MANON LESCAUT I
Why did he love her? Curious fool, be still!
Is human love the fruit of human will?
Just about six months before my departure for Spain, I first met
the Chevalier des Grieux. Though I rarely quitted my retreat,
still the interest I felt in my child's welfare induced me
occasionally to undertake short journeys, which, however, I took
good care to abridge as much as possible.
I was one day returning from Rouen, where I had been, at her
request, to attend a cause then pending before the Parliament of
Normandy, respecting an inheritance to which I had claims derived
from my maternal grandfather. Having taken the road by Evreux,
where I slept the first night, I on the following day, about
dinner-time, reached Passy, a distance of five or six leagues. I
was amazed, on entering this quiet town, to see all the
inhabitants in commotion. They were pouring from their houses in
crowds, towards the gate of a small inn, immediately before which
two covered vans were drawn up. Their horses still in harness,
and reeking from fatigue and heat, showed that the cortege had
only just arrived. I stopped for a moment to learn the cause of