heed that my destruction proceeded in accordance with all the rules of art, uniformly and gradually, without a break in the measure.
But in the abysses of hell the angriest devils bristled with rage because it lasted such a long time until I committed a mortal sin, an unpardonable offence for which God in His justice must cast me—down. . . .
I quickened my pace, hurried faster and faster, turned suddenly to the left and found myself, excited and angry, in a light ornate doorway. I did not pause, not for one second, but the whole peculiar ornamentation of the entrance struck on my perception in a flash; every detail of the decoration and the tiling of the floor stood clear on my mental vision as I sprang up the stairs. I rang violently on the second floor. Why should I stop exactly on the second floor? And why just seize hold of this bell which was some little way from the stairs?
A young lady in a grey gown with black trimming came out and opened the door. She looked for a moment in astonishment at me, then shook her head and said:
"No, we have not got anything to-day," and she made a feint to close the door.