I had said that I was not at home to anybody, but one of my friends insisted on coming in.
My servant announced M. Antony R– and behind Joseph’s livery I caught sight of the skirt of a black greatcoat. It was probable that the wearer of it had for his part seen the flap of my dre...
<p>I had said that I was not at home to anybody, but one of my friends insisted on coming in.</p>
<p>My servant announced M. Antony R– and behind Joseph’s livery I caught sight of the skirt of a black greatcoat. It was probable that the wearer of it had for his part seen the flap of my dressing-gown, so it was impossible for me to remain in hiding.</p>
<p>“Very well, let him come in,” said I out loud. “The devil take him!” was my <em>sotto voce</em> comment.</p>
<p>When you are working only the woman you love can disturb you with impunity, because deep down she has always some part in what you are doing.</p>
<p>I, therefore, went to meet him with the half-sulky face of an author who has been intruded on at one of the moments when he hates interruption; but he looked so pale and upset that the first words I said to him were, “Why, what is the matter with you? Whatever has happened?”</p>
<p>“Give me time to get my breath,” he said, “and I will tell you all about it. Perhaps it is a dream, or maybe I am mad.” He threw himself into an armchair and let his head drop between his hands.</p>
<p>I surveyed him with astonishment. His hair was wet from the rain, and his boots, his knees and the bottoms of his trousers were covered with mud. I went to the window and his cabriolet waiting. I could make nothing of it. Seeing my mystification he said, “I’ve been to Pere-Lachaise cemetery. Oh, that accursed masked ball!”</p>
<p>I was still completely puzzled, wondering what a masked ball and Pere-Lachaise could have to do with one another. As he still did not speak, I began to roll a cigarette in my fingers with all the patience of a Spaniard. When it was ready I offered it to Antony, knowing he usually enjoyed a smoke. He merely gave it a nod of thanks, but refused it. The he suddenly cried out, “For God’s sake, Alexandre, listen to me!”</p>
<p>“But I’ve been waiting to listen to you for the last quarter of an hour,” I protested, “and you haven’t told me anything.”</p>
<p>“Oh, I’ll tell you something, or try to – something extraordinary that has happened to me. You remember the Opera Ball where I last met you?”</p>
<p>“After leaving you, feeling bored, lonely and depressed, I decided to go to...