But towards what, in reality, did all this platonic rhetoric tend? Simply to this: that a victim should submit smilingly to the sacrifice. Plainly, this new life — no longer conjugal but fraternal — was entirely based on one presumption the absolute self-renunciation of the sister. I re gained my full liberty, could go in search of those keen sensations which my nerves demanded, could absorb myself passionately in another woman, live my life outside my home and then go back and find my sister awaiting me, find in my rooms a thousand traces of her thoughtful care — roses on my table arranged by her hand, all around me the order, the elegance, the spotless brightness of some favourite abode of one of the Graces. Of a surety, an enviable state of things for me! And where find another such pearl beyond price as the woman who thus con sented to sacrifice her youth and beauty for me, content to be repaid merely by a kiss of gratitude, almost of religious devotion, on her pure and gentle brow?