"No, you will bring them all the same."
"I swear I won't."
"Truly, on my word of honor.
This is our place, our very own."
She clasped him to her in an outburst of love, exclaiming:
"Very well, then, darling.
But you know if you once deceive me, only once, it will be all over between us, all over for ever."
He swore again with many protestations, and it was agreed that he should install himself there that very day, so that she could look in on him as she passed the door.
Then she said: "In any case, come and dine with us on Sunday.
My husband thinks you are charming."
He was flattered
"Yes, you have captivated him.
And then, listen, you have told me that you were brought up in a country-house."
"Then you must know something about agriculture?"
"Well, talk to him about gardening and the crops. He is very fond of that sort of thing."
"Good; I will not forget."
She left him, after kissing him to an indefinite extent, the duel having stimulated her affection.
Duroy thought, as he made his way to the office,
"What a strange being.
What a feather brain.
Can one tell what she wants and what she cares for?
And what a strange household.
What fanciful being arranged the union of that old man and this madcap?
What made the inspector marry this giddy girl?
And he concluded: "After all, she is a very nice little mistress, and I should be a very big fool to let her slip away from me."
His duel had given Duroy a position among the leader-writers of the _Vie Francaise_, but as he had great difficulty in finding ideas, he made a specialty of declamatory articles on the decadence of morality, the lowering of the standard of character, the weakening of the patriotic fiber and the anemia of French honor. He had discovered the word anemia, and was very proud of it.
And when Madame de Marelle, filled with that skeptical, mocking, and incredulous spirit characteristic of the Parisian, laughed at his tirades, which she demolished with an epigram, he replied with a smile:
"Bah! this sort of thing will give me a good reputation later on."
He now resided in the Rue de Constantinople, whither he had shifted his portmanteau, his hair-brush, his razor, and his soap, which was what his moving amounted to.
Twice or thrice a week she would call before he was up, undress in a twinkling, and slip into bed, shivering from the cold prevailing out of doors.
As a set off, Duroy dined every Thursday at her residence, and paid court to her husband by talking agriculture with him.
As he was himself fond of everything relating to the cultivation of the soil, they sometimes both grew so interested in the subject of their conversation that they quite forgot the wife dozing on the sofa.
Laurine would also go to sleep, now on the knee of her father and now on that of Pretty-boy.
And when the journalist had left, Monsieur de Marelle never failed to assert, in that doctrinal tone in which he said the least thing:
"That young fellow is really very pleasant company, he has a well-informed mind."
February was drawing to a close.
One began to smell the violets in the street, as one passed the barrows of the flower-sellers of a morning.
Duroy was living beneath a sky without a cloud.
One night, on returning home, he found a letter that had been slipped under his door.
He glanced at the post-mark, and read
Having opened it, he read: