I also advised him seriously not to speak French for the future, as the absurd way in which he had committed himself made everyone about him ashamed."
Just as I was ordering post-horses to take us to Frejus, a man appeared, and told me I owed him ten louis for the storage of a carriage which I had left on his hands nearly three years ago. This was when I was taking Rosalie to Italy. I laughed, for the carriage itself was not worth five louis. "Friend," said I, "I make you a present of the article."
"I don't want your present. I want the ten louis you owe me."
"You won't get the ten louis. I will see you further first."
"We will see about that"; and so saying he took his departure.
I sent for horses that we might continue our journey.
A few moments after, a sergeant summoned me to the governor's presence. I followed him, and was politely requested to pay the ten louis that my creditor demanded. I answered that, in the agreement I had entered into for six francs a month, there was no mention of the length of the term, and that I did not want to withdraw my carriage.
"But supposing you were never to withdraw it?"
"Then the man could bequeath his claim to his heir."
"I believe he could oblige you to withdraw it, or to allow it to be sold to defray expenses."
"You are right, sir, and I wish to spare him that trouble. I make him a present of the carriage."
"That's fair enough. Friend, the carriage is yours."
"But sir," said the plaintiff, "it is not enough; the carriage is not worth ten louis, and I want the surplus."
"You are in the wrong. I wish you a pleasant journey, sir, and I hope you will forgive the ignorance of these poor people, who would like to shape the laws according to their needs."
All this trouble had made me lose a good deal of time, and I determined to put off my departure till the next day. However, I wanted a carriage for Possano and the abbe, and I got my secretary to buy the one I had abandoned for four louis. It was in a deplorable state, and I had to have it repaired, which kept us till the afternoon of the next day; however, so far as pleasure was concerned, the time was not lost.
My Arrival at Marseilles--Madame d'Urfe--My Niece Is Welcomed by Madame Audibert I Get Rid of My Brother and Possano--Regeneration --Departure of Madame d'Urfe--Marcoline Remains Constant
My niece, now my mistress, grew more dear to me every day, and I could not help trembling when I reflected that Marseilles would be the tomb of our love. Though I could not help arriving there, I prolonged my happiness as long as I could by travelling by short stages. I got to Frejus in less than three hours, and stopped there, and telling Possano and the abbe to do as they liked during our stay, I ordered a delicate supper and choice wine for myself and my nymphs. Our repast lasted till midnight, then we went to bed, and passed the time in sweet sleep and sweeter pleasures. I made the same arrangements at Lucca, Brignoles, and Aubayne, where I passed the sixth and last night of happiness.
As soon as I got to Marseilles I conducted my niece to Madame Audibert's, and sent Possano and my brother to the "Trieze Cantons" inn, bidding them observe the strictest silence with regard to me, for Madame d'Urfe had been awaiting me for three weeks, and I wished to be my own herald to her.
It was at Madame Audibert's that my niece had met Croce. She was a clever woman, and had known the girl from her childhood, and it was through her that my niece hoped to be restored to her father's good graces. We had agreed that I should leave my niece and Marcoline in the carriage, and should interview Madame Audibert, whose acquaintance I had made before, and with whom I could make arrangements for my niece's lodging till some arrangement was come to.
Madame Audibert saw me getting out of my carriage, and as she did not recognize me her curiosity made her come down and open the door. She soon recognized me, and consented to let me have a private interview with the best grace in the world.