his conviction of the practicability of the subdivision

Published on 2023-12-03 00:08:50 source:Spring Breeze and Summer Rain

"A tax-gatherer?" I said, smiling. "No. But how long has your friend upstairs been here?"

his conviction of the practicability of the subdivision

"Two days, Monsieur," she answered, wiping the perspiration from her brow, and speaking more quietly. "He is talking of sending on a deputy to Le Mesnil; but Heaven send he may recover, and go from here himself!"

his conviction of the practicability of the subdivision

"Well," I answered, "at any rate, we have had enough of this noise. My servant shall go up and tell him that there is a gentleman here who cannot put up with a disturbance. Maignan," I continued, "see the man, and tell him that the inn is not his private house, and that he must groan more softly; but do not mention my name. And let him have his brine bath, or there will be no peace for anyone."

his conviction of the practicability of the subdivision

Maignan and La Trape, who knew me, and had counted on a very different order, stared at me, wondering at my easiness and complaisance; for there is a species of tyranny, unassociated with rank, that even the coarsest view with indignation. But the woman's statement, which, despite its wildness and her excitement, I saw no reason to doubt, had suggested to me a scheme of punishment more refined; and which might, at one and the same time, be of profit to the King's treasury and a lesson to Gringuet. To carry it through I had to submit to some inconvenience, and particularly to a night passed under the same roof with the rogue; but as the news that a traveller of consequence was come had the effect, aided by a few sharp words from Maignan, of lowering his tone, and forcing him to keep within bounds, I was able to endure this and overlook the occasional outbursts of spleen which his disease and pampered temper still drew from him.

His two men, who had been absent on an errand at the time of my arrival, presently returned, and were doubtless surprised to find a second company in possession. They tried my attendants with a number of questions, but without success; while I, by listening while I had my supper, learned more of their master's habits and intentions than they supposed. They suspected nothing, and at day-break we left them; and, the water having duly fallen in the night, we crossed the river without mishap, and for a league pursued our proper road. Then I halted, and despatching the two grooms to Houdan with a letter for my wife, I took, myself, the road to Le Mesnil, which lies about three leagues to the west.

At a little inn, a league short of Le Mesnil, I stopped, and instructing my two attendants in the parts they were to play, prepared, with the help of the seals, which never left Maignan's custody, the papers necessary to enable me to enact the role of Gringuet's deputy. Though I had been two or three times to Villebon, I had never been within two leagues of Le Mesnil, and had no reason to suppose that I should be recognised; but to lessen the probability of this I put on a plain suit belonging to Maignan, with a black-hilted sword, and no ornaments. I furthermore waited to enter the town until evening, so that my presence, being reported, might be taken for granted before I was seen.

In a larger place my scheme must have miscarried, but in this little town on the hill, looking over the plain of vineyards and cornfields, with inn, market-house, and church in the square, and on the fourth side the open battlements, whence the towers of Chartres could be seen on a clear day, I looked to have to do only with small men, and saw no reason why it should fail.

Accordingly, riding up to the inn about sunset, I called, with an air, for the landlord. There were half-a-dozen loungers seated in a row on a bench before the door, and one of these went in to fetch him. When the host came out, with his apron twisted round his waist, I asked him if he had a room.

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