The arms, hands, and part of the face of Father Loriot were now of a superb gold-color. The sight of this yellow personage singularly provoked My Lord, and at the moment the dyer rested his hand upon the edge of the coach-window, the cur began to yelp frightfully, and bit him in the wrist. "Oh! gracious heaven!" cried Mrs. Grivois, in an agony, whilst Father Loriot, withdrew his hand with precipitation; "I hope there is nothing poisonous in the dye that you have about you--my dog is so delicate!" So saying, she carefully wiped the pug-nose, spotted with yellow. Father Loriot, not at all satisfied with this speech, when he had expected to receive some apology from Mrs. Grivois on account of her dog's behavior, said to her, as with difficulty he restrained his anger: "If you did not belong to the fair sex, which obliges me to respect you in the person of that wretched animal I would have the pleasure of taking him by the tail, and making him in one minute a dog of the brightest orange color, by plunging him into my cauldron, which is already on the fire." "Dye my pet yellow!" cried Mrs. Grivois, in great wrath, as she descended from the hackney-coach, clasping My Lord tenderly to her bosom, and surveying Father Loriot with a savage look. "I told you, Mrs. Baudoin is not at home," said the dyer, as he saw the pug-dog's mistress advance in the direction of the dark staircase. "Never mind; I will wait for her," said Mrs. Grivois tartly. "On which story does she live?" "Up four pair!" answered Father Loriot, returning abruptly to his shop. And he added to himself, with a chuckle at the anticipation: "I hope Father Dagobert's big prowler will be in a bad humor, and give that villainous pug a shaking by the skin of his neck." Mrs. Grivois mounted the steep staircase with some difficulty, stopping at every landing-place to take breath, and looking about her with profound disgust. At length she reached the fourth story, and paused an instant at the door of the humble chamber, in which the two sisters and Mother Bunch then were. The young sempstress was occupied in collecting the different articles that she was about to carry to the pawnbroker's. Rose and Blanche seemed happier, and somewhat less uneasy about the future; for they had learned from Mother Bunch, that, when they knew how to sew, they might between them earn eight francs a week, which would at least afford some assistance to the family. The presence of Mrs. Grivois in Baudoin's dwelling was occasioned by a new resolution of Abbe d'Aigrigny and the Princess de Saint-Dizier; they had thought it more prudent to send Mrs. Grivois, on whom they could blindly depend, to fetch the young girls, and the confessor was charged to inform Frances that it was not to his housekeeper, but to a lady that would call on her with a note from him, that she was to deliver the orphans, to be taken to a religious establishment. Having knocked at the door, the waiting-woman of the Princess de Saint- Dizier entered the room, and asked for Frances Baudoin. "She is not at home, madame," said Mother Bunch timidly, not a little astonished at so unexpected a visit, and casting down her eyes before the gaze of this woman. "Then I will wait for her, as I have important affairs to speak of," answered Mrs. Grivois, examining with curiosity and attention the faces of the two orphans, who also cast down their eyes with an air of confusion. So saying, Madame Grivois sat down, not without some repugnance, in the old arm-chair of Dagobert's wife, and believing that she might now leave her favorite at liberty, she laid him carefully on the floor. Immediately, a low growl, deep and hollow, sounding from behind the armchair, made Mrs. Grivois jump from her seat, and sent the pug-dog, yelping with affright, and trembling through his fat, to take refuge close to his mistress, with all the symptoms of angry alarm. "What! is there a dog here?" cried Mrs. Grivois, stooping precipitately to catch up My Lord, whilst, as if he wished himself to answer the question, Spoil-sport rose leisurely from his place behind the arm-chair, and appeared suddenly, yawning and stretching himself. At sight of this powerful animal, with his double row of formidable pointed fangs, which he seemed to take delight in displaying as he opened his large jaws, Mrs. Grivois could not help giving utterance to a cry of terror. The snappish pug had at first trembled in all his limbs at the Siberian's approach; but, finding himself in safety on the lap of his mistress, he began to growl insolently, and to throw the most provoking glances at Spoil-sport. These the worthy companion of the deceased Jovial answered disdainfully by gaping anew; after which he went smelling round Mrs. Grivois with a sort of uneasiness, turned his back upon My Lord, and stretched himself at the feet of Rose and Blanche, keeping his large, intelligent eyes fixed upon them, as if he foresaw that they were menaced with some danger. "Turn out that beast," said Mrs. Grivois, imperiously; "he frightens my dog, and may do him some harm." "Do not be afraid, madame," replied Rose, with a smile; "Spoil-sport will do no harm, if he is not attacked." "Never mind!" cried Mrs. Grivois; "an accident soon happens. The very sight of that enormous dog, with his wolf's head and terrible teeth, is enough to make one tremble at the injuries he might do one. I tell you to turn him out." Mrs. Grivois had pronounced these last words in a tone of irritation, which did not sound at all satisfactory in Spoil-sport's ears; so he growled and showed his teeth, turning his head in the direction of the stranger. "Be quiet, Spoil-sport!" said Blanche sternly. A new personage here entered the room, and put an end to this situation, which was embarrassing enough for the two young girls. It was a commissionaire, with a letter in his hand. "What is it, sir?" asked Mother Bunch. "A very pressing letter from the good man of the house; the dyer below stairs told me to bring it up here." "A letter from Dagobert!" cried Rose and Blanche, with a lively expression of pleasure. "He is returned then? where is he?" "I do not know whether the good man is called Dagobert or not," said the porter; "but he is an old trooper, with a gray moustache, and may be found close by, at the office of the Chartres coaches." "That is he!" cried Blanche. "Give me the letter." The porter handed it to the young girl, who opened it in all haste. Mrs. Grivois was struck dumb with dismay; she knew that Dagobert had been decoyed from Paris, that the Abbe Dubois might have an opportunity to act with safety upon Frances. Hitherto, all had succeeded; the good woman had consented to place the young girls in the hands of a religious community--and now arrives this soldier, who was thought to be absent from Paris for two or three days at least, and whose sudden return might easily ruin this laborious machination, at the moment when it seemed to promise success. "Oh!" said Blanche, when she had read the letter. "What a misfortune!" "What is it, then, sister?" cried Rose. "Yesterday, half way to Chartres, Dagobert perceived that he had lost his purse. He was unable to continue his journey; he took a place upon credit, to return, and he asks his wife to send him some money to the office, to pay what he owes." "That's it," said the porter; "for the good man told me to make haste, because he was there in pledge." "And nothing in the house!" cried Blanche. "Dear me! what is to be done?" At these words, Mrs. Grivois felt her hopes revive for a moment, they were soon, however, dispelled by Mother Bunch, who exclaimed, as she pointed to the parcel she had just made up: "Be satisfied, dear young ladies! here is a resource. The pawnbroker's, to which I am going, is not far off, and I will take the money direct to M. Dagobert: in half an hour, at latest, he will be here." "Oh, my dear friend! you are right," said Rose. "How good you are! you think of everything." "And here," said Blanche, "is the letter, with the address upon it. Take that with you." "Thank you," answered Mother Bunch: then, addressing the porter, she added: "Return to the person who sent you, and tell him I shall be at the coach-office very shortly." "Infernal hunchback!" thought Mrs. Grivois, with suppressed rage, "she thinks of everything. Without her, we should have escaped the plague of this man's return. What is to be done now? The girls would not go with me, before the arrival of the soldier's wife; to propose it to them would expose me to a refusal, and might compromise all. Once more, what is to be done?" "Do not be uneasy, ladies," said the porter as he went out; "I will go and assure the good man, that he will not have to remain long in pledge." Whilst Mother Bunch was occupied in tying her parcel, in which she had placed the silver cup, fork, and spoon, Mrs. Grivois seemed to reflect deeply. Suddenly she started. Her countenance, which had been for some moments expressive of anxiety and rage, brightened up on the instant. She rose, still holding My Lord in her arms, and said to the young girls: "As Mrs. Baudoin does not come in, I am going to pay a visit in the neighborhood, and will return immediately. Pray tell her so!" With these words Mr. Grivois took her departure, a few minutes before Mother Bunch left. CHAPTER L. APPEARANCES. After she had again endeavored to cheer up the orphans, the sewing-girl descended the stairs, not without difficulty, for, in addition to the parcel, which was already heavy, she had fetched down from her own room the only blanket she possessed--thus leaving herself without protection from the cold of her icy garret. The evening before, tortured with anxiety as to Agricola's fate, the girl had been unable to work; the miseries of expectation and hope delayed had prevented her from doing so; now another day would be lost, and yet it was necessary to live. Those overwhelming sorrows, which deprive the poor of the faculty of labor, are doubly dreaded; they paralyze the strength, and, with that forced cessation from toil, want and destitution are often added to grief. But Mother Bunch, that complete incarnation of holiest duty, had yet strength enough to devote herself for the service of others. Some of the most frail and feeble creatures are endowed with extraordinary vigor of soul; it would seem as if, in these weak, infirm organizations, the spirit reigned absolutely over the body, and knew how to inspire it with a factitious energy. Thus, for the last twenty-four hours, Mother Bunch had neither slept nor eaten; she had suffered from the cold, through the whole of a frosty night. In the morning she had endured great fatigue, in going, amid rain and snow, to the Rue de Babylone and back, twice crossing Paris and yet her strength was not exhausted--so immense is the power of the human heart! She had just arrived at the corner of the Rue Saint Mery. Since the recent Rue des Prouvaires conspiracy, there were stationed in this populous quarter of the town a much larger number of police-officers than usual. Now the young sempstress, though bending beneath the weight of her parcel, had quickened her pace almost to a run, when, just as she passed in front of one of the police, two five-franc pieces fell on the ground behind her, thrown there by a stout woman in black, who followed her closely. Immediately after the stout woman pointed out the two pieces to the policeman, and said something hastily to him with regard to Mother Bunch. Then she withdrew at all speed in the direction of the Rue Brise-Miche. The policeman, struck with what Mrs. Grivois had said to him ( for it was that person), picked up the money, and, running after the humpback, cried out to her: "Hi, there! young woman, I say--stop! stop!" On this outcry, several persons turned round suddenly and, as always happens in those quarters of the town, a nucleus of five or six persons soon grew to a considerable crowd. Not knowing that the policeman was calling to her, Mother Bunch only quickened her speed, wishing to get to the pawnbroker's as soon as possible, and trying to avoid touching any of the passers-by, so much did she dread the brutal and cruel railleries, to which her infirmity so often exposed her. Suddenly, she heard many persons running after her, and at the same instant a hand was laid rudely on her shoulder. It was the policeman, followed by another officer, who had been drawn to the spot by the noise. Mother Bunch turned round, struck with as much surprise as fear. She found herself in the centre of a crowd, composed chiefly of that hideous scum, idle and in rags, insolent and malicious, besotted with ignorance, brutalized by want, and always loafing about the corners. Workmen are scarcely ever met with in these mobs, for they are for the most part engaged in their daily labors. "Come, can't you hear? you are deaf as Punch's dog," said the policeman, seizing Mother Bunch so rudely by the arm, that she let her parcel fall at her feet. When the unfortunate girl, looking round in terror, saw herself exposed to all those insolent, mocking, malicious glances, when she beheld the cynical and coarse grimace on so many ignoble and filthy countenances, she trembled in all her limbs, and became fearfully pale. No doubt the policeman had spoken roughly to her; but how could he speak otherwise to a poor deformed girl, pale and trembling, with her features agitated by grief and fear--to a wretched creature, miserably clad, who wore in winter a thin cotton gown, soiled with mud, and wet with melted snow--for the poor sempstress had walked much and far that morning. So the policeman resumed, with great severity, following that supreme law of appearances which makes poverty always suspected: "Stop a bit, young woman! it seems you are in a mighty hurry, to let your money fall without picking it up." "Was her blunt hid in her hump?" said the hoarse voice of a match-boy, a hideous and repulsive specimen of precocious depravity. This sally was received with laughter, shouts, and hooting, which served to complete the sewing-girl's dismay and terror. She was hardly able to answer, in a feeble voice, as the policeman handed her the two pieces of silver: "This money, sir, is not mine." "You lie," said the other officer, approaching; "a respectable lady saw it drop from your pocket." "I assure you, sir, it is not so," answered Mother Bunch, trembling. "I tell you that you lie," resumed the officer; "for the lady, struck with your guilty and frightened air, said to me: `Look at yonder little hunchback, running away with that large parcel, and letting her money fall without even stopping to pick it up--it is not natural.'" "Bobby," resumed the match-vendor in his hoarse voice, "be on your guard! Feel her hump, for that is her luggage-van. I'm sure that you'll find boots, and cloaks, and umbrellas, and clocks in it--for I just heard the hour strike in the bend of her back."
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