Meet us on:
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "One would think that if you're anonymous, you'd do anything you want, but groups have their own sense of community and what we can do."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Chapter 14

    • Rate it:
    Launch Reading Mode Next Chapter
    Chapter 14
    Previous Chapter
    During August Doctor Deberle's garden was like a well of foliage. The
    railings were hidden both by the twining branches of the lilac and
    laburnum trees and by the climbing plants, ivy, honeysuckle, and
    clematis, which sprouted everywhere in luxuriance, and glided and
    intermingled in inextricable confusion, drooping down in leafy
    canopies, and running along the walls till they reached the elms at
    the far end, where the verdure was so profuse that you might have
    thought a tent were stretched between the trees, the elms serving as
    its giant props. The garden was so small that the least shadow seemed
    to cover it. At noon the sun threw a disc of yellow light on the
    centre, illumining the lawn and its two flower-beds. Against the
    garden steps was a huge rose-bush, laden with hundreds of large
    tea-roses. In the evening when the heat subsided their perfume became
    more penetrating, and the air under the elms grew heavy with their warm
    breath. Nothing could exceed the charm of this hidden, balmy nook,
    into which no neighborly inquisition could peep, and which brought one
    a dream of the forest primeval, albeit barrel-organs were playing
    polkas in the Rue Vineuse, near by.

    "Why, madame, doesn't mademoiselle go down to the garden?" Rosalie
    daily asked. "I'm sure it would do her good to romp about under the
    trees."

    One of the elms had invaded Rosalie's kitchen with its branches. She
    would pull some of the leaves off as she gazed with delight on the
    clustering foliage, through which she could see nothing.

    "She isn't strong enough yet," was Helene's reply. "The cold, shady
    garden might be harmful to her."

    Rosalie was in no wise convinced. A happy thought with her was not
    easily abandoned. Madame must surely be mistaken in imagining that it
    would be cold or harmful. Perhaps madame's objection sprang rather
    from the fear that she would be in somebody's way; but that was
    nonsense. Mademoiselle would of a truth be in nobody's way; not a
    living soul made any appearance there. The doctor shunned the spot,
    and as for madame, his wife, she would remain at the seaside till the
    middle of September. This was so certain that the doorkeeper had asked
    Zephyrin to give the garden a rake over, and Zephyrin and she herself
    had spent two Sunday afternoons there already. Oh! it was lovely,
    lovelier than one could imagine.

    Helene, however, still declined to act on the suggestion. Jeanne
    seemed to have a great longing to enjoy a walk in the garden, which
    had been the ceaseless topic of her discourse during her illness; but
    a vague feeling of embarrassment made her eyes droop and closed her
    mouth on the subject in her mother's presence. At last when Sunday
    came round again the maid hurried into the room exclaiming
    breathlessly:

    "Oh! madame, there's nobody there, I give you my word! Only myself and
    Zephyrin, who is raking! Do let her come. You can't imagine how fine
    it is outside. Come for a little, only a little while, just to see!"

    Her conviction was such that Helene gave way. She cloaked Jeanne in a
    shawl, and told Rosalie to take a heavy wrap with her. The child was
    in an ecstasy, which spoke silently from the depths of her large
    sparkling eyes; she even wished to descend the staircase without help
    in order that her strength might be made plain. However, her mother's
    arms were stretched out behind her, ready to lend support. When they
    had reached the foot of the stairs and entered the garden, they both
    gave vent to an exclamation. So little did this umbrageous,
    thicket-girt spot resemble the trim nook they had seen in the
    springtime that they failed to recognize it.

    "Ah! you wouldn't believe me!" declared Rosalie, in triumphant tones.

    The clumps of shrubbery had grown to great proportions, making the
    paths much narrower, and, in walking, their skirts caught in some of
    the interwoven branches. To the fancy it seemed some far-away recess
    in a wood, arched over with foliage, from which fell a greeny light of
    delightful charm and mystery. Helene directed her steps towards the
    elm beneath which she had sat in April.

    "But I don't wish her to stay here," said she. "It is shady and
    coldish."

    "Well, well, you will see in a minute," answered the maid.

    Three steps farther on they emerged from the seeming forest, and, in
    the midst of the leafy profusion they found the sun's golden rays
    streaming on the lawn, warm and still as in a woodland clearing. As
    they looked up they saw the branches standing out against the blue of
    the sky with the delicacy of guipure. The tea-roses on the huge bush,
    faint in the heat, dropped slumberously from their stems. The
    flower-beds were full of red and white asters, looking with their
    old-world air like blossoms woven in some ancient tapestry.

    "Now you'll see," said Rosalie. "I'm going to put her all right
    myself."

    She had folded and placed the wrap on the edge of a walk, where the
    shadow came to an end. Here she made Jeanne sit down, covering her
    shoulders with a shawl, and bidding her stretch out her little legs.
    In this fashion the shade fell on the child's head, while her feet lay
    in the sunshine.

    "Are you all right, my darling?" Helene asked.

    "Oh, yes," was her answer. "I don't feel cold a bit, you know. I
    almost think I am sweltering before a big fire. Ah! how well one can
    breathe! How pleasant it is!"

    Thereupon Helene, whose eyes had turned uneasily towards the closed
    window-shutters of the house, expressed her intention of returning
    upstairs for a little while, and loaded Rosalie with a variety of
    injunctions. She would have to watch the sun; she was not to leave
    Jeanne there for more than half an hour; and she must not lose sight
    of her for a moment.

    "Don't be alarmed, mamma," exclaimed the child, with a laugh. "There
    are no carriages to pass along here."

    Left to amuse herself, she gathered a handful of gravel from the path
    at her side, and took pleasure in letting it fall from her clasped
    hands like a shower of rain. Zephyrin meantime was raking. On catching
    sight of madame and her daughter he had slipped on his great-coat,
    which he had previously hung from the branch of a tree; and in token
    of respect had stood stock-still, with his rake idle in his hand.
    Throughout Jeanne's illness he had come every Sunday as usual; but so
    great had been the caution with which he had slipped into the kitchen,
    that Helene would scarcely have dreamt of his presence had not Rosalie
    on each occasion been deputed as his messenger to inquire about the
    invalid's progress, and convey his condolences. Yes, so ran her
    comments, he was now laying claim to good manners; Paris was giving
    him some polish! And at present here he was, leaning on his rake, and
    mutely addressing Jeanne with a sympathetic nod. As soon as she saw
    him, her face broke into smiles.

    "I have been very ill," she said.

    "Yes, I know, mademoiselle," he replied as he placed his hand on his
    heart. And inspired with the wish to say something pretty or comical,
    which might serve to enliven the meeting, he added: "You see, your
    health has been taking a rest. Now it will indulge in a snore."

    Jeanne had again gathered up a handful of gravel, while he, perfectly
    satisfied, and opening his mouth wide from ear to ear in a burst of
    silent laughter, renewed his raking with all the strength of his arms.
    As the rake travelled over the gravel a regular, strident sound arose.
    When a few minutes had elapsed Rosalie, seeing her little charge
    absorbed in her amusement, seemingly happy and at ease, drew gradually
    farther away from her, as though lured by the grating of this rake.
    Zephyrin was now working away in the full glare of the sun, on the
    other side of the lawn.

    "You are sweating like an ox," she whispered to him. "Take off your
    great-coat. Be quick; mademoiselle won't be offended."

    He relieved himself of the garment, and once more suspended it from a
    branch. His red trousers, supported by a belt round the waist, reached
    almost to his chest, while his shirt of stout, unbleached linen, held
    at the neck by a narrow horsehair band, was so stiff that it stuck out
    and made him look even rounder than he was. He tucked up his sleeves
    with a certain amount of affectation, as though to show Rosalie a
    couple of flaming hearts, which, with the inscription "For Ever," had
    been tattooed on them at the barracks.

    "Did you go to mass this morning?" asked Rosalie, who usually tackled
    him with this question every Sunday.

    "To mass! to mass!" he repeated, with a chuckle.

    His red ears seemed to stand out from his head, shorn to the very
    skin, and the whole of his diminutive barrel-like body expressed a
    spirit of banter.

    At last the confession came. "Of course I went to mass."

    "You are lying," Rosalie burst out violently. "I know you are lying;
    your nose is twitching. Oh, Zephyrin, you are going to the dogs--you
    have left off going to church! Beware!"

    His answer, lover-like, was an attempt to put his arm round her waist,
    but to all appearance she was shocked, for she exclaimed:

    "I'll make you put on your coat again if you don't behave yourself.
    Aren't you ashamed? Why, there's mademoiselle looking at you!"

    Thereupon Zephyrin turned to his raking once more. In truth, Jeanne
    had raised her eyes towards them. Her amusement was palling on her
    somewhat; the gravel thrown aside, she had been gathering leaves and
    plucking grass; but a feeling of indolence crept over her, and now she
    preferred to do nothing but gaze at the sunshine as it fell on her
    more and more. A few moments previously only her legs, as far as the
    knees, had been bathed in this warm cascade of sunshine, but now it
    reached her waist, the heat increasing like an entrancing caress. What
    particularly amused her were the round patches of light, of a
    beautiful golden yellow, which danced over her shawl, for all the
    world like living creatures. She tossed back her head to see if they
    were perchance creeping towards her face, and meanwhile clasped her
    little hands together in the glare of the sunshine. How thin and
    transparent her hands seemed! The sun's rays passed through them, but
    all the same they appeared to her very pretty, pinky like shells,
    delicate and attenuated like the tiny hands of an infant Christ. Then
    too the fresh air, the gigantic trees around her, and the warmth, had
    lulled her somewhat into a trance. Sleep, she imagined, had come upon
    her, and yet she could still see and hear. It all seemed to her very
    nice and pleasant.

    "Mademoiselle, please draw back a bit," said Rosalie, who had
    approached her. "The sun's heat is too warm for you."

    But with a wave of her hand Jeanne declined to stir. For the time her
    attention was riveted on the maid and the little soldier. She
    pretended to direct her glances towards the ground, with the intention
    of making them believe that she did not see them; but in reality,
    despite her apparent drowsiness, she kept watching them from beneath
    her long eyelashes.

    Rosalie stood near her for a minute or two longer, but was powerless
    against the charms of the grating rake. Once more she slowly dragged
    herself towards Zephyrin, as if in spite of her will. She resented the
    change in manner which he was now displaying, and yet her heart was
    bursting with mute admiration. The little soldier had used to good
    purpose his long strolls with his comrades in the Jardin des Plantes
    and round the Place du Chateau-d'Eau, where his barracks stood, and
    the result was the acquisition of the swaying, expansive graces of the
    Parisian fire-eater. He had learnt the flowery talk, gallant
    readiness, and involved style of language so dear to the hearts of the
    ladies. At times she was thrilled with intense pleasure as she
    listened to the phrases which he repeated to her with a swagger of the
    shoulders, phrases full of incomprehensible words that inflamed her
    cheeks with a flush of pride. His uniform no longer sat awkwardly on
    him; he swung his arms to and fro with a knowing air, and had an
    especially noticeable style of wearing his shako on the back of his
    head, with the result that his round face with its tip of a nose
    became extremely prominent, while his headgear swayed gently with the
    rolling of his body. Besides, he was growing quite free and easy,
    quaffed his dram, and ogled the fair sex. With his sneering ways and
    affectation of reticence, he now doubtless knew a great deal more than
    she did. Paris was fast taking all the remaining rust off him; and
    Rosalie stood before him, delighted yet angry, undecided whether to
    scratch his face or let him give utterance to foolish prattle.

    Zephyrin, meanwhile, raking away, had turned the corner of the path.
    He was now hidden by a big spindle-tree, and was darting side-glances
    at Rosalie, luring her on against her will with the strokes of his
    rake. When she had got near him, he pinched her roughly.

    "Don't cry out; that's only to show you how I love you!" he said in a
    husky whisper. "And take that over and above."

    So saying he kissed her where he could, his lips lighting somewhere on
    her ear. Then, as Rosalie gave him a fierce nip in reply, he
    retaliated by another kiss, this time on her nose. Though she was well
    pleased, her face turned fiery-red; she was furious that Jeanne's
    presence should prevent her from giving him a box on the ear.

    "I have pricked my finger," she declared to Jeanne as she returned to
    her, by way of explaining the exclamation that escaped her lips.

    However, betwixt the spare branches of the spindle-tree the child had
    seen the incident. Amid the surrounding greenery the soldier's red
    trousers and greyish shirt were clearly discernible. She slowly raised
    her eyes to Rosalie, and looked at her for a moment, while the maid
    blushed the more. Then Jeanne's gaze fell to the ground again, and she
    gathered another handful of pebbles, but lacked the will or strength
    to play with them, and remained in a dreamy state, with her hands
    resting on the warm ground, amidst the vibrations of the sunrays.
    Within her a wave of health was swelling and stifling her. The trees
    seemed to take Titanic shape, and the air was redolent of the perfume
    of roses. In wonder and delight, she dreamt of all sorts of vague
    things.

    "What are you thinking of, mademoiselle?" asked Rosalie uneasily.

    "I don't know--of nothing," was Jeanne's reply. "Yes, I do know. You
    see, I should like to live to be very old."

    However, she could not explain these words. It was an idea, she said,
    that had come into her head. But in the evening, after dinner, as her
    dreamy fit fell on her again, and her mother inquired the cause, she
    suddenly put the question:

    "Mamma, do cousins ever marry?"

    "Yes, of course," said Helene. "Why do you ask me that?"

    "Oh, nothing; only I wanted to know."

    Helene had become accustomed to these extraordinary questions. The
    hour spent in the garden had so beneficial an effect on the child that
    every sunny day found her there. Helene's reluctance was gradually
    dispelled; the house was still shut up. Henri never ventured to show
    himself, and ere long she sat down on the edge of the rug beside
    Jeanne. However, on the following Sunday morning she found the windows
    thrown open, and felt troubled at heart.

    "Oh! but of course the rooms must be aired," exclaimed Rosalie, as an
    inducement for them to go down. "I declare to you nobody's there!"

    That day the weather was still warmer. Through the leafy screen the
    sun's rays darted like golden arrows. Jeanne, who was growing strong,
    strolled about for ten minutes, leaning on her mother's arm. Then,
    somewhat tired, she turned towards her rug, a corner of which she
    assigned to Helene. They smiled at one another, amused at thus finding
    themselves side by side on the ground. Zephyrin had given up his
    raking, and was helping Rosalie to gather some parsley, clumps of
    which were growing along the end wall.

    All at once there was an uproar in the house, and Helene was
    thinking of flight, when Madame Deberle made her appearance on the
    garden-steps. She had just arrived, and was still in her travelling
    dress, speaking very loudly, and seemingly very busy. But immediately
    she caught sight of Madame Grandjean and her daughter, sitting on the
    ground in the front of the lawn, she ran down, overwhelmed them with
    embraces, and poured a deafening flood of words into their ears.

    "What, is it you? How glad I am to see you! Kiss me, my little Jeanne!
    Poor puss, you've been very ill, have you not? But you're getting
    better; the roses are coming back to your cheeks! And you, my dear,
    how often I've thought of you! I wrote to you: did my letters reach
    you? You must have spent a terrible time: but it's all over now! Will
    you let me kiss you?"

    Helene was now on her feet, and was forced to submit to a kiss on each
    cheek and return them. This display of affection, however, chilled her
    to the heart.

    "You'll excuse us for having invaded your garden," she said.

    "You're joking," retorted Juliette impetuously. "Are you not at home
    here?"

    But she ran off for a moment, hastened up the stairs, and called
    across the open rooms: "Pierre, don't forget anything; there are
    seventeen packages!"

    Then, at once coming back, she commenced chattering about her holiday
    adventures. "Oh! such a splendid season! We went to Trouville, you
    know. The beach was always thronged with people. It was quite a crush.
    and people of the highest spheres, you know. I had visitors too. Papa
    came for a fortnight with Pauline. All the same, I'm glad to get home
    again. But I haven't given you all my news. Oh! I'll tell you later
    on!"

    She stooped down and kissed Jeanne again; then suddenly becoming
    serious, she asked:

    "Am I browned by the sun?"

    "No; I don't see any signs of it," replied Helene as she gazed at her.

    Juliette's eyes were clear and expressionless, her hands were plump,
    her pretty face was full of amiability; age did not tell on her; the
    sea air itself was powerless to affect her expression of serene
    indifference. So far as appearances went, she might have just returned
    from a shopping expedition in Paris. However, she was bubbling over
    with affection, and the more loving her outbursts, the more weary,
    constrained, and ill became Helene. Jeanne meantime never stirred from
    the rug, but merely raised her delicate, sickly face, while clasping
    her hands with a chilly air in the sunshine.

    "Wait, you haven't seen Lucien yet," exclaimed Juliette. "You must see
    him; he has got so fat."

    When the lad was brought on the scene, after the dust of the journey
    had been washed from his face by a servant girl, she pushed and turned
    him about to exhibit him. Fat and chubby-cheeked, his skin tanned by
    playing on the beach in the salt breeze, Lucien displayed exuberant
    health, but he had a somewhat sulky look because he had just been
    washed. He had not been properly dried, and one check was still wet
    and fiery-red with the rubbing of the towel. When he caught sight of
    Jeanne he stood stock-still with astonishment. She looked at him out
    of her poor, sickly face, as colorless as linen against the background
    of her streaming black hair, whose tresses fell in clusters to her
    shoulders. Her beautiful, sad, dilated eyes seemed to fill up her
    whole countenance; and, despite the excessive heat, she shivered
    somewhat, and stretched out her hands as though chilled and seeking
    warmth from a blazing fire.

    "Well! aren't you going to kiss her?" asked Juliette.

    But Lucien looked rather afraid. At length he made up his mind, and
    very cautiously protruded his lips so that he might not come too near
    the invalid. This done, he started back expeditiously. Helene's eyes
    were brimming over with tears. What health that child enjoyed! whereas
    her Jeanne was breathless after a walk round the lawn! Some mothers
    were very fortunate! Juliette all at once understood how cruel
    Lucien's conduct was, and she rated him soundly.

    "Good gracious! what a fool you are! Is that the way to kiss young
    ladies? You've no idea, my dear, what a nuisance he was at Trouville."

    She was getting somewhat mixed. But fortunately for her the doctor now
    made his appearance, and she extricated herself from her difficulty by
    exclaiming: "Oh, here's Henri."

    He had not been expecting their return until the evening, but she had
    travelled by an earlier train. She plunged into a discursive
    explanation, without in the least making her reasons clear. The doctor
    listened with a smiling face. "At all events, here you are," he said.
    "That's all that's necessary."

    A minute previously he had bowed to Helene without speaking. His
    glance for a moment fell on Jeanne, but feeling embarrassed he turned
    away his head. Jeanne bore his look with a serious face, and
    unclasping her hands instinctively grasped her mother's gown and drew
    closer to her side.

    "Ah! the rascal," said the doctor, as he raised Lucien and kissed him
    on each cheek. "Why, he's growing like magic."

    "Yes; and am I to be forgotten?" asked Juliette, as she held up her
    head. Then, without putting Lucien down, holding him, indeed, on one
    arm, the doctor leaned over to kiss his wife. Their three faces were
    lit up with smiles.

    Helene grew pale, and declared she must now go up. Jeanne, however,
    was unwilling; she wished to see what might happen, and her glances
    lingered for a while on the Deberles and then travelled back to her
    mother. When Juliette had bent her face upwards to receive her
    husband's kiss, a bright gleam had come into the child's eyes.

    "He's too heavy," resumed the doctor as he set Lucien down again.
    "Well, was the season a good one? I saw Malignon yesterday, and he was
    telling me about his stay there. So you let him leave before you, eh?"

    "Oh! he's quite a nuisance!" exclaimed Juliette, over whose face a
    serious, embarrassed expression had now crept. "He tormented us to
    death the whole time."

    "Your father was hoping for Pauline's sake--He hasn't declared his
    intentions then?"

    "What! Malignon!" said she, as though astonished and offended. And
    then with a gesture of annoyance she added, "Oh! leave him alone; he's
    cracked! How happy I am to be home again!"

    Without any apparent transition, she thereupon broke into an amazing
    outburst of tenderness, characteristic of her bird-like nature. She
    threw herself on her husband's breast and raised her face towards him.
    To all seeming they had forgotten that they were not alone.

    Jeanne's eyes, however, never quitted them. Her lips were livid and
    trembled with anger; her face was that of a jealous and revengeful
    woman. The pain she suffered was so great that she was forced to turn
    away her head, and in doing so she caught sight of Rosalie and
    Zephyrin at the bottom of the garden, still gathering parsley.
    Doubtless with the intent of being in no one's way, they had crept in
    among the thickest of the bushes, where both were squatting on the
    ground. Zephyrin, with a sly movement, had caught hold of one of
    Rosalie's feet, while she, without uttering a syllable, was heartily
    slapping him. Between two branches Jeanne could see the little
    soldier's face, chubby and round as a moon and deeply flushed, while
    his mouth gaped with an amorous grin. Meantime the sun's rays were
    beating down vertically, and the trees were peacefully sleeping, not a
    leaf stirring among them all. From beneath the elms came the heavy
    odor of soil untouched by the spade. And elsewhere floated the perfume
    of the last tea-roses, which were casting their petals one by one on
    the garden steps. Then Jeanne, with swelling heart, turned her gaze on
    her mother, and seeing her motionless and dumb in presence of the
    Deberles, gave her a look of intense anguish--a child's look of
    infinite meaning, such as you dare not question.

    But Madame Deberle stepped closer to them, and said: "I hope we shall
    see each other frequently now. As Jeanne is feeling better, she must
    come down every afternoon."

    Helene was already casting about for an excuse, pleading that she did
    not wish to weary her too much. But Jeanne abruptly broke in: "No, no;
    the sun does me a great deal of good. We will come down, madame. You
    will keep my place for me, won't you?"

    And as the doctor still remained in the background, she smiled towards
    him.

    "Doctor, please tell mamma that the fresh air won't do me any harm."

    He came forward, and this man, inured to human suffering, felt on his
    cheeks a slight flush at being thus gently addressed by the child.

    "Certainly not," he exclaimed; "the fresh air will only bring you
    nearer to good health."

    "So you see, mother darling, we must come down," said Jeanne, with a
    look of ineffable tenderness, whilst a sob died away in her throat.

    But Pierre had reappeared on the steps and announced the safe arrival
    of madame's seventeen packages. Then, followed by her husband and
    Lucien, Juliette retired, declaring that she was frightfully dirty,
    and intended to take a bath. When they were alone, Helene knelt down
    on the rug, as though about to tie the shawl round Jeanne's neck, and
    whispered in the child's ear:

    "You're not angry any longer with the doctor, then?"

    With a prolonged shake of the head the child replied "No, mamma."

    There was a silence. Helene's hands were seized with an awkward
    trembling, and she was seemingly unable to tie the shawl. Then Jeanne
    murmured: "But why does he love other people so? I won't have him love
    them like that."

    And as she spoke, her black eyes became harsh and gloomy, while her
    little hands fondled her mother's shoulders. Helene would have
    replied, but the words springing to her lips frightened her. The sun
    was now low, and mother and daughter took their departure. Zephyrin
    meanwhile had reappeared to view, with a bunch of parsley in his hand,
    the stalks of which he continued pulling off while darting murderous
    glances at Rosalie. The maid followed at some distance, inspired with
    distrust now that there was no one present. Just as she stooped to
    roll up the rug he tried to pinch her, but she retaliated with a blow
    from her fist which made his back re-echo like an empty cask. Still it
    seemed to delight him, and he was yet laughing silently when he
    re-entered the kitchen busily arranging his parsley.

    Thenceforth Jeanne was stubbornly bent on going down to the garden as
    soon as ever she heard Madame Deberle's voice there. All Rosalie's
    tittle-tattle regarding the next-door house she drank in greedily,
    ever restless and inquisitive concerning its inmates and their doings;
    and she would even slip out of the bedroom to keep watch from the
    kitchen window. In the garden, ensconced in a small arm-chair which
    was brought for her use from the drawing-room by Juliette's direction,
    her eyes never quitted the family. Lucien she now treated with great
    reserve, annoyed it seemed by his questions and antics, especially
    when the doctor was present. On those occasions she would stretch
    herself out as if wearied, gazing before her with her eyes wide open.
    For Helene the afternoons were pregnant with anguish. She always
    returned, however, returned in spite of the feeling of revolt which
    wrung her whole being. Every day when, on his arrival home, Henri
    printed a kiss on Juliette's hair, her heart leaped in its agony. And
    at those moments, if to hide the agitation of her face she pretended
    to busy herself with Jeanne, she would notice that the child was even
    paler than herself, with her black eyes glaring and her chin twitching
    with repressed fury. Jeanne shared in her suffering. When the mother
    turned away her head, heartbroken, the child became so sad and so
    exhausted that she had to be carried upstairs and put to bed. She
    could no longer see the doctor approach his wife without changing
    countenance; she would tremble, and turn on him a glance full of all
    the jealous fire of a deserted mistress.

    "I cough in the morning," she said to him one day. "You must come and
    see for yourself."

    Rainy weather ensued, and Jeanne became quite anxious that the doctor
    should commence his visits once more. Yet her health had much
    improved. To humor her, Helene had been constrained to accept two or
    three invitations to dine with the Deberles.

    At last the child's heart, so long torn by hidden sorrow, seemingly
    regained quietude with the complete re-establishment of her health.
    She would again ask Helene the old question--"Are you happy, mother
    darling?"

    "Yes, very happy, my pet," was the reply.

    And this made her radiant. She must be pardoned her bad temper in the
    past, she said. She referred to it as a fit which no effort of her own
    will could prevent, the result of a headache that came on her
    suddenly. Something would spring up within her--she wholly failed to
    understand what it was. She was tempest-tossed by a multitude of vague
    imaginings--nightmares that she could not even have recalled to
    memory. However, it was past now; she was well again, and those
    worries would nevermore return.
    Next Chapter
    Chapter 14
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a Emile Zola essay and need some advice, post your Emile Zola essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?