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March 22 , 2008

A Virgin Heart: A Novel


The terrace was in a ruinous state, over-grown with grass and brambles and acacias. The girl was leaning on the Parapet, eating mulberries. She displayed her purple-stained hands and laughed. M. Hervart looked-up. "You've got a moustache as well," he said. "It looks very funny." "But I don't want to look funny." She walked to the little stream flowing close at hand, wetted her handkerchief and began wiping her mouth. M. Hervart's eyes returned to his magnifying glass; he went on examining the daisy on which he had two scarlet bugs so closely joined together that they seemed a single insect. They had gone to sleep in the midst of their love-making, and but for the quivering of their long antennæ, you would have thought they were dead. M. Hervart would have liked to watch the ending of this little scene of passion; but it might go on for hours. He lost heart. "What's more," he reflected, "I know that the male does not die on the spot; he goes running about in search of food as soon as he's free. Still, I would have liked to see the mechanism of separation. That will come with luck. One must always count on luck, whether one is studying animals or men. To be sure, there is also patience, perseverance...." He made a little movement with his head signifying, no doubt, that patience and perseverance were not in his line. Then, very gently he laid the flower with its sleeping burden on the parapet of the terrace. It was only then he noticed that Rose was no longer there.
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