Marguerite began to laugh.
“What are you laughing at?”
“Tell me, I beg of you, or I shall think you are still laughing at me.”
“You won’t be cross?”
“What right have I to be cross?”
“Well, there was a sufficient reason why I went in alone.”
“Some one was waiting for me here.”
If she had thrust a knife into me she would not have hurt me more. I rose, and holding out my hand, “Goodbye,” said I.
“I knew you would be cross,” she said; “men are frantic to know what is certain to give them pain.”
“But I assure you,” I added coldly, as if wishing to prove how completely I was cured of my passion, “I assure you that I am not cross. It was quite natural that some one should be waiting for you, just as it is quite natural that I should go from here at three in the morning.”
“Have you, too, some one waiting for you?”
“No, but I must go.”
“You send me away?”
“Not the least in the world.”
“Why are you so unkind to me?”
“How have I been unkind to you?”
“In telling me that some one was waiting for you.”
“I could not help laughing at the idea that you had been so happy to see me come in alone when there was such a good reason for it.”
“One finds pleasure in childish enough things, and it is too bad to destroy such a pleasure when, by simply leaving it alone, one can make somebody so happy.”
“But what do you think I am? I am neither maid nor duchess. I didn’t know you till to-day, and I am not responsible to you for my actions. Supposing one day I should become your mistress, you are bound to know that I have had other lovers besides you. If you make scenes of jealousy like this before, what will it be after, if that after should ever exist? I never met any one like you.”
“That is because no one has ever loved you as I love you.”
“Frankly, then, you really love me?”
“As much as it is possible to love, I think.”
“And that has lasted since—?”
“Since the day I saw you go into Susse’s, three years ago.
“Do you know, that is tremendously fine? Well, what am to do in return?”
“Love me a little,” I said, my heart beating so that I could hardly speak.
- La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fills