A CHAPTER IN WHICH THEY ADORE EACH OTHER
Chat at table, the chat of love; it is as impossible to reproduce
one as the other; the chat of love is a cloud; the chat at table
Fameuil and Dahlia were humming. Tholomyes was drinking.
Zephine was laughing, Fantine smiling, Listolier blowing a wooden
trumpet which he had purchased at Saint-Cloud.
Favourite gazed tenderly at Blachevelle and said:--
"Blachevelle, I adore you."
This called forth a question from Blachevelle:--
"What would you do, Favourite, if I were to cease to love you?"
"I!" cried Favourite. "Ah! Do not say that even in jest!
If you were to cease to love me, I would spring after you, I would
scratch you, I should rend you, I would throw you into the water,
I would have you arrested."
Blachevelle smiled with the voluptuous self-conceit of a man
who is tickled in his self-love. Favourite resumed:--
"Yes, I would scream to the police! Ah! I should not restrain myself,
not at all! Rabble!"
Blachevelle threw himself back in his chair, in an ecstasy,
and closed both eyes proudly.
Dahlia, as she ate, said in a low voice to Favourite, amid the uproar:--
"So you really idolize him deeply, that Blachevelle of yours?"
"I? I detest him," replied Favourite in the same tone, seizing her
fork again. "He is avaricious. I love the little fellow opposite
me in my house. He is very nice, that young man; do you know him?
One can see that he is an actor by profession. I love actors.
As soon as he comes in, his mother says to him: `Ah! mon Dieu! my
peace of mind is gone. There he goes with his shouting. But, my dear,
you are splitting my head!' So he goes up to rat-ridden garrets,
to black holes, as high as he can mount, and there he sets to singing,
declaiming, how do I know what? so that he can be heard down stairs!
He earns twenty sous a day at an attorney's by penning quibbles.
He is the son of a former precentor of Saint-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas.
Ah! he is very nice. He idolizes me so, that one day when he saw
me making batter for some pancakes, he said to me: `Mamselle, make
your gloves into fritters, and I will eat them.' It is only
artists who can say such things as that. Ah! he is very nice.
I am in a fair way to go out of my head over that little fellow.
Never mind; I tell Blachevelle that I adore him--how I lie! Hey! How I
Favourite paused, and then went on:--
"I am sad, you see, Dahlia. It has done nothing but rain all summer;
the wind irritates me; the wind does not abate. Blachevelle is
very stingy; there are hardly any green peas in the market;
one does not know what to eat. I have the spleen, as the English say,
butter is so dear! and then you see it is horrible, here we are
dining in a room with a bed in it, and that disgusts me with life."