The man took three francs from his waistcoat pocket and said:
"Do you want any more, sir?"
"No, no, that will be enough.
And having seized on the coins, Duroy ran downstairs and dined at a slap-bank, to which he drifted on his days of poverty.
At nine o'clock he was awaiting his mistress, with his feet on the fender, in the little sitting-room.
She came in, lively and animated, brisked up by the keen air of the street.
"If you like," said she, "we will first go for a stroll, and then come home here at eleven.
The weather is splendid for walking."
He replied, in a grumbling tone: "Why go out? We are very comfortable here."
She said, without taking off her bonnet:
"If you knew, the moonlight is beautiful. It is splendid walking about to-night."
"Perhaps so, but I do not care for walking about!"
He had said this in an angry fashion.
She was struck and hurt by it, and asked:
"What is the matter with you?
Why do you go on in this way?
I should like to go for a stroll, and I don't see how that can vex you."
He got up in a rage.
"It does not vex me.
It is a bother, that is all."
She was one of those sort of women whom resistance irritates and impoliteness exasperates, and she said disdainfully and with angry calm: "I am not accustomed to be spoken to like that.
I will go alone, then.
He understood that it was serious, and darting towards her, seized her hands and kissed them, saying:
"Forgive me, darling, forgive me. I am very nervous this evening, very irritable.
I have had vexations and annoyances, you know--matters of business."
She replied, somewhat softened, but not calmed down: "That does not concern me, and I will not bear the consequences of your ill-temper."
He took her in his arms, and drew her towards the couch.
"Listen, darling, I did not want to hurt you; I was not thinking of what I was saying."
He had forced her to sit down, and, kneeling before her, went on:
"Have you forgiven me?
Tell me you have forgiven me?"
She murmured, coldly: "Very well, but do not do so again;" and rising, she added:
"Now let us go for a stroll."
He had remained at her feet, with his arms clasped about her hips, and stammered:
"Stay here, I beg of you.
Grant me this much.
I should so like to keep you here this evening all to myself, here by the fire.
Say yes, I beg of you, say yes."
She answered plainly and firmly: "No, I want to go out, and I am not going to give way to your fancies."
He persisted. "I beg of you, I have a reason, a very serious reason."
She said again: "No; and if you won't go out with me, I shall go.
She had freed herself with a jerk, and gained the door.
He ran towards her, and clasped her in his arms, crying:
"Listen, Clo, my little Clo; listen, grant me this much."
She shook her head without replying, avoiding his kisses, and striving to escape from his grasp and go.
He stammered: "Clo, my little Clo, I have a reason."
She stopped, and looking him full in the face, said: