It is terrible." Georges did not understand. And Colette told him that she had just sent Christophe the news of Grazia's death. She was gone, without having had time to say farewell to anybody. For several months past the roots of her life had been almost torn out of the earth: a puff of wind was enough to lay it low.

But he thought that Grazia's melancholy and Olivier's distress of mind had found solace in their children, and that it was well. "All that we have suffered, I, my friends, and so many others whom I never knew, others who lived before us, all has been, that these two might attain joy.... The joy, Antoinette, for which thou wast made, the joy that was refused thee!... Ah!

But we enjoy them more than those who will enter them. When you descend to the plain, you lose sight of the plain's immensity and the far horizon." The soothing influence that Christophe exercised over Georges and Emmanuel had the source of its power in Grazia's love.

Joyous was it to listen to the song of the fleeting hours, and to see the tide of life ebbing away.... A shadow of anxiety was thrown on their happiness by Grazia's failing health. But, in spite of her little infirmities, she was so serene that her hidden sufferings did but heighten her charm.

The perpetual state of conflict in which his new friends lived was very tiring. Christophe began by thinking it his duty to go to Grazia's house to defend them. Sometimes he went there to forget them. No doubt he was like them, too much like them. They were now what he had been twenty years ago. And life never goes back.

Christophe soon divined her tactics, and by a counter-trick tried in his turn to control his warmth and to write more composedly, so that Grazia's replies should not be so studiously restrained. The longer he stayed in Paris the greater grew his interest in the new activity stirring in that gigantic ant-heap.

He was steeped in a love which was the best part of his joy, a twofold love, for Grazia's daughter and Olivier's son. He united them in thought, and was to unite them in reality. Georges and Aurora had met at Colette's: Aurora lived in her cousin's house. She spent part of the year in Rome and the rest in Paris. She was eighteen: Georges five years older.

His friend's playing helped him to understand the obscure passions he had expressed. With closed eyes he would listen, and follow her, and hold her by the hand, as she led him through the maze of his own thoughts. By living in his music through Grazia's soul, he was wedded to her soul and possessed it.

He even felt no bitterness. Grazia's peace spread over him. He accepted everything. O life why should I reproach thee for that which thou canst not give? Art thou not very beautiful and very blessed as thou art? I must fain love thy smile, Gioconda.... Christophe would gaze at his beloved's beautiful face, and read in it many things of the past and the future.

So he stayed, partly to please her, but also because his artistic curiosity was reawakened, and was drawn on to contemplation of the renewal of art. Everything that he saw and did he presented for Grazia's scrutiny in his letters. He knew that he was deceiving himself as to the interest she would take in it all; he suspected her of a certain indifference.