And, as if fearing that he had said too much, he added:
"I tell you this, Célestine, because you are a good woman and an orderly woman, and because I have coniidence in you. It is between ourselves, you know."
After a silence:
"What a good idea it was of yours to come out here to-night!" he thanked me; "it is very nice of you; it flatters me."
Never had I seen him so amiable, so talkative. I bent over the little table very near him, and, stirring the sorted seeds in the plate, I answered coquettishly:
"It is true, too; you went away directly after dinner; we had no time to gossip. Shall I help you sort your seeds?"
"Thank you, Célestine, I have finished."
He scratched his head.
"Sacristi!" he exclaimed, with annoyance, "I ought to go and see to my garden-frames. The field-mice do not leave me a salad, the vermin! But then, no, indeed, I must talk with you, Célestine."
Joseph rose, closed the door, which had been left half open, and led me to the back of the harness-room. For a minute I was frightened. The little Claire, whom I had forgotten, appeared before my eyes on the forest heath, frightfully pale and bleeding. But there was nothing wicked in Joseph's