cured of her gloom, with no more sadness in her heart than there were wrinkles on her brow.
The good sisters, who had been so sure of her vocation, noticed with much astonishment that Mademoiselle Rouault seemed to be slipping from their grasp. So prodigal had they been, in fact, of sacred offices, of prayers and retreats and sermons, so constantly had preached the veneration due to saints and martyrs, so often had instilled the principles of modesty and salvation, that she had reacted like a horse ridden on too tight a rein. She stopped short, and the bit slipped from between her teeth. Her spirit, positive and assertive for all its wild enthusiasms, that had loved the church for its flowers, music for the words of ballads, and literature for its sentimental thrills, revolted when faced by the mysteries of the faith. She felt the irk of a discipline which was at odds with her temperament. When her father removed her from the school, no one was sorry to see her go. The Superior even discovered that, during her last weeks there, she had shown a lack of respect towards the community.
At first, after reaching home, she took pleasure in ordering the servants about, but soon grew out of love with country scenes, and began to regret her convent. By the time Charles first came to Les Bertaux she saw herself as stripped of all illusions, with nothing more to learn and nothing more to feel.
But the anxieties of her new duties, or, perhaps, the stimulus of a man's mere presence in the house, had been sufficient at that time to convince her that she was finally within grasp of that marvellous passion which hitherto had hovered, like a great red-winged bird, in the skies of poetry. But now she could not believe that this uneventful existence was the happiness she had dreamed of.
SHE used to reflect at times that these ought none the less to be the best days of her life, the honeymoon, as they called it. To taste its sweetness, she should doubtless have travelled to those lands with sounding names where newly-wedded bliss is spent in exquisite languor.* Seated in a post-chaise behind curtains of blue silk, she should have climbed, at walking pace, precipitous mountain roads, listening to the postillion's song echoing from the rocks to the