But he,—with what feline, tender, and trusting grace, with what dazzled gratitude, he rolled against me, as if in search of protection. And he said to me, his eyes filled with ecstasy:
"I am happy. Now I can die."
And, as I cursed my weakness in my despair, he repeated:
"I am happy. Oh! stay with me; do not leave me. It seems to me, you see, that, if I were left alone, I could not endure the violence of my happiness, although it is so sweet."
While I was helping him to go to bed, he had a fit of coughing. Fortunately it was short. But, short though it was, it lacerated my soul. After having relieved and cured him, was I going to kill him now? I thought that I should be unable to keep the tears back. And I detested myself.
"It is nothing; it is nothing," he exclaimed, with a smile; "you must not grieve, since I am so happy. And besides, I am not sick, I am not sick. You will see how soundly I shall sleep against you. For I wish to sleep upon your breast, as if I were your little child,—my head upon your breast."
"And if your grandmother should ring for me to-night. Monsieur Georges?"
"Oh no! Oh no! Grandmother will not ring. I wish to sleep against you."
During the fortnight that followed that memorable night, that delicious and tragic night, a sort