One night when my father was reading his newspaper in the dining-room, I sat beside my mother talking quietly to her, and, as was my wont, extolling my hero Marc: for the hundredth time did I draw his picture in vivid word-painting for my mother’s edification. She listened as usual and smiled. Presently I noticed that she began looking about her as if she had lost something. She searched in her work-basket, on the floor, in the table drawers, and at last she tapped her forehead and said: “To be sure! I remember now, I must have left them in the garden.”
“What is it, mamma?” I asked.
“My scissors; I went into the garden this afternoon and was working there. I must have left them on the bench, or perhaps they fell under it.”
She turned to go out of the room; as she did so I followed softly, and without her seeing me I opened the door which led from the corridor into the garden and went out. It was very dark. I saw little squares of light thrown through the kitchen window on the gravel; and that seemed to be the only light I could see anywhere. There was no moon, and no stars. I hesitated for a moment, one moment only, and then I said to myself, “What would Marc do? He would go and find his mother’s scissors, I am sure; I will go then: yes, I will certainly go.” But as I made an uncertain and trembling step forward, my courage almost forsook me: it seemed as if it was not I walking there in the dark. I heard the loud beating of my heart, each throb was painful! I heard a surging in my ears and I held my breath involuntarily. All sorts of vague forms floated before my eyes. Something, surely, moved amongst the dead leaves to the right, I thought. I passed by quickly. But something is surely stealing along at the top of the wall to the left? Here I stopped, and waited a moment. What could it be? Something, I felt certain, was watching me, following every movement! However, on I went, and arrived at last, more dead than alive, at the wooden seat under the large cherry-tree. I passed my hand rapidly over the seat—no! the scissors were not there. “They must, then, be upon the ground,” said I to myself, and I said again, in a whisper, “What is easier than to pick them up? I must of course feel for them under the seat. Of course I must pick them up.”
It was very easy to talk of picking them up; but how was I to do it? If I stooped, surely that mysterious something that had certainly been stealthily following me, would pounce out upon my back. And if it should be hidden behind the seat! If it should jump into my face! Horrible! Then, too, what a dreadful feeling it would be to pass one’s hand over the earth without being able to see what one touched! who could tell what dirty, horrible, slimy and cold creature I might not come in contact 杭州桑拿滨江 with? Without trying to invent any new monster to terrify myself with, supposing a toad should touch my hand!
But I now remembered Marc, and I determined I would be worthy of his friendship. In desperation I stooped suddenly and placed my hand on the gravel under the seat. I uttered a piercing cry and lost consciousness.
XXIV. DON’T LET MARC KNOW.
When I recovered my senses I found myself lying in my bed; my father and mother were standing at the side of it, and our doctor was holding my hand.
“The serpent! the serpent!” were my first words.
Dr. Brissaud looked at my father, who said a few words to him in a low tone. My head felt so weak that I seemed to hear his voice from a long distance; I succeeded, however, in distinguishing these words: “He went into the garden without a light to look for his mother’s scissors, 杭州夜网桑拿按摩论坛 and in feeling for them he must have put his hand on a coil of rope used for hanging up the linen to dry, and which was left under the garden seat.” Upon that I went off to sleep.
I kept my bed for a long time after this, for I was very ill. I was continually having dreams and fancies, in which all the fantastic and horrid creatures conjured up by Montézuma were perpetually playing a part. Always the same: Croquemitaine, the Colonel’s horse, the monkey in the Jardin des Plantes, the little boy who lived opposite who put out his tongue at me, Montézuma himself and Dr. Lombalot, who both made faces at me, and, at last, that dreadful serpent that I had, in fancy, touched with my hand. As the creatures of my imagination would torment me more and more, I would fall to shaking and shivering all over, my poor father standing pale by 杭州按摩服务哪里好 my bedside, and my mother crying. Then, as they caressed me, I would implore them “not to tell Marc; not let Marc know that I was a coward!”
In saying this, I was not just to myself, I can see that now. I had really displayed great courage; and, under the influence of the best feeling, I had obliged my poor little trembling body to obey my will. Only, in a moment of great excitement, I had trusted too much to my strength and it had failed me. I had attempted too much. If I had not been so determined, if I had only asked advice, I should not have imposed upon myself a task so terribly severe to me. To brave unknown dangers in the dark was too great a trial for my nature to attempt all at once. I should have begun more gradually to overcome my fears, and then I should not have failed so sadly.
Indeed, after this adventure, I was, 杭州品茶上课 for a long time, in a worse state of mind than I had ever been before.
XXV. “THE BOY WHO HAS BEEN SO ILL.”
The snow was on the ground and the ponds all frozen when I was well enough to return to school. I was warmly welcomed by my schoolfellows, above all by Marc, who had called to ask after me every day during my illness, although he lived quite at the other end of the town. He looked upon me now with the profoundest interest, blended with affection: that respectful sort of interest which one child feels for another who has been brought near to death.
The Count alone, of all the boys, said nothing kind to me when I first met him on my return to Miss Porquet’s. He was too much taken up with arranging a new violet comforter well over his nose, under which comforter he managed to bury his face and hide himself like a dormouse.
I 杭州滨江高级spa会所 was too weak at first to join in any violent games; the boys still played at prisoner’s base, and hockey, they made slides, and put snow down one another’s backs, much to the horror of poor Miss Porquet. When the sun shone, Marc and I walked together up and down the playground until I was tired. When it was too cold for me to go out, he and I remained indoors and had a game at dominoes or draughts in the schoolroom.
I was quite sure, from Marc’s manner to me, that he was ignorant of my terrible secret; that neither he, nor any of the other boys, knew that I was a coward. My late illness was sufficient excuse for any nervous timidity which I might display on occasions. All went well with me at the school now. If any new pupil who came during that term appeared anxious to make unpleasant remarks respecting the size of my 杭州足疗保健 nose or any other peculiarity, he was always stopped at once by the information, “That is the boy who has been so ill.” Some of them indeed seemed to take quite a pride in themselves that they numbered amongst them a boy who had been so very ill. What will not people be proud of?
XXVI. MARC’S FRIENDSHIP FOR ME.
Marc was extremely, and deservedly, popular amongst his schoolfellows; and, as I was his particular friend, some of his popularity was reflected upon me.
That I had been attracted by him the first day I saw him was not extraordinary; for he won, even at first sight, every one’s sympathy. Besides, had he not held out his hand to me that first day when he saw me in trouble? and did I not owe it to him that I had escaped the jokes and bullying which new boys generally get inflicted upon them?
But he, why did he like me? 杭州足浴快餐价格 Perhaps for the simple reason that I loved him so, and that I required his friendship; his heart was so generous and kind!
At any rate, thanks to him, I found out what it was to be the friend of one who was thought so highly of. I was respected because he liked me, and I felt that I grew better by being so much with him.
When spring came round, and the cockchafers began to buzz among the linden trees, more than one of those unfortunate insects would be roughly seized by the wing, and passed from the hand which held it captive down the back of some timid young
scholar. Then the most appalling shrieks would be heard from the frightened boy, accompanied by yells of joy and shouts of laughter from the perpetrator of the mischief. As for me the very idea of having a cockchafer put down my neck made me shudder all over. Miss Porquet, 杭州洗浴按摩特服 who was rather nervous herself, was very angry when the boys played this trick, but she could not stop it.