I had quitted the marble pavilion and was about to visit the wilderness where roam, in apparent liberty, many rare animals, when I came, somewhat suddenly, on a small circular plot into which several walks emptied, cut through a thick hedge of myrtle. By a sun-dial stood a little man, robust, though aged, rather stout, and of a very cheerful countenance; his attire plain and simple, a pelisse of dark silk, and a turban white as his snowy beard; he was in merry conversation with his companion, who turned out to be his jester. In the background, against the myrtle wall, stood three or four courtiers in rich dresses—courtiers, for the little old man was their princely master—the great Pasha of Egypt.
One morning, there arrived at my camp, naked and innocent, a contingent of twenty-six men, women and children from the Mann Ranges, nearly 1,000 miles north-west. They stood trembling and shrinking at their first sight of a white woman, but when I took the hand of the old man, and told him in his dialect that he could sit down without fear, the tension relaxed, and it became a question of clothing my new family.
In the course of my love affairs, which were as incomplete and incoherent as the rest of my existence, I had already experienced this dangerous situation more than once. I had been the too tender friend of a woman who was in love with some one else, but never with the sudden emotion, with the troubled ardour in the sympathy which Camille Favier inspired in me. I was afraid, so I concluded a solemn compact with myself. I took my hand and said aloud: “I give my word of honour to myself I will keep my door shut all the week, and I will neither go to see Jacques, nor to the theatre, nor to the Rue de la Barouillére. I will work and cure myself.”详情 ➢
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