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|The Gambler||Fyodor Dostoevsky|
|Page 6 of 8||
I was proceeding to the General's rooms when I heard a door near me open, and a voice call me by name. It was Mlle.'s mother, the Widow de Cominges who was inviting me, in her daughter's name, to enter.
I did so; whereupon, I heard a laugh and a little cry proceed from the bedroom (the pair occupied a suite of two apartments), where Mlle. Blanche was just arising.
"Ah, c'est lui! Viens, donc, bete! Is it true that you have won a mountain of gold and silver? J'aimerais mieux l'or."
"Yes," I replied with a smile.
"A hundred thousand florins."
"Bibi, comme tu es bete! Come in here, for I can't hear you where you are now. Nous ferons bombance, n'est-ce pas?"
Entering her room, I found her lolling under a pink satin coverlet, and revealing a pair of swarthy, wonderfully healthy shoulders--shoulders such as one sees in dreams--shoulders covered over with a white cambric nightgown which, trimmed with lace, stood out, in striking relief, against the darkness of her skin.
"Mon fils, as-tu du coeur?" she cried when she saw me, and then giggled. Her laugh had always been a very cheerful one, and at times it even sounded sincere.
"Tout autre--" I began, paraphrasing Comeille.
"See here," she prattled on. "Please search for my stockings, and help me to dress. Aussi, si tu n'es pas trop bete je te prends a Paris. I am just off, let me tell you."
"In half an hour."
True enough, everything stood ready-packed--trunks, portmanteaux, and all. Coffee had long been served.
"Eh bien, tu verras Paris. Dis donc, qu'est-ce que c'est qu'un 'utchitel'? Tu etais bien bete quand tu etais 'utchitel.' Where are my stockings? Please help me to dress."
And she lifted up a really ravishing foot--small, swarthy, and not misshapen like the majority of feet which look dainty only in bottines. I laughed, and started to draw on to the foot a silk stocking, while Mlle. Blanche sat on the edge of the bed and chattered.
"Eh bien, que feras-tu si je te prends avec moi? First of all I must have fifty thousand francs, and you shall give them to me at Frankfurt. Then we will go on to Paris, where we will live together, et je te ferai voir des etoiles en plein jour. Yes, you shall see such women as your eyes have never lit upon."
"Stop a moment. If I were to give you those fifty thousand francs, what should I have left for myself?"
"Another hundred thousand francs, please to remember. Besides, I could live with you in your rooms for a month, or even for two; or even for longer. But it would not take us more than two months to get through fifty thousand francs; for, look you, je suis bonne enfante, et tu verras des etoiles, you may be sure."
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