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sortes balzacanae

"madame," said monsieur de bourbonne, in a voice of some emotion, "i am an old man; i am almost octave's father, and i ask your pardon most humbly for the question that i shall now venture to put to you, giving you my word of honor as a loyal gentleman that your answer shall die here,"--laying his hand upon his heart, with an old-fashioned gesture that was truly religious. "are these rumors true; do you love octave?"

"monsieur," she replied, "to any other man i should answer that question only by a look; but to you, and because you are indeed almost the father of monsieur de camps, i reply by asking what you would think of a woman if to such a question she answered _you_? to avow our love for him we love, when he loves us--ah! that may be; but even when we are certain of being loved forever, believe me, monsieur, it is an effort for us, and a reward to him. to say to another!--"

she did not end her sentence, but rose, bowed to the old man, and withdrew into her private apartments, the doors of which, opening and closing behind her, had a language of their own to his sagacious ears.

"ah! the mischief!" thought he; "what a woman! she is either a sly one or an angel"; and he got into his hired coach, the horses of which were stamping on the pavement of the silent courtyard, while the coachman was asleep on his box after cursing for the hundredth time his tardy customer.

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