Page:A chambermaid's diary.djvu/167

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lying on his long chair, beside the window, protected from the air by warm coverings, he had breathed for at least four hours, and deliciously, the iodic emanations from the offing. The life-giving sun, the good sea odors, the deserted beach, now occupied again by the shell-fishermen, delighted him. Never had I seen him gayer. And this gaiety on his emaciated face, where the skin, growing thinner from week to week, covered the bones like a transparent film, had something funereal about it, and so painful to witness that several times I had to leave the room in order to weep freely. He refused to let me read poetry to him. When I opened the book, he said:

"No; you are my poem; you are all my poems, and far the most beautiful of all."

He was forbidden to talk. The slightest conversation fatigued him, and often brought on a fit of coughing. Moreover, he had hardly strength enough to talk. What was left to him of life, of thought, of will to express, of sensibility, was concentrated in his gaze, which had become a glowing fireplace, in which the soul continually kindled a flame of surprising and supernatural intensity. That evening, the evening of the sixth of October, he seemed no longer to be suffering. Oh! I see him still, stretched upon his bed, his head high upon his pillow, his long thin hands playing tranquilly with the blue fringe of the curtain, his lips