Camille (La Dame aux Camilias) (Chapter 10, page 6 of 7)


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Chapter 10

"Well, but the duke?"

"What duke?"

"My jealous old duke."

"He will know nothing."

"And if he should?"

"He would forgive you."

"Ah, no, he would leave me, and what would become of me?"

"You risk that for some one else."

"How do you know?" "By the order you gave not to admit any one
to-night." "It is true; but that is a serious friend."

"For whom you care nothing, as you have shut your door against him at
such an hour."

"It is not for you to reproach me, since it was in order to receive you,
you and your friend."

Little by little I had drawn nearer to Marguerite. I had put my arms
about her waist, and I felt her supple body weigh lightly on my clasped
hands.

"If you knew how much I love you!" I said in a low voice. "Really true?"

"I swear it."

"Well, if you will promise to do everything I tell you, without a word,
without an opinion, without a question, perhaps I will say yes."

"I will do everything that you wish!"

"But I forewarn you I must be free to do as I please, without giving you
the slightest details what I do. I have long wished for a young lover,
who should be young and not self-willed, loving without distrust, loved
without claiming the right to it. I have never found one. Men, instead
of being satisfied in obtaining for a long time what they scarcely
hoped to obtain once, exact from their mistresses a full account of the
present, the past, and even the future. As they get accustomed to her,
they want to rule her, and the more one gives them the more exacting
they become. If I decide now on taking a new lover, he must have three
very rare qualities: he must be confiding, submissive, and discreet."

"Well, I will be all that you wish."

"We shall see."

"When shall we see?"

"Later on."

"Why?"

"Because," said Marguerite, releasing herself from my arms, and, taking
from a great bunch of red camellias a single camellia, she placed it in
my buttonhole, "because one can not always carry out agreements the day
they are signed."

"And when shall I see you again?" I said, clasping her in my arms.

"When this camellia changes colour."

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