She went on:
"Is that too much to ask? . . . They have often told me that I'm an egotist; and as for me, I sometimes say to myself: What has one a right to? When one sees so many wretchednesses, so much pain about one, you hardly dare to ask. . . . But in spite of all my heart does insist and cries out: Yes, I have the right, I have the right to a very little portion of happiness . . . Tell me very frankly, is that being an egotist? Do you think that wrong?"
He was overcome by an infinite pity. That cry of the heart, that poor little naïve cry stirred him down to his soul. Tears came to his eyes. Side by side on the bench, leaning one against the other, they felt the warmth of their legs. He would have liked to turn toward her and take her in his arms. He did not dare move for fear of not remaining in control of his emotion. Immovable, they looked straight forward at the ground before their feet. Very swiftly, in a low ardent voice, almost without moving his lips, he said: