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and see to it that he is not made the dupe of the schem-
ers and swindlers with whom Paris is overflowing."

"That is just what I say, monsieur; I will be con-
stantly on the lookout ; I will keep my eyes and ears open
and my nose in the air, and it will not be my fault if
the child succumbs to temptation. Moreover, I have an
entirely novel system of education always in the interest
of good morals. Pardon me if I continue my breakfast."

" Clearly the man is either a fool or a hypocrite,"
thought Monf reville, as he turned on his heel. " I trust
that he is not both ! "

Cherubin concluded his inspection of his family man-
sion, which seemed to him old, dark and dismal. Mon-
freville advised him to have it painted, furnished and
decorated according to modern ideas.

Darena returned, arrayed in the latest fashion ; he had
donned a part of the purchases he had made that morn-
ing without untying his purse strings, and with the
money received from Poterne he had bought what he
still lacked. So that his costume was beyond reproach,



156 THE BASHFUL LOVER

and he wore it with as much ease and unconstraint as he
displayed in his old coat.

Cherubin admired Darena's elegant appearance and
the grace with which he wore his clothes. Monfreville
made similar reflections, regretting that a man possessed
of so many advantages sometimes descended so low and
frequented such wretched company.

" Here I am, at your service," said Darena. " We must
take Marquis Cherubin somewhere. I can't make up my
mind to say ' Grandvilain ' ; indeed, the name doesn't fit
our young friend at all, and if he takes my advice, he
will be content with Cherubin alone, which is a most
gallant name."

" What ! " murmured Jasmin, " is monsieur going to
drop his father's name? I tell you, I object!"

Nobody paid any heed to the old servant, and Darena
continued :

" First of all, our friend must see everything in Paris
that deserves to be seen. That will take time; for a
shrewd observer there is a great deal to see."

" And then," said Monfreville, " Cherubin will do well
to give a few hours every day to the masters who are
quite indispensable; for his education is far too incom-
plete for him to go into society."

Monsieur Gerondif's fork stopped in the act of con-
veying food to his mouth, and he cried:

" Who says that my pupil's education is incomplete ?
He will surely know as much as I do very soon."

" Come, come, learned Master Andre, don't get ex-
cited," said Darena, with a laugh ; " I have no doubt
that you are very strong in the dead languages, and
in the art of carving a chicken ; yes, you're very good at
that. But can you teach our friend music, dancing, rid-
ing, fencing, boxing ? "



TO-MORROW 157

" Boxing ? " muttered Jasmin, with an air of stupefac-
tion.

" Yes, boxing, and all the fashionable sciences which
a young man of rank and fortune must know, unless he
wishes to be laughed at."

" Trust me," said Monfreville, taking Cherubin's arm ;
" my father was a friend of yours, and even without that,
your youth and innocence would be sufficient to awaken
my interest and to arouse in me a wish to make an ac-
complished gentleman of you."

" And to begin with," said Darena, " a short ride in the
saddle; there is nothing pleasanter in the morning. Do
you know anything about riding ? "

" Oh ! I can ride very well, and I'm not afraid,"
Cherubin replied ; " at the village I used to ride all our
neighbors' horses."

" Good ! there's a livery stable close by where there
are some very good horses; let us go there and hire,
pending the time when you have horses in your stable
another indispensable thing."

Cherubin went out with his two friends; he was be-
side himself with delight at the thought of a riding party.
Being still a novice in all sorts of pleasure, Nicole's foster-
child had never before ridden anything but plough
horses.

They went to the stable-keeper, who ordered his three
best horses saddled. Just as the gentlemen were mount-
ing, they heard a voice calling:

" Well ! isn't there a horse for me too ? "

Thereupon they discovered Jasmin, who had followed
his master, after tightening the waistband of his breeches
as much as possible, covering his head with a long-
vizored cap, which entirely concealed his eyes and nose,
and arming himself with a hunting crop.



1 58 THE BASHFUL LOVER

Cherubin and his friends could not help laughing at
the aspect of Jasmin in the garb of a groom, and Mon-
freville exclaimed:

" This old servant's devotion is becoming very pain-
ful."

" But I don't need you, Jasmin," said Cherubin ; " go
back to the house; you can't come with me, it would
tire you too much."

" I know my duty, monsieur," replied Jasmin ; " my
place is always in your rear."

" Yes, yes, he is right," said Darena ; " and as he in-
sists on coming with us, why, let him come. A horse for
this faithful retainer a good little trotting horse. Jas-
min has the look of an excellent rider."

" He will certainly be thrown," said Cherubin, in an
undertone.

" That is what I expect too ; but it will do him good.
This fellow needs a lesson; he is extremely pig-headed;
he insists on breaking your dishes, capping your friends
with cheese, climbing up behind carriages, and riding
horseback; we must try to cure him of this exuberant
zeal."

A horse was saddled for Jasmin, and, with the aid of
two hostlers, he succeeded in climbing to its back. The
cavalcade started; in the streets of Paris they went
slowly and the old servant was able to follow his master,
which he did with much pride, sitting erect in his sad-
dle and bearing heavily on his stirrups; but when they
reached the Champs-Elysees, Cherubin and his two com-
panions started off at a gallop. Jasmin, seeing his young
master disappear in a cloud of dust, was determined to
follow him, and began to strike his steed with his crop.
The beast, desiring nothing more than to join his stable
companions, sprang forward and darted in pursuit.



TO-MORROW 159

But his old rider had presumed too much on his
strength ; in a few seconds the horse was galloping alone
and Jasmin was rolling in the dust.

When they reached the Bois de Boulogne, Cherubin
turned and said:

" Well ! where on earth is Jasmin ? "

" I was certain that he couldn't keep up with us," said
Darena.

" If only he has not fallen and hurt himself ! "

" Don't be alarmed ; at his age one falls gently. Some-
body must have picked him up, and we must hope that
this lesson will correct the old fellow a little, for his at-
tachment needs to be toned down."

They rode on, the two gentlemen admiring the con-
fidence of their young companion, who needed only a
few lessons in grace and style to become an excellent
horseman.

After their ride they returned to Paris, sauntered along
the boulevards, visited several cafes, then went to one of
the best restaurants in the Palais-Royal, and after dinner
to the play. About midnight Cherubin returned home,
not having had a single moment during the day to think
of the village.

He found that Jasmin was not hurt by his fall, but he
admitted to his young master that he should not try
again to attend him to the Bois de Boulogne.

The following days were no less thoroughly occupied ;
Monfreville and Darena were almost constantly with
Cherubin; the former sent him teachers in all the social
accomplishments; the second talked to him incessantly
of the lovely little dancers with whom they had dined.

" Which of the four do you prefer ? " he would ask.

And Cherubin would reply, lowering his eyes:

" They are very pretty, all four."



160 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" I understand, you liked them all. That can be ar-
ranged, and I will take you to see them whenever you
choose; you will be received with open arms."

At that suggestion Cherubin would turn as red as a
cherry and stammer:

" Oh, yes ! in a few days."

And while his pupil was being taken about and enter-
tained and dazzled, Monsieur Gerondif lay idly in his
bed, sat for hours at a time at the table, showed his
teeth to Mademoiselle Turlurette, and said to Jasmin
every day:

" Above all, worthy Eumaeus, do not forget the orders
to the concierge : if anybody from Gagny, even Madame
Frimousset, should call and ask to see monsieur le mar-
quis, she must be told that Monsieur Cherubin de Grand-
vilain is absent, that he is travelling; for if my pupil
should see her again, above all if he should see little
Louise, although he is beginning to like the city, he
might allow himself to be lured away again, and all the
fruit of our efforts would be lost! And that would be
the greater pity, because, thanks to the advice of his two
friends and the lessons I give him, he must necessarily
become ere long a most preponderating cavalier."

Jasmin, who always humbled himself before the tutor's
learning, did not fail to do exactly what he recom-
mended, saying to himself that it could not be wrong to
send the nurse away without allowing her to speak with
his master, because a man who educates children must
be perfectly familiar with the rules of courtesy.

And the days and weeks and months passed in that
life of enjoyment, of constant occupation, and of dissi-
pation, which Cherubin led at Paris. Whenever he spoke
of going to the village, his new friends said :

" Yes, to-morrow ; you haven't time to-day."



A CHILD'S LOVE l6l

But when Darena proposed to Cherubin to take him
to see one of the little ballet dancers whom he thought
so attractive, the marquis replied, blushing to his eyes :

" Yes, to-morrow, to-morrow ! "



XIV

A CHILD'S LOVE

While Cherubin was enjoying himself in Paris, mak-
ing merry and thinking of nothing but pleasure, at
Gagny his friends were dismal and bored, and shed fre-
quent tears. It is often so in life : the happiness of one
is acquired only at the expense of others' misery. Is it
not too high a price to pay ? If we always reflected upon
causes and effects, we should sometimes regret being
happy.

On returning from Montfermeil, where, it will be re-
membered, she was sent by Monsieur Gerondif, Louise,
who had discovered that he had had no other object
than to get her out of the way, asked anxiously where
Cherubin was; and Nicole, weeping bitterly, told her
that the youth whom she still delighted to call her fieu
had gone to Paris with several gentlemen, and some
charming ladies, evidently foreigners, judging from their
costumes, who had danced in her house in a style utterly
unlike any village dance.

Louise wept a long while ; her heart was torn. There
was one pang more cruel than all the rest in her suffer-
ing; at fourteen and a half a girl may well know what
it is to love; and with love jealousy had made its ap-
pearance.



1 62 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" You let him go ! " said Louise, sobbing ; " but he
promised never to leave me; those people must have
taken him by force."

" No, my child, Cherubin went away of his own free
will, in high spirits, in fact, and almost dancing with
those little hussies, who twirled round and round longer
than the tops my boys used to spin when they were
little."

Louise wept more bitterly still.

" Why did you let those horrid women come into your
house ? " she cried. " Oh ! I detest them ! "

" Bless my soul, child, it was one of the gentlemen who
brought 'em; they drank milk just like cats; and then
they danced like kids."

" And Cherubin went away with them ! But he'll
come back to-morrow, won't he, mother dear ? "

" Let us hope so, my child."

But the morrow and several more days passed without
bringing Cherubin back to the village. Louise was so
depressed that Nicole forgot her own grief to comfort
her.

" But something must have happened to him ! " the girl
constantly exclaimed. " Probably they are keeping him
in Paris against his will ; for, if not, he would have come
back. Let's go after him, mother, let's go after him."

Nicole tried to make Louise listen to reason.

" Listen, my dear," she would say, " it's a long, long
while since Monsieur Jasmin began to tell me : ' My
young master will have to go to Paris some time; he
can't pass his whole life out at nurse ! If it was known
that he's still with you, I should be scolded.' And a
lot of things like that. The fact is, my child, that they
usually take children away from a wet-nurse when they
begin to talk, unless unless "



A CHILD' S LOVE 163

And the good woman stopped, for she was on the
point of saying:

" Unless they do like your mother, and don't take 'em
away at all."

Louise had that instinct of the heart which enables
its possessor to read one's inmost thoughts; she divined
the words that died on Nicole's lips, and she said, sob-
bing and pressing her hand convulsively:

" Nobody came for me, I know that. My mother didn't
want me, and yet I couldn't have been naughty then
I was too young. And if it hadn't been for you, for
your kindness, what would have become of me? Oh!
dear Nicole, how can a mother ever abandon her child?
I would have loved my mother so dearly, and she didn't
want to take me back, or even to kiss me! Oh! she
must have died, I am sure, or else she'd have come after
me, or at least have come to see me sometimes."

" Yes," said Nicole, kissing Louise, " you are right, my
child, your mother must have died and not had time to
send for you; perhaps she wasn't able to tell where her
child was. Bless my soul! people die so sudden some-
times ! That's the way it must have been. But let's not
say any more about it; you know, I don't like to get
into that subject, for it always makes you sad."

" That is why I so seldom mention it, my dear Nicole,
although I think about it almost all the time; but when
Cherubin was with me, I used to forget sometimes that
I don't know who my parents are. He told me that he
would always love me and now he has abandoned me
too."

After this conversation Louise went to the end of the
garden, where she could weep at her ease. In vain did
Nicole say to her:

" He'll come back, my child, he'll come back ! "



1 64 THE BASHFUL LOVER

Time passed and they saw nothing of Cherubin.

At last, yielding to the girl's entreaties, Nicole started
with her for Paris one morning; and all the way Louise
kept saying:

" We are going to see him. I'll tell him how sad I
am when I am away from him; I'll tell him that I cry
almost all the time, that there's nothing to amuse me in
the village, and he'll come back with us, mother; oh!
I am sure that he'll come back with us."

Nicole shook her head with a doubtful expression, and
murmured :

" At any rate, we shall find out whether he's happy
and well ; that's the main thing."

In due time they reached the old mansion in Faubourg
Saint-Germain.

" This is his house," said Nicole ; " I recognize it all
right! This is the very house where I came to get him
when he was a spindling little thing, as thin as a rail.
I made a fine boy of him, thank God ! And then I came
here two or three times to bring him to his father, when
the old gentleman was alive."

Louise gazed wonderingly at the old structure, whose
severe aspect and time-blackened walls almost frightened
her. Meanwhile, they had entered the courtyard, and
Nicole said to the concierge:

" Monsieur, I've come to see my fieu my nursling,
young Cherubin, your master. He left us to come here,
but we don't like not having a chance to kiss him for
so long ; we couldn't stand it any longer, so here we are."

The concierge, who had his orders, replied:

" You can't see monsieur le marquis, my master, for
he isn't in the house."

" Gone out, has he? Oh well ! he'll come back ! We'll
wait, won't we, Louise ? "



A CHILD'S LOVE 165

" Oh, yes, mother, we will wait ; for we must see him
when we came to Paris on purpose."

The concierge rejoined with exasperating indifference :

" It won't do you any good to wait ; Monsieur de
Grandvilain is travelling and he may not come home for
ten days or a fortnight."

" Travelling ! " cried Louise ; " oh dear ! it's very
annoying! Where is he travelling, monsieur? in which
direction ? Has he gone far ? "

" My master didn't tell me."

" But tell us at least whether he's well ? " said Nicole ;
"is he happy? is he enjoying himself in Paris?"

" Monsieur le marquis is in perfect health."

" Thank God ! But why does he go travelling without
coming to see us? Monsieur, are those young foreign
ladies who dance so well travelling with with Monsieur
Cherubin?"

" I couldn't tell you."

Nicole and the young girl returned to Gagny, sadly
disappointed that they had not been able to embrace
Cherubin; but the nurse said to Louise:

" Never mind, we know he's well, and that's a great
deal."

" Yes, dear mother, and no doubt he'll come to see us
when he returns from this journey; if he doesn't, we'll
go to Paris again, for he won't always be away."

But once more the days and weeks passed without a
word or a sign from the youth whom they loved so dearly
and whom they were always expecting. Conquered by
Louise's tears and entreaties, Nicole consented to go to
Paris again, but the second trip was no more fortunate
than the first. That time, however, the concierge said
that monsieur le marquis had gone to pass some time at
the chateau of one of his friends.



1 66 THE BASHFUL LOVER

The two women returned to Gagny more depressed
than ever.

" My dear child," said Nicole, weeping with her, " I
believe that the little fellow I nursed doesn't mean to see
me again. You see that he's forgotten us, for he doesn't
come to the village or send us any word. And when
folks in Paris don't want to see anyone, why they just
say that they're out."

" O mother ! do you really think that Cherubin doesn't
want to see us, that he would be ashamed of us ? "

" I don't say that, my child ; but this much is certain :
that I won't go to his house in Paris again; for they
must have told him that we came, and if he still cared
anything about us, it seems to me that he wouldn't have
lost any time before coming to see us."

Louise could think of nothing to reply; she longed
to defend Cherubin in Nicole's mind, when in the depths
of her own heart she retained only a glimmer of hope.
After the second trip to Paris, the girl's depression be-
came more and more marked ; in the presence of her
foster-mother she tried to conceal her distress, her sor-
row, but when she was alone she gave way to them with
a sort of enjoyment; for, in extreme unhappiness, it is
almost a consolation not to be disturbed in one's musings,
one's regrets, one's memories.

Louise did like all those who have lost a beloved object
she haunted all the spots which she had often visited
and admired with him. When we revisit the places
where we 'have been happy, it seems that we must be
happy again ; our memory recalls all the circumstances
of our previous visits, and the most trivial and futile
things become of inestimable value when they have some
connection with the one we love. By dint of identifying
ourselves with our memories, we fancy that we are still



A CHILD' S LOVE 167

living in that bitterly-regretted past our heart dilates
with a thrill of joy. But alas! how brief its duration!
The present returns with its overwhelming truth; we
look about we are alone, all alone we find in the depths
of our hearts naught save a ghastly void, and no unal-
loyed joy in the days to come.

One morning Nicole was working, Jacquinot sleeping,
and Louise in the garden, where she was thinking of
Cherubin as usual, when a gentleman entered the rustic
dwelling.

" O agrestis and rusticus abode ! " he cried ; " I salute
thee, but I do not regret thee. My tastes do not agree
with Virgil's, I prefer the city to the country."

Nicole uttered a joyful exclamation at sight of Mon-
sieur Gerondif, and she made haste to call Louise, saying :

" Come quick, my child, here's the schoolmaster come
back; no doubt Cherubin will soon be here too."

It was in fact the tutor, who wore a hat so shiny that
it looked as if it were varnished, with his hair carefully
oiled beneath it; his gloves were glazed and his hand-
kerchief drenched with Portugal water, but his nose was
redder than ever.

Louise rushed into the house. Never had Monsieur
Gerondif 's presence caused her such pleasure ; she
longed, yet feared to speak to him, but at last she gave
him her hand and said in a hesitating tone:

" Ah ! what happiness, monsieur ! You are going to
tell us about him."

Monsieur Gerondif, for his part, was speechless with
admiration at sight of the girl, for it was eight months
since he had left Gagny, and in that period a tremendous
change had taken place in Louise, altogether to her ad-
vantage. She was no longer a child, a little maid ; she
was a tall, well-built, charming girl, who had every



1 68 THE BASHFUL LOVER

qualification to attract, and to whom anybody would
have given credit for seventeen years and a swarm of
suitors.

" It is most extraordinary ! " cried the tutor ; " it is
sorcery surely ! What a gratifying change ! "

" You find Louise grown, don't you, monsieur ? "

" Grown at least twelve centimetres, and her figure
much more solid, more palpable ! "

" But Cherubin, monsieur, tell us about Cherubin !
Never mind me. Is he coming, monsieur? Shall we
see him soon ? Does he think about us ? Does he speak
of us sometimes ? "

"Is he very fat and healthy, and happy, the dear fieuf
And when shall we have a chance to embrace him ? Why
don't he come to Gagny ? "

" Monsieur le marquis is very well indeed," replied
Gerondif, still ogling Louise. " You ask why he doesn't
come to see you? Why, my dear Madame Frimousset,
it's plain that you know nothing of life in Paris, and
especially the life led by a young man in fashionable so-
ciety! My pupil hasn't a moment to himself: in the
morning he fences, rides horseback, dances, sings and
boxes ; why, he hardly has time for his meals. Then he
has to go into society theatres, concerts, balls! How
in the devil do you expect him to find a moment to come
to this village? It's impossible! Even I had infinite dif-
ficulty in making the trip to-day ; I was obliged to hurry
my breakfast, and I don't like to eat fast."

" So we shan't see him any more ? " murmured Louise,
whose heart had grown heavy again, and whose eyes were
filled with tears.

" I do not say that, adorable lass ! but I say that you
must be sensible and not expect monsieur le marquis
to interrupt his important occupations for you."



A CHILD 1 S LOVE 169

" Oh ! I don't expect anything ! We'd have gone to
Paris again to see him, but they always tell us he's away."

" Don't come to Paris, you will simply waste your
time; how do you expect to catch a young man on the
wing who has five hundred things to do in the day ? "

" Five hundred things ! Bless my soul ! but the poor
boy must get all tired out ! "

" As if he went on foot ! He's always in a carriage or
on horseback; and he rides at full speed."

" And he can't come as far as this ! " said Louise, with
a profound sigh. " And those lovely ladies who dance
so well he goes to see them, of course ? "

" The ballet dancers ! fie, fie ! What about morals !
We used those mountebanks just as we use the magnet
to attract a lot of things; but afterward retro, Sa-
t anas I "

" But I hope he still thinks of us ! " said Nicole.

" The proof that he thinks of you, Dame Nicole, is that
he has instructed me to hand you this; for he wants
you to be happy and to have everything you need. And
he's very generous, is my pupil. Here, take it; there's a
thousand francs in it. That's a very pretty sum."

As he spoke, Monsieur Gerondif handed Nicole a bag
of money. She took it, exclaiming:

" A thousand francs ! Oh ! that's too much, a thou-
sand francs. It's a handsome present, but if I could have
given him a kiss at the same time, I'd have enjoyed it
much better."

Jacquinot, who had just waked up, looked at the bag
of money and muttered sleepily:

" A thousand francs ! How many casks does that
make at six sous the litre ? "

" And didn't he give you anything for me, monsieur ? "
inquired Louise. But in a moment she added hastily:



1 70 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" Oh ! it's not a present, it's not money that I mean ; but
a kind word, a remembrance, a word to show me that he
hasn't forgotten me. Pray try to remember, monsieur."

Monsieur Gerondif scratched his nose and replied :
. " No, my sweet girl, the marquis gave me no message
for you in particular, but he told me to wish you all the
best of health."

Louise turned pale and averted her eyes. Whereupon
the tutor went to her side and said in an undertone :


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