broad, flowerless lawns! And this immense building, that has the air of a barrack or a prison, and where, from behind each window, a pair of eyes seems to be spying you.
The sun is warmer, the fog has disappeared, and the view of the landscape has become clearer. Beyond the plain, on the hills, I perceive little villages, gilded by the light, and enlivened by red roofs. The river running through the plain, yellow and green, shines here and there in silvery curves. And a few clouds decorate the sky with their light and charming frescoes. But I take no pleasure in the contemplation of all this. I have now but one desire, one will, one obsession,—to flee from this sun, from this plain, from these hills, from this house, and from this fat woman, whose malicious voice hurts and tortures me.
At last she gets ready to leave me, takes my hand, and presses it affectionately in her fat fingers gloved with mittens. She says to me:
"And then, my little one, Madame Gouin, you know, is a very amiable and very clever woman. You must go to see her often."
She lingers longer, and adds more mysteriously:
"She has relieved many young girls. As soon as they are in any trouble, they go to her. Neither seen or known. One can trust her, take my word for it. She is a very, very expert woman."
With eyes more brilliant, and fastening her gaze