Ah, how much wiser I should be,' he said to himself, 'to remove the marks from my linen, and retire to some lonely forest, twenty leagues from Paris, there to end this accursed existence! A stranger to the countryside, my death would remain unknown for a fortnight, and who would think of me after a fortnight had passed?'
This reasoning was extremely sound. But next day, a glimpse of Mathilde's arm, seen between her sleeve and her glove, was enough to plunge our young philosopher in cruel memories, which, at the same time, made him cling to life. 'Very well!' he would then say to himself, 'I shall follow out this Russian policy to the end. How is it going to end?