Madame Chrysanthème, by Pierre Loti

Chapter 24

Sociability

August 4th.

Our ship, the ‘Triomphante’, which has been lying in the harbor almost at the foot of the hill on which stands my house, enters the dock to-day to undergo repairs rendered necessary by the long blockade of Formosa.

I am now a long way from my home, and am compelled to cross by boat the whole breadth of the bay when I wish to see Chrysanthème; for the dock is situated on the shore, opposite to Diou-djen-dji. It is sunk in a little valley, narrow and deep, midst all kinds of foliage — bamboos, camellias, trees of all sorts; our masts and spars, seen from the deck, look as if they were tangled among the branches.

The situation of the vessel — no longer afloat — gives the crew a greater facility for clandestine escapes from the ship at no matter what hour of the night, and our sailors have made friends with all the girls of the villages perched on the mountains above us.

These quarters, and this excessive liberty, give me some uneasiness about my poor Yves; for this country of frivolous pleasure has a little turned his head.

Moreover, I am more and more convinced that he is in love with Chrysanthème.

It is really a pity that the sentiment has not occurred to me instead, since it is I who have gone the length of marrying her.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 22:36