“Oubliez les professeurs.” So said Madame Beck. Madame Beck was a wise woman, but she should not have uttered those words. To do so was a mistake. That night she should have left me calm—not excited, indifferent, not interested, isolated in my own estimation and that of others—not connected, even in idea, with this second person whom I was to forget.

Forget him? Ah! they took a sage plan to make me forget him—the wiseheads! They showed me how good he was; they made of my dear little man a stainless little hero. And then they had prated about his manner of loving. What means had I, before this day, of being certain whether he could love at all or not?

I had known him jealous, suspicious. I had seen about him certain tendernesses, fitfulnesses—a softness which came like a warm air, and a ruth which passed like early dew, dried in the heat of his irritabilities; this was all I had seen. And they, Père Silas and Modeste Maria Beck (that these two wrought in concert I could not doubt) opened up the adytum of his heart—showed me one grand love, the child of this southern nature’s youth, born so strong and perfect that it had laughed at Death himself, despised his mean rape of matter, clung to immortal spirit, and, in victory and faith, had watched beside a tomb twenty years.

This had been done not idly. This was not a mere hollow indulgence of sentiment. He had proven his fidelity by the consecration of his best energies to an unselfish purpose, and attested it by limitless personal sacrifices; for those once dear to her he prized he had laid down vengeance and taken up a cross.

Now, as for Justine Marie, I knew what she was as well as if I had seen her. I knew she was well enough; there were girls like her in Madame Beck’s school—phlegmatics—pale, slow, inert, but kind-natured, neutral of evil, undistinguished for good.

If she wore angel’s wings, I knew whose poet-fancy conferred them. If her forehead shone luminous with the reflex of a halo, I knew in the fire of whose irids that circlet of holy flame had generation.

Was I, then, to be frightened by Justine Marie? Was the picture of a pale dead nun to rise, an eternal barrier? And what of the charities which absorbed his worldly goods? What of his heart sworn to virginity?

Madame Beck—Père Silas—you should not have suggested these questions. They were at once the deepest puzzle, the strongest obstruction, and the keenest stimulus I had ever felt. For a week of nights and days I fell asleep, I dreamt, and I woke upon these two questions. In the whole world there was no answer to them, except where one dark little man stood, sat, walked, lectured, under the headpiece of a bandit bonnet-grec, and within the girth of a sorry paletôt, much be-inked and no little adust.

After that visit to the Rue des Mages, I did want to see him again. I felt as if—knowing what I now knew—his countenance would offer a page more lucid, more interesting than ever. I felt a longing to trace in it the imprint of that primitive devotedness, the signs of that half-knightly, half-saintly chivalry which the priest’s narrative imputed to his nature. He had become my Christian hero; under that character I wanted to view him.

Nor was opportunity slow to favour. My new impressions underwent her test the next day. Yes; I was granted an interview with my “Christian hero”—an interview not very heroic, or sentimental, or biblical, but lively enough in its way.

About three o’clock of the afternoon, the peace of the first classe, safely established, as it seemed, under the serene sway of Madame Beck, who, in propria persona, was giving one of her orderly and useful lessons—this peace, I say, suffered a sudden fracture by the wild inburst of a paletôt.

Nobody at the moment was quieter than myself. Eased of responsibility by Madame Beck’s presence, soothed by her uniform tones, pleased and edified with her clear exposition of the subject in hand (for she taught well), I sat bent over my desk, drawing—that is, copying—an elaborate line engraving, tediously working up my copy to the finish of the original, for that was my practical notion of art; and, strange to

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