130 COLAS BREUGNON
dreamer, a talker, always dawdling about, back- biting and quarreling, and sticking my nose into other folk's business. I am an idler too, and drink more than is good for me; all this would have made you unhappy, and then you would have taken up with some one else; it makes my hair stand on end only to think of it ! So you see all is really for the best."
She heard me to the end, and then said seriously : " Yes, I know you are a perfect good-for-nothing, (she did not believe a word of it) ; probably you would have beaten me, and perhaps I should have taken a lover, but if that was our destiny, it might as well have come to us through each other." I nodded my head. " You don't seem to be of my mind?"
" I am, of course," said I, " but, you see that kind of happiness was not for us; so now, Belette, there is no use in self-reproaches, or regrets either. It would have been all the same by this time, what- ever we had done; we are at the end of our string now, you know, and love or no love, it is all past like a tale that is told."
" Liar ! " said she, and I felt that she spoke the truth, even as I looked at her.
I kissed her once more, and left her; she leaned against the door-post looking after me, under the