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manner. It needed all that perspicuity which is only possessed by the practiced eye of the physician to enable me to detect under this well-assumed mask of easy indifference the struggle maintained by the power of a strong will against the effort of nature.
"You see in me," said the count, smiling, "a flattering testimonial to your skill and experience. Your excellent treatment has done wonders; and I owe to your successful care a calm night and refreshing sleep; the greatest blessing which the craft of science can filch from the thrift of nature. Be seated. I feel stronger and better than ever. In this you have done me a double service; for the fact is, that pressing affairs, which compelled me to fix my departure for to-day, would have seriously suffered had I been obliged to postpone my return to Silesia. To-day, however, I feel so well, that, knowing by experience the strength of my constitution, I have no reason to fear the effects of a journey. Instead of thanks, permit me, rather, to increase my debt to you by a request."
This manoeuvre, by which the count obviously intended to prevent a closer approach upon my part, did not find me altogether unprepared. Before rejoining him that morning, I had reflected on what should be my line of conduct toward him, and what might possibly be the character of his toward me. I was resolved not to injure by any ill-timed or exaggerated advances the favorable impression on which chance (if chance it were) had enabled me to found the hope of future intimacy; and I felt persuaded that a man. educated in all those refinements of life which render men's nature especially sensitive to the graces of little
things, would instinctively shrink from the embrace of a clumsy cordiality.
Without betraying the least surprise or embarrassment, therefore, I immediately gave my consent to this proposal, which I could see to have been carefully prepared.
I could at once congratulate myself on the effect of my reply; for Count Edmond was not so completely master of his feelings (or did not care perhaps so completely to conceal them) but what I could seize, as it were, upon the wing, an expression of relief and satisfaction which flitted over his features.
"How enchanted I am," said he, "that we two, strangers as we are, so well understand each other!"
He cordially shook me by the hand, and I asked him for his last orders.
"No, no," he replied, with a frank and pleasant smile, “not last, my dear sir. There is no such thing as last. At least I don't think that either you or I have much belief in that word. However, if you will have it so, this is my last request. You heard me, last night, dispose of your good offices without even awaiting your permission, by informing the banker at 's that you would be kind enough to call upon him in my name for a sum of money, which I am ashamed of having acquired in such a way, and of which the possession would be most repugnant to all my feelings. Indeed, I can assure you that I am no gambler. Curiosity led me (perhaps like yourself) to that house. I wished to pay my entrance by a small stake, and I only left my money upon the table for the purpose of getting rid of it. The rest you know."
He paused. His lip quivered for a moment, but he quickly resumed:
"In telling me your name, you recalled to my mind various associations which had hitherto attached themselves only to your name; for till then my good fortune had not favored me with the pleasure of your personal acquaintance. Your name, however, had often been mentioned to me by friends of your moth er's family, with whom I am slightly acquainted. I know the noble object of your life, and I have even been sometimes disposed to envy you the rewards of an existence so devoted to the welfare of others.
"Well, now, you see, I am going to intrude my participation upon this good work of yours. Favor me by accepting this small sum, and applying it to the relief of that poverty and suffering to the cause of which you have so generously dedicated your endeavors; and which, indeed, without your skill and sympathy, this slight offering of mine would be powerless to alleviate. And hereafter-"
I was going to speak, but he interrupted me, and went on rapidly:
"Hereafter, whenever you fall in with such cases of need as you may consider deserving, pray do not fail to regard me as your banker. Two lines from you to L, near Breslau, with the address of the sufferer, will enable you to make at least one person happy, if not two. And now adieu! We shall meet again. I feel it, without stopping at this moment to consider how or where."
He shook me once more by the hand, and thus we took leave of each other.
Once more this strange figure receded from my sight into unknown distance; and the solution of the enigma on which I had thought to touch slipped from my grasp, and left me as ignorant as I had been before.
This time, however, I felt that a sort of link had been established between myself and this man—a link which time and distance might perhaps attenuate, but could not wholly dissolve.
I EXECUTED with great satisfaction the last orders of Count R. I only knew too well what to do with the money. Within my experience of this brilliant holiday Paris, there was no lack of tears to dry nor of misery to mitigate. My own affairs did not detain me much longer in this town, which I was already impatient to leave. Nothing is more fatiguing than the days and weeks which precede an anticipated and inevitable departure.
I hailed with joy the hour which found me, on the stroke of six in the afternoon, before the great courtyard in the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau.
Oh, happy days of most unvalued quiet, too rashly and too cheaply sold to the army of railway contractors in exchange for sixty miles an hour and spine diseases! days when life enjoyed the dignity of delay, when the world traveled by post, and the world's wife on a pillion! Then, as we jogged along the highway, I do verily believe that (in despite of Danton's ghost) high and low, rich and poor, wise and foolish, stood far enough asunder to be able to take a good look at each other as they passed along, and, as one says, "knew their places." Now the journey of life is more rapid, but I'll be shot if I think it half so pleasant; for in the hurry-skurry we are so tumbled to