The figure made a movement.
“Keep away!” cried Gilberte. Keep away!”
She offered the burglar all the money and jewels she had on the table if he would consent not to stir. Amid her surprise and terror the idea assailed her that her husband, dissembling his suspicions, had posted witnesses, and had had recourse to the Commissaire de Police. In a flash she distinctly saw before her the long painful future, the glaring scandal, the pretended disdain, the cowardly dissertion of her friends, the just mockery of society, for it is indeed ridiculous to be found out. She saw the divorce, the loss of her position and of her rank. She saw the dreary and narrow existence with her mother, when no one would make love to her, for men avoid women who fail to give them the security of the married state. And all this why? Why this ruin, this disaster. For a piece of folly, for a mere nothing. Thus in a lightning flash spoke the conscience of Gilberte des Aubels.
“Have no fear, Madame,” said a very sweet voice.
Slightly reassured, she found the strength to ask:
“Who are you?”
“I am an angel,” replied the voice.
“What did you say?”
“I am an angel. I am Maurice’s guardian angel.”
“Say it again. I am going mad. I do not understand….”
Maurice, without understanding either, was indignant. He sprang forward and showed himself; with his right hand armed with a slipper he made a threatening gesture, and said in a rough voice:
“You are a low ruffian; oblige me by going the way you came.”
“Maurice d’Esparvieu'” continued the sweet voice, He whom you adore as your Creator has stationed by the side of each of the faithful a good angel whose mission it is to counsel and protect him; it is the invariable opinion of the Fathers, it is founded on many passages in the Bible, the Church admits It unanimously, without, however, pronouncing anathema upon those who hold a cont rare opinion. You see before you one of these Angels, yours, Maurice. I was commanded to watch over your innocence and guard over your chastity.”
–REVOLT OF THE ANGELS by Anatole France, translated by Wilfred Jackson