The Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard
"Certainly Monsieur," the little man answered, out of pure good-nature.
And, all smiling again, he offered me the "Amours d'Heloise et d'Abeilard"; but I made him understand that, at my age, I had no use for love-stories.
Still smiling, he proposed me the "Regle des Jeux de la Societe"-- piquet, bezique, ecarte, whist, dice, draughts, and chess.
"Alas!" I said to him, "if you want to make me remember the rules of bezique, give me back my old friend Bignan, with whom I used to play cards every evening before the Five Academies solemnly escorted him to the cemetery; or else bring down to the frivolous level of human amusements the grave intelligence of Hamilcar, whom you see on that cushion, for he is the sole companion of my evenings."
The little man's smile became vague and uneasy.
"Here," he said, "is a new collection of society amusements--jokes and puns--with a receipt for changing a red rose to a white ro