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In this volume the trifle called “The Military Manoeuvres

2023-12-01 21:32:31 source:A Spring Dream Netauthor: reading click:953Second-rate

And making signs to the others, he drew them out of the hall. Just as they were going out I thought I noticed that John was trying to persuade Antony to keep watch over me. But Antony, with a firmness which I could not understand, insisted on following the rest. I was left alone with the stranger.

In this volume the trifle called “The Military Manoeuvres

For a moment I remained bewildered, almost stupefied, and more embarrassed than pleased at the /tete-a-tete/. Then I endeavoured to think of some explanation of these mysterious things that were happening around me, and succeeded, as far as the fumes of the wine would allow me, in imagining something fairly probable, though, indeed, remote enough from the actual truth.

In this volume the trifle called “The Military Manoeuvres

I thought I could account for everything I had just seen and heard by supposing, first, that the lady, quiet and richly dressed though she was, was one of those daughters of Bohemia that I had sometimes seen at fairs; secondly, that Laurence, having met her in the country, had brought her here to amuse the company; and, thirdly, that they had told her of my condition of swaggering drunkenness, and had prevailed on her to put my gallantry to the proof, whilst they were to watch me through the keyhole. My first movement, as soon as these ideas had taken possession of me, was to rise and go straight to the door. This I locked with a double turn and then bolted. When I had done this I returned to the lady, determined that I would not, at all events, give her cause to laugh at my bashfulness.

In this volume the trifle called “The Military Manoeuvres

She was sitting close to the fire, and as she was occupied in drying her wet garments, leaning forward over the hearth, she had not taken any notice of what I was doing; but when I approached her the strange expression on my face caused her to start. I had made up my mind to kiss her, as a beginning; but, I know not by what miracle, as soon as she raised her eyes to mine, this familiarity became impossible. I only had sufficient courage to say:

"Upon my word, mademoiselle, you are a charming creature, and I love you--as true as my name is Bernard Mauprat."

"Bernard Mauprat!" she cried, springing up; "you are Bernard Mauprat, you? In that case, change your manner and learn to whom you are talking. Have they not told you?"

"No one has told me, but I can guess," I replied with a grin, while trying hard to trample down the feeling of respect with which her sudden pallor and imperious attitude inspired me.

"If you can guess," she said, "how is it possible that you allow yourself to speak to me in this way? But they were right when they said you were ill-mannered; and yet I always had a wish to meet you."

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