he starts off on a hunting expedition, returns at night, asks me only to help him in taking off his boots, and goes to bed at nine o'clock. He is still awkward, comical, and irresolute. He is growing fat. How can people as rich as they are be resigned to so dismal an existence? Sometimes I question myself regarding Monsieur. What should I have done with him? He has no money, and would have given me no pleasure. And especially as Madame is not jealous!
The terrible thing about this house is its silence. I cannot get used to it. Yet, in spite of myself, I am beginning to glide, to "walk in the air," as Joseph says. Often in these dark passage-ways, alongside these cold walls, I seem to myself like a spectre, like a ghost. And I am stifling in it all. And I stay.
My sole diversion is to go on Sunday, after mass, to call on Mme. Gouin, the grocer. Disgust holds me back, but ennui, stronger than disgust, takes me there. There at least we are ourselves again, - all of us together. We gossip, we laugh, we tell stories as we sip our little black-currant cocktails. There we find a little of the illusion of life. The time passes. A few Sundays ago I missed a little woman, with running eyes and a rat-like nose, whom I had seen there previously. I inquire about her.
"It is nothing; it is nothing," said the grocer,