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VIII

October 28.

At last I have received a letter from Monsieur Jean. It is very dry, this letter. From reading it, one would think that there never had been any intimacy between us. Not a word of friendship, not a particle of tenderness, not a recollection! He tells me only of himself. If he is to be believed, it seems that Jean has become an important personage. That is to be seen and felt from the patronizing and somewhat contemptuous air which he assumes toward me at the beginning of his letter. In short, he writes to me only to astonish me. I always knew that he was vain,—indeed, he was such a handsome fellow!—but I never realized it so much as to-day. Men cannot stand success or glory.

Jean is still first valet de chambre in the house of the Countess Fardin, and at this moment the countess is perhaps the most-talked-of woman in France. To his capacity of valet de chambre Jean adds the role of a participant in political manifestations and of royalist conspirator. He manifests with Coppée, Lemaitre, Quesnay de Beaurepaire; he conspires with General Mercier,—and all to overturn the republic. The other evening he accompanied Coppée to a meeting of the