Because he had once spent some hundreds of napoleons in the companyof young ladies with yellow chignons, Maxence fancied himself a manof experience, and had but little faith in the virtue of a girl oftwenty, living alone in a hotel, and left sole mistress of her ownfancy. He began to watch for every occasion of meeting her; and,towards the last of the month, he had got so far as to bow to her,and to inquire after her health.

But, the first time he ventured to make love to her, she looked athim head to foot, and turned her back upon him with so much contempt,that he remained, his mouth wide open, perfectly stupefied.

"I am losing my time like a fool," he thought.

Great, then, was his surprise, when the following week, on a fineafternoon, he saw Mlle. Lucienne leave her room, no longer clad inher eternal black dress, but wearing a brilliant and extremely richtoilet. With a beating heart he followed her.

In front of the Hotel des Folies stood a handsome carriage andhorses.

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As soon as Mlle. Lucienne appeared, a footman opened respectfullythe carriage-door. She went in; and the horses started at a fulltrot.

Maxence watched the carriage disappear in the distance, like achild who sees the bird fly upon which he hoped to lay hands.

"Gone," he muttered, "gone!"But, when he turned around, he found himself face to face with theFortins, man and wife; who were laughing a sinister laugh.

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"What did I tell you?" exclaimed Mine Fortin. "There she is,started at last. Get up, horse! She'll do well, the child."The magnificent equipage and elegant dress had already producedquite an effect among the neighbors. The customers sitting in frontof the caf were laughing among themselves. The confectioner andhis wife were casting indignant glances at the proprietors of theHotel des Folies.

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"You see, M. Favoral," replied Mme. Fortin, "such a girl as thatwas not made for our neighborhood. You must make up your mind toit; you won't see much more of her on the Boulevard du Temple."Without saying a word, Maxence ran to his room, the hot tearsstreaming from his eyes. He felt ashamed of himself; for, afterall, what was this girl to him?.

She is gone!" he repeated to himself. "Well, good-by, let her go!"But, despite all his efforts at philosophy, he felt an immensesadness invading his heart: ill-defined regrets and spasms of angeragitated him. He was thinking what a fool he had been to believein the grand airs of the young lady, and that, if he had had dressesand horses to give her, she might not have received him so harshly.

At last he made up his mind to think no more of her, - one of thosefine resolutions which are always taken, and never kept; and in theevening he left his room to go and dine in the Rue St. Gilles.