door. He was seized with
compassion. Had he not once picked up a cur on such a stormy night as
this? Yet he felt angry with himself for softening. He never had
anything to do with women; he treated them all as if ignorant of their
existence, with a painful timidity which he disguised under a mask of
bravado. And that girl must really think him a downright fool, to
bamboozle him with that story of adventure--only fit for a farce.
Nevertheless, he ended by saying, 'That's enough. You had better come
in out of the wet. You can sleep in my rooms.'
But at this the girl became even more frightened, and threw up her
'In your rooms? Oh! good heavens. No, no; it's impossible. I beseech
you, monsieur, take me to Passy. Let me beg of you.'
But Claude became angry. Why did she make all this fuss, when he was
willing to give her shelter? He had already rung the bell twice. At
last the door opened and he pushed the girl before him.
'No, no, monsieur; I tell you, no--'
But another flash dazzled her, an