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    Chapter 98

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    Chapter 98
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    CHAPTER 98
    The Bell and Bottle Tavern.

    And now let us leave Mademoiselle Danglars and her friend
    pursuing their way to Brussels, and return to poor Andrea
    Cavalcanti, so inopportunely interrupted in his rise to
    fortune. Notwithstanding his youth, Master Andrea was a very
    skilful and intelligent boy. We have seen that on the first
    rumor which reached the salon he had gradually approached
    the door, and crossing two or three rooms at last
    disappeared. But we have forgotten to mention one
    circumstance, which nevertheless ought not to be omitted; in
    one of the rooms he crossed, the trousseau of the
    bride-elect was on exhibition. There were caskets of
    diamonds, cashmere shawls, Valenciennes lace, English
    veilings, and in fact all the tempting things, the bare
    mention of which makes the hearts of young girls bound with
    joy, and which is called the "corbeille."* Now, in passing
    through this room, Andrea proved himself not only to be
    clever and intelligent, but also provident, for he helped
    himself to the most valuable of the ornaments before him.

    * Literally, "the basket," because wedding gifts were
    originally brought in such a receptacle.

    Furnished with this plunder, Andrea leaped with a lighter
    heart from the window, intending to slip through the hands
    of the gendarmes. Tall and well proportioned as an ancient
    gladiator, and muscular as a Spartan, he walked for a
    quarter of an hour without knowing where to direct his
    steps, actuated by the sole idea of getting away from the
    spot where if he lingered he knew that he would surely be
    taken. Having passed through the Rue Mont Blanc, guided by
    the instinct which leads thieves always to take the safest
    path, he found himself at the end of the Rue Lafayette.
    There he stopped, breathless and panting. He was quite
    alone; on one side was the vast wilderness of the
    Saint-Lazare, on the other, Paris enshrouded in darkness.
    "Am I to be captured?" he cried; "no, not if I can use more
    activity than my enemies. My safety is now a mere question
    of speed." At this moment he saw a cab at the top of the
    Faubourg Poissonniere. The dull driver, smoking his pipe,
    was plodding along toward the limits of the Faubourg
    Saint-Denis, where no doubt he ordinarily had his station.
    "Ho, friend!" said Benedetto.

    "What do you want, sir?" asked the driver.

    "Is your horse tired?"

    "Tired? oh, yes, tired enough -- he has done nothing the
    whole of this blessed day! Four wretched fares, and twenty
    sous over, making in all seven francs, are all that I have
    earned, and I ought to take ten to the owner."

    "Will you add these twenty francs to the seven you have?"

    "With pleasure, sir; twenty francs are not to be despised.
    Tell me what I am to do for this."

    "A very easy thing, if your horse isn't tired."

    "I tell you he'll go like the wind, -- only tell me which
    way to drive."

    "Towards the Louvres."

    "Ah, I know the way -- you get good sweetened rum over
    there."

    "Exactly so; I merely wish to overtake one of my friends,
    with whom I am going to hunt to-morrow at
    Chapelle-en-Serval. He should have waited for me here with a
    cabriolet till half-past eleven; it is twelve, and, tired of
    waiting, he must have gone on."

    "It is likely."

    "Well, will you try and overtake him?"

    "Nothing I should like better."

    "If you do not overtake him before we reach Bourget you
    shall have twenty francs; if not before Louvres, thirty."

    "And if we do overtake him?"

    "Forty," said Andrea, after a moment's hesitation, at the
    end of which he remembered that he might safely promise.
    "That's all right," said the man; "hop in, and we're off!
    Who-o-o-p, la!"

    Andrea got into the cab, which passed rapidly through the
    Faubourg Saint-Denis, along the Faubourg Saint-Martin,
    crossed the barrier, and threaded its way through the
    interminable Villette. They never overtook the chimerical
    friend, yet Andrea frequently inquired of people on foot
    whom he passed and at the inns which were not yet closed,
    for a green cabriolet and bay horse; and as there are a
    great many cabriolets to be seen on the road to the Low
    Countries, and as nine-tenths of them are green, the
    inquiries increased at every step. Every one had just seen
    it pass; it was only five hundred, two hundred, one hundred
    steps in advance; at length they reached it, but it was not
    the friend. Once the cab was also passed by a calash rapidly
    whirled along by two post-horses. "Ah," said Cavalcanti to
    himself, "if I only had that britzska, those two good
    post-horses, and above all the passport that carries them
    on!" And he sighed deeply. The calash contained Mademoiselle
    Danglars and Mademoiselle d'Armilly. "Hurry, hurry!" said
    Andrea, "we must overtake him soon." And the poor horse
    resumed the desperate gallop it had kept up since leaving
    the barrier, and arrived steaming at Louvres.

    "Certainly," said Andrea, "I shall not overtake my friend,
    but I shall kill your horse, therefore I had better stop.
    Here are thirty francs; I will sleep at the Red Horse, and
    will secure a place in the first coach. Good-night, friend."
    And Andrea, after placing six pieces of five francs each in
    the man's hand, leaped lightly on to the pathway. The cabman
    joyfully pocketed the sum, and turned back on his road to
    Paris. Andrea pretended to go towards the Red Horse inn, but
    after leaning an instant against the door, and hearing the
    last sound of the cab, which was disappearing from view, he
    went on his road, and with a lusty stride soon traversed the
    space of two leagues. Then he rested; he must be near
    Chapelle-en-Serval, where he pretended to be going. It was
    not fatigue that stayed Andrea here; it was that he might
    form some resolution, adopt some plan. It would be
    impossible to make use of a diligence, equally so to engage
    post-horses; to travel either way a passport was necessary.
    It was still more impossible to remain in the department of
    the Oise, one of the most open and strictly guarded in
    France; this was quite out of the question, especially to a
    man like Andrea, perfectly conversant with criminal matters.

    He sat down by the side of the moat, buried his face in his
    hands and reflected. Ten minutes after he raised his head;
    his resolution was made. He threw some dust over the
    topcoat, which he had found time to unhook from the
    ante-chamber and button over his ball costume, and going to
    Chapelle-en-Serval he knocked loudly at the door of the only
    inn in the place. The host opened. "My friend," said Andrea,
    "I was coming from Montefontaine to Senlis, when my horse,
    which is a troublesome creature, stumbled and threw me. I
    must reach Compiegne to-night, or I shall cause deep anxiety
    to my family. Could you let me hire a horse of you?"

    An inn-keeper has always a horse to let, whether it be good
    or bad. The host called the stable-boy, and ordered him to
    saddle "Whitey," then he awoke his son, a child of seven
    years, whom he ordered to ride before the gentleman and
    bring back the horse. Andrea gave the inn-keeper twenty
    francs, and in taking them from his pocket dropped a
    visiting card. This belonged to one of his friends at the
    Cafe de Paris, so that the innkeeper, picking it up after
    Andrea had left, was convinced that he had let his horse to
    the Count of Mauleon, 25 Rue Saint-Dominique, that being the
    name and address on the card. "Whitey" was not a fast
    animal, but he kept up an easy, steady pace; in three hours
    and a half Andrea had traversed the nine leagues which
    separated him from Compiegne, and four o'clock struck as he
    reached the place where the coaches stop. There is an
    excellent tavern at Compiegne, well remembered by those who
    have ever been there. Andrea, who had often stayed there in
    his rides about Paris, recollected the Bell and Bottle inn;
    he turned around, saw the sign by the light of a reflected
    lamp, and having dismissed the child, giving him all the
    small coin he had about him, he began knocking at the door,
    very reasonably concluding that having now three or four
    hours before him he had best fortify himself against the
    fatigues of the morrow by a sound sleep and a good supper. A
    waiter opened the door.

    "My friend," said Andrea, "I have been dining at
    Saint-Jean-au-Bois, and expected to catch the coach which
    passes by at midnight, but like a fool I have lost my way,
    and have been walking for the last four hours in the forest.
    Show me into one of those pretty little rooms which overlook
    the court, and bring me a cold fowl and a bottle of
    Bordeaux." The waiter had no suspicions; Andrea spoke with
    perfect composure, he had a cigar in his mouth, and his
    hands in the pocket of his top coat; his clothes were
    fashionably made, his chin smooth, his boots irreproachable;
    he looked merely as if he had stayed out very late, that was
    all. While the waiter was preparing his room, the hostess
    arose; Andrea assumed his most charming smile, and asked if
    he could have No. 3, which he had occupied on his last stay
    at Compiegne. Unfortunately, No. 3 was engaged by a young
    man who was travelling with his sister. Andrea appeared in
    despair, but consoled himself when the hostess assured him
    that No. 7, prepared for him, was situated precisely the
    same as No. 3, and while warming his feet and chatting about
    the last races at Chantilly, he waited until they announced
    his room to be ready.

    Andrea had not spoken without cause of the pretty rooms
    looking out upon the court of the Bell Tavern, which with
    its triple galleries like those of a theatre, with the
    jessamine and clematis twining round the light columns,
    forms one of the prettiest entrances to an inn that you can
    imagine. The fowl was tender, the wine old, the fire clear
    and sparkling, and Andrea was surprised to find himself
    eating with as good an appetite as though nothing had
    happened. Then be went to bed and almost immediately fell
    into that deep sleep which is sure to visit men of twenty
    years of age, even when they are torn with remorse. Now,
    here we are obliged to own that Andrea ought to have felt
    remorse, but that he did not. This was the plan which had
    appealed to him to afford the best chance of his security.
    Before daybreak he would awake, leave the inn after
    rigorously paying his bill, and reaching the forest, he
    would, under presence of making studies in painting, test
    the hospitality of some peasants, procure himself the dress
    of a woodcutter and a hatchet, casting off the lion's skin
    to assume that of the woodman; then, with his hands covered
    with dirt, his hair darkened by means of a leaden comb, his
    complexion embrowned with a preparation for which one of his
    old comrades had given him the recipe, he intended, by
    following the wooded districts, to reach the nearest
    frontier, walking by night and sleeping in the day in the
    forests and quarries, and only entering inhabited regions to
    buy a loaf from time to time.

    Once past the frontier, Andrea proposed making money of his
    diamonds; and by uniting the proceeds to ten bank-notes he
    always carried about with him in case of accident, he would
    then find himself possessor of about 50,000 livres, which he
    philosophically considered as no very deplorable condition
    after all. Moreover, he reckoned much on the interest of the
    Danglars to hush up the rumor of their own misadventures.
    These were the reasons which, added to the fatigue, caused
    Andrea to sleep so soundly. In order that he might awaken
    early he did not close the shutters, but contented himself
    with bolting the door and placing on the table an unclasped
    and long-pointed knife, whose temper he well knew, and which
    was never absent from him. About seven in the morning Andrea
    was awakened by a ray of sunlight, which played, warm and
    brilliant, upon his face. In all well-organized brains, the
    predominating idea -- and there always is one -- is sure to
    be the last thought before sleeping, and the first upon
    waking in the morning. Andrea had scarcely opened his eyes
    when his predominating idea presented itself, and whispered
    in his ear that he had slept too long. He jumped out of bed
    and ran to the window. A gendarme was crossing the court. A
    gendarme is one of the most striking objects in the world,
    even to a man void of uneasiness; but for one who has a
    timid conscience, and with good cause too, the yellow, blue,
    and white uniform is really very alarming.

    "Why is that gendarme there?" asked Andrea of himself. Then,
    all at once, he replied, with that logic which the reader
    has, doubtless, remarked in him, "There is nothing
    astonishing in seeing a gendarme at an inn; instead of being
    astonished, let me dress myself." And the youth dressed
    himself with a facility his valet de chambre had failed to
    rob him of during the two months of fashionable life he had
    led in Paris. "Now then," said Andrea, while dressing
    himself, "I'll wait till he leaves, and then I'll slip
    away." And, saying this, Andrea, who had now put on his
    boots and cravat, stole gently to the window, and a second
    time lifted up the muslin curtain. Not only was the first
    gendarme still there, but the young man now perceived a
    second yellow, blue, and white uniform at the foot of the
    staircase, the only one by which he could descend, while a
    third, on horseback, holding a musket in his fist, was
    posted as a sentinel at the great street door which alone
    afforded the means of egress.

    The appearance of the third gendarme settled the matter, for
    a crowd of curious loungers was extended before him,
    effectually blocking the entrance to the hotel. "They're
    after me!" was Andrea's first thought. "The devil!" A pallor
    overspread the young man's forehead, and he looked around
    him with anxiety. His room, like all those on the same
    floor, had but one outlet to the gallery in the sight of
    everybody. "I am lost!" was his second thought; and, indeed,
    for a man in Andrea's situation, an arrest meant the
    assizes, trial, and death, -- death without mercy or delay.
    For a moment he convulsively pressed his head within his
    hands, and during that brief period he became nearly mad
    with terror; but soon a ray of hope glimmered in the
    multitude of thoughts which bewildered his mind, and a faint
    smile played upon his white lips and pallid cheeks. He
    looked around and saw the objects of his search upon the
    chimney-piece; they were a pen, ink, and paper. With forced
    composure he dipped the pen in the ink, and wrote the
    following lines upon a sheet of paper: --

    "I have no money to pay my bill, but I am not a dishonest
    man; I leave behind me as a pledge this pin, worth ten times
    the amount. I shall be excused for leaving at daybreak, for
    I was ashamed."

    He then drew the pin from his cravat and placed it on the
    paper. This done, instead of leaving the door fastened, he
    drew back the bolts and even placed the door ajar, as though
    he had left the room, forgetting to close it, and slipping
    into the chimney like a man accustomed to that kind of
    gymnastic exercise, having effaced the marks of his feet
    upon the floor, he commenced climbing the only opening which
    afforded him the means of escape. At this precise time, the
    first gendarme Andrea had noticed walked up-stairs, preceded
    by the commissary of police, and supported by the second
    gendarme who guarded the staircase and was himself
    re-enforced by the one stationed at the door.

    Andrea was indebted for this visit to the following
    circumstances. At daybreak, the telegraphs were set at work
    in all directions, and almost immediately the authorities in
    every district had exerted their utmost endeavors to arrest
    the murderer of Caderousse. Compiegne, that royal residence
    and fortified town, is well furnished with authorities,
    gendarmes, and commissaries of police; they therefore began
    operations as soon as the telegraphic despatch arrived, and
    the Bell and Bottle being the best-known hotel in the town,
    they had naturally directed their first inquiries there.

    Now, besides the reports of the sentinels guarding the Hotel
    de Ville, which is next door to the Bell and Bottle, it had
    been stated by others that a number of travellers had
    arrived during the night. The sentinel who was relieved at
    six o'clock in the morning, remembered perfectly that just
    as he was taking his post a few minutes past four a young
    man arrived on horseback, with a little boy before him. The
    young man, having dismissed the boy and horse, knocked at
    the door of the hotel, which was opened, and again closed
    after his entrance. This late arrival had attracted much
    suspicion, and the young man being no other than Andrea, the
    commissary and gendarme, who was a brigadier, directed their
    steps towards his room.

    They found the door ajar. "Oh, ho," said the brigadier, who
    thoroughly understood the trick; "a bad sign to find the
    door open! I would rather find it triply bolted." And,
    indeed, the little note and pin upon the table confirmed, or
    rather corroborated, the sad truth. Andrea had fled. We say
    corroborated, because the brigadier was too experienced to
    be convinced by a single proof. He glanced around, looked in
    the bed, shook the curtains, opened the closets, and finally
    stopped at the chimney. Andrea had taken the precaution to
    leave no traces of his feet in the ashes, but still it was
    an outlet, and in this light was not to be passed over
    without serious investigation.

    The brigadier sent for some sticks and straw, and having
    filled the chimney with them, set a light to it. The fire
    crackled, and the smoke ascended like the dull vapor from a
    volcano; but still no prisoner fell down, as they expected.
    The fact was, that Andrea, at war with society ever since
    his youth, was quite as deep as a gendarme, even though he
    were advanced to the rank of brigadier, and quite prepared
    for the fire, he had climbed out on the roof and was
    crouching down against the chimney-pots. At one time he
    thought he was saved, for he heard the brigadier exclaim in
    a loud voice, to the two gendarmes, "He is not here!" But
    venturing to peep, he perceived that the latter, instead of
    retiring, as might have been reasonably expected upon this
    announcement, were watching with increased attention.

    It was now his turn to look about him; the Hotel de Ville, a
    massive sixteenth century building, was on his right; any
    one could descend from the openings in the tower, and
    examine every corner of the roof below, and Andrea expected
    momentarily to see the head of a gendarme appear at one of
    these openings. If once discovered, he knew he would be
    lost, for the roof afforded no chance of escape; he
    therefore resolved to descend, not through the same chimney
    by which he had come up, but by a similar one conducting to
    another room. He looked around for a chimney from which no
    smoke issued, and having reached it, he disappeared through
    the orifice without being seen by any one. At the same
    minute, one of the little windows of the Hotel de Ville was
    thrown open, and the head of a gendarme appeared. For an
    instant it remained motionless as one of the stone
    decorations of the building, then after a long sigh of
    disappointment the head disappeared. The brigadier, calm and
    dignified as the law he represented, passed through the
    crowd, without answering the thousand questions addressed to
    him, and re-entered the hotel.

    "Well?" asked the two gendarmes.

    "Well, my boys," said the brigadier, "the brigand must
    really have escaped early this morning; but we will send to
    the Villers-Coterets and Noyon roads, and search the forest,
    when we shall catch him, no doubt." The honorable
    functionary had scarcely expressed himself thus, in that
    intonation which is peculiar to brigadiers of the
    gendarmerie, when a loud scream, accompanied by the violent
    ringing of a bell, resounded through the court of the hotel.
    "Ah, what is that?" cried the brigadier.

    "Some traveller seems impatient," said the host. "What
    number was it that rang?"

    "Number 3."

    "Run, waiter!" At this moment the screams and ringing were
    redoubled. "Ah," said the brigadier, stopping the servant,
    "the person who is ringing appears to want something more
    than a waiter; we will attend upon him with a gendarme. Who
    occupies Number 3?"

    "The little fellow who arrived last night in a post-chaise
    with his sister, and who asked for an apartment with two
    beds." The bell here rang for the third time, with another
    shriek of anguish.

    "Follow me, Mr. Commissary!" said the brigadier; "tread in
    my steps."

    "Wait an instant," said the host; "Number 3 has two
    staircases, -- inside and outside."

    "Good," said the brigadier. "I will take charge of the
    inside one. Are the carbines loaded?"

    "Yes, brigadier."

    "Well, you guard the exterior, and if he attempts to fly,
    fire upon him; he must be a great criminal, from what the
    telegraph says."

    The brigadier, followed by the commissary, disappeared by
    the inside staircase, accompanied by the noise which his
    assertions respecting Andrea had excited in the crowd. This
    is what had happened. Andrea had very cleverly managed to
    descend two-thirds of the chimney, but then his foot
    slipped, and notwithstanding his endeavors, he came into the
    room with more speed and noise than he intended. It would
    have signified little had the room been empty, but
    unfortunately it was occupied. Two ladies, sleeping in one
    bed, were awakened by the noise, and fixing their eyes upon
    the spot whence the sound proceeded, they saw a man. One of
    these ladies, the fair one, uttered those terrible shrieks
    which resounded through the house, while the other, rushing
    to the bell-rope, rang with all her strength. Andrea, as we
    can see, was surrounded by misfortune.

    "For pity's sake," he cried, pale and bewildered, without
    seeing whom he was addressing, -- "for pity's sake do not
    call assistance! Save me! -- I will not harm you."

    "Andrea, the murderer!" cried one of the ladies.

    "Eugenie! Mademoiselle Danglars!" exclaimed Andrea,
    stupefied.

    "Help, help!" cried Mademoiselle d'Armilly, taking the bell
    from her companion's hand, and ringing it yet more
    violently. "Save me, I am pursued!" said Andrea, clasping
    his hands. "For pity, for mercy's sake do not deliver me
    up!"

    "It is too late, they are coming," said Eugenie.

    "Well, conceal me somewhere; you can say you were needlessly
    alarmed; you can turn their suspicions and save my life!"

    The two ladies, pressing closely to one another, and drawing
    the bedclothes tightly around them, remained silent to this
    supplicating voice, repugnance and fear taking possession of
    their minds.

    "Well, be it so," at length said Eugenie; "return by the
    same road you came, and we will say nothing about you,
    unhappy wretch."

    "Here he is, here he is!" cried a voice from the landing;
    "here he is! I see him!" The brigadier had put his eye to
    the keyhole, and had discovered Andrea in a posture of
    entreaty. A violent blow from the butt end of the musket
    burst open the lock, two more forced out the bolts, and the
    broken door fell in. Andrea ran to the other door, leading
    to the gallery, ready to rush out; but he was stopped short,
    and he stood with his body a little thrown back, pale, and
    with the useless knife in his clinched hand.

    "Fly, then!" cried Mademoiselle d'Armilly, whose pity
    returned as her fears diminished; "fly!"

    "Or kill yourself!" said Eugenie (in a tone which a Vestal
    in the amphitheatre would have used, when urging the
    victorious gladiator to finish his vanquished adversary).
    Andrea shuddered, and looked on the young girl with an
    expression which proved how little he understood such
    ferocious honor. "Kill myself?" he cried, throwing down his
    knife; "why should I do so?"

    "Why, you said," answered Mademoiselle Danglars, "that you
    would be condemned to die like the worst criminals."

    "Bah," said Cavalcanti, crossing his arms, "one has
    friends."

    The brigadier advanced to him, sword in hand. "Come, come,"
    said Andrea, "sheathe your sword, my fine fellow; there is
    no occasion to make such a fuss, since I give myself up;"
    and he held out his hands to be manacled. The girls looked
    with horror upon this shameful metamorphosis, the man of the
    world shaking off his covering and appearing as a
    galley-slave. Andrea turned towards them, and with an
    impertinent smile asked, -- "Have you any message for your
    father, Mademoiselle Danglars, for in all probability I
    shall return to Paris?"

    Eugenie covered her face with her hands. "Oh, ho!" said
    Andrea, "you need not be ashamed, even though you did post
    after me. Was I not nearly your husband?"

    And with this raillery Andrea went out, leaving the two
    girls a prey to their own feelings of shame, and to the
    comments of the crowd. An hour after they stepped into their
    calash, both dressed in feminine attire. The gate of the
    hotel had been closed to screen them from sight, but they
    were forced, when the door was open, to pass through a
    throng of curious glances and whispering voices. Eugenie
    closed her eyes; but though she could not see, she could
    hear, and the sneers of the crowd reached her in the
    carriage. "Oh, why is not the world a wilderness?" she
    exclaimed, throwing herself into the arms of Mademoiselle
    d'Armilly, her eyes sparkling with the same kind of rage
    which made Nero wish that the Roman world had but one neck,
    that he might sever it at a single blow. The next day they
    stopped at the Hotel de Flandre, at Brussels. The same
    evening Andrea was incarcerated in the Conciergerie.
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