It was so nice being your wife here."
It was dark in the little suite of rooms in the Rue de Constantinople; for George Du Roy and Clotilde de Marelle, having met at the door, had gone in at once, and she had said to him, without giving him time to open the Venetian blinds:
"So you are going to marry Susan Walter?"
He admitted it quietly, and added:
"Did not you know it?"
She exclaimed, standing before him, furious and indignant: "You are going to marry Susan Walter?
That is too much of a good thing.
For three months you have been humbugging in order to hide that from me.
Everyone knew it but me.
It was my husband who told me of it."
Du Roy began to laugh, though somewhat confused all the same; and having placed his hat on a corner of the mantel-shelf, sat down in an armchair.
She looked at him straight in the face, and said, in a low and irritated tone: "Ever since you left your wife you have been preparing this move, and you only kept me on as a mistress to fill up the interim nicely.
What a rascal you are!"
He asked: "Why so?
I had a wife who deceived me. I caught her, I obtained a divorce, and I am going to marry another.
What could be simpler?"
She murmured, quivering: "Oh! how cunning and dangerous you are."
He began to smile again.
Simpletons and fools are always someone's dupes."
But she continued to follow out her idea:
"I ought to have divined your nature from the beginning.
But no, I could not believe that you could be such a blackguard as that."
He assumed an air of dignity, saying: "I beg of you to pay attention to the words you are making use of."
His indignation revolted her.
You want me to put on gloves to talk to you now.
You have behaved towards me like a vagabond ever since I have known you, and you want to make out that I am not to tell you so.
You deceive everyone; you take advantage of everyone; you filch money and enjoyment wherever you can, and you want me to treat you as an honest man!"
He rose, and with quivering lip, said:
"Be quiet, or I will turn you out of here."
She stammered: "Turn me out of here; turn me out of here! You will turn me out of here--you--you?"
She could not speak for a moment for choking with anger, and then suddenly, as though the door of her wrath had been burst open, she broke out with:
"Turn me out of here?
You forget, then, that it is I who have paid for these rooms from the beginning.
Ah, yes, you have certainly taken them on from time to time.
But who first took them?
I did. Who kept them on?
I did. And you want to turn me out of here.
Hold your tongue, you good-for-nothing fellow.
Do you think I don't know you robbed Madeleine of half Vaudrec's money?
Do you think I don't know how you slept with Susan to oblige her to marry you?"
He seized her by the shoulders, and, shaking her with both hands, exclaimed:
"Don't speak of her, at any rate.
I won't have it."
She screamed out: "You slept with her; I know you did."
He would have accepted no matter what, but this falsehood exasperated him.
The truths she had told him to his face had caused thrills of anger to run through him, but this lie respecting the young girl who was going to be his wife, awakened in the palm of his hand a furious longing to strike her.
He repeated: "Be quiet--have a care--be quiet," and shook her as we shake a branch to make the fruit fall.