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    Chapter 6

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    Chapter 7
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    Henceforth, Laurent called almost every evening on the Raquins. He lived
    in the Rue Saint-Victor, opposite the Port aux Vins, where he rented a
    small furnished room at 18 francs a month. This attic, pierced at the
    top by a lift-up window, measured barely nine square yards, and Laurent
    was in the habit of going home as late as possible at night. Previous to
    his meeting with Camille, the state of his purse not permitting him to
    idle away his time in the cafes, he loitered at the cheap eating-houses
    where he took his dinner, smoking his pipe and sipping his coffee
    and brandy which cost him three sous. Then he slowly gained the Rue
    Saint-Victor, sauntering along the quays, where he seated himself on the
    benches, in mild weather.

    The shop in the Arcade of the Pont Neuf became a charming retreat, warm
    and quiet, where he found amicable conversation and attention. He
    saved the three sous his coffee and brandy cost him, and gluttonously
    swallowed the excellent tea prepared by Madame Raquin. He remained
    there until ten o'clock, dozing and digesting as if he were at home; and
    before taking his departure, assisted Camille to put up the shutters and
    close the shop for the night.

    One evening, he came with his easel and box of colours. He was to
    commence the portrait of Camille on the morrow. A canvas was purchased,
    minute preparations made, and the artist at last took the work in hand
    in the room occupied by the married couple, where Laurent said the light
    was the best.

    He took three evenings to draw the head. He carefully trailed the
    charcoal over the canvas with short, sorry strokes, his rigid, cold
    drawing recalling in a grotesque fashion that of the primitive masters.
    He copied the face of Camille with a hesitating hand, as a pupil copies
    an academical figure, with a clumsy exactitude that conveyed a scowl to
    the face. On the fourth day, he placed tiny little dabs of colour on
    his palette, and commenced painting with the point of the brush; he
    then dotted the canvas with small dirty spots, and made short strokes
    altogether as if he had been using a pencil.

    At the end of each sitting, Madame Raquin and Camille were in ecstasies.
    But Laurent said they must wait, that the resemblance would soon come.

    Since the portrait had been commenced, Therese no longer quitted the
    room, which had been transformed into a studio. Leaving her aunt alone
    behind the counter, she ran upstairs at the least pretext, and forgot
    herself watching Laurent paint.

    Still grave and oppressed, paler and more silent, she sat down and
    observed the labour of the brushes. But this sight did not seem to amuse
    her very much. She came to the spot, as though attracted by some power,
    and she remained, as if riveted there. Laurent at times turned round,
    with a smile, inquiring whether the portrait pleased her. But she barely
    answered, a shiver ran through her frame, and she resumed her meditative
    trance.

    Laurent, returning at night to the Rue Saint-Victor, reasoned with
    himself at length, discussing in his mind, whether he should become the
    lover of Therese, or not.

    "Here is a little woman," said he to himself, "who will be my sweetheart
    whenever I choose. She is always there, behind my back, examining,
    measuring me, summing me up. She trembles. She has a strange face that
    is mute and yet impassioned. What a miserable creature that Camille is,
    to be sure."

    And Laurent inwardly laughed as he thought of his pale, thin friend.
    Then he resumed:

    "She is bored to death in that shop. I go there, because I have nowhere
    else to go to, otherwise they would not often catch me in the Arcade
    of the Pont Neuf. It is damp and sad. A woman must be wearied to death
    there. I please her, I am sure of it; then, why not me rather than
    another?"

    He stopped. Self-conceit was getting the better of him. Absorbed in
    thought, he watched the Seine running by.

    "Anyhow, come what may," he exclaimed, "I shall kiss her at the first
    opportunity. I bet she falls at once into my arms."

    As he resumed his walk, he was seized with indecision.

    "But she is ugly," thought he. "She has a long nose, and a big mouth.
    Besides, I have not the least love for her. I shall perhaps get myself
    into trouble. The matter requires reflection."

    Laurent, who was very prudent, turned these thoughts over in his head
    for a whole week. He calculated all the possible inconveniences of an
    intrigue with Therese, and only decided to attempt the adventure, when
    he felt convinced that it could be attended by no evil consequences.
    Therese would have every interest to conceal their intimacy, and he
    could get rid of her whenever he pleased. Even admitting that Camille
    discovered everything, and got angry, he would knock him down, if
    he became spiteful. From every point of view that matter appeared to
    Laurent easy and engaging.

    Henceforth he enjoyed gentle quietude, waiting for the hour to strike.
    He had made up his mind to act boldly at the first opportunity. In the
    future he saw comfortable evenings, with all the Raquins contributing to
    his enjoyment: Therese giving him her love, Madame Raquin wheedling him
    like a mother, and Camille chatting with him so that he might not feel
    too dull, at night, in the shop.

    The portrait was almost completed, but the opportunity he desired did
    not occur. Therese, depressed and anxious, continued to remain in the
    room. But so did Camille, and Laurent was in despair at being unable
    to get rid of him. Nevertheless, the time came when he found himself
    obliged to mention that the portrait would be finished on the morrow,
    and Madame Raquin thereupon announced that they would celebrate the
    completion of the work of the artist by dining together.

    The next day, when Laurent had given the canvas the last touch, all the
    family assembled to go into raptures over the striking resemblance. The
    portrait was vile, a dirty grey colour with large violescent patches.
    Laurent could not use even the brightest colours, without making
    them dull and muddy. In spite of himself he had exaggerated the wan
    complexion of his model, and the countenance of Camille resembled the
    greenish visage of a person who had met death by drowning. The grimacing
    drawing threw the features into convulsions, thus rendering the sinister
    resemblance all the more striking. But Camille was delighted; he
    declared that he had the appearance of a person of distinction on the
    canvas.

    When he had thoroughly admired his own face, he declared he would go and
    fetch a couple of bottles of champagne. Madame Raquin went down to the
    shop, and the artist was alone with Therese.

    The young woman had remained seated, gazing vaguely in front of her.
    Laurent hesitated. He examined the portrait, and played with his
    brushes. There was not much time to lose. Camille might come back, and
    the opportunity would perhaps not occur again. The painter abruptly
    turned round, and found himself face to face with Therese.

    They contemplated one another for a few seconds. Then, with a violent
    movement, Laurent bent down, and pressed the young woman to him.
    Throwing back her head he crushed her mouth beneath his lips. She made
    a savage, angry effort at revolt, and, then all at once gave in. They
    exchanged not a word. The act was silent and brutal.
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