Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French III).djvu/106

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"And you, father," said my wife, "you are coming to spend a little time with us, are n't you?"

"Certainly,—in the spring."

Just at that word, I remember, the vehicle commenced to jolt along, and we turned to wave our handkerchiefs. A little later, as our train passed in front of the house, we waved again from the door, and my father responded from one of his windows. Was that the last time I was ever to see him! For he did not keep his promise and come to Paris. A man of the old school, jealously attached to his corner of the earth and to his habits, my father detested travel, where everything offended him; the scenery because it differed from that which for seventy years his eyes had looked upon, the people because he knew them neither by name nor family, the cooking because it was not like his own. I trembled to recall a former visit he had made us; one of perpetual discontent, during which he complained of the adulterated wine, of the unsalted bread, of the butter which smelt of margarine, of the narrow rooms, the noise in the streets, the concierge who looked at him crossly, the cook who certainly took toll on her marketing. I confess I dreaded a repetition of those painful experiences. They will never, alas! be repeated. The chain of habit, stronger even than the attraction of the children, kept him away; he did not come.

The following year, instead of going back to