But he was entirely at the orders of monsieur le comte, and would not have taken his pupil out to walk without first asking the father's permission; that was the reason for his selection, despite his limited mental qualifications. But is not our father the first friend that nature gives us? Accustomed from childhood never to reply to him, and to obey promptly his lightest word, he had retained, as he grew to manhood, that habit of passive obedience and that timidity which made it impossible for him to allow his heart to speak freely in his father's presence.
But we must do the Comte de Montreville the justice to say that he did not abuse his power over his son. You have responded to the pains I have taken with your education, and I have no reason to complain of your disposition. But you are approaching the age at which a young man should study the world for himself. Henceforth, therefore, you are to enjoy absolute liberty. You will continue to live in the same house with me; but I will give you the apartment in the wing that looks on the street; mine is at the end of the courtyard; thus you will be able to go in and out at any hour without disturbing me.
My steward has orders to supply you with money whenever you ask for it. I know you, and I am sure that you will not abuse this indulgence. You are at an age when young men are eager for pleasure; enjoy yourself, indulge in the follies characteristic of your years; I mean those that lead neither the heart nor the mind astray. You are easily moved, you adore all women!
Be more particular about forming intimacies with men of your age; do not make friends too hurriedly: one should be more exacting in the choice of a friend than of a mistress. However, I shall not lose sight of you altogether; I trust that the principles I have instilled into you will keep you from any reprehensible excess, and that I shall have no reason to repent of having given you liberty of action.
But the time for that has not come yet; enjoy your youth, and do not abuse it. At eighteen, most young men say to themselves: "I must fall in love," as they say: "I must dance, or gamble, or ride. But he had not yet acquired the careless tone and the free and easy manners of the dandies of the day; he did not sway back and forth as he talked, he did not smile into mirrors, he did not deal in the airy nothings which are so popular in salons, and had not the art of looking a woman in the eye to tell her that she was adorable.
It was at Tortoni's that he had made the acquaintance of Dubourg. Several strangers, annoyed by the noise they made, tried to impose silence on them; Dubourg's only reply was to throw the remains of a bowl of punch at their heads. They sprang to their feet, shouting and threatening, and during the quarrel Dubourg's four friends deemed it prudent to disappear in rapid succession. Dubourg accepted, and a duel took place the next day.
Now that we know the Comte de Montreville and his son, let us enter the salons, where the most brilliant society of the capital was assembled, because, as Dubourg had said, it was the count's reception day. The company was scattered through several rooms, all resplendent with the light of innumerable candles; here there was dancing, there card-playing; elsewhere, the guests were chatting, or strolling about, or standing where they could get a breath of air; the heat was intense in the cardroom, where it was almost impossible to force one's way through the crowd of bettors.
The ladies were remarkable for the elegance, and in some cases for the singularity, of their toilets. As a general rule, the costumes of the mothers are even more elaborate than those of the unmarried women. Is it because they think that their daughters stand less in need of external attractions? I do not presume to decide the question. It is different with men: with them, the ball costume, when once established, is soon adopted by all, and those who desire to distinguish themselves have no other resource than to dress their hair in some original way, or to devote their attention to the knot of their cravat; but this last-mentioned portion of the costume is beginning to be no longer a matter of choice.
But it was nearly three o'clock, and the party was drawing to a close. It was the best of all times for the observer to use his faculties; there were fewer people dancing, the circulation was less impeded, and the guests who remained ventured to talk and laugh a little. Toward the close of a ball, informality takes the place of ceremony, and many women do not begin to be charming until they cease to be affected.
Some persons who had not previously had an opportunity to speak together were conversing in a corner of the salon. Young men chatted with the pretty partners, whom they invited from choice rather than necessity. The ladies smiled more sweetly upon their escorts; people drew nearer together, they knew one another better. Monsieur de Montreville walked about his salons with the amiable manner of a host who excels in the art of doing the honors.
Yes, to the keen observer, his tranquillity was assumed, the smile which passed over his lips when he was spoken to was forced and unnatural. A few feet away from him a young woman was seated, a young woman not more than twenty years old, although she had been three years married to a sexagenarian notary, who was in the cardroom at that moment.
Madame Dernange was very pretty; her vivacity, the sparkle of her eyes, her costume, her brilliant intellect, everything about her had a dazzling effect: she attracted, subjugated, enslaved, with a glance; but, as she knew the power of her charms, she sought constantly to add to the number of her adorers. At sixteen, she married Monsieur Dernange, without the slightest affection for him; but she married him joyfully. She was impatient to be her own mistress, and to give a free rein to her penchant for flirtation. With a husband nearly sixty, she was very certain of being able to do just what she chose; and, in fact, Monsieur Dernange left her perfectly untrammelled.
She was seen at all receptions, balls, festivities of every description. Sometimes her husband escorted her, but generally he went to bed about the time that his wife left the house; which did not prevent them from leading a very peaceful life. It is a very simple matter to live happily with your wife: all you have to do is just to allow her to do whatever she desires.
Monsieur Dernange had an abundance of savoir vivre ; he was enchanted to have his wife enjoy herself. Many people declared that the young woman did not abuse his confidence, and it is very possible: she was a great flirt, but flirts love no one; however, it is not well to trust them too far. She had had no difficulty in setting him on fire with a glance, and with a glance she had realized her triumph.
The young Comte de Montreville was not a conquest to be disdained; Madame Dernange resolved to fasten him to her chariot, and for that nothing more was necessary than a glance or two, an occasional smile, a faint pressure of the hand, and a veiled remark uttered in a voice that seemed to tremble slightly. And the coquette used all her powers with such art! She was not in love, and she knew so well how to win love! A person who loves sincerely has much more difficulty in making an impression than one who does not love at all; for the latter is able to avail herself of all her advantages, while the other, striving to appear amiable, is often only awkward and embarrassed.
Ninon said that, and Ninon knew what she was talking about. But at this party of his father's a young and gorgeous colonel had made his appearance; he was a man notorious for his bonnes fortunes , his amorous adventures; a man, in a word, whom any woman might be proud to number among her captives, and Madame Dernange had at once determined to achieve this new triumph. Now and again, she deigned to smile sweetly upon you, it is true; but you were in love, you were jealous, and you saw that the coquette instantly turned her eyes upon the man she desired to enslave.
Several times the young man had approached the scintillating Dernange; he wished to show her that he had detected her perfidy; but she contented herself with smiling at him, and saying:. You have a solemn air which is most amusing. How comforting such words are to a jealous lover! He leaned against a mantel, with his back turned to them, and pretended to be engrossed by the dance; but he did not lose a word of what was said on the sofa.
The colonel was amiable and gallant; he strove to make himself agreeable to Madame Dernange, and she put forth all her powers and played with him with her usual grace. She laughed so heartily, she was so pretty, so fascinating, when she desired to make a favorable impression!
If he had not held himself in check, he would have insulted the colonel and overwhelmed the faithless one with reproaches. Luckily, he retained his senses sufficiently to realize all the impropriety of such a scene, and all the ridicule it would bring upon him; for in love intrigues the party who complains, and who is betrayed, is always laughed at.
It is said: the vanquished pay the fine; we might vary this proverb slightly, and thus make it truer, except in England, where husbands are in the habit of exacting compensation in money when they are in the position which I understand by vanquished. The colonel paid his court in military fashion—that is to say, he made much progress in a short time.
Unluckily, this method is often successful. Unluckily for timid lovers, that is; or is not she the best who makes us happy most promptly? The respects of a colonel of hussars! The pretty woman made some resistance; she laughed and joked, and said that he must ask her husband first; then added, with a rippling laugh:. The colonel was urgent, and he received permission. He went into a room which was empty for the moment, a large number of the guests having already taken their leave.
He threw himself into an easy-chair. The room was but dimly lighted by the flickering candles in glass globes; he could abandon himself without reserve to his feelings.
He drew his handkerchief, he was choking; his eyes were filled with tears. A young man almost always pays with tears the fees of his apprenticeship in society. In two or three years, he will laugh at the misfortune that now drives him to despair. After being deceived, he will deceive in his turn; but he will never again be so foolish as to fix his fancy on a coquette, and it may be that some hearts that love him sincerely will be rejected by him, for the innocent often have to pay for the guilty.
The words faithless , fickle , traitress , issued from his mouth, followed by long sighs. For more than half an hour he had been buried in his reflections. The candles had gone out, the music had ceased. Several people passed him without attracting his attention, nor was he, sitting in a dark corner, noticed by them. But a familiar voice awoke the echoes in his heart: it was the voice of Madame Dernange, talking with one of her friends. They seemed in excellent spirits. That young man is romantic and sentimental enough to give one the blues; he's an idiot! But give me my shawl, which you have had in your hand an hour.
The colonel is waiting to escort me to my carriage. He found it difficult to believe his ears. Shame, jealousy, anger, filled his heart, where love had already ceased to fill any space; for his self-esteem had been wounded, and wounded self-esteem soon triumphs over love.
Indeed, she is right; I was an idiot to love her! But it's all over, yes, forever! She thinks that she can bring me to her feet, enslave me again, with a word and a smile! But, no, I will not be her dupe again; I know her now! But, my dear Dubourg, she was making a fool of me. I was strongly tempted to insult the fellow and kill him. You ought not to bear him any grudge for it; on the contrary, you ought to be grateful to him, for he has taught you to know a woman who was making a fool of you.
Now, let me tell you that you have an unfortunate tendency to indulge in sentimental and romantic passions, which will do you a bad turn some day. You absolutely insist on being loved, adored, if you will! Is that the way a young man ought to make love? It isn't that you are in reality more constant than other men, for this is your seventh ill-fated passion in the year that I have known you. The great trouble is that your seven passions have all left you first, whereas you ought to have taken the initiative.
However, you have always found consolation thus far, and you will this time too, I promise you. But, my friend, don't, I implore you, take on so seriously for what ought to be simply a youthful folly. You must have a certain amount of sentiment, to gratify the ladies, but you mustn't overdo it; because, you see, excess of sentiment kills sentiment; and what I am saying to you is perfectly reasonable; I am sure that your father, the count, would agree with me, if he were here, and that he would be overjoyed to find that you have a friend who gives you nothing but good advice, and who would give you a lot more—if he had not lost last night the five hundred francs his poor aunt sent him.
In the first place, my landlord, who is a genuine Vulture ; secondly, an evening party at little Delphine's—you know, I took you there once; but as you must always have a touch of sentiment in everything, you never went again; and yet, she would have given you some, for your money, that would have been worth quite as much as Madame Dernange's. Lastly, I played, and I lost all that I possessed! Really, I didn't know which way to turn.
But I thought of you; I know how loyal your friendship is. At first, I didn't expect to see you until to-morrow; but, finding everything in commotion in this house, it occurred to me that I might wait for you here; and I have had a nap while your charmer was being spirited away from you. I have been going into society only two years and a half, and I am sick of it already. This is my plan——". But when a man travels alone, he is always bored to death; one can't be more than half happy when he has no one to whom he can impart the sentiments inspired by a beautiful landscape, an ancient monument, or an imposing ruin!
Besides, you are too young to run about the world alone; you need a companion who is wise, well informed, and, above all, experienced; well, my friend, I offer myself as your mentor. I will form attachments as we go along, or, better still, I'll give them up altogether. My mind is made up; I propose to be virtuous and orderly; you will be edified by my behavior. I don't think that he'll object; I have already mentioned the subject to him, and he seemed to approve of it. I shall say that a friend of mine, who is also about to travel, will be able to accompany me for some time. Above all things, don't mention little Delphine, or my aunt, or my supposed marriage, or my triplets.
So, then, it's agreed. It is broad daylight now; I have slept enough, but you need rest. Go to bed; during the day, you can speak to your father, and come and tell me what he says. Lend me a dozen louis; I owe you thirty already, but we will settle up when I get my next remittance from my aunt. He trembled slightly when he appeared before him, and the count, instead of assisting his son to confide in him, waited silently for him to say what he wanted. He set forth his project, however, and awaited in fear and trembling his father's reply. The count seemed to reflect, and did not speak for some minutes.
Travel; I am willing; it cannot fail to be useful to you. But if your presence should become necessary, I trust that nothing would delay your return? If you are willing, I will join forces with him. I have heard of this Monsieur Dubourg, whom you call your friend, and, although I have seen him with you only two or three times, I know enough of him to be unwilling that he should be my son's travelling companion. His family is respectable, I know, but Monsieur Dubourg is a great reprobate, they say. I cannot prevent your associating in Paris with such light-headed characters; but when you are to travel for your instruction, and to mature your judgment, I tell you again that a Monsieur Dubourg is not a proper person for you to travel with.
I don't propose that you shall take Germain either; that fellow has been behaving badly for some time. Besides, when you are travelling you should be able to do without a valet. With your money, you will find servants enough wherever you stop. You know him well enough, I think, not to regret having him for your travelling companion.
He would have preferred to travel with Dubourg, whose inexhaustible gayety harmonized perfectly with his own sentimental disposition; a fact which seems strange, at first blush, but which is very common: small men love tall women, and small women large men; loquacious folk like those who say little; gourmands never dine satisfactorily except with those who are abstemious; the strong form alliances with the weak; men of genius select wives who attend strictly to their household duties; female authors rarely have men of intellect for their husbands; ostentatious people cannot live comfortably except with those who make no pretensions; knaves consort with men of probity; the most sentimental women often love the most frivolous men, and the most loyal of the one sex will give her heart to the most fickle of the other; lastly, libertines pursue innocence, and innocence often yields to the seductions of a ne'er-do-well.
Extremes meet, contrasts are drawn together, and a painter finds his most beautiful effects in the opposition of light and shadow. Do you know that, if monsieur le comte were not your father, I—— Although, after all, he is not far from right. But if he knew how thoroughly I have reformed! That sort of thing positively makes me ill! No matter; let us allow monsieur le comte to have his way; we will carry out our plans, all the same. Just don't say a word, and I will arrange matters so that—— By the way, what sort of a man is this tutor? By the way, get all the money you can, for money is never a disadvantage when you're travelling; and be sure to let me know what time you are to start, and in what direction you are going.
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He had a double chin, which was quite in harmony with a nose like a huge chestnut. Like Monsieur Tartufe, he had red ears and a florid complexion. His stomach was beginning to embarrass him a little, but his short legs, with their enormous calves, seemed strong enough to support an even heavier bulk. He was not a great scholar, but he was proud of what he did know, and was by no means insensible to praise. To travel in a comfortable post chaise with the Comte de Montreville's son, with that one of his pupils who reflected the greatest credit on him!
As he was well pleased with his son's ready submission in the matter of a travelling companion, he determined to reward him by allowing him to go wherever he chose. I have succeeded, by leading always an orderly, regular life, in saving a considerable fortune in anticipation of your marriage; but you must not encroach upon your patrimony.
A young man's preparations are soon made. At last, everything was ready. The poor boy fancied that she would regret him, and that his departure would make her miserable! He was certain to lose all such illusions after he had travelled a short time. The carriage was waiting; the postilion was in the saddle. I tell you again that I want to avoid all those ceremonies which add nothing to the pleasure of a journey. Monsieur de Montreville, surely it is enough, when we have in addition a comfortable carriage and good horses.
We are not going to the world's end. And then, you know, your father said that we could ask him for more, in an emergency. We are going to Italy, and that country is infested with brigands; between Rome and Naples, especially, they say the highroads are very dangerous. When we get there, we must take every precaution. They were already nine leagues from Paris, on a very fine road, where it was difficult to imagine any possible mishap. Suddenly the loud cracking of a postilion's whip announced that there were other travellers behind them.
The clatter drew rapidly nearer, indicating that the berlin was overtaking them and would soon pass them by. A cloud of dust enveloped them, but the road was so wide that there was no need for them to turn out. The berlin stopped. The postilion of the chaise reviled the other postilion, calling him fool and blockhead and drunkard, for running into him on a road where three carriages could easily pass. He proved to be more frightened than hurt; he felt himself all over, straightened his wig, and kept repeating that the fall would certainly upset his digestion. Meanwhile, the postilion of the berlin had dismounted; after exchanging a few words with his passenger, he, hat in hand, approached our travellers, who were still in the ditch, and, after apologizing for his awkwardness, said to them that Baron Ladislas Potoski, Palatine of Rava and Sandomir, requested permission to come in person to inquire for their welfare, and to offer them such assistance as was in his power.
The tutor had not finished speaking, when the soi-disant Polish nobleman alighted from his berlin and walked toward them, with his hand on his hip, affecting a most dignified air and carriage. I have often heard of him; the primus inter pares of tutors! How delighted I am to make his acquaintance! Dubourg finally put an end to the poor man's embarrassment by taking his hand and pressing it hard. Dear Dubourg! That annoys me the more, because I expected to get a seat in your carriage, whereas I must offer to take you in mine, which is a very different matter. Never mind: let me talk and act.
But be ready to second me, and back up what I say, when it's necessary. You nearly spoiled everything by calling me Dubourg; luckily, I found a way to straighten that out; but don't make any more such blunders, or I shall be obliged to travel without you, and I assure you I shall not go very far. This plan being adopted, they left the postilion to bring the vehicle to the village, and our three travellers entered the Polish baron's berlin.
It was a wretched old affair, the lining patched and soiled, and so badly hung that the passengers were jolted terribly. It was in this same carriage that he rescued Stanislas Leczinski, when he was pursued by his rival, Augustus, whose cause was espoused by the Czar, while Charles XII of Sweden was the protector of Stanislas. When my father left Cracow, during a period of civil commotion, this modest berlin contained six millions in gold and jewels; it was the remnant of his fortune, with which he intended to live in retirement in Bretagne, where they have delicious milk and butter.
I know that it is not modern, and that it might be hung better; twenty times, my steward has talked of having it repainted, and of having it newly lined inside, but I always refuse. When I travel, I lay it all aside; I am the man of nature, and I play the part of a simple observer. However, this is mere amorous petulance, I see; you are still a little romantic, a little sentimental.
One loves to tread the ground from which the genius sprang that has outlived so many generations. In all that surrounds us, we fancy that we recognize the great man who, by his writings, his feats of arms, or his virtues, made his birthplace famous. In a word, my friend, we are going, first of all, to Italy. Why, my own purpose, like yours, is to see a little of the world, in order to add some new light to my poor stock of knowledge.
What a delightful idea! Suppose we make the journey together? How pleasant to view, in a friend's company, the tomb of Virgil and the Grotto of the Dog, and to ascend, with a profound scholar, the Tarpeian rock! What pleasures await us in Switzerland, the home of William Tell!
I don't undertake to say, however, that it's as good as the cheese in Bretagne, for there's nothing like that; a charming country, Bretagne, studded with woods, fields, and rich pastures. What magnificent views we shall have! And when we go down into the canton of Les Grisons, we will botanize. We will watch the Swiss maidens glean; they wear very short skirts—and we shall see some fine sights! The former tutor was enchanted with it: to travel with a man of such high rank, and so learned and agreeable, as Baron Potoski, seemed to him great good fortune; and although the hard cushions and the jolting of the berlin made him black and blue in spots, he felt brave enough to travel a thousand leagues in a carriage which had held King Stanislas, and in a seat which a princess of Hungary had occupied.
As I have told you, I am travelling incognito; I don't want anybody to know where I am. My government desires to appoint me ambassador to Turkey, but I am not at all desirous of that distinction. Monsieur le comte might inadvertently let the cat out of the bag, and all France would soon know my whereabouts; it will be much better not to say anything. Surely, my father would be exceedingly pleased to know that I am travelling with monsieur le baron; but in his delight at learning that I am in such company, he would undoubtedly betray your incognito, and you would be obliged to leave us.
He himself gave this one to my father, from whom I had it. He stuffed his nose full of snuff which he considered delicious, and, when he sneezed, the poor man fancied that he bore some slight resemblance to the King of Prussia. He had lost his head completely; the fumes of grandeur mingled with those of the snuff, and at the third sneeze he cried, saluting Baron Potoski with renewed deference:.
At nightfall, our travellers arrived at a village of wretched aspect. Dubourg ordered his postilion to set them down at the best inn; but as there was only one in the place, they must needs content themselves with that. The inn in question was rarely patronized by travellers in carriages; pedestrians were its usual guests. The carriage drove into a great yard filled with mud and dungheaps. Half a score of ducks were splashing in a pool, apparently disputing possession of it with some geese which waddled majestically around the banks.
Three pigs went grunting into every corner of the enclosure, an old lame horse was quenching his thirst at a trough, on the edge of which perched several hens, which laid their eggs in the house, in the street, or in the yard, as it happened, considering probably that there was little to choose between those places. Lastly, to complete the picture, a number of rabbits showed their heads from time to time under the hedge of a garden which had been turned into a warren; then fled in alarm at the barking of a huge dog, whose duty it seemed to be to watch the other beasts.
There was hardly room for the berlin to pass through a gateway, whose dilapidated gate had not been closed for a long while. But he got off with nothing worse than a fright. On the arrival of the carriage, the rabbits and pigs fled, the ducks quacked, the geese and hens flew away, and the dog barked under the travellers' noses; while a dozen or more of idlers, and as many peasant women, who formed substantially the whole population of the village, stood about the gateway to see the occupants of the carriage alight.
I have stopped at this inn, and I remember that they give you excellent rabbit stews and omelets. The innkeeper appeared, with his cap over his left ear; he did not salute the new arrivals, for, being accustomed to entertain only carters or peasants, who care little for polite manners, he had contracted a habit of treating all strangers with a certain familiarity; and the sight of a carriage made little impression on him, because it was not to such guests that he looked for the support of his establishment.
He was a little man of fifty years or thereabout, with a slight limp, and a bloated nose which seemed to denote intemperate habits. Set everyone at work; let the fire blaze and the spits turn, and serve our supper as soon as may be. If, instead of a short stuff skirt, a waist of coarse blue woollen cloth, and a cotton cap, Goton had worn a dress which set off her figure; if her skin had been treated with almond paste, and her hair by a hair-dresser, she would undoubtedly have made many conquests in Paris.
Lacking a mirror, a fountain is sufficient to train the simplest-minded. Dubourg estimated the servant's qualities at a glance, and, as they followed her, he said to himself:. I can pass the time pleasantly with Mademoiselle Goton. Failing a new passion, I will talk to him of Madame Dernange and all his faithless charmers in Paris; that will serve to make his evening pass quickly.
The best room in the inn was the one usually occupied by the carters and peasants. Four itinerant merchants, who had arrived an hour before our illustrious travellers, were seated at a table, drinking, and discussing their business affairs. The arrival of three new guests in no wise disturbed the four men. They glanced at them, and continued their conversation. These words caused the peddlers to raise their heads, and they scrutinized the travellers, laughing contemptuously among themselves.
These gentlemen certainly have no intention of——". Everyone knows how to fire a pistol. Which of you would like to begin with me? At sight of the pistols, the peddlers changed color and dropped their cudgels; those who presume too far upon their strength to insult those whom they deem weaker than themselves, generally appear very cowardly and foolish when confronted by such arguments.
The hostess, whose acquaintance we have not made as yet, was a woman of fifty, short of stature, and almost as broad as she was tall. Her corpulence had within a short time increased to such a degree that she could hardly walk from her desk to the kitchen; even so, she had to make a judicious and abundant use of flour to keep herself from chafing when she walked.
This difficulty in moving made her very sedentary; she passed almost all her time in an armchair which the village carpenter had made for her, of sufficient breadth to admit her enormous bulk. This mode of life naturally caused her embonpoint to make rapid progress from day to day.https://senjouin-renshu.com/wp-content/72/220-como-achar-o.php
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It was beginning to become disquieting, and the innkeeper, limping as he did, took a long time to walk around his spouse. She had heard Goton's outcry and her husband's exclamations, and, suspecting that something extraordinary was taking place, she had left her broad armchair and waddled along the corridor leading to the living-room. As this corridor was narrow, her body closed it hermetically and rubbed against the partitions on each side; so that it was impossible for anyone to pass through in the opposite direction, unless by jumping over her head or crawling between her legs.
Despite the violence with which the tutor hurled himself against her, the hostess did not waver; solid as a rock, and upheld, too, by the walls of the corridor, the bulky dame contented herself with crying in a shrill falsetto:. So general attention was now directed to the corridor. Goton laughed uproariously, and the innkeeper was petrified with amazement. The poor fellow was so effectively caught, that he would have been stifled if not rescued. Then he ordered Goton to show them to their bedrooms; which she did after the landlady had concluded to return to her armchair and thus uncork the passage.
The best quarters that they could give our three friends consisted of two very dirty rooms, with the ceiling rafters exposed, which cats and spiders seemed in the habit of occupying in company with the guests of the house. In each room there was a wretched bed, partly surrounded by blue and white curtains resembling in design the common salad-bowl we see in the country. Both beds were more than five feet high.
When a man has slept in camp, he's not hard to please. But the supper is a long while coming; I'll take a look at the kitchen. The moon was shining on the village, where the most perfect quiet reigned. The young man mused upon the contrast between life in Paris and in that hamlet; he reflected that, at that moment, when the villagers had all retired, the fashionable inhabitants of the city were at the play or at social festivities, exhibiting their fine clothes and jewels, and seeking pleasure.
But need one leave the city to find striking contrasts? In the house where people are dancing on the first floor, on the second there is mourning for the death of a husband or father; on the third, a young man is making a passionate declaration of love to his sweetheart; on the fourth, a drunkard is beating his wife; on the fifth, a gambler is filling his pockets with gold preparatory to going out; and under the eaves, a poor girl passes the night in toil to earn bread for her mother.
These are terribly poor sheets! And yet, monsieur le baron says that one is well taken care of here! I shall go to bed in my drawers. God grant that the supper may make up for the rest! That business adjusted, he prowled about Mademoiselle Goton, to whom he wished to say a few words. They laughingly toyed with the buxom servant, who had much ado to defend herself from the familiarities of those gentry; but Goton was accustomed to fighting with such clowns: she boxed the ears of one and kicked another; she pinched and scratched, and the fellows found her all the more seductive.
Being busily occupied thus in all directions, Goton could do no more than whisper a word of hope to Dubourg, giving him to understand that the peddlers would be gone at daybreak, her employers asleep, and herself more at liberty. This promise delighted our friend; he was talking with Goton at the foot of the staircase, and gave her a resounding kiss. Dubourg served the stew; but the innkeeper, disturbed by his wife's adventure in the corridor, had allowed it to burn, and Goton, being constantly beset by the four peddlers, had put the onions in too late and had not grated the bacon. You disturbed his mind; why in the devil did you go prowling about under his wife's skirts?
They have fine rabbits there; but here you have a very bad way of bringing them up. I have such delightful recollections of it! And the fields—how pretty they are! What rich pastures, what enchanting groves! You can walk leagues and leagues without once leaving the leafy thickets and flower-grown paths which make the fields of Bretagne one endless garden.
I will give you a glass of a certain tokay which came to me from Tekely's cellar; and you will tell me what you think of it. At that moment, the conversation was interrupted by a violent shock, followed by an ominous cracking. This house doesn't seem to be very solidly built. The white wine, being a little more palatable than the red, enabled them to eat an omelet with parsley, which Dubourg tried in vain to make them think was tarragon. He went to bed in the other room, bidding the servant wake him early in the morning, as he had no desire to prolong his stay at the inn.
When you have passed a night in one of them, you smell the cheese for a week, an excellent thing for the lungs. I propose to pass the night writing. Diogenes went to bed in his tub, before Alexander; and Crates did not hesitate to show his rump to his fellow citizens. For this reason, he was anxious to hasten the postilion's departure. The gate was not closed; Goton alone would see what took place; Dubourg knew how to assure her discretion. Dubourg thought that he must be asleep, and was about to go downstairs, when he heard a suppressed groan from the direction of the bed.
Isn't it an outrage? I call it making fools of their guests to give them beds that reach the ceiling! Everybody isn't six feet tall; and unless one's a giant——". This precaution might result in placing the tutor in an unfortunate position; whether it did so, the sequel will show. I am safe now," thought Dubourg; and, taking his light, he went down noiselessly into the innyard. As he passed the living-room, he glanced in: two of the peddlers were asleep on the table, the others were still drinking; but everything indicated that they would soon follow their companions' example.
Dubourg found his postilion, and, putting a five-franc piece in his hand, ordered him to start at once. In a very few minutes, the horses were harnessed, and the noble palatine's berlin was out of the village. As he spoke, he slipped two five-franc pieces into the girl's pocket; it was a larger sum than the poor drudge often earned in six months at that wretched inn, and the sight of the two great coins made her as docile as a lamb.
I'll say whatever you want me to; anyway, that carriage was yours, and you could do what you please with it. I haven't got any room; I sleep in the little barn over there, with the cow. I don't have anything but an old straw bed on the ground, because the missus says there's no use of wearing out sheets. But it ain't cold there, anyway; Bebelle keeps me warm. But how he pinches! Come, I tell you; it's nonsense to sit up till daylight for them. You need sleep, Goton.
The servant was half vanquished. She ceased to resist Dubourg's arguments, and allowed him to lead her to the cow-barn, which they both entered, closing the door behind them. The door had no other fastening than a hook on the outside; but the girl slept there without fear, as there were no robbers thereabout. But one of the peddlers was not asleep; he, too, was engrossed by thoughts of Goton, and he was waiting for his companions to lose themselves in slumber before attempting to join the seductive servant.
This man had noticed that one of the strangers was prowling about Goton, and it had irritated him; but he had not dared to watch him too closely, being still held in respect by the recollection of the pistols. When all three of his comrades had their heads on the table, he rose softly and went out to look for Goton, knowing the location of her bedroom.
He took no light, in order not to betray his whereabouts, and crept stealthily toward the cow-barn. He was still some yards away, when he heard two voices saying some very pretty things to each other; he crept nearer, and grasped the thread of the conversation distinctly enough; for Dubourg and Goton, thinking that their only neighbors were animals, were talking together without restraint. The peddler was furious, but how could he be revenged?
He had no desire to pick a quarrel with Dubourg; it would be a waste of time to call the landlord, for that worthy man and his spouse always locked themselves in their room to avoid being disturbed; besides, who would dare to assume the task of getting the hostess out of bed? The peddler determined to play some trick on the amorous couple. He could think of nothing better than to hook the door on the outside, which he did very softly, then stole away, delighted with his exploit, and saying to himself:.
He joined his companions; day broke ere long, and their business required the peddlers to leave the inn. They all applauded him, being overjoyed to be revenged on a man who had refused to be frightened by their cudgels; and they went their way, laughing at the thought of the scene that would take place at the inn in the morning.
The white wine, with which monsieur le baron had filled his glass so often, produced its due effect. But to no purpose did he stretch out his arm and feel about in all directions. He could find no chair! In that case, how was he to climb down from that bed, which reached to the roof? He listened, but could hear nothing; he put aside the curtains—the most profound darkness reigned in the room. Monsieur le baron must have gone to sleep in his chair, as he had planned to do; but, in any event, how could he presume to ask the Palatine of Rava to give him the—— No, he could never do that!
On the other hand, to jump out of bed was to run the risk of hurting himself, or at least of not being able to get back. Necessity knows no law, says an old proverb; besides, monsieur le baron was so kind and good-natured and obliging! I am sadly embarrassed, monsieur le baron. But at that moment Baron Dubourg was with Goton, busily engaged in teaching her what a boudoir is, and that a garret, a thicket, a loft, a cave, a kitchen, a cellar, or a barn may deserve that name when one is in either of those places with one's love. And Goton understood the lesson perfectly, because she was quick-witted, and because Dubourg, who had had some experience, was an excellent teacher.
Well, no matter what happens, I must try to slide down. He had put one of his short legs over the edge of the bed, when he heard a tremendous uproar in the room; a chair was overturned, a jug that stood on it fell to the floor and broke, and a number of dark objects scuttled along the wall and went out through the door. There was no reply. The poor man had not the courage to leave the bed, but buried his head under the clothes; his fright causing him to lose all power of restraint, it soon became unnecessary for him to get out, and he fell asleep without being further disturbed; for it was neither thieves nor hobgoblins who had caused the tumult in his chamber, but simply two cats, which, finding the door open, had paid a visit to their usual place of abode.
While fighting over a bit of rabbit, which monsieur le baron had tossed under the table while declaring that it was delicious, the beasts had overturned a chair on which was a jug of water, and the noise had so terrified them that they fled incontinently, abandoning the subject of controversy. Meanwhile, the day had broken. The innkeeper quitted his chaste partner, who rose at six but was not dressed until nine. Dubourg, having no further instruction to give Goton, desired to return to his room, and Goton found it harder than usual to leave her pallet, because Dubourg's lessons had fatigued her.
But the pretended baron tried in vain to leave the shed. For five minutes he pushed and shook the door, which did not yield. A place ceases to be agreeable, Goton, when you are compelled to stay in it. But it's broad daylight; if that window wasn't so small, we could get out through it. I have an idea! We must make the best of it. Bring that stone here, Goton; stand on it with me, so that our heads will be near the window, and then shout as I do.
And her strong voice, reinforcing Dubourg's, soon aroused the whole household and a good part of the village. The innkeeper ran to the spot as fast as his left leg allowed, it being two inches shorter than the other. They all went out into the yard, where they were joined by the neighbors and a number of laborers on their way to work, who had been attracted by Dubourg's reiterated shouts of:. The shed door was opened at last, and Dubourg rushed out like a madman, raving and swearing, heedless of the fact that his trousers were stained with filth.
It isn't the money that I regret—but a berlin in which the Princess of Hungary—— Ah! I heard a noise in the yard during the night; I came downstairs softly and found my rascal harnessing the horses, intending to make his escape while we were asleep.
Unluckily, I had no weapons, and the postilion is a much stronger man than I am. I attempted to go to call you, but the villain seized me, and, despite my resistance, forced me into the barn, where this girl was sleeping, and locked us in there. We began at once to shout for help; but you sleep like dead men. Luckily, I still have fifteen thousand francs in my wallet, to pay my expenses for some little time; but I especially regret my wardrobe; there was a great trunk under the carriage, full of clothes and linen.
Dubourg looked at him with an expression that signified: "I don't know why you need have called attention to that! Goton came down behind him, and whispered to Dubourg:. If my little brother did it, he'd get a licking. Our travellers reached the next village without mishap, and stopped there to breakfast. If Mademoiselle Goton had had melancholy eyes and a sentimental cast of countenance, you would have gone with her to pasture the cows.
I only tell him as much as I think necessary to carry out my part; you don't seem to remember that I call myself a Polish nobleman. The travellers resumed their journey.
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Before reaching the town where they proposed to pass the night, they had to ride through a dense forest; and Dubourg, who had his scheme all prepared, began operations by giving a serious turn to the conversation, for he was well aware that one's frame of mind adds to or takes from the size of objects, and that in real life, as on the stage, one must know how to prepare and lead up to situations, in order that they may produce the greatest effect.
It is a great joy to be loved by the woman you adore; but when you feel sure that you are not indifferent to her, when you rely on her heart and her oaths, some young Adonis appears, who fascinates her; some handsome soldier, who turns her head; some scintillating wit, who charms her mind—and that woman, faithful until then, betrays you at the very moment that you feel most confident of her love.
They say, monsieur le baron, that travelling is very dangerous in Italy. You have travelled so much, that you can probably tell us. The peculiarity of that country is that the roads are most dangerous at noon, for no one but the brigands dares to face the hot sun at that time of day. However, if there are highway robbers in the Apennines and in Germany and England, unfortunately there's no lack of them in France.
It's quite as dangerous now to travel in France. They used to content themselves with robbing you, but now they beat you with clubs, and you're lucky if you leave their hands alive. They were just entering the wood. You are armed, of course? It was beginning to grow dark, and that fact added to his terror. But the postilion, who had received his instructions from Dubourg, did not quicken his pace. I can't take this wallet.
On the contrary, if you were willing, you would be much better able than I to take care of these. They arrived in due time at their destination. Dubourg was delighted to be the treasurer of the party, and he inaugurated his functions by giving the postilion a gold piece for whistling in the forest. Young men, as a general rule, are not in the habit of hoarding money, and Dubourg, who was devoted to cards and pleasure and good cheer, thinking only of the present, oblivious of the past, and never worrying about the future, had not the faintest idea of economy. When he was a clerk in a government office, his salary was always so largely hypothecated that he never received more than a third of it, and that third never lasted more than three days, during which period, to be sure, Dubourg lived like the chief of a bureau.
It was worse than ever there: the month's pay vanished in one evening, and he was in luck when he did not pledge the next month's as well. In the employ of the solicitor, being constantly abroad with the lady whom his employer intrusted to him, he lost the habit of working; he passed his time in dissipation, and strove to follow the fashions and rival the young dandies of the capital.
During that period, his tailor, his bootmaker, and his stableman had divided his income. When his kind old aunt sent him money, it was never a large amount. The largest was the five hundred francs which he had extorted by the fable of his marriage and his triplets; we have seen what use he made of that. Eight thousand francs—for the amount was almost untouched—was, in Dubourg's eyes, a fortune of which he would never see the end. To be sure, it did not belong to him, strictly speaking; but he could direct the spending of it; he could do exactly as he pleased, for he was certain of not being called upon for an accounting.
He did not propose to appropriate a single sou, but he did propose to put it to such use as would do honor to him to whom it belonged, and he was not sorry to be able to enjoy it with him. He ordered a delicious supper, which was served in their apartments, the finest in the house. A man should support his rank, my friend, and I judge, from the feeling, that my stomach isn't inclined to backslide.
We're a long way from Paris. I am done with it; I resume my titles, and I propose to be treated with the honors that are due me. Dubourg, Dubourg! Dulce est desipere in loco , says Horace. By dint of drinking to the memory of the ancients, the two were beginning to lose all memory of the present. Bewildered by the frequent libations in which he had indulged with his noble companion, he left the table to go to his room. He felt his way along the walls till he reached his bed, which he had ordered to be made very low.
He retired, well pleased with the feast he had enjoyed and with the baron's manner of doing the honors of the table; he considered that he had done exceedingly well to intrust the financial arrangements to him, for he himself would not have dared to order so delicious a repast; and he foresaw that the baron, who seemed to be both a gourmand and an epicure, would continue to feed them on the fat of the land, as he had abandoned his incognito. Do so, give such orders as you please; it's your right. But, absorbed as you always are in melancholy reflections, you won't feed us decently; and when you are travelling for pleasure, it seems to me that food is a most essential thing to look out for.
Besides, you are a count; I must be a baron at least, in order to travel on equal terms with you.
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At every inn, they were treated with the greatest respect, as men of high rank. Everywhere they had the best rooms, the daintiest dishes, the oldest wines. In due time, our travellers reached Lyon, having paused on the way only to admire an occasional view and to give their horses time to breathe. But they proposed to pass several days in that city. They alighted at one of the best hotels. They were quartered in a superb suite on the first floor. Their meals were served in their rooms, and everything had to be of the best. Whereupon Dubourg would reply: "Never fear," with such confidence that the young count finally allowed him to do as he pleased, without remonstrance.
Dubourg, like those liars who end by believing in their own false-hoods, had so identified himself with the part he was playing, that he would have struck anyone who expressed a doubt as to his rank; he amused himself, during his friend's absences, by displaying his magnificence in the city. To be sure, the rest of his costume hardly corresponded with his hat; but it was no longer fashionable to wear embroidered coats for walking, and Dubourg had confined himself to having silver tassels attached to his military boots, considering that there was a something Polish about them.
He left his coat open, because that gave him a more careless air, and he made frequent use of a huge eyeglass hanging from his neck by a pink ribbon. His extraordinary garb attracted every eye. Some took him for an Englishman, some for a Russian or a Prussian; but if some curious individual stopped and looked after him with a smile on his face, Dubourg would flash a glance at him that put an end to any inclination to laugh at his expense, and conveyed the impression that the stranger, whoever he might be, was not of a disposition to endure being laughed at.
They had been in Lyon a week. Dubourg read the superscription twice. Who could have written to him, and by that name? He asked the landlady who had brought the letter, and was told that it was a servant in livery, who requested that it be delivered to monsieur le baron in person. The marchioness's address was at the foot of the note, which Dubourg reread several times, and which diffused an odor of musk and amber through his room.
This is decidedly flattering! But how does she know me? I don't know her personally, but I know her very well by name. It's one of the oldest and richest families in the city, and I know madame la marquise has a magnificent country house on the river, four leagues from Lyon. Dubourg asked no more questions; he was in raptures. He dismissed the landlady, and began to pace the floor, saying to himself:. Well, what would there be so surprising in that?
I am young, not bad-looking; I have a certain style, which must have attracted Madame la Marquise de Versac. But, deuce take me!
I forgot to ask about that. Now, this becomes interesting: a very rich young widow, who has a magnificent country house, and who writes me that she will be charmed to entertain me! Surprisingly, for such an action-packed episode, we also learned a great deal about people's backgrounds and motivations, from the information that Ted has an estranged wife to the swift reveal of Georgia's drinking habit and the news that Kate has been having an affair.
Regarding that affair, I'm not quite sure where I stand on it: one of the best things about the final episode of the first season was the unmasking of Kate as that rare thing, a happily married woman with a family who was just very good at her job. The revelation that this is not the case slightly diminishes that ending for me, although I am interested in how very easy she finds it to compartmentalise her life. It explains why she's so good at undercover work. If Kate was hiding secrets, Steve was as cocky as ever. I'm fond of Steve. He's such a laddish idiot; "the big I am" as Hastings rightly had it.
It's inevitable that he'll spend much of the next five episodes screwing things up without realising it, but his sheer doggedness and perseverance will probably keep him on the right side. As for Hastings, he remains my favourite of the trio. I love Adrian Dunbar's interrogation scenes — he brings a wonderful air of the confessional box to his questioning. His wife's reference to money problems was interesting in the light of Denton's interview and the suggestion that financial problems makes officers vulnerable to corruption.
There have always been hints of a dark side and I'd be intrigued to find out what exactly has gone wrong at home I'm betting on a gambling habit, but that could just be because I'm the daughter of one racing-obsessed Irishman and married to another. Oh DI Denton, I do find you fascinating. Keeley Hawes is very easy to relate to most recently I loved her combination of wry wit and warmth in The Ambassadors and Denton inspired a fair amount of sympathy, even when reaching the end of the line with her next-door neighbour.
Is she guilty of setting Jane Akers up, or is she just a very stressed and very unlucky woman? I'm undecided — that hospital call could have been for any number of reasons — although I was interested that she has been wearing the neck brace without necessarily needing it. It was hard not to feel sympathy for Denton, given the vipers' nest she worked in. Last season a great deal was made of how one person can set the tone of a station, and I thought it was interesting that Mallick, her immediate commanding officer, conveniently missing when the ambush call came through, clearly condoned the bullying of Denton.
Is he anything more than an opportunist covering his tracks? It's worth noting that in Mercurio's world anyone can be a villain and heroes come in the most surprising of places. Nice continuity show. Poor Steve is going to have a tough time of it — not only had he just had a one night stand with the deceased, but I imagine her blood alcohol levels might make for interesting reading. This is the role that Robert Lindsay quit after two days of filming, citing problems with the character development, but so far I can't see why: Mark Bonnar is clearly having a great deal of fun playing the opportunistic DCC and anyone who saw season one would know Mercurio doesn't have a great deal of time for top brass.