My wife's maid left us yesterday, to our great annoyance, because of him; and the cook says she will go if he remains, as he is always bothering her in the kitchen. We are therefore resolved that he shall go, for his society is intolerable to us. I am delighted to have you here, as I think we ought to be able to drive him away between us, and the sooner the better."
"Nothing easier," said I; "if he likes to stay in Paris, let him do so. You can send off his rags to some furnished apartments, and serve him with a police order not to put foot in your house again. On the other hand if he wants to go away, let him say where, and I will pay his journey-money this evening."
"Nothing could be more generous. What do you say, abbe?"
"I say that this is the way in which he drove me from Marseilles. What intolerable violence!"
"Give God thanks, monster, that instead of thrashing you within an inch of your life as you deserve, I am going to give you some money! You thought you would get me hanged at Lyons, did you?"
"Where is Marcoline ?"
"What is that to you? Make haste and choose between Rome and Paris, and remember that if you choose Paris you will have nothing to live on."
"Then I will go to Rome."
"Good! The journey only costs twenty louis, but I will give you twenty-five."
"Hand them over."
"Patience. Give me pens, ink and paper."
"What are you going to write?"
"Bills of exchange on Lyons, Turin, Genoa, Florence, and Rome. Your place will be paid as far as Lyons, and there you will be able to get five louis, and the same sum in the other towns, but as long as you stay in Paris not one single farthing will I give you. I am staying at the 'Hotel Montmorenci;' that's all you need know about me."
I then bade farewell to my brother and his wife, telling them that we should meet again. Checco, as we called my brother, told me he would send on the abbe's trunk the day following, and I bade him do so by all means.
The next day trunk and abbe came together. I did not even look at him, but after I had seen that a room had been assigned to him, I called out to the landlord that I would be answerable for the abbe's board and lodging for three days, and not a moment more. The abbe tried to speak to me, but I sternly declined to have anything to say to him, strictly forbidding Clairmont to admit him to my apartments.
When I went to Madame du Rumain's, the porter said,--
"Sir, everybody is still asleep, but who are you? I have instructions."
"I am the Chevalier de Seingalt."
"Kindly come into my lodge, and amuse yourself with my niece. I will soon be with you."
I went in, and found a neatly-dressed and charming girl.
"Mademoiselle," said I, "your uncle has told me to come and amuse myself with you."
"He is a rascal, for he consulted neither of us."
"Yes, but he knew well enough that there could be no doubt about my opinion after I had seen you."
"You are very flattering, sir, but I know the value of compliments."
"Yes, I suppose that you often get them, and you well deserve them all."
The conversation, as well as the pretty eyes of the niece, began to interest me, but fortunately the uncle put an end to it by begging me to follow him. He took me to the maid's room, and I found her putting on a petticoat, and grumbling the while.
"What is the matter, my pretty maid? You don't seem to be in a good humour."
"You would have done better to come at noon; it is not nine o'clock yet, and madame did not come home till three o'clock this morning. I am just going to wake her, and I am sorry for her."
I was taken into the room directly, and though her eyes were half closed she thanked me for awaking her, while I apologized for having disturbed her sleep.
"Raton," said she, "give us the writing materials, and go away. Don't come till I call you, and if anyone asks for me, I am asleep."
"Very good, madam, and I will go to sleep also."
"My dear M. Casanova, how is it that the oracle has deceived us? M. du R