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"That's very good, that's very good."

And growing bolder:

"What is your name?"

"Célestine, Monsieur."

He rubbed his hands,—a mannerism of his,—and went on:

"Célestine. Ah! Ah! that's very good. Not a common name; in fact, a pretty name. Provided Madame does not oblige you to change it. She has that mania."

I answered, in a tone of dignified submission:

"I am at Madame's disposition."

"Undoubtedly, undoubtedly. But it is a pretty name."

I almost burst out laughing. Monsieur began to walk up and down the room; then, suddenly, he sat down in a chair, stretched out his legs, and, putting into his look something like an apology, and into his voice something like a prayer, he asked:

"Well, Célestine,—for my part, I shall always call you Célestine,—will you help me to take off my boots? That does not annoy you, I hope."

"Certainly not, Monsieur."

"Because, you see, these confounded boots are very difficult to manage; they come off very hard."

With a movement that I tried to make harmonious and supple, and even provocative, I knelt before him, and, while I was helping him to take