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Chapter 10 JEALOUSY

  • The Du Roys had been in Paris two days and the journalist had resumed work; h_ad given up his own especial province to assume that of Forestier, and t_evote himself entirely to politics. On this particular evening he turned hi_teps toward home with a light heart. As he passed a florist's on Rue Notr_ame de Lorette he bought a bouquet of half-open roses for Madeleine. Havin_orgotten his key, on arriving at his door, he rang and the servant answere_is summons.
  • Georges asked: "Is Madame at home?"
  • "Yes, sir."
  • In the dining-room he paused in astonishment to see covers laid for three: th_oor of the salon being ajar, he saw Madeleine arranging in a vase on th_antelpiece a bunch of roses similar to his.
  • He entered the room and asked: "Have you invited anyone to dinner?"
  • She replied without turning her head and continuing the arrangement of he_lowers: "Yes and no: it is my old friend, Count de Vaudrec, who is in th_abit of dining here every Monday and who will come now as he always has."
  • Georges murmured: "Very well."
  • He stopped behind her, the bouquet in his hand, the desire strong within hi_o conceal it—to throw it away. However, he said:
  • "Here, I have brought you some roses!"
  • She turned to him with a smile and said: "Ah, how thoughtful of you!" and sh_issed him with such evident affection that he felt consoled.
  • She took the flowers, inhaled their perfume, and put them in an empty vase.
  • Then she said as she noted the effect: "Now I am satisfied; my mantelpiec_ooks pretty," adding with an air of conviction:
  • "Vaudrec is charming; you will become intimate with him at once,"
  • A ring announced the Count. He entered as if he were at home. After gallantl_issing Mme. Du Roy's hand, he turned to her husband and cordially offered hi_and, saying: "How are you, my dear Du Roy?"
  • He had no longer that haughty air, but was very affable. One would hav_hought in the course of five minutes, that the two men had known one anothe_or ten years. Madeleine, whose face was radiant, said: "I will leave yo_ogether. I have work to superintend in the kitchen." The dinner was excellen_nd the Count remained very late. When he was gone, Madeleine said to he_usband: "Is he not nice? He improves, too, on acquaintance. He is a good,
  • true, faithful friend. Ah, without him—"
  • She did not complete her sentence and Georges replied: "Yes, he is ver_leasant, I think we shall understand each other well."
  • "You do not know," she said, "that we have work to do to-night befor_etiring. I did not have time to tell you before dinner, for Vaudrec came.
  • Laroche-Mathieu brought me important news of Morocco. We must make a fin_rticle of that. Let us set to work at once. Come, take the lamp."
  • He carried the lamp and they entered the study. Madeleine leaned, against th_antelpiece, and having lighted a cigarette, told him the news and gave hi_er plan of the article. He listened attentively, making notes as she spoke,
  • and when she had finished he raised objections, took up the question and, i_is turn, developed another plan. His wife ceased smoking, for her interes_as aroused in following Georges's line of thought. From time to time sh_urmured: "Yes, yes; very good—excellent—very forcible—" And when he ha_inished speaking, she said: "Now let us write."
  • It was always difficult for him to make a beginning and she would lean ove_is shoulder and whisper the phrases in his ear, then he would add a fe_ines; when their article was completed, Georges re-read it. Both he an_adeleine pronounced it admirable and kissed one another with passionat_dmiration.
  • The article appeared with the signature of "G. du Roy de Cantel," and made _reat sensation. M. Walter congratulated the author, who soon becam_elebrated in political circles. His wife, too, surprised him by th_ngenuousness of her mind, the cleverness of her wit, and the number of he_cquaintances. At almost any time upon returning home he found in his salon _enator, a deputy, a magistrate, or a general, who treated Madeleine wit_rave familiarity.
  • Deputy Laroche-Mathieu, who dined at Rue Fontaine every Tuesday, was one o_he largest stockholders of M. Walter's paper and the latter's colleague an_ssociate in many business transactions. Du Roy hoped, later on, that some o_he benefits promised by him to Forestier might fall to his share. They woul_e given to Madeleine's new husband—that was all—nothing was changed; even hi_ssociates sometimes called him Forestier, and it made Du Roy furious at th_ead. He grew to hate the very name; it was to him almost an insult. Even a_ome the obsession continued; the entire house reminded him of Charles.
  • One evening Du Roy, who liked sweetmeats, asked:
  • "Why do we never have sweets?"
  • His wife replied pleasantly: "I never think of it, because Charles dislike_hem."
  • He interrupted her with an impatient gesture: "Do you know I am getting tire_f Charles? It is Charles here, Charles there, Charles liked this, Charle_iked that. Since Charles is dead, let him rest in peace."
  • Madeleine ascribed her husband's burst of ill humor to puerile jealousy, bu_he was flattered and did not reply. On retiring, haunted by the same thought,
  • he asked:
  • "Did Charles wear a cotton nightcap to keep the draft out of his ears?"
  • She replied pleasantly: "No, a lace one!"
  • Georges shrugged his shoulders and said scornfully: "What a bird!"
  • From that time Georges never called Charles anything but "poor Charles," wit_n accent of infinite pity. One evening as Du Roy was smoking a cigarette a_is window, toward the end of June, the heat awoke in him a desire for fres_ir. He asked:
  • "My little Made, would you like to go as far as the Bois?"
  • "Yes, certainly."
  • They took an open carriage and drove to the Avenue du Bois de Boulogne. It wa_ sultry evening; a host of cabs lined the drive, one behind another. When th_arriage containing Georges and Madeleine reached the turning which led to th_ortifications, they kissed one another and Madeleine stammered in confusion:
  • "We are as childish as we were at Rouen."
  • The road they followed was not so much frequented, a gentle breeze rustled th_eaves of the trees, the sky was studded with brilliant stars and George_urmured, as he pressed his wife to his breast: "Oh, my little Made."
  • She said to him: "Do you remember how gloomy the forest at Canteleu was? I_eemed to me that it was full of horrible beasts and that it was interminable,
  • while here it is charming. One can feel the caressing breezes, and I know tha_evres is on the other side."
  • He replied: "In our forests there are nothing but stags, foxes, roebucks, an_oars, with here and there a forester's house." He paused for a moment an_hen asked: "Did you come here in the evening with Charles occasionally?"
  • She replied: "Frequently."
  • He felt a desire to return home at once. Forestier's image haunted him,
  • however; he could think of nothing else. The carriage rolled on toward the Ar_e Triomphe and joined the stream of carriages returning home. As George_emained silent, his wife, who divined his thoughts, asked in her soft voice:
  • "Of what are you thinking? For half an hour you have not uttered a word."
  • He replied with a sneer: "I am thinking of all those fools who kiss on_nother, and I believe truly that there is something else to be done in life."
  • She whispered: "Yes, but it is nice sometimes! It is nice when one has nothin_etter to do."
  • Georges' thoughts were busy with the dead; he said to himself angrily: "I a_oolish to worry, to torment myself as I have done." After remonstrating thu_ith himself, he felt more reconciled to the thought of Forestier, and fel_ike exclaiming: "Good evening, old fellow!"
  • Madeleine, who was bored by his silence, asked: "Shall we go to Tortoni's fo_ces before returning home?"
  • He glanced at her from his corner and thought: "She is pretty; so much th_etter. Tit for tat, my comrade. But if they begin again to annoy me with you,
  • it will get somewhat hot at the North Pole!"
  • Then he replied: "Certainly, my darling," and before she had time to think h_issed her. It seemed to Madeleine that her husband's lips were icy. Howeve_e smiled as usual and gave her his hand to assist her to alight at the cafe.