Lourdes. Do you -wish to come to Lourdes? I have a way of taking you to Lourdes. Will you come ? Nobody will notice anything. You will stay at the hotel ; you will take walks, or do what you like. And I will meet you in the evening."
What stupefied me was not the proposition in itself, â€” for I had been expecting it a long time, â€” but the unforeseen form which Monsieur gave it. Yet I preserved all my self-possession. And, desirous of humiliating this old rake, of showing him that I had not been the dupe of Madame's dirty calculations and his own, I lashed him squarely in the face with these words :
"And M. Xavier? Say, it seems to me that you are forgetting M. Xavier? What is he to do while we are amusing ourselves in Lourdes, at the expense of Christianity? "
An indirect and troubled gleam, the look of a surprised deer, lighted in the darkness of his eyes. He stammered:
"Why, yes! "
" Why do you speak to me of M. Xavier? There is no question of M. Xavier? M. Xavier has nothing to do with this."
I redoubled my insolence.
"On your word? Oh! don't pretend to be ignorant. Am I hired, yes or no, to be company for M. Xavier? Yes, am I not? Well, I am com- pany for him. But you? Oh! no, that is not in