My mother is dead. I received the news this morning, in a letter from home. Although I have never had anything but blows from her, the news has given me pain, and I have cried, and cried, and cried. Seeing me crying, Madame said:
"Again these manners?"
"My mother, my poor mother, is dead!"
Then Madame, in her ordinary voice:
"It is a pity, but I can do nothing about it. At any rate, the work must not suffer."
And that was all. Oh! indeed, Madame's kindness will never kill her.
What has made me most unhappy is the fact that I have seen a coincidence between my mother's death and the murder of the little ferret. It seems to me like a punishment from heaven, and that perhaps my mother would not be dead if I had not obliged the captain to kill poor Kléber. In vain have I repeated to myself that my mother died before the ferret. That had no effect; the idea has pursued me all day long, like a remorse.
I should have liked to go home. But Audierne is so far away,—at the end of the world, it seems. And I have no money. When I shall receive my