneeling upon Turkish rugs im- 
mediately attracted his attention. One, judging 
from her age, her spectacles, and the venerable 
amplitude of her head-dress, could be no other 
than the duenna. The other two were young and 
pretty, and did not bow their eyes so low over 
their beads that they might not be seen to be large 
and brilliant. Don Juan found it delightful to 
look at one especially; more delightful, indeed, 
than it ought to have been in such a holy place. 
Forgetting his comrade's prayers, he nudged him 
on the arm, and asked in a whisper who was the 
young lady who carried a chaplet of amber beads. 

Don Garcia did not seem at all shocked at the 
interruption, and replied : 

" She is Dona Teresa de Ojeda; and the other 
one is Dona Fausta, her elder sister, daughters of 
an Auditor of the Court of Castile. I am in love 
with the elder ; see if you can't fall in love with the 
younger sister. See," he added, " they are just 
rising and are going to leave the church; let us 
hurry and see them get into their carriage; per- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 135 

haps the wind will blow their skirts so that we may 
catch a glimpse of one or two pretty ankles." 

Don Juan was so intoxicated by the beauty of 
Dona Teresa that he did not notice the coarseness 
of this language, and following Don Garcia to 
the church door he watched the two young noble- 
women enter their coach and drive away from the 
church square, whence they turned into one of the 
most fashionable streets. After disappearing 
around the corner Don Garcia, jamming his hat 
on his head sidewise, cried gaily: 

' There go two charming girls! Damn me, 
if the elder isn't mine before the end of the week ! 
And how about you, have you made any progress 
with the younger? " 

'What! Progress?" answered Don Juan, 
innocently. ' Why, this is the first time I ever 
saw her! " 

" A good reason, to be sure! " exclaimed Don 
Garcia. " How much longer do you suppose I 
have known Dona Fausta? To-day, however, I 
sent her a note which she took very kindly." 

" A note? But I did not see you write one! " 

" I always carry them with me ready writ- 
ten ; so long as no name is attached they will serve 
for any one. Only be careful not to use compro- 
mising allusions to the colour of one's hair or 
eyes. So long as you keep to sighs and tears and 



136 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

fears, all of them, brunettes or blondes, young 
girls or married women, will take them in good 
part!" 

With chatter of this kind Don Garcia and 
Don Juan reached the house where dinner await- 
ed them. It was a popular resort of the students 
and the food was more plentiful than elegant and 
varied. There was no end of highly seasoned 
stews and salt meats; all kinds of food to excite 
thirst. There was, besides, an abundance of wines 
from La Manche and Andalusia. Several stu- 
dents, friends of Don Garcia, were waiting for 
him to come. They sat down at the table imme- 
diately, and for some time no other sounds were 
heard but the crunching of food and the jingle of 
the glasses striking against the decanters. After 
a while the wine having put the diners in a good 
humour, conversation began and became loud and 
boisterous. The talk was of nothing but duels, 
love affairs, and student escapades. One told 
how he had gotten the better of his landlady by 
moving out the night before the day when his 
rent was due. Another had ordered from a wine 
merchant several bottles of valdepenas in the 
name of one of the most austere professors in the 
School of Theology; he had been cunning enough 
to confiscate the bottles, leaving the professor to 
settle the account if he wished. One had as- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 137 

saulted the watchman; another, by means of a 
ladder, had made a visit to his mistress, notwith- 
standing the watchfulness of a jealous lover. 
Don Juan at first listened in dismay to the recital 
of all this licentiousness, but by degrees the effect 
of the wine which he was drinking and the hilar- 
ity of the diners disarmed his prudery. He 
laughed at the stories that were told, and he came 
to the point even of envying the reputation en- 
joyed by several for their feats of trickery and 
swindling. He began to lose sight of the wise 
principles which he had brought to the univer- 
sity, and to approve of the rule of conduct fol- 
lowed by the students ; a simple rule and one easy 
to obey. It consisted of assuming the right of 
committing any act of depredation against the 
pTiilistines ; that is to say, all that part of the 
human species which has not matriculated in the 
university. The student in the midst of the phil- 
istines is in hostile territory, and he considers him- 
self justified in treating them exactly as the He- 
brews treated the Canaanites. The only difficulty 
is that the corregidor has, unfortunately, very lit- 
tle respect for the sacred customs of the univer- 
sity, and asks nothing better than an opportunity 
to maltreat its votaries. It follows, therefore, 
that they must stand together as brothers; that 
they must aid one another, and above all that they 



138 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

must keep inviolate the secrets of their fellow- 
students. 

This edifying conversation continued as long 
as the bottles held out. At last, when they were 
empty, there was a lamentable confusion of 
judgment on the part of all the guests and a 
strong desire to sleep. 

The sun still shining high in the heavens, 
every one went home to enjoy a siesta, but Don 
Juan accepted the invitation of Don Garcia to 
rest at his house. No sooner had he thrown him- 
self on a leather couch than fatigue and the fumes 
of the wine overcame him and he fell into a deep 
sleep. For some time his dreams were so fantas- 
tic and so hazy that his only sensation was one of 
vague discomfort, with no idea of any object or 
fancy that might cause it. Gradually, however, 
he began to see more clearly in his dream, if it 
may be expressed thus, and his ideas became co- 
herent. He thought he was in a boat on a great 
river, broader and wider than he had ever seen the 
Guadalquivir in winter. This boat was without 
either sails, oars, or rudder, and the shore on each 
side was deserted. The boat was tossed here and 
there by the waves, so that he was ill, and thought 
himself at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, just at 
the time when the good-for-nothings of Seville, 
who are taking a trip to Cadiz, feel the first inti- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 139 

mation of sea-sickness. Soon he found himself 
where the river was much calmer, so that he could 
easily see the two banks and his voice could even 
be heard at that distance. Then there appeared 
at the same instant on each shore, two radiant fig- 
ures, each moving toward him as if to bring him 
succour. He turned at first to the right bank and 
saw an old man of solemn and austere counte- 
nance, barefooted and without clothes other than 
a mantle of thorns. He seemed to stretch out his 
hand to Don Juan. On the left, where he then 
looked, he saw a woman, tall and of most noble 
and engaging appearance, holding in her hand 
a crown of flowers, which she offered to him. At 
the same time he observed that his boat, though 
oarless, was guided at his pleasure by the force of 
his will. He was moving toward the bank where 
the woman stood, intending to land there, when a 
cry from the left bank caused him to turn around 
and sail his boat in that direction. The expres- 
sion of the old man was even sterner than it was 
at first. Wherever his body was visible it was 
seen to be covered with wounds and bruises, livid 
and angry. In one hand he held a crown of 
thorns, in the other a whip filled with iron spikes. 
Don Juan was overcome with terror at this spec- 
tacle, and quickly he turned his boat once more 
toward the right bank of the river. The vision 



140 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

which had charmed him before was still there. 
Her hair was wafted in the breeze, a supernatural 
lustre animated her eyes, and instead of the crown 
she now held in her hand a sword. Don Juan hesi- 
tated for a moment before landing his boat, and 
then, looking more attentively, he saw that the 
blade of the sword was crimson with blood and 
that the nymph's hand also was red. Terrified, 
he awoke with a start. He opened his eyes and 
could not repress a cry when he saw two feet from 
his bed a glittering sword. But no lovely nymph 
was it that held the sword. Don Garcia was on 
the point of arousing his friend, and noticing 
near the bed a sword of curious workmanship, 
was examining it with the air of a connoisseur. 
On the blade was this inscription: "Maintain 
loyalty." And the hilt, as we have already said, 
bore the arms, the name, and the device of the 
house of Marana. 

" This is a handsome sword of yours, com- 
rade," said Don Garcia. ' You must be rested by 
this time. It is now night, let us walk for a little 
while, and after the good people of the town have 
gone to their homes, we will go, if it pleases you, 
and serenade our divinities." 

Don Juan and Don Garcia strolled for some 
time along the Tormes, staring at the women who 
came out to get the air or to ogle their lovers. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 141 

Little by little the promenaders became rarer, 
then they disappeared altogether. 

" Now is the time," said Don Garcia, " now is 
the time when the entire city belongs to the stu- 
dents. The philistines would not dare to inter- 
rupt us in our innocent recreations. As for the 
watchman, if, by some accident, we were to have 
a skirmish with him, I need not tell you that he 
is a rascal who need not be spared. But if the 
scoundrels are too many for us and we should 
have to take to our heels, you need have no 
anxiety. I know all the by-ways. You need 
only give yourself the trouble to follow me, and 
you may be sure that all will go well." 

As he spoke he threw his cloak over his left 
shoulder in such a way as to conceal the greater 
part of his face but to leave his right arm free. 
Don Juan did the same, and both proceeded to- 
ward the street in which Dona Fausta and her 
sister lived. In passing the steps of a church Don 
Garcia whistled. A page appeared with a guitar, 
which Don Garcia took and then dismissed the 
boy. 

" I see," said Don Juan, as they turned into 
the Calle de Valladolid, " I see that you intend to 
have me act as a protector to your serenade. You 
may be certain that I shall conduct myself so as 
to deserve your approval. I should be disowned 



142 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

by Seville, my own country, if I did not know 
how to guard a street against intruders." 

" I have no intention of giving you sentinel's 
duty to perform," replied Don Garcia. " I have 
my own love affair to attend to here, and you have 
yours also. Let each pursue his own game. 
Hush ! this is the house. You at that window and 
I at this one, and take care ! " 

Don Garcia, after tuning his guitar, began in 
a rather pleasing voice to sing a ballad, which, as 
usual, was full of tears and sighs and all the rest. 
I do not know whether or not he was the composer 
of the song. At the third or fourth stanza the 
blinds of two windows were softly raised and a 
low cough was heard. This signified that some 
one was listening. Musicians, they say, never 
play when they are begged or when people listen 
to them. Don Garcia rested his guitar against 
a pillar, and in a low voice he entered into con- 
versation with one of the women who had heard 
him sing. 

Don Juan, glancing upward, saw at the win- 
dow immediately above him a woman who seemed 
to be observing him intently. He had no doubt 
that it was Dona Fausta's sister, whom his own 
inclination and his friend's choice had granted 
him as the lady of his thoughts. But he was still 
timid and inexperienced and he did not know how 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 143 

i 

to begin. Suddenly a handkerchief fluttered out 
of the window and a low, soft voice cried : 

" Ah ! Jesus ! my handkerchief has fallen 
out!" 

Don Juan hastened to pick it up, placed it on 
the point of his sword and lifted it to the height 
of the window. This was an opening. The voice 
began by thanking him, and then asked if the 
Senor who had been so very courteous had not 
been that morning to Saint Peter's Church. 
Don Juan replied that he had been there and that 
he had in consequence lost his peace of mind. 

"How is that?" 

" Because I saw you there." 

The ice was broken. Don Juan was from Se- 
ville and knew by heart all the Moorish romances 
in which the passionate tongue is so rich. He 
could not fail to be eloquent. The conversation 
continued for nearly an hour. Finally Teresa ex- 
claimed that she heard her father coming and 
must leave the window. The two gallants lin- 
gered in the street until they saw appear from be- 
hind the curtain two white hands, which threw 
from the window a spray of jessamine to each of 
them. When Don Juan fell asleep that night his 
head was clouded with delicious images. Don 
Garcia spent the greater part of the night in a 
tavern. 



144 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

The next night the sighs and the serenades 
were repeated, and continued for several succes- 
sive nights. After refusing a becoming length of 
time, both ladies consented to give and to accept a 
lock of hair, an operation which was conducted 
by means of a cord dropped from the window, 
which brought back the token given in exchange. 
Don Garcia, who was not a man to stop at trifles, 
suggested a ladder or even skeleton keys, but 
they considered him bold, and his proposition, 
if not rejected, was at least indefinitely post- 
poned. 

For almost a month Don Juan and Don Gar- 
cia had billed and cooed to no purpose under their 
lady-loves' windows. One very dark night they 
were on duty as usual, and the conversation had 
continued for some time to the satisfaction of all 
concerned, when at the far end of the street ap- 
peared, in long cloaks, seven or eight men, half 
of whom carried musical instruments. 

"Merciful Heaven!" exclaimed Teresa, 
" here is Don Cristoval coming to serenade us. 
Withdraw at once, for the love of God, or some 
misfortune will happen." 

' We do not yield so good a place to any 
man," cried Don Garcia; and raising his voice: 
" Sefior," he said to the foremost man, " this place 
is taken, and besides, these ladies do not care to 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 145 

hear your music; so, if it pleases you, go else- 
where to seek your fate." 

' This is one of those student jackanapes pre- 
tending to hinder us from passing ! " cried Don 
Cristoval. "I'll teach him what it costs to make 
love to my sweethearts ! " 

At these words he unsheathed his sword. In- 
stantly the swords of two of his companions 
flashed from their scabbards. Don Garcia, with 
admirable celerity, flinging his mantle around his 
arm, drew his sword and cried : " Follow me, stu- 
dents!" But there was not a student in the 
neighbourhood. The musicians, fearing, doubt- 
less, that their instruments would be broken in the 
scuffle, took to their heels, calling for the guards 
as they ran, while the two women at the window 
invoked the aid of all the saints of Paradise. 

Don Juan, who happened to be under the 
window nearest Don Cristoval, at first had to de- 
fend himself against him. His adversary was 
skilful, and moreover, in his left hand he had an 
iron shield which he could use as a parry, while 
Don Juan had nothing but his sword and his man- 
tle. Hard pressed by Don Cristoval, he recalled 
opportunely a thrust taught him by Senor Uberti, 
his fencing-master. He let himself drop to the 
ground, supporting himself by his left hand while 
with his right hand he slipped his sword under 



146 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

Don Cristoval's shield and thrust it into his body 
outside the ribs with such force that the blade was 
broken after penetrating a hand's-length. Don 
Cristoval uttered one cry and fell, bathed in his 
own blood. During this encounter, which con- 
sumed less time than it takes to tell it, Don Garcia 
was defending himself successfully against his 
two adversaries, who no sooner saw their chief 
lying on the pavement, than they fled as fast as 
their legs would carry them. 

' We must get out of the way at once," said 
Don Garcia. ' This is no time to dally. Good- 
bye, my beauties! " 

He lost no time in escaping, dragging after 
him Don Juan, who was completely bewildered 
by the deed he had committed. When they had 
gone about twenty steps Don Garcia stopped to 
ask his companion what he had done with his 
sword. 

" My sword? " said Don Juan, noticing only 
at that instant that it was no longer in his hand. 
" I don't know I must have dropped it." 

"Malediction!" cried Don Garcia. "And 
your name is engraved on the scabbard ! " 

At this moment men with torches were seen to 
come from some of the houses in the neighbour- 
hood, and to crowd around the dying man. A 
company of armed men were walking rapidly 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 147 

from the other direction, evidently a patrol at- 
tracted by the outcries of the musicians and by the 
tumult of the fight. 

Pulling his hat over his eyes and throwing his 
cloak over the lower part of his face to avoid rec- 
ognition and regardless of the danger, Don Gar- 
cia rushed in among the men, hoping to find the 
sword, which would have undoubtedly identified 
the murderer. Don Juan saw him strike right 
and left, putting out the lights and overturning 
all who happened to be in his path. He reap- 
peared soon, running as fast as he could, and 
holding a sword in each hand, the entire patrol 
pursuing him. 

"Ah! Don Garcia," exclaimed Don Juan, 
taking the sword held out to him, " how can I 
ever thank you! " 

" Let us fly, fly! " cried Don Garcia. " Fol- 
low me, and if one of those rascals presses you too 
closely stick him as you did the other one just 
now." 

Both then started to run with all the speed 
imparted by their physical vigour, augmented by 
fear of the corregidor, an officer who was much 
more formidable to the students than to thieves. 

Don Garcia, who knew Salamanca as well as 
he knew his Deus diet, was remarkably skilful in 
rushing around the street corners and in dashing 



148 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

through the narrow alleys, while his companion, 
inexperienced in such exercise, followed him only 
with the greatest difficulty. Breath was begin- 
ning to fail them when, at the end of a street, they 
met a number of students out for a walk, singing 
and playing on the guitar as they strolled along. 
No sooner did the latter realise that two of their 
fellow-students were pursued than they seized 
rocks, cudgels, and every sort of available 
weapon. The constables, breathless from their 
chase, did not consider themselves in proper con- 
dition to force a skirmish. Prudently they went 
their own way, while the two culprits entered a 
church near by for a few moments' rest and pro- 
tection. 

At the threshold Don Juan stopped to return 
his sword to the scabbard, considering it neither 
seemly nor Christian to enter the house of God 
with a weapon in his hand. But the sheath re- 
sisted, the blade could scarcely be pushed into it, 
and he then discovered that the sword which he 
held in his hand was not his. Don Garcia, in his 
haste, had snatched the first sword which he had 
found on the ground, and it had belonged to the 
dead man, or to one of his associates. The situa- 
tion was serious. Don Juan told his companion, 
whom he had come to regard as his counsellor. 
Don Garcia frowned, bit his lips, and twisted the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 149 

edge of his hat as he walked up and down, while 
Don Juan, wholly stunned by the vexatious dis- 
covery he had just made, was overcome with anx- 
iety no less than remorse. After spending a quar- 
ter of an hour in reflection, during which Don 
Garcia had the good grace not to say once: 
" Why did you let your sword fall? " he took 
Don Juan by the arm and said : 

" Come along. I have it." 

Just at this instant a priest was leaving the 
vestry-room on his way toward the street. Don 
Garcia stopped him. 

" Have I not the honour of speaking to the 
learned Doctor Gomez? " he said with a profound 
bow. 

" I am not yet a doctor," replied the priest, 
evidently flattered at the mistake. " I am Man- 
uel Tordoya, at your service." 

" Father," Don Garcia continued, " you are 
precisely the person to whom I wished to speak; 
it is about a case of conscience, and if rumour has 
not deceived me, you are the author of the famous 
treatise, De casibus conscientice^ which has made 
such a stir in Madrid? " 

The priest, yielding to the sin of vanity, stam- 
mered that he was not the author of the book men- 
tioned (which, truth to tell, had never been writ- 
ten), but that he was deeply interested in such 



150 

matters. Don Garcia, who had his own reasons 
for not caring to listen to the priest, went on thus : 

' This, Father, in a word, is the matter about 
which I desired to consult you. This very day, 
less than an hour ago, a friend of mine was ac- 
costed on the street by a man, who said to him: 
' Caballero, I am about to fight a duel a few steps 
from here, and my opponent's sword is longer 
than my own. Will you have the kindness to lend 
me yours, so that the weapons may be equally 
matched ? ' My friend exchanged swords with 
him. He waited for a while at the street corner 
until the duel should be over ; then no longer hear- 
ing the clashing of swords, he drew near, and 
what did he see? A man lying dead, run through 
by the very sword he had just lent. Since then 
he has not known a moment's peace ; he reproaches 
himself for his act of kindness, and fears he has 
been guilty of a mortal sin. I have endeavoured 
to reassure him. I believe the sin is pardonable, 
for the reason that if he had refused to lend his 
sword he would have been responsible for a duel 
between two men with unmatched weapons. 
What do you think about it, Father? Are you 
not of my opinion? " 

The priest, who was a student of casuistry, 
pricked up his ears at this story, and for some 
jtime he rubbed his forehead like a man who tries 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 151 

to recall a quotation. Don Juan had no idea what 
Don Garcia was driving at, but he kept silent for 
fear of committing an awkward blunder. 

" Father," continued Don Garcia, " the ques- 
tion must be very difficult to decide since so 
learned a man as you hesitates to settle it. With 
your permission we will return to-morrow to learn 
your opinion. In the meantime may I beg that 
you will have the goodness to say a few masses 
for the soul of the dead man? " 

With these words, he placed two or three 
ducats in the priest's hand, which put the finish- 
ing touch on his favourable inclination toward 
these young men, who were so devout, so con- 
scientious, and, above all, so generous. He as- 
sured them that the following day, in the same 
place, he would deliver his opinion in writing. 
Don Garcia was lavish in thanking him; then he 
added unconcernedly, as if it were a matter of 
small importance : 

" Provided the law does not hold us responsi- 
ble for the man's death ! We shall rely on you to 
reconcile us with God." 

" As to the law," said the priest, " you have 
nothing to fear from that source. Having 
merely lent his sword, your friend can not be 
held legally as an accomplice." 

" Yes, Father, but the murderer has escaped. 



152 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

They will examine the wound, perhaps they will 
find the blood-stained sword. How can I tell? 
Lawyers are dreadful people, they say." 

" But," said the priest, " you were an eye- 
witness, w r ere you not, that the sword was bor- 
rowed? " 

" Certainly," replied Don Garcia, " I would 
swear to it before every court in the kingdom. 
Moreover," he continued, in his most insinuating 
tone, " You, Father, would be there to testify 
to the truth. Long before the affair became 
known, we applied to you to seek spiritual coun- 
sel. You could even bear witness to the ex- 
change. Here is the proof of it." He then took 
the sword from Don Juan. 

" Just look at this sword," said he, " see how 
it looks in this scabbard! " 

The priest nodded his head as if convinced of 
the truth of the story he had just heard. In 
silence, he weighed the ducats which he held in 
his hand, and he found them an unanswerable 
argument in favour of the two young men. 

"Yet, after all, Father," said Don Garcia 
piously, " what matters the law to us? It is 
rather with heaven that we wish to be recon- 
ciled." 

" Good-bye, my children, until to-morrow," 
said the priest, withdrawing. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 153 

" Until to-morrow," replied Don Garcia ; 
" we kiss your hands and rely upon you." 

After the priest had gone Don Garcia 
jumped for joy. 

" Hurrah for simony! " he cried. ' We are 
all right now, I hope. If the law becomes un- 
easy about you, this good Father, in considera- 
tion of the ducats he has already received, and 
those he hopes still to extract from us, is ready 
to certify that we are as ignorant of the death of 
the caballero, whom you have just despatched, as 
a new-born babe. Go home now, be on the look- 
out constantly, and open your door only for 
good reasons. I am going about town to hear 
what I can." 

When Don Juan reached his room he threw 
himself on the bed, dressed just as he was. He 
passed a sleepless night, thinking of nothing but 
the murder he had just committed, and especially 
of its consequences. Every time he heard foot- 
steps in the street he thought it was the officers 
coming to arrest him. However, overcome with 
fatigue, and with brain still dull from the effects 
of the students' dinner, he fell asleep just as the 
sun was rising. 

He had slept several hours, when he was 
awakened by his servant, who told him that a 
lady, closely veiled, wished to see him. Even 



154 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

while he was speaking a woman entered the 
room. She was enveloped from head to foot in 
a long black cloak which left visible only one eye. 
This eye she turned toward the servant, then 
toward Don Juan, in mute petition that she 
might speak to him alone. The servant at once 
left the room. The lady sat down, with her 
whole attention fixed on Don Juan. After a 
moment's hesitation, she began as follows: 

" Senor Caballero, my conduct is, no doubt, 
surprising, and you must have a very poor opin- 
ion of me, but if my object in coming here 
were known, I am sure I would not be blamed. 
Last night you fought with a senor of this 
city ..." 

" I, Madam ! " cried Don Juan, turning 
pale; " I did not leave this room 

" It is useless to attempt to deceive me, and I 
shall have to set you an example in candour." 
With this she threw off her cloak, and Don Juan 
recognised Dona Teresa. 

" Senor Don Juan," she continued, with a 
blush, " I must acknowledge that your courage 
has excited my deepest interest in you. Not- 
withstanding my own agitation, I noticed that 
you had broken your sword, and that you had 
dropped it very near our door. While they were 
busily occupied with the wounded man, I hurried 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 155 

out and picked up the hilt of the sword. When 
I examined it and read your name I realised the 
danger to which you would be exposed if it were 
to fall into the hands of your enemies. Here it 
is. I am very happy to be able to return it to 

you." 

Instinctively Don Juan threw himself at her 
feet, saying that he owed her his life, but that 
it was a useless gift, since she would make him 
die of love. Dona Teresa was in great haste and 
must depart at once. Nevertheless, she listened 
with such pleasure to the appeals of Don Juan, 
that she could not make up her mind to leave. 
Nearly an hour passed thus, with vows of eternal 
love, kisses showered upon her hand, entreaties 
on the one side and refusal on the other. Don 
Garcia, entering the room suddenly, interrupted 
the tete-a-tete. He was not the sort of man to 
be easily shocked. His first care was to reassure 
Teresa. He praised her courage and her pres- 
ence of mind, and ended by begging her to inter- 
cede with her sister in order to obtain for him a 
more favourable reception. Dona Teresa prom- 
ised to do what she could. She wrapped herself 
hermetically in her cloak and departed with the 
assurance that she and her sister would be found 
that evening on a certain part of the promenade. 

" All is well," said Don Garcia, as soon as the 



156 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

two young men were alone. " No one suspects 
you. The magistrate at first honoured me with 
his suspicions. He was confident, he said, that 
I was the man who killed Don Cristoval. What 
do you suppose made him change his mind? He 
was informed that I had been with you the whole 
night; and you, my dear, have such a reputation 
for sanctity, that you have enough to spare for 
others too. However that may be, we are not 
suspected. The stratagem of that brave little 
Teresa assures our safety for the future, so let 
us think no more of the affair, and consider only 
the question of amusing ourselves." 

"Ah! Garcia," exclaimed Don Juan sadly, 
" it is a dreadful thing to kill a fellow-man! " 

' There is something still more dreadful," 
responded Don Garcia, " and that is that one of 
our fellow-men should kill us, and a third thing, 
which is even more dreadful than the other two, 
is to spend a day without any dinner. This is 
the reason I invite you to dine to-day with several 
jolly fellows, who will be delighted to see you." 

With these words he left the room. 

Love was already making powerful attacks 
upon our hero's remorse, and vanity completed 
its extinction. The students with whom he dined 
at Garcia's rooms had learned through that 
worthy the actual murderer of Don Cristoval. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 157 

This Cristoval was a cavalier, famous for his 
courage and his duplicity, and feared by the 
students ; hence his death only excited their good- 
humour, and his successful opponent was over- 
whelmed with compliments. In their toasts he 
was the honour, the choicest flower, the right arm 
of the university. His health was drunk with 
enthusiasm, and a student of Murcie composed 
a sonnet in his praise, in which he was compared 
to the Cid, and to Bernard del Carpio. When he 
rose from the table, Don Juan's heart was still 
a little heavy in his bosom, but if he had had the 
power to bring Don Cristoval to life again, it is 
extremely doubtful whether he would have done 
it, for fear of losing the importance and the re- 
nown which the death of this man had won for 
him throughout all the university. 

When evening came both parties were 
prompt at the rendezvous, which took place on 
the bank of the Tormes. Dona Teresa held Don 
Juan's hand (it was not yet customary for a 
woman to take a man's arm) , and Dona Fausta 
Don Garcia's. After several turns up and down 
the promenade, the two couples separated, well 
satisfied, and with mutual promises to meet as 
often as possible. 

After parting from the two sisters they 
came upon several gipsy girls dancing and 



158 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

playing the tambourine, the centre of a group 
of students. They joined the crowd. Don 
Garcia was taken with the dancers, and he de- 
cided to invite them to supper. The proposition 
was immediately made and accepted without hesi- 
tation. In his character of fidus Achates, Don 
Juan made one of the party. Piqued because 
a girl said that he acted like a monk, he set about 
doing all that he could to prove this title a mis- 
nomer; he swore, he danced, he gambled and 
drank as much as any two second-year students 
could have done. 

His companions had considerable difficulty 
in taking him home after midnight, for he was 
in such a state of tipsiness and madness that he 
wanted to set fire to Salamanca, and then to 
drink all the water of the Tormes, to prevent 
the fire from being extinguished. 

Thus, one after another, Don Juan lost all 
the admirable qualities with which he was en- 
dowed by nature and by training. After living 
in -Salamanca three months, under the tutelage 
of Don Garcia, he had succeeded in seducing 
poor Teresa, and his comrade had been equally 
successful with her sister, eight or ten days 
earlier. Don Juan at first loved his mistress with 
all the ardour that a boy of his age is capable of 
f eeling toward the first woman who accepts his 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 159 

advances; but Don Garcia had little difficulty in 
demonstrating that constancy was a chimerical 
virtue; moreover, that if he conducted himself 
differently from his comrades in their university 
orgies, Teresa's reputation would suffer. For, 
said he, only a violent passion and one that is re- 
quited is contented with one woman. Not only 
this, but the evil associations into which Don 
Juan had fallen, left him not a moment of quiet. 
He seldom appeared in the class-room, or, when 
he was present, exhausted as he was by midnight 
revels and by debauchery, he dozed through the 
lectures of the most brilliant professors. On 
the other hand, he was always the first to reach 
and the last to leave the promenade; and the 
nights that Teresa was unable to devote to him 
were spent regularly at the tavern, or at worse 
places. 

One morning he had received a note from his 
lady expressing her regret not to be able to keep 
an appointment for that night. An aged rela- 
tive had just arrived, and Teresa's bed-chamber 
had been given her. She herself, meanwhile, 
would share her mother's room. Don Juan felt 
little disappointment, for he had other ways to 
spend his evening. Just as he was starting out, 
absorbed in his plans, a veiled woman brought 
him a note; it was from Teresa. She had sue- 



160 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

ceeded in having another room for herself, and 
everything was arranged with her sister for a 
rendezvous. Don Juan showed the note to Don 
Garcia; for some time they hesitated; finally, 
from force of habit, mechanically they climbed 
up to their mistresses' balcony, and visited them. 

Dona Teresa had on her neck a mole, which 
was somewhat conspicuous. Don Juan had con- 
sidered it a great privilege the first time he had 
received permission to look at it. For some time 
he continued to regard it as the most fascinating 
thing in the world. He compared it sometimes 
to a violet. Sometimes to an anemone, and 
again to an alfalfa blossom. But before long, 
this mole, which was really very pretty, ceased, by 
satiety, to appear so to him. " It is a big, black 
spot, that is all," he said to himself, with a sigh. 
" What a pity that it should be there. By Jove, 
but it looks like the birthmark of a pig! " One 
day he even asked Teresa if she had never con- 
sulted a physician as to some means of removing 
it. Blushing to the roots of her hair, the poor 
girl replied that no man except himself had ever 
seen the mole, and besides, her nurse had always 
told her that it was a sign of good luck. 

On the evening in question Don Juan, who 
had come to Teresa in a bad humour, again saw 
the mole, which looked larger than ever before. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 1G1 

" The devil," he said to himself, looking at it, 
" it is the image of a big rat. Indeed, it is a de- 
formity. It is a sign of condemnation as was 
the mark of Cain. The devil must have influ- 
enced me to make such a woman my mistress." 
He was as disagreeable as possible. He quar- 
relled without cause with poor Teresa, made her 
weep, and just before dawn left her without 
a kiss. Don Garcia, who accompanied him, 
walked some distance in silence; then, stopping 
short : 

" Now, own up, Don Juan," said he, " that 
this night has been a great bore. So far as I am 
concerned, I have had enough of it, and I have 
a great mind to send the dear creature to the 
devil, once for all! " 

"You are wholly wrong," said Don Juan; 
" Fausta is charming, fair as a swan, and she is 
always in good-humour, and then, how she loves 
you! I tell you, you are a lucky fellow." 

" Fair, to be sure. I grant you that she is 
fair. Why, she has no colour at all, and beside 
her sister, she looks like an owl near a dove. It 
is you who are lucky." 

"Ah, so, so," responded Don Juan; "the 
little thing is nice enough, but she is such a child. 
It is impossible to talk sensibly with her. Her 
head is crammed with chivalric romances, and 



162 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

she has the most extraordinary ideas about love. 
You can not imagine how unreasonable she is." 

' The trouble, Don Juan, is that you are too 
young and do not know how to treat your mis- 
tresses. A woman, you see, is like a horse ; if you 
allow her to form bad habits, or if you do not 
let her understand that you will not put up with 
her whims, you will never make anything of her." 

' Tell me, Don Garcia, do you treat your 
mistresses as you do your horses? Do you often 
use the whip to cure them of their caprices? " 

"Not often; but I am too kind-hearted. 
Look here, Don Juan, if you'll let me have your 
Teresa, I'll promise that at the end of two weeks 
she will be as yielding as a glove. I offer you 
Fausta in exchange. Do you want anything to 
boot? " 

' The trade would suit me admirably," said 
Don Juan, smiling, " if the ladies themselves 
would agree to it. But Dona Fausta would 
never consent to give you up. She would lose 
too much by the exchange." 

' You are too modest. But take courage. I 
made her so angry last night that the first comer 
now would seem like an angel of light to a soul 
that is damned. Do you know, Don Juan," con- 
tinued Don Garcia, " that I am speaking seri- 
ously? " 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 163 

Don Juan laughed more than ever at the 
earnest manner in which his friend gave out these 
extravagant ideas. 

This edifying conversation was interrupted 
by the arrival of several students, who turned 
their thoughts in another channel. But in the 
evening, when the two friends were seated before 
a bottle of Montilla and a little basket of Valen- 
cian acorns, Don Garcia began again to find 
fault with his mistress. He had just received a 
letter from Fausta, full of expressions of affec- 
tion and gentle reproaches, through all of which 
penetrated her merry wit, and her habit of seeing 
the ridiculous side of things. 

" See here," said Don Garcia, giving the let- 
ter to Don Juan, with a deep yawn. " Read this 
sweet morsel. She wants to see me again to- 
night! But I'll be damned if I go." 

Don Juan read the letter, which seemed to 
him enchanting. 

" Indeed," said he, " if I had a mistress like 
yours, it would be my whole aim to make her 
happy." 

" Take her then, my dear," cried Don Garcia, 
" take her and cure yourself of the fancy. I 
resign in your favour. Better still," he added, as 
if illumined by a sudden inspiration, " let us 
play for our mistresses. Here are the cards, we 



164 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

will play ombre. Dona Fausta is my stake ; and 
now you put Dona Teresa on the table." 

Don Juan, laughing to the point of tears at 
his comrade's folly, took the cards and shuffled 
them, and although he gave almost no attention 
to the game, he won. Don Garcia felt, appa- 
rently, no regret at the loss of the game. He 
asked for writing materials and made out a bill 
of exchange, drawn on Dona Fausta, whom he 
ordered to place herself at the disposition of the 
bearer, exactly as he would have written to his 
steward to pay ten ducats to one of his credi- 
tors. 

Don Juan, laughing still, offered to play an- 
other game with Don Garcia, but the latter de- 
clined. 

" If you have any pluck," said he, " take my 
cloak and go to the little door that you know. 
You will find only Fausta there, since Teresa 
does not expect you. Follow her in, without 
speaking. Once in her room, she may be sur- 
prised for a moment, she may even shed one or 
two tears ; but you need not mind that. You may 
be sure that she will not dare to make an outcry. 
Then show her my letter, tell her that I am a 
horrible villain, a monster of iniquity, anything 
you will. Say to her that she has at hand an 
easy means of retaliation, and you may be cer- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 165 

tain that this retaliation she will accept with 
alacrity." 

At every word of Garcia, the devil took fuller 
possession of Don Juan's heart, persuading him 
that what he had until that moment regarded 
as an aimless joke might be realised in accord- 
ance with his own wish. He ceased laughing, 
and the flush of sensuality mounted on his brow. 

" If I were perfectly sure," said he, " that 
Fausta would consent to the exchange . . . " 

"If she will consent!" cried the libertine. 
' What a greenhorn you are, to suppose that a 
woman would hesitate between a six months' 
lover and a new one! Depend upon it, you will 
both thank me to-morrow. I'll wager you, and 
all I ask in return is to have your permission to 
make up to Teresita." 

Then, seeing Don Juan still half undecided, 
he went on : " Make up your mind, for I do 
not intend to see Fausta to-night ; and if you do 
not care to go, I shall give this note to big Fad- 
rique, and the prize will be his." 

* Very well ! Come what may ! " exclaimed 
Don Juan, seizing the note ; and to strengthen his 
courage he swallowed at one draught a full glass 
of Montilla. 

The appointed time approached. Don Juan, 
who had still a few remaining scruples, drank 



166 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

one glass after another of wine to stifle them. At 
last the clock struck. Don Garcia threw his 
mantle over Don Juan's shoulders, and went with 
him to his mistress's door ; then giving the signal, 
he wished Don Juan good-night, and left him 
without the slightest pang of remorse for the 
wicked act he had committed. 

The door opened immediately. Dona Fausta 
had been waiting some time. 

" Is it you, Don Garcia? " she asked in a 
whisper. 

' Yes," responded Don Juan, still lower, his 
face hidden in the folds of the large cloak. He 
entered and the door closed. He began to ascend 
a dark stairway with his guide. 

' Take the corner of my mantilla," she said, 
" and follow me as quickly as you can." 

A few moments later he found himself in 
Fausta's room. It was dimly lighted by a single 
lamp. Without removing his hat and not yet 
daring to make himself known, Don Juan re- 
mained standing near the door. For some time 
Dona Fausta looked at him silently, then sud- 
denly came toward him with outstretched arms. 
Don Juan threw off his cloak, and advanced to 
meet her. 

"What! You! Senor Don Juan?" she 
cried. " Is Don Garcia ill? " 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 167 

" 111? No," said Don Juan. " But he can 
not come. He sent me to tell you." 

" Oh! how sorry I am! But, tell me, it is 
not another woman, is it, that keeps him from 
coming? " 

" You know what a rake he is then ? " 

" How glad my sister will be to see you ! 
Poor child, she thought you would not come. 
Allow me to pass, and I will go and tell her." 

"It is useless." 

' There is something peculiar in your man- 
ner, Don Juan. You have some bad news to 
tell me . . . Has any misfortune happened 
to Don Garcia? " 

To be spared the embarrassment of a reply, 
he handed the poor girl Don Garcia's infamous 
letter. She read it hastily without taking in its 
meaning. Then she read it again, and could not 
believe her eyes. Don Juan was observing her 
closely: she wiped away the sweat from her 
brow; she rubbed her eyes; her lips trembled; a 
deadly pallor overspread her face, and she was 
obliged to hold the paper with both hands, else it 
would have dropped to the floor. At last, with a 
desperate effort, rising, she cried out: 

" Every word is false ! It is a horrible for- 
gery! Don Garcia never wrote that! " 

Don Juan replied: 



168 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

' You know his handwriting. He did not 
appreciate the value of the treasure that was his 
and I have accepted it because I adore you." 

The glance she gave him expressed the utmost 
scorn; then she fixed her attention on the letter 
like a lawyer who suspects some falsification in 
a deed. She gazed with eyes staring fixedly at 
the paper. Now and again a tear escaped from 
the motionless eyelids and fell upon her cheek. 

Suddenly smiling in a senseless way, she 
cried : 

" It is a joke, is it not? It is a joke! Don 
Garcia is out there and he is coming now ! " 

" It is not a joke, Dona Fausta. No fact is 
truer than that I love you. I shall be most 
miserable if you do not believe me." 

" Wretch! " exclaimed Dona Fausta. " But, 
if what you say is true, you are even a greater 
scoundrel than Don Garcia." 

" All is fair in love, beautiful Faustita. Don 
Garcia has abandoned you; let me console you. 
I see painted here on this panel Bacchus and 
Ariadne; let me be your Bacchus." 

Without a word in reply, she seized a knife 
that lay on the table and lifting it high above 
her head, advanced toward Don Juan. But he 
had understood her action, and grasping her 
wrist, easily disarmed her; then believing him- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 169 

self warranted in punishing her for the way she 
had opened hostilities, he kissed her several times 
and tried to force her toward a low couch. Dona 
Fausta was a slight, delicate woman, but anger 
gave her strength to resist Don Juan, now by 
clinging to the furniture, now by defending 
herself with hands, feet, and teeth. Don Juan 
at first received her blows with some amusement, 
but before long anger was as strong within his 
soul as love, and he held her forcibly in his 
grasp, untroubled by any fear of bruising the 
tender skin. He was now enraged and deter- 
mined, at any cost, to triumph over his opponent, 
ready to choke her, if need be, to bring her to 
submission. Fausta then had recourse to her 
last expedient. Until then, a feeling of modesty 
had restrained her from calling for help, but 
realising that she was about to be overpowered, 
she made the house ring with her shrieks. 

Don Juan then understood that it was no 
longer a question of mastering his victim, but 
rather must he think of safety in escape. He 
made an effort to repulse Fausta, and reach the 
door, but she clung to his clothes and he could 
not throw her off. At the same time was heard 
the ominous sound of opening doors, steps, and 
men's voices coming nearer; there was not a 
minute to lose. He made a final effort to free 



170 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

himself from Dona Fausta's grasp, but she 
seized his doublet with such violence that he was 
whirled around and nothing was gained except 
that their positions were reversed. Fausta was 
now next to the door, which opened within. She 
continued her shrieks. Just then the door 
opened. A man holding an arquebus appeared 
on the threshold. He uttered an exclamation of 
surprise, and immediately a shot was heard. The 
lamp was extinguished and Don Juan felt Dona 
Fausta's hands loosen their hold, and something 
warm and liquid running over his own hands. 
She fell, or rather, she glided to the floor; the 
ball had shattered her spine; instead of killing 
her betrayer, it had killed her. Discovering that 
he was free, Don Juan dashed through the smoke 
of the arquebus to the stairway. He received a 
blow from the butt of the weapon, and one of 
the servants inflicted a sword-thrust, but neither 
injured him seriously. Drawing his sword, he 
sought to cut a way for himself and to put out 
the torch which the lackey held, but the latter, 
intimidated by Don Juan's boldness, promptly 
retired to the rear. Don Alfonso de Ojeda, 
however, was a brave impulsive man, and with- 
out a moment's hesitation threw himself upon 
Don Juan. The latter parried several thrusts. 
Doubtless, his first intention was merely to de- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 171 

fend himself, but to one accustomed to fencing, 
a thrust following a parry becomes a mechanical, 
and almost an involuntary, movement. In a few 
moments Dona Fausta's father gave a deep 
sigh and fell, mortally wounded. Finding a 
free passage, Don Juan darted like an arrow 
over the stairs, out to the door, and in the twin- 
kling of an eye was in the street, safe from pur- 
suit of the servants, who crowded around their 
dying master. At the report of the arquebus 
Dona Teresa, who had hurriedly appeared and 
had been a witness of this terrible tragedy, fell 
in a swoon beside her father. As yet, she knew 
but half of her affliction. 

Don Garcia was finishing his last bottle of 
Montilla, when Don Juan, pale, bespattered with 
blood, haggard, with doublet torn, and neckband 
awry, rushed frantically into the room, and 
gasping for breath, fell into a chair, unable to 
speak. The other perceived instantly that some- 
thing serious had taken place. 

Waiting until Don Juan had, with an effort, 
recovered his breath, he asked for details; it took 
but a few words to put him in possession of the 
facts. Don Garcia did not easily lose his self- 
control, and heard, without a tremor, the broken 
recital of his friend. When he had finished, Don 
Garcia rilled a glass and offering it to him: 



172 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

" Drink it," said he, " you need it. This is 
bad business," he added, after drinking himself. 
* To kill a father is a serious matter. . 
There are, however, many precedents, beginning 
with the Cid. The worst of it is you have no five 
hundred cousins, clothed in white, to protect you 
from the constables of Salamanca, and from the 
relatives of the deceased. But we must concern 
ourselves, first of all, with something more 
urgent. . . ." 

He strode several times around the room as 
if to collect his thoughts. 

' To remain in Salamanca," he continued, 
" after such a scandal would be madness. Don 
Alfonso de Ojeda was no obscure squire, and be- 
sides, the servants must have recognised you. 
Supposing for a moment that you were not rec- 
ognised, you have acquired such an enviable repu- 
tation at the University that any anonymous 
crime would certainly be credited to you. So take 
my word for it, you must go, and the sooner the 
better. You have already learned three times 
as much as is needful for a gentleman of good 
position. So, forsake Minerva and cultivate 
Mars. You will be more successful in that vo- 
cation, for you have a strong propensity for 
fighting. There is war in Flanders. Let us go 
there and kill heretics ; that's the most convenient 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 173 

way to purchase absolution for our sins in this 
world. Amen! I will end this like a sermon.'* 

The suggestion of Flanders acted like a 
charm on Don Juan. To leave Spain, he 
thought, would mean to escape from himself. 
In the midst of the hardships and dangers of 
war, he would have no time for remorse! 

" To Flanders, to Flanders ! " he cried. 
" Let us go and get killed in Flanders! " 

" It is a long way from Salamanca to Brus- 
sels," gravely replied Don Garcia, " and in your 
dangerous position you can not start too soon. 
If the corregidor should catch you, you may be 
certain that you would find it difficult to go on 
any campaign except on one of His Majesty's 
galleys." 

After a little time spent in consultation with 
his friend, Don Juan promptly removed his stu- 
dent's costume. He put on an embroidered 
leather vest, such as the soldiers wore at that 
time, and a wide-brimmed slouch hat ; nor did he 
forget to fill his belt with as many doubloons as 
Don Garcia could crowd into it. All these 
preparations consumed but a few minutes. He 
began his journey on foot, escaping from the 
city without recognition, and walking all night 
and the following morning, until the sun's heat 
compelled him to rest. In the first city at which 



174 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

he stopped he purchased a horse, and joining 
a company of travellers, arrived at Saragossa 
without interference. There he lingered for a 
few days under the name of Don Juan Carrasco. 
Don Garcia, who left Salamanca the day fol- 
lowing his friend's departure, joined him in Sara- 
gossa. They did not remain longer than neces- 
sary to perform hurried devotions at Notre 
Dame, but they took time enough to ogle the 
Aragonian beauties. Providing themselves with 
two trusty servants, they went on to Barcelona, 
where they embarked for Civita Vecchia. Wear- 
iness of body, sea-sickness, the novelty of the 
situation, and the buoyancy of spirits natural to 
Don Juan, all contributed to make him speedily 
forget the terrible experiences through which 
he had recently passed. For several months the 
pleasures which the two friends enjoyed in Italy, 
made them lose sight of the principal object of 
their journey; but beginning to run short of 
funds, they joined a number of fellow-country- 
men, who like themselves were brave and out of 
cash, and set out for Germany. 

On arrival in Brussels every one joined the 
company whose captain he liked best. The two 
comrades decided to make their first campaign 
under Captain Don Manuel Gomare, first be- 
cause he was an Andalusian, and then, because 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 175 

he was said to require of his soldiers only that 
they be courageous, and keep their arms in good 
order- He was also a lenient disciplinarian. 

Attracted by their fine appearance, Gomare 
treated them well and just as they would have 
wished; that is, he sent them out whenever a 
dangerous enterprise arose. Fortune smiled on 
them, and on the field where many of their com- 
rades met death, they were not even wounded. 
Not only that, but they attracted the attention 
of their superior officers. Each obtained his en- 
sign the same day. From this time, sure of the 
esteem and friendship of their commanders, 
they acknowledged their real names and resumed 
their former course of life, that is to say, they 
spent their days at the gaming-table or in drink- 
ing, and the nights were devoted to serenading 
the prettiest girls of the town where they hap- 
pened to be in winter quarters. They had re- 
ceived their parents' forgiveness, a matter of 
trifling consequence, and letters of credit on the 
Antwerp banks. Of these they made good use. 
Young, rich, brave, and daring, their conquests 
were numerous and rapid. I shall not stop to 
recount them; let it suffice the reader to know 
that they considered it lawful to use any means 
whatever to win the favour of a pretty woman. 
Promises and protestations were only part of 



176 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

the game in the opinion of these base sensualists, 
and if brothers or husbands remonstrated, for 
answer they had their good swords and hearts 
that were pitiless. 

The war was resumed in the spring. 

In a skirmish which resulted disastrously for 
the Spanish, Captain Gomare was fatally 
wounded. Don Juan, seeing him fall, hastened 
to him and called several soldiers to carry him 
from the field; but the brave captain, summon- 
ing his remnant of strength, said: 

" Let me die here ; for I feel that this is the 
end. As well die on this spot as a half-mile 
farther on. Look to your soldiers; they will 
have all they can do, for I see the Dutch ad- 
vancing in force. My sons," he added, address- 
ing the soldiers crowding around him, " gather 
around your standards and do not be uneasy on 
my account." 

At this instant, Don Garcia reached his side 
and asked if he had not some last request which 
might be fulfilled after his death. 

' What the devil do you suppose I should 
want at such a time? " 

He seemed to reflect for a few moments. 

" I have never thought much about death," 
he went on, " and I had no idea it was so near. 
. . . I should not be sorry to see a priest. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 177 

. . . But all the monks are with the baggage- 
trains. . . . Yet, it is hard to die unshriven." 

" Here is my prayer-book," said Don 
Garcia, offering him a flask of wine. " Take 
courage ! " 

The eyes of the old soldier grew dimmer and 
dimmer. He did not hear Don Garcia's jest, but 
the veterans standing over him were shocked. 

" Don Juan," said the dying man, " come 
close to me, my boy. See here. I am going to 
make you my heir. Take this purse, it contains 
everything I possess ; it had better be yours than 
in the hand of one of those heretics. My only 
request is that you will have some masses said 
for the repose of my soul." 

Don Juan, pressing the hand of the dying 
man, gave him his promise. At the same time 
Don Garcia in a low voice observed that there 
was a great difference between the opinions of 
a man at death's door and those he professes 
when seated at a table laden with wine-bottles. 
Several balls whizzed by their ears. With a hur- 
ried farewell to Captain Gomare the soldiers 
abandoned him to take their places in the ranks, 
and thenceforth their only thought was to make 
an orderly retreat. This was accomplished un- 
der great disadvantages, with an enemy of su- 
perior force at their heels, the road furrowed 



178 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

by the rains, and with soldiers exhausted from a 
long and tedious march. The Dutch, however, 
were unable to overtake them and at night 
abandoned the pursuit without capturing a flag, 
or taking a single prisoner who had not dropped, 
wounded, out of the ranks. 

When the two friends, with a number of 
officers, were resting that night in a tent they 
discussed the engagement in which they had just 
taken part. The orders of the commanding 
officer were criticised by some ; others thought the 
result had shown him to be in the right. Then 
they came to speak of the dead and the wounded. 
" I shall grieve for Captain Gomare for many 
a day," said Don Juan. " He was a brave offi- 
cer, a good companion, and a veritable father 
to his men." 

" Yes," said Don Garcia, " but I confess that 
I was never so surprised as when I saw him in 
such distress because there was no black gown 
beside him. That's a proof of one thing, and 
that is, it is a great deal easier to be brave in 
words than in deeds. Such a man as that scoffs 
at danger afar off, but grows pale when it comes 
near. By the way, Don Juan, since you are his 
heir, suppose you tell us how much there is in 
the purse he left you? " 

Don Juan then opened the purse for the first 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 179 

time and found that it contained about sixty 
pieces of gold. 

" Since we are in funds," continued Don 
Garcia, accustomed to regard his friend's purse 
as his own, " why should we not have a game of 
faro instead of sitting here whining about our 
dead friends? " 

The proposition met with general approval. 
Several drums were brought and covered with 
a cloak. These served as a gaming-table. Don 
Juan played first, by the advice of Don Garcia; 
but before dealing the cards he took from his 
purse ten gold pieces, which he wrapped in his 
handkerchief, and put in his pocket. 

' What the deuce are you doing? " cried Don 
Garcia. ; ' The idea of a soldier hoarding up 
money, and on the eve of a battle, too! " 

' You know very well, Don Garcia, that all 
this money does not belong to me. Don Manuel 
left me a legacy, sub pcente nomine, as we used 
to say in Salamanca." 

' The devil take the prig," cried Don Garcia. 
" Damn me, I believe he means to give those ten 
crowns to the first priest we meet." 

" And why not? I have promised." 

" Shut up; by the beard of Mahomet, I am 
ashamed of you; I no longer know you." 

The game opened. At first the chances were 



180 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

equal, but before long they turned decidedly 
against Don Juan. In vain Don Garcia took 
the cards to turn the run of luck. After play- 
ing an hour all their own money and Captain 
Gomare's fifty crowns besides had passed into 
the banker's hands. Don Juan wanted to stop, 
and go to sleep, but Don Garcia was in a rage; 
he intended to play another game, and win back 
all he had lost. 

" Come, Senor Prudence," said he, " let us 
see the colour of that money that you have hid- 
den away so securely. I know it will bring us 
luck." 

" But think, Don Garcia, I promised! " 

" Come, come, child that you are ! This is no 
time to think of masses. If the Captain him- 
self were here, he would sooner loot a church 
than let a card pass without winning a stake." 

" Here are five crowns," said Don Juan. 
" Do not stake them all at once." 

" No flinching! " exclaimed Don Garcia, and 
he placed the five crowns on a king. He won, 
and took the stakes, but the next time he lost. 

" Let me have the last five! " he cried, pale 
with anger. Don Juan made a few weak re- 
monstrances, which were easily overcome; he 
yielded, and gave up four crowns, which immedi- 
ately followed the others. Rising from the table 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 181 

in a rage, Don Garcia flung the cards in the 
banker's face. 

He turned to Don Juan : " You are always 
lucky," he said, " and I have been told that the 
last crown has power to conjure fate." 

Don Juan was, to say the least, quite as 
furious as himself. No longer had he any scru- 
ples about masses, or his promise. He put the 
last remaining crown on an ace, and it promptly 
went the way of all the others. 

" To the devil with Captain Gomare's soul! " 
he cried. " I believe his money was bewitched ! " 

The banker inquired whether they wished to 
continue the game; but they had lost all their 
money, and besides, it is not easy to find credit 
when one is in constant danger of losing his 
head. So they were obliged to leave the game 
and to seek consolation among the topers. The 
soul of the poor Captain was quite forgotten. 

Several days later the Spanish, having re- 
ceived reinforcements, resumed the offensive and 
retraced their line of march, passing over the 
battle-fields where they had fought. The dead 
were still unburied. Don Garcia and Don Juan 
spurred forward their horses to escape the pres- 
ence of these dead bodies, which shocked alike the 
eye and the nostrils. Suddenly a soldier who 
preceded them uttered a loud exclamation at the 



182 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

sight of a corpse lying in a ditch. They drew 
near and saw that it was Captain Gomare. He 
was, however, almost unrecognisable. His feat- 
ures, distorted and stiffened in the agony of 
convulsions, gave evidence that his last moments 
were accompanied by terrible suffering. Al- 
though familiar with such spectacles, Don Juan 
could not repress a shudder. Those dim and 
bloodshot eyes seemed turned upon him in mute 
reproach. He recalled the dying request of the 
poor Captain, and how he had neglected to fulfil 
it. However, the artificial hardness of heart that 
he had succeeded in acquiring soon delivered him 
from these feelings of remorse; he immediately 
ordered a grave to be prepared for the burial of 
the Captain. By chance a Capuchin monk hap- 
pened to be near and recited hastily a few 
prayers. The body was then sprinkled with holy 
water and covered with rocks and earth. The 
soldiers continued their march more silent than 
usual; but Don Juan observed an aged arque- 
busier searching his pockets for a long time be- 
fore he finally dug out a coin, which he gave to 
the Capuchin, saying: 

" This is to pay for some masses for Cap- 
tain Gomare." 

On the same day Don Juan gave signal proof 
of remarkable bravery, exposing himself with so 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 183 

little consideration to the enemy's fire that one 
would have supposed that he sought death. 

' We are very brave when our money's all 
gone," was the comment of his comrades. 

Not long after the death of Captain Gomare, 
a young recruit was admitted into the regiment 
in which Don Juan and Don Garcia served. He 
seemed to be resolute and fearless, but of a cun- 
ning and mysterious disposition. He was never 
known to join his fellow-soldiers either in drink- 
ing or playing cards ; he spent hours at a time on 
a bench in the guard-room engaged in watching 
the flight of the flies or even in playing with the 
trigger of his arquebus. The soldiers, who ban- 
tered him on account of his reserve, had nick- 
named him Modesto. It was by this name that 
he was known in the regiment, even the officers 
calling him by no other. 

The campaign ended with the siege of Berg- 
op-Zoom, which was, as every one knows, one of 
the most bloody of the war, the besieged defend- 
ing themselves with the utmost desperation. One 
night the two friends were together on duty in 
the trenches, which, by this time, were so near the 
walls of the town that the position was one of 
great danger. The besieged made frequent 
sorties, and their firing was brisk and well aimed. 

The early part of the night passed in un- 



184 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

abated vigilance; then besieged and besiegers 
seemed to yield to fatigue. Firing ceased on both 
sides, and over all the field profound silence 
reigned ; or, if broken at all, it was an occasional 
shot, fired only to prove that while fighting had 
ceased, strict watch was being kept. It was about 
four o'clock in the morning, just the time when a 
man who has been on duty all night feels thor- 
oughly chilled, and at the same time is overcome 
by a sensation of mental dejection, occasioned by 
physical weariness and the need of sleep. There 
is no soldier who will deny, if he be honest, that 
in such bodily and mental condition he hasn't 
been guilty of weakness which has made him blush 
after sunrise. 

"Zounds!" exclaimed Don Garcia, as he 
stamped his feet to put some warmth into them, 
and folded his cloak tightly over his body; " I 
feel as if the very marrow in my bones were 
frozen. I believe a Dutch child could knock me 
down with a beer- jug. I tell you I am no longer 
myself. Awhile ago I trembled at the sound of 
an arquebus. If I were piously inclined I should 
be compelled to accept these unusual feelings as 
a warning from above." 

All present, and Don Juan especially, were 
amazed to hear him speak of heaven, for it was 
a subject to which he gave scant heed; or if he 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 185 

ever mentioned it, it was in derision. Seeing that 
several of the men smiled at his words, he was 
stirred by a sentiment of vanity, and exclaimed: 

" Let no one, at any rate, take it into his 
head to suppose that I am afraid either of the 
Dutch, of God, or the devil, for, if he does so, 
we will settle our accounts at the next watch! " 

" Never mind the Dutch, but as for God, and 
the other, we may be permitted to fear them," 
said an old gray-bearded captain, who wore a 
chaplet suspended beside his sword. 

' What harm can they do me? " demanded the 
other. " Lightning does not carry as straight as 
a Protestant bullet." 

" And what about your soul? " asked the 
old captain, crossing himself at this infamous 
blasphemy. 

" Oh! my soul I must be sure, in the first 
place, that I have one. Who has ever told me that 
I had a soul? The priests. Now, the invention 
of the soul yields them such rich revenues that 
it is not to be doubted that they are its authors, 
just as the pastry-cooks have invented tarts so 
as to sell them." 

" Don Garcia, you will come to a bad end," 
said the old captain. " Such idle talk is out of 
place in the trenches." 

" In the trenches, as elsewhere, I say what I 



186 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

think. But I will be silent, for here is my friend, 
Don Juan, with his hat about to fall off, from his 
hair standing on end. He believes not only in the 
soul; he believes also in souls in purgatory." 

" I am not a very clever fellow," replied Don 
Juan, laughing, " and sometimes I envy your 
sublime indifference to the things of the other 
world, for I confess, even if you sneer at me, 
there are moments when the things that are told 
of the damned give me disquieting thoughts." 

' The best proof of the impotency of the 
devil is that you are now standing in this trench. 
Upon my word, gentlemen," added Don Garcia, 
slapping Don Juan on the shoulder, " if there 
were a devil he would have carried off this fel- 
low long ago. Young as he is, I tell you, he 
ought to be excommunicated. He has sent more 
women to the bad and more men to their graves 
than two Franciscan friars and two ruffians of 
Valencia together could have done." 

He was still speaking when a shot burst from 
the direction of the Spanish camp. Don Garcia 
placed his hand on his breast, and cried: 

" I am wounded! " 

He staggered and fell almost instantly. At 
the same time a man was seen running away, 
but in the darkness he was soon lost from his 
pursuers. Don Garcia's wound proved to be 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 187 

mortal. The shot had been fired at close range, 
and the weapon had been charged with several 
balls. But the stoicism of the hardened sinner 
did not for an instant desert him. He dismissed 
peremptorily those who suggested that he should 
see a priest. To Don Juan he said: 

" One thing only torments me, and that is the 
Capuchins will persuade you that my death is a 
judgment from God. You must admit that 
nothing is more natural than that an arquebus- 
shot should kill a soldier. Suppose they do say 
that the shot was fired from our side. Doubtless 
some spiteful, jealous person has had me assas- 
sinated. If you catch him, hang him high and 
with despatch. Listen, Don Juan, I have two 
mistresses in Antwerp, three in Brussels, and 
others elsewhere that I can not recall my 
memory begins to fail I bequeath them to you, 
for lack of anything better. Take my sword, 
too and be sure not to forget the thrust I 
taught you. Good-bye. Instead of having 
masses said after my burial, see that my com- 
rades join in a glorious orgy." 

These were almost his last words. To God, 
to eternity, he gave no more thought than when 
he was throbbing with life and vigour. He died 
with a smile upon his lips, vanity helping him to 
sustain to the end the shocking role he had 



188 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

played so long. Modesto was seen no more in 
camp. The entire regiment felt sure that he 
was Don Garcia's assassin, but they were lost in 
vain conjectures as to the motive which had led 
him to the murder. 

Don Juan grieved for Don Garcia more 
than if he had been his brother. He said to him- 
self foolish fellow he owed to Don Garcia all 
that he was. He it was who had initiated him 
into the mysteries of life, who had torn from his 
eyes the dense scales which had blinded them. 
' What was I before I met him? " he asked him- 
self, his self-conceit answering that he was now 
a being far superior to other men. In fact, all 
the evil which that atheist had really taught him 
he accounted as good, and for this he was as 
grateful to his teacher as a virtuous pupil should 
be who merits his master's approval. 

The melancholy impressions left with him by 
this sudden death were sufficiently lasting to 
cause him for several months to change his mode 
of life. But he returned gradually to his for- 
mer habits, which had now too firm a hold on him 
to be uprooted by an incident. He began once 
more to gamble, to drink, to make love to 
women, and to fight their husbands. Each day 
brought new adventures. To-day, climbing a 
breach; to-morrow, scaling a balcony; in the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 189 

morning, a duel with a jealous husband; at 
night, drinking with harlots. 

While steeped in such excesses he learned of 
his father's death; his mother survived her hus- 
band only a few days, so that he received the 
same day news of the death of both parents. 
Following the advice of his lawyers and the 
promptings of his own inclination, he determined 
to return to Spain, to enter upon the possession 
of the vast estate and enormous wealth which he 
had inherited. He had already obtained par- 
don for the death of Don Alfonso de Ojeda, 
Dona Fausta's father, and he regarded that in- 
cident as entirely closed. He desired, moreover, 
a wider field of action for the exercise of his 
talents. He thought of the attractions of Se- 
ville, and of all the beautiful women there, who 
doubtless waited for his arrival only, to surren- 
der to his fascinations. 

Removing his armour then, he departed for 
Spain. Stopping a few days at Madrid, he at- 
tracted notice in a bull-fight by the richness of 
his apparel, and by his skill in goading the 
animal. While there he made a number of con- 
quests, but he could not linger long. On his 
return to Seville, all, both great and small, were 
dazzled by his magnificence. 

Every day he contrived some novel entertain- 



190 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

ment, to which were invited the most beautiful 
women of Andalusia ; every day his superb palace 
was the scene of new forms of pleasure, of new 
and unrestrained revelries. He became king 
among a group of profligates, who, while unruly 
and turbulent toward one another, obeyed him 
with the docility which is often seen among peo- 
ple of dissolute life. In a word there was no form 
of debauchery into which he had not fallen; and 
as a rich libertine has unlimited influence, so his 
pernicious example was followed by all the An- 
dalusian youth, who lauded him to the skies, and 
took him as their model. If Providence had al- 
lowed his evil career to continue much longer, it 
would have required a rain of fire to wipe out the 
licentiousness and crimes of Seville. A serious 
illness attacked Don Juan. The days that he lay 
in bed were not the occasion for meditation or 
retrospection, but on the contrary he begged his 
physician to restore him to health only that he 
might rush into new excesses. 

During his convalescence he amused himself 
by compiling a list of all the women he had se- 
duced and all the husbands he had deceived. The 
list was systematically arranged in two columns. 
In one column were the names of the women, with 
a summary of their characteristics ; in the opposite 
line the names and professions of their husbands. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 191 

He had great difficulty in recalling the names of 
all these unfortunates, and we may well believe 
that the catalogue was far from complete. 

He showed the list one day to a friend who 
had called to see him. While in Italy he had re- 
ceived the favour of a woman who boasted of hav- 
ing been the mistress of a Pope, so that it was em- 
inently proper that the list should begin with her 
name, that of the Pope figuring in the column of 
husbands. Then came a reigning prince, then 
several dukes, barons, and so on down to the ar- 
tisans. 

" Look at it," said he to his friend, " look at 
it ; not one has escaped me, from the Pope to the 
cobbler ; there is no profession that has not made 
its contribution." 

Don Torribio that was his friend's name 
looked over the list and returned it, saying with a 
chuckle: " It is incomplete! " 

' What! Incomplete? Who is then missing 
from my list of husbands? " 

" God," replied Don Torribio. 

" God? That is a fact; there is no nun here. 
By Jove, I thank you for mentioning it. Very 
well! I swear on my word as a gentleman that 
before the end of the month He shall be on my 
list, preceding his reverence the Pope, and that I 
shall invite you to supper here with a nun. In 



192 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

which of the convents of Seville are there any 
good-looking nuns? " 

A few days later Don Juan had entered on his 
campaign. He began to frequent the churches 
to which convents were attached. He knelt very 
near the railings that separate the spouses of the 
Lord from the rest of the faithful. From this 
point he stared boldly at those timid virgins, just 
as a wolf which has made his way into a sheep- 
fold searches out the plumpest lamb to devour 
first. It was not long before he had marked in 
the Church of Our Lady del Rosario a young 
nun of ravishing beauty, which was enhanced by 
an expression of sadness overshadowing her coun- 
tenance. She was never seen to raise her eyes or 
to look to the right or the left ; she seemed to be 
utterly lost in the celebration of the Divine Mys- 
tery upon the altar. Her lips moved softly, and 
it was evident that her prayers were more fervent 
than were the prayers of her companions. The 
sight of this nun stirred old memories. It seemed 
to Don Juan that he had seen this woman else- 
where, but it was impossible for him to recall the 
circumstances. Where so many pictures stood 
out more or less distinctly in his memory, it was 
inevitable that some should be merely confused 
outlines. For two successive days he returned 
to the church, always taking a position near the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 193 

railing, but never once could he induce Sister 
Agatha to raise her eyes. He had learned that 
this was her name. 

The hindrances in the way of triumphing 
over one so well protected both by her position 
and her modesty served but to whet Don Juan's 
evil passions. The most important, and also 
the most difficult, point was to influence her to 
notice him. His vanity persuaded him that if 
he could but attract Sister Agatha's attention the 
victory was more than half won. He planned 
the following expedient, therefore, to compel 
that lovely young person to raise her eyes. Tak- 
ing his position as near her as possible, and 
profiting by the moment of the elevation of the 
Host, when the entire congregation knelt with 
bowed heads, he thrust his hand between the bars 
of the railing and poured at Sister Agatha's 
feet the contents of a vial of attar of roses. The 
penetrating odour which suddenly arose caused 
the young nun to look up ; and as Don Juan was 
kneeling directly in front of her, she could not 
fail to see him. Intense astonishment was ex- 
pressed on her countenance ; then, giving a faint 
cry, she fell in a swoon upon the floor. Her 
companions pressed around her and she was car- 
ried away to her cell. Don Juan left the church 
well satisfied with himself, saying as he went : 



194 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

' That nun is simply charming, but the 
oftener I see her the more I think that she must 
already belong in my catalogue! " 

The next day, when mass began, he was to 
be found at his post near the railing. Sister 
Agatha, however, was not in her accustomed 
place in the front row; she was almost con- 
cealed from view behind her companions. Don 
Juan observed, however, that several times she 
looked up stealthily. He drew from this an 
omen favourable to himself. ' The little one 
fears me," he thought. " I shall soon have her 
tamed." 

At the conclusion of the mass, he noticed 
that she entered the confessional; but on the 
way she passed by the railing and, as if by acci- 
dent, dropped her beads. Don Juan had too 
much experience to be taken in by this supposed 
inadvertence. His first thought was that he 
must, at all hazards, obtain the beads, but they 
were on the other side of the grill, and he knew 
that he must wait until every one had left the 
church. While waiting for that moment he 
leaned against a pillar in an attitude of medita- 
tion with one hand over his eyes, but the fingers 
were slightly apart, so that he could follow all 
the movements of Sister Agatha. Whoever had 
seen him in that attitude would have taken him 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 195 

for a devout Christian absorbed in pious 
reverie. 

The nun left the confessional and started 
toward the door that led into the convent; but 
she soon perceived or pretended to perceive that 
her beads were missing. After searching for 
them on all sides she spied them beside the rail- 
ing. As she leaned down to pick them up Don 
Juan observed something white slip under the 
bars. It was a tiny folded paper. The nun 
withdrew immediately. 

Surprised that his stratagem had succeeded 
sooner than he had expected, the libertine ex- 
perienced a feeling of regret that he had 
not encountered more obstacles. Such is similar 
to the disappointment of the hunter when he 
pursues a stag, expecting a long, hard chase ; 
suddenly, before he has gotten a fair start, the 
animal falls, and the hunter is deprived of the 
pleasure and the credit which he had promised 
himself. Don Juan, nevertheless, picked up the 
note without delay and left the church that he 
might read it without interruption. It ran as 
follows : 

" Is it really you, Don Juan? And you have 
not forgotten me after all? I have been very un- 
happy, but I was beginning to become reconciled- 
to my fate. Now, I shall be a hundred times 



196 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

more unhappy than I was before. I ought to 
hate you you have shed my father's blood 
but I can neither hate you nor forget you. Take 
pity on me and do not come again to this church ; 
you make it too hard for me. Good-bye, good- 
bye, I am dead to the world. 

TERESA." 

" Ah! And so it is little Teresa! " said Don 
Juan. " I was sure I had seen her somewhere." 

Then he read the letter again. ' I ought to 
hate you/ That is to say, I adore you. ' You 
have shed my father's blood.' Chimene said the 
same thing to Rodrigue. ' Do not come again 
to this church,' which means, I shall look for you 
to-morrow. Very good! She is mine I" 

Thereupon he went to dinner. 

The next day found him punctual at church 
with a letter in his pocket ready to deliver, but 
to his great surprise, Sister Agatha did not ap- 
pear. Never before had mass seemed so long. 
He was furious. After cursing Teresa's scru- 
ples a hundred times he went for a stroll on 
the banks of the Guadalquivir to think of some 
plan by which he might send her a letter. He 
determined on this scheme. 

The Convent of Our Lady del Rosario was 
famous in Seville for the delicious confections 
made by the sisters. Don Juan went to the con- 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 197 

vent parlour, asked for the attendant and re- 
quested to see the list of confections which she 
had for sale. 

" Have you no Marana citrons? " he asked 
as naturally as possible. 

" Marana citrons, senor? This is the first 
time I have ever heard of them." 

' They are in great demand, however, and I 
am surprised that a house with a reputation like 
yours does not make quantities of them." 

" Marana citrons? " 

" Marana," repeated Don Juan, emphasis- 
ing each syllable. " I can not believe that among 
your nuns some one does not know the recipe. 
I beg you to ask if they do not know these pre- 
serves. I will come back to-morrow." 

A few minutes later the whole convent was 
talking about Marana citrons. Their most skil- 
ful confection-makers had never heard of them. 
Sister Agatha alone knew how to make them. 
' You must add to the citrons extract of roses, 
extract of violets, and so on, and then " She 
was ordered to make the preserves herself. 
When he returned next day, Don Juan found 
ready for him a jar of Marana citrons; in fact, 
it was an execrable mixture; but hidden under- 
neath the lid of the jar, he found a note from 
Teresa. Again, she besought him to renounce 



198 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

and forget her. To be just, the poor girl tried 
to deceive herself. Religion, filial duty, and 
love were all contending for her heart; but it 
was easy to see that love held the first place. 
The next day, Don Juan sent a page to the con- 
vent with a case of citrons which he wished to 
have preserved, and which he intrusted specially 
to the nun who had made the confections pur- 
chased the day before. Cleverly concealed in 
the bottom of the case was an answer to Teresa's 
letter. He wrote: 

" I have been miserably unhappy. It was 
some fatality that guided my arm. Since that 
fatal night you have never been absent from my 
thoughts. I dared not hope that you would not 
hate me. And now, I have found you again. 
Speak to me no more of the vows you have made. 
Before you ever took those vows you belonged 
to me. You have no right to dispose of the heart 
that you gave me ... I have come to 
reclaim the one whom I love better than life 
. I must have you again, or I shall die. 
To-morrow I shall ask to see you in the parlour. 
I have not attempted to call to see you before, 
fearing that your agitation might betray us. 
Summon all your courage. Tell me if the at- 
tendant can be bribed." 

Two drops of water, placed skilfully on the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 199 

paper, were supposed to be tears, wrung from 
him as he wrote. 

A few hours later the gardener at the con- 
vent brought him a reply, and offered his ser- 
vices. The attendant was not to be bribed. Sis- 
ter Agatha consented to come down to the 
parlour, but only on condition that it would be 
to say and to receive an eternal farewell. 

The unhappy Teresa appeared in the parlour 
more dead than alive and was obliged to sup- 
port herself at the grille by both hands, to keep 
from falling. Calm and impassive himself, 
Teresa's exquisite suffering, of which he was 
the author, was a savoury morsel to Don Juan. 

In order to mislead the attendant, he spoke 
casually of friends whom Teresa had known in 
Salamanca and who had charged him with mes- 
sages and greetings. Then, taking advantage 
of a moment when the attendant moved to the 
other side of the room, he whispered quickly to 
the nun: 

" I am resolved, at any risk, to take you away 
from this place. If necessary, I shall burn down 
the convent. I shall listen to no refusal. You 
belong to me. In a few days you will be mine. 
I may perish in the attempt, but others will 
perish along with me." 

The attendant returned. Dona Teresa was 



200 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

strangling, and unable to utter a word. Don 
Juan, however, was talking unconcernedly of 
preserves, of needlework things that occupied 
the sisters' time; he promised to send the at- 
tendant several rosaries which had been blessed 
by the Pope, and to present the convent with a 
brocade robe to adorn its patron saint on her 
fete-day. After a half -hour of talk like this, 
he departed, his formal and dignified adieu leav- 
ing Teresa in a condition of agitation and despair 
impossible to describe. She flew to her cell, 
where she shut herself in, and her pen, more 
obedient than her tongue, wrote him a long let- 
ter, in which she poured out her soul in reproach, 
entreaty, and lamentation. She could not with- 
hold the confession of her love, but this sin she 
excused, thinking that it was expiated in her 
refusal to yield to the prayers of her lover. The 
gardener, who took charge of this criminal cor- 
respondence, soon brought a reply. Don Juan 
still threatened to resort to extreme measures. 
He had at his command a hundred trusty fol- 
lowers. The sacrilege of his act did not terrify 
him. He would count it happiness to die if he 
could but hold his dear love once more in his 
embrace. What could she do, a helpless child, 
who had always yielded to the man she adored? 
She passed the nights in tears, and in the day 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 201 

she could not pray, for Don Juan's image was 
constantly before her. Even when she joined the 
nuns in their exercises of worship, it was but a 
mechanical act, for her thoughts were wholly en- 
grossed in her fatal passion. 

After a little while she no longer had the 
strength to resist, and intimated to Don Juan 
that she would agree to anything. She argued 
to herself, that, since she was already lost, her 
fate could be no worse for having tasted a brief 
moment of happiness. Don Juan, overjoyed, 
made his preparations to take her from the con- 
vent. He selected a night when there was no 
moon. The gardener provided Teresa with a 
rope-ladder for use in climbing the convent 
walls. A bundle of conventional garments was 
to be concealed in the garden, for it would never 
do to be seen in the street in a nun's habit. Don 
Juan would be waiting for her on the outer side 
of the convent wall. Not far away, a litter, har- 
nessed to a pair of strong mules, would be in 
readiness to drive them quickly to a house in the 
country. There, safe from all pursuit, her life 
would be peaceful and happy under the protec- 
tion of her lover. Such was the plan that Don 
Juan had outlined. He had appropriate cloth- 
ing made for Teresa; he tested the ladder, and 
sent her instructions how to attach it ; indeed, he 



202 SOULS IX PURGATORY 

overlooked nothing that would insure the success 
of his enterprise. The gardener could be de- 
pended on, for he had too much to gain to be 
suspected of disloyalty. Not only so, but it was 
arranged that he was to be assassinated the night 
after the abduction. In short, it seemed impos- 
sible for anything to defeat a plot so skilfully 
laid. 

In order to avert suspicion, Don Juan left 
for the Chateau de Marana two days before that 
planned for the elopement. Although he had 
spent the greater part of his childhood and 
youth in this castle, he had never entered it since 
his return to Seville. He arrived just at night- 
fall and at once ordered a bountiful supper, after 
which he retired for the night. In his room two 
tall wax candles were burning and upon the 
table lay a book of licentious tales. After read- 
ing several pages, and becoming drowsy, he ex- 
tinguished one of the candles. Before putting 
out the second one, he happened to glance inad- 
vertently about the room, when suddenly, in the 
alcove, he spied the picture upon which he had so 
often gazed in his childhood: the picture repre- 
senting the torments of purgatory. Instinctively 
his eyes rested on the man whose vitals a ser- 
pent was devouring, and, although this repre- 
sentation inspired in him far more terror than it 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 203 

had formerly done, he could not turn away. At 
the same time, he recalled the face of Captain 
Gomare, with the frightful convulsions wrought 
upon it by death. The recollection made him 
shudder, and he felt his hair stand on end. 
Summoning all his courage, however, he blew 
out the candle, hoping that the darkness would 
obliterate the hideous images which persisted in 
tormenting him. Although veiled from his sight 
by the night, his eyes still sought the picture, 
and so well did he know every detail that it 
stood out in his memory as clearly as if it were 
broad day. In his imagination, the figures 
sometimes shone so brightly in the fire of pur- 
gatory, which the artist had painted, that the 
fire itself appeared real. At last, in his excite- 
ment he summoned his servants, intending to 
order them to remove the picture that had oc- 
casioned such frightful fancies. When they 
appeared, however, he was ashamed of his weak- 
ness, for he knew he would be an object of 
ridicule were it known to his menials that he 
was panic-stricken by a picture, and so he merely 
told them that he wished the candles lighted 
again, and to be left alone. He began again to 
read; but while his eyes rested on the pages of 
the book, his thoughts were with the picture on 
the wall. In this way he passed a sleepless 



204 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

night, a prey to indescribable restlessness. At 
break of dawn he left the room for a morning's 
hunt. The exercise and the bracing air of early 
morning had a pacifying effect upon his mood, 
so that by the time he returned to the castle the 
sensations aroused by the picture had altogether 
vanished. At supper that night he drank deeply 
of wine, and his mind was slightly confused when 
he went to bed. At his command a different 
room had been prepared for him, but we may 
be sure that he had not ordered the picture to 
be removed thither. The remembrance of it 
remained with him, however, and was strong 
enough to keep him awake the greater part of 
the night. 

Yet these terrors caused him no regret for 
his impious life. His mind rather was entirely 
absorbed in the abduction about to be accom- 
plished; and after leaving all the necessary 
directions to his servants, he set out alone at 
mid-day for Seville so that he would arrive there 
after dark. In fact, night had fully settled 
down when he passed the Tower del Lloro, where 
one of his menials was waiting. He gave the 
servant his horse to return and was informed that 
the litter and mules were in readiness. By his 
directions they were to be waiting in a street near 
enough the convent to reach conveniently with 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 205 

Teresa, yet not too near to excite the suspicions 
of the watchman, if they should chance to meet 
him. Every preparation had been made; his in- 
structions had been executed to the letter. He 
found he had still an hour to wait before giving 
Teresa the signal. His man threw over his 
shoulders a voluminous brown cloak, and he en- 
tered Seville alone, by the porte de Triana, con- 
cealing his face to avoid recognition. He was 
weary from the journey and the heat of the 
day, and sat down to rest upon a bench in a de- 
serted street. He passed the time whistling and 
humming all the tunes that came into his mind. 
He consulted his watch from time to time, dis- 
covering to his vexation that the hands did not 
advance to the measure of his impatience. 
Suddenly his ear caught the strains of solemn 
and mournful music. He recognised at once 
the chants consecrated to the burial service. Soon 
a procession turned the corner and advanced 
toward the place where he was sitting. A double 
line of mourners, all carrying lighted tapers, pre- 
ceded a bier, which was draped in black velvet, 
and borne by several persons dressed in anti- 
quated fashion, with white beards and with 
swords hanging by their sides. The procession 
closed with two lines of mourners, in black robes, 
and like the others, all carrying lighted tapers. 



206 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

They approached slowly and silently. No sound 
of footsteps was heard and it seemed as if the 
figures glided rather than walked on the pave- 
ment. The gowns and the cloaks fell in long, 
stiff folds, as motionless as the drapery of 
marble statues. 

At this spectacle, Don Juan at once experi- 
enced that feeling of disgust which the thought 
of death always inspires in an epicurean. He 
rose, intending to leave the scene, but the im- 
mense number of mourners and the stateliness 
and pomp of the cortege excited his curiosity. 
The procession was directed toward a neighbour- 
ing church, whose doors had just opened osten- 
tatiously, as if about to receive an important per- 
sonage. 

Don Juan, touching the sleeve of one of the 
mourners, politely inquired w r ho was the person 
about to be buried. The mourner lifted his eyes ; 
his face was pale and emaciated like that of a 
man just recovering from a long and painful 
illness. In a sepulchral voice he replied: 

" It is Count Don Juan de Marana." 

At this strange response Don Juan's hair 
rose on his head; but the next instant he had re- 
covered his composure and broke into a smile: 

" Of course I misunderstood," said he, " or 
else the old man was merely mistaken." 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 207 

He entered the church with the procession. 
The funeral dirges began, to the noble tones of 
the organ accompaniment, and priests in mourn- 
ing vestments intoned the De Profundis. De- 
spite his efforts to retain his composure, Don 
Juan felt that his very blood was curdling in his 
veins. Again approaching a mourner, he asked : 

' Whose funeral is this? " 

" It is Count Don Juan de Marana's," re- 
plied the mourner in a hollow and terrifying 
tone. 

Don Juan leaned against a pillar to keep 
from falling. He felt his strength failing him, 
and all his courage forsook him. The service 
continued, however; and the solemn peals of the 
organ and the chanting of the terrible Dies Irce 
echoed through the vaults of the church. It 
seemed as if he were listening to the chorus of 
angels at the last judgment. Finally, with an 
effort, he seized the hand of a passing priest. 
The hand was cold as marble. 

" Father, in the name of Heaven," he cried, 
" for whose soul are you now praying? And 
who are you? " 

' We pray for Count Don Juan de Marana," 
answered the priest, steadily regarding him and 
with an expression of grief upon his counte- 
nance. ' We are praying for his soul, which is 



208 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

in mortal sin. We are the souls who have been 
saved from purgatory by the prayers and masses 
of his mother. We are paying to the son the 
debt we owe the mother; but this is the last mass 
we shall be permitted to say for the soul of Count 
Don Juan de Marafia." 

At this moment the church clock struck; it 
was the hour fixed for the abduction of Teresa. 

' The hour has come!" exclaimed a voice 
from an obscure corner of the church. * The 
hour has come! Is he to belong to us? " 

Turning his head, Don Juan saw a terrible 
apparition. Don Garcia, ghastly, and dripping 
with blood, moved up the aisle with Captain 
Gomare, whose features were still distorted from 
his horrible convulsions. Both went directly to 
the bier: Don Garcia, tearing off the lid of the 
coffin, and throwing it violently to the ground, 
repeated : 

" Is he ours? " 

Just then a huge serpent rose from behind 
Don Garcia, and seemed on the point of darting 
into the coffin. With a shriek: " Jesus!" Don 
Juan fell unconscious to the pavement. 

The night was far advanced when the watch- 
man in passing observed a man lying motionless 
at the church door. The constables came up, 
supposing it was the body of some one who had 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 209 

been murdered. They recognised at once the 
Count de Marafta, and tried to revive him by 
dashing cold water in his face, but seeing that 
he did not regain consciousness, they carried him 
to his home. Some said he was drunk, others 
that he had received a cudgelling from some in- 
jured husband. Not a man, or at least not an 
honest man, in Seville liked him, and every one 
expressed his mind without hesitation. One 
blessed the club that had knocked him out so 
effectively; another wondered how many bottles 
of wine that unconscious carcass could hold. 
The constables handed Don Juan over to his ser- 
vants, who ran at once in search of a surgeon. 
They bled him freely and he soon began to show 
signs of consciousness, at first uttering only 
meaningless words, inarticulate cries, sobs, and 
moans. Little by little, he seemed to observe 
attentively all the objects about him. He asked 
where he was ; then, what had become of Captain 
Gomare, Don Garcia, and the funeral proces- 
sion. His attendants thought him mad. After 
swallowing a cordial, he asked for a crucifix, 
which he kissed again and again, shedding a flood 
of tears. He then commanded that a confessor 
be brought. 

There was general surprise, so widely known 
was his impiety. Several priests refused to come, 



210 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

confident that this was only one of his malicious 
jokes. Finally, a Dominican monk consented 
to go to him. They were left alone, and Don 
Juan, throwing himself at the feet of the monk, 
told him of the vision he had seen. Then he con- 
fessed. As he went over the category of his 
crimes he broke off to ask if it were possible for 
so great a sinner as himself to obtain Divine 
forgiveness. The priest replied that the mercy 
of God was infinite. After exhorting him to 
persevere in his repentance, he gave him the con- 
solation which the Church never refuses even the 
worst of criminals. The monk then left him with 
the promise to return that night. Don Juan 
spent the entire day in prayer. When the 
Dominican returned in the evening the penitent 
told him that he had fully resolved to retire from 
the world, upon which he had brought such dis- 
honour, and to endeavour to expiate in peniten- 
tial works the heinous crimes in which he was 
steeped. The monk, touched by his tears, gave 
him such comfort as he could, and, to see whether 
he would have the courage to carry out his de- 
termination, painted in terrifying language the 
austerities of the cloister. But at every penance 
that he described, Don Juan only cried that it 
was nothing, and that he deserved treatment far 
more severe. 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 211 

The next day he gave half of his fortune to 
his relatives who were poor; another part he con- 
secrated to the endowment of a hospital and a 
chapel. He distributed large sums among the 
poor, and to the priests, that many masses might 
be said for the souls in purgatory, especially for 
the souls of Captain Gomare and those unfor- 
tunate men whom he had killed in duel. 

Finally, he invited all his friends, and in 
their presence called himself to account for the 
evil example he had been to them: with deep 
pathos he depicted the remorse that he now suf- 
fered for the sins of his past life, and the hopes 
that he dared to entertain for the future. Sev- 
eral of those libertines were affected by what 
he said, and repented; others, more callous, left 
him with heartless jests. 

Before entering the monastery which he had 
chosen for retreat, Don Juan wrote to Dona 
Teresa. He confessed his dishonourable inten- 
tions; he told her the story of his past life, and 
his conversion; he begged her to forgive him, 
and promised to profit by her example, and in 
repentance to seek his soul's salvation. This let- 
ter he intrusted to the care of the Dominican, 
after reading him the contents. 

Poor Teresa! She had waited for hours in 
the convent garden, watching for the signal; 



212 SOULS IX PURGATORY 

hours of indescribable suspense. Then, seeing 
that dawn was about to break, she returned to 
her cell, a prey to the keenest anguish. Don 
Juan's failure to come she attributed to a thou- 
sand causes, all equally far from the truth. 
Several days passed thus, with no word, no mes- 
sage that might soften her despair. At last, 
the monk, after conferring with the Superior, 
obtained permission to see her and give her the 
letter of her repentant lover. As she read, her 
brow was covered with great beads of sweat, 
now her face became crimson, now pale as death. 
She had the courage, how r ever, to read to the 
end. The Dominican then endeavoured to de- 
scribe Don Juan's repentance, and rejoiced that 
she had escaped the terrible fate which, but for 
the evident intervention of Providence, was in 
store for them both. But to these words of 
counsel Teresa only moaned : " He never loved 
me ! " The unhappy girl was attacked by a vio- 
lent fever; every remedy known to science and 
religion was applied to conquer her malady, but 
in vain. Some of them she refused altogether; 
to others she seemed indifferent. And so, after 
a few days she died, still repeating: " He never 
loved me ! " 

While still wearing the habit of a novice Don 
Juan proved the sincerity of his conversion. Xo 



SOULS IX PURGATORY 213 

fast, no penance, was imposed upon him, but he 
considered it too mild; and the abbot of the 
monastery was obliged often to restrain him in 
his self-imposed macerations. He pointed out 
to him that such a course would only shorten his 
life ; and that in reality it required more courage 
to suffer during a long period the penances ju- 
diciously imposed by his superiors, than to hasten 
his end by self-inflicted punishments. 

At the expiration of his novitiate, Don 
Juan, assuming the name of Brother Ambroise, 
took his final vows, and because of his piety 
and asceticism he edified the whole community. 
Under his fustian gown he wore a coarse hair- 
cloth shirt; a narrow box, shorter than his body, 
was his bed. He restricted his diet to stewed 
vegetables; only on fete-days, and then by the 
express order of the abbot, did he consent to eat 
bread. Outstretched upon a cross, he spent the 
greater part of the night in meditation and 
prayer. 

In fact, he was the example for this com- 
munity of religious men, as formerly he had been 
the model for all the libertines of his social 
sphere. An epidemic, which broke out in Se- 
ville, gave him an opportunity to put into prac- 
tice those new virtues which were the fruit of 
his conversion. The victims of the plague were 



214 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

received into the hospital which he had endowed ; 
he nursed the poor, spending all his time by their 
bedside, in exhortation, consolation, and encour- 
agement. So great was the danger of contagion 
that it was impossible to find, for love or money, 
men willing to bury the dead. Don Juan ful- 
filled this ministry also; entering the abandoned 
houses, he gave decent burial to the bodies which 
he found there, and many had been left for days 
unburied. Everywhere blessings were showered 
on him. Never once during the terrible scourge 
did he contract the disease, many credulous per- 
sons asserting that God had performed a new 
miracle in his favour. 

Don Juan, or rather Brother Ambroise, had 
now dwelt in the cloister for a number of years, 
his life being one uninterrupted succession of 
pious practices and penances. The memory of 
his past life was still present in his thoughts, but 
his remorse was beginning to be less acute, owing 
to the consciousness of Divine forgiveness im- 
parted by his changed life. 

One day, after dinner, the hour when the sun 
shone with fiercest heat, all the brothers were 
enjoying a short rest, as was their custom. 
Brother Ambroise alone worked in the garden, 
bareheaded, under the burning sun; it was one 
of his self-imposed penances. Bending over his 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 215 

spade he saw the shadow of a man, who paused 
beside him. Supposing it was one of the monks, 
who had walked out into the garden, he con- 
tinued his task, saluting him with an Ave Maria. 
There was no response. Surprised that the 
shadow did not move, he looked up from his 
work, and saw standing before him a tall young 
man. He wore a cloak which reached to the 
ground, and a hat, shaded by a black and white 
plume, almost concealed his face. This man 
looked at him in silence, with an expression of 
malicious pleasure and scorn. They stood thus 
for several moments, gazing steadily at each 
other. Finally, the stranger, stepping forward, 
and removing his hat so as to disclose his feat- 
ures, said: 

" Do you recognise me? " 

Don Juan regarded him still more closely, but 
without recognition. 

" Do you remember the siege of Berg-op- 
Zoom? " asked the stranger. " Have you for- 
gotten a soldier named Modesto ? " 

Don Juan trembled. The stranger continued 
coldly : 

" A soldier named Modesto, who shot and 
killed your worthy friend, Don Garcia, instead 
of yourself, at whom he aimed? Modesto! I 
am he. I have still another name, Don Juan: 



216 SOULS IX PURGATORY 

my name is Don Pedro de Ojeda. I am the son 
of Don Alfonso de Ojeda, whom you killed 
. I am the brother of Dona Fausta 
de Ojeda, whom you killed ... I am the 
brother of Dona Teresa de Ojeda, whom you 
killed." 

" My brother," said Don Juan, falling on 
his knees, " I am a miserable mass of crimes. It 
is to expiate them that I am wearing this garb, 
and that I have renounced the world. If there 
is any means by which I may win your forgive- 
ness, tell me what it is. The severest penance 
will have no terrors for me if thereby you will 
cease to curse me." 

Don Pedro smiled bitterly. 

" Let us abandon hypocrisy, Senor Marafia. 
I do not forgive. As for my curses, you have 
brought them on yourself. But I am too im- 
patient to wait for their realisation. I have with 
me something far more effective than curses." 

Thereupon he threw aside his cloak and 
showed two long swords which he carried at his 
side. He drew them from the scabbards and 
stuck them both in the ground. 

' Take your choice, Don Juan," he said. " I 
have been told that you are a great fighter and I 
pride myself on being no mean fencer. Let us 
see what you can do." 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 217 

Don Juan made the sign of the cross, 
saying: 

" Brother, you forget the vows that I have 
taken. I am no longer the Don Juan whom you 
once knew, I am Brother Ambroise." 

' Very well! Brother Ambroise, you are my 
enemy, and no matter what name you call your- 
self, I hate you, and I intend to be avenged." 

Don Juan again fell upon his knees. 

" If you wish to take my life, brother, it is 
yours. Chastise me in any way you see fit." 

" Cowardly hypocrite ! Do you think to dupe 
me? If I had wanted to kill you like a mad 
dog, would I have taken the trouble to bring 
these weapons ? Come, make your choice quickly, 
and defend your life." 

" I tell you again, brother, I can not fight, 
but I can die." 

"Miserable caitiff!" cried Don Pedro, in a 
rage. " I was told that you had courage, and I 
find you only a vile coward! " 

" Courage, my brother? God grant me 
courage not to give way to utter hopelessness; 
for without His support the remembrance of my 
crimes would lead me to desperation. Good-bye, 
I will leave you, for I see that my presence mad- 
dens you. May the day come when you will be- 
lieve in the sincerity of my repentance ! " 



218 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

He started to leave the garden, when Don 
Pedro grasped his arm. 

; ' Either you or I," he cried, " shall never 
leave this spot alive. Take one of these swords, 
for I'll be damned if I believe a single word of 
your jeremiads! " 

Don Juan looked at him beseechingly, and 
again tried to leave the place, but Don Pedro 
seized him roughly by the collar: 

' You believe, then, infamous murderer that 
you are, that you can escape me! No! I shall 
tear into shreds your hypocritical robe that con- 
ceals the cloven foot, and then, it may be, you 
will find courage enough to fight with me." 

With this, he pushed him violently against 
the wall. 

" Senor Pedro de Ojeda," cried Don Juan, 
" kill me if you will, I shall not fight! " 

And folding his arms, with eyes calm but 
determined, he looked steadily at Don Pedro. 

' Yes, I shall kill you, miserable dastard ! 
But first I shall treat you as the coward that 
you are! " 

And he slapped him in the face, the first in- 
sulting blow that Don Juan had ever received. 
His face became livid. The pride and fury of 
his youth once more took possession of his soul. 
Without a word, he leaped toward one of the 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 219 

swords, and seized it. Don Pedro took the other, 
and stood on guard. They attacked each other 
furiously, making a lunge simultaneously. Don 
Pedro's sword buried itself in Don Juan's gown 
and glanced along his body without inflicting a 
wound ; Don Juan's sword, on the contrary, sank 
to the hilt into his adversary's breast. Don 
Pedro died instantly. 

Seeing his enemy stretched at his feet, Don 
Juan stood for some time as if dazed, looking 
down upon him. Gradually he came to his 
senses, and to a realisation of the enormity of 
his crime. Throwing himself upon the body, he 
tried to restore it to life, but he was too familiar 
with the sight of wounds to doubt for a moment 
that this one was fatal. There at his feet lay 
the blood-stained sword, offering him a means 
of self -punishment ; but quickly casting behind 
him this last temptation of the devil, terror- 
stricken, he rushed into the abbot's cell and threw 
himself at his feet. There, with tears streaming 
in floods down his cheeks, Don Juan told his 
terrible story. The abbot would not, at first, 
believe him, thinking that Don Juan's reason 
had become impaired on account of his severe 
penances, but his gown and hands, stained with 
blood, no longer permitted him to doubt the 
awful truth. 



220 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

A man of rare presence of mind, he realised 
instantly that if this affair should come to be 
known, the scandal would reflect upon the mon- 
astery. No one had seen the duel, and he took 
care to conceal it from the brothers. He ordered 
Don Juan to follow him, and with his assistance, 
he carried the body into a cellar-room, and lock- 
ing the door he took the key. Then, shutting 
Don Juan within his cell, the abbot went out to 
notify the corregidor. 

One may, perhaps, be surprised that Don 
Pedro, who had already made one attempt to 
murder Don Juan, should have rejected the idea 
of a second assassination, preferring to over- 
throw his enemy in a duel; but this was only his 
diabolical plan of vengeance. He had heard of 
Don Juan's asceticism and his deep piety, and 
he had no doubt if he killed him in cold blood 
that he would send Don Juan's soul direct to 
heaven. He hoped, therefore, that by provok- 
ing him and compelling him to fight, he would 
kill him in the act of a mortal sin and would thus 
destroy both his body and his soul. We have 
seen how this wicked design turned against its 
author. 

It was not difficult to hush up the affair. The 
magistrate acted in concert with the abbot to 
avert suspicion. The other monks believed that 



SOULS IN PURGATORY 221 

the man had fallen in a duel with an unknown 
caballero, and when wounded, he had been car- 
ried into the monastery, where he had died almost 
immediately. As for Don Juan, I shall attempt 
to describe neither his remorse nor his repentance. 
Every kind of penance imposed by the abbot he 
suffered joyfully. During the remainder of his 
life, he kept, hanging at the foot of his bed, the 
sword with which he had killed Don Pedro, and 
never did he look at it without praying for his 
soul, and for the souls of his family. In order 
to subdue the last remnant of worldly pride 
lingering in his heart the abbot had commanded 
him to present himself every day before the 
convent cook, so that he might receive a slap. 
After receiving this humiliation Brother Am- 
broise never failed to turn the other cheek also, 
and to thank the cook for humbling him in this 
way. He lived ten years longer in the cloister 
and never once was his repentance interrupted 
by a return to the passions of his youth. He 
died, revered as a saint, even by those who had 
known him as an evil youth. On his death-bed, 
he begged as a favour, to be buried at the 
threshold of the church, so that all who entered 
should trample him underfoot. He wished also 
that his tomb should bear this inscription: 
Here lies the worst man that ever lived. It was 



222 SOULS IN PURGATORY 

not thought fitting, however, to cany out all the 
requests dictated by his excessive humility. He 
was buried near the high altar of the church he 
had built. It is true that the inscription which 
he had composed was carved on the stone that 
covers his remains; but there was added to this 
the story of his conversion, and a eulogy to his 
virtues. His hospital, and especially the church 
where he is buried, are visited by every stranger 
who comes to Seville. Several of the master- 
pieces of Murillo adorn the chapel. The Prodi- 
gal's Return, and The Pool of Bethesda which 
are now admired in the art gallery of Senor 
Soult, formerly decorated the walls of the Hos- 
pital de la Caridad. 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 
La Venus D'llle 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 

'IXe&j Ijv &ly&, '<rr 6 larSplca 

Kal fjlTlOS, &VTWS foSpttOS &V. 

AOTKIANOT *IAOETAH2.* 

I DESCENDED the last hillside at Cani- 
gou, and, although the sun had already 
set, I could distinguish the houses of the 
little town of Ille, in the plain, toward which 
my steps were turned. 

* You know," I said to the Catalanian who 
had been my guide since the previous day 
" no doubt you know where M. de Peyrehorade 
lives?" 

" Do I know it ! " he exclaimed. " I know his 
house as well as I know my own ; and if it wasn't 
so dark I would point it out to you. It is the 
prettiest in Ille. M. de Peyrehorade is a rich 
man; and he is marrying his son to a lady even 
richer than himself." 

" Is the marriage to take place soon? " I 
asked. 

" Very soon ; probably the violinists are al- 

* " If I am gracious, let the statue be also kind, seeing it is so nobly 
human. " Lucians * 4 Philopseudes. " 

225 



226 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

ready ordered for the wedding. Perhaps it will 
be to-night, or to-morrow, or the day after, for 
all I know. It will be at Puygarrig ; for the son 
is to marry Mademoiselle de Puygarrig. It will 
be a very grand affair! " 

I had been introduced to M. de Peyrehorade 
by my friend M. de P., who told me he was a 
very learned antiquarian and of extreme good 
nature. It would give him pleasure to show me 
all the ruins for ten leagues round. So I was 
looking forward to visit with him the district sur- 
rounding Ille, which I knew to be rich in monu- 
ments belonging to ancient times and the Middle 
Ages. This marriage, of which I now heard 
for the first time, would upset all my plans. I 
said to myself, I should be a kill- joy; but I was 
expected, and as M. de P. had written to say I 
was coming, I should have to present myself. 

" I will bet you, monsieur," said my guide 
to me, when we were in the plain " I will bet 
you a cigar that I can guess why you are going 
to M. de Peyrehorade's." 

" But that is not a difficult thing to guess," 
I replied, holding out a cigar to him. " At this 
hour, after traversing six leagues amongst the 
Canigou hills, the grand question is supper." 

" Yes, but to-morrow? . . . Wait, I will 
bet that you have come to Ille to see the statue. 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 227 

I guessed that when I saw you draw pictures of 
the Saints at Serrabona." 

"The statue! What statue?" The word 
had excited my curiosity. 

'What! did no one tell you at Perpignan 
that M. de Peyrehorade had found a statue in 
the earth?" 

" Did you mean a statue in terra-cotta, or 
clay? " 

" Nothing of the kind. It is actually in cop- 
per, and there is enough of it to make heaps of 
coins. It weighs as much as a church-bell. It 
is deep in the ground, at the foot of an olive tree 
that we dug up." 

' You were present, then, at the find? " 

' Yes, sir. M. de Peyrehorade told Jean Coll 
and me, a fortnight ago, to uproot an old olive 
tree which had been killed by the frost last year, 
for there was a very severe frost, you will re- 
member. Well, then, whilst working at it with 
all his might, Jean Coll gave a blow with his 
pickaxe, and I heard bimm ! ... as though 
he had struck on a bell. ' What is that? ' I said. 
He picked and picked again, and a black hand 
appeared, which looked like the hand of a dead 
man coming out of the ground. I felt fright- 
ened; I went to the master and said to him: 
' There are dead folk, master, under the olive 



228 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

tree; I wish you would send for the priest.' 
* What dead folk ? ' he asked. He came, and had 
no sooner seen the hand than he cried out, ' An 
antique statue ! an antique statue ! ' You might 
have thought he had discovered a treasure. And 
then he set to with pickaxe and hands, and 
worked hard ; he did almost as much work as the 
two of us together." 

" And what did you find in the end? " 

" A huge black woman, more than half 
naked, saving your presence, sir, all in copper, 
and M. de Peyrehorade told us that it was an 
idol of pagan times . . . perhaps as old 
as Charlemagne ! " 

" I see what it is . . . some worthy Vir- 
gin in bronze which belonged to a convent that 
has been destroyed." 

"The Blessed Virgin! Well, I never! 
. . . I should very soon have known if it had 
been the Blessed Virgin. I tell you it is an idol ; 
you can see that plainly from its appearance. It 
stares at you with its great white eyes. 
You might have said it was trying to put you 
out of countenance. It was enough to make one 
ashamed to look at her." 

' White eyes were they? No doubt they are 
inlaid in the bronze; it might perhaps be a Ro- 
man statue." 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 229 

" Roman ! that's it. M. de Peyrehorade said 
that it was Roman. Ah! I can see you are as 
learned as he is." 

" Is it whole and in good preservation? " 

" Oh, it is all there, sir. It is much more 

beautiful and better finished than the painted 

plaster bust of Louis Philippe, which is at the 

town hall. But for all that the idol's face is not 

/^ 

very nice to look at. She looks wicked . 
and she is so, too." 

"Wicked! What mischief has she done 
you?" 

" No mischief to me exactly; but I will tell 
you. We were down on all fours to raise her up 
on end, and M. de Peyrehorade was also tugging 
at the rope, although he had no more strength 
than a chicken, good man! With much trouble 
he got her straight. I picked up a tile to prop 
her up, when, good Lord! she fell upside down 
all in a heap. ' Look out there below ! ' I said, 
but I was not quick enough, for Jean Coll had 
not time to draw his leg out . . . " 

" And was it hurt? " 

" His poor leg was broken as clean as a pole. 
Goodness! when I saw it I was furious. I 
wanted to break up the idol with my pickaxe, 
but M. de Peyrehorade would not let me. He 
gave some money to Jean Coll, who, all the same, 



230 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

has been in bed the whole fortnight since it hap- 
pened, and the doctor says that he will never 
walk with that leg again so well as with the 
other. It is a sad pity; he was our best runner, 
and, after M. de Peyrehorade's son, he was the 
cleverest tennis player. M. Alphonse de Peyre- 
horade was dreadfully sorry, for it was Coll 
against whom he played. It was fine to see them 
send the balls flying. Whizz! whizz 1 they never 
touched the ground." 

And so we chatted till we reached Ille, and 
I very soon found myself in the presence of M. 
de Peyrehorade. He was a little old man, still 
hale and active ; he was powdered, had a red nose, 
and his manner was jovial and bantering. When 
he had opened M. de P.'s letter he installed me 
in front of a well-appointed table and presented 
me to his wife and son as an illustrious archaeolo- 
gist, whose desire it was to raise the province of 
Roussillon from obscurity, in which it had been 
left by the neglect of the learned. 

Whilst I was eating with a good appetite 
for nothing makes one so hungry as mountain 
air I examined my hosts. I have said a word 
or two about M. de Peyrehorade; I should add 
that he was vivacity itself. He talked and ate, 
got up, ran to his library to bring me books, 
showed me engravings, and poured out drinks 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 231 

for me ; he was never still for two minutes. His 
wife was rather too stout, like most Catalanian 
women over forty, and she seemed to me a regu- 
lar provincial, solely taken up with the cares of 
her household. Although the supper was ample 
for six people at least, she ran to the kitchen, had 
pigeons killed and dozens of them fried, besides 
opening I don't know how many pots of pre- 
serves. In a trice the table was loaded with dishes 
and bottles, and I should assuredly have died of 
indigestion if I had even tasted all that was 
offered me. However, at each dish that I re- 
fused there were fresh excuses. They were afraid 
I did not get what I liked at Ille there are 
so few means of getting things in the provinces, 
and Parisians are so hard to please! 

M. Alphonse de Peyrehorade stirred no more 
than a statue in the midst of his parents' comings 
and goings. He was a tall young man of twen- 
ty-six, with beautiful and regular features, but 
they were wanting in expression. His figure and 
athletic build quite justified the reputation he 
had gained in the country as an indefatigable 
tennis player. He was that evening exquisitely 
dressed, exactly like the latest fashion plate. 
But he seemed to me to be uneasy in his gar- 
ments; he was as stiff as a post in his velvet col- 
lar, and could not turn round unless with his 



232 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

whole body. His fat and sunburnt hands, with 
their short nails, contrasted strangely with his 
costume. They were the hands of a labouring 
man appearing below the sleeves of a dandy. 
For the rest, he only addressed me once through- 
out the whole evening, and that was to ask me 
where I had bought my watch-chain, although 
he studied me from head to foot very inquisitively 
in my capacity as a Parisian. 

" Ah, now, my honoured guest," said M. de 
Peyrehorade to me when supper drew to its con- 
clusion, " you belong to me. You are in my 
house, and I shall not give you any rest until you 
have seen all the curiosities among our moun- 
tains. You must learn to know our Roussillon 
and to do it justice. You have no idea what we 
can show you Phoenician, Celtic, Roman, Ara- 
besque and Byzantine monuments. You shall see 
them all lock, stock and barrel. I will take you 
everywhere, and will not let you off a single 
stone." 

A fit of coughing compelled him to stop. I 
took advantage of it to tell him I should be 
greatly distressed if I disturbed him during the 
interesting event about to take place in his 
family. If he would kindly give me the benefit 
of his valuable advice about the excursion I 
ought to take, I should be able to go without 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 233 

putting him to the inconvenience of accompany- 
ing me. . 

" Ah, you are referring to this boy's mar- 
riage ! " he exclaimed, interrupting me. ' That 
is all nonsense. It takes place the day after to- 
morrow. You shall celebrate the wedding with 
us; it will take place quietly, for the bride is in 
mourning for an aunt, whose heiress she is. 
Therefore there is to be neither fete nor ball. 
. It is a pity. . . . You would have 
seen our Catalanian women dance. 
They are pretty, and you might perhaps have 
been tempted to follow Alphonse's example. 
One marriage, they say, leads to others. . . . 
On Saturday, after the young people are mar- 
ried, I shall be at liberty, and we will set out. I 
ask your forgiveness for the irksomeness of a 
provincial wedding. To a Parisian blase with 
fetes . . . and a wedding without a ball 
too! However, you will see a bride . . . such 
a bride . . . you must tell me what you think 
of her. . . . But you are not a frivolous 
man, and you take no notice of women. I have 
better things than women to show you. I am 
going to show you something! I have a fine 
surprise for you to-morrow." 

" Ah," I replied, " it is not easy to have a 
treasure in your house without the public know- 



234 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

ing all about it. I think I can guess the surprise 
you have in store for me. You are thinking of 
your statue. I am quite prepared to admire it, 
for my guide's description of it has roused my 
curiosity." 

" Ah ! he told you about the idol, for that is 
what they call my beautiful Venus Tur but I 
will not talk of it. To-morrow, as soon as it is 
daylight, you shall see her, and you shall tell 
me if I am not right in considering her a chef- 
d'oeuvre. Upon my word, you could not have 
arrived at a better time! There are inscriptions 
which, poor ignorant, I explain after my own 
fashion . . . but a savant from Paris! 
. You will probably laugh at my inter- 
pretation, for I have written a treatise on it. 
I an old provincial antiquarian I 
am going to venture. ... I mean to make 
the press groan. If you would be so good as to 
read and correct it, I should be hopeful. . . . 
For example, I am curious to know how you 
would translate this inscription on the pedes- 
tal: 'CAFE' . . .but I do not want to 
ask you anything yet! To-morrow, to-morrow! 
Not a single word about the Venus to-day." 

' You are quite right, Peyrehorade," said 
his wife, " to stop talking about your idol ; you 
ought to see that you are preventing the gentle- 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 235 

man from eating. Why, he has seen far more 
beautiful statues in Paris than yours. There 
are dozens of them in the Tuileries, and in 
bronze too." 

" Just look at her ignorance the blessed ig- 
norance of the provinces ! " interrupted M. de 
Peyrehorade. " Fancy, comparing a splendid 
antique statue to the flat figures of Coustou! 

" t How irreverently of my affairs 
The gods are pleased to talk ! ' 

" Do you know my wife wanted to have my 
statue melted down to make a bell for our 
church? She would have been its godmother 
one of Myro's chef-d'oeuvres." 

" Chef-d'oeuvre! chef-d'oeuvre! a fine chef- 
d'ceuvre it is to break a man's leg ! " 

" Look here, wife," said M. de Peyrehorade 
in a determined voice, as he extended his right 
leg toward her, clad in a fine silk stocking, " if 
my Venus had broken this leg I should not have 
minded." 

" Good gracious! Peyrehorade, how can you 
talk like that? Fortunately, the man is going on 
well. . . . And yet I can not bring myself 
to look at the statue which did such an evil thing 
as that. Poor Jean Coll! " 

" Wounded by Venus, sir," said M. de Peyre- 



236 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

horade, laughing loudly. " The rascal complains 
of being wounded by Venus ! 

" * Veneris nee prsemia n6ris.' 

Who has not suffered from the wounds of 
Venus? " 

M. Alphonse, who understood French better 
than Latin, winked with an understanding air, 
and looked at me as though to say, " Do you 
understand that, you Parisian? " 

Supper ended at last. For an hour I had not 
been able to eat any more. I was tired, and could 
not hide my frequent yawns. Madame de Peyre- 
horade saw it first, and said that it was time to 
retire. Then began fresh apologies for the poor 
entertainment I should find. I should not be 
comfortable as in Paris; in the country things 
are so different! I must make allowances for 
the people of Roussillon. It was in vain I pro- 
tested that after a journey among the moun- 
tains a bundle of straw would seem a delicious 
bed. They still begged me to pardon their poor 
rustic servants if they did not behave as well as 
they should. At last, accompanied by M. de 
Peyrehorade, I reached the room put apart for 
my use. The staircase, the top steps of which 
were of wood, led to the centre of a corridor, out 
of which opened several rooms. 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 237 

" To the right," said my host, " is the set of 
rooms that I intend for the future Madame Al- 
phonse. Your room is at the end of the passage 
opposite. You will understand," he added, with 
a look which he meant to be sly " you will 
readily understand that newly married people 
wish to be by themselves. You are at one end 
of the house and they at the other." 

We entered a very handsomely furnished 
room, where the first object that caught my eye 
was a bed seven feet long, six broad, and such a 
height that one needed a stool to get into it. My 
host pointed out the position of the bell, and sat- 
isfied himself that the sugar-bowl was full, and 
the smelling-bottles of eau de Cologne in their 
proper places on the toilette table ; then he asked 
me repeatedly if I had all I wanted, wished me 
good-night and left me alone. 

The windows were shut. Before undressing, 
I opened one to breathe the cool night air, which 
was delicious after such a lengthy supper. In 
front was Canigou Mountain, which is at all 
times beautiful, but to-night it seemed the fairest 
in the world, lighted up as it was by a splendid 
moon. I stood a few minutes to contemplate its 
marvellous outline, and was just going to close 
my window when, lowering my gaze, I saw the 
statue on a pedestal about forty yards from the 



238 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

house. It was placed in a corner of the quick-set 
hedge which separated a little garden from a 
large, perfectly level court, which, I learnt 
later, was the tennis ground for the town. This 
ground had been M. de Peyrehorade's property, 
but he had given it to the public at his son's ur- 
gent entreaties. 

From my distance away it was difficult to 
make out the form of the statue; I could only 
judge of its height, which I guessed was about 
six feet. At that moment two town larrikins 
passed along the tennis court, close to the hedge, 
whistling the pretty Roussillon air, " Montagnes 
regalades." They stopped to look at the statue, 
and one of them even apostrophised her in a loud 
voice. He spoke the Catalanian dialect, but I 
had been long enough in the province of Rous- 
sillon to be able to understand almost all he said. 

"Chi-ike, hussy! " (the Catalanian expression 
was more forcible than that) . " Look here," he 
said, " you broke Jean Coil's leg for him! If you 
belonged to me I would have broken your neck.'* 

" Bah! what with? " asked the other. " She 
is made of copper, and so hard that Stephen 
broke his file over it, trying to cut into it. It is 
copper from before the Flood, and harder than 
anything I can think." 

"If I had my cold chisel" (apparently he 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 239 

was a locksmith's apprentice) " I would jolly 
soon scoop out her big white eyes; it would be 
like cracking a couple of nutshells for the ker- 
nels. I would do it for a maravedi" 

They moved a few paces further off. 

" I must just wish the idol good-night," said 
the tallest of the apprentices, stopping suddenly. 

He stooped, and probably picked up a stone. 
I saw him stretch out his arm and throw some- 
thing, and immediately after I heard a resound- 
ing blow from the bronze. At the same moment 
the apprentice raised his hand to his head and 
yelled out in pain. 

" She has thrown it back at me! " he cried. 

And then the two scamps took to flight as 
fast as they could. The stone had evidently re- 
bounded from the metal, and had punished the 
rascal for the outrage done to the goddess. 

I shut the window and laughed heartily. 

Yet another vandal punished by Venus! 
Would that all destroyers of our ancient monu- 
ments could have their heads broken like that ! 

And with this charitable wish I fell asleep. 

It was broad day when I awoke. Near my 
bed on one side stood M. de Peyrehorade in a 
dressing-gown ; on the other a servant sent by his 
wife with a cup of chocolate in his hand. 

" Come now, Parisian, get up ! How lazy 



240 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

you people from the capital are ! " said my host, 
while I hastily dressed myself. " It is eight 
o'clock, and you still in bed. I got up at six 
o'clock. I have been up-stairs three times; I 
listened at your door on tiptoe, but there was no 
sign of life at all. It is bad for you to sleep too 
much at your age. And my Venus waiting to 
be seen ! Come, take this cup of Barcelona choco- 
late as fast as you can . . . it is quite con- 
traband. You can't get such chocolate in Paris. 
Take in all the nourishment you can, for when 
you are before my Venus no one will be able to 
tear you away." 

I was ready in five minutes; that is to say, I 
was only half shaved, wrongly buttoned and 
scalded by the chocolate which I had swallowed 
boiling hot. I went down-stairs into the garden 
and was soon in front of a wonderfully fine 
statue. It was indeed a Venus of extraordinary 
beauty. The top part of her body was bare, just 
as the ancients usually depicted their great 
deities; her right hand, raised up to her breast, 
was bent, with the palm inward, the thumb and 
two first fingers extended, whilst the other two 
were slightly curved. The other hand was near 
the hips, and held up the drapery which covered 
the lower part of the body. The attitude of this 
statue reminded me of that of the Morra player, 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 241 

which, for some reason or other, goes by tHe 
name of Germanicus. Perhaps they wished to 
depict the goddess playing at the game of Morra. 

However that might be, it is impossible to 
conceive anything more perfect than the body of 
this Venus; nothing could be more harmonious 
or more voluptuous than its outlines, nothing 
more graceful or dignified than its drapery. I 
expected some work of the Lower Empire, and 
I beheld a masterpiece of the most perfect period 
of sculpture. I was specially struck with the 
exquisite truth of form, which gave the impres- 
sion that it had been moulded by nature itself, if 
nature ever produces such perfect specimens. 

The hair, which was raised off the forehead, 
looked as though it might have been gilded at 
some time. The head was small, like those of 
nearly all Greek statues, and bent slightly for- 
ward. As to the face, I should never be able to 
express its strange character; it was of quite a 
different type from that of any other antique 
statue I could recall to mind. It was not only 
the calm and austere beauty of the Greek sculp- 
tors, whose rule was to give a majestic immo- 
bility to every feature. Here, on the contrary, 
I noticed with astonishment that the artist had 
purposely expressed ill-nature to the point even 
of wickedness. Every feature was slightly con- 



242 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

traded : the eyes were rather slanting, the mouth 
turned up at the corners, and the nostrils some- 
what inflated. Disdain, irony, cruelty, could be 
traced on a face which was, notwithstanding, of 
incredible beauty. Indeed, the longer one looked 
at this wonderful statue, the more did the dis- 
tressing thought obtrude itself that such mar- 
vellous beauty could be united with an utter ab- 
sence of goodness. 

"If the model ever existed," I said to M. de 
Peyrehorade, " and I doubt if Heaven ever pro- 
duced such a woman, how I pity her lovers ! She 
would delight to make them die of despair. 
There is something ferocious in her expression, 
and yet I never saw anything so beautiful." 

" ' It is Venus herself gloating over her prey,' " 

cried M. de Peyrehorade, pleased with my en- 
thusiasm. 

That expression of fiendish scorn was perhaps 
enhanced by the contrast shown by her eyes, 
which were encrusted with silver, and shone bril- 
liantly with the greenish-black colour that time 
had given to the whole statue. Those brilliant 
eyes produced a kind of illusion which recalled 
lifelike reality. I remembered what my guide 
had said, that she made those who looked at her 
lower their eyes. It was quite true, and I could 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 243 

hardly restrain an impulse of anger against 
myself for feeling rather ill at ease before that 
bronze face. 

" Now that you have admired it minutely, my 
dear colleague in antiquarian research," said my 
host, " let us, by your leave, open a scientific 
conference. What say you to that inscription, 
which you have not yet noticed? " 

He showed me the pedestal of the statue, and 
I read on it these words: 

CAFE AM ANTE M 

ff Quid dicis, doctissime? " he asked me, rub- 
bing his hands together. " Let us see if we can 
hit on the meaning of this CAFE AM AN- 
TEM" 

" But," I answered, " it has two meanings. 
It can be translated : ' Beware of him who loves 
thee ; mistrust thy lovers.' But in that sense I do 
not know whether CAFE AMANTEM would 
be good Latin. Looking at the lady's diabolic 
expression, I would rather believe that the artist 
intended to put the spectator on his guard against 
her terrible beauty; I would therefore translate 
it : * Beware if she loves thee.' ' 

"Humph!" said M. de Peyrehorade; "yes, 
that is an admissible interpretation; but, without 
wishing to displease you, I prefer the first trans- 



244 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

lation, and I will tell you why. You know who 
Venus's lover was? " 

' There were several." 

' Yes, but the chief one was Vulcan. Should 
one not rather say, ' In spite of all thy beauty 
and thy scornful manner, thou shalt have for thy 
lover a blacksmith, a hideous cripple ' ? What 
a profound moral, monsieur, for flirts ! " 

I could hardly help smiling at this far-fetched 
explanation. 

" Latin is a difficult tongue, because of its 
concise expression," I remarked, to avoid con- 
tradicting my antiquarian friend outright ; and I 
stepped further away to see the statue better. 

" One moment, colleague," said M. de Peyre- 
horade, seizing me by the aim, " you have not 
seen everything. There is still another inscrip- 
tion. Climb up on the pedestal and look at the 
right arm." And saying this, he helped me up. 

I held on to the neck of the Venus uncere- 
moniously, and began to make myself better 
acquainted with her. I only looked at her for 
a moment, right in the face, and I found her still 
more wicked, and still more beautiful. Then I 
discovered that there were some written charac- 
ters in an ancient, running hand, it seemed to 
me, engraved on the arm. With the help of spec- 
tacles I spelt out the following, whilst M. de 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 245 

Peyrehorade repeated every word as soon as pro- 
nounced, with approving gesture and voice. It 
read thus: 

FENERI TVEEVL . . . 
EFTYCHES MYRO 
IMPERIO FECIT. 

After the word TFRBFL in the first line, 
I thought some letters had been effaced; but 
TVEEVL. was perfectly legible. 

;< What do you say to that? " asked my host, 
radiantly smiling with malice, for he knew very 
well that I could not easily extricate myself from 
this TVEEVL,. 

" I can not explain that word yet," I said to 
him; " all the rest is easy. By his order Eutyches 
Myro made this great offering to Venus." 

" Good. But what do you make of TFR- 
BFL? What is TFRBFL? " 

" TFRBFL puzzles me greatly; I can not 
think of any epithet applied to Venus which 
might assist me. Stay, what do you say to 
TFRBFLENTA? Venus, who troubles and 
disturbs. . . . You notice I am all the time 
thinking of her malignant expression. TFR- 
BFLENTA would not be at all a bad epithet 
for Venus," I added modestly, for I was not my- 
self quite satisfied with my explanation. 



246 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

"Venus the turbulent! Venus the broiler I 
Ah! you think, then, that my Venus is a Venus 
of the pot-house? Nothing of the kind, mon- 
sieur. She is a Venus belonging to the great 
world. And now I will expound to you this 
TVRBVL. . . . You will at least promise 
not to divulge my discovery before my treatise 
is published. I shall become famous, you see, by 
this find. . . . You must leave us poor pro- 
vincial devils a few ears to glean. You Parisian 
savants are rich enough." 

From the top of the pedestal, where I still 
perched, I solemnly promised that I would 
never be so dishonourable as to steal his dis- 
covery. 

" TVRBVL . . . monsieur," he said, 
coming nearer and lowering his voice for fear 
any one else but myself should hear, " read 
TVRBVLNERM." 

" I do not understand any better." 

" Listen carefully. A league from here, at 
the base of the mountain, is a village called Boul- 
ternere. It is a corruption of the Latin word 
TVRBVLNERA. Nothing is commoner than 
such an inversion. Boulternere, monsieur, was 
a Roman town. I have always been doubtful 
about this, for I have never had any proof of 
it. The proof lies here. This Venus was the 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 247 

local goddess of the city of Boulternere ; and this 
word Boulternere, which I have just shown to be 
of ancient origin, proves a still more curious 
thing, namely, that Boulternere, after being a 
Roman town, became a Phoenician one! " 

He stopped a minute to take breath, and to 
enjoy my surprise. I had to repress a strong in- 
clination to laugh. 

" Indeed," he went on, " TFRBFLNERA 
is pure Phoenician. TFR pronounce TOUR. 
. . . TOUR and SOUR, are they not the 
same word? SOUR is the Phoenician name for 
Tyre. I need not remind you of its meaning. 
BVL, is Baal, Bal, Bel, Bui, slight differences 
in pronunciation. As to NERA, that gives 
me some trouble. I am tempted to think, for 
want of a Phoenician word, that it comes from 
the Greek viipds damp, marshy. That would 
make it a hybrid word. To justify vrjpds I will 
show you at Boulternere how the mountain 
streams there form poisonous swamps. On the 
other hand, the ending NERA might have been 
added much later, in honour of Nera Pivesuvia, 
the wife of Tetricus, who may have done some 
benevolent act to the city of Turbul. But, on 
account of the marshes, I prefer the derivation 
from vnp<Ss." 

He took a pinch of snuff with a satisfied air. 



248 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

* : But let us leave the Phoenicians and return 
to the inscription. I translate, then : ' To the 
Venus of Boulternere Myro dedicates by his 
command this statue, the work of his hand.' ' 

I took good care not to criticise his etymology, 
but I wanted, on my own account, to put his pen- 
etrative faculties to the proof, so I said to him: 
' Wait a bit, monsieur, Myro dedicated some- 
thing, but I do not in the least see that it was this 
statue." 

'What!" he exclaimed, "was not Myro a 
famous Greek sculptor? The talent would de- 
scend to his family; and one of his descendants 
made this statue. Nothing can be clearer." 

" But," I replied, " I see a little hole in the 
arm. I fancy it has been used to hold something, 
perhaps a bracelet, which this Myro gave to 
Venus as an expiatory offering, for Myro was 
an unlucky lover. Venus was incensed against 
him, and he appeased her by consecrating a gold- 
en bracelet. You must remember that fecit is 
often used for consecravit. The terms are syn- 
onymous. I could show you more than one 
instance if I had access to Gruter or, better still, 
Orellius. It is natural that a lover should behold 
Venus in his dreams, and that he should imagine 
that she commanded him to give her statue a 
golden bracelet. Myro consecrated a bracelet 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 249 

to her. . . . Then the barbarians, or perhaps 
some sacrilegious thief " 

" Ah ! it is easily seen that you are given to 
romancing," cried my host, lending his hand to 
help me down. " No, monsieur, it is a work after 
the School of Myro. Only look at the work, and 
you will agree." 

Having made it a rule never to contra- 
dict pig-headed antiquarians outright, I bowed 
my head as though convinced, and said : 

" It is a splendid piece of work." 

"Ah! my God!" exclaimed M. de Peyre- 
horade, " here is yet another mark of vandalism! 
Some one has thrown a stone at my statue ! " 

He had just seen a white mark a little below 
the breast of the Venus. I noticed a similar mark 
on the fingers of the right hand, which at first 
I supposed had been scraped by the stone in pass- 
ing, or perhaps a fragment of it might have 
broken off by the shock and rebounded upon the 
hand. I told my host the insult that I had wit- 
nessed and the prompt punishment which had 
followed. He laughed heartily, and compared 
the apprentice to Diomede, wishing he might see 
all his comrades changed into white birds, as the 
Greek hero did. 

The breakfast bell interrupted this famous 
interview ; and, as on the previous evening, I was 



250 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

forced to eat as much as four people. Then 
M. de Peyrehorade's tenants came to see him, and 
whilst he gave them audience, his son took me to 
see a carriage which he had bought for his fiancee 
at Toulouse, and, of course, I admired it prop- 
erly. After that I went with him to the stables, 
where he kept me half an hour praising his 
horses and telling me their pedigrees and the 
prizes he had won at the country races. At last 
he spoke of his future bride, by a sudden tran- 
sition from the grey mare that he intended 
for her. 

" We shall see her to-day. I wonder if you 
will think her pretty. You are so difficult to 
please in Paris; but everybody here and at Per- 
pignan thinks her lovely. The best of it is she 
is very wealthy. Her aunt, who lived at Prades, 
left her all her money. Oh, I am going to be 
ever so happy ! " 

I was deeply shocked to see a young man 
much more affected by the dowry than by the 
beautiful looks of his bride-to-be. 

" Are you learned in jewellery? " continued 
M. Alphonse. ' What do you think of this ring 
which I am going to give her to-morrow? " 

So saying, he drew from the first joint of his 
little finger a large ring blazing with diamonds, 
formed by the clasping of two hands: a most 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 251 

poetic idea, I thought. It was of ancient work- 
manship, but I guessed that it had been retouched 
when the diamonds were set. Inside the ring 
was engraved in gothic letters : " Sempr* ab ti " 
("Ever thine"). 

" It is a lovely ring," I said; but added, " the 
diamonds have taken from its original character 
somewhat." 

" Oh, it is much prettier as it is now," he re- 
plied, smiling. " There are one thousand two 
hundred francs' worth of diamonds in it. My 
mother gave it me. It was an old family ring 
. . . from the days of chivalry. It was worn 
by my grandmother, who had it from her grand- 
mother. Goodness knows when it was made!" 

" The custom in Paris," I said, " is to give a 
very plain ring, usually made of two different 
metals, say, gold and platinum. For instance, 
the other ring which you have on that finger 
would be most suitable. This one is so large, 
with its diamonds and hands in relief, that no 
glove would go over it." 

" Oh, Madame Alphonse can arrange that as 
she likes. I think she will be pleased enough to 
have it. Twelve hundred francs on one's finger 
is very pleasing. That little ring," he added, 
looking with a satisfied expression at the plain 
ring which he held in his hand, " was given me 



252 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

one Shrove Tuesday by a woman in Paris, when 
I was staying there two years ago. Ah! that is 
the place to enjoy oneself in! . . ." And he 
sighed regretfully. 

We were to dine at Puygarrig that day, at 
the house of the bride's parents; we drove in 
carriages, and were soon at the Castle, which was 
about a league and a half from Ille. I was in- 
troduced and received like one of the family. 
I will not talk of the dinner, nor of the conver- 
sation which took place, and in which I had but 
little part. M. Alphonse, who sat by the side 
of his future bride, whispered in her ear every 
quarter of an hour. She hardly raised her eyes, 
and blushed modestly every time her intended 
spoke to her, though she replied without embar- 
rassment. 

Mademoiselle de Puygarrig was eighteen 
years of age, and her lithe, delicate figure was a 
great contrast to the bony limbs of her sturdy 
lover. She was more than beautiful : she was en- 
chanting. I admired the perfect naturalness of 
all her replies. Her expression was kindly, but 
nevertheless was not devoid of a light touch of 
maliciousness which reminded me, do what I 
would, of my host's Venus. While making this 
comparison to myself I wondered if the superior 
beauty which undoubtedly belonged to the statue 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 253 

was not largely owing to her tigerish expres- 
sion, for strength, even when accompanied by 
evil passions, always induces wonder and a sort 
of involuntary admiration. 

What a pity, I reflected, as we left Puygar- 
rig, that such a charming person should be so 
rich, and that her dowry should be the cause 
of her being sought by a man so unworthy 
of her ! 

Whilst on the return to Ille I found it dif- 
ficult to know what to talk of to Madame de 
Peyrehorade, with whom I thought I ought to 
converse. 

" You are very strong-minded people here 
in Roussillon," I exclaimed, " to have a wedding 
on a Friday. In Paris we are more superstitious ; 
no man dare take a wife on that day." 

" Oh, please don't talk of it," she said; " if it 
had depended only on me, I would certainly have 
chosen another day. But Peyrehorade wanted 
it, and would not give way. It troubles me, 
however. Suppose some misfortune should 
happen? There must be something in it, else 
why should everybody be afraid of a Friday? " 

" Friday," her husband cried, " is the day 
dedicated to^ Venus. An excellent day for a 
wedding. You will notice, my dear colleague, 
that I only think of my Venus.J What an 



254 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

honour! It was on that account I chose Friday. 
To-morrow, if you are willing, we will offer her 
a small sacrifice before the ceremony two ring- 
doves and incense, if I can find any." 

" For shame, Peyrehorade ! " interrupted his 
wife, who was scandalised in the highest degree. 
" Offer incense to an idol ! It would be an abom- 
ination ! What would be said about you through 
the countryside?" 

" At all events," said M. de Peyrehorade, 
" you will let me put a wreath of roses and lilies 
on her head? 

"'Manibus date lilia plenis.' 

You see, monsieur, the charter is but a vain 
thing. We have no religious freedom." 

The arrangements for the morrow were regu- 
lated in the following manner: Every one had 
to be ready and dressed for the wedding at ten 
o'clock prompt. After taking chocolate we 
were to be driven to Puygarrig. The civil mar- 
riage was to take place at the village registry, 
and the religious ceremony in the Castle chapel. 
After that there would be luncheon. Then we 
were to spend the time as we liked until seven 
o'clock, when we were all to return to M. de 
Peyrehorade's house, where the two families 
would sup together. The remainder of the time 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 255 

would naturally be spent in eating as much as 
possible, as there would be no dancing. 

Ever since eight o'clock I had sat before the 
Venus, pencil in hand, beginning over again for 
the twentieth time the head of the statue, without 
being able to seize the expression. M. de Peyre- 
horade came and went, giving me advice and 
repeating his Phoenician derivations. Then he 
placed some Bengal roses on the pedestal of the 
statue, and addressed to it, in a tragi-comical 
air, vows for the couple about to live under his 
roof. He went in to see about his toilette toward 
nine o'clock, and at the same time M. Alphonse 
appeared, well groomed, in a new suit, white 
gloves, patent-leather shoes, chased buttons and 
a rose in his button-hole. 

" You must take my wife's portrait," he said, 
leaning over my drawing; " she, too, is pretty." 

Then began on the tennis ground, to which I 
have already referred, a game which at once at- 
tracted M. Alphonse's attention. I was tired, 
and in despair at being unable to reproduce that 
diabolical face, so I soon left my drawing to 
watch the players. There were among them sev- 
eral Spanish muleteers who had come the night 
before. They were men from Aragon and from 
Navarre, almost all clever players. Although 
the local players were encouraged by the pres- 



256 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

ence and advice of M. Alphonse, they were very 
soon beaten by these new champions. The 
patriotic onlookers were filled with concern, and 
M. Alphonse looked at his watch. It was still 
only half -past nine. His mother was not ready 
yet. He hesitated no longer, threw off his coat, 
asked for a vest, and challenged the Spaniards. 
I looked at him with amusement and in some 
surprise. 

' The honour of our country must be up- 
held," he said. 

Then I saw how very handsome he was. He 
was roused to passion. The toilette, which had 
just now filled his thoughts to the exclusion of 
everything else, was completely forgotten. A 
few minutes before he hardly dared turn his 
head, for fear of spoiling his cravat. Now he 
thought nothing of his curled hair or of his 
beautifully got up frilled shirt. And his 
fiancee! I really believe that, if necessary, he 
would have adjourned the wedding. I saw him 
hastily put on a pair of sandals, turn up his 
sleeves, and with a self-satisfied manner range 
himself at the head of the vanquished party, like 
Caesar when he rallied his soldiers at Dyrrachium. 
I leapt the hedge and took up a position com- 
fortably under the shade of a nettle tree in such 
a way as to be able to see both camps. 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 257 

Contrary to general expectation, M. Al- 
phonse missed the first ball; true, it grazed the 
ground, and bound with surprising force near 
one of the players from Aragon, who seemed the 
head of the Spaniards. 

He was a man of about forty, strong, yet 
spare in appearance; he stood six feet high, and 
his olive skin was of almost as deep a tint as the 
bronze of the Venus. 

M. Alphonse threw his racquet on the ground 
in a furious rage. 

"It is this cursed ring!" he cried, "which 
pressed into my finger and made me miss a sure 
thing." 

With some difficulty he took off his diamond 
ring, and I went nearer to take it, but he fore- 
stalled me, ran to the Venus, slipped the ring on 
its fourth ringer, and retook his position at the 
head of his townsmen. 

He was pale, but cool and determined. From 
that time he made no more fouls, and the Span- 
iards were completely beaten. The enthusiasm 
of the spectators was a fine sight: some uttered 
shrieks of delight and threw their caps in the 
air: others shook hands with him and called him 
the pride of their countryside. If he had re- 
pulsed an invasion, I doubt if he would have 
received heartier or more sincere congratula- 



258 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

tions. The disappointment of the vanquished 
added still more to the brilliance of his victory. 

' We must have another match, my fine fel- 
low," he said to the muleteer from Aragon in a 
condescending tone; " but I must give you odds." 

I would have preferred M. Alphonse to be 
more modest, and I was almost sorry for his 
rival's humiliation. 

The Spanish giant felt the insult keenly; I, 
saw him go pale under his tanned skin. He 
looked miserably at his racquet and ground his 
teeth; then, in a choking voice he said: "Me lo 
pagaras." * 

The voice of M. de Peyrehorade interrupted 
his son's triumph; my host was extremely aston- 
ished not to find him superintending the prepar- 
ation of the new carriage, and was even more 
surprised to see him with racquet in hand, flushed 
from the game. 

M. Alphonse ran to the house, bathed his face 
and hands, put on his new coat again and his 
patent-leather shoes, and five minutes after we 
were in full trot on the road to Puygarrig. All 
the tennis players of the town and a large crowd 
of spectators followed us with shouts of joy. 
The stout horses which drew us could hardly keep 
ahead of these dauntless Catalanians. 
* " But you will pay for it" 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 259 

We were at Puygarrig, and the procession 
was forming into order to walk to the registry 
when M. Alphonse suddenly put his hand up to 
his head and whispered to me: 

'What a blunder! I have forgotten the 
ring ! It is on Venus's finger, devil take her ! Do 
not tell my mother, whatever happens. Perhaps 
she will not notice the omission." 

" You could send some one for it," I said. 

" No ! my servant has stayed behind at Ille. 
I dare hardly trust these fellows here with twelve 
hundred francs worth of diamonds. What a 
temptation that will be to some one! Besides, 
what would the people here think of my absent- 
mindedness? They would make fun of me. They 
would call me the husband of the statue. . . . 
If only no one steals it! Fortunately, the idol 
frightens the young rascals. They dare not go 
within arm's length of her. Well, it doesn't mat- 
ter, I have another ring." 

The two ceremonies, civil and religious, were 
accomplished with suitable state. Mademoiselle 
de Puygarrig received the ring which had be- 
longed to a Paris milliner, little thinking that 
her fiance had sacrificed another's love-token to 
her. Then we sat down and drank, ate and sang 
for long enough. I was sorry the bride had to 
bear the coarse jollity which went on all around 



260 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

her; however, she took it with a better face than 
I should have thought possible, and her embar- 
rassment was neither awkward nor affected. 
Possibly courage springs up under occasions 
that need it. 

The banquet broke up Lord knows when 
somewhere about four o'clock. The men went 
for a walk in the park, which was a magnificent 
one, or watched the peasants of Puygarrig 
dance on the Castle lawn, decked in their gala 
dresses. 

In this way we passed several hours. In the 
meantime the women thronged round the bride, 
who showed them her wedding presents. Then 
she changed her toilette, and I noticed that she 
covered up her beautiful hair with a cap and a 
hat with feathers in it, for wives are most par- 
ticular to don as quickly as possible those adorn- 
ments which custom has forbidden them to wear 
when they are still unmarried. 

It was nearly eight o'clock when we were 
ready to go back to Ille. But there was a 
pathetic scene first between Mademoiselle de 
Puygarrig and her aunt, who had been a mother 
to her, and was of advanced age and very re- 
ligious: she had not been able to go to the town 
with us. At her departure she gave her niece a 
touching sermon on her wifely duties, which re- 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 261 

suited in a flood of tears and endless embracings. 
M. de Peyrehorade compared this parting to the 
Rape of the Sabines. However, we got off at 
last, and during the journey every one exerted 
himself to cheer up the bride and make her laugh, 
but in vain. 

At Ille supper awaited us; and what a sup- 
per! If the morning's coarse revel had shocked 
me, I was still more disgusted by the quips and 
jokes which circled round the bride and bride- 
groom. The bridegroom, who had disappeared 
for an instant before sitting down to supper, was 
pale and as chilly as an iceberg. He drank the 
old wine of Collioure constantly, which is almost 
as strong as brandy. I was on one side of him, 
and felt I must warn him: 

" Do take care. They say this wine " 

I don't know what silly thing I said to him 
to show myself in harmony with the merry- 
makers. 

;< When they get up from the table I have 
something to say to you," he whispered, pushing 
my knee. 

His solemn tone surprised me. I looked at 
him more attentively, and noticed a strange al- 
teration in his features. 

"Do you feel ill? "I asked. 

" No." 



262 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

And he began to drink again. 

In the meantime, in the midst of cries and 
clapping hands, a child of eleven, who had 
slipped under the table, showed to the company 
a pretty white and rose-coloured ribbon which 
she had just taken from the bride's ankle. They 
called it her garter. It was soon cut into bits 
and distributed among the young people, who 
decorated their button-holes with it, according 
to a very old custom which is still preserved in a 
few patriarchal families. This made the bride 
blush to the whites of her eyes. But her confusion 
reached its height when M. de Peyrehorade, after 
calling for silence, sang some Catalanian verses 
to her, which he said were impromptus. I give 
the sense so far as I understood it. 

4 What is the matter with me, my friends? 
Has the wine I have taken made me see double? 
There are two Venuses here. . . ." 

The bridegroom turned round suddenly and 
looked scared, which set everybody laughing. 

' Yes," continued M. de Peyrehorade, " there 
are two Venuses under my roof. One I found in 
the earth, like a truffle; the other came down to 
us from the heavens to share her girdle with us." 

He meant, of course, her garter. 

" My son, choose between the Roman and 
the Catalanian Venus which you prefer. The 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 263 

rascal took the Catalanian, the better part, for 
the Roman is black and the Catalanian is white. 
The Roman is cold, and the Catalanian sets on 
fire all who come near her." 

This conclusion excited such an uproar of 
noisy applause and loud laughter that I thought 
the roof would fall on our heads. There were 
but three grave faces at the table those of the 
wedded pair and mine. I had a splitting head- 
ache; for besides, I know not why, a marriage 
always makes me feel melancholy. This one 
disgusted me rather, too. 

The last couplets were sung by the deputy- 
mayor, and, I may say, they were very broad; 
then we went into the salon to witness the de- 
parture of the bride, who would soon be con- 
ducted to her chamber, as it was nearly midnight. 

M. Alphonse drew me aside into the recess 
of a window, and said, as he turned his eyes away; 
from me : 

' You will laugh at me . . . but I do 
not know what is the matter with me. ... I 
am bewitched, devil take it ! " 

My first thought was that he fancied he was 
threatened with some misfortune of the nature 
of those referred to by Montaigne and Madame 
de Sevigne : " The whole realm of love is filled 
with tragic stories." 



264 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

I thought to myself that this kind of mishap 
only happens to men of genius. 

' You have drunk too much Collioure wine, 
my dear M. Alphonse," I said. " I warned 
you." 

' That may be. But this is something much 
more terrible." 

His voice was broken, and I thought he was 
quite drunk. 

* You know my ring? " he continued, after a 
pause. 

" Yes. Has it been taken? " 

" No." 

" Therefore you have it? " 

" No I I could not get it off the finger of 
that devil of a Venus." 

"Nonsense! you did not pull hard enough." 

"Yes, I did. . . . But the Venus . . ., 
has clenched her finger." 

He looked at me fixedly with a haggard 
expression, and leant against the framework to 
keep himself from falling. 

"What a ridiculous tale!" I said. "You 
pushed the ring on too far. To-morrow you 
must use pincers, only take care not to injure 
the statue." 

" No, I tell you. The finger of Venus has 
contracted and bent up ; she closed her hand, do 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 265 

you hear? . ! She is my wife apparently, 

because I gave her my ring. . . . She will 
not give it back.J 

I shivered suddenly, and for a moment my 
blood ran cold. Then the deep sigh he gave sent 
a breath of wine into my face and all my emotion 
disappeared. 

" The wretched man is completely drunk," 
I thought. 

* You are an antiquarian, monsieur," the 
bridegroom added in dismal tones; "you know 
all about such statues. . . . There is perhaps 
some spring, some devilish catch, I do not know 
of. If you would go and see." 

" Willingly," I said. " Come with me." 

" No, I would rather you went by your- 
self." 

So I left the salon. 

The weather had changed during supper, 
and rain began to fall heavily. I was going to 
ask for an umbrella, when I stopped short and 
reflected. " I should be a great fool," I said to 
myself, "to go and verify the tale of a tipsy 
man ! Perhaps, besides, he intended to play some 
stupid joke on me to amuse the country people; 
and at the least I should be wet through to the 
skin and catch a bad cold." 

I cast a glance on the dripping statue from 



THE VEXUS OF ILLE 



md ~;~~ -7 ~.r ~'.~ rxrr. '" 
ttiniing to tfce salon. I went to bed. bat 
was long in commg. All the scenes that Lad oc- 
curred daring tfce day returned to my mind. I 
thought of that beautiful, innocent young: gid 
given op to a (imnkert bnnte. " \Vkit a detest- 
able thing."* I sail to myself. ~ is a marriage of 
convenience! A may-ir pots OQ 
sa^h. xnd i p^riest a stole, nd bet'>M. tfc.e 
of girLs may be dedScated t;> the 
What can two beings wbo do mot t3^e each, ofthsr 
say it seen a moment, a moment tfcat lovers 
buy it the price :f life itself: CAQ a wire 
love ma.n whi^m sfae has c3oce disc-T^eaned is 
e-ziinded * First impreaaoans can never be 
and I am certain M. Alplaoose de- 
serves to be hated."" 

Daring' my monalogae, whieh I abridg^r COD- 
sderibly. I had heard mocfc e^mfng and g-:-zi^r 
about the hocse, di^ors open an*l ihinrt. anxi cir- 
riages go iw^y: then I thoosht I comLi hear the 
L-^"i~ steps of several wjtzen nrpioo the stiircajC: 
proceeifng to 1 the end of the passa^-r ^pp:ste 
my room. It was probably the prjcessi'Oii lead- 
ing the bride to bed. Thon they went 
staiz^ i^r'jjzi. ami ^Iniame de Penrefoosnisie's 
shut. ~ How unhappy and strangely fE at 
that pi^r ^iri must feel! ' I sail to mvaelf. 



THE VEXUS OF TT T F 2 ' 

turned over on my lied in a bod lempei. A 
bachelor eats bat a poor figure at a house where 
there is a wedding going on. 

SOence had reigned for a long while, when it 
was interrupted br heary steps fnmmg up the 
stairs. The wooden stairs creaked loudly. 

"What a dumsy loot!" I cried. "I bet he 
wiQ f aH down-stairs." 

Then all became quiet again. I took up a 
book to change the euiimt of my thoughts. It 
was a treatise on the Statistics of the Depart- 
ment, embellished with a preface by M. de Peyre- 
. ~:-. '.- . '--.- " Driiiiiil Mi-'-in-:":.? ::' -Ji-r 
Arrondissement of Prades." I fefl into a doae 
at the third page. 

I slept badly and -w^ked several times. It 
must have been fire in the morning, and I had 
been awake more than Iweulv minutes when Ac 
cock began to crow. Day had dawned. Tben I 
distinctly heard the same heavy steps and the 
same creaking of the stairs that I had heard 
before I went to sleep. It struck me as Tery 
strange. I tried nr"to my yawning to guess 
why M. Alphonse should rise so early; I could 
not think of any reason at all likely. I was 
going to dose my eyes again wfeen my attention 
was afresh excited by strange trampmgs. nukfe 
soon intermmgkd with the ringing of beDs 



268 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

and the banging of doors, and then I could dis- 
tinguish confused cries. 

The drunken bridegroom must have set fire 
to the house! And at this reflection I leapt out 
of bed. 

I dressed rapidly and went into the corridor. 
From the opposite end proceeded cries and wail- 
ings, and one piercing cry sounded above all the 
others " My son! my son!" Evidently some 
accident had happened to M. Alphonse. I ran 
to the bridal chamber ; it was full of people. The 
first sight which met my eyes was the young man, 
half-dressed, stretched across the bed, the wood 
of which was broken. He was livid and mo- 
tionless, and his mother wept and cried by his 
side. M. de Peyrehorade was busy rubbing his 
son's temples with eau de Cologne and holding 
smelling salts under his nose. Alas! his son had 
been dead a long time. Upon a couch at the 
other end of the room was the bride in the grip 
of terrible convulsions. She uttered inarticulate 
cries, and two strapping servants had the great- 
est difficulty in holding her down. 

" My God ! " I exclaimed, " what has hap- 
pened? " 

I went to the bedside and raised the body of 
the unfortunate young man ; he was already cold 
and stiff. His clenched teeth and black face de- 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 269 

noted tlie most frightful agony. It could be 
easily seen that his death had been violent and his 
agony terrible. There was, however, no trace of 
blood on his clothes. I opened his shirt and 
found a livid mark on his breast, which extended 
down his sides and back. One would have 
thought he had been strangled by a band of iron. 
My foot stumbled on something hard which was 
under the rug; I stooped and saw the diamond 
ring. 

I led M. de Peyrehorade and his wife away 
into their room; then I had the bride carried 
out. 

' You have a daughter left," I said to them; 
" you must give all your care to her." I then left 
them to themselves. 

There seemed to me no doubt that M. Al- 
phonse had been the victim of an assassination, 
and the perpetrators must have found some 
means to get into the bride's room during the 
night. Those bruises, however, on the chest and 
the circular direction of them puzzled me much, 
for neither a stick nor a bar of iron could have 
produced them. Suddenly I recollected to have 
heard that in Valence the bravoes use long leather 
bags full of fine sand to smother people whom 
they want to kill. Soon, too, I remembered the 
muleteer from Aragon and his threat, though I 



270 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

could hardly think that he would take such a ter- 
rible vengeance on a light jest. 

I went into the house and hunted all over for 
any traces of their having broken into the house, 
but I found none whatever. I went to the gar- 
den to see if the assassins had got in from there, 
but I could not find any sure indication. Last 
night's rain had, moreover, so soaked the ground 
that it would not have retained the clearest im- 
print. But I noticed, notwithstanding, several 
deep footmarks in the earth; they were in two 
contrary directions, but in the same line, begin- 
ning at the corner of the hedge next to the tennis 
ground and ending at the front door to the house. 
These might have been the footmarks made by 
M. Alphonse when he went to look for his ring 
on the statue's finger. On the other side the 
hedge at that spot was not so thick, and it must 
have been here that the murderers made their 
escape. Passing and repassing in front of the 
statue, I stopped short a second to look at it. I 
confess that this time I could not look at its 
expression of ironical wickedness without fear, 
and my head was so full of the ghastly scenes 
I had just witnessed that I seemed to be look- 
ing at an infernal divinity which gloated over 
the misfortunes that had fallen on the house. 

I regained my room and remained there until 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 271 

noon. Then I went down and asked for news of 
my host and hostess. They were a little calmer. 
Mademoiselle de Puygarrig or rather the 
widow of M. Alphonse had regained conscious- 
ness; she had even spoken to the magistrate of 
Perpignan, then on a tour of inspection in Ille, 
and this magistrate had taken down her state- 
ment. He asked me for mine. I told him what 
I knew, and did not conceal my suspicions re- 
garding the muleteer from Aragon. He gave 
orders for his instant arrest. 

" Have you learnt anything from Madame 
Alphonse? " I asked the magistrate, when my 
deposition had been taken down and signed. 

" That unhappy young lady has gone mad," 
he said, with a sad smile; " mad, completely mad. 
See what she told me: 

" * She had been in bed/ she said, * for some 
moments with the curtains drawn, when the bed- 
room door opened and some one came in.' Now 
Madame Alphonse lay on the side of the bed, with 
her face turned to the wall. She did not stir, 
supposing it to be her husband. In a second the 
bed creaked as though it were burdened with an 
enormous weight. She was terribly frightened, 
but dared not turn round. Five minutes, or 
perhaps ten she could not tell how long 
passed. Then she made an involuntary move- 



272 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

ment, or else the other person who was in the bed 
made one, and she felt the touch of something as 
cold as ice these are her very words. She sat 
up in the bed, trembling in every limb. Shortly 
after the door opened again, and some one en- 
tered, who said : ' Good-night, my little wife,' 
and soon after the curtains were drawn. She 
heard a stifled cry. The person who was in bed 
by her side sat up, and seemed to stretch out its 
arms in front. Then she turned her head round 

. and saw, so she says, her husband on 
his knees by the bed, with his head as high as the 
pillow, in the arms of a green-looking giant who 
was strangling him with all its might. She said 
and she repeated it to me over and over twenty 
times, poor lady! she said that she recognised 

. can you guess? The bronze statue of 
Venus belonging to M. de Peyrehorade. . . . 
Since it came into the country everybody dreams 
of it, but I will proceed with the story of the un- 
happy mad girl. She lost consciousness at this 
sight, and probably for some time her reason. 
She can not in any way tell how long she re- 
mained in a faint. When she came to she saw 
the phantom again or the statue, as she persists 
in calling it motionless, its legs and the lower 
half of the body in the bed, the bust and arms 
stretched out before it, and between its arms her 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 273 

lifeless husband. A cock crew, and then the 
statue got out of the bed, dropped the dead body, 
and went out. Madame Alphonse hung on to the 
bell, and you know the rest." 

They brought in the Spaniard; he was calm, 
and defended himself with much coolness and 
presence of mind. He did not attempt to deny 
the remark I heard; he explained it by pretend- 
ing that he meant nothing by it, but that on 
the following day, when he was more rested, he 
would have won a tennis match against his vic- 
tor. I remember that he had added : 

" A native of Aragon does not wait for his 
revenge till to-morrow when he is insulted. Had 
I thought M. Alphonse meant to insult me, I 
should have immediately stabbed him with my 
knife to the heart." 

His shoes were compared with the footmarks 
in the garden; but his shoes were much larger 
than the marks. 

Finally, the innkeeper with whom the man 
had lodged averred that he had spent the whole 
of that night in rubbing and doctoring one of his 
sick mules. 

Moreover, this man from Aragon was quite 
noted and well known in the countryside, to 
which he came annually to trade. He was there- 
fore released with many apologies. 



274 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

I had forgotten the deposition of a servant 
who had been the last to see M. Alphonse alive. 
He saw him go up-stairs to his wife, and he had 
called the man and asked him in an anxious man- 
ner if he knew where I was. Then M. Alphonse 
heaved a sigh, and stood for a moment in silence, 
adding afterward: 

' Well, the devil must have carried him off 
too!" 

I asked this man if M. Alphonse had his dia- 
mond ring on when he spoke to him. The ser- 
vant hesitated before he replied ; then he said that 
he thought not, that at all events it had not at- 
tracted his attention. " If he had worn that 
ring," he added, correcting himself, " I should 
certainly have noticed it, because I believed that 
he had given it to Madame Alphonse." 

Whilst I interrogated this man I felt a lit- 
tle of the superstitious horror that Madame Al- 
phonse's deposition had spread throughout the 
house. The magistrate looked at me and smiled, 
and I refrained from pressing my questions any 
further. 

A few hours after the funeral of M. Al- 
phonse I prepared to leave Ille. M. de Peyre- 
horade's carriage was to take me to Perpignan. 
In spite of his state of feebleness the poor old 
man would accompany me to the gate of his 



THE VENUS OF ILLE 275 

grounds. He walked to it in silence, hardly able 
to drag himself along even with the help of my 
arm. Just as we were parting I cast a last glance 
at the Venus. I could see plainly that my host, 
although he did not share the terrors and hatred 
that his family felt for it, would like to get rid 
of the object that would ever afterward remind 
him of a frightful disaster. I resolved to try 
and persuade him to put it in a museum. I 
was hesitating to begin the subject when M. de 
Peyrehorade mechanically turned his head in the 
direction in which he saw me looking so atten- 
tively. He saw the statue, and immediately burst 
into tears. I embraced him, and, without ventur- 
ing to say a single word, I stepped into the 
carriage. 

Since my departure I have never learnt that 
anything was discovered to throw light on this 
mysterious catastrophe. 

M. de Peyrehorade died some months after 
his son. He bequeathed me his manuscripts in 
his will, which some day I may publish. But I 
have not been able to find the treatise relating to 
the inscriptions on the Venus. 

P. S. My friend M. de P. has just written 
to me from Perpignan to tell me that the statue 
no longer exists. After her husband's death, the 



276 THE VENUS OF ILLE 

first thing Madame de Peyrehorade did was to 
have it melted down and made into a bell, and 
in this fresh form it is used in the church at Ille. 
But, adds M. de P., it would seem that an evil 
fate pursues those who possess that piece of 
bronze. Since that bell began to ring in Ille the 
vines have twice been frost-bitten. 
1837.