"Why, yes, Monsieur, certainly; I am getting accustomed here."
"I am glad to hear it. It is not bad here; really, it is not bad."
He quite straightened up, gave me a very tender look, and repeated: "It is not bad," thus giving himself time to think of something ingenious to say to me.
He took from his teeth the bits of string, tied them at the top of the prop, and, with legs spread apart, and his two palms resting on his hips, with a knowing look, and frankly obscene eyes, he cried:
"I'll bet, Célestine, that you led a gay life in Paris? Say, now, didn't you?"
I was not expecting this. And I had a great desire to laugh. But I lowered my eyes modestly, with an offended air, and, trying to blush, as was proper under the circumstances, I exclaimed, in a tone of reproach:
"Well, what?" he insisted; "a pretty girl like you,—with such eyes! Oh! yes, you must have had a gay time. And so much the better. For my part, I am for amusement; yes, I am for love."
Monsieur was becoming strangely animated. And, on his robust, muscular person I recognized the most evident signs of amorous exaltation. He was on fire; desire was flaming in his eyes. I