Paris 4

The Temptation


When I alighted at the hôtel, the porter told me a young woman with a band-box had been that moment inquiring for me——I do not know, said the porter, whether she is gone or no. I took the key of my chamber of him, and went up stairs; and when I had got within ten steps of the landing before my door, I met her coming easily down.

It was the fair fille de chambre I had walked along the Quai de Conti with: Madame de R**** had sent her upon some commissions to a merchande de modes within a step or two of the hôtel de Modene; and as I had fail’d in waiting upon her, had bid her enquire if I had left Paris; and if so, whether I had not left a letter address’d to her.

As the fair fille de chambre was so near my door, she returned back and went into the room with me for a moment or two whilst I wrote a card.

It was a fine still evening, in the latter end of the month of May——the crimson window-curtains (which were of the same colour of those of the bed) were drawn close—the sun was setting, and reflected through them so warm a tint into the fair fille de chambre’s face—I thought she blush’d—the idea of it made me blush myself—we were quite alone; and that super-induced a second blush before the first could get off.

There is a sort of a pleasing half-guilty blush, where the blood is more in fault than the man—’tis sent impetuous from the heart, and virtue flies after it—not to call it back, but to make the sensation of it more delicious to the nerves—’tis associated——

But I ’ll not describe it——I felt something at first within me which was not in strict unison with the lesson of virtue I had given her the night before——I sought five minutes for a card—I knew I had not one——I took up a pen—I laid it down again—my hand trembled—the devil was in me.

I know as well as any one, he is an adversary, whom if we resist, he will fly from us—but I seldom resist him at all; from a terror, that though I may conquer, I may still get a hurt in the combat—so I give up the triumph for security; and instead of thinking to make him fly, I generally fly myself.

The fair fille de chambre came close up to the bureau where I was looking for a card—took up first the pen I cast down, then offered to hold me the ink; she offer’d it so sweetly, I was going to accept it—but I durst not—I have nothing, my dear, said I, to write upon——Write it, said she, simply, upon any thing——

I was just going to cry out, Then I will write it, fair girl! upon thy lips——

If I do, said I, I shall perish—so I took her by the hand, and led her to the door, and begg’d she would not forget the lesson I had given her——She said, indeed she would not—and as she utter’d it with some earnestness, she turn’d about and gave me both her hands, closed together, into mine—it was impossible not to compress them in that situation—I wish’d to let them go: and all the time I held them, I kept arguing within myself against it—and still I held them on——In two minutes I found I had all the battle to fight over again—and I felt my legs and every limb about me tremble at the idea.

The foot of the bed was within a yard and a half of the place where we were standing—I had still hold of her hands—and how it happened I can give no account, but I neither ask’d her—nor drew her—nor did I think of the bed—but so it did happen, we both sat down.

I’ll just shew you, said the fair fille de chambre, the little purse I have been making to-day to hold your crown. So she put her hand into her right pocket, which was next me, and felt for it for some time—then into the left——“She had lost it”——I never bore expectation more quietly—it was in her right pocket

  By PanEris using Melati.

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