collection of pipes. And the correspondence began again. Timid and widely-spaced at first, it was soon going on fast and furiously. I became utterly tired out with running from the room of one to the room of the other, bearing heart-shaped or hen- shaped threats. But oh! what fun had!
Three days after this scene, while reading a missive from Monsieur, on pink paper and bearing his coat of arms, Madame turned pale, and suddenly asked me, in a gasping voice :
' ' Celestine, do you really think that Monsieur wants to kill himself ? Have you seen him with weapons in his hands ? My God ! If he were to kill himself?"
I burst out laughing in Madame's face. And this laugh, which had escaped me in spite of myself, increased, let itself loose, poured itself out. I thought I should die, choked by this laugh, strangled by this cursed laugh that rose, like a tempest, in my breast, and filled my throat with irrepressible hiccups.
For a moment Madame sat aghast.
"What is it? What is the matter with you? Why do you latigh like that? Be still, then. Will you be still, nasty creature? "
But the laugh held me fast ; it would not let go. At last, between two gasps, I cried :
" Oh ! no, your goings on are too funny, too stupid ! Oh ! la la ! Oh ! la la ! How stupid it