themselves and on the desire which they excite. In loving us, it is a little of them and much of their mystery that men love in us.
But there is something else. In spite of my dissolute life, I have luckily preserved, in the depths of my being, a very sincere religious feeling, which saves me from definitive falls and holds me back at the edge of the worst abysses. Ah! if there were no religion; if, on evenings of gloom and moral distress, there were no prayer in the churches; if it were not for the Holy Virgin, and Saint Anthony of Padua, and all the rest of the outfit,—we should be much more unhappy, that is sure. And what would become of us, and how far we should go, the devil only knows!
Finally,—and this is more serious,—I have not the least defence against men. I should be the constant victim of my disinterestedness and their pleasure. I am too amorous,—yes, I am too much in love with love, to draw any profit whatever out of love. It is stronger than I; I cannot ask money of one who gives me happiness and sets ajar for me the radiant gates of Ecstasy.
So here I am, then, at the Priory, awaiting what? Indeed, I do not know. The wisest way would be not to think about it, and trust everything to luck. Perhaps it is thus that things go best. Provided that to-morrow, and pursued even here by that pitiless mischance which never leaves me, I am