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but it would become a sort of
savings-bank for labour.

My plan was adopted, and we went to work.
It is hard to say who were most delighted,
madame and myself, or Isidore, Alphonse and
Martha, as order and productiveness gradually
took the place of chaotic rubbish. We found
still surviving many valuable fruit-trees and
flowering shrubs, with which the place had
been planted in the days of its prosperity.
Peaches, apricots, vines, figs, and mulberries;
roses, althæas, pomegranates, hydrangeas,
and many other favourites of the olden time,
were a valuable stock to find ready at hand,
and only begging for the spade and the
pruning-knife to come and help them. All
these joint exertions made us very good
friends together, and I became the family
confidant, to whom family history and family
projects might be entrusted, with the
certainty of finding a sincere coadjutor.
Madame revealed to me the cause of a secret
sorrow, and I hit upon a scheme for
removing it.

A literary task required me to visit
Montoise, the capital town of the Département de
l'Est, a short day's railway journey from the
department in which Beaupré is situated. I
took with me a letter of introduction to
Monsieur Regnier, the editor and proprietor
of the leading newspaper there. After a few
days' intercourse, and a dinner (which I hold
to be the very best way of cementing a new
connection), M. Regnier had put me in the
way of pursuing my researches, and I could
talk to him unreservedly about other matters.
So, without further preface, I observed,
"General Delacroix resides at Montoise, I
believe. Do you know him?"

"I know him well; he is an amiable old
man, leading a quiet life, with few acquaintances
and no relations. As is the case with
many elderly people, his principal amusement
is fictitious narrative. He studies the feuilleton
of my paper most punctually. He must
be getting into years."

"He is seventy-one next first of May."

"He has seen a good deal of service, too.
Although, I believe, without a broken bone
or a ball lodged in any part of his body, his
person is said to be covered with scars. He
has several remarkable scars on his face."

"The most striking one," I answered, "is
not a wound received in battle. I mean that
across his left eyebrow. It was caused when
a boy, by the kick of a vicious mare, which
fractured the bone, and left him for several
days in a most precarious state. He must
have been inevitably killed, but for the
courage of a younger sister, who pulled him
back as he lay on the ground insensible, and
gave the alarm."

"You seem to be better acquainted with
his history than I am," said M. Regnier.

"I only know what has been told me."

"Would you like to be introduced to him?
I can easily do it."

"No; not yet at least. But I very much
wish to see him. Then, if I like his looks, I
have two favours to ask of you;—first, to
allow me to write a feuilleton in your newspaper,
and then to inform me when it is likely
to fall into his hands."

"With the greatest pleasure. We will now
step to the Café Dagbert, where the General
is sure to be at this moment, and then you
can take your first survey, and lay the groundwork
of whatever scheme you happen to be
planning on the present occasion."

We entered. The General was reading the
Journal du Département de l'Est attentively.
M. Regnier approached, and saluted him.

"Good day, good day!" said the General
frankly. "You know, M. Regnier, I do not
pretend to be a critic, but I hardly think
your feuilleton to-day so good as usual."

"Perhaps not, General; that may be
remedied another time. I am expecting in an
early number to give you a specimen of a
new writer, who has lately volunteered his

"Ah! I shall be curious to see it. Pray
give me a hint when it appears."

I had heard and seen enough; I was
satisfied. Not only was the General as like
Madame Fossette as it was possible for a
brother to be like a sister, but his voice also
rung with the clear metallic tenor tone which
was familiar to my ears from the lips of her
son. The scar, too, on the eyebrow, was
exactly as described to me. I kept it in the
back-ground. We soon left the café, and
departed our several ways. I sat down to
my writing table, and did not rise until the
feuilleton was finished. It had been too
long meditated, not to run off fluently. I
hastened with the manuscript to the office of
the Journal. M. Regnier translated it into
French with equal rapidity. We corrected
it between us, and it was at once put into the
printer's hands.

"Now," said he, "all we have to do is
to go to the Café Dagbert the day after
to-morrow at three in the afternoon. My
paper will be delivered there, soon after our
arrival; and your little intrigue, whose object
I think I now clearly see, and in which I
heartily wish you success, will make the first
step towards its dénouement."

We met punctually at the appointed time.
M. Regnier introduced me to the General, as
the English author who had written the
feuilleton in the forthcoming number; I
said it was merely a slight anecdote founded
on fact. In the midst of further desultory
small-talk, the light-heeled Mercury of the
office arrived. The paper was handed to
the General at once, who opened it
carefully, doubled back the upper portion,
carelessly disregarding political news, leaders,
and advertisements: adjusted his gold
spectacles, and fixed his whole attention on the
realms of romance. I watched him narrowly.

At first the only perceptible symptom of