"No, it is all over," replied Prudence. "I have given him a talking to, and he has promised to be reasonable."
In spite of myself I glanced at the bed; it was not unmade. As for Marguerite, she was already in her white dressing-gown. We sat down to table.
Charm, sweetness, spontaneity, Marguerite had them all, and I was forced from time to time to admit that I had no right to ask of her anything else; that many people would be very happy to be in my place; and that, like Virgil's shepherd, I had only to enjoy the pleasures that a god, or rather a goddess, set before me.
I tried to put in practice the theories of Prudence, and to be as gay as my two companions; but what was natural in them was on my part an effort, and the nervous laughter, whose source they did not detect, was nearer to tears than to mirth.
At last the supper was over and I was alone with Marguerite. She sat down as usual on the hearthrug before the fire and gazed sadly into the flames. What was she thinking of? I know not. As for me, I looked at her with a mingling of love and terror, as I thought of all that I was ready to suffer for her sake.
"Do you know what I am thinking of?"
"Of a plan that has come into my head."
"I can't tell you yet, but I can tell you what the result would be. The result would be that in a month I should be free, I should have no more debts, and we could go and spend the summer in the country."