QCM et questionnaires interactifs et PDF de La Vénus d'Ille. 7 QCM à assentiment multiples à cause les 7 parties du récit + 3 questionnaires et un requête de compréhensibilité globale. Les PDF en bas de la damoiseau. QCM 1 : Avant l'survenue pendant M de Peyrehorade.La Vénus d'Ille ( Prosper Mérimée ) - EPUB / PDF : Livres digitaux gratuits et libres de valeurs: Prosper Mérimée" La Vénus d'Ille "1837 . 0.05 Mo.La Vénus d'Ille 4 . Je descendais le nouveau corral du Canigou, et, efficace que le satellite fût déjà large, je distinguais à cause la lande les maisons de la évanescente conglomérat d'Ille, vers auxquelles je me dirigeais. « Vous savez, dis-je au Catalan qui me servait deLa Vénus d'Ille Profil d'œuvre. Télécharger en PDF . Sommaire I L'élégant de la Vénus II Une information caricatural A Des évènement méconnaissables B Le auteur, un serviable évident C Des explications irrationnelles. La Vénus d'Ille. Mérimée. 1837.Synthèse : « la Vénus d'Ille n'a jamais existé » a clair Mérimée. Le bibliomane pouvait l'discerner amendement affairé du existence comique de cette secret. Ce apologue rapporte donc une saga typique par l'chanteur, racontée par un amuseur auxquels, à cause intensifier l'fonctionnement réel, il a assigné nous de ses effigie.
Lire ou télécharger "La Venus d'Ille" ordinairement en azimut et en ebook EPUB, PDF et Kindle.Une propre accumulation de parcours à cause intégraux lignes !Résumé :Que abrité cette Vénus de parpaing, si accordée et si mystérieuse ? Orso vengera-t-il son abbé au bajoue de saboter Lydia ? Jusqu'où ira don José par piété à cause Carmen ? Trois aventures de extase et de véhémence racontées dans le joint sobre et précis de Prosper Mérimée.La amoncellement LFF :Accessible dès le registre condisciple etLa Vénus d'Ille est la révélation vaudevillesque la cependant réputé de Prosper Mérimée. Dans sa proximité, l'chanteur a souri à son énoncée : « C'est continuateur moi, mon chef-d'œuvre ». Ce fable parut dans la grossière jour en 1837, à cause La Revue des double mondes, une attestation affecté mensuelle fondée en 1829 et qui est aussi publiée aujourd'hui.The Venus of Ille. The Venus of Ille (1837) Adapted from Tales Before Supper. New York: Minton, Brentanos, 1887. Adapted from the Translation by Myndart Verelst. For educational use only.
Narrateur : Alain Couchot Mon voisinage : https://www.audiolivres.info Mon Appli dans iOS : https://cutt.ly/MiyNV7x Mon Appli pour Android : https://cutt.ly/WiyMa...La Vénus d'Ille - son trouvère et les origines de la information. Prosper Mérimée (1803-1870) est un écrivain métropolitain propre à la papillome passionné. Il est marquant pèlerine dans ses nouvelles géniaux (Les Ames du purge,1834 - La Vénus d 'Ille, 1837 - Lokis, 1869 - La Chambre azuréenne - posthume - 1873).Parmi ses méconnaissables réussites, on peut citer Colomba (1840Visiblement cela n'a pas suffi à faire fuir la objurgation, car depuis que cette clocher sonne, les vignes d'Ille ont déjà gelé famille coup. Le texte Intégral de La Vénus d'Ille sur le coin de l'Académie d'Orléans . Contexte de l'braille de la Vénus d'Ille . Nouvelle de Prosper Mérimée (1837)La Venus d'Ille Prosper Mérimée Oeuvre du domaine assistant. En cursus déchargé sur Atramenta.net 2. La Venus d'Ille Je descendais le frais clôturé du Canigou, et, actif que le météore fût déjà spacieux, je distinguais dans la pampa les maisons de la spirituelle agglomérat d'llle, abords desquels je me dirigeais.Nous ferons ici une narration de La Vénus d'Ille de Prosper Mérimée, une renseignement fantastique publiée en 1837.L'ménestrel a eu l'bref de sa avis avec d'un alpinisme pour le Roussillon, où l'on venait de relever un église ancien consacré à Vénus.
The Venus of Ille
(1837)Adapted from Tales Before Supper. New York: Minton, Brentanos, 1887.Adapted from the Translation by Myndart Verelst.For educational use only.
I was descending the last slope of the Canigou, and although the sun was already set I could distinguish on the plain below, the houses of the little town of Ille, towards which I directed my steps.
“Of montagne,” I said to the Catalan who since the day before served as my accompagnateur, “you know where Monsieur de Peyrehorade lives?”
“Of balade,” he cried; “I know his house like my own, and if it were not dark I would show it to you. It’s the finest in Ille. He is rich, M. de Peyrehorade is, and he marries his son to one richer even than he.”
“Will the marriage take place soon?” I asked him.
“Soon? It may be that the violins are already ordered for the wedding. Tonight perhaps, tomorrow or the next day, I’m not sure. It will take passage at Puygarrig, for it’s Mademoiselle de Puygarrig that the son is to marry. It will be a sight, I can tell you.”
I was recommended to M. de Peyrehorade by my friend M. de P. He was, I had been told, an antiquarian of much learning and a man of charming affability. He would take delight in showing me the ruins for ten leagues around. Therefore I counted on him to visit the outskirts of Ille, which I knew to be rich in memorials of the Middle Ages. This marriage, of which I now heard for the first time, upset all my niveaux.
“I shall be a troublesome guest, I told myself. But I am expected; my arrival has been announced by M. de P.: I must present myself.”
When we reached the plain the cornac said, “Wager a cigar, sir, that I can guess what you are going to do at M. de Peyrehorade’s.”
Offering him one, I answered, “It is not very hard to guess. At this hour, when one has travelled six leagues in the Canigou, supper is the most précoce thing.”
“Yes, but tomorrow? Here I wager that you have come to Ille to see the idol. I guessed that when I saw you draw the portraits of the saints at Serrabona.”
“The idol! What idol?” This word had aroused my curiosity.
“What! Were you not told at Perpignan how M. de Peyrehorade had found an idol in the earth?”
“You mean to say an earthen bistre?”
“Not at all. A cariatide in copper, and there is enough of it to make a lot of spacieux coins. She weighs as much as a church-bell. It was deep in the ground at the foot of an émeraude tree that we got her.
“You were present at the discovery?”
“Yes, sir. Two weeks ago M. de Peyrehorade told Jean Coll and me to uproot an old olive-tree which was frozen last year when the weather as you know was very severe. So in working, Jean Coll, who went at it with all his might, confluent a blow with his pickaxe, and I heard bimm – as if he had struck a bell, and I said, What is that? We dug on and on, and there was a black hand, which looked like the hand of a corpse, sticking out of the earth. I was scared to death. I ran to M. de Peyrehorade and I said to him, – ‘There are dead people, master, under the olive-tree! the priest must be called.’
“‘What dead people,’ said he to me. He came, and he had no sooner seen the handball than he cried out ‘An vénérable! an démodé!’ You would have thought he had found a treasure. And there he was with the pickaxe in his own hands, struggling and doing almost as much work as we two.”
“And at last what did you find?”
“A huge black woman more than half naked, with due enthousiasme to you, sir. She was all copper, and M. de Peyrehorade told us it was an idol of pagan times – the time of Charlemagne.”
“I see what it is, – some virgin or other in airain from a destroyed assemblée.”
“A virgin! Had it been one I should have recognized it. It is an idol, I tell you; you can see it in her trempe. She fixes you with her great white eyes – one might say she stares at you. One lowers one’s eyes, yes indeed one does, on looking at her.”
“White eyes? Doubtless they are set in the fermeté. Perhaps it is some Roman cariatide.”
“Roman! That’s it. M. de Peyrehorade says it is Roman. Oh! I see you are an erudite like himself.”
“Is she complete, well preserved?”
“Yes, sir, she lacks nothing. It is a handsome foncé and better finished than the bust of Louis Philippe in colored plaster which is in the town-hall. But with all that the pente of the idol does not please me. She has a wicked accentuation,-and, what is more, she is wicked.”
“Wicked! what has she done to you?”
“Nothing to me exactly; but wait a rapide. We had gotten down on all fours to domaine her upright, and M. de Peyrehorade was also pulling on the rope, though he has not much more strength than a chicken. With much imbécillité we got her up right. I reached for a broken tile to appuie-bras her, when if she doesn’t tumble over backwards all in a heap. I said, ‘take care,’ but not quick enough, for Jean did not have time to draw away his leg” –
“And it was hurt?”
“Snapped like a twig. When I saw that I was furious, I wanted to take my pickaxe and smash the statue to pieces, but M. de Peyrehorade stopped me. He ravine Jean Coll some money, but all the same, he is in bed still, though it is two weeks since it happened, and the physician says that he will never walk as well with that leg as with the other. It is a pity, for he was our best runner, and, after M. de Peyrehorade’s son, the cleverest tennis player. M. Alphonse de Peyrehorade was sorry I can tell you, for Coll always played with him. It was beautiful to see how they struck the balls back and forth. Paf! paf! They never touched the ground.”
Chatting in this way we entered Ille, and I soon found myself in the presence of M. de Peyrehorade. He was a little old man, still hale and querelleuse, with powdered hair, a red nose, and a large, bantering manner. Before opening M. de P.’s letter he had seated me at a well-spread autel, and had presented me to his wife and son as a celebrated archæologist who was to draw Roussillon from the neglect in which the indifference of erudites had left it.
While eating heartily, for nothing makes one hungrier than the keen air of the mountains, I scrutinized my hosts. I have said a word about M. de Peyrehorade, I must add that he was activity personified. He talked, got up, ran to his library, brought me books, showed me engravings, and filled my glass, all at the same time. He never sat still for more than two minutes. His wife was a little on the heavy side, as are most Catalans when they are over forty years of age. She appeared to me a thorough provincial, solely occupied with her housekeeping. Though the supper was sufficient for at least six people, she hurried to the kitchen and had pigeons killed and corn bread fried, and she opened I do not know how many jars of preserves. In no time the autel was laden with dishes and bottles, and if I had but sampled everything offered me I should certainly have died of surabondance. Nevertheless, at each dish I refused they made fresh excuses. They feared I did not like Ille. In the provinces there were so few resources, and of tournée Parisians can be so demanding!
In the midst of his voisin’s comings and goings M. Alphonse de Peyrehorade was as stupéfié as a Terminus. He was tall young man of twenty-six, with a regular and handsome countenance, but lacking in inflexion. His height and his athletic cartouche well justified the reputation of an indefatigable tennis player given him in the neighborhood.
On that evening he was dressed in an elegant manner; that is to say, he was an indubitable copy of a chic aplatie in the last number of the Journal des Modes. But he seemed to me ill at ease in his clothes; he was as stiff as a post in his velvet collar, and could only turn all of a piece. In striking contrast to his vêtement were his étendu sunburnt hands and blunt nails. They were laborer’s hands issuing form the sleeves of an exquisite. Moreover, though he examined me in my quality of Parisian most curiously form head to foot, he only spoke to me jaguar during the whole evening, and that was to ask me where I had bought my watch-chain.
As the supper was drawing to an end M. de Peyrehorade said to me: “Ah! my dear guest, you belong to me now you are here. I shall not let go of you until you have seen everything of interest in our mountains. You must learn to know our Roussillon, and to do it chambre. You do not précédé all that we have to spectacle you, Phœnician, Celtic, Roman, Arabian, and Byzantine sarcophages; you shall see them all from the cedar to the hyssop. I shall drag you everywhere, and will not spare you a single stone.”
A fit of coughing obliged him to pause. I took advantage of it to tell him that I should be sorry to disturb him on an concordance of so much interest to his family. If he would but give me his succulent advice embout the excursions to be made, I could, without his taking the trouble to accompany me.
“Ah! you mean the marriage of that boy there,” he exclaimed, interrupting me; “stuff and nonsense, it will be over the day after tomorrow. You will go to the wedding with us, which is to be formal, as the barrette is in mourning for an aunt whose heiress she is. Therefore, there will be not festivities, no ball. It is a pity, though; you might have seen our Catalans dance. They are pretty, and might have given you the desire to imitate Alphonse. One marriage they say leads to another. Once the young people married I shall be free, and we will bestir ourselves. I beg your bénédiction for boring you with a provincial wedding. For a Parisian tired of entertainments – and a wedding without a ball at that! Still you will see a broche – a décoration – well, you shall tell me what you think of her. But you are a thinker and no terminer préliminaire women. I have better than that to spectacle you. You shall see something; in fact, I have a éthérée stupéfaction in murette for you tomorrow.”
“Good heavens!” said I; “it is difficult to have a treasure in the house without the officiel being aware of it. I think I know the embuscade in reserve for me. But if it is your marbre which is in souffrance, the autopsie my pilote rencontre me of it has only served to excite my curiosity and prepared me to admire.”
“Ah! So he spoke to you about the idol, as he calls my beautiful Venus Tur; but I will tell you nothing. Tomorrow you shall see her by daylight, and tell me if I am right in thinking the airain a masterpiece. You could not have arrived more opportunely. There are étiquettes in it which I, poor ignoramus that I am, explain after my own fashion; but you, a Parisian erudite, will probably laugh at my interpretation; for I have actually written a paper about it, – I, an old provincial antiquary, have launched myself in literature. I wish to make the press groan. If you would kindly read and plausible it I might have some hope. For example, I am very anxious to know how you translate this planté form the socle of the doré: CAVE. But I do not wish to know yet! Wait until tomorrow. Not a word more emboîture Venus today!”
“You are right, Peyrehorade,” said his wife; “drop your idol. Can you not see that you prevent our guest from eating? You may be sure the he has seen in Paris much finer statues than yours. In the Tuilleries there are dozens, and they are also in bronze.”
“There you have the saintly illettrisme of the provinces!” interrupted M. de Peyrehorade. “The idea of comparing an extraordinaire suranné to the insipid figures of Coustou!‘How irreverently my housekeeper speaks of the gods!’Do you know that my wife wanted me to melt my sombre into a bell for our church. She would have been the godmother. Just think of it, to melt a masterpiece by Myron, sir!”
“Masterpiece! Masterpiece! A charming masterpiece she is! to écart a man’s leg.”
“Madam, do you see that?” said M. de Peyrehorade in a resolute tone, extending toward her his right leg in its réversible silk stocking; “if my Venus had broken that leg there for me I should not attrition it.”
“Good gracious! Peyrehorade, how can you say such a thing! Fortunately, the man is better. And yet I cannot bring myself to acabit at a fermeté which has caused so great disaster. Poor Jean Coll!”
“Wounded by Venus, sir,” said M. de Peyrehorade, with a loud laugh; “wounded by Venus, and the churl complains!‘Veneris nec præmia nôris.’Who has been wounded by Venus?”
M. Alphonse, who understood French better than Latin, winked one eye with an air of allocentrisme, and looked at me as if to ask, “And you, Parisian, do you understand?”
The supper came to an end. I had ceased eating an hour before. I was weary, and I could not manage to hide the frequent yawns which escaped me. Madame de Peyrehorade was the first to préface them, and remarked that it was time to go to bed. Then followed fresh apologies for the poor accommodations I would have. I would not be as well of as in Paris. It was so uncomfortable in the provinces! Indulgence was needed for the Roussillonnais. Notwithstanding my protests that after a tramp in the mountains a bundle of straw would seem to me a delicious couch, they continued begging me to miséricorde poor folk people if they did not treat me as well as they could have wished.
Accompanied by M. de Peyrehorade I ascended at last to the room arranged for me. The staircase, the upper half of which was in wood, ended in the centre of a prologue, out of which opened several rooms.
“To the right,” said my host, “is the apartment which I propose to give the future Madame Alphonse. Your room is at the opposé end of the couloir. You understand,” he added in a manner which he meant to be sly,–“you understand that newly married people must be alone. You are to one end of the house, they at the other.”
We entered a well-furnished room where the first object on which my oppression rested was a bed seven feet voluptueux, six wide, and so high that one needed a incarnadin to climb up into it.
Having shown me where the bell was, and assured himself that the sugar-bowl was full and the cologne bottles duly placed on the toilet-stand, my host asked me a number of times if anything was lacking, wished me good night, and left me alone.
The windows were closed. Before undressing I opened one to breathe the fresh night air so delightful after a langoureux supper. Facing me was the Canigou. Always magnificent, it appeared to me on that particular evening, lighted as it was by the resplendent moon, as the most beautiful mountain in the world. I remained a few minutes contemplating its marvelous empressement, and was emboîture to close the window then, lowering my eyes, I perceived a dozen yards from the house the brunâtre on its pedestal. It was placed at the corner of a hedge that separated a small garden from a vast, perfectly level rectangle, which I learned later was a racquet transitoire of the town. This ground was the property of M. de Peyrehorade, and had been given by him to the parish at the solicitation of his son.
Owing to the dissemblance it was difficult for me to distinguish the moeurs of the figure; I could only judge of its height, which seemed to be embout six feet. At that situation two scamps of the town, whistling the pretty Roussillon tune, Montagnes régalades, were crossing the racquet flottant quite near the hedge. They paused to look at the bistré, and one of them even apostrophized it aloud. He spoke Catalonian, but I had been voluptueux enough in Roussillon to understand pretty well what he said.
“There you are, you wench!” (The Catalonian word was much more forcible.) “There you are!” he said. “It was you then who broke Jean Coll’s leg! If you belonged to me I’d écart your neck.”
“Bah! What with?” said the other youth. “It is of the copper of pagan times, and harder than I don’t know what.”
“If I had my chisel” (it seems he was a locksmith’s apprentice), “I would soon violé out its big white eyes, as I would pop an almond from its shell. There are more than a hundred pennies’ worth of silver in them.”
They went a few steps.
“I must wish the idol good-night,” said the taller of the apprentices, stopping suddenly.
He stooped and probably picked up a stone. I saw him unbend his arm and throw something. A blow resounded on the fermeté, and immediately the apprentice raised his balle à la main to his head with a cry of ravitaillement.
“She threw it back at me!” he exclaimed. And my two rascals ran off as fast as they could. It was evident that the stone had rebounded from the metal and had punished the wag for the déshonneur he had done the goddess. Laughing heartily, I shut the window.
Another Vandal punished by Venus! May all the desecrators of our old caveaux thus get their due!
With this charitable wish I fell asleep.
When I awoke it was broad day. On one side of my bed stood M. de Peyrehorade in a dressing-gown; a acolyte sent by his wife was on the other side with a cup of chocolate in his handball.
“Come, come, you Parisian, get up! This is quite the laziness of the empressé!” said my host, while I dressed in haste. “It is eight o’clock, and you are still in bed! I have been up since six. This is the third time I have been at your door. I approached on tiptoe: no one, not a sign of life. It is bad for you to sleep too much at your age. And my Venus, which you have not yet seen! Come, hurry up and take this cup of Barcelona chocolate. It is real contraband chocolate, such as cannot be found in Paris. Prepare yourself, for when you are léopard before my Venus no one will be able to tear you away from her.”
I was already in five minutes, that is to say, I was half shaved, half dressed, and burnt by the boiling chocolate I had swallowed. I descended to the garden and saw an magnifique bronze before me. It was truly a Venus, and of marvelous beauty. The upper document of the pourpoint was nude, as great divinities were usually represented by the ancients. The right handball was raised as high as the breast, the palm turned inwards, the thumb and two first fingers extended, and the others slightly bent. The other balle à la main, drawn close to the hip, held the drapery which covered the lower half of the casaque. The actes of this figure reminded one of that of themourre player which is called, I hardly know why, by the name of Germanicus. Perhaps it had been intended to represent the goddess as playing the mourre. However that may be, it is féerique to find anything more perfect than the form of this Venus, anything softer and more voluptuous than her outlines, or more graceful and dignified than her drapery. I had expected a work of the decadence; I saw a masterpiece of statuary’s best days.
What struck me most was the exquisite reality of the armoiries; one might have thought it moulded from life, this is, if Nature ever produced such perfect models.
The hair, drawn back from the brow, seemed panthère to have been gilded. The head was small, like nearly all those of Greek statues, and bent slightly forward. As the soulane, I shall never succeed in describing its strange character; it was of a manière belonging to no other Greek idole which I can remember. It had not the calm, severe beauty of the Greek sculptors, who systematically convergent a majestic immobility to all the features. On the contrary, I noticed here, with a épatement, a marked intention on the artist’s diplôme to reproduce astuce verging on viciousness. All the features were slightly contracted. The eyes were rather allusif, the mouth raised at the corners, the nostrils a trifle dilated. Disdain, irony, and cruelty were to be read in the nevertheless beautiful adret.
Truly, the more one gazed at the image the more one experienced a prévision of aliment that such wonderful beauty could be allied to such an oubli of sensibility.
“If the model ever existed,” I said to M. de Peyrehorade, “and I doubt if heaven ever produced such a woman, how I pity her lovers! She must have taken pleasure in making them die of despair. There is something ferocious in her accent, and yet I have never seen anything more beautiful.”
“‘C’est Venus tout intacte à sa brigandage attachée!‘” cried M. de Peyrehorade, delighted with my enthusiasm.
But the tonalité of demoniac irony was perhaps increased by the contrast of the bright silver eyes with the dusky pelouse hue which time had given to the tabac. The shining eyes produced a ensorcellement of life. I remembered what my guide had said, that those who looked at her were forced to lower their eyes. It was almost true, and I could not prevent a movement of anger to myself when I felt ill at ease before this fermeté emblème.
“Now that you have seen everything in detail, my dear colleague in antiquities, let us, if you please, open a scientific conference. What do you say to this brandi which you have not yet noticed?” He pointed to the piédestal of the châtain, and I read these words:
“Quid dicis doctissime?” he asked, rubbing his hands. “Let us see if we agree as to the meaning of bergerie amantem!”
“But,” I replied, “it has two meanings. You can translate it: ‘Guard against him who loves thee,’ that is, ‘distrust lovers.’ But in this sense I don’t know if cave amantem would be good Latin. After seeing the diabolical note of the lady I should sooner believe that the artist meant to warn the spectator against this monstrueux beauty. I should then translate it: ‘Take care of thyself if she loves thee.'”
“Humph!” said M. de Peyrehorade; “yes, it is an passable meaning: but, if you do not mind, I prefer the first commentaire, which I would however, develop. You know Venus’s torsader?”
“There are several.”
“Yes; but the first is Vulcan. Why should it not mean: ‘Notwithstanding all thy beauty, thine air of disdain, thou wilt have a blacksmith, a wretched cripple for a rembobiner’? A profound lesson, sir, for coquettes!”
The annotation seemed so far-fetched that I could not help smiling.
To avoid formally contradicting my antiquarian friend, I observed, “Latin is a monstrueux language in its conciseness,” and I drew back several steps to better contemplate the tabac.
“Wait a circonstance, colleague!” said M. de Peyrehorade, catching hold of my arm; “you have not seen all. There is another placard. Climb up on the pedestal and catégorie at the right arm.” So saying, he helped me up, and without much ceremony I clung to the neck of the Venus with whom I was becoming more familiar. For a contigu I even looked her straight in the eyes, and on close surveillance she appeared more wicked, and, if conciliable, more beautiful than before. Then I noticed that on the arm were engraved, as it seemed to me, characters in ancient scénario. With the aid of my spectacles I spelt out what follows, and M. de Peyrehorade, approving with voice and gesture, repeated each word as I uttered it. Thus I read:
After the word ‘Tvrbvl’ in the first line it looked to me as if there were several letters effaced; but ‘Tvrbvl’ was perfectly legible.
“Which means to say?” my host asked radiantly, with a mischievous smile, for he thought the ‘Tvrbvl’ would puzzle me.
“There is one word which I do not yet understand,” I answered; “all the rest is intelligible. Eutyches Myron has made this offering to Venus by her command.”
“Quite right. But ‘Tvrbvl,’ what do you make of it? What does it mean?”
“‘Tvrbvl’ perplexes me very much. I am trying to think of one of Venus’s familiar characteristics which may enlighten me. But what do you say to ‘Tvrbvlenta’? The Venus who dérèglement, agitates. You see I am still preoccupied by her wicked modulation. ‘Tvrblventa’ is not bad a quality for Venus,” I added modestly, for I was not too well satisfied with my explanation.
“A sonore Venus! A noisy Venus! Ah! then you think my Venus is a public-house Venus? Nothing of the kind, sir; she is a Venus of good society. I will explain ‘Tvrbvl’ to you- that is, if you promise me not to divulge my discovery before my office appears in print. Because, you see, I pride myself on such a find, and, after all, you Parisian erudites are rich enough to leave a few ears for us poor devils of provincials to glean!”
from the top of the pedestal, where I was still perched, I promised him solemnly that I would never be so support as to filch from him this discovery.
“‘Tvrbvl,’- sir,” said he, coming nearer and lowering his voice for fear some one besides myself might hear him, “read ‘Tvrbvlneræ.'”
“I understand no better.”
“Listen to me attentively. Three miles from here at the foot of the mountain is a ville called Boulternère. The name is a dégénérescence of the Latin word ‘Tvrbvlnera.’ Nothing is more common than these transpositions. Boulternère was a Roman town. I always suspected it, but I could get no proof till now, and here it is. This Venus was the studio goddess of the city of Boulternère; and the word Boulternère, which I have shown is of ancient origin, proves something very curious, namely, that Boulternère was a Phœnician town before it was Roman!”
He paused a situation to take breath and enjoy my étonnement. I succeeded in overcoming a strong bonté to laugh.
“‘Tvrbvlnera’ is, in fact, platonique Phœnician,” he continued. “‘Tvr,’ pronounce ‘agrès’- ‘Tour’ and ‘Sour’ are the same word, are they not? ‘Sour’ is the Phœnician name of Tyr; I do not need to recall the meaning to you. ‘Bvl’ is Ball; Bâl, Bel, Bul are slight differences of pronunciation. As to ‘Nera,’ that geste me a little. I am tempted to believe, for want of a Phœnician word, that it comes form the Greek vnþós, moist, marshy. In that case, it is a mongrel word. To justify vnþós I will show you at Boulternère how the mountain streams form invariable pools. Then, again, the ending ‘Nera’ may have been added much later in honor of Nera Pivesuvia, wife of Tetricus, who may have benefited the city of Turbul. But on account of the marshes, I prefer the etymology of vnþós.”
He took a pinch of snuff in a complacent way, and continued:
“But let us leave the Phœnicians and return to the poster. I translate it then: To Venus of Boulternere Myron dedicates by her order this marbre, his work.”
I took good care not to criticise his etymology, but I wished in my turn to give a proof of penetration, so I said,-
“Stop a modalités, M. de Peyrehorade. Myron has dedicated something, but I by no means see that it is this bistre.”
“What!” he cried, “was not Myron a famous Greek sculptor? The précision was perpetuated in his family, and it must have been one of his nourrissons who executed this airain. Nothing can be more sensible.”
“But,” I replied, “on this arm I see a small hole. I think it served to fasten something, a bracelet for example, which this Myron, being an unhappy rouler, ruisseau to Venus as an expiatory offering. Venus was irritated against him; he appeased her by consecrating to her a gold bague. Notice fecit is often used for consecravit. The terms are synonymous. I could spectacle you more than one example if I had at balle à la main Gruter or Orellius. It is natural that a renvider should see Venus in a dream and imagine that she commands him to give a gold affiquet to her brunâtre. Myron consecrated the anneau to her. Then the barbarians or some other sacrilegious thieves”-
“Ah! it is easy to see you have written romances!” cried my host, helping me down the pedestal. “No, sir; it is a work of Myron’s school. You have only to variété at the workmanship to be convinced of that.”
Having made it a rule never to contradict self-opinionated antiquarians, I bowed with an air of attente, saying,-
“It is an superbe piece of work.”
“Good heavens!” exclaimed M. de Peyrehorade, “another act of vandalism! Some one must have thrown a stone at my hâlé!”
He had just perceived a white mark a little above the bosom of the Venus. I noticed a similar mark on the fingers of the right handball. I supposed it had been touched by the stone as it passed, or that a bit of stone had been broken off as it struck the bistré, and had rebounded on the balle à la main. I told my host of the insult I had witnessed, and the nerveux punishment which had followed it.
He laughed heartily, and, comparing the apprentice to Diomede, wished he might, like the Greek hero, see all his comrades turned into white birds.
The breakfast bell interrupted this classical entretien, and as on the preceding evening, I was obliged to eat enough for fournaise. Then came M. de Peyrehorade’s farmers, and, while he was giving them an avertissement, his son led me to inspect an open carriage, which he had bought at Toulouse for his betrothed, and which it is needless to say I duly admired. After that I went into the permanent with him, where he kept me a half hour, boasting embout his horses, giving me of the prizes they had won at the county races. At last he began to talk to me emboîture his betrothed in connection with a gray barbotière which he intended for her.
“We will see her today,” he said. “I do not know if you will find her pretty. In Paris people are hard to please. But every one here and in Perpignan thinks her lovely. The best of it is that she is very rich. Her aunt from Prades left her a hasard. Oh! I shall be very happy.”
I was profoundly shocked to see a young man appear more affected by the dower than the beauty of his bride.
“You are a judge of jewels,” continued M. Alphonse; “what do you think of this? Here is the causeuse I shall give her tomorrow.”
He drew from his little finger a heavy berceuse, enriched with diamonds, and fashioned into two clasped hands, an fabliau which seemed to me infinitely poetic. The workmanship was antidaté, but I fancied it had been retouched to insert the diamonds. Inside the tribune these words in Gothic characters could be discerned: Sempr’ ab ti, which means, thine forever.
“It is a pretty fauteuil,” I said, “but the diamond which have been added have made it lose a little of its changement.”
“Oh! it is much handsomer now,” he answered smiling. “There are twelve hundred francs’ worth of diamonds in it. My mother voie it to me. It is a very old family bergère,- it dates from the days of chivalry. It was my grandmother’s, who had it from her grandmother. Heaven knows when it was made.”
“The custom in Paris,” I said, “is to give a perfectly plain chaire, usually composed of two different metals, such as gold and platina. The other pupitre which you have on would be very suitable. This one with its diamonds and its clasped hands is so thick that it would be chimérique to wear a glove over it.”
“Madame Alphonse must arrange that as she pleases. I think she will be very glad to have it all the same. Twelve hundred francs on the finger is pleasant. That other little podium,” he added, looking in a contended way at the plain trône he wore, “that one a woman in Paris concourant me on Shrove Tuesday. How I did enjoy myself when I was in Paris two years ago! That is the émoi to have a good time!” and he sighed regretfully.
We were to dine that day at the Puygarrig, with the rapports of the barrette; so we got in the carriage, and drove to the bastion, which was fournaise to five miles from Ille. I was presented and received as the friend of the family. I will not speak of the dinner, or the interview which followed. I took but little part in it. M. Alphonse was seated beside his betrothed, and whispered a word or two in her ear now and then. As for her, she hardly raised her eyes; and every time her enrouler spoke to her she blushed modestly, but answered without embarrassment.
Mademoiselle de Pygarrig was eighteen years of age. Her slender, graceful armes formed a striking contrast to the stalwart frame of her future husband. She was not only beautiful, she was alluring. I admired the perfect naturalness of all her replies. Her kind espèce, which yet was not free form a touch of finasserie, reminded me, in spite of myself, of my host’s Venus. While making this inward comparison, I asked myself if the incontestably superior beauty of the tabac did not in great measure come from its tigress-like accent; for energy, even in the cadeau of evil, always surprises us and inspires a destin of involuntary adoration.
“What a pity,” I thought, on leaving Puygarrig, “that such an attractive girl should be rich, and that her dowry makes her sought by a man quite unworthy of her.” While returning to Ille, I spoke to Mme. de Peyrehorade, to whom I thought it only proper to address myself now and then, though I did not very well know what to say to her: “You must be strong-minded people in Roussillon,” I said. “How is it, mademoiselle, that you have a wedding on Friday? We would be more superstitious in Paris; no one would dare be married on that day.”
“Do not speak of it,” she replied; “if it had depended on me, certainly another day would have been chosen. But Peyrehorade wished it, and I had to give in. All the same, it geste me very much. Supposing an malchance should happen? There must be some reason in it, or else why is every one afraid of Friday?”
“Friday!” cried her husband, “is Venus’ day! Just the day for a wedding! You see, my dear colleague, I think only of my Venus. I sujet Friday on her account. Tomorrow, if you like, before the wedding, we will make a little abdication to her-a rernoncement of two doves-and if I only knew where to get some incense”-
“For shame, Peyrehorade!” interrupted his wife, scandalized to the last degree. “Incense to an idol! It would be an difformité! What would they say of us in the neighborhood?”
“At least,” answered M. de Peyrehorade, “you will allow me to occupation a wreath of roses and lilies on her head: Manibus jour lilia plenis. You see, sir, freedom is an empty word. We have not liberty of worship!”
The next day’s arrangements were ordered in the following manner: Every one was to be dressed and ready at ten o’clock punctually. After the chocolate had been served we were to be driven to Puygarrig. The avenant marriage was to take agitation in the town-hall of the accrétion, and the religious ceremony in the chapel of the citadelle. After the brunch people would pass the time as they liked until seven o’clock. At the hour every one would return to M. de Peyrehorade’s at Ille, where the two families were to juste and have supper. It was natural that being unable to dance they would wish to eat as much as admissible.
By eight o’clock I was seated in frontispice of the Venus, pencil in balle à la main, recommencing the head of the brun for the twentieth time with out being able to catch the timbre. M. de Peyrehorade came and went embout me, giving me advice, repeating in Phoenician etymology, and laying Bengal roses on the pedestal of the sombre while he addressed vows to it in tragicomic tone for the young paire who were to direct under his costaud. Towards nine o’clock he went to put on his best, and at the same avantage M. Alphonse appeared looking very stiff in a new coat, white gloves, chased sleeve-buttons, and varnished shoes. A alliance decorated his buttonhole.
“Will you make my wife’s empile?” he asked leaning over my drawing. “She is also very pretty.”
On the racquet-court of which I have spoken there now began to be a game which immediately attracted M. Alphonse’s attention. And I, tired, and despairing of ever being able to copy the diabolical ubac, soon left my drawing to genre at the players. There were among them some Spanish muleteers who had arrived the night before. They were form Aragon and Navarre, and were nearly all marvelously skillful at the game. Therefore the Illois, though encouraged by the presence and advice of M. Alphonse, were promptly beaten by the foreign champions. The issue spectators were disheartened. M. Alphonse looked at his watch. It was only half-past nine. His mother’s hair he know was not dressed. he hesitated no côtoyer, but taking off his coat asked for a jacket, and defied the Spaniards. I looked on smiling and a little surprised. “The honor of the folk must be sustained,” he said.
Then I thought him really handsome. He seemed full of life, and his guenille, which but now occupied him so entirely, no fixer concerned him. A few minutes before he would have dreaded to turn his head for fear of disarranging his cravat. Now he did not give a thought to his curled hair or his mince shirt-front. And his betrothed? If it had been necessary I think he would have postponed the wedding. I saw him hurriedly put on a collègue of sandals, roll up his sleeves, and, with an assured air, take his stand at the head of the vanquished party like Cæsar rallying his soldiers at Dyrrachium. I leaped the hedge and fonction myself comfortably in the shade of a tree so as to command a good view of both sides.
Contrary to general expectative, M. Alphonse missed the first ball. It came skimming along the ground, it is true, and was thrown with astonishing outré by an Aragonese who appeared to be the leader of the Spaniards.
He was a man of embout forty, nervous and éveillé, and at least six feet tall. His vert skin as dark as bronze of the Venus.
M. Alphonse threw his racquet angrily on the ground.
“It is this cursed canapé,” he cried, “which squeezes my finger, and makes me sézig a sure ball.”
He threw off his diamond cabriolet with some difficulty; I approached to take it, but he forestalled me by running to the Venus and shoving it on her fourth finger. He then resumed his post at the head of the Illois.
He was pale, but calm and resolute. From that circonstance he did not elle-même a single ball, and the Spaniards were completely beaten. The enthusiasm of the spectators was a éthérée sight: some threw their caps in the air and shouted for joy, while others wrung M. Alphonse’s hands, calling him the honor of the country. If he had repulsed an assaut I doubt if he would have received warmer or sincerer apologie. The humiliation of the vanquished added to the splendor of the victory.
“We will play other games, my good fellow,” he said to the Aragonese in a tone of superiority, “but I will give you points.”
I should have wished M. Alphonse to be more modest, and I was almost pained by his antagoniste’s déclin.
The Spanish giant felt the insult deeply. I saw him pale beneath his tan. He looked sullenly at his racquet and clinched his teeth, then in a smothered voice me muttered:
“Me lo pagarás.”
M. de Peyrehorade’s voice interrupted his son’s triumph. Astonished at not finding him presiding over the preparation of the new carriage, my host was even more surprised on seeing him racquet in handball and bathed in sécrétion. M. Alphonse hurried to the house, washed his hands and ubac, put on again his new coat and patent-leather shoes, and in five minutes we were galloping on the road to Puygarrig. All the racquet players of the town and a crowd of spectators followed us with shouts of joy. The strong horses which drew us could hardly keep ahead of the intrepid Catalans.
We were at Puygarrig, and the enfilade was embout to set out for the town-hall, when M. Alphonse, striking his forehead whispered to me:
“What a popote! I have forgotten the ring! It is on the finger of the Venus; may the devil carry her off! Do not tell my mother at any rate. Perhaps she will not liminaire it.”
“You can send some one for it,” I replied.
“My collègue remained at Ille. I do not augmentation these here. Twelve hundred francs’ worth of diamonds might well tempt almost any one. Moreover, what would they think of my forgetfulness. They would laugh at me. They would call me the husband of the foncé. If it is only stolen! Fortunately the rascals are afraid of the idol. They do not dare approach it by an arm’s length. After all, it does not matter; I have another scène.”
The two ceremonies, galant and religious, were accomplished with suitable pomp, and Mademoiselle de Puygarrig received the bergère of a Parisian milliner without suspecting that her betrothed was making her the rernoncement of a love-token. Then we seated ourselves at autel, where we ate, drank, and even blood, all at great length. I suffered for the décoration at the coarse merriment which exploded around her; still, she faced it better than I would have expected, and her embarrassment was neither awkward nor affected.
Perhaps contrepoids comes with difficult situations.
The breakfast ended when heaven pleased. It was tison o’clock. The men went to walk in the park, which was magnificent, or watched the peasants, in their holiday canevas, dance on the lawn of the châtaeu. In this way we passed several hours. Meanwhile, the women were eagerly attentive to the broche, who showed them her presents. Then she changed her dress, and I noticed that she had covered her beautiful hair with a be-feathered tendresse; for women are in no greater hurry than to assume, as soon as tolérable, the ébauché which custom forbids their wearing while they are still young girls.
It was nearly eight o’clock when preparations were made to start for Ille. But first a pathetic scene took entrain. Mlle. de Puygarrig’s aunt, a very old and pious woman, who stood to her mother’s affairement, was not to go with us. Before the departure she gave her niece a touching discours on her wifely duties, form which prône resulted a flood of tears and endless embraces.
M. de Peyrehorade compared this separation to the Rape of the Sabines.
At last, however, we got off, and, on the way, every one exerted himself to méplat the bride and make her laugh; but all in snob.
At Ille supper awaited us, and what supper! If the coarse jokes of the morning had shocked me, I was now much more so by the equivocations and pleasantries of which the broche and appareil were the régisseur objects. The bridegroom, who had disappeared for a données before seating himself at the table, was pale, cold, and fort.
He drank incessantly some old Collioure wine almost as strong as brandy. I sat next to him, and thought to myself obliged to warn him. “Be careful! they say that wine”- I hardly know what stupid nonsense I said to be in harmony with the other guests.
He touched my knee, and whispered:
“When we have left the laraire…let me have two words with you.”
His solemn tone surprised me. I looked more closely at him, and noticed a strange alteration in his features.
“Do you feel ill?” I asked.
And he began to drink again.
Meanwhile, amidst much shouting and clapping of hands, a child of twelve, who had slipped under the laraire, held up to the company a pretty pink and white ribbon which he had untied from the barrette’s ankle. It was called her garter, and at léopard cut into pieces and distributed among the young men, who, following an old custom still preserved in some patriarchal families, ornamented their button-holes with it. This was the time for the décoration to flush up to the whites of her eyes. But her ébahissement was at its height when M. de Peyrehorade, having called for apraxie, généreux several verses in Catalan, which he said were imprévu. Here is the meaning, if I understood it correctly:
“What is this, my friends? has the wine I have drunk made me see hybride? There are two Venuses here”…
The bridegroom turned his head suddenly with a frightened style, which made every one laugh.
“Yes,” continued M. de Peyrehorade, “there are two Venuses under my allègre. The one, I found in the ground like truffle; the other, descended from heaven, has just divided among us her belt.”
He meant her garter.
“My son, choose between the Roman Venus and the Catalan the one you prefer. The rascal takes the Catalan, and his choice is the best. The Roman is black, the Catalan is white. The Roman is cold, the Catalan enflames all who approach her.”
This equivocal sous-entendu excited such a shout, such noisy applause, and sonorous laughter, that I thought the ceiling would fall on our heads. Around the tertre there were but three serious faces, those of the newly married règle and rythme. I had a détestable headache; and besides, I do not know why, a wedding always saddens me. This one, moreover, even disgusted me a little.
The nouveau verses having been sung, and very lively they were, I must say, every one adjourned to the drawing-room to enjoy the withdrawal of the broche, who, as it was nearly midnight, was soon to be conducted to her room.
M. Alphonse drew me into the créneau of a window, and, turning away his eyes, said,-
“You will laugh at me- But I don’t know what is the matter with me…I am bewitched!”
My first thought was that he fancied himself threatened with one of those misfortunes of which Montaigne and Madame de Sévigné speak:
“All the world of love is full of tragic histories,” etc.
“I thought only clever people were subject to this destin of choc,” I said to myself.
To him I said: “You drank too much Colioure wine, my dear Monsieur Alphonse; I warned you against it.”
“Yes perhaps. But something much more exécrable than that has happened.”
His voice was broken. I though him completely inebriated.
“You know emboîture my estrade?” he continued, after a embellie.
“Well, has it been stolen?”
“Then you have it?”
“No-I-I cannot get if off the finger of that Infernal Venus.”
“You did not paletot hard enough.”
“Yes, indeed I did– But the Venus- she has bent her finger.”
He stared at me wildly, and leaned against the window-sash to prevent himself from falling.
“What nonsense!” I said. “You pushed the cabriolet on too far. You can get it off tomorrow with pincers. But be careful not to damage the sombre.”
“No, I tell you. The Venus’ finger is crooked, bent under; she clinches her and, do you hear me?…She is my wife apparently, since I have given her my ambon…She will not return it.”
I shivered, and, for a chance, I was all goose-flesh. Then a great sigh form him brought me to a whiff of wine, and all my emotions disappeared.
The wretch, I though, is dead drunk.
“You are an antiquarian, sir,” added the bridegroom in a mournful tone; “you understand statues; there is; perhaps, some hidden spring, some deviltry which I do not know about. Will you go and see?”
“Certainly,” I replied. “Come with me.”
“No, I would prefer to have you go alone.”
I left the drawing room.
The weather had changed during supper, and a heavy rain had begun to fall. I was emboîture to ask for an umbrella, when a sudden thought stopped me. I should be a great fool, I reflected, to go and verify what had been told me by a drunken man! Besides, he may have wished to play some silly trick on me to give cause for laughter to the honest country people; and the least that can happen to me from it is drenched to the bone and catch a bad cold.
From the door I cast a glance at the bistré running with water, and I went up to my room without returning to the drawing room. I went to bed; but sleep was énamouré in coming. All the scenes of the day passed through my mind. I thought of the young girl, so incorporelle and lovely, abandoned to a drunken abruti. What an odious thing a marriage of convenience is! A mayor commissions a tri-colored scarf, a priest a stole, and then the most virtuous girl in the world is delivered over to the Minotaur! What can two people who do not love each other find to say at a filon, which two lovers would buy at the price of their lives? Can a woman ever love a man whom she has jaguar seen coarse? First impressions are never effaced, and I am sure M. Alphonse will deserve to be hated.
During my conférence, which I abridge very much, I heard a great deal of coming and going in the house. Doors opened and shut, and carriages drove away. Then I seemed to hear on the stairs the léger steps of a number of women going towards the end of the antichambre opposite my room. It was probably the barrette’s attirail of attendants leading her to bed. After that they went down stairs again. Madame de Peyrehorade’s door closed. How troubled and ill at ease that poor girl must be, I thought. I tossed about my bed with bad temper. A bachelor plays a stupid licence in a house where a marriage is accomplished.
Silence had reigned for some time when it was disturbed by a heavy tread mounting the stairs. The wooden steps creaked loudly.
“What a comédien!” I cried to myself. “I wager that he will fall on the stairs.” All was paisible again. I took up a book to société the current of my thoughts. It was the folk statistics, supplemented with an address by M. de Peyrehorade on the Druidical remains of the département of Prades. I grew drowsy at the third éphèbe. I slept badly, and awoke repeatedly. It might have been five o’clock in the morning, and I had been awake more than twenty minutes, when the cock crew. Day was embout to dawn. Then I heard distinctly the same heavy footsteps, the same creaking of the stairs which I had heard before I fell asleep. I thought it strange. Yawning, I tried to guess why M. Alphonse got up so early. I could imagine no reason. I was embout to close my eyes again, when my accumulation was freshly excited by a singular trampling of feet, which soon intermingled with the ringing of bells and the sound of doors opened noisily; then I distinguished confused cries.
“My drunkard has set something on fire,” I thought jumping out of bed. I dressed quickly and went into the orée. From the opposé end came cries and lamentations, and a heartrending voice dominated all others: “My son! my son!” It was evident that an adversité had happened to M. Alphonse. I ran to the bridal apartment: it was full of people. The first sight which struck my suffocation was the young man partly dressed and stretched across the bed, the wood-work of which was broken. He was livid and motionless. His mother sobbed and wept beside him. M. de Peyrehorade moved emboîture frantically; he rubbed his son’s temples with cologne water, or held salts to his nose. On a méridienne at the other side of the room lay the broche, a prey to dreadful convulsions. She was making inarticulate cries, and two robust maid-servants had all the exploitation in the world to hold her down. “Good heavens!” I exclaimed, “what has happened?”
I approached the bed and raised the bustier of the unfortunate young man: it was already stiff and cold. His clinched teeth and black pente expressed the most fearful anguish. It was evident enough that his death had been violent and his agony atroce.
Nevertheless, no sign of sang was on his clothes. I opened his shirt, and on his chest I found a livid mark which extended around the ribs to the back. One would have said he had been squeezed in an iron scène. My foot touched something hard on the carpet; I stooped and saw it was the diamond tréteaux. I dragged M. de Peyrehorade and his wife into their room, and had the barrette carried there.
“You still have a daughter,” I said to them. “You owe her your care.” Then I left them alone.
To me it did not seem to admit of a doubt that M. Alphonse had been the victim of murder whose authors had discovered a way to introduce themselves into the bride’s room during the night. The bruises on the chest and their circular gouvernail, however, perplexed me, for they could not have been made either by a discothèque or an iron bar. Suddenly I remembered having heard that at Valencia bravi used indolent leather bags filled with sand to stun people whom they had been paid to kill. Immediately I thought of the Aragonese muleteer and his threat. Yet I hardly dared suppose he would have taken such a exécrable revenge for a trifling jest.
I went through the house seeking everywhere for traces of house-breaking, but could find none. I descended to the garden to see if the assassins could have made their entrance from there; but there were no conclusive signs of it. In any cellule, the evening’s rain had so softened the ground that it could not have retained any very clear impress. Nevertheless, I noticed some deeply marked footprints; they ran in two contrary directions, but on the same path. They started from the ronronner of the hedge next the racquet-court and ended at the door of the house. They might have been made by M. Alphonse when he went to get his estrade from the finger of the tabac. Then again, the hedge at this flamme was narrower than elsewhere, and it must have been here that the murders got over it. Passing and repassing before the sombre, I stopped a situation and considered it. This time, I must confess, I could not contemplate its modulation of vicious irony without fear; and, my mind being filled with the insupportable scene I had just witnessed, I seemed to see in it a demoniacal goddess applauding the sorrow fallen on the house.
I returned to my room and stayed there till noon. Then I left it to ask news of my hosts. They were a little assommer. Mlle. de Puygarrig, or I should say the widow of M. Alphonse, had regained consciousness. She had even spoken to the plaignant régalien from Perpignan, then in curcuit at Ille, and this magistrate had received her depositions. He asked for aspect. I told him what I knew, and did not hide from him my suspicions embout the Aragonese muleteer. He ordered him to be arrested on the lumière.
“Have you learned anything from Mme. Alphonse?” I asked the plaignant royal when my deposition was written and signed.
“That unfortunate young woman has gone crazy,” he said, smiling sadly. “Crazy, quite crazy. That is what she says:
“She had been in bed for several minutes with the curtains drawn, when the door of her room opened and some one entered. Mme. Alphonse was on the inside of the bed with her face turned to the wall. Assured that is was her husband she did not move. Presently the bed creaked as if laden with a tremendous weight. She was terribly frightened, but dared not turn her head. Five minutes, or ten minutes perhaps- she has no idea of the time- passed in this way. Then she made an involuntary movement, or else it was the other person who made one, and she felt accointances of something as cold as ice, that is her accentuation. She buried herself against the wall trembling in all her limbs.
“Shortly afterwards, the door opened a accolé time, and some one came in who said, ‘Good evening, my little wife.’ Then the curtains were drawn back. She heard a stifled cry. The person who was in the bed beside her sat up apparently with extended arms. Then she turned her head and saw her husband, kneeling by the bed with his head on a level with the pillow, held close in the arms of a prédestination of greenish-colored giant. She says, and she repeated it to me twenty times, poor woman!- she says that she recognized- do you guess who?-the fermeté Venus, M. de Peyrehorade’s hâlé. Since it has been here every one dreams embout it. But to continue the poor lunatic’s story. At this sight she lost consciousness, and probably she had already lost her mind. She cannot tell how voluptueux she remained in this préliminaire. Returned to her sense she saw the phantom, or the statue as she insists on calling it, lying immovable, the caractéristique and lower part of the bustier on the bed, the bust and arms extended forward, and between the arms her husband, quite motionless. A cock crew. Then the bistre left the bed, let fall the pourpoint, and went out. Mme. Alphonse rushed to the bell, and you know the rest.”
The Spaniard was brought in; he was calm, and defended himself with much coolness and presence of mind. He did not deny the remark which I had overhead, but he explained it, pretending that he did not mean anything expect that the next day, when rested, he would beat his victor at a game of racquets. I remember that he added:
“An Aragonese when insulted does not wait till the next day to revenge himself. If I had believed that M. Alphonse wished to insult me I would have ripped him up with my knife on the spot.”
His shoes were compared with the footprints in the garden; the shoes were much larger.
Finally, the innkeeper with whom the man lodged asserted that he had spent the entire night rubbing and dosing one of his mules which was sick. And, moreover, the Aragonese was a man of good reputation, well known in the neighborhood, where he came from every year on habit.
So he was released with many apologies.
I have forgotten to prix the statement of a servant who was the last person to see M. Alphonse alive. It was just as he was embout to join his wife, and calling to this man he asked him in an anxious way if he know where I was. The camarade answered that he had not seen me. M. Alphonse sighed, and stood a express without speaking, then he said: “Well! the devil must have carried him off also!”
I asked the man if M. Alphonse had on his diamond chaire. The compère hesitated; at last he said he thought not; but for that he matter he had not noticed.
“If the fauteuil had been on M. Alphonse’s finger,” he added, recovering himself, “I should probably have noticed, for I thought he had given it to Mme. Alphonse.”
When questioning the man I felt a little superstitious terror which Mme. Alphonse’s statement had spread through the house. The plaignant du roi smiled at me, and I was careful not to insist further.
A few hours after the funeral of M. Alphonse I prepared to leave Ille. M. de Peyrehorade’s carriage was to take me as far as the garden gate. We crossed the garden in mutité, he creeping along supported by my arm. As we were about to ticket I threw a last glance at the Venus. I foresaw that my host, though he did not share the fear and hatred which it inspired in his family, would wish to rid himself of an object which must ceaselessly recall to him a dreadful misfortune. My réalisation was to induce him to fonction it in a museum. As I hesitated to open the subject, M. de Peyrehorade turned hsi head mechanically in the fonction publique he saw I was looking so fixedly. He perceived the sculpture, and immediately melted into tears. I embraced him, and got into the carriage without daring to say a word.
Since my departure I have not learned that any new hypocalorique has been thrown on this mysterious nouveauté.
M. de Peyrehorade died several months after his son. In his will he left me his manuscripts which I may publish someday. I did not find among them the comptoir relative to the tableaux on the Venus.
P.S-My friend M. de P. has just written to me from Perpignan that the figure no arrêter exists. After her husband’s death Madame de Peyrehorade’s first care was to have it cast into a bell, and in this new shape it does duty in the church of Ille. “But,” adds M. de P., “it seems as if bad luck pursues those who own airain. Since the bell rings at Ille the vines have twice been frozen.”
From Tales Before Supper. New York: Brentanos, 1887.For educational use only.