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    Chapter 9

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    Chapter 9
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    The following day the family, meeting at eight o'clock for the early
    breakfast, made a picture of genuine domestic intimacy. Grief had
    drawn Madame Grandet, Eugenie, and Charles _en rapport_; even Nanon
    sympathized, without knowing why. The four now made one family. As to
    the old man, his satisfied avarice and the certainty of soon getting
    rid of the dandy without having to pay more than his journey to
    Nantes, made him nearly indifferent to his presence in the house. He
    left the two children, as he called Charles and Eugenie, free to
    conduct themselves as they pleased, under the eye of Madame Grandet,
    in whom he had implicit confidence as to all that concerned public and
    religious morality. He busied himself in straightening the boundaries
    of his fields and ditches along the high-road, in his
    poplar-plantations beside the Loire, in the winter work of his
    vineyards, and at Froidfond. All these things occupied his whole time.

    For Eugenie the springtime of love had come. Since the scene at night
    when she gave her little treasure to her cousin, her heart had
    followed the treasure. Confederates in the same secret, they looked at
    each other with a mutual intelligence which sank to the depth of their
    consciousness, giving a closer communion, a more intimate relation to
    their feelings, and putting them, so to speak, beyond the pale of
    ordinary life. Did not their near relationship warrant the gentleness
    in their tones, the tenderness in their glances? Eugenie took delight
    in lulling her cousin's pain with the pretty childish joys of a
    new-born love. Are there no sweet similitudes between the birth of love
    and the birth of life? Do we not rock the babe with gentle songs and
    softest glances? Do we not tell it marvellous tales of the golden
    future? Hope herself, does she not spread her radiant wings above its
    head? Does it not shed, with infant fickleness, its tears of sorrow
    and its tears of joy? Does it not fret for trifles, cry for the pretty
    pebbles with which to build its shifting palaces, for the flowers
    forgotten as soon as plucked? Is it not eager to grasp the coming
    time, to spring forward into life? Love is our second transformation.
    Childhood and love were one and the same thing to Eugenie and to
    Charles; it was a first passion, with all its child-like play,--the
    more caressing to their hearts because they now were wrapped in
    sadness. Struggling at birth against the gloom of mourning, their love
    was only the more in harmony with the provincial plainness of that
    gray and ruined house. As they exchanged a few words beside the well
    in the silent court, or lingered in the garden for the sunset hour,
    sitting on a mossy seat saying to each other the infinite nothings of
    love, or mused in the silent calm which reigned between the house and
    the ramparts like that beneath the arches of a church, Charles
    comprehended the sanctity of love; for his great lady, his dear
    Annette, had taught him only its stormy troubles. At this moment he
    left the worldly passion, coquettish, vain, and showy as it was, and
    turned to the true, pure love. He loved even the house, whose customs
    no longer seemed to him ridiculous. He got up early in the mornings
    that he might talk with Eugenie for a moment before her father came to
    dole out the provisions; when the steps of the old man sounded on the
    staircase he escaped into the garden. The small criminality of this
    morning _tete-a-tete_ which Nanon pretended not to see, gave to their
    innocent love the lively charm of a forbidden joy.

    After breakfast, when Grandet had gone to his fields and his other
    occupations, Charles remained with the mother and daughter, finding an
    unknown pleasure in holding their skeins, in watching them at work, in
    listening to their quiet prattle. The simplicity of this half-monastic
    life, which revealed to him the beauty of these souls, unknown and
    unknowing of the world, touched him keenly. He had believed such
    morals impossible in France, and admitted their existence nowhere but
    in Germany; even so, they seemed to him fabulous, only real in the
    novels of Auguste Lafontaine. Soon Eugenie became to him the Margaret
    of Goethe--before her fall. Day by day his words, his looks enraptured
    the poor girl, who yielded herself up with delicious non-resistance to
    the current of love; she caught her happiness as a swimmer seizes the
    overhanging branch of a willow to draw himself from the river and lie
    at rest upon its shore. Did no dread of a coming absence sadden the
    happy hours of those fleeting days? Daily some little circumstance
    reminded them of the parting that was at hand.

    Three days after the departure of des Grassins, Grandet took his
    nephew to the Civil courts, with the solemnity which country people
    attach to all legal acts, that he might sign a deed surrendering his
    rights in his father's estate. Terrible renunciation! species of
    domestic apostasy! Charles also went before Maitre Cruchot to make two
    powers of attorney,--one for des Grassins, the other for the friend
    whom he had charged with the sale of his belongings. After that he
    attended to all the formalities necessary to obtain a passport for
    foreign countries; and finally, when he received his simple mourning
    clothes from Paris, he sent for the tailor of Saumur and sold to him
    his useless wardrobe. This last act pleased Grandet exceedingly.

    "Ah! now you look like a man prepared to embark and make your
    fortune," he said, when Charles appeared in a surtout of plain black
    cloth. "Good! very good!"

    "I hope you will believe, monsieur," answered his nephew, "that I
    shall always try to conform to my situation."

    "What's that?" said his uncle, his eyes lighting up at a handful of
    gold which Charles was carrying.

    "Monsieur, I have collected all my buttons and rings and other
    superfluities which may have some value; but not knowing any one in
    Saumur, I wanted to ask you to--"

    "To buy them?" said Grandet, interrupting him.

    "No, uncle; only to tell me of an honest man who--"

    "Give me those things, I will go upstairs and estimate their value; I
    will come back and tell you what it is to a fraction. Jeweller's
    gold," examining a long chain, "eighteen or nineteen carats."

    The goodman held out his huge hand and received the mass of gold,
    which he carried away.

    "Cousin," said Grandet, "may I offer you these two buttons? They can
    fasten ribbons round your wrists; that sort of bracelet is much the
    fashion just now."

    "I accept without hesitation," she answered, giving him an
    understanding look.

    "Aunt, here is my mother's thimble; I have always kept it carefully in
    my dressing-case," said Charles, presenting a pretty gold thimble to
    Madame Grandet, who for many years had longed for one.

    "I cannot thank you; no words are possible, my nephew," said the poor
    mother, whose eyes filled with tears. "Night and morning in my prayers
    I shall add one for you, the most earnest of all--for those who
    travel. If I die, Eugenie will keep this treasure for you."

    "They are worth nine hundred and eighty-nine francs, seventy-five
    centimes," said Grandet, opening the door. "To save you the pain of
    selling them, I will advance the money--in _livres_."

    The word _livres_ on the littoral of the Loire signifies that crown
    prices of six _livres_ are to be accepted as six francs without

    "I dared not propose it to you," answered Charles; "but it was most
    repugnant to me to sell my jewels to some second-hand dealer in your
    own town. People should wash their dirty linen at home, as Napoleon
    said. I thank you for your kindness."

    Grandet scratched his ear, and there was a moment's silence.

    "My dear uncle," resumed Charles, looking at him with an uneasy air,
    as if he feared to wound his feelings, "my aunt and cousin have been
    kind enough to accept a trifling remembrance of me. Will you allow me
    to give you these sleeve-buttons, which are useless to me now? They
    will remind you of a poor fellow who, far away, will always think of
    those who are henceforth all his family."

    "My lad, my lad, you mustn't rob yourself this way! Let me see, wife,
    what have you got?" he added, turning eagerly to her. "Ah! a gold
    thimble. And you, little girl? What! diamond buttons? Yes, I'll accept
    your present, nephew," he answered, shaking Charles by the hand. "But
    --you must let me--pay--your--yes, your passage to the Indies. Yes, I
    wish to pay your passage because--d'ye see, my boy?--in valuing your
    jewels I estimated only the weight of the gold; very likely the
    workmanship is worth something. So let us settle it that I am to give
    you fifteen hundred francs--in _livres_; Cruchot will lend them to me.
    I haven't got a copper farthing here,--unless Perrotet, who is
    behindhand with his rent, should pay up. By the bye, I'll go and see

    He took his hat, put on his gloves, and went out.

    "Then you are really going?" said Eugenie to her cousin, with a sad
    look, mingled with admiration.

    "I must," he said, bowing his head.

    For some days past, Charles's whole bearing, manners, and speech had
    become those of a man who, in spite of his profound affliction, feels
    the weight of immense obligations and has the strength to gather
    courage from misfortune. He no longer repined, he became a man.
    Eugenie never augured better of her cousin's character than when she
    saw him come down in the plain black clothes which suited well with
    his pale face and sombre countenance. On that day the two women put on
    their own mourning, and all three assisted at a Requiem celebrated in
    the parish church for the soul of the late Guillaume Grandet.

    At the second breakfast Charles received letters from Paris and began
    to read them.

    "Well, cousin, are you satisfied with the management of your affairs?"
    said Eugenie in a low voice.

    "Never ask such questions, my daughter," said Grandet. "What the
    devil! do I tell you my affairs? Why do you poke your nose into your
    cousin's? Let the lad alone!"

    "Oh! I haven't any secrets," said Charles.

    "Ta, ta, ta, ta, nephew; you'll soon find out that you must hold your
    tongue in business."

    When the two lovers were alone in the garden, Charles said to Eugenie,
    drawing her down on the old bench beneath the walnut-tree,--

    "I did right to trust Alphonse; he has done famously. He has managed
    my affairs with prudence and good faith. I now owe nothing in Paris.
    All my things have been sold; and he tells me that he has taken the
    advice of an old sea-captain and spent three thousand francs on a
    commercial outfit of European curiosities which will be sure to be in
    demand in the Indies. He has sent my trunks to Nantes, where a ship is
    loading for San Domingo. In five days, Eugenie, we must bid each other
    farewell--perhaps forever, at least for years. My outfit and ten
    thousand francs, which two of my friends send me, are a very small
    beginning. I cannot look to return for many years. My dear cousin, do
    not weight your life in the scales with mine; I may perish; some good
    marriage may be offered to you--"

    "Do you love me?" she said.

    "Oh, yes! indeed, yes!" he answered, with a depth of tone that
    revealed an equal depth of feeling.

    "I shall wait, Charles--Good heavens! there is my father at his
    window," she said, repulsing her cousin, who leaned forward to kiss

    She ran quickly under the archway. Charles followed her. When she saw
    him, she retreated to the foot of the staircase and opened the
    swing-door; then, scarcely knowing where she was going, Eugenie reached
    the corner near Nanon's den, in the darkest end of the passage. There
    Charles caught her hand and drew her to his heart. Passing his arm
    about her waist, he made her lean gently upon him. Eugenie no longer
    resisted; she received and gave the purest, the sweetest, and yet,
    withal, the most unreserved of kisses.

    "Dear Eugenie, a cousin is better than a brother, for he can marry
    you," said Charles.

    "So be it!" cried Nanon, opening the door of her lair.

    The two lovers, alarmed, fled into the hall, where Eugenie took up her
    work and Charles began to read the litanies of the Virgin in Madame
    Grandet's prayer-book.

    "Mercy!" cried Nanon, "now they're saying their prayers."

    As soon as Charles announced his immediate departure, Grandet
    bestirred himself to testify much interest in his nephew. He became
    very liberal of all that cost him nothing; took pains to find a
    packer; declared the man asked too much for his cases; insisted on
    making them himself out of old planks; got up early in the morning to
    fit and plane and nail together the strips, out of which he made, to
    his own satisfaction, some strong cases, in which he packed all
    Charles's effects; he also took upon himself to send them by boat down
    the Loire, to insure them, and get them to Nantes in proper time.

    After the kiss taken in the passage, the hours fled for Eugenie with
    frightful rapidity. Sometimes she thought of following her cousin.
    Those who have known that most endearing of all passions,--the one
    whose duration is each day shortened by time, by age, by mortal
    illness, by human chances and fatalities,--they will understand the
    poor girl's tortures. She wept as she walked in the garden, now so
    narrow to her, as indeed the court, the house, the town all seemed.
    She launched in thought upon the wide expanse of the ocean he was
    about to traverse. At last the eve of his departure came. That
    morning, in the absence of Grandet and of Nanon, the precious case
    which contained the two portraits was solemnly installed in the only
    drawer of the old cabinet which could be locked, where the now empty
    velvet purse was lying. This deposit was not made without a goodly
    number of tears and kisses. When Eugenie placed the key within her
    bosom she had no courage to forbid the kiss with which Charles sealed
    the act.

    "It shall never leave that place, my friend," she said.

    "Then my heart will be always there."

    "Ah! Charles, it is not right," she said, as though she blamed him.

    "Are we not married?" he said. "I have thy promise,--then take mine."

    "Thine; I am thine forever!" they each said, repeating the words twice

    No promise made upon this earth was ever purer. The innocent sincerity
    of Eugenie had sanctified for a moment the young man's love.

    On the morrow the breakfast was sad. Nanon herself, in spite of the
    gold-embroidered robe and the Jeannette cross bestowed by Charles, had
    tears in her eyes.

    "The poor dear monsieur who is going on the seas--oh, may God guide

    At half-past ten the whole family started to escort Charles to the
    diligence for Nantes. Nanon let loose the dog, locked the door, and
    insisted on carrying the young man's carpet-bag. All the tradesmen in
    the tortuous old street were on the sill of their shop-doors to watch
    the procession, which was joined in the market-place by Maitre

    "Eugenie, be sure you don't cry," said her mother.

    "Nephew," said Grandet, in the doorway of the inn from which the coach
    started, kissing Charles on both cheeks, "depart poor, return rich;
    you will find the honor of your father safe. I answer for that myself,
    I--Grandet; for it will only depend on you to--"

    "Ah! my uncle, you soften the bitterness of my departure. Is it not
    the best gift that you could make me?"

    Not understanding his uncle's words which he had thus interrupted,
    Charles shed tears of gratitude upon the tanned cheeks of the old
    miser, while Eugenie pressed the hand of her cousin and that of her
    father with all her strength. The notary smiled, admiring the sly
    speech of the old man, which he alone had understood. The family stood
    about the coach until it started; then as it disappeared upon the
    bridge, and its rumble grew fainter in the distance, Grandet said:

    "Good-by to you!"

    Happily no one but Maitre Cruchot heard the exclamation. Eugenie and
    her mother had gone to a corner of the quay from which they could
    still see the diligence and wave their white handkerchiefs, to which
    Charles made answer by displaying his.

    "Ah! mother, would that I had the power of God for a single moment,"
    said Eugenie, when she could no longer see her lover's handkerchief.

    * * * * *

    Not to interrupt the current of events which are about to take place
    in the bosom of the Grandet family, it is necessary to cast a
    forestalling eye upon the various operations which the goodman carried
    on in Paris by means of Monsieur des Grassins. A month after the
    latter's departure from Saumur, Grandet, became possessed of a
    certificate of a hundred thousand francs a year from his investment in
    the Funds, bought at eighty francs net. The particulars revealed at
    his death by the inventory of his property threw no light upon the
    means which his suspicious nature took to remit the price of the
    investment and receive the certificate thereof. Maitre Cruchot was of
    opinion that Nanon, unknown to herself, was the trusty instrument by
    which the money was transported; for about this time she was absent
    five days, under a pretext of putting things to rights at Froidfond,
    --as if the goodman were capable of leaving anything lying about or out
    of order!

    In all that concerned the business of the house of Guillaume Grandet
    the old cooper's intentions were fulfilled to the letter. The Bank of
    France, as everybody knows, affords exact information about all the
    large fortunes in Paris and the provinces. The names of des Grassins
    and Felix Grandet of Saumur were well known there, and they enjoyed
    the esteem bestowed on financial celebrities whose wealth comes from
    immense and unencumbered territorial possessions. The arrival of the
    Saumur banker for the purpose, it was said, of honorably liquidating
    the affairs of Grandet of Paris, was enough to avert the shame of
    protested notes from the memory of the defunct merchant. The seals on
    the property were taken off in presence of the creditors, and the
    notary employed by Grandet went to work at once on the inventory of
    the assets. Soon after this, des Grassins called a meeting of the
    creditors, who unanimously elected him, conjointly with Francois
    Keller, the head of a rich banking-house and one of those principally
    interested in the affair, as liquidators, with full power to protect
    both the honor of the family and the interests of the claimants. The
    credit of Grandet of Saumur, the hopes he diffused by means of des
    Grassins in the minds of all concerned, facilitated the transactions.
    Not a single creditor proved recalcitrant; no one thought of passing
    his claim to his profit-and-loss account; each and all said
    confidently, "Grandet of Saumur will pay."

    Six months went by. The Parisians had redeemed the notes in
    circulation as they fell due, and held them under lock and key in
    their desks. First result aimed at by the old cooper! Nine months
    after this preliminary meeting, the two liquidators distributed
    forty-seven per cent to each creditor on his claim. This amount was
    obtained by the sale of the securities, property, and possessions of
    all kinds belonging to the late Guillaume Grandet, and was paid over
    with scrupulous fidelity. Unimpeachable integrity was shown in the
    transaction. The creditors gratefully acknowledged the remarkable and
    incontestable honor displayed by the Grandets. When these praises had
    circulated for a certain length of time, the creditors asked for the
    rest of their money. It became necessary to write a collective letter
    to Grandet of Saumur.

    "Here it comes!" said the old man as he threw the letter into the
    fire. "Patience, my good friends!"

    In answer to the proposals contained in the letter, Grandet of Saumur
    demanded that all vouchers for claims against the estate of his
    brother should be deposited with a notary, together with aquittances
    for the forty-seven per cent already paid; he made this demand under
    pretence of sifting the accounts and finding out the exact condition
    of the estate. It roused at once a variety of difficulties. Generally
    speaking, the creditor is a species of maniac, ready to agree to
    anything one day, on the next breathing fire and slaughter; later on,
    he grows amicable and easy-going. To-day his wife is good-humored, his
    last baby has cut its first tooth, all is well at home, and he is
    determined not to lose a sou; on the morrow it rains, he can't go out,
    he is gloomy, he says yes to any proposal that is made to him, so long
    as it will put an end to the affair; on the third day he declares he
    must have guarantees; by the end of the month he wants his debtor's
    head, and becomes at heart an executioner. The creditor is a good deal
    like the sparrow on whose tail confiding children are invited to put
    salt,--with this difference, that he applies the image to his claim,
    the proceeds of which he is never able to lay hold of. Grandet had
    studied the atmospheric variations of creditors, and the creditors of
    his brother justified all his calculations. Some were angry, and
    flatly refused to give in their vouchers.

    "Very good; so much the better," said Grandet, rubbing his hands over
    the letter in which des Grassins announced the fact.

    Others agreed to the demand, but only on condition that their rights
    should be fully guaranteed; they renounced none, and even reserved the
    power of ultimately compelling a failure. On this began a long
    correspondence, which ended in Grandet of Saumur agreeing to all
    conditions. By means of this concession the placable creditors were
    able to bring the dissatisfied creditors to reason. The deposit was
    then made, but not without sundry complaints.

    "Your goodman," they said to des Grassins, "is tricking us."

    Twenty-three months after the death of Guillaume Grandet many of the
    creditors, carried away by more pressing business in the markets of
    Paris, had forgotten their Grandet claims, or only thought of them to

    "I begin to believe that forty-seven per cent is all I shall ever get
    out of that affair."

    The old cooper had calculated on the power of time, which, as he used
    to say, is a pretty good devil after all. By the end of the third year
    des Grassins wrote to Grandet that he had brought the creditors to
    agree to give up their claims for ten per cent on the two million four
    hundred thousand francs still due by the house of Grandet. Grandet
    answered that the notary and the broker whose shameful failures had
    caused the death of his brother were still living, that they might now
    have recovered their credit, and that they ought to be sued, so as to
    get something out of them towards lessening the total of the deficit.

    By the end of the fourth year the liabilities were definitely
    estimated at a sum of twelve hundred thousand francs. Many
    negotiations, lasting over six months, took place between the
    creditors and the liquidators, and between the liquidators and
    Grandet. To make a long story short, Grandet of Saumur, anxious by
    this time to get out of the affair, told the liquidators, about the
    ninth month of the fourth year, that his nephew had made a fortune in
    the Indies and was disposed to pay his father's debts in full; he
    therefore could not take upon himself to make any settlement without
    previously consulting him; he had written to him, and was expecting an
    answer. The creditors were held in check until the middle of the fifth
    year by the words, "payment in full," which the wily old miser threw
    out from time to time as he laughed in his beard, saying with a smile
    and an oath, "Those Parisians!"

    But the creditors were reserved for a fate unexampled in the annals of
    commerce. When the events of this history bring them once more into
    notice, they will be found still in the position Grandet had resolved
    to force them into from the first.

    As soon as the Funds reached a hundred and fifteen, Pere Grandet sold
    out his interests and withdrew two million four hundred thousand
    francs in gold, to which he added, in his coffers, the six hundred
    thousand francs compound interest which he had derived from the
    capital. Des Grassins now lived in Paris. In the first place he had
    been made a deputy; then he became infatuated (father of a family as
    he was, though horribly bored by the provincial life of Saumur) with a
    pretty actress at the Theatre de Madame, known as Florine, and he
    presently relapsed into the old habits of his army life. It is useless
    to speak of his conduct; Saumur considered it profoundly immoral. His
    wife was fortunate in the fact of her property being settled upon
    herself, and in having sufficient ability to keep up the banking-house
    in Saumur, which was managed in her name and repaired the breach in
    her fortune caused by the extravagance of her husband. The Cruchotines
    made so much talk about the false position of the quasi-widow that she
    married her daughter very badly, and was forced to give up all hope of
    an alliance between Eugenie Grandet and her son. Adolphe joined his
    father in Paris and became, it was said, a worthless fellow. The
    Cruchots triumphed.

    "Your husband hasn't common sense," said Grandet as he lent Madame des
    Grassins some money on a note securely endorsed. "I am very sorry for
    you, for you are a good little woman."

    "Ah, monsieur," said the poor lady, "who could have believed that when
    he left Saumur to go to Paris on your business he was going to his

    "Heaven is my witness, madame, that up to the last moment I did all I
    could to prevent him from going. Monsieur le president was most
    anxious to take his place; but he was determined to go, and now we all
    see why."

    In this way Grandet made it quite plain that he was under no
    obligation to des Grassins.

    * * * * *

    In all situations women have more cause for suffering than men, and
    they suffer more. Man has strength and the power of exercising it; he
    acts, moves, thinks, occupies himself; he looks ahead, and sees
    consolation in the future. It was thus with Charles. But the woman
    stays at home; she is always face to face with the grief from which
    nothing distracts her; she goes down to the depths of the abyss which
    yawns before her, measures it, and often fills it with her tears and
    prayers. Thus did Eugenie. She initiated herself into her destiny. To
    feel, to love, to suffer, to devote herself,--is not this the sum of
    woman's life? Eugenie was to be in all things a woman, except in the
    one thing that consoles for all. Her happiness, picked up like nails
    scattered on a wall--to use the fine simile of Bossuet--would never so
    much as fill even the hollow of her hand. Sorrows are never long in
    coming; for her they came soon. The day after Charles's departure the
    house of Monsieur Grandet resumed its ordinary aspect in the eyes of
    all, except in those of Eugenie, to whom it grew suddenly empty. She
    wished, if it could be done unknown to her father, that Charles's room
    might be kept as he had left it. Madame Grandet and Nanon were willing
    accomplices in this _statu quo_.

    "Who knows but he may come back sooner than we think for?" she said.

    "Ah, don't I wish I could see him back!" answered Nanon. "I took to
    him! He was such a dear, sweet young man,--pretty too, with his curly
    hair." Eugenie looked at Nanon. "Holy Virgin! don't look at me that
    way, mademoiselle; your eyes are like those of a lost soul."

    From that day the beauty of Mademoiselle Grandet took a new character.
    The solemn thoughts of love which slowly filled her soul, and the
    dignity of the woman beloved, gave to her features an illumination
    such as painters render by a halo. Before the coming of her cousin,
    Eugenie might be compared to the Virgin before the conception; after
    he had gone, she was like the Virgin Mother,--she had given birth to
    love. These two Marys so different, so well represented by Spanish
    art, embody one of those shining symbols with which Christianity

    Returning from Mass on the morning after Charles's departure,--having
    made a vow to hear it daily,--Eugenie bought a map of the world, which
    she nailed up beside her looking-glass, that she might follow her
    cousin on his westward way, that she might put herself, were it ever
    so little, day by day into the ship that bore him, and see him and ask
    him a thousand questions,--"Art thou well? Dost thou suffer? Dost thou
    think of me when the star, whose beauty and usefulness thou hast
    taught me to know, shines upon thee?" In the mornings she sat pensive
    beneath the walnut-tree, on the worm-eaten bench covered with gray
    lichens, where they had said to each other so many precious things, so
    many trifles, where they had built the pretty castles of their future
    home. She thought of the future now as she looked upward to the bit of
    sky which was all the high walls suffered her to see; then she turned
    her eyes to the angle where the sun crept on, and to the roof above
    the room in which he had slept. Hers was the solitary love, the
    persistent love, which glides into every thought and becomes the
    substance, or, as our fathers might have said, the tissue of life.
    When the would-be friends of Pere Grandet came in the evening for
    their game at cards, she was gay and dissimulating; but all the
    morning she talked of Charles with her mother and Nanon. Nanon had
    brought herself to see that she could pity the sufferings of her young
    mistress without failing in her duty to the old master, and she would
    say to Eugenie,--

    "If I had a man for myself I'd--I'd follow him to hell, yes, I'd
    exterminate myself for him; but I've none. I shall die and never know
    what life is. Would you believe, mamz'elle, that old Cornoiller (a
    good fellow all the same) is always round my petticoats for the sake
    of my money,--just for all the world like the rats who come smelling
    after the master's cheese and paying court to you? I see it all; I've
    got a shrewd eye, though I am as big as a steeple. Well, mamz'elle, it
    pleases me, but it isn't love."
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