Yes, I will go and see her to-morrow."
As soon as he had lunched the next morning he indeed set out for the Rue de Verneuil.
The same servant opened the door, and with the familiarity of servants of the middle-class, asked:
"Are you quite well, sir?"
"Yes, thanks, my girl," he replied, and entered the drawing-room, in which an unskilled hand could be heard practicing scales on the piano.
It was Laurine.
He thought that she would throw her arms round his neck.
But she rose gravely, bowed ceremoniously like a grown-up person, and withdrew with dignity.
She had so much the bearing of an insulted woman that he remained in surprise.
Her mother came in, and he took and kissed her hands.
"How I have thought of you," said he.
"And I," she replied.
They sat down and smiled at one another, looking into each other's eyes with a longing to kiss.
"My dear little Clo, I do love you."
"I love you, too."
"Then--then--you have not been so very angry with me?"
"Yes, and no. It hurt me a great deal, but I understood your reasons, and said to myself,
'He will come back to me some fine day or other.'"
"I dared not come back. I asked myself how I should be received.
I did not dare, but I dearly wanted to.
By the way, tell me what is the matter with Laurine.
She scarcely said good-morning to me, and went out looking furious."
"I do not know.
But we cannot speak of you to her since your marriage.
I really believe she is jealous."
"It is so, dear.
She no longer calls you Pretty-boy, but Monsieur Forestier."
Du Roy reddened, and then drawing close to her said: "Kiss me."
She did so.
"Where can we meet again?" said he.
"Rue de Constantinople."
"Ah! the rooms are not let, then?"
"No, I kept them on."
"You kept them on?"
"Yes, I thought you would come back again."
A gush of joyful pride swelled his bosom.
She loved him then, this woman, with a real, deep, constant love.
He murmured, "I love you," and then inquired, "Is your husband quite well?"
"Yes, very well.
He has been spending a month at home, and was off again the day before yesterday."
Du Roy could not help laughing.
"How lucky," said he.
She replied simply: "Yes, it is very lucky.
But, all the same, he is not troublesome when he is here.
You know that."
"That is true.
Besides, he is a very nice fellow."
"And you," she asked, "how do you like your new life?"
"Not much one way or the other.