Mathilde made an effort to use the more intimate form; she was evidently more attentive to this unusual way of speaking than to what she was saying. This use of the singular form, stripped of the tone of affection, ceased, after a moment, to afford Julien any pleasure, he was astonished at the absence of happiness; finally, in order to feel it, he had recourse to his reason. He saw himself highly esteemed by this girl who was so proud, and never bestowed unrestricted praise; by this line of reasoning he arrived at a gratification of his self-esteem.
Mathilde returned and strolled past the drawing-room windows; she saw him busily engaged in describing to Madame de Fervaques the old ruined castles that crown the steep banks of the Rhine and give them so distinctive a character. He was beginning to acquit himself none too badly in the use of the sentimental and picturesque language which is called in certain drawing-rooms.