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The Son sán of Monte-Cristo mánti-krístou, Volume vályum II (of 2)
by Alexandre eliksándar Dumas dúmaz pere pár
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Transcriber's trenskráibar Note nóut:

Obvious ábvias typographical taipagréfikal errors érarz have been corrected karéktad, and inconsistent inkansístant spelling spéling has been made consistent kansístant.

This volume vályum does not have any illustrations ilastréishanz.

The Works wárks of Alexandre eliksándar Dumas dúmaz in Thirty thárdi Volumes vályumz

THE SON sán OF MONTE-CRISTO mánti-krístou

VOLUME vályum TWO

Illustrated ílastreitad with Drawings dróingz on Wood wúd by Eminent émanant French frénch and American amérakan Artists ártists

New York yórk P. F. Collier kályar and Son sán MCMIV

CONTENTS kántents

I. FANFARO'S ADVENTURES edvéncharz 3

II. THE GOLDEN góuldan SUN sán 7

III. OLD AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES akwéintansiz 16

IV. BROTHER brádhar AND SISTER sístar 23

V. MASTER méstar AND SERVANT sárvant 31

VI vái. THE PERFORMANCE parfórmans 41

VII. PIERRE piér LABARRE labárei 49

VIII. A MEETING míting 59

IX. THE GRATITUDE grétatud OF A NOBLEMAN nóubalman 64

X. ESCAPED iskéipt 73

XI shí. IN PARIS péris 79

XII. THE "MARQUIS markí" 92

XIII. THE PURSUIT parsút 113

XIV. LOUISE luíz 123

XV. SWINDLED swíndald 128

XVI. MACHIAVELLI makiavéli AND COMPANY 134

XVII. LOUISON 139

XVIII. THE CANAL kanél 143

XIX. SPLENDOR spléndar 147

XX. IN LEIGOUTTE 154

XXI. EXCITED iksáitad 163

XXII. THE TRIAL tráial 177

XXIII. THE CRISIS kráisas 180

XXIV. THE AUTOPSY ótapsi 192

XXV. FROM SCYLLA síla TO CHARYBDIS 198

XXVI. MISTAKEN mistéikan 204

XXVII. FREEDOM frídam—BENEDETTO'S binadétou REVENGE rivénj 207

XXVIII. SPERO spérou 215

XXIX. FORWARD fórward, MARCH márch 221

XXX. JANE jéin ZILD 228

XXXI. A THUNDERBOLT thándarbolt 240

XXXII. OLD ACQUAINTANCES akwéintansiz 246

XXXIII. THE CATASTROPHE katéstrafi 252

XXXIV. A SHOT shát 262

XXXV. WILL SHE LIVE láiv? 267

XXXVI. MELOSAN'S SECRET síkrat 271

XXXVII. CARMEN kárman 287

XXXVIII. RECOLLECTIONS rekalékshanz 297

XXXIX. DISAPPEARED disapírd 302

XL. A CONFESSION kanféshan 311

XLI. ON THE TRAIL tréil 318

XLII. THE TRAP trép 323

XLIII. THE PATH péth OF THORNS thórnz 326

XLIV. THE PASHA pashá 330

XLV. HOW CARMEN kárman KEEPS kíps HER WORD wárd 333

XLVI. IN COURBEVOIE 338

XLVII. THE DEVOTED divóutad 341

XLVIII. UNITED yunáitad IN DEATH déth 344

XLIX. THE SPECTRE spéktar 347

L. 349

EPILOGUE épalog—THE ABBE ébi DANTES 351

THE SON sán OF MONTE-CRISTO mánti-krístou

CHAPTER chéptar I

FANFARO'S ADVENTURES edvéncharz

Spero spérou, the son sán of Monte-Cristo mánti-krístou, was peacefully písfali sleeping slíping in another room rúm, while, gathered gédhard around the table téibal in the dining-room dáining-rúm of Fanfaro's house, were Monte-Cristo mánti-krístou, Miss mís Clary kléri, Madame médam Caraman, Coucou, and Albert élbart de Morcerf, ready rédi to listen lísan to the story stóri of Fanfaro's adventures edvéncharz, which, as narrated néreitid at the close klóus of the preceding prisíding volume vályum, he was about to begin bigín.

The following fálouing is Fanfaro's narrative nérativ:

It was about the middle mídal of December disémbar, 1813, that a solitary sálateri horseman hórsman was pursuing parsúing the road róud which leads lídz through the Black blék Forest fórast from Breisach to Freiburg. The rider ráidar was a man in the prime práim of life. He wore wór a long brown bráun overcoat óuvarkout, reaching ríching to his knees níz, and shoes shúz fastened fésand with steel stíl buckles bákalz. His powdered páudard hair hér was combed kóumd back and tied táid with a black blék band bénd, while his head héd was covered kávard with a cap kép that had a projecting prajékting peak pík. The evening ívning came, and darkness dárknas spread spréd over the valley véli: the Black blék Forest fórast had not received rasívd its name néim in vain véin. A few miles máilz from Freiburg there stands sténdz a lonely lóunli hill híl, named néimd the Emperor's émparar Chair chér. Dark dárk masses mésaz of basalt basólt form fórm the steps stéps of this natural nécharal throne thróun; tall tól evergreens évargrinz stretch stréch their branches brénchaz protectingly over the hill híl. A fresh frésh mountain máuntan air ér is cast kést about by the big bíg trees tríz, and the north nórth wind wínd is in eternal itárnal battle bétal with this giant jáiant, which it bends béndz but can never break bréik.

Pierre piér Labarre labárei, the solitary sálateri horseman hórsman, was the confidential kanfadénshal servant sárvant of the Marquis markí de Fougereuse, and the darker dárkar the road róud became bikéim the more uncomfortable ankámfartabal he felt félt. He continually kantínyuali spurred spárd on his horse hórs, but the tired táiard animal énamal at every stride stráid struck strák against tree trí roots rúts which lined láind the narrow nérou path péth.

"Quick kwík, Margotte," said Pierre piér to the animal énamal, "you know how anxiously énkshasli we are awaited awéitad, and besides bisáidz we are the bearers bérarz of good news núz."

The animal énamal appeared apírd to understand andarsténd the words wárdz, began bigén to trot trát again at a smart smárt pace péis, and for a time all went well.

Darker dárkar and darker dárkar grew grú the night náit, the storm stórm raged réijd fiercer fírsar and fiercer fírsar, and the roar rór of the distant dístant river rívar sounded sáundad like the tolling tóuling of church-bells chárch-bélz.

Pierre piér had now reached rícht a hill híl, upon apán which century-old sénchari-óuld lindens stretched strécht their leafless líflas branches brénchaz toward tawórd heaven hévan; the road róud parted pártad at this point, and the rider ráidar suddenly sádanli reined réind in his horse hórs. One of the paths pédhz led léd to Breisach, the other to Gundebfingen. Pierre piér rose róuz in the stirrups stáraps and cautiously kóshasli glanced glénst about, but then he shook shúk his head héd and muttered mátard:

"Curious kyúrias, I can discover diskávar nothing náthing, and yet yét I thought I heard hárd the clatter klétar of a horse's hórs hoofs húfs."

He mechanically makénikli put his hand hénd in his breast-pocket brést-pákat and nodded nádad his head héd in a satisfied sétasfaid way.

"The portfolio portfóuliou is still in the right place," he whispered wíspard. "Forward fórward, Margotte—we must get under shelter shéltar."

But just as the steed stíd was about to start stárt, the rider ráidar again heard hárd the sound sáund of a horse's hórs hoofs húfs on the frozen fróuzan ground gráund, and in a twinkling twínkaling a horse hórs bounded báundad past pést Pierre piér like the wind wínd. It was the second rider ráidar who had rushed rásht past pést the servant sárvant at such a rapid répad gait géit.

Pierre piér was not superstitious suparstíshas, yet yét he felt félt his heart hárt move múv quickly kwíkli when the horseman hórsman galloped gélapt past pést him, and old legends léjandz about spectres rose róuz up in his mind máind. Perhaps parhéps the rider ráidar was the wild wáild huntsman hántsman of whom húm he had heard hárd so much, or what was more likely láikli, it was no spectre spéktar, but a robber rábar. This last possibility pasabílati frightened fráitand Pierre piér very much. He bent bént down and took túk a pistol pístal out of the saddle-bag sédalbég. He cocked kákt the trigger trígar and continued kantínyud on his way, while he muttered mátard to himself himsélf:

"Courage káraj, old boy bói; if it should come to the worst wárst you will kill kíl your man."

Pierre piér rode róud on unembarrassed, and had reached rícht a road róud which would bring bríng him to Freiburg in less lés than half héf an hour áuar. Suddenly sádanli a report ripórt was heard hárd, and Pierre piér uttered átard a hollow hálou groan gróun. A bullet búlat had struck strák his breast brést.

Bending bénding with pain péin over his horse's hórs neck nék he looked lúkt about. The bushes búshaz parted pártad and a man enveloped envélapt in a long cloak klóuk sprung spráng forth fórth and rushed rásht upon apán the servant sárvant. The moment móumant he put his hand hénd on the horse's hórs rein réin, Pierre piér raised réizd himself himsélf and in an angry éngri voice vóis exclaimed ikskléimd:

"Not so quickly kwíkli, bandits béndats!"

At the same moment móumant he aimed éimd his pistol pístal and fired fáiard. The bandit béndat uttered átard a moan móun and recoiled rikóild. But he did not sink sínk to the ground gráund as Pierre piér had expected ikspéktad. He disappeared disapírd in the darkness dárknas. A second shot shát fired fáiard after him struck strák in the nearest nírast tree trí, and Pierre piér swore swór roundly ráundli.

"Confound kanfáund the Black blék Forest fórast," he growled gráuld as he rode róud along alóng; "if I had not fortunately fórchanatli had my leather lédhar portfolio portfóuliou in my breast-pocket brést-pákat, I would be a dead déd man now! The scoundrel skáundral must have eyes áiz like an owl ául: he aimed éimd as well as if he had been on a rifle ráifal range réinj. Hurry hári along alóng, Margotte, or else éls a second highwayman may come and conclude kanklúd what the other began bigén."

The horse hórs trotted trátad along alóng, and Pierre piér heard hárd anew anú the gallop gélap of a second animal énamal. The bandit béndat evidently évadantli desired dizáiard to keep kíp his identity aidéntati unknown annóun.

"Curious kyúrias," muttered mátard Pierre piér, "I did not see his face féis, but his voice vóis seemed símd familiar famílyar."

CHAPTER chéptar II

THE GOLDEN góuldan SUN sán

Mr. Schwan shwón, the host hóust of the Golden góuldan Sun sán at Sainte-Ame, a market márkat town táun in the Vosges, was very busy bízi. Although the month mánth of February fébyaweri was not an inviting inváiting one, three travellers trévalarz had arrived aráivd that morning mórning at the Golden góuldan Sun sán, and six síks more were expected ikspéktad.

Schwan shwón had that morning mórning made an onslaught ónslot on his chicken chíkan coop kúp, and, while his servants sárvants were robbing rábing the murdered márdard hens hénz of their feathers fédharz, the host hóust walked wókt to the door dór of the inn ín and looked lúkt at the sky skái.

A loud láud laugh léf, which shook shúk the windows wíndouz of the inn ín, made Schwan shwón turn tárn round ráund hurriedly háridli: at the same moment móumant two muscular máskyalar arms ármz were placed pléist upon apán his shoulders shóuldarz, and a resounding risáunding kiss kís was pressed prést upon apán his brown bráun cheek chík.

"What is the meaning míning of this?" stammered the host hóust, trying tráiing in vain véin to shake shéik off the arms ármz which held héld him. "The devil déval take me, but these arms ármz must belong bilóng to my old friend frénd Firejaws," exclaimed ikskléimd Schwan shwón, now laughing léfing; and hardly hárdli had he spoken spóukan the words wárdz than the possessor pazésar of the arms ármz, a giant jáiant seven sévan feet fít tall tól, cheerfully chírfali said:

"Well guessed gést, Father fádhar Schwan shwón. Firejaws in propria persona parsóuna."

While the host hóust was cordially kórjali welcoming wélkaming the new arrival aráival, several sévral servants sárvants hurried hárid from the kitchen kíchan, and soon sún a bottle bátal of wine wáin and two glasses glésaz stood stúd upon apán the cleanly klínli scoured skáuard inn ín table téibal.

"Make yourself yarsélf at home, my boy bói," said Schwan shwón, gayly, as he filled fíld the glasses glésaz.

The giant jáiant, whose húz figure fígyar was draped dréipt in a fantastical costume kastúm, grinned grínd broadly bródli, and did justice jástas to the host's hóust invitation invitéishan. The sharply shárpli curved kárvd nose nóuz and the large lárj mouth máuth with dazzling dézaling teeth títh, the full fúl blond blánd hair hér, and the broad bród, muscular máskyalar shoulders shóuldarz, were on a colossal kalásal scale skéil. The tight-fitting táit-fíting coat kóut of the athlete éthlit was dark dárk red réd, the trousers tráuzarz were of black blék velvet vélvat, and richly ríchli embroidered embróidard shirt-sleeves shárt-slívz made up the wonderful wándarfal appearance apírans of the man.

"Father fádhar Schwan shwón, I must embrace embréis you once wáns more," said the giant jáiant after a pause póz, as he stretched strécht out his arms ármz.

"Go ahead ahéd, but do not crush krásh me," laughed léft the host hóust.

"Are you glad gléd to see me again?"

"I should say so. How are you getting géting along alóng?"

"Splendidly spléndadli, as usual yúzhawal; my breast brést is as firm fárm still as if it were made of iron áiarn," replied ripláid the giant jáiant, striking stráiking a powerful páuarfal blow blóu upon apán his breast brést.

"Has business bíznas been good?"

"Oh, I am ém satisfied sétasfaid."

"Where are your people?"

"On their way here. The coach kóuch was too slow slóu for me, so I left them behind biháind and went on in advance advéns."

"Well, and—your wife wáif?" asked éskt the host hóust, hesitatingly.

The giant jáiant closed klóuzd his eyes áiz and was silent sáilant; Schwan shwón looked lúkt down at his feet fít, and after a pause póz continued kantínyud:

"Things don't go as they should, I suppose sapóuz?"

"Let lét me tell tél you something," replied ripláid the giant jáiant, firmly fármli; "if it is just the same to you, I would rather rédhar not talk tók on that subject sabjékt."

"Ah á, really? Poor púr fellow félou! Yes, these women wíman!"

"Not so quickly kwíkli, cousin kázan—my deceased disíst wife wáif was a model mádal of a woman wúman."

"True trú; when she died dáid I knew you would never find another one to equal íkwal her."

"My little Caillette is just like her."

"Undoubtedly andáutidli. When I saw the little one last, about six síks years ago agóu, she was as pretty príti as a picture píkchar."

"She is seventeen sévantín now, and still very handsome hénsam."

"What are the relations riléishanz between your wife wáif and you?"

"They couldn't be better bétar; Rolla rála cannot kénat bear bér the little one."

The host hóust nodded nádad.

"Girdel," he said, softly sóftli, "when you told tóuld me that day that you were going to marry méri the 'Cannon kénan Queen kwín,' I was frightened fráitand. The woman's wúman look displeased displízd me. Does she treat trít Caillette badly bédli?"

"She dare dér not touch tách a hair hér of the child's cháild head héd," hissed híst the giant jáiant, "or—"

"Do not get angry éngri; but tell tél me rather rédhar whether wédhar Bobichel is still with you?"

"Of course kórs."

"And Robeckal?"

"His time is about up."

"That would be no harm hárm; and the little one?"

"The little one?" laughed léft Girdel. "Well, he is about six síks feet fít."

"You do not say so! Is he still so useful yúsfal?"

"Cousin kázan," said the giant jáiant, slowly slóuli, "Fanfaro is a treasure trézhar! Do you know, he is of a different breed bríd from us; no, do not contradict kantradíkt me, I know what I am ém speaking spíking about. I am ém an athlete éthlit; I have arms ármz like logs lógz and hands héndz like claws klóz, therefore dhérfor it is no wonder wándar that I perform parfórm difficult dífakalt exercises éksarsaizaz; but Fanfaro is tender téndar and fine fáin; he has arms ármz and hands héndz like a girl gárl, and skin skín like velvet vélvat, yet yét he can stand sténd more than I can. He can down two of me, yet yét he is soft sáft and shrewd shrúd, and has a heart hárt of gold góuld."

"Then you love láv him as much as you used to do?" laughed léft the host hóust, in a satisfied sétasfaid way.

"Much more if it is possible pásabal; I—"

The giant jáiant stopped stápt short shórt, and when Schwan shwón followed fáloud the direction darékshan of his eye ái, he saw that the wagon wégan which carried kérid the fortune fórchan of Cesar sízar Girdel had rolled róuld into the courtyard kórtyard.

Upon apán four high hái wheels wílz a large lárj open óupan box báks swung swáng to and fro fróu; on its four sides sáidz were various vérias colored kálard posts póusts, which served sárvd to carry kéri the curtains kártanz, which shut shát out the interior intíriar of the box báks from the eyes áiz of the curious kyúrias world. The red réd and white wáit curtains kártanz were now cast kést aside asáid, and one could see a mass més of iron áiarn poles póulz, rags régz, weights wéits, empty émpti barrels béralz, hoops húps with and without purple párpal silk sílk paper péipar, the use of which was not clear klír to profane prouféin eyes áiz.

The driver dráivar was dressed drést in yellow yélou woollen wúlan cloth klóth, and could at once wáns be seen sín to be a clown kláun; he wore wór a high hái pasteboard cap kép adorned adórnd with bells bélz, and while he swung swáng the whip wíp with his right hand hénd he held héld a trumpet trámpat in his left, which he occasionally akéizhanali put to his lips líps and blew blú a blast blést loud láud enough ináf to wake wéik the very stones stóunz. The man's face féis was terribly térabli thin thín, his nose nóuz was long and straight stréit, and small dark dárk eyes áiz sparkled spárkald maliciously malíshisli from under his bushy búshi eyebrows áibrauz.

Behind biháind Bobichel, for this was the clown's kláun name néim, Caillette, the giant's jáiant daughter dótar, was seated sítad. Her father fádhar had not overpraised his daughter dótar: the tender téndar, rosy róuzi face féis of the young yáng girl gárl had wonderfully wándarfali refined rafáind features fícharz; deep díp blue blú soulful sóulfal eyes áiz lay léi half héf hidden hídan under long, dark dárk eyelashes áileshiz, and gold-blond góuld-blánd locks láks fell fél over her white wáit neck nék. Caillette appeared apírd to be enjoying enjóiing herself harsélf, for her silvery sílvari laugh léf sounded sáundad continually kantínyuali, while she was conversing kanvársing with Bobichel.

At the rear rír of the wagon wégan upon apán a heap híp of bedding béding sat sét a woman wúman whose húz dimensions diménshanz were fabulous fébyalas. She was about forty-five fórtifáiv years of age éij; her face féis looked lúkt as if it had been chopped chápt with an axe éks; the small eyes áiz almost ólmoust disappeared disapírd beneath biníth the puffed páft cheeks chíks, and the broad bród breast brést as well as the thick thík, red réd arms ármz and claw-like klóláik hands héndz were repulsive ripálsiv in the extreme ekstrím. Bushy búshi hair hér of a dirty dárti yellow yélou color kálar hung háng in a confused kanfyúzd mass més over the shoulders shóuldarz of the virago viragou, and her blue blú cloth klóth jacket jékat and woollen wúlan dress drés were full fúl of grease grís spots spáts.

Robeckal walked wókt beside bisáid the wagon wégan. He was of small stature stéchar, but nervous nárvas and muscular máskyalar. The small face féis lighted láitad up by shrewd shrúd eyes áiz had a yellowish yélouish color kálar; the long, thin thín arms ármz would have done dán honor ánar to a gorilla garíla, and the elasticity ilestísati of his bones bóunz was monkeyish in the extreme ekstrím. He wore wór a suit sút of faded féidad blue blú velvet vélvat, reddish rédish brown bráun hair hér only half héf covered kávard his head héd, and a mocking máking laugh léf lurked lárkt about the corners kórnarz of his lips líps while he was softly sóftli speaking spíking to Rolla rála.

Bobichel now jumped jámpt from the wagon wégan. Girdel hurried hárid from the house and cordially kórjali exclaimed ikskléimd:

"Welcome wélkam, children; you have remained riméind out long and are not hungry hángri, are you?"

"I could eat ít pebblestones," replied ripláid Bobichel, laughing léfing. "Ah á, there is Schwan shwón too. Well, old boy bói, how have you been getting géting along alóng?"

While the host hóust and the clown kláun were holding hóulding a conversation kanvarséishan, Girdel went to the wagon wégan and stretched strécht out his arms ármz.

"Jump jámp, daughter dótar," he laughingly léfingli said.

Caillette did not hesitate hézateit long; she rose róuz on her pretty príti toes tóuz and swung swáng herself harsélf over the edge éj of the wagon wégan into her father's fádhar arms ármz. The latter létar kissed kíst her heartily hártali on both cheeks chíks, and then placed pléist her on the ground gráund. He then glanced glénst around, and anxiously énkshasli asked éskt:

"Where is Fanfaro?"

"Here, Papa pápa Firejaws," came cheerfully chírfali from the interior intíriar of the wagon wégan, and at the same moment móumant a dark dárk head héd appeared apírd in sight sáit above abáv a large lárj box báks. The head héd was followed fáloud by a beautifully byútafli formed fórmd body bádi, and placing pléising his hand hénd lightly láitli on the edge éj of the wagon wégan, Fanfaro swung swáng gracefully gréisfali to the ground gráund.

"Madcap médkep, can't you stop stáp turning tárning?" scolded skóuldad Girdel, laughingly léfingli; "go into the house and get your breakfast brékfast!"

Caillette, Fanfaro, and Bobichel went away awéi; Girdel turned tárnd to his wife wáif and pleasantly plézantli said:

"Rolla rála, I will now help hélp you down."

Rolla rála looked lúkt at him sharply shárpli, and then said in a rough ráf, rasping voice vóis:

"Didn't I call kól you, Robeckal? Come and help hélp me down!"

Robeckal, who had been observing abzárving the chickens chíkanz in the courtyard kórtyard, slowly slóuli approached apróucht the wagon wégan.

"What do you want?" he asked éskt.

"Help hélp me down," repeated ripítid Rolla rála.

Girdel remained riméind perfectly párfaktli calm kám, but a careful kérfal observer abzárvar might have noticed nóutast the veins véinz on his forehead fórhed swell swél. He measured mézhard Rolla rála and Robeckal with a peculiar pakyúlyar look, and before his look Rolla's rála eyes áiz fell fél.

"Robeckal, are you coming káming?" cried kráid the virago viragou, impatiently impéishantli.

"What do you wish wísh here?" asked éskt Girdel, coolly kúli, as Robeckal turned tárnd to Rolla rála.

"What do I wish wísh here?" replied ripláid Robeckal; "Madame médam Girdel has done dán me the honor ánar to call kól me, and—"

"And you are thinking thínking rather rédhar long about it," interrupted intaráptid Rolla rála, gruffly gráfli.

"I am ém here," growled gráuld Robeckal, laying léiing his hand hénd upon apán the edge éj of the wagon wégan.

"No further fárdhar!" commanded kaméndad Girdel, in a threatening thrétaning voice vóis.

"Ha! who is going to prevent privént me?"

"I, wretch!" thundered thándard Firejaws, in whose húz eyes áiz a warning wórning glance gléns shone shóun.

"Bah! you are getting géting angry éngri about nothing náthing," said Robeckal, mockingly, placing pléising his other hand hénd on the edge éj of the wagon wégan.

"Strike stráik him, Robeckal!" cried kráid Rolla rála, urgingly.

Robeckal raised réizd his right hand hénd, but at the same moment móumant the athlete éthlit stretched strécht him on the ground gráund with a blow blóu of his fist físt; he could thank thénk his stars stárz that Girdel had not struck strák him with his full fúl force fórs, or else éls Robeckal would never have got up again. With a cry krái of rage réij he sprung spráng up and threw thrú himself himsélf upon apán the giant jáiant, who waited wéitad calmly kámli for him with his arms ármz quietly kwáiatli folded fóuldad over his breast brést; a sword sórd shone shóun in Robeckal's hand hénd, and how it happened hépand neither nídhar he nor nór Rolla rála knew, but immediately imídiatli after he lay léi on top táp of the wagon wégan, close klóus to the Cannon kénan Queen kwín.

"Enough ináf of your rascality, Robeckal," said the voice vóis of him who had thrown thróun the angry éngri man upon apán the wagon wégan.

"I thought the wretched réchid boy bói would come between us again," hissed híst Rolla rála; and without waiting wéiting for any further fárdhar help hélp she sprung spráng from the wagon wégan and rushed rásht upon apán Fanfaro, for he it was who had come to Girdel's assistance asístans.

"Back, Rolla rála!" exclaimed ikskléimd Firejaws, hoarsely, as he laid léid his iron áiarn fist físt upon apán his wife's wáif shoulder shóuldar. Schwan shwón came to the door dór and cordially kórjali said:

"Where are your comrades kámredz? The soup súp is waiting wéiting."

Robeckal hurriedly háridli glided gláidid from the wagon wégan, and approaching apróuching close klóus to Rolla rála, he whispered wíspard a few words wárdz in her ear ír.

"Let lét me go, Girdel," said the giantess. "Who would take such a stupid stúpad joke jóuk in earnest árnist? Come, I am ém hungry hángri."

Firejaws looked lúkt at his wife wáif in amazement améizmant. Her face féis, which had been purple párpal with anger éngar, was now overspread by a broad bród grin grín, and shrugging shráging his shoulders shóuldarz, Girdel walked wókt toward tawórd the house. Fanfaro followed fáloud, and Robeckal and Rolla rála remained riméind alone alóun.

"We must make an end of it, Rolla rála," grumbled grámbald Robeckal.

"I am ém satisfied sétasfaid. The sooner súnar the better bétar!"

"Good. I shall shél do it to-night túnáit. See that you take a little walk wók afterward éftarward on the country kántri road róud. I will meet mít you there and tell tél you my plan plén."

"Do so. Let lét us go to dinner dínar now, I am ém hungry hángri."

When Rolla rála and Robeckal entered éntard the dining-room dáining-rúm, Girdel, Caillette, Bobichel, and Fanfaro were already olrédi sitting síting at table téibal, and Schwan shwón was just bringing brínging in a hot hát, steaming stíming dish dísh.

CHAPTER chéptar III

OLD AND NEW ACQUAINTANCES akwéintansiz

While the hungry hángri guests gésts were eating íting, the door dór at the back of the large lárj dining-room dáining-rúm was very softly sóftli opened óupand. None nán of the strangers stréinjarz observed abzárvd this, but the host hóust, whose húz eyes áiz were all over, went toward tawórd the door dór, at the threshold thréshould of which stood stúd a man about forty fórti years of age éij. The man was small and lean lín, and wore wór a brown bráun overcoat óuvarkout trimmed trímd with fur fár; the coat kóut was cut kát out at the bosom búzam and allowed aláud a yellow yélou vest vést and sky-blue skáiblú tie tái to be seen sín. Trousers tráuzarz of dark-blue dárkblú cloth klóth reached rícht to the knee, and his riding-boots ráiding-búts, with spurs spárz, completed kamplítad the wonderfully wándarfali made toilet tóilat.

The man's face féis had a disagreeable disagríabal expression ikspréshan. He had deep díp squinting skwínting eyes áiz, a large lárj mouth máuth, a broad bród nose nóuz, and long, bony bóuni fingers fíngarz.

When the host hóust approached apróucht the stranger stréinjar he bowed báud and respectfully rispéktfali asked éskt:

"How can I serve sárv you, sir sár?"

The stranger stréinjar did not reply riplái; his gaze géiz was directed daréktad toward tawórd the table téibal and the guests gésts, and the host hóust, who had observed abzárvd his look, again repeated ripítid the question kwéschan.

The stranger stréinjar walked wókt into the middle mídal of the room rúm, and, seating síting himself himsélf at a table téibal, said:

"Bring bríng me a glass glés of brandy bréndi."

"I thought—I believed bilívd—" began bigén the host hóust.

"Do as I told tóuld you. I am ém expecting ikspékting some one. Get a good dinner dínar ready rédi, and as soon sún as—the other one arrives aráivz, you can serve sárv it."

"It shall shél be attended aténdad to," nodded nádad Schwan shwón, who thought the man was the steward stúard of some big bíg lord lórd.

Just as the host hóust was about to leave lív the room rúm, the door dór was opened óupand again and two more travellers trévalarz entered éntard. The first comer kámar threw thrú a look at the new arrivals aráivalz, and a frown fráun crossed króst his ugly ágli face féis.

The last two who entered éntard were entirely intáiarli dissimilar disímalar. One of them, to judge jáj from his upright apráit bearing béring, must have formerly fórmarli been a soldier sóuljar. He was dressed drést plainly pléinli in civilian's savílyan clothes klóudhz, and his bushy búshi white wáit mustache mástesh gave géiv his face féis a threatening thrétaning look; the deep díp blue blú eyes áiz, however, served sárvd to soften sáfan the features fícharz. The other man was evidently évadantli a carman kárman; he wore wór a blue blú linen línan blouse bláus, leathern shoes shúz, knee-breeches and a large lárj round ráund hat hét. When the host hóust praised préizd his kitchen kíchan to the new-comers núkámarz, his words wárdz fell fél on fertile fártal ground gráund, for when he asked éskt the first guest gést whether wédhar he would like to have some ham hém and eggs égz, the proposition prapazíshan was at once wáns accepted ekséptid.

"Where shall shél I serve sárv the gentlemen jéntalmin?"

For a moment móumant there was deep díp silence sáilans. The guests gésts had just perceived parsívd the first comer kámar and did not seem sím to be impressed imprést by his appearance apírans. Nevertheless nevardhalés, the man who looked lúkt like a soldier sóuljar decided disáidid that they should be served sárvd at one of the side sáid tables téibalz. When he said this Girdel looked lúkt up, and his features fícharz showed shóud that the new-comers núkámarz were not strangers stréinjarz to him. The man in the brown bráun overcoat óuvarkout laughed léft mockingly when he perceived parsívd that the two strangers stréinjarz chose chóuz a table téibal as far fár away awéi from his as possible pásabal. He looked lúkt fixedly at them, and when Schwan shwón brought brót him the brandy bréndi he had ordered órdard, he filled fíld his glass glés and emptied émptid it at one gulp gálp. He then took túk some newspapers núzpeiparz out of his pocket pákat and began bigén to read réd, holding hóulding the pages péijaz in such a way as to conceal kansíl his face féis.

The host hóust now brought brót the ham hém and eggs égz. As he placed pléist them on the table téibal, the carman kárman hastily héistali asked éskt:

"How far fár is it, sir sár, from here to Remiremont?"

"To Remiremont? Ah á, I see the gentlemen jéntalmin do not belong bilóng to the vicinity vasínati. To Remiremont is about two hours áuarz."

"So much the better bétar; we can get there then in the course kórs of the afternoon eftarnún."

"That is a question kwéschan," remarked rimárkt Schwan shwón.

"How so? What do you mean?"

"The road róud is very bad béd," he replied ripláid.

"That won't be so very dangerous déinjaras."

"Oh, but the floods fládz!"

"What's the matter métar with the floods fládz?" said the old soldier sóuljar.

"The enormous inórmas rainfall réinfol of the last few weeks wíks has swollen swóulan all the mountain máuntan lakes léiks," said the host hóust, vivaciously, "and the road róud to Remiremont is under water wótar, so that it would be impossible impásabal for you to pass pés."

"That would be bad béd," exclaimed ikskléimd the carman kárman, excitedly iksáitadli.

"It would be dangerous déinjaras," remarked rimárkt the old soldier sóuljar.

"Oh, yes, sir sár; last year two travellers trévalarz were drowned dráund between Sainte-Ame and Remiremont; to tell tél the truth trúth, the gentlemen jéntalmin looked lúkt like you!"

"Thanks thénks for the compliment kámplament!"

"The gentlemen jéntalmin probably prábabli had no guide gáid," said the carman kárman.

"No."

"Well, we shall shél take a guide gáid along alóng; can you get one for us?"

"To-morrow túmárou, but not to-day túdéi."

"Why not?"

"Because my people are busy bízi; but to-morrow túmárou it can be done dán."

In the meantime míntaim, the acrobats ékrabets had finished fínisht their meal míl. Girdel arose aróuz, and, drawing dróing close klóus to the travellers trévalarz, said:

"If the gentlemen jéntalmin desire dizáiar, they can go with us to-morrow túmárou to Remiremont."

"Oh, that is a good idea aidía," said the host hóust gleefully glífali; "accept eksépt, gentlemen jéntalmin. If Girdel conducts kandákts you, you can risk rísk it without any fear fír."

In spite spáit of the uncommon ankáman appearance apírans of the athlete éthlit, the strangers stréinjarz did not hesitate hézateit to accept eksépt Girdel's offer ófar; they exchanged ikschéinjd glances glénsiz, and the soldier sóuljar said:

"Accepted ekséptid, sir sár. We are strangers stréinjarz here, and would have surely shúrli lost lóst ourselves auarsélvz. When do you expect ikspékt to go?"

"To-morrow túmárou morning mórning. To-night túnáit we give a performance parfórmans here, and with the dawn dón of day we start stárt for Remiremont."

"Good. Can I invite inváit you now to join jóin us in a glass glés of wine wáin?"

Girdel protested pratéstad more politely paláitli than earnestly árnastli; Schwan shwón brought brót a bottle bátal and glasses glésaz, and the giant jáiant sat sét down by the strangers stréinjarz.

While this was going on, the first comer kámar appeared apírd to be deeply dípli immersed imárst in the paper péipar, though dhóu he had not lost lóst a word wárd of the conversation kanvarséishan, and as Firejaws took túk a seat sít near nír the strangers stréinjarz, he began bigén again to laugh léf mockingly.

Robeckal and Rolla rála now left the dining-room dáining-rúm, while Fanfaro, Caillette and Bobichel still remained riméind seated sítad; a minute mínat later léitar Robeckal returned ritárnd, and drawing dróing near nír to Girdel, softly sóftli said to him:

"Master méstar."

"Well?"

"Do you need me?"

"What for?"

"To erect irékt the booth búth?"

"No, Fanfaro and Bobichel will attend aténd to it."

"Then good-by gúdbái for the present prézant."

Robeckal left. Hardly hárdli had the door dór closed klóuzd behind biháind him than the man in the brown bráun overcoat óuvarkout stopped stápt reading réding his paper péipar and left the room rúm too.

"One word wárd, friend frénd," he said to Robeckal.

"Quick kwík, what does it concern kansárn?"

"Twenty twénti francs frénks for you, if you answer énsar me properly práparli."

"Go ahead ahéd."

"What is this Firejaws?"

"Athlete éthlit, acrobat ékrabet, wrestler résalar—anything énithing you please plíz."

"What is his right name néim?"

"Girdel, Cesar sízar Girdel."

"Do you know the men mén with whom húm he just spoke spóuk?"

"No."

"You hate héit Girdel?"

"Who told tóuld you so, and what is it your business bíznas?"

"Ah á, a great deal díl. If you hate héit him we can make a common káman thing thíng of it. You belong bilóng to his troupe trúp?"

"Yes, for the present prézant."

"Bah, long enough ináf to earn árn a few gold góuld pieces písaz."

"What is asked éskt of me for that?"

"You? Not much. You shall shél have an opportunity apartúnati to pay péi back the athlete éthlit everything évrithing you owe óu him in the way of hate héit, and besides bisáidz you will be well rewarded riwórdid."

Robeckal shrugged shrágd his shoulders shóuldarz.

"Humbug hámbag," he said, indifferently.

"No, I mean it seriously síriasli."

"I should like it to be done dán," replied ripláid Robeckal, dryly dráili.

"Here are twenty twénti francs frénks in advance advéns."

Robeckal stretched strécht out his hand hénd for the gold góuld piece pís, let lét it fall fól into his pocket pákat, and disappeared disapírd without a word wárd.

"You have come too late léit, my friend frénd," he laughed léft to himself himsélf. "Girdel will be a dead déd man before the morrow márou comes kámz, as sure shúr as my name néim is Robeckal."

In the meantime míntaim Girdel continued kantínyud to converse kánvars with the two gentlemen jéntalmin; Schwan shwón went here and there, and Fanfaro, Caillette and Bobichel were waiting wéiting for the athlete's éthlit orders órdarz for the evening ívning performance parfórmans.

"How goes góuz it?" asked éskt the carman kárman, now softly sóftli.

"Good," replied ripláid Girdel, in the same tone tóun.

"The peasants pézants are prepared pripérd?"

"Yes. The seed síd is ripe ráip. They are only waiting wéiting for the order órdar to begin bigín to sow sáu.

"We must speak spík about this matter métar at greater gréitar length lénkth, but not here. Did you notice nóutas the man who was reading réding the paper péipar over there a little while ago agóu?"

"Yes; he did not look as if he could instil confidence kánfadans into any one; I think he must be a lackey léki."

"He could be a spy spái too; when can we speak spík to one another undisturbed andistárbd?"

"This evening ívning after the performance parfórmans, either ídhar in your room rúm or in mine máin."

"Let lét it be in yours yúrz; we can wait wéit until the others ádharz sleep slíp; let lét your door dór remain riméin open óupan, Girdel."

"I will not fail féil to do so."

"Then it is settled sétald; keep kíp mum mám. No one must know of our presence prézans here."

"Not even Fanfaro?"

"No, not for any price práis."

"But you do not distrust distrást him? He is a splendid spléndad fellow félou—"

"So much the better bétar for him; nevertheless nevardhalés, he must not know anything énithing. I can tell tél you the reason rízan; we wish wísh to speak spík about him; we desire dizáiar to intrust certain sártan things with him."

"You couldn't find a better bétar person pársan."

"I believe bilív it. Good-by gúdbái, now, until to-night túnáit."

"Au óu revoir rivwár!"

"Sir sár," said the carman kárman, now aloud aláud, "we accept eksépt your proposal prapóuzal with thanks thénks, and hope hóup to reach rích Remiremont to-morrow túmárou with your help hélp."

"You shall shél."

Girdel turned tárnd now to Fanfaro, and gayly cried kráid:

"To work, my son sán; we must dazzle dézal the inhabitants inhébatants of Sainte-Ame! Cousin kázan Schwan shwón, have we got permission parmíshan to give our performance parfórmans? You are the acting ékting mayor méiar."

"I am ém," replied ripláid Schwan shwón; "hand hénd in your petition patíshan; here is some stamped stémpt paper péipar."

"Fanfaro, write ráit what is necessary nésaseri," ordered órdard Girdel; "you know I'm not much in that line láin."

"If you are not a man of the pen pén, you are a man of the heart hárt," laughed léft Fanfaro, as he quickly kwíkli wrote róut a few lines láinz on the paper péipar.

"Flatterer," scolded skóuldad Girdel. "Forward fórward, Bobichel; bring bríng me the work-box wárkbáks; the people will find out to-night túnáit that they will see something."

CHAPTER chéptar IV

BROTHER brádhar AND SISTER sístar

Half héf an hour áuar later léitar the inhabitants inhébatants of Sainte-Ame crowded kráudad about the open óupan place in front fránt of the Golden góuldan Sun sán. They seldom séldam had an opportunity apartúnati of seeing síing anything énithing like this, for very few travelling trévaling shows shóuz ever évar visited vízatad the small Lorraine laréin village vílaj; and with almost ólmoust childish cháildish joy jói the spectators spékteitarz gazed géizd at Bobichel, Fanfaro, and Girdel, who were engaged engéijd in erecting irékting the booth búth. The work went on briskly brískli. The posts póusts which had been run rán into the ground gráund were covered kávard with many-colored méni-kálard cloths klóths, and a hurriedly háridli arranged aréinjd wooden wúdan roof rúf protected pratéktad the interior intíriar of the tent tént from the weather wédhar. Four wooden wúdan stairs stérz led léd to the right of the entrance éntrans, where the box-office báksófas was; this latter létar was made of a primitive prímativ wooden wúdan table téibal, on which was a faded féidad velvet vélvat cover kávar embroidered embróidard with golden góuldan arabesques and cabalistic signs sáinz. All the outer áutar walls wólz of the booth búth were covered kávard with yellow yélou bills bílz, upon apán which could be read réd that "Signor sínyor Firejaws" would lift líft with his teeth títh red-hot rédhát irons áiarnz of fabulous fébyalas weight wéit, swallow swálou burning bárning lead léd, and perform parfórm the most startling stártling acrobatic ekrabétik tricks tríks. Rolla rála, the Cannon kénan Queen kwín, would catch kéch cannon kénan balls bólz shot shát from a gun gán, and do other tricks tríks; at the same time the bill bíl said she would eat ít pigeons píjanz alive aláiv, and with their feathers fédharz on. Caillette, the "daughter dótar of the air ér," as she was called kóld, would send sénd the spectators spékteitarz into ecstasies by her performance parfórmans on the tight táit rope róup, and sing síng songs sóngz. Robeckal, the "descendant diséndant of the old Moorish múrish kings kíngz," would swallow swálou swords sórdz, eat ít glass glés, shave shéiv kegs kégz with his teeth títh; and Fanfaro would perform parfórm on the trapeze trapíz, give his magic méjik acts ékts, and daze déiz the public páblik with his extraordinary ekstraórdaneri productions pradákshanz. A pyramid píramid, formed fórmd of all the members mémbarz of the troupe trúp, at the top táp of which Caillette shone shóun with a rose róuz in her hand hénd, stood stúd at the bottom bátam of the bills bílz in red réd colors kálarz, and was gazed géizd upon apán by the peasants pézants in open-mouthed óupan-máudhd wonder wándar. The hammering hémaring which went on in the interior intíriar of the booth búth sounded sáundad to them like music myúzik, and they could hardly hárdli await awéit the night náit, which was to bring bríng them so many magnificent megnífasant things.

Girdel walked wókt up and down in a dignified dígnafaid way and the crowd kráud respectfully rispéktfali made way for him, while the giant jáiant, in stentorian tones tóunz, gave géiv the orders órdarz to Fanfaro and Bobichel.

Bobichel's name néim was not on the bills bílz; he was to surprise sarpráiz the public páblik as a clown kláun, and therefore dhérfor his name néim was never mentioned ménshand. He generally jénarali amused amyúzd the spectators spékteitarz in a comical kámikal way, and always made them laugh léf; even now, when he had finished fínisht his work, he mingled míngald with the peasants pézants and delighted diláitad them with his jokes jóuks.

Fanfaro and Caillette were still engaged engéijd constructing kanstrákting the booth búth. The young yáng man arranged aréinjd the wooden wúdan seats síts and the giant's jáiant daughter dótar hung háng the colored kálard curtains kártanz, which covered kávard the bare bér walls wólz, putting páting here and there artificial artafíshal flowers fláuarz on them. Sometimes samtáimz Caillette would pause póz in her work, to look at Fanfaro with her deep díp blue blú eyes áiz.

Fanfaro was now done dán with the seats síts and began bigén to fasten fésan two trapezes. They hung háng to a centre séntar log lóg by iron áiarn hooks húks, and were about twelve twélv feet fít from the ground gráund and about as far fár distant dístant from each other.

Fanfaro lightly láitli swung swáng upon apán the centre séntar log lóg and hammered hémard in the iron áiarn hooks húks with powerful páuarfal blows blóuz.

The wonderfully wándarfali fine-shaped fáin-shéipt body bádi was seen sín to advantage edvéntij in this position pazíshan, and a sculptor skálptar would have enthusiastically inthuziéstikli observed abzárvd the classical klésikal outlines áutlainz of the young yáng man, whose húz dark dárk tights táits fitted fítad him like a glove gláv.

Fanfaro's hands héndz and feet fít were as small as those of a woman wúman, but, as Girdel had said, his muscles másalz and veins véinz were as hard hárd as iron áiarn.

The iron áiarn hooks húks were fast fést now, and the young yáng man swung swáng himself himsélf upon apán a plank plénk; he then glided gláidid down one trapeze trapíz, and with a quick kwík movement múvmant grasped gréspt the other.

Like an arrow érou the slim slím body bádi shot shát through the air ér, and then Fanfaro sprung spráng lightly láitli to the ground gráund, while the trapeze trapíz flew flú back.

At the very moment móumant the young yáng man let lét go of the trapeze trapíz a faint féint scream skrím was heard hárd, and Caillette, deadly dédli pale péil, stood stúd next to Fanfaro.

"How you frightened fráitand me, you wicked wíkad fellow félou," said the young yáng girl gárl, drawing dróing a deep díp breath bréth.

"Were you really frightened fráitand, Caillette? I thought you would have got used to my exercises éksarsaizaz long ago agóu."

"I ought ót to be so," pouted páutid Caillette, pressing présing her hands héndz to her fast-beating fést-bíting heart hárt, "but every time I see you fly flái, fear fír seizes síziz hold hóuld of me and I unconsciously ankánshasli cry krái aloud aláud. Oh, Fanfaro, if an accident éksadant should happen hépan to you—I would not survive sarváiv it."

"Little sister sístar, you are needlessly nídlasli alarming alárming yourself yarsélf."

Caillette held héld down her pretty príti little head héd and the hot hát blood blád rushed rásht to her velvety vélvati cheeks chíks, while her hands héndz nervously nárvasli clutched klácht each other.

"Caillette, what ails éilz you?" asked éskt Fanfaro.

"Oh—tell tél me, Fanfaro, why do you always call kól me 'little sister sístar'?"

"Does the expression ikspréshan displease displíz you, mademoiselle medamazél?" laughingly léfingli said the young yáng man; "is it the word wárd 'little,' or the word wárd 'sister sístar'?"

"I did not say the expression ikspréshan displeased displízd me."

"Should I call kól you my big bíg sister sístar?"

"Why do you call kól me sister sístar at all?"

A cloud kláud spread spréd over the young yáng man's face féis.

"Did we not grow gróu up together tagédhar like brother brádhar and sister sístar?" he asked éskt; "you were six síks years old when your father fádhar took túk the deserted dizártid boy bói to his home."

"But you are not my brother brádhar," persisted parsístad Caillette.

"Perhaps parhéps not in the sense séns commonly kámanli associated asóusieitad with the term tárm, but yet yét I love láv you like a brother brádhar. Doesn't this explanation eksplanéishan please plíz you?"

"Yes and no. I wished wísht—"

"What would you wish wísh?"

"I had rather rédhar not say it," whispered wíspard Caillette, and hastily héistali throwing thróuing her arms ármz about Fanfaro she kissed kíst him heartily hártali.

Fanfaro did not return ritárn the kiss kís; on the contrary kántreri he turned tárnd away awéi and worked wárkt at the trapeze trapíz cord kórd. He divined what was going on in Caillette, as many words wárdz hastily héistali spoken spóukan had told tóuld the young yáng man that the young yáng girl gárl loved lávd him not as the sister sístar loves lávz the brother brádhar, but with a more passionate péshanat love láv. Caillette was still unaware anawér of it, but every day, every hour áuar could explain ikspléin her feelings fílingz to her, and Fanfaro feared fírd that moment móumant, for he—did not love láv her.

How was this possible pásabal? He could hardly hárdli account akáunt for it himself himsélf. Caillette was so charming chárming, and yet yét he could not think of the lovely lávli creature kríchar as his wife wáif; and as an honest ánast man it did not enter éntar his mind máind to deceive disív the young yáng girl gárl as to his feelings fílingz.

"Caillette," he said, now trying tráiing to appear apír cheerful chírfal, "we must hurry hári up with our preparations preparéishanz, or the performance parfórmans will begin bigín before we are done dán."

Caillette nodded nádad, and taking téiking her artificial artafíshal flowers fláuarz again in her hand hénd, she began bigén to separate sépareit them. At the same time the door dór opened óupand and Firejaws appeared apírd in company with two ladies léidiz. Fanfaro and Caillette glanced glénst at the unexpected anikspéktid guests gésts and heard hárd the elderly éldarli lady léidi say:

"Irene airín, what new caprice kaprís is it that brings bríngz you here, and what will the countess káuntas say if she hears hírz of it?"

"Madame médam Ursula ársala, spare spér your curtain kártan lectures lékcharz," laughed léft the young yáng lady léidi; "and if you cannot kénat do so, you are free frí to return ritárn to the castle késal."

"God gád forbid farbíd," exclaimed ikskléimd Madame médam Ursula ársala in affright.

She was a perfect parfékt type táip of the governess gávarnas, with long thin thín features fícharz, pointed póintad nose nóuz, small lips líps, gray gréi locks láks, and spectacles spéktakalz. She wore wór a hat hét which fell fél to her neck nék, and a long colored kálard shawl shól hung háng over her shoulders shóuldarz.

The appearance apírans of the young yáng lady léidi compared kampérd very favorably féivarabli with that of the duenna. A dark-blue dárkblú riding ráiding costume kastúm sat sét tightly táitli on a magnificent megnífasant form fórm; a brown bráun velvet vélvat hat hét with a long white wáit feather fédhar sat sét coquettishly on her dark dárk locks láks; fresh frésh red réd lips líps, sparkling spárkling black blék eyes áiz, a classically klésikli formed fórmd nose nóuz, and finely fáinli curved kárvd lips líps completed kamplítad her charming chárming appearance apírans. The young yáng lady léidi appeared apírd to be about eighteen eitín or nineteen náintín years old; a proud práud smile smáil hovered hávard about her lips líps and the dark dárk eyes áiz looked lúkt curiously kyúriasli about.

Fanfaro and Caillette paused pózd at their work, and now the young yáng girl gárl exclaimed ikskléimd in a clear klír bell-like bélláik voice vóis:

"Monsieur masyár Girdel, would it be possible pásabal for me to secure sikyúr a few places pléisaz for this evening ívning, that is, some that are hid híd from the rest rést of the spectators spékteitarz?"

"H'm—that would be difficult dífakalt," said Girdel, looking lúking about.

"Of course kórs I shall shél pay péi extra ékstra for the seats síts," continued kantínyud the young yáng lady léidi.

"We have only one price práis for the front fránt rows róuz," said Firejaws, simply símpli; "they cost kást twenty twénti sous súz and the rear rír seats síts ten tén sous súz."

The governess gávarnas sighed sáid sorrowfully; Irene airín took túk an elegant élagant purse párs from her pocket pákat and pressed prést it in Girdel's hand hénd.

"Take the money máni," she said, "and do what I say."

"I will try trái to get you the seats síts you desire dizáiar, mademoiselle medamazél," he said politely paláitli, "but only for the usual yúzhawal price práis. Fanfaro," he said, turning tárning to the young yáng man, "can't we possibly pásabli fix fíks up a box báks?"

Fanfaro drew drú near nír, and the young yáng lady léidi with open óupan wonder wándar gazed géizd at the beautiful byútafal youth yúth.

"What's the trouble trábal, Papa pápa Girdel?" he said.

Before the giant jáiant could speak spík Irene airín said:

"I do not ask ésk very much. I would like to look at the performance parfórmans, but naturally nécharali would not like to sit sít with the crowd kráud. You know, peasants pézants and such common káman people—"

"H'm!" growled gráuld Girdel.

"It is impossible impásabal," said Fanfaro, coolly kúli.

"Impossible impásabal?" repeated ripítid the young yáng lady léidi in amazement améizmant.

"But, Fanfaro," interrupted intaráptid Girdel, "I should think we could do it. A few boards bórdz, a carpet kárpat, and the thing thíng is done dán."

"Perhaps parhéps, but I shall shél not touch tách a finger fíngar to it."

"You refuse rafyúz?" exclaimed ikskléimd Irene airín. "Why, if I may ask ésk?"

"Bravo brávou, Fanfaro!" whispered wíspard Caillette, softly sóftli.

"Will you answer énsar my question kwéschan, monsieur masyár—— I do not know your name néim?" said Irene airín, impatiently impéishantli.

"I am ém called kóld Fanfaro," remarked rimárkt the young yáng man.

"Well then, Monsieur masyár Fanfaro," began bigén Irene airín, with a mocking máking laugh léf, "why do you refuse rafyúz to lend lénd your master méstar a helping hélping hand hénd?"

"His master méstar?" replied ripláid Girdel, with flaming fléiming eyes áiz; "excuse ikskyús me, mademoiselle medamazél, but you have been incorrectly inkaréktli informed infórmd."

"Come, Papa pápa Girdel," laughed léft Fanfaro, "I will tell tél the young yáng lady léidi my reasons rízanz, and I think you will approve aprúv of them. The public páblik of 'peasants pézants,' and such 'common káman people,' who are so repulsive ripálsiv to you, mademoiselle medamazél, that you do not desire dizáiar to touch tách them with the seam sím of your dress drés, admire edmáir us and provide praváid us with our sustenance sástanans. The hands héndz which applaud aplód us are coarse kórs, I cannot kénat deny dinái it; but in spite spáit of this, we regard ragárd their applause aplóz just as highly háili as that given to us by people whose húz hands héndz are incased in fine fáin kid kíd gloves glávz. To give you an especial aspéshal box báks, mademoiselle medamazél, would be an insult insált to the peasants pézants, and why should we do such a thing thíng? Am ém I right or not?"

While Fanfaro was speaking spíking, Irene airín looked lúkt steadily stédali at his handsome hénsam face féis. The governess gávarnas muttered mátard something about impertinence. When the young yáng man looked lúkt up, Irene airín softly sóftli said:

"That was a sharp shárp lesson lésan."

"No; I merely mírli told tóuld you my opinion apínyan."

"Good. Now let lét me give you my answer énsar; I will come this evening ívning!"

"I thought so," replied ripláid Fanfaro simply símpli.

CHAPTER chéptar V

MASTER méstar AND SERVANT sárvant

When the young yáng lady léidi and her governess gávarnas left the booth búth and wended their way along alóng the country kántri road róud, the peasants pézants respectfully rispéktfali made way for them and even Bobichel paused pózd in his tricks tríks. Irene airín held héld her little head héd sidewise sáidwaiz as she walked wókt through the crowd kráud, while the governess gávarnas marched márcht with proudly práudli uplifted ápliftid head héd.

"Thank thénk God gád," said Madame médam Ursula ársala, "there is the carriage kérij."

An elegant élagant equipage came in sight sáit, and a groom grúm led léd a beautiful byútafal racer réisar by the bridle bráidal.

"Step stép in, Madame médam Ursula ársala," said Irene airín, laughing léfing, as she vaulted vóltad into the saddle sédal.

"But you promised prámast me—"

"To be at the castle késal the same time as you," added édad the young yáng lady léidi. "And I shall shél keep kíp my promise prámas. Forward fórward, Almanser!"

The horse hórs flew flú along alóng like an arrow érou, and Madame médam Ursula ársala, sighing sáiing, got into the carriage kérij, which started stártad off in the same direction darékshan.

"Who is the handsome hénsam lady léidi?" asked éskt Bobichel.

"The richest ríchast heiress éras in Alsace elsás and Lorraine laréin, Mademoiselle medamazél de Salves sávz," was the answer énsar.

"Ah á, she suits súts me," said the clown kláun.

"Bah, she is as proud práud as a peacock píkak," growled gráuld an old peasant pézant.

"It is all the same to me," said a second peasant pézant; "she is going to be married mérid to a gentleman jéntalman in Paris péris, and there she fits fíts better bétar."

A heavy hévi mail-coach méilkóuch, which halted hóltad at the Golden góuldan Sun sán, interrupted intaráptid the conversation kanvarséishan. Mr. Schwan shwón ran rén to the door dór to receive rasív the travellers trévalarz, and at the same moment móumant the man in the brown bráun overcoat óuvarkout appeared apírd at the threshold thréshould of the door dór. Hardly hárdli had he seen sín the mail-coach méilkóuch than he hurried hárid to open óupan the door dór, and in a cringing krínjing voice vóis said:

"Welcome wélkam, Monsieur masyár le la Marquis markí; my letter létar arrived aráivd, then, opportunely?"

The occupant ákyapant of the coach kóuch nodded nádad, and leaning líning on the other's arm árm, he got out. It was the Marquis markí of Fougereuse. He looked lúkt like a man prematurely primachúrli old, whose húz bent bént back and wrinkled rínkald features fícharz made him look like a man of seventy sévanti, while in reality riélati he was hardly hárdli fifty fífti.

In the marquis's markí company was a servant sárvant named néimd Simon sáiman, who, in the course kórs of years, had advanced advénst from the post póust of valet veléi to that of steward stúard.

"What does the gentleman jéntalman desire dizáiar?" asked éskt the host hóust, politely paláitli.

"Let lét the dinner dínar be served sárvd in my room rúm," ordered órdard Simon sáiman; and, giving gíving the marquis markí a nod nád, he strode stróud to the upper ápar story stóri in advance advéns of him.

The door dór which Simon sáiman opened óupand showed shóud an elegantly éligantli furnished fárnisht room rúm according akórding to Schwan's shwón ideas aidíaz, yet yét the marquis markí appeared apírd to pay péi no attention aténshan to his surroundings saráundingz, for he hardly hárdli gazed géizd around, and in a state stéit of exhaustion igzóschan sank sénk into a chair chér. Simon sáiman stood stúd at the window wíndou and looked lúkt out, while the host hóust hurriedly háridli set the table téibal; when this was finished fínisht, Simon sáiman winked wínkt to Schwan shwón and softly sóftli said:

"Leave lív the room rúm now, and do not enter éntar it until I call kól for you."

"If the gentlemen jéntalmin wish wísh anything énithing—"

"I know, I know," interrupted intaráptid Simon sáiman, impatiently impéishantli. "Listen lísan to what I say. You would do well to keep kíp silent sáilant about the purpose párpas of my master's méstar visit vízat here. In case any one asks ésks you, simply símpli say you know nothing náthing."

"Neither nídhar I do," remarked rimárkt Schwan shwón.

"So much the better bétar, then you do not need to tell tél a lie lái; I advise edváiz you in your own interest íntrast not to say anything énithing."

The host hóust went away awéi and growled gráuld on the stairs stérz:

"Confound kanfáund big bíg people and their servants sárvants. I prefer prafár guests gésts like Girdel and his troupe trúp."

As soon sún as the door dór had closed klóuzd behind biháind Schwan shwón, Simon sáiman approached apróucht the marquis markí.

"We are alone alóun, master méstar," he said timidly tímadli.

"Then speak spík; have you discovered diskávard Pierre piér Labarre's labárei residence rézidans?"

"Yes, master méstar."

"But you have not gone gón to see him yet yét?"

"No, I kept képt within your orders órdarz."

"You were right. I must daze déiz the old scoundrel skáundral through my sudden sádan appearance apírans; I hope hóup to get the secret síkrat from him."

"Is everything évrithing better bétar now, master méstar?" asked éskt Simon sáiman, after a pause póz.

"Better bétar? What are you thinking thínking of?" exclaimed ikskléimd the marquis markí, angrily éngrali. "Every one has conspired kanspáiard against me, and ruin rúan is near nír at hand hénd."

"But the protection pratékshan of his majesty méjasti—"

"Bah! the protection pratékshan of the king kíng is useless yúslas, if the cabinet kébanat hate héit me. Besides bisáidz, I have had the misfortune misfórchan to anger éngar Madame médam de Foucheres, and since then everything évrithing has gone gón wrong róng."

"The king kíng cannot kénat have forgotten fargátan what you did for him," said Simon sáiman.

"A few weeks wíks ago agóu I was driven drívan to the wall wól by my creditors kréditarz, and I went to the king kíng and stated stéitad my case to him. Do you know what his answer énsar was? 'Monsieur masyár,' he said, earnestly árnastli, 'a Fougereuse should not demean dimín himself himsélf by begging béging,' and with that he gave géiv me a draft dréft for eighty éiti thousand tháuzand francs frénks! What are eighty éiti thousand tháuzand francs frénks for a man in my position pazíshan? A drop dráp of water wótar on a hot hát stove stóuv."

Simon sáiman nodded nádad.

"But the vicomte vikámti," he observed abzárvd; "his majesty méjasti showers sháuarz favors féivarz upon apán him—"

"I am ém much obliged abláijd for the favors féivarz! Yes, my son sán is spoken spóukan of, but in what a way! The vicomte vikámti gambles gémbalz, the vicomte vikámti is always in a scrape skréip, the vicomte vikámti is the hero hírou of the worst wárst adventures edvéncharz—and kind káind friends fréndz never fail féil to tell tél me all about it! I hope hóup his marriage mérij will put a stop stáp to all this business bíznas. Have you heard hárd anything énithing further fárdhar of the De Salves sávz ladies léidiz?"

"Not much, but enough ináf. The estate istéit of the young yáng heiress éras is the largest lárjast for miles máilz about, and she herself harsélf is a beauty byúti of the first class klés."

"So much the better bétar. Think of it, four millions mílyanz! Oh, if this should be lost lóst to us!"

"That will hardly hárdli be the case, Monsieur masyár le la Marquis markí; the marriage mérij has been decided disáidid upon apán."

"Certainly sártanli, certainly sártanli, but then—if the old countess káuntas should find out about our pecuniary pekyúnieri embarrassments imbérasmants all would be lost lóst. But no, I will not despair dispér; Pierre piér Labarre labárei must talk tók, and then—"

"Suppose sapóuz he won't? Old people are sometimes samtáimz obstinate ábstanat."

"Have no fear fír, Simon sáiman, my methods méthadz have subdued sabdúd many wills wílz."

"Yes, yes, you are right, sir sár," laughed léft Simon sáiman.

"I can rely rilái on you, then?"

"Perfectly párfaktli so, sir sár. If it were necessary nésaseri I would pick pík it up with ten tén Pierres!"

"You will find me grateful gréitfal," said the marquis markí. "If Pierre piér Labarre labárei gives gívz the fortune fórchan to the Fougereuse and the vicomte vikámti becomes bikámz the husband házband of the countess káuntas, we will be saved séivd."

"I know that you have brilliant brílyant prospects práspekts, my lord lórd," replied ripláid Simon sáiman, "and I hope hóup to win wín your confidence kánfadans. The last few weeks wíks I had an opportunity apartúnati to do a favor féivar to the family fémali of my honored ánard master méstar."

"Really? You arouse aráuz my curiosity kyuriásati."

"My lord lórd, Monsieur masyár Franchet honored ánard me with his confidence kánfadans."

The marquis markí looked lúkt in amazement améizmant at his steward stúard; Franchet was the superintendent suparanténdant of police palís. Recommended rekaméndad by the Duke dúk of Montmorency manmorénsi, he was an especial aspéshal favorite féivarit of the Society sasáiati of Jesus jízas. The Jesuits jézhuits had spun spán their nets néts over the whole hóul of France fréns, and the secret síkrat orders órdarz emanated émaneitid from the Rue de Vaugirard. Franchet had the reins réinz of the police palís department dipártmant in his hands héndz, and used his power páuar for the furtherance fártharans of the Jesuits jézhuits' plans plénz. The amazement améizmant which seized sízd the marquis markí when he heard hárd that his steward stúard was the confidant kánfadant of Franchet, was only natural nécharal; that Simon sáiman would make a good spy spái, Fougereuse knew very well.

"Go on," he softly sóftli said, when Simon sáiman paused pózd.

"Thanks thénks to the superintendent's suparanténdant confidence kánfadans in me," said Simon sáiman, "I am ém able éibal to secure sikyúr a much more influential influénchal position pazíshan at court kórt for Monsieur masyár le la Marquis markí than he has at present prézant."

"And how are you going to perform parfórm the miracle mírakal?" asked éskt the marquis markí, sceptically.

"By allowing aláuing Monsieur masyár le la Marquis markí to take part in my projects prájekts for the good of the monarchy mánarki."

"Speak spík more clearly klírli," ordered órdard the marquis markí, briefly brífli.

"Directly daréktli."

Simon sáiman went close klóus to his master méstar, and whispered wíspard:

"There exists igzísts a dangerous déinjaras conspiracy kanspírasi against the state stéit. People wish wísh to overturn óuvartarn the government and depose dipóuz the king kíng."

"Folly fáli! that has been often ófan desired dizáiard."

"But this time it is serious sírias. A republican ripáblikan society sasáiati—"

"Do not speak spík to me about republicans ripáblikanz!" exclaimed ikskléimd Fougereuse, angrily éngrali.

"Let lét me finish fínish, Monsieur masyár le la Marquis markí. My news núz is authentic athéntik. The attempt atémpt will perhaps parhéps be made in a few weeks wíks, and then it will be a question kwéschan of sauve sóv qui kwí peut! Through a wonderful wándarfal chain chéin of circumstances sárkamstensaz the plans plénz of the secret síkrat society sasáiati came into my hands héndz. I could go to the king kíng now and name néim him all the conspirators kanspíratarz who threaten thrétan his life, but what would be my reward riwórd? With a servant sárvant little ado adú is made. His information infarméishan is taken téikan, its truth trúth secretly síkritli looked lúkt into and he is given a small sum sám of money máni with a letter létar saying séiing that he must have been deceived disívd. If the Marquis markí of Fougereuse, on the other hand hénd, should come, he is immediately imídiatli master méstar of the situation sichuéishan. The matter métar is investigated invéstageitad, the king kíng calls kólz him his savior séivyar, and his fortune fórchan is made."

The marquis markí sprung spráng up in excitement iksáitmant.

"And you are in a position pazíshan to give me the plans plénz of this society sasáiati? You know who the conspirators kanspíratarz are?" he exclaimed ikskléimd, with sparkling spárkling eyes áiz.

"Yes, my lord lórd."

"You would allow aláu me to reap ríp the profit práfat of your discovery diskávari?"

"Yes, my lord lórd; I am ém in the first place a faithful féithfal servant sárvant."

"Simon sáiman, let lét us stop stáp this talk tók with turned tárnd down cards kárdz. What do you wish wísh in return ritárn?"

"Nothing náthing, my lord lórd; I depend dipénd upon apán your generosity jenarásati."

"You shall shél not have cause káz to regret ragrét it," said the marquis markí, drawing dróing a deep díp breath bréth. "Should I succeed saksíd in securing sikyúring an influential influénchal position pazíshan at court kórt, you shall shél be the first to profit práfat by it."

"Thanks thénks, my lord lórd. I know I can count káunt on your word wárd. To come back to Pierre piér Labarre labárei, I think we should hunt hánt him up as soon sún as possible pásabal."

"I am ém ready rédi; where does he live láiv?"

"At Vagney, about three hours áuarz distant dístant."

"It is now three o'clock," said the marquis markí, pulling púling out his watch wách. "If we start stárt now, we will be able éibal to return ritárn to-night túnáit."

"Then I shall shél order órdar horses hórsaz at once wáns!"

Simon sáiman went away awéi, and the marquis markí remained riméind behind biháind thinking thínking. No matter métar where he looked lúkt, the past pést, present prézant and future fyúchar were alike aláik blue blú to him.

The old marquis markí had died dáid in 1817, and the vicomte vikámti had immediately imídiatli set about to have the death déth of his brother brádhar, which had taken téikan place at Leigoutte in 1814, confirmed kanfármd. Both the wife wáif and the children of Jules júlz Fougere fáugar had disappeared disapírd since that catastrophe katéstrafi, and so the Vicomte vikámti of Talizac, now Marquis markí of Fougereuse, claimed kléimd possession pazéshan of his father's fádhar estate istéit.

But, strange stréinj to say, the legacy légasi was far fár less lés than the vicomte vikámti and Madeleine medalén had expected ikspéktad, and, as they both had contracted kántrektad big bíg debts déts on the strength strénkth of it, nothing náthing was left to them but to sell sél a portion pórshan of the grounds gráundz.

Had the marquis markí and his wife wáif not lived láivd so extravagantly ekstrévagantli they would not have tumbled támbald from one difficulty dífakalti into the other, but the desire dizáiar to cut kát a figure fígyar in the Faubourg St strít. Germain jarméin consumed kansúmd vast vést sums sámz, and what the parents pérants left over, the son sán gambled gémbald away awéi and dissipated dísapeitid.

Petted pétad and spoiled spóild by his mother mádhar, the Vicomte vikámti de Talizac was a fast fést youth yúth before he had attained atéind his fifteenth fiftínth year. No greater gréitar pleasure plézhar could be given his mother mádhar than to tell tél her, that her son sán was the leader lídar of the jeunesse doree. He understood andarstúd how to let lét the money máni fly flái, and when the marquis markí, alarmed alármd at his son's sán extravagance ekstrévagans, reproached his wife wáif, the latter létar cut kát him short shórt by saying séiing:

"Once wáns for all, Jean jín, my son sán was not made to save séiv; he is the heir ér of the Fougereuse, and must keep kíp up his position pazíshan."

"But in this way we shall shél soon sún be beggars bégarz," complained kampléind the marquis markí.

"Is that my fault fólt?" asked éskt Madame médam Madeleine medalén, sharply shárpli. "What good is it that you—put your brother brádhar out of the way? His portion pórshan of the fortune fórchan is kept képt from you, and if you do not force fórs Pierre piér Labarre labárei to speak spík you will have to go without it."

"Then you think Pierre piér Labarre labárei knows nóuz where the major méijar part of my father's fádhar fortune fórchan is?" asked éskt the marquis markí.

"Certainly sártanli. He and no one else éls has it in safe séif keeping kíping, and if you do not hurry hári up, the old man might die dái, and we can look on."

The marquis markí sighed sáid. This was not the first time Madeleine medalén provoked pravóukt him against Pierre piér Labarre labárei, but the old man had disappeared disapírd since the death déth of his master méstar, and it required rikwáiard a long time before Simon sáiman, the worthy wárdhi assistant asístant of the marquis markí, found out his residence rézidans.

In the meantime míntaim the position pazíshan of the Fougereuses was getting géting worse wárs and worse wárs. At court kórt murmurs mármarz were heard hárd about swindling swíndling speculations spekyaléishanz with which the marquis's markí name néim was connected kanéktad, and the vicomte vikámti did his best bést to drag drég the proud práud old name néim in the dust dást. A rescue réskyu was at hand hénd, in a marriage mérij of the vicomte vikámti with the young yáng Countess káuntas of Salves sávz, but this rescue réskyu rested réstad on a weak wík footing fúting, as a new escapade éskapeid of "The Talizac Buckle bákal," as the heir ér of the Fougereuse was mockingly called kóld, might destroy distrói the planned plénd union yúnyan.

Talizac was the hero hírou of all the scandals skéndalz of Paris péris; he sought sót and found his companions kampényanz in very peculiar pakyúlyar regions ríjanz, and several sévral duels dúalz he had fought fót had made his name néim, if not celebrated sélabreitad, at least líst disreputable disrépyatabal.

This was the position pazíshan of the marquis's markí affairs aférz when Simon sáiman found Pierre piér Labarre labárei; the marquis markí was determined ditármand not to return ritárn to Paris péris without first having héving settled sétald the affair afér, and as Simon sáiman now returned ritárnd to the room rúm with the host hóust, his master méstar exclaimed ikskléimd:

"Are the horses hórsaz ready rédi?"

"No, my lord lórd; the Cure kyúr has overflowed ouvarflóud in consequence kánsakwans of the heavy hévi rains réinz, and the road róud from here to Vagney is impassable impésabal."

"Can we not reach rích Vagney by any other way?"

"No, my lord lórd."

"Bah! the peasants pézants exaggerate igzéjareit the danger déinjar so as to get increased inkríst prices práisaz for their services sárvasaz. Have you tried tráid to get horses hórsaz?"

"Yes, my lord lórd; but unfortunately anfórchanatli no one in the village vílaj except iksépt the host hóust owns óunz any."

"Then buy bái the host's hóust horses hórsaz."

"He refuses rafyúzaz to give me the animals énamalz. An acrobat ékrabet who came here this morning mórning, and who owns óunz two horses hórsaz, refused rafyúzd to sell sél them to me."

"That looks lúks almost ólmoust like a conspiracy kanspírasi!" exclaimed ikskléimd the marquis markí.

"I think so too, and if I am ém permitted parmítad an advice edváis—"

"Speak spík freely fríli; what do you mean?"

"That the best bést thing thíng we can do is to start stárt at once wáns on foot fút. If we hurry hári, we can reach rích Vagney this evening ívning, and the rest rést will take care kér of itself itsélf."

"You are right," replied ripláid the marquis markí; "let lét us go."

Schwan shwón was frightened fráitand when he heard hárd of their intention inténchan, but the marquis markí remained riméind determined ditármand, and the two were soon sún on the road róud.

"If no accident éksadant happens hépanz," growled gráuld the host hóust to himself himsélf, "the Cure kyúr is a treacherous trécharas sheet shít of water wótar; I wish wísh they were already olrédi back again."

CHAPTER chéptar VI vái

THE PERFORMANCE parfórmans

While the marquis markí and Simon sáiman were starting stárting on their journey járni, Robeckal and Rolla rála had met mét on the country kántri road róud as appointed apóintad, and in a long whispered wíspard conversation kanvarséishan had made their plans plénz. They both hated héitad Girdel, Caillette, Fanfaro and Bobichel, and their idea aidía was to kill kíl both Girdel and Fanfaro that very evening ívning. Caillette could be attended aténdad to afterward éftarward, and Bobichel was of no importance impórtans. Rolla rála loved lávd Robeckal, as far fár as it was possible pásabal for a person pársan like her to love láv any one, and desired dizáiard to possess pazés him. Robeckal, on his side sáid, thought it would not be a bad béd idea aidía to possess pazés Girdel's business bíznas along alóng with its stock sták, with which he ungallantly reckoned rékand Rolla rála and Caillette. Caillette especially aspéshli he admired admáiard, but he was smart smárt enough ináf not to say a word wárd to Rolla rála.

"Enter éntar, ladies léidiz and gentlemen jéntalmin, enter éntar," exclaimed ikskléimd Bobichel, as he stood stúd at the box-office báksófas and cordially kórjali greeted grítad the crowds kráudz of people.

"I wonder wándar whether wédhar she will come?" muttered mátard Caillette to herself harsélf.

"Everything évrithing is ready rédi," whispered wíspard Robeckal to Rolla rála; the Cannon kénan Queen kwín nodded nádad and threw thrú dark dárk scowls at Girdel and Fanfaro.

The quick kwík gallop gélap of a horse hórs was now heard hárd, and the next minute mínat Irene airín de Salves sávz stepped stépt into the booth búth.

"Really, she has come," muttered mátard Caillette in a daze déiz, as she pressed prést her hand hénd to her heart hárt and looked lúkt searchingly at Fanfaro.

The latter létar looked lúkt neither nídhar to the right nor nór left. He was busy bízi arranging aréinjing Girdel's weights wéits and iron áiarn poles póulz, and Caillette, calmed kámd by the sight sáit, turned tárnd around.

When Irene airín took túk her seat sít a murmur mármar ran rén through the crowded kráudad house. The Salves sávz had always occupied ákyapaid an influential influénchal position pazíshan in the country kántri; the great estate istéit of the family fémali insured inshúrd them power páuar and influence ínfluans at court kórt, and they were closely klóusli attached atécht to the monarchy mánarki.

Irene's airín grandfather gréndfadhar, the old Count káunt of Salves sávz, had been guillotined in 1793; his son sán had served sárvd under Napoleon napóulian, and was killed kíld in Russia rásha when his daughter dótar had hardly hárdli reached rícht her third thárd year. The count's káunt loss lós struck strák the countess káuntas to the heart hárt; she retired ritáird to her castle késal in the neighborhood néibarhud of Remiremont and attended aténdad to the education ejakéishan of her child cháild.

Irene airín grew grú up, and when she often ófan showed shóud an obstinacy ábstanasi and wildness wáildnas strange stréinj in a girl gárl, her mother mádhar would say, with tears térz in her eyes áiz:

"Thank thénk God gád, she is the picture píkchar of her father fádhar."

That nothing náthing was done dán under the circumstances sárkamstensaz to curb kárb Irene's airín impetuosity is easily ízali understood andarstúd. Every caprice kaprís of the young yáng heiress éras was satisfied sétasfaid, and so it came about that the precocious prikóushas child cháild ruled rúld the castle késal. She thought with money máni anything énithing could be done dán, and more than once wáns it happened hépand that the young yáng girl gárl while hunting hánting trod trád down the peasants pézants' fields fíldz, consoling kansóuling herself harsélf with the thought:

"Mamma máma gives gívz these people money máni, and therefore dhérfor it is all right."

When Irene airín was about fifteen fiftín years old her mother mádhar became bikéim dangerously déinjarasli ill íl, and remained riméind several sévral months mánths in bed béd. She never recovered rakávard the use of her limbs límz, and day after day she remained riméind in her arm-chair ármchér, only living líving in the sight sáit of her daughter dótar. When Irene airín entered éntard the room rúm the poor púr mother mádhar thought the sun sán was rising ráizing, and she never grew grú tired táiard of looking lúking in her daughter's dótar clear klír eyes áiz and listening lísaning to her silvery sílvari voice vóis. The most singular síngyalar contradictions kantradíkshanz reigned réind in Irene's airín soul sóul; she could have cried kráid bitterly bítarli one minute mínat, and laughed léft aloud aláud the next; for hours áuarz at a time she would sit sít dreaming dríming at the window wíndou, and look out at the autumnal otámnal forest fórast scenery sínari, then spring spríng up, hurry hári out, jump jámp into the saddle sédal and bound báund over hill híl and valley véli. Sometimes samtáimz she would chase chéis a beggar bégar from the door dór, the next day overload óuvarloud him with presents prézants; she spent spént nights náits at the bedside bédsaid of a sick sík village vílaj child cháild, and carried kérid an old woman wúman at the risk rísk of her life, from a burning bárning house; in short shórt, she was an original aríjanal.

A few months mánths before, the lawyer lóyar who administered admínastard the countess's káuntas fortune fórchan had appeared apírd at the castle késal and had locked lákt himself himsélf up with her mother mádhar. When he left the castle késal the next day, the young yáng lady léidi was informed infórmd that she was to be married mérid off, and received rasívd the news núz with the greatest gréitast unconcern ankansárn. She did not know her future fyúchar husband házband, the Vicomte vikámti de Talizac, but thought she would be able éibal to get along alóng with him. That she would have to leave lív her castle késal and her woods wúdz displeased displízd her; she had never had the slightest sláitast longing lónging for Paris péris, and the crowded kráudad streets stríts of the capital képatal were intolerable intálarabal to her; but seeing síing that it must be she did not complain kampléin.

It was a wild wáild caprice kaprís which had induced indúst the young yáng girl gárl to attend aténd Girdel's performance parfórmans; Fanfaro's lecture lékchar had angered éngard her at first, but later léitar on, when she thought about it, she had to confess kanfés that he was right. She was now looking lúking expectantly at the young yáng man, who was engaged engéijd with Bobichel in lighting láiting the few lamps lémps, and when he drew drú near nír to her, she whispered wíspard to him:

"Monsieur masyár Fanfaro, are you satisfied sétasfaid with me?"

Fanfaro looked lúkt at her in amazement améizmant, but a cordial kórjal smile smáil flew flú over his lips líps, and Irene airín felt félt that she could stand sténd many more insults insálts if she could see him smile smáil oftener ófanar.

Madame médam Ursula ársala, who sat sét next to her pupil pyúpal, moved múvd up and down uneasily anízali in her chair chér. Irene airín did not possess pazés the least líst savoir vivre. How could she think of addressing adrésing the young yáng acrobat ékrabet? and now—no, it surpassed sarpést everything évrithing—he bent bént over her and whispered wíspard a few words wárdz in her ear ír. The governess gávarnas saw Irene airín blush blásh, then let lét her head héd fall fól and nod nád. What could he have said to her?

Caillette, too, had noticed nóutast the young yáng lady léidi address édres Fanfaro, and she became bikéim violently váialantli jealous jélas.

What business bíznas had the rich rích heiress éras with the young yáng man, whom húm she was accustomed akástamd to look upon apán as her own property práparti?

For Caillette, as well as Madame médam Ursula ársala, it was fortunate fórchanat that they had not heard hárd Fanfaro's words wárdz, and yet yét it was only good advice edváis which the young yáng man had given Irene airín.

"Mademoiselle medamazél, try trái to secure sikyúr the love láv of those who surround saráund you," he had earnestly árnastli said. And Irene airín had, at first impatiently impéishantli and with astonishment astánishmant, finally fáinali guiltily, listened lísand to him. Really, when she thought with what indifference indífarans her coming káming and going in the village vílaj was looked lúkt upon apán, and with what hesitation hezatéishan she was greeted grítad, she began bigén to think Fanfaro was right; the young yáng man had been gone gón long, and yet yét his words wárdz still sounded sáundad in her ears írz. Yes, she would try trái to secure sikyúr love láv.

In the meantime míntaim the performance parfórmans had begun bigán. Girdel played pléid with his weights wéits, Rolla rála swallowed swáloud stones stóunz and pigeons píjanz, Robeckal knives náivz and swords sórdz, and Caillette danced dénst charmingly chármingli on the tight-rope táitróup. During all these different productions pradákshanz, Fanfaro was continually kantínyuali assisting asísting the performers parfórmarz; he handed héndad Girdel the weights wéits and took túk them from him; he accompanied akámpanid Robeckal's sword sórd exercise éksarsaiz with hollow hálou beats bíts on a tambourine tembarín; he played pléid the violin vaialín while Caillette danced dénst on the rope róup, and acted éktad as Bobichel's foil fóil in his comic kámik acts ékts. Fanfaro himself himsélf was not to appear apír before the second part; for the conclusion kanklúzhan of the first part a climax kláimeks was to be given in which Girdel would perform parfórm a piece pís in which he had everywhere évriwer appeared apírd with thunders thándarz of applause aplóz; the necessary nésaseri apparatus eparétas was being prepared pripérd.

This apparatus eparétas consisted kansístad of a plank plénk supported sapórtad by two logs lógz which stood stúd upright apráit in the centre séntar of the circus sárkas. In the centre séntar of the plank plénk was a windlass wíndlas, from which hung háng an iron áiarn chain chéin with a large lárj hook húk.

Fanfaro rolled róuld an empty émpti barrel béral under the plank plénk and filled fíld it with irons áiarnz and stones stóunz weighing wéiing about three thousand tháuzand pounds páundz. Thereupon dherapán the barrel béral was nailed néild up and the chain chéin wound wáund about it; strong stróng iron áiarn rings ríngz, through which the chain chéin was pulled púld, prevented privéntid it from slipping slíping off.

Girdel now walked wókt up. He wore wór a costume kastúm made of black blék tights táits, and a chin-band chínbénd from which an iron áiarn hook húk hung háng. He bowed báud to the spectators spékteitarz, seized sízd the barrel béral with his chin chín hook húk and laid léid himself himsélf upon apán his back. Fanfaro stood stúd next to his foster-father fástar-fádhar, and from time to time blew blú a blast blést with his trumpet trámpat. At every tone tóun the heavy hévi cask késk rose róuz a few inches ínchaz in the air ér, and breathlessly bréthlasli the crowd kráud looked lúkt at Girdel's performance parfórmans. The cask késk had now reached rícht a height háit on a level léval with Girdel; the spectators spékteitarz cheered chírd, but suddenly sádanli an ominous ámanas breaking bréiking was heard hárd, and while a cry krái of horror hórar ran rén through the crowd kráud, Fanfaro, quick kwík as thought, sprung spráng upon apán the cask késk and caught kát it in his arms ármz.

What had happened hépand? Girdel lay léi motionless móushanlas on the ground gráund. Fanfaro let lét the heavy hévi cask késk glide gláid gently jéntli to the floor flór and then stood stúd pale péil as death déth near nír the athlete éthlit. The chain chéin had broken bróukan, and had it not been for Fanfaro's timely táimli assistance asístans Girdel would have been crushed krásht to pieces písaz by the heavy hévi barrel béral.

The violent váialant shock shák had thrown thróun Girdel some distance dístans away awéi. For a moment móumant all were too frightened fráitand to stir stár, but soon sún spectators spékteitarz from all parts párts of the house came running ráning up and loud láud cries kráiz were heard hárd.

Caillette had thrown thróun herself harsélf sobbing sábing at her father's fádhar feet fít; Bobichel and Fanfaro busied bízid themselves dhemsélvz trying tráiing to raise réiz the fallen fálan man from the ground gráund, and Rolla rála uttered átard loud láud, roaring róring cries kráiz which no doubt dáut were intended inténdad to express iksprés her grief gríf. Robeckal alone alóun was not to be seen sín.

"Oh, Fanfaro, is he dead déd?" sobbed sábd Caillette.

Fanfaro was silent sáilant and bent bént anxiously énkshasli over Girdel; Rolla rála, on the other hand hénd, looked lúkt angrily éngrali at the young yáng man and hissed híst in his ear ír:

"Do not touch tách him. I will restore ristór him myself maisélf."

Instead instéd of giving gíving the virago viragou an answer énsar, Fanfaro looked lúkt sharply shárpli at her. The wretched réchid woman wúman trembled trémbald and recoiled rikóild, while the young yáng man, putting páting his ear ír to Girdel's breast brést, exclaimed ikskléimd:

"Thank thénk God gád, he lives lívz!"

Caillette uttered átard a low lóu moan móun and became bikéim unconscious ankánshas; two soft sáft hands héndz were laid léid tenderly téndarli on her shoulders shóuldarz, and when the tight-rope táitróup dancer dénsar opened óupand her eyes áiz, she looked lúkt in Irene's airín face féis, who was bending bénding anxiously énkshasli over her.

Girdel still remained riméind motionless móushanlas; the young yáng countess káuntas handed héndad Fanfaro an elegantly éligantli carved kárvd bottle bátal filled fíld with smelling-salts sméling-sólts, but even this was of no avail avéil.

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