reflected that as my father would not expect to see me, there was a risk that my sudden appearance would give him a shock, which, considering his great age, might be dangerous, and for which I should always reproach myself. I thought it wise, therefore, to stop at the house of a friend of our family, who lived two leagues from Pontgibaud. When I arrived at the Chateau d'A——, there was a large gathering of friends and visitors. My adventures were not yet known to anyone in Auvergne. It was as though I fell from the clouds, for certainly no one expected me, for all knew that I was in Pierre-en-Cize, though my poor old father sometimes asked himself why I was there.
It was a really dramatic situation; the servants—almost a second family in the distant parts of the country—surrounded me, and I arrived in the salon in the midst of them. It was crowded with people who all began to ask questions, and I did not know what to reply to all these men and women, young and old. Some laughed at my dress, some of the women cried when