Madame Chrysanthème, by Pierre Loti

Chapter 41

An Unexpected Call

September 3d.

My little Chrysanthème for the first time visited me on board-ship to day, chaperoned by Madame Prune, and followed by my youngest sister in-law, Mademoiselle La Neige. These ladies had the tranquil manners of the highest gentility. In my cabin is a great Buddha on his throne, and before him is a lacquer tray, on which my faithful sailor servant places any small change he may find in the pockets of my clothes. Madame Prune, whose mind is much swayed by mysticism, at once supposed herself before a regular altar; in the gravest manner possible she addressed a brief prayer to the god; then drawing out her purse (which, according to custom, was attached to her sash behind her back, along with her little pipe and tobacco-pouch), placed a pious offering in the tray, while executing a low curtsey.

They were on their best behavior throughout the visit. But when the moment of departure came, Chrysanthème, who would not go away without seeing Yves, asked for him with a thinly veiled persistency which was remarkable. Yves, for whom I then sent, made himself particularly charming to her, so much so that this time I felt a shade of more serious annoyance; I even asked myself whether the laughably pitiable ending, which I had hitherto vaguely foreseen, might not, after all, soon break upon us.

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