Guy de Maupassant Fullscreen Dear friend (1885)


Her heart throbbed; she was pleased to have suffered a little by him.

"Good-bye," said she.

He took her in his arms with a compassionate smile, and coldly kissed her eyes.

But she, maddened by this contact, again murmured,

"Already!" while her suppliant glance indicated the bedroom, the door of which was open.

He stepped away from her, and said in a hurried tone, "I must be off; I shall be late."

Then she held out her lips, which he barely brushed with his, and having handed her her parasol, which she was forgetting, he continued,

"Come, come, we must be quick, it is past three o'clock."

She went out before him, saying,

"To-morrow, at seven," and he repeated, "To-morrow, at seven."

They separated, she turning to the right and he to the left.

Du Roy walked as far as the outer boulevard.

Then he slowly strolled back along the Boulevard Malesherbes.

Passing a pastry cook's, he noticed some _marrons glaces_ in a glass jar, and thought,

"I will take in a pound for Clotilde." He bought a bag of these sweetmeats, which she was passionately fond of, and at four o'clock returned to wait for his young mistress.

She was a little late, because her husband had come home for a week, and said,

"Can you come and dine with us to-morrow?

He will be so pleased to see you."

"No, I dine with the governor.

We have a heap of political and financial matters to talk over."

She had taken off her bonnet, and was now laying aside her bodice, which was too tight for her.

He pointed out the bag on the mantel-shelf, saying,

"I have bought you some _marrons glaces_."

She clapped her hands, exclaiming:

"How nice; what a dear you are."

She took one, tasted them, and said:

"They are delicious.

I feel sure I shall not leave one of them."

Then she added, looking at George with sensual merriment:

"You flatter all my vices, then."

She slowly ate the sweetmeats, looking continually into the bag to see if there were any left.

"There, sit down in the armchair," said she, "and I will squat down between your knees and nibble my bon-bons.

I shall be very comfortable."

He smiled, sat down, and took her between his knees, as he had had Madame Walter shortly before.

She raised her head in order to speak to him, and said, with her mouth full:

"Do you know, darling, I dreamt of you? I dreamt that we were both taking a long journey together on a camel.

He had two humps, and we were each sitting astride on a hump, crossing the desert. We had taken some sandwiches in a piece of paper and some wine in a bottle, and were dining on our humps.

But it annoyed me because we could not do anything else; we were too far off from one another, and I wanted to get down."

He answered: "I want to get down, too."

He laughed, amused at the story, and encouraged her to talk nonsense, to chatter, to indulge in all the child's play of conversation which lovers utter.

The nonsense which he thought delightful in the mouth of Madame de Marelle would have exasperated him in that of Madame Walter.

Clotilde, too, called him

"My darling," "My pet," "My own."

These words seemed sweet and caressing.

Said by the other woman shortly before, they had irritated and sickened him.

For words of love, which are always the same, take the flavor of the lips they come from.

But he was thinking, even while amusing himself with this nonsense, of the seventy thousand francs he was going to gain, and suddenly checked the gabble of his companion by two little taps with his finger on her head.

"Listen, pet," said he.

"I am going to entrust you with a commission for your husband.

Tell him from me to buy to-morrow ten thousand francs' worth of the Morocco loan, which is quoted at seventy-two, and I promise him that he will gain from sixty to eighty thousand francs before three months are over.