"And yet you know that I am not the man to yield to first impression. I struggled: with determined energy I strove to drive off that radiant image which I carried within my soul, which left me no more, which haunted me in the midst of my studies.
"Vain efforts. My thoughts obeyed me no longer - my will escaped my control. It was indeed one of those passions that fill the whole being, overpower all, and which make of life an ineffable felicity or a nameless torture, according that they are reciprocated, or not. How many days I spent there, waiting and watching for her of whom I had thus had a glimpse, and who ignored my very existence! And what insane palpitations, when, after hours of consuming anxiety, I saw at the corner of the street the undulating folds of her dress! I saw her thus often, and always with the same elderly person, her mother. They had adopted in this square a particular bench, where they sat daily, working at their sewing with an assiduity and zeal which made me think that they lived upon the product of their labor."
Here he was suddenly interrupted by his companion. The old gentleman feared that Mme. Favoral's attention might at last be attracted by too direct allusions.
"Take care, boy!" he whispered, not so low, however, but what Gilberte overheard him.
But it would have required much more than this to draw Mme. Favoral from her sad thoughts. She had just finished her band of tapestry; and, grieving to lose a moment:
"It is perhaps time to go home," she said to her daughter. "I have nothing more to do."
Mlle. Gilberte drew from her basket a piece of canvas, and, handing it to her mother:
Here is enough to go on with, mamma," she said in a troubled voice. "Let us stay a little while longer."