The Secret by Paul De Kock
TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF M. PAUL DE KOCK.
Nathalie de Hauteville at the age of twenty-two had been
for three years a widow. She was one of the most beautiful women
in Paris; a brunette, with large black eyes, and one of those
fascinating faces whose charm consists more in expression than in regularity
of features, and in which are portrayed at once all the elegance
of the Frenchwoman, all the vivacity of the Italian, and all the
fire of a daughter of Spain.
When she married, at eighteen, a man of nearly three times her
age, Nathalie, a mere child in character, had not bestowed a thought
on any thing beyond her wedding dresses, her marriage presents, and
the delight of being called Madame. Her husband was as generous
to her as he was rich. Twelve months had passed in a continued
round of gaiety and amusement, when M. de Hauteville was suddenly
attacked by a disease which carried him off in a few days,
and left his young widow to mourn for a husband as she would have
mourned for the loss of a friend and protector.
But, at eighteen, sorrow soon passes away; the heart is so new to
every feeling, to every illusion. Madame de Hauteville found that
she was courted by the world; that she was invited everywhere;
and that, by her fortune and her position, she was called upon to become
an ornament of society. Yet she felt that she was too young
to live without a mentor, and to go out alone; so she asked her uncle,
M. d'Ablaincourt, to come and live with her.
M. d'Ablaincourt was an old bachelor: one love only, had he ever
known, and the object of that was—himself. His love for himself
was paramount; and, if ever he went so far as to show any liking for
any other individual, he must have received from that individual such
attention as to make him a gainer by their intimacy. M. d'Ablaincourt
was an egotist; but, at the same time, a well-bred, a well-mannered
egotist. He had all the air of devoting himself to the wishes
of others, whilst he was exclusively occupied in compassing his own;
he would appear to be taking a lively interest in those around him,
whilst, in reality, he never felt any interest in anybody but himself.
Too thoughtless to do harm, he was as little disposed to do good, unless
it were for his own advantage. In short, he liked to be at his
ease, and to be surrounded with all the enjoyments which luxury
could invent. Such was the character of M. d'Ablaincourt, who
readily acceded to his niece's proposal, because Nathalie, though a
little giddy, had a good and affectionate heart, and would load him
with kindnesses and attentions.
M. d'Ablaincourt went out into the world with his niece, because
he had not yet lost his relish for its pleasures; but, if an invitation
came for any party which he thought held out no amusement for him,
he would turn to her, and say, "I am afraid, my dear, you will not
like this party; there will be nothing at all but play. I shall be
very happy to take you; you know I always do exactly as you wish,
but I think you will find it dull." And Nathalie, who was all confidence
in her uncle, never failed to answer, "You are quite right,
uncle; it will be much better for us not to go."
So it was with everything else. M. d'Ablaincourt, who, without
wishing to be thought so, was an excessive gourmand, said one day to
his niece, "You know, my dear, I am no gourmand; I care very little
myself how things are served up, and am always satisfied with what
is laid before me; but your cook puts too much salt in everything,
which is not wholesome for a young woman; and then, she sends up
her dishes in a careless, slovenly way, which is very annoying to me
on your account, as you often give dinners. The other day there
were six people at table, and the spinage was badly dressed. You
must consider what people will say of your management when they
see such neglect. They will say that Madame de Hauteville has
no idea of having things as they ought to be; and this may do you
harm, as there are persons who notice everything."
"What you say is very true, dear uncle; will you take the trouble
of looking out for a good cook for me?"
"To be sure, my love; you know I think nothing of trouble when
I can be of service to you."
"How lucky I am in having you always by me to tell me of all
these little things, which I should never think of!" said Nathalie, kissing
her uncle; and he, good old man, forthwith discharged the cook
who dressed the spinage badly, to make way for one who shone particularly
in all his favourite dishes.
Another time some improvements were to be made in the garden;
for instance, the trees in front of the old gentleman's windows were
to be felled, because they might occasion a dampness which would
be dangerous for Nathalie. And then, the elegant calash was to be
exchanged for a landau, as being a carriage in which a young lady
could be much more at her ease. So minutely attentive was M.
d'Ablaincourt to the comforts and enjoyments of his niece!
Nathalie was somewhat of a coquette: accustomed to conquest, she
used to listen with a smile to the numerous proposals which were
made to her, and sent off all suitors to her uncle, telling them, "Before
I can give you any hope, I must know what M. d'Ablaincourt
thinks of you."
Had her heart favoured any individual, it is probable that the answer
of Nathalie would have been different; but, as it was, she thought
nothing could be more agreeable than to please all, and be the slave
The old gentleman, for his part, being master in his niece's house,
was not at all anxious that she should marry again. A nephew might
be less inclined to give way, less indulgent to him than Nathalie, so
that he never failed to find some serious fault in every fresh aspirant
to the hand of the pretty widow, and, as in every other case, he
seemed to be thinking of nothing but her happiness.
In addition to his egotism, and his fondness for good living, M.
d'Ablaincourt had of late years been seized with a violent passion
for tric-trac. His favourite pastime, his highest delight, was this
game; but, unfortunately for him, it was one very little played. The
ladies do not like it in a room, because it is noisy; the gentlemen
prefer bouillotte or écarté; so that the old gentleman very seldom
found an opportunity of indulging his propensity. If any of his
niece's visitors did happen to play, he seized upon them for the
whole evening;—there was no possibility of escape. But, as they
did not come to the pretty widow's for the sake of a game at tric-trac
with the old uncle, many were the nights he sighed in vain for somebody
to play with.
To please her uncle, Nathalie attempted to learn; but in vain.
She was too giddy to give the necessary attention, and was continually
making mistakes: the uncle scolded; and at last, Nathalie,
throwing away dice and dice-box, said, "It is no use,—I never can
learn this game."
"I am sorry for it," answered M. d'Ablaincourt, "very sorry; it
would have given you so much pleasure. I only wished to teach it
you for your own amusement."
Such was the state of affairs, when, at a very large party, where
Nathalie was allowed to stand unrivalled for personal beauty and elegance
of dress, was announced M. d'Apremont, a captain in the
Nathalie expected to see a blunt, gruff old sailor, with a wooden
leg, and a black patch on his eye. To her great astonishment there
entered a tall, handsome young man, with a graceful figure and
commanding air, and without either a wooden leg or a black patch.
Armand d'Apremont had entered the service very early in life;
his whole soul was in his profession; and, though only thirty, he had
risen to the rank of captain. His family property was considerable,
and he had increased his fortune by his own exertions. Under these
circumstances it is not surprising that, after fifteen years spent at
sea, he should have yielded to a longing for repose; yet he never
could be persuaded to listen to the solicitations of his friends, who
urged him to marry: hitherto he had only laughed at love as a
passion unworthy of a sailor.
The sight of Nathalie changed all his ideas,—the whole man
underwent a sudden revolution. He watched her dancing, and could
look nowhere else. All the other beauties in the room passed before
him but as vain shadows, so busy were his eyes in following
the graceful movements of the young widow.
"Who is that lovely creature who dances so beautifully?" at
last he exclaimed to a person next him.
"That is Madame de Hauteville, a young widow. You admire
"I think her enchanting."
"She is very beautiful! And her mental qualifications are at
least equal to her personal charms. But you must ask her to dance,
and then you will be able to judge for yourself."
"I ask her to dance! I never danced in my life!" and for the
first time Armand felt that this was a deficiency in his education.
However, he went and stood close to the beauty, watching an opportunity
of entering into conversation with her. Once he was on the
very point of succeeding, when a young man came up, and led her
away to the quadrille. Poor Armand bit his lips, and was obliged
again to content himself with admiring her dancing. This whole
evening he made no further advances, but he did not lose sight of
his enchantress for an instant.
The captain's behaviour did not pass unobserved by Nathalie,—so
soon do women see what effect they produce,—and, although she
did not appear to notice it, she felt secretly not a little flattered;
for D'Apremont had been described to her as a man who was far
from agreeable in the society of ladies, and who had never been
known to pay a single compliment. And Nathalie said to herself,
"What fun it would be to hear him make love!"
D'Apremont, who, before he had seen Nathalie, went very little
into society, particularly to balls, from henceforth never missed going
wherever he had a chance of meeting his fair widow. He had
succeeded in speaking to her, and had done his utmost to render
himself agreeable. His behaviour was entirely changed, and the
world was not more slow than usual in discovering the cause, or in
commenting upon the marked attention which he paid to Nathalie.
"Mind you are not caught, captain!" a good-natured friend would
say. "Madame de Hauteville is a coquette, who will but make a
toy of your love, and a joke of your sighs." And to Nathalie some
equally kind friend would say, "The captain is an original, a bear,
with every fault that a sailor can possess. He is passionate, he is
obstinate, he swears, he smokes. You will never make anything of
In spite of these charitable warnings,—the result, perhaps, of envy
and jealousy,—the sailor and the coquette enjoyed a mutual pleasure
in each other's society. Whenever D'Apremont was on the point of
forgetting himself, and letting out an expression a little too nautical,
Nathalie looked at him with a slight frown. He stopped short, stammered,
and dared not finish his sentence, so afraid was he of seeing a
harsh look on that pretty face. Nor is it a slight proof of the mighty
power of love that it can thus implant fear in the breast of a sailor.
Some rumours of his niece's new conquest had reached the ears of
M. d'Ablaincourt; but he had paid but little attention to them, thinking
that this new admirer would share the fate of all the others, and
that it would be very easy to get him dismissed. Yet the report had
so far increased, that when Nathalie one day told her uncle that she
had asked the captain to her house, the old gentleman almost flew
into a passion, and said, with a vehemence quite uncommon to him,
"You have acted very wrong, Nathalie; you do not consult me as
you ought. I am told that Captain d'Apremont is a blunt, unpolished,
quarrelsome——. He is always behind your chair, and he has never
even asked me how I did. There was no necessity at all for you to
ask him. You know, my dear," added he, softening his tone, "all I
say is for your good; but indeed you are too thoughtless."
Nathalie, quite afraid that she had acted very inconsiderately, was
going to put off the captain; but this the uncle did not require:—he
thought he should be able to prevent too frequent a repetition of his
It is a trite observation, that the most important events in life are
frequently the result of the most trivial incidents,—that on a mere
thread, which chance has flung in our way, may hang our whole future
destiny. Such was the case in the present instance: to the game of
tric-trac it was owing that Madame de Hauteville became Madame
d'Apremont. The captain was an excellent player; and happening
in the course of conversation to broach the subject, M. d'Ablaincourt
caught at him immediately, and proposed a game. D'Apremont consented;
and, having understood that it was necessary to play the
agreeable to the old uncle, spent the whole evening at tric-trac.
When everybody was gone, Nathalie complained of the captain's
want of gallantry,—that he had hardly paid her any attention at all.
"You were quite right," said she pettishly to her uncle; "sailors
are very disagreeable people. I am very sorry I ever asked M.
"On the contrary, my dear," replied the old bachelor, "we had
formed quite an erroneous opinion of M. d'Apremont. I found him
so agreeable and so well-bred, that I have asked him to come very
often to play with me,—I mean, to pay his court to you. He is a very
clever, gentlemanlike young man."
Nathalie, seeing that the captain had won the heart of her uncle,
pardoned his want of attention to her. Thanks to tric-trac, and to his
being necessary to M. d'Ablaincourt's amusement, he came very often
to the house, and at last succeeded in winning the heart of the young
widow. One morning she came, her face covered with blushes, to
tell her uncle that M. d'Apremont had proposed to her, and to ask
The old gentleman thought for a few minutes, and he said to himself,
"If she refuses him, there will be an end to his visits here; no
more tric-trac. If she accepts him, he will be one of the family; I
shall always be able to nail him for a game;" and the answer was,
"You cannot do better than accept him."
The happiness of Nathalie was complete, for she really loved Armand;
but, as a woman never should seem to yield too easily, she
sent for the captain to dictate her conditions.
"If it is true that you love me," she began.
"If it is true! Oh, madame, I swear by all——"
"Allow me to speak first. If you love me, you will not hesitate to
give me the proofs I demand."
"Whatever you ask, I——"
"In the first place, you must no longer swear as you do occasionally;
it is a shocking habit before a lady: secondly,—and on this
point I insist more particularly,—you must give up smoking, for I
hate the smell of a pipe of tobacco; in short, I never will have a husband
Armand heaved a sigh, and answered, "To please you I will submit
to anything,—I will give up smoking."
Her conditions being thus acceded to, the fair widow could no
longer withhold her hand, and in a short time Armand and Nathalie
reappeared in the world as a newly-married and happy couple. Yet
the world was not satisfied. "How could that affected flirt marry a
sailor?" said one. "So, the rough captain has let himself be caught
by the pretty widow's coquetry," said another. "This is a couple
Poor judges of the human heart are they who imagine a resemblance
of disposition to be essential to love! On the contrary, the
most happy effects are produced by contrast: mark but the union of
light and shade; and is not strength wanting to uphold weakness:—the
wild bursts of mirth to dispel melancholy? You join together two
kindred tempers, two similar organisations, and what is the result?
'Tis as the blind leading the blind.
Our young couple passed the first few months after their marriage
in undisturbed happiness. Yet in the midst of the rapture he experienced
in the society of his lovely bride, Armand sometimes became
pensive, his brow was contracted, and his eyes betrayed a secret uneasiness:
but this lasted not; it was but as a fleeting cloud, which
passes without leaving a trace. Nathalie had not hitherto perceived
it. After some time, however, these moments of restlessness and
gloom recurred so frequently as no longer to escape her observation.
"What is the matter, my love?" said she to her husband one day
when she saw him stamping his foot with impatience; "what makes
you so cross?"
"Nothing, nothing at all!" answered the captain, as if ashamed of
having lost his self-possession. "With whom do you think I should
"Indeed, my dear, I know not; but I have fancied several times
that I perceived a something impatient in your manner. If I have
unconsciously done anything to vex you, do tell me, that it may
never happen again."
The captain kissed his wife affectionately, and again assured her
that she was mistaken. For some days he manifested none of those
emotions which had so disturbed Nathalie; but at length the same
thing occurred again: Armand forgot himself once more, and she
racked her brain to guess what cause her husband could have for this
uneasiness. Not being satisfied with her own solution of the problem,
she communicated her thoughts to her uncle, who replied immediately,
"Yes, my dear, you are quite right; I am sure something must
be the matter with D'Apremont; for several times lately, at tric-trac
he has looked round with an abstracted air, passed his hand across his
temples, and finished by making an egregious blunder."
"But, my good uncle, what can the mystery be? My husband
must have some secret which preys upon his mind, and he does not
choose to trust me with it."
"Very likely; there are many things which a man cannot tell his
"Which a man cannot tell his wife! That is a thing I do not understand.
I expect my husband to tell me everything, to have no
mysteries with me, as I have none with him. I can never be happy
so long as he on whom I have bestowed my heart, keeps any secret
M. d'Ablaincourt, to comfort his niece, or rather, perhaps, to cut
short a conversation which began to bore him, promised to do his
utmost to discover the cause of his nephew's uneasiness; but he went
no further than trying to make him play oftener at tric-trac, as being
an excellent method of keeping him in good humour.
Early in the summer they left Paris for a beautiful property belonging
to the captain in the neighbourhood of Fontainebleau. He
appeared still as fond of his wife as ever; to afford her pleasure was
his delight, to anticipate her wishes his study; but, as she was not
fond of walking, he begged to be allowed to take a stroll into the
country every day after dinner. This was too natural a request to
be denied; and after dinner, whether they were alone or not, out went
Armand, and returned in the best humour imaginable. Still Nathalie
was far from being satisfied; her suspicions returned, and she said to
herself, "My husband has no longer the serious, gloomy look he used
to wear in Paris; but it is only since he has gone out every evening
after dinner. Sometimes he is away two hours,—where can he go?—and
he always likes to be alone. There is some mystery in his
conduct, and I shall never be happy until I have found it out."
Sometimes Nathalie thought of having her husband followed; but
this was a step too repugnant to her feelings. To take a servant into
her confidence, to place a spy on the path of a man the business of
whose life seemed to be to give her pleasure, she felt would be wrong,
and she gave up the idea. To her uncle alone she ventured to disclose
her anxiety, and he simply answered, "True, your husband
plays less at tric-trac, but still he does play; and as to my following
him in his walks, it is out of the question, for he has very good legs,
and I have very bad ones;—I should be fatiguing myself to no purpose."
One day that Madame d'Apremont gave a party, a young man
present said, laughing, to the master of the house,
"What were you doing yesterday, Armand, in the disguise of a
peasant at the window of a little cottage about half a mile from
hence? If my horse had not started, I was coming to ask if you were
feeding your sheep."
"My husband in the disguise of a peasant!" exclaimed Nathalie,
fixing her eyes upon Armand in amazement.
"Oh! Edward has made a mistake," replied the captain, endeavouring
to conceal a visible embarrassment; "he must have taken somebody
else for me."
"Very likely," said the young man, hurt at the impression which
his words had made upon Nathalie, and perceiving that he had been
guilty of an indiscretion; "I must have been deceived."
"How was the man dressed?" asked Nathalie. "Where was the
"Really I know the country so little, I should have some difficulty
in finding the spot. As for the man, he had on a blue smock-frock,
with a sort of cap on his head. I don't know what could have put it
into my head that it was the captain, as it is not the carnival."
Madame d'Apremont said no more on the subject, but remained
persuaded that it was her husband. The assumption of a disguise
proved that he was engaged in some extraordinary intrigue, and in
a flood of tears poor Nathalie complained of the bitterness of her lot
in having married a man of mysteries.
Whether secrets of this nature are the only ones which women
can keep, far be it from me to decide; but certain it is that they
always connect some infidelity with those of our sex. Madame
d'Apremont did not form an exception to this general observation,
and in a fit of jealousy she begged to return to town. Her husband
consented immediately, and in a few days they were in Paris. Here
the captain again betrayed the same symptoms of discontent, until
one day he said to his wife, "My dear, a walk after dinner does
me a great deal of good. During the latter part of our stay in the
country I was quite well in consequence. You can easily conceive
that an old sailor wants exercise, and that he cannot remain cooped
up in a room or a theatre all the evening."
"Oh! very easily," replied Nathalie, biting her lips with spleen;
"go and take your walk, if it does you good."
"But, my love, if it annoys you——"
"Oh! not in the least; take your walk; I have no objection."
So the husband took his evening walk, returned in excellent spirits,
and again every sign of impatience had vanished.
"My husband is carrying on some intrigue: he loves another,
and cannot live without seeing her," said poor Nathalie to herself.
"This is the secret of his strange conduct, of his ill-humour, and of
his walks. I am very, very wretched; and the more so that when he
is with me he is all kindness, all attention! I know not how I can tell
him that he is a monster, a traitor! But tell him I must, or my
heart will burst! Yet if I could but get some undeniable proof of
his faithlessness. Oh! yes, I will have some proof." And with a
swelling heart, and eyes full of tears, she rushed into her uncle's
room, crying that "she was the most miserable woman alive!"
"What is the matter?" said the old gentleman, burying himself in
his arm-chair. "What has happened?"
"Every day after dinner," answered his niece, sobbing, "my husband
goes out to walk, as he did in the country, and stays away two
hours. When he returns, he is always cheerful and gay, gives me a
thousand little marks of his attention, and swears that he adores me
as he did the day of our marriage. Oh! my good uncle, I can bear
it no longer!—You must see that this is all treachery and deceit.
Armand is playing me false."
"He plays less with me at tric-trac," was the answer of the imperturbable
uncle; "but still——"
"My dear uncle, if you do not help me to discover this mystery,
I shall die of grief—I shall commit some rash act—I shall get separated
from my husband. Oh! my good uncle, you who are so kind,
so ready to oblige, do render me this service,—do find out where my
husband goes every evening."
"There can be no doubt about my readiness to oblige, seeing that
it has been the business of my life; but really I do not know how I
can serve you."
"Again I repeat, that, if this mystery is not cleared up, you will
lose your niece."
M. d'Ablaincourt had no wish to lose his niece, or, for the matter
of that, his nephew either. He felt that any rupture between the
young couple would disturb the quiet, easy life he was now enjoying,
and he therefore decided upon taking some steps to restore peace.
He pretended to follow the captain; but, finding this fatiguing, he
returned slowly home after a certain time, and said to his niece, "I
have followed your husband more than six times, and he walks very
"Where, where, my dear uncle?"
"Sometimes one way, and sometimes another; so that all your
suspicions are entirely without foundation."
Nathalie was not duped by this answer, though she pretended to
place implicit confidence in her uncle's words. Determined on discovering
the truth, she sent for a little errand-boy, who stood always
at the corner of their house, and whom she had heard more than
once praised for his quickness and intelligence. Having ascertained
that he knew her husband by sight, she said to him, "M. d'Apremont
goes out every evening. To-morrow you must follow him,
watch where he goes, and bring me back word immediately. And
take care not to be seen."
The boy promised to execute her orders faithfully, and Nathalie
awaited the morrow with that impatience of which the jealous alone
can form any idea. At length the moment arrived, the captain went
out, and the little messenger was on his track. Trembling, and in a
fever of agitation, Nathalie sat counting the minutes and seconds as
they passed until the return of the boy. Three quarters of an hour
had elapsed when he made his appearance, covered with dust, and in
a violent perspiration.
"Well," said Nathalie in an altered tone of voice, "what have you
seen? Tell me everything."
"Why, ma'am, I followed the master, taking care he shouldn't see
me—and a long chase it was—to the Vieille Rue du Temple in the
Marais. There he went into a queer-looking sort of a house,—I forget
the number, but I should know it again,—in an alley, and there
was no porter."
"No porter!—in an alley!—Oh, the wretch!"
"As soon as the master had gone in," continued the boy, "I went
in too. He kept on going up stairs till he got to the third floor, and
then he took out a key and opened the door."
"The monster!—he opened the door himself,—he has a key,—and
my uncle to take his part! You are quite sure he opened the
door himself,—that he did not knock?"
"Quite sure, ma'am; and, when I heard him shut the door, I went
up softly and peeped in at the keyhole: as there were only two
doors, I soon found the right one; and there I saw the master dragging
a great wooden chest across the room, and then he began to undress
"To undress himself!—O Heavens!—Go on."
"I couldn't see into the corner of the room where he was; but presently
he came out dressed in a grey smock, with a Greek cap on his
head. And so, ma'am, I thought you'd like to know all I'd seen, and
I ran with all my might to tell you."
"You are a very good boy. You must now go and fetch a coach
directly, get up with the coachman, and direct him to the house."
Nathalie, meanwhile, flew to her room, put on a bonnet and shawl,
rushed down to her uncle crying out, "My husband has betrayed me,—I
am going to catch him;" and before the old gentleman could extract
another word from her, she was out of the house, in the coach, and
gone. In the Vieille Rue du Temple the coach stopped; Nathalie got
out, pale, trembling, and scarcely able to support herself. The boy
showed her the entrance, and she declined his further attendance.
With the help of the hand-rail she ascended a dark narrow staircase
till she reached the third story, when she had just force enough left
to throw herself against the door, and cry out,
"Let me in, or I shall die!"
The door opened, the captain received her in his arms, and she saw
nothing but her husband alone, in a smock and a Greek cap, smoking
a superb Turkish pipe.
"My wife!" exclaimed Armand in utter amazement.
"Yes, sir," replied Nathalie, resuming her self-command,—"your
injured wife, who has discovered your perfidy, and has been made
acquainted with your disguise, and who has come in person to unravel
the mystery of your conduct."
"What, Nathalie!—could you, then, suppose that I loved another?
You wish to fathom the mystery,—here it is;" and he showed her the
pipe. "Before our marriage you forbade me to smoke, and I promised
to obey. For some months I kept my promise most faithfully.
Oh! Nathalie, if you did but know what I suffered in consequence,—the
fretfulness, the depression of spirits under which I laboured for hours
together!—it was my old friend that I missed, my darling pipe that I
sighed for in vain! At last I could hold out no longer; and, when we
were in the country, happening to go into a cottage where an old
man was smoking, I asked him if he could afford me a place of refuge,
and at the same time lend me a smock and a hat; for I was afraid
that my clothes might betray me. Our arrangements were soon
made; and, thanks to this precaution, you had not the slightest suspicion
of the real cause of my daily absence. Shortly afterwards you
determined upon returning to Paris; and, being obliged to find a new
way of indulging myself with my pipe, I took this little garret, and
brought hither my old dress. You are now, my love, in possession of
the whole mystery, and I trust you will pardon my disobedience. You
see I have done everything in my power to conceal it from you."
Nathalie threw herself into her husband's arms, and cried out in an
ecstasy of delight,
"So this is really all!—how happy I am! From henceforth, dearest,
you shall smoke as much as you like at home; you shall not have
to hide yourself for that!" and away she went to her uncle with a
face all beaming with joy, to tell him that Armand loved her, adored
her still,—it was only that he smoked. "But now," added she, "I
am so happy, that he shall smoke as much as he likes."
"The best plan will be," said M. d'Ablaincourt, "for your husband
to smoke as he plays at tric-trac; and so," thought the old gentleman,
"I shall be sure of my game every evening."
"My dear Nathalie," said the captain, "though I shall take advantage
of the permission you so kindly give me, still I shall be equally
careful not to annoy you, and shall take the same precautions as
"Oh! Armand, you are really too good; but I am so happy at being
undeceived in my suspicions, that I think now, I quite like the smell
of a pipe."