"and so, my dear comtesse, you are really prepared to end your days here in this backwater? you, who presided so regally over the most sparkling salons of paris and vienna?"
"did i say anything about 'ending my days' ? only that i have no plans at this time - not quite the same thing. must you always make everything a drama? good heavens, have we not had quite enough drama?"
the baron de b-------- laughed good-naturedly, although a close observer - of which there were none present - might have sensed (500) that the comtesse's waspish words had stung him a little.
he had to admit, however, to feeling absurdly flattered and gratified that the comtesse seemed to remember him so well after so many years since their last encounter. "indeed," he answered her, "and what better place to take a bit of leave from the great world than here? with its delightful cold and damp."
"are you cold? make yourself a fire. there is wood and kindling beside the fireplace."
the baron rubbed his hands. "you have no servants? i thought i saw some. why, if i recall, one even admitted me into your charming presence."
"they are busy. they are still unpacking. but i suppose if you are truly suffering -"
"no, no. not at all. i would, however, enjoy a nice cup (600) of hot chocolate, if that could be arranged."
"hot chocolate! so you are still accustomed to hot chocolate up here? i did not know the tide of revolution had stopped so short."
"and you had none in vienna? i had not known the tide of revolution had advanced so far."
the comtesse laughed. "very good. enough of this. i can offer you a cup of tea. will that do?"