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The Works of Edgar Allan Poe Raven Edition Volume 3
"Upon this latter point," said Madame Lalande, laughingly, "you have been surely injudicious in coming to confession; for, without the confession, I take it for granted that no one would have accused you of the crime. By the by," she continued, "have you any recollection-" and here I fancied that a blush, even through the gloom of the apartment, became distinctly visible upon her cheek -- "have you any recollection, mon cher ami of this little ocular assistant, which now depends from my neck?"
As she spoke she twirled in her fingers the identical double eye-glass which had so overwhelmed me with confusion at the opera.
"Full well -- alas! do I remember it," I exclaimed, pressing passionately the delicate hand which offered the glasses for my inspection. They formed a complex and magnificent toy, richly chased and filigreed, and gleaming with jewels, which, even in the deficient light, I could not help perceiving were of high value.
"Eh bien! mon ami" she resumed with a certain empressment of manner that rather surprised me -- "Eh bien! mon ami, you have earnestly besought of me a favor which you have been pleased to denominate priceless. You have demanded of me my hand upon the morrow. Should I yield to your entreaties -- and, I may add, to the pleadings of my own bosom -- would I not be entitled to demand of you a very -- a very little boon in return?"
"Name it!" I exclaimed with an energy that had nearly drawn upon us the observation of the company, and restrained by their presence alone from throwing myself impetuously at her feet. "Name it, my beloved, my Eugenie, my own! -- name it! -- but, alas! it is already yielded ere named."
"You shall conquer, then, mon ami," said she, "for the sake of the Eugenie whom you love, this little weakness which you have at last confessed -- this weakness more moral than physical -- and which, let me assure you, is so unbecoming the nobility of your real nature -- so inconsistent with the candor of your usual character -- and which, if permitted further control, will assuredly involve you, sooner or later, in some very disagreeable scrape. You shall conquer, for my sake, this affectation which leads you, as you yourself acknowledge, to the tacit or implied denial of your infirmity of vision. For, this infirmity you virtually deny, in refusing to employ the customary means for its relief. You will understand me to say, then, that I wish you to wear spectacles; -- ah, hush! -- you have already consented to wear them, for my sake. You shall accept the little toy which I now hold in my hand, and which, though admirable as an aid to vision, is really of no very immense value as a gem. You perceive that, by a trifling modification thus -- or thus -- it can be adapted to the eyes in the form of spectacles, or worn in the waistcoat pocket as an eye-glass. It is in the former mode, however, and habitually, that you have already consented to wear it for my sake."
This request -- must I confess it? -- confused me in no little degree. But the condition with which it was coupled rendered hesitation, of course, a matter altogether out of the question.
"It is done!" I cried, with all the enthusiasm that I could muster at the moment. "It is done -- it is most cheerfully agreed. I sacrifice every feeling for your sake. To-night I wear this dear eye-glass, as an eye-glass, and upon my heart; but with the earliest dawn of that morning which gives me the pleasure of calling you wife, I will place it upon my -- upon my nose, -- and there wear it ever afterward, in the less romantic, and less fashionable, but certainly in the more serviceable, form which you desire."
Our conversation now turned upon the details of our arrangements for the morrow. Talbot, I learned from my betrothed, had just arrived in town. I was to see him at once, and procure a carriage. The soiree would scarcely break up before two; and by this hour the vehicle was to be at the door, when, in the confusion occasioned by the departure of the company, Madame L. could easily enter it unobserved. We were then to call at the house of a clergyman who would be in waiting; there be married, drop Talbot, and proceed on a short tour to the East, leaving the fashionable world at home to make whatever comments upon the matter it thought best.