sort of physical effect on one — mostly an audible effect.，
I had fulfilled all the conditions imposed by Edmee, and now, it seemed, her only return was an order that I should break them. I thus found myself in the same position as on the day of her conversation with the abbe.
I passed the remainder of the day shut up in my room. All through the night I walked up and down in violent agitation. I made no effort to sleep. I will not tell you the thoughts that passed through my mind; they were not unworthy of an honest man. At daybreak I was at Lafayette's house. He procured me the necessary papers for leaving France. He told me to go and await him in Spain, whence he was going to sail for the United States. I returned to our house to get the clothes and money indispensable to the humblest of travellers. I left a note for my uncle, so that he might not feel uneasy at my absence; this I promised to explain very soon in a long letter. I begged him to refrain from passing sentence on me until it arrived, and assured him that I should never forget all his goodness.
I left before any one in the house was up; for I was afraid that my resolution might be shaken at the least sign of friendship, and I felt that I could no longer impose upon a too generous affection. I could not, however, pass Edmee's door without pressing my lips to the lock. Then, hiding my head in my hands, I rushed away like a madman, and scarcely stopped until I had reached the other side of the Pyrenees. There I took a short rest, and wrote to Edmee that, as far as concerned myself, she was free; that I would not thwart a single wish of hers; but that it was impossible for me to be a witness of my rival's triumph. I felt firmly convinced that she loved him; and I resolved to crush out my own love. I was promising more than I could perform; but these first manifestations of wounded pride gave me confidence in myself. I also wrote to my uncle to tell him I should not hold myself worthy of the boundless affection he had bestowed on me until I had won my spurs as a knight. I confided to him my hopes of a soldier's fame and fortune with all the candour of conceit; and since I felt sure that Edmee would read this letter I feigned unclouded delight and an ardour that knew no regrets; I did not know whether my uncle was aware of the real cause of my departure; but my pride could not bring itself to confess. It was the same with the abbe, to whom I likewise wrote a letter full of gratitude and affection. I ended by begging my uncle to put himself to no expense on my account over the gloomy keep at Roche-Mauprat, assuring him that I could never bring myself to live there. I urged him to consider the fief as his daughter's property, and only asked that he would be good enough to advance me my share of the income for two or three years, so that I might pay the expenses of my own outfit, and thus prevent my devotion to the American cause from being a burden to the noble Lafayette.
My conduct and my letters apparently gave satisfaction. Soon after I reached the coast of Spain I received from my uncle a letter full of kindly exhortations, and of mild censure for my abrupt departure. He gave me a father's blessing, and declared on his honour that the fief of Roche-Mauprat would never be accepted by Edmee, and sent me a considerable sum of money exclusive of the income due me in the future. The abbe expressed the same mild censure, together with still warmer exhortations. It was easy to see that he preferred Edmee's tranquility to my happiness, and that he was full of genuine joy at my departure. Nevertheless he had a liking for me, and his friendship showed itself touchingly through the cruel satisfaction that was mingled with it. He expressed envy of my lot; proclaimed his enthusiasm for the cause of independence; and declared that he himself had more than once felt tempted to throw off the cassock and take up the musket. All this, however, was mere boyish affectation; his timid, gentle nature always kept him the priest under the mask of the philosopher.
Between these two letters I found a little note without any address, which seemed as if it had been slipped in as an after-thought. I was not slow to see that it was from the one person in the world who was of real interest to me. Yet I had not the courage to open it. I walked up and down the sandy beach, turning over this little piece of paper in my hands, fearful that by reading it I might destroy the kind of desperate calm my resolution had given me. Above all, I dreaded lest it might contain expressions of thanks and enthusiastic joy, behind which I should have divined the rapture of contented love for another.
"What can she be writing to me about?" I said to myself. "Why does she write at all? I do not want her pity, still less her gratitude."
I felt tempted to throw this fateful little note into the sea. Once, indeed I held it out over the waves, but I immediately pressed it to my bosom, and kept it hidden there a few moments as if I had been a believer in that second sight preached by the advocates of magnetism, who assert that they can read with the organs of feeling and thought as well as with their eyes.
At last I resolved to break the seal. The words I read were these:
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