This reflection added bitterness to the frightful disgrace of the adultery. He fully understood what Nana was asking for, since in that ever-growing self-abandonment which prompted him to put her in possession of all his secrets, he had complained to her of his position and had confided to her the tiresome difficulty he was in with regard to the signature of the countess.
The lusters and the crystal ornaments lit up a luxurious display of mirrors and precious furniture. It seemed as though Sabine's long chair, that solitary red silk chair, whose soft contours were so marked in the old days, had grown and spread till it filled the whole great house with voluptuous idleness and a sense of tense enjoyment not less fierce and hot than a fire which has been long in burning up.
People were already dancing. The band, which had been located in the garden, in front of one of the open windows, was playing a waltz, the supple rhythm of which came softly into the house through the intervening night air. And the garden seemed to spread away and away, bathed in transparent shadow and lit by Venetian lamps, while in a purple tent pitched on the edge of a lawn a table for refreshments had been established. The waltz, which was none other than the quaint, vulgar one in the Blonde Venus, with its laughing, blackguard lilt, penetrated the old hotel with sonorous waves of sound and sent a feverish thrill along its walls. It was as though out of the common street and were sweeping the relics of a vanished epoch out of the proud old dwelling, bearing away the Muffats' past, the age of honor and religious faith which had long slumbered beneath the lofty ceilings.
Meanwhile near the hearth, in their accustomed places, the old friends of the count's mother were taking refuge. They felt out of their element--they were dazzled and they formed a little group amid the slowly invading mob. Mme du Joncquoy, unable to recognize the various rooms, had come in through the dining saloon. Mme Chantereau was gazing with a stupefied expression at the garden, which struck her as immense. Presently there was a sound of low voices, and the corner gave vent to all sorts of bitter reflections.