writer seen through the leaves of his book becomes a fascinating，
"Then it would be Bernard," cried Edmee. "Well, I should hate M. de la Marche, if he insisted on a duel with this poor boy, who only knows how to handle a stick or a sling. How can such ideas occur to you, abbe? You must really loathe this unfortunate Bernard. And fancy me getting my husband to cut his throat as a return for having saved my life at the risk of his own. No, no; I will not suffer any one either to challenge him, or humiliate him, or persecute him. He is my cousin; he is a Mauprat; he is almost a brother. I will not let him be driven out of this home. Rather I will go myself."
"These are very generous sentiments, Edmee," answered the abbe. "But with what warmth you express them! I stand confounded; and, if I were not afraid of offending you, I should confess that this solicitude for young Mauprat suggests to me a strange thought."
"Well, what is it, then?" said Edmee, with a certain brusqueness.
"If you insist, of course I will tell you: you seem to take a deeper interest in this young man than in M. de la Marche, and I could have wished to think otherwise."
"Which has the greater need of this interest, you bad Christian?" said Edmee with a smile. "Is it not the hardened sinner whose eyes have never looked upon the light?"
"But, come, Edmee! You love M. de la Marche, do you not? For Heaven's sake do not jest."
"If by love," she replied in a serious tone, "you mean a feeling of trust and friendship, I love M. de la Marche; but if you mean a feeling of compassion and solicitude, I love Bernard. It remains to be seen which of these two affections is the deeper. That is your concern, abbe. For my part, it troubles me but little; for I feel that there is only one being whom I love with passion, and that is my father; and only one thing that I love with enthusiasm, and that is my duty. Probably I shall regret the attentions and devotion of the lieutenant-general, and I shall share in the grief that I must soon cause him when I announce that I can never be his wife. This necessity, however, will by no means drive me to desperation, because I know that M. de la Marche will quickly recover. . . . I am not joking, abbe; M. de la Marche is a man of no depth, and somewhat cold."
"If your love for him is no greater than this, so much the better. It makes one trial less among your many trials. Still, this indifference robs me of my last hope of seeing you rescued from Bernard Mauprat."
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