The unfortunate part' of it all is that M. Xavier had no feeling. He was not poetical, like M. Georges. He did not vouchsafe me the slightest attention. Never did he say to me a kind and touching word, as lovers do in books and plays. Moreover, he liked nothing that I liked; he did not like flowers, with the exception of the big carnations with which he adorned the buttonhole of his coat. Yet it is so good to whisper to each other things that caress the heart, to exchange dis- interested kisses, to gaze for eternities into one another's eyes. But men are such coarse creatures; they do not feel these joys,^these joys so pure and blue. And it is a great pity. M. Xavier knew nothing but vice, found pleasure only in debauch- ery. In love all that was not vice and debauchery bored him.
" Ohl no, you know, that makes me very tired. I have supped on poetry. The little blue flower ... we must leave that to papa."
To him I was always an impersonal creature, the domestic to whom he gave orders and whom he maltreated in the exercise of his authority as master, and with his boyish cynical jests. And he often said to me, with a laugh in the corner of his mouth, â€” a frightful laugh that wounded and humiliated me:
"And' papa? Really, you are not yet intimate with papa? You astonish nie."