boiling within me, in my soul and in my body, new vigor, a wholly unknown life. That is to say, I did feel that,—for now … In short, what do you expect? I was mad! And you, you are right."
I was greatly embarrassed. I knew not what to say; I knew not what to do. Powerful and opposite feelings pulled me in all directions. An impulse rushed me toward him, a sacred duty held me back. And in a silly fashion, because I was not sincere, because I could not be sincere in a struggle where these desires and this duty combatted with equal force, I stammered:
"Monsieur Georges, be good. Do not think of these ugly things. It makes you sick. Come, Monsieur Georges, be very nice."
But he repeated:
"Why should you love me? Truly, you are right in not loving me. You think me ill. You fear to poison your mouth with the poisons of mine; you are afraid of contracting my disease—the disease of which I am dying, am I not?—from one of my kisses. You are right."
The cruel injustice of these words struck me to the heart.
"Do not say that. Monsieur Georges," I cried, wildly; "what you say is horrible and wicked. And you really give me too much pain, too much pain."
I seized his hands; they were moist and burning.