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"You see also that the curtains of the two furthest windows are elosed?"
"I see that, too."
"Eh bien! that suite belongs to Mr. St. John, and the apartment at the end is his bed-room. Does it look as if the inmate was up?"
"By no means," I replied; "but how he can manage to sleep at such a time as this passes my comprehension."
"I did not say he was asleep," returned Jacques with a peculiar contortion of the mouth, and screwing up his eyes as a child does when it takes physic; "I only told you he was not up."
"Then it's time he should be," was my answer.
"So I think," said Jacques, quietly. "Tiens! here is my wife, Frosine, coming down stairs. She has been putting the salon to rights, and can tell us if monsieur is stirring."
Frosine, who little resembled the pictures of the nymph (whose abbreviated name she bore) such as I had seen her on the painted ceiling of the Gaîté, came hobbling down the broad flight of stairs on the opposite side of the porte cochère, with a torchon in one hand and a bunch of keys in the other. She was a sour little old woman, of the kind who seem created to keep every body and every thing in order. Of course she was followed by a little nondescript white dog, whose tail was curled over his back, like a spiral spring, or a snake folded in its coil. The little animal barked tremendously on seeing me, and was only silenced by a vigorous application of the duster.
As soon as he could make himself heard, Jacques stated the cause of my being there, adding that it was my wish to deliver M. de Courtine's note to Mr. St. John with my Own hands.
Frosine puckered up her face like a withered apple, and confirmed her husband's previous assertion. The enormity of lying so late seemed to
affect her in a different way.
"How is it possible," she said, "that a house can be made fit to be seen if people choose to stay the whole day long in their beds? It will never do till Monsieur Mallet-this was the proprietor of the hotel-compels all his locataires to sign an agreement binding them to rise at daybreak; I'm sure I always do. But perhaps the letter from M. le Marquis may effect what I could not. Be quiet, Azor-petite bête"-here she made a fell swoop with her duster, at which the creature yelped with a shrill voice. "If the young man will come up stairs to the premier, I'll see if he can get admission."
Up stairs, accordingly, we went, and Madame Frosine preceded me through the apartments till we came to the bed-room door. She tapped, and, after waiting a few moments, a soft voice, which I knew to be Mr. St. John's, inquired who was there.
"C'est moi, monsieur," said Frosine, “je viens
"Oh! it's you," interrupted Mr. St. John, "I thought I heard you once before. Pray, what's o'clock, Frosine?"
"Past eleven, and here's a-”
"Dear me, so late as that! I say, Frosine,—is it-tell me, Frosine,-is it-all over?"
"No," replied the portress, sharply; "it's a great deal worse. There," she added, as a smart volley of musketry made the casements shake, "don't you hear that?"
A momentary pause ensued, and Mr. St. John spoke again:
"I should have got up sooner, Frosine, but I don't feel very well this morning. I must have taken something that has disagreed with me. I think I should like to have a little tea. Are you sure those horrid people are still fighting?"
"There was a foreign gentleman killed last night at his window in the Rue St. Honoré; but if the firing does not convince you, here's a person who has just made his way through the streets, and can tell you more about it. He has brought a letter for you, sir, from the marquis."
"Oh, indeed! Is he there?"
"He is waiting at the door to deliver it." "Why didn't you say so before?
I must go out and silence them."
Hang these noisy rascals,—I think
Frosine shrugged up her shoulders so high as nearly to lift her cap off her head, and bestowed upon me a grim distortion, intended for a smile. "Eh bien, monsieur, je vais descendre pour chercher le bouloir." She had hardly left the room before the bed-room door was gently opened, and a large head was thrust out, which I had some difficulty at first in recognising as belonging to Mr. St. John, so completely affublé was it in a night-cap, with broad frills like a woman's, and tied under the chin with rose-coloured ribbons; he had on, moreover, a loose chintz dressing-gown of a very delicate pattern, and, altogether, looked so little like a man that, if it had not been for his height and his whiskers, he might well have passed for some disturbed dowager of the opposite sex. He was surprised at seeing me, and, I thought, coloured slightly, but if he did, the hue very speedily disappeared. Affecting a nonchalant air, he said;
"Oh, Adrien, is that you! What has brought you to Paris so quickly?"
"This letter, sir, which M. le Marquis desired me to give into your own hands."
"Into my hands! Why, there's the post,but, perhaps he had heard of this unfortunate disturbance, and was afraid to trust to that mode of conveyance. I dare say he wants me back again!"
So saying, he sat down in a fauteuil and opened the letter. I watched him closely; not a movement escaped me.
He had scarcely read a line before his countenance altered. If he had been pale before-and paleness was unusual with him-he now became absolutely livid. As he proceeded the paper danced in his hand, and I could distinctly hear his teeth chatter; but he seemed to read on, though I saw that the communication was a very brief one, and might have been taken in at a glance, as no doubt it was. When his eyes had ceased to wander over the sheet, he appeared to reflect, and then, hastily folding up the letter, thrust it into the pocket of his dressing-gown, and placing his hand on his left side, uttered an exclamation of pain.
I inquired what was the matter. "Good God!" said he, writhing about, apparently in great agony, "There's another of these dreadful attacks coming on. I am subject, Adrien, to palpitations of the heart: how very unlucky that I should be seized just now! Oh-h-h-h,what excruciating pain," and he roared like a bull.
I asked him if I should go and fetch a doctor.
"Not on any account," he replied; "I would not expose you to the
risk of crossing the streets at a moment like this for the world. I shall be better perhaps when I have taken some drops and a little tea, and have lain down for a time. I always find I am much better in bed when I have these attacks. There again,-oh-h-h―h! Give me your arm and help me into my room. That's a good boy. Adrien,take care;-oh-h, ha, so!"
Leaning on my shoulder, and bearing his full weight, as if utterly helpless from pain, he managed to crawl to the bed, and dropped himself upon it. He still kept his hand on his side and spoke in a faint
"Don't let that woman in when she comes back again; she is a person of no feeling. Shut the door, there."
"Have you any message, sir," said I, "to send back to Monsieur le Marquis ?"
"Dear me, how extraordinary! That horrible spasm has put every thing out of my head. Oh-h-h, there it is again! Message! Why, you see, Adrien, I am not in a fit state to write at present. You surely don't mean to venture back yet."
"I must do the best I can, sir. I was ordered to return as soon as I had seen you."
"Adrien," said Mr. St. John, in a tone subdued almost to a whisper. "Come here, sit down close beside me, I have something particular to say to you."
I drew near, as he directed.
"And so," he continued, " you really mean to go back immediately? Well, you are a fine, courageous fellow, and I admire your resolution. I wish I could offer to protect you through the streets, but this sad illness has quite upset me. I don't think I shall be able to stir for a week. Reach me that purse, Adrien. I dare say you haven't much money about you. Here are five Napoleons, put them in your pocket, and-and-when you return to Courtine, you must say that-that -that you didn't seewere not able to find me. The fact is, if you were to tell the marquis how ill I am, nothing would prevent him from exposing himself to every danger, and coming here directly. So the best plan is to say you lost the letter and your way too! it will readily be believed when people come to hear of what has been going on in Paris."
If I had ever entertained any doubt about the reality of Mr. St. John's illness, this new bribe, together with the eagerness with which he spoke, so little in character with the listlessness of a suffering invalid, would quite have undeceived me. But I had been a little too much behind the scenes to be taken in, either by his assumed indisposition or the tender regard which he expressed for my welfare. I knew the temper in which M. de Courtine had written, and I knew also the cause which made him write, and the sum and substance of my observations was the conclusion, which, doubtless, the reader has already arrived at, that Mr. St. John was a rank coward!
I did not, however, tell him what I thought, neither did I, by spurning his gift, as I had once before done, allow him to suppose that I was not his dupe. I had heard enough of the nature of the émeute out of doors not to feel sure that it would last for some time yet, and no punishment could be worse for him than the knowledge that he was shut up in a place from whence escape seemed an impossibility.
Jan.-VOL. LXXXII. NO. CCCXXV.
I therefore dissembled my disgust and, promising to do what he required, left him in the enjoyment of such comfort as a man must feel who has sacrificed the sense of honour for personal safety, though the latter was more than questionable in relation both to the present and the future.
The money I devoted to a special purpose. At the foot of the stairs I encountered Madame Frosine and, of course, her spouse. He had not yet assumed his armour, offensive or defensive; but he had not been making a bad use of his time, for the pottage, on which he had been so busy, was now finished, and he good-naturedly invited me to take a share of their breakfast.
As I had not eaten any thing since my supper at Meaux the night before, I did not allow the offer to pass as an empty compliment, and in a few moments I made the third, at the little table in the porter's lodge. "You need not be in a hurry, Madame Frosine," said I, "to take up the déjeuner of monsieur. I think he has no appetite this morning." "I should imagine not," observed Jacques, drily. "He takes too little exercise to make himself hungry."
“I suppose, then, he has not been out since the disturbance began." "Not once; and in my opinion he won't stir till it's all over—that is to say, if it ever will be over."
"Vous-avez raison; Jacques, I was a girl at the time of the Revolution, and the troubles then seemed to last for years."
"It's always the case when the people try to recover their own." "Bah! le peuple-la canaille!"
"Vas donc, vieille aristocrate!" exclaimed Jacques, half angry; then turning to me, in a good-humoured, confidential way, he said, " peut pas souffrir le bas peuple-ça est de race! Moi, je me fiche de toutes ces bétises."
But though Jacques' sympathies were with the cause of the people, it was quite clear that he was not altogether free from the influence which the aristocratic associations of Frosine had early impressed him with, and I accepted his disclaimer without exactly attaching implicit faith to it. "And what is the state of this quartier ?" I inquired.
"Compared with some of the others, tolerably quiet; but there are signs of movement everywhere, and, ma foi, il y aura bientot du tapage! See," said Jacques, suddenly starting up, and looking across the street, through a little grated window, "what's the matter? There's something stirring; the marchand de légumes, opposite, has come out without his bonnet de nuit !"
This, as I found, was a portentous omen, for the worthy alluded to, a very bulky man, and one not easily stirred to action, had actually disregarded his accustomed coiffure, and, what was more, had armed himself with a musket.
"I must go out and see how the fun gets on," said I, "before I betake myself to Courtine; they would have a poor idea of me if I couldn't give them the latest and most authentic news. Ecoutez, Jacques," I continued, drawing him into a corner, and pointing to the rooms on the premier, "monsieur there gave me five napoleons just now, to do him a service which I had no inclination for. The best service any body can render him is to rouse him well up from his lethargy; so, here's the money; I put it into your hands, to turn it to the best account in this way;
hire, at your own price, as many fellows as you please, to come into the court-yard from time to time, and kick up the devil's tintamarre beneath his windows; there are plenty of idle fellows in the streets who'll be glad of the job; and if your friend, the marchand de légumes, wants to prove his musket before he uses it, let him discharge it across the court-yard some half-a-dozen times, and if the smell of powder does not stir him, nothing will."
The porter, who was a merry old fellow, and had once been a soldier, entered at once into the idea.
"Faut boire un joli coup avec ça;-v'là le vrai moyen d'organiser les gens. Attendez, que Frosine soit montée au second. Vous allez voir comment je l'arrangerai! But, where are you going? You were not in earnest when you said you were going to leave the hotel ?" "Perfectly," I replied; "I want to know how this affair gets on: besides, I have friends in another part of the town, whom I must see before I leave it."
“Well, you will find me here when you come back-that is, if I am still alive and the house standing."
"Adieu, Madame Frosine! adieu, Jacques! don't forget the charivari aux coups de fusils."
With this parting injunction, I myself pulled the string, and closing the door behind me, prepared to seek whatever fortune the streets of Paris might offer.
THE STREETS OF PARIS-ADVENTURES AND OLD FRIENDS
THE first sight which greeted me, as I emerged from the porte cochère, was the dread apparition of the warlike marchand de légumes, grasping his musket with one hand, and, with the other, holding up the tail of his coat for his son, a boy of fourteen years of age, to fill with cartridges. The little fellow had a large parcel of them, and was making a compact with his father as the condition for being his armourer.
"Ah, ça !—vois-tu mon père; faut que je tire la moitié des coups Sans celà je ne te remplirai pas les poches!"
"Sois content, Gustave," returned his martial sire, tu auras le premier !"
On this, the boy hastily disposed of the remainder of the cartridges, and jumped about with the greatest glee, clapping his hands, and crying, "Vive Paris!"
The opportunity for acquiring distinction presented itself sooner than any one anticipated. The marchand de légumes had but just made an end of loading his piece, and given it to his son to hold, when the clatter of hoofs was heard approaching from the Rue de la Paix.
It was caused by a body of gendarmes à cheval moving hastily in the direction of the Bourse, where it was just then rumoured that the citizens were being mustered, after having been supplied with the uniform of the National Guard at "La petite Jacobinière," a house belonging to M. Teste. It had been brought, in a large quantity, from the Théâtre de