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IT was fully three long hours behind its
time, that great Lyons diligence; which,
considering that the roads were clear and open,
was curious, to say the least of it. This was
at the old inn at Troyes, bearing the name,
Tigre Jaune, or Yellow Tiger, on a cool
summer's evening. It had been a fierce, glaring
day; and wemadame who directs, that is,
and myselfwere looking over from the
wooden gallery that runs round the court,
speculating what it might be that detained
the great Lyons diligence.

Le Bœuf from below (he was waiting to
bring out his relay of fresh and shining
steeds) had it that nothing but the casse-cou
the casse-cou damné—could be at the
bottom of it. His own private impression
was, that the great diligence was at that
moment resting on its side in the depths of
that gully. Where was it ? Well, let him
see. They all knew the steep hill a little
beyond the last stage. And the twist in the
road just after? Well, the villanous casse-cou
was close by, at that very turn; and, if
the Faquin of a coachman had not his beasts
well in hand (and they pulled like three
hundred devils) or if he chanced to be a little
grisin his cups, that isthe great diligence
would, of a dead certainty, meet with some
heavy misfortune. Dame! ought he not to
know? Had not his own beast run right
into it one Saturday night? (Significant
laughter here, from bystanders.)

One of M. Le Bœuf's coadjutors, being
pressed for his opinion, submitted that it
could be only Gringoire. He had prophesied
no good of that animal from the first. Take
his word for it, it was Gringoire- who, by the
way, carried his tail in a fashion that no
well-regulated quadruped should do;
Gringoire had done all the mischief. He had got
the bit between his teeth, or had shied, or had
thrown himself on the ground, and had so
overturned the great Lyons diligence.

The brethren standing round, all in blue
frocks and shining black belts, loudly
dissented from this doctrine, as reflecting too
severely on Gringoire and the driver. Peste!
the horse was a good horse at bottom, with a
mouth of iron, it is true, but a good horse
for all that. As for Pepin the cocher, the
bon homme knew what he was about; was
never gris, except when off duty.

As the discussion warmed up, other parties
lounging about the gateway and outhouses
drew near and listened. And so a little
crowd was gathered below, from which rose,
upwards to our gallery, a din of altercation,
seasoned with cross-fire of contradiction and
plentiful pestes, mordieus, sacrés, and such
profane expletives.

Said madame, turning to me with a smile,
having listened tranquilly for some minutes,
"The heavy diligence will arrive, nevertheless,
whatever these galliards may say. I
have no fears for it,"

"You are expecting some guests, I think
you told me ?"

"Yes, monsieur: that good, gentle, M. Lemoine,
with his mother and pretty fiancée.
Three travellers, sir. Heavens! I had nearly
forgotten about the golden chamber. Fanchonette!

Here a glass door just opposite opened
softly, and a little figure in boddice and
petticoat of bright colours, with small lace cap
and ribbons on the back of her head, stepped
out upon the gallery, as it were, straight
from one of Lancry's pictures. This was
Fanchonette, and the glass door opened into
the gilded chamber. She curtsied low to me, the
stranger. She said she had but that instant
been putting one last touch to the golden
chamber, brushing away some specks of dust
accumulated since mid-day upon the mirrors
and Dresden figures. M. Lemoine, when he
arrived, would find everything looking as
bright and fresh, as in his own chateau at
home. With this little speech, the Lancry
sketch curtseyed low, and disappeared quickly
behind the glass door.

"This M. Lemoine seems to have made
many friends," I said, turning to madame.

"No wonder, monsieur," she replied, "he
is so good and gentle, if that wicked brother
of his would only let him live in peace."

"How is that?" I said, beginning to grow
a little curious concerning this M. Lemoine.
"What of this ogre of a brother?"

"He is his half-brother," madame said;
"a wicked, graceless monster as ever came
upon the earth of the bon Dieu. His own
father left away all his estates from him, and
gave them over to M. Lemoiue; not but that