Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)



"You know, the first we wrote together,

'The Recollections of a Chasseur d'Afrique,' revised and corrected for the occasion."

She smiled, saying:

"Ah, that is very good!" Then, after a few moments' reflection, she continued: "I was thinking--that continuation you were to have written then, and that you--put off.

We might set to work on it now.

It would make a nice series, and very appropriate to the situation."

He replied, sitting down to table: "Exactly, and there is nothing in the way of it now that cuckold of a Forestier is dead."

She said quietly, in a dry and hurt tone:

"That joke is more than out of place, and I beg of you to put an end to it.

It has lasted too long already."

He was about to make an ironical answer, when a telegram was brought him, containing these words:

"I had lost my senses. Forgive me, and come at four o'clock to-morrow to the Parc Monceau."

He understood, and with heart suddenly filled with joy, he said to his wife, as he slipped the message into his pocket: "I will not do so any more, darling; it was stupid, I admit."

And he began his dinner.

While eating he kept repeating to himself the words: "I had lost my senses. Forgive me, and come at four o'clock to-morrow to the Parc Monceau."

So she was yielding.

That meant:

"I surrender, I am yours when you like and where you like."

He began to laugh, and Madeleine asked: "What is it?"

"Nothing," he answered;

"I was thinking of a priest I met just now, and who had a very comical mug."

Du Roy arrived to the time at the appointed place next day.

On the benches of the park were seated citizens overcome by heat, and careless nurses, who seemed to be dreaming while their children were rolling on the gravel of the paths.

He found Madame Walter in the little antique ruins from which a spring flows.

She was walking round the little circle of columns with an uneasy and unhappy air.

As soon as he had greeted her, she exclaimed: "What a number of people there are in the garden."

He seized the opportunity:

"It is true; will you come somewhere else?"

"But where?"

"No matter where; in a cab, for instance.

You can draw down the blind on your side, and you will be quite invisible."

"Yes, I prefer that; here I am dying with fear."

"Well, come and meet me in five minutes at the gate opening onto the outer boulevard.

I will have a cab."

And he darted off.

As soon as she had rejoined him, and had carefully drawn down the blind on her side, she asked:

"Where have you told the driver to take us?"

George replied: "Do not trouble yourself, he knows what to do."

He had given the man his address in the Rue de Constantinople.

She resumed: "You cannot imagine what I suffer on account of you, how I am tortured and tormented.

Yesterday, in the church, I was cruel, but I wanted to flee from you at any cost.

I was so afraid to find myself alone with you.

Have you forgiven me?"

He squeezed her hands:

"Yes, yes, what would I not forgive you, loving you as I do?"

She looked at him with a supplicating air:

"Listen, you must promise to respect me--not to--not to--otherwise I cannot see you again."

He did not reply at once; he wore under his moustache that keen smile that disturbed women.

He ended by murmuring: "I am your slave."