Page:Pierre and Luce.djvu/126

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Pierre waked up in a hurry, reddened, smiled and asked:

"What were you talking about?"

They were most indignant.

"Why, you haven't been listening to anything!"

"What, then, were you brooding about?" asked Naudé.

A little confused, a little impertinent, Pierre replied:

"About the springtide. It has come back all right without your permission. It will clear out without our help."

All of them crushed him with their disdain. Naudé taunted him as a "poet." And Jacques Sée as a poseur.

Puget alone fixed his eyes on him with curiosity and irony in them, his wrinkled eyes with their cold pupils.

"Flying ant!"

"What?" questioned Pierre, rather amused.

"Beware of the wings!" said Puget. "It's the nuptial flight. It only lasts one hour."

"Life does not last much more," said Pierre.