"Nearer, still nearer," he exclaimed.
"Now give me your hand."
Without the slightest mistrust I allowed him to take my hand, which he caressed.
"How pretty your hand is! And how pretty your eyes are! And how pretty you are, altogether, altogether, altogether!"
He had often spoken to me of my kindness, but never had he told me that I was pretty; at least, he had never told me so with such an air. Surprised and, in reality, charmed by these words, which he uttered in a grave and somewhat gasping voice, I instinctively drew back.
"No, no, do not go away; stay near me, close to me. You cannot know how much good it does me to have you near me, how it warms me. See, I am no longer nervous, agitated; I am no longer sick; I am content, happy, very happy."
And, having chastely placed his arm about my waist, he obliged me to sit down beside him on the long chair. And he asked:
"Are you uncomfortable so?"
I was not reassured. In his eyes burned a fire more ardent than ever. His voice trembled more—with that trembling which I know,—oh! yes, how I know it!—that trembling which is given to the voice of all men by the violent desire of love. I was very much moved, and I was very