With misers, small gains are often a decisive con-
sideration in important affairs; and after a little pro
forma resistance Brigitte ended by subscribing to
the proposed arrangement The same day the three
partners started for Chartres. Cerizet had advised
Thuillier to say nothing to La Peyrade about the
trip, for fear that it might occur to the Provencal to
take advantage of his short absence to deal him some
The next evening at five o'clock the trio had re-
turned, and the brother and sister, who had not felt
at liberty to exchange their impressions in Cerizet's
presence, agreed in the opinion that it would be an
excellent purchase. They had found land of the first
quality, farmbuildings in perfect condition, live-
stock and farming implements of very good appear-
ance ; and to become the proprietor of an estate in
the country was, in Brigitte's eyes, to be stamped
with the Hall-mark of opulence.
392 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
"Minard, " said she, "has only his house in the city
and his securities ; we shall own a country estate,
lands and houses; no one is rich without that"
Thuillier was not so entirely under the spell of
this dream, which was not likely to be realized for
some time to come, as to lose sight of his campaign
and his newspaper. His first thought was to ask
for the number that appeared that morning.
"It hasn't arrived," replied the servant
"How well the delivery is looked after!" said
Thuillier angrily, "not even the proprietor is sup-
And, although the dinner-hour was near at hand,
and after the journey he had taken he was more in-
clined to get into his bath than to drive to Rue
d'Enfer, Thuillier took a cab and betook himself to
the office of the Echo.
There, renewed disappointment; the paper was
made, all the employes had gone home, as well as La
Peyrade ; and Coffmet, who, being absent from his
post as messenger, should at least have been at his
post as concierge, was out on business said his
wife, and had taken with him the key of the closet
where the files of the paper were kept. So the un-
lucky proprietor was unable to procure a copy of
the number he had come so far to seek.
It would be impossible to describe Thuillier's
indignation, as he stalked back and forth in the
editorial sanctum, talking aloud to himself, as people
do in moments of intense excitement
"I'll turn them all out of doors," he cried.
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 393
We feel compelled to soften the emphasis of his
As he uttered this anathema, some one who had
witnessed it, knocked at the door of the room.
"Come in !" cried Thuillier, in a tone in which his
impatience and wrath were abundantly in evidence.
Thereupon Minard appeared and threw himself
into his arms.
"My dear, my generous friend!" exclaimed the
mayor of the eleventh, following up his embrace
with a cordial grasp of the hand.
"What now! what's the matter?" demanded
Thuillier, utterly unable to comprehend the warmth
of these demonstrations.
"Ah! my dear fellow," continued Minard, "it's
an admirable proceeding on your part; no one could
be more chivalrous, more unselfish! it has had a
tremendous effect all through the arrondissement."
"Once more, what is it?" cried Thuillier, impa-
"The article, the whole thing," continued Minard,
"is so noble, so high-minded!"
"What article? what whole thing?" demanded
the proprietor of the Echo, altogether out of patience.
"The article in this morning's paper," Minard
"The article in this morning's paper?"
"Come, come! did you write it while you were
asleep, or do you perform heroic deeds without
knowing it, as Monsieur Jourdain wrote prose?"
"I have written no article," cried Thuillier,
394 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
"I've been away from Paris since yesterday and I
don't even know what there was in the paper this
morning; there isn't so much as an office-boy here
to give me a copy."
"I have it here," said Minard, taking from his
pocket the long-wished-for number; "if you didn't
write the editorial, at least you inspired it, and at
all events it's done."
Thuillier pounced upon the sheet Minard handed
him, and devoured rather than read the following
" ' The proprietor of this regenerated journal has submitted
long enough, without complaint and without rejoinder, to the
cowardly insinuations with which a venal press drenches
every citizen, who, standing firmly to his convictions, refuses
to pass beneath the Caudine Forks of the ruling powers.
For a man who has already given ample proofs of devotion
and self-abnegation in performing the important functions of
a member of the Parisian municipality, he has long enough
allowed it to be said that he was nothing but an ambitious
schemer. Monsieur Jerome Thuillier, from the eminence of
his dignity, has passed these vulgar insults by with disdain;
and, encouraged by this contemptuous silence, paid scribblers
have dared to write that a newspaper, an organ of settled
convictions and of the most disinterested patriotism, was
simply the stepping-stone of an individual, and the specula-
tion of a would-be deputy. Monsieur Jerome Thuillier has
maintained his impassive attitude in the face of these impu-
tations, because justice and truth are long-suffering, and
because he wished to crush the reptile at a single blow. The
time to put that wish in execution has arrived.'
"That devil of a LaPeyrade!" said Thuillier,
pausing at that sentence; "how he does hit it off!"
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 395
"Ah! it's magnificent !" cried Minard.
Thuillier read on aloud:
"'Everybody, friends and foes alike, will do Monsieur
Je'rome Thuillier the justice to say that he has done nothing
to promote his candidacy, which was spontaneously forced
"That's clear," said Thuillier, interrupting him-
Then he continued his reading:
" ' But since his sentiments have been so shamelessly mis-
represented, his purposes so hatefully travestied, Monsieur
Jerome Thuillier owes it to himself, and more than all else to
the great national party in which he is one of the humblest
soldiers, to set an example which will confound the vile syco-
phants of power.'
"Really La Peyrade states my position extremely
well," said Thuillier, suspending his reading once
more, "and now I understand why he prevented
their sending me the paper ; he wanted to enjoy my
surprise. * Which will confound the "vile sycophants
of power,' " he repeated, after this reflection.
"'So far is Monsieur Thuiliier from having founded a
journal opposed to the present dynasty in order to bring for-
ward and maintain his own candidacy, that at the moment
when the probabilities of the approaching election seem most
favorable to him and most desperate for his rivals, he declares
publicly in these columns, in the most formal, most absolute
and most irrevocable manner, THAT HE RENOUNCES HIS
396 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
"What! what!" cried Thuillier, thinking that he
had not read aright or had misunderstood.
"Go on!" said the mayor of the eleventh.
And as Thuillier, glaring wildly about, did not
seem inclined to continue, Minard took the paper
from his hands and read on in his stead :
" 'Renounces his candidacy, and urges the electors to trans-
fer to Monsieur Minard, mayor of the eleventh arrondisse-
ment, and his friend and colleague in his municipal functions,
all the votes with which they seemed disposed to honor him. ' "
"Why, that's abominable!" cried Thuillier,
recovering the use of his tongue; "you've bought
that Jesuit La Peyrade "
"Do you mean," said Minard, aghast at Thuil-
lier 's attitude, "that the article wasn't written in
concert with you?"
"The villain took advantage of my absence to
slip it into the paper; now I understand why he
prevented their sending me a copy."
"My dear fellow," said Minard, "what you say
will seem quite incredible to the world."
"But I tell you it was downright treachery, an
outrageous swindle Renounce my candidacy! why
should I renounce it, I'd like to know?"
"You understand, my dear fellow, that if there
has been any abuse of confidence, I am deeply
pained, but I have issued my electoral manifesto,
and, now let the best man win, deuce take it!"
"Get out," said Thuillier, "it's a comedy paid
for by you!"
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 397
"Monsieur Thuillier," cried Minard, in a threat-
ening tone, "I don't advise you to repeat that,
unless you have made up your mind to give me sat-
Luckily for Thuillier, who had previously made
his profession of faith as to civil courage, he was
spared the necessity of replying by Coffinet, who
threw open the door of the editor's office and an-
"Messieurs, the electors of the twelfth arrondisse-
The arrondissement was represented by five per-
sons. A druggist, president of the deputation,
addressed Thuillier in the following words:
"We have come, monsieur, after reading an article
printed this morning in the Echo de la Bihre, to ask
you what is the origin and the exact meaning of
that article, for we cannot believe that after having
solicited our suffrages, you would, on the eve of the
election, through misapplied puritanism, cast confu-
sion and discord into our ranks and probably assure
the triumph of the ministerial candidate. A candi-
date does not belong to himself, he belongs to the
electors who have promised to honor him with their
votes. However," continued the orator with a
glance at Minard, " the presence in this place of the
candidate you take the trouble to recommend to us
indicates that there's some connivance between you
and him, and I don't need to ask who's being hood-
"But, messieurs," said Thuillier, "I don't abandon
398 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
my candidacy. That article was written and
printed without my knowledge. To-morrow you
will see a contradiction in the same paper, and at
the same time you will learn that the infamous
scoundrel who has betrayed my confidence has
ceased to belong to the editorial staff."
"Then you are still the candidate of the opposi-
tion," said the orator, "notwithstanding your con-
"Yes, messieurs, to the death, and I beg you to
use all your influence in the quarter to neutralize
the effect of this snare as industriously as possi-
ble, until I can put forth officially a most explicit
"Good! good!" said the electors.
"And as for the presence of Monsieur Minard, my
rival, in this place, I did not invite it, and wtien
you came in I was engaged in a very sharp contro-
versy with him."
"Good! good!" said the electors again.
Thereupon, having cordially pressed the druggist's
hand, Thuillier escorted the deputation to the outer
door of the establishment
"My dear Minard," he said, when he returned to
the editorial rooms, "I withdraw the expression that
offended you, but you can see now that my indig-
nation was all in good faith."
Again Coffmet opened the door and announced :
"Messieurs, the electors of the eleventh arron-
This arrondissement was represented by seven
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 399
persons. A hosier, president of the deputation,
addressed to Thuillier the following little speech:
"Monsieur, it was with sincere admiration that
we learned this morning, through your journal, of
your praiseworthy civic action, by which we are,
one and all, deeply touched. By thus withdrawing
you show a rare degree of disinterestedness, and the
esteem of your fellow-citizens "
"Pardon me," Thuillier interposed, "I cannot let
you proceed ; the article upon which you are pleased
to congratulate me was inserted by mistake."
"What!" said the hosier, "you don't withdraw ?
and do you imagine that, beside the candidacy of
Monsieur Minard, whose presences this place seems
to me under the circumstances decidedly peculiar,
your persistence has any chance of success?"
"Monsieur," said Thuillier, "be good enough to
request the electors to wait until to-morrow's num-
ber appears; in that I will furnish a full and cate-
gorical explanation. To-day's article is the result
of a misunderstanding."
"So much the worse for you, monsieur," said the
hosier, "if you miss the opportunity to place your-
self, in the opinion of your fellow-citizens, beside
the Washingtons and other great men of antiquity !"
"Until to-morrow, gentlemen," said Thuillier;
"I am none the less touched by your action, and
when you know the whole truth I trust you will not
consider that I have forfeited your esteem."
"This is a queer kind of a mess any way," ob-
served an elector in a loud voice.
400 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
"Yes," said another, "it looks a little like mak-
ing fools of us!"
"Messieurs ! messieurs !" said the president of the
deputation soothingly, "wait till to-morrow! then
we'll read the candidate's explanations."
And the deputation withdrew.
It is probable that Thuillier would not have
escorted them beyond the first door in any event,
but he was prevented from doing so by La Peyrade,
who came in at that moment
"I have just came from your house, my dear fel-
low," said the Provencal; "they told me I should
find you here."
"And your purpose in coming, no doubt, is to
give me some explanation of the extraordinary arti-
cle you presumed to insert in my name?"
"Precisely," said La Peyrade. "The man whom
you know, and whose powerful influence you have
already felt, confided to me yesterday, in your in-
terest, the government's intentions, and I was fully
convinced that your defeat was inevitable. I deter-
mined therefore to arrange for your withdrawal in
a dignified and honorable way."
"Very good, monsieur,*' said Thuillier, "but you
are aware that from this moment you are not con-
nected with the editorial department of this paper ?"
"I came to tell you that myself."
"And to settle our little account no doubt"
"Gentlemen," said Minard, "I see that you are
discussing private business, so I'll make my bow."
"Here are ten thousand francs," said La Peyrade,
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 401
as soon as Minard had gone, "which I beg you to
hand to Mademoiselle Brigitte; also the bond you
gave as surety for me for the twenty-five thousand
francs due to Madame Lambert, for which I hold her
"Very well, monsieur, " said Thuillier.
La Peyrade bowed and took his leave.
"Serpent!" exclaimed Thuillier looking after him.
"Cerizet hit it about right," said La Peyrade; "a
The blow aimed at Thuillier's candidacy was a
mortal one, but Minard did not profit by it While
they were disputing for the suffrages of the electors,
a man from the Tuileries, one of the king's aides-
de-camp, arrived on the ground with his hands filled
with appointments to tobacco agencies and other
slight electoral bribes and, like the third thief, stole
in between the two candidates who were busily de-
vouring each other.
It goes without saying that Brigitte did not get
her farm in Beauce: that was a mirage by whose
aid Thuillier was lured away from Paris so that La
Peyrade could deal his blow. This little stratagem
was a service rendered to the government, and at
the same time a means of revenge for all the
humiliation the Provencal had undergone.
Thuillier had some suspicion of Cerizet's com-
plicity, but he knew a way to justify himself, and
by negotiating the sale of the cho de la Bifrvre,
which had become a nightmare to its unfortunate
proprietor, he washed himself whiter than snow.
402 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
The paltry organ of the opposition was purchased
under Corentin's auspices and transformed into a
canard, sold on Sundays in the wine-shops after
having been prepared in the dens of the police.
About a month after the scene in which La Pey-
rade had become convinced that by an error of his
past he had irrevocably pledged his future, being
now married to his victim, who had lucid intervals
of considerable duration, but was not likely to re-
cover her reason fully until the time when she
should be in the condition previously indicated by
the doctors, Corentin's destined successor was sit-
ting with him one morning in his study.
Having a part assigned to him in the great mas-
ter's work, he was serving under him his apprentice-
ship to the difficult and delicate functions to which
henceforth his life was to be devoted. But Coren-
tin did not consider that his pupil took hold of the
work with all the enthusiasm and goodwill he
would have liked to see. He saw clearly that there
was a feeling of moral degeneration in the Proven-
cal's conscience; time would eventually do away
with that feeling, but the callus was net yet formed.
After breaking the seals of a large number of en-
velopes covering reports from his agents, Corentin
ran his eye rapidly over the papers, which are
much more seldom of any practical utility than one
might suppose; then he tossed them disdainfully
into a basket, whence they would be taken out in a
mass to be burned. But the great detective seemed
to pay unusual attention to one of these reports, and
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 403
while he was running it over a smile played about
his lips from time to time.
"Here," he said to La Peyrade when he had
finished, passing him the manuscript, "here's some-
thing that will interest you, and you can see if,
even in our profession, which seems so solemn to
you, we don't sometimes pick up a little comedy
along our road. Read it aloud, it will cheer us up.
It is well that you should know," he added, before
La Peyrade began to read, "that the report is from
one Henri, for whom Madame Komorn got a place at
"So servants provided by yourself are one of the
means you use?" said La Peyrade.
"Sometimes," Corentin replied: "to find out
everything we must resort to every available means ;
but innumerable falsehoods are told on that subject
It isn't true that the police have reduced the thing
to a system, and that, at certain times, by means of
a general enlistment of footmen and chamber-maids,
they have spread a vast network about the private
lives of families. There's no absolute rule that we
follow; we govern our action according to the time
and the circumstances. I needed an ear in the
Thuillier household, and some source of influence
there, so I let La Godollo loose upon them; she, in
her turn, installed one of our men there to back her
up, an intelligent fellow as you will see; but, under
other circumstances, I would order the arrest of a
servant who came and offered to sell me his master's
secrets, and I would see to it that the party interested
404 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
was notified to be a little distrustful of the discre-
tion of those about him."
"Monsieur le Directeur de la Police Secrete,"
so wrote Henri to Corentin, "I did not remain
with the little baron; he is a man entirely engrossed
by his pleasures, and I could never have learned
anything with him, worthy of being reported to you.
1 have found another place, where I have already
been a witness to several things which, because of
their connection with the mission entrusted to me
by Madame la Comtesse de Godollo, seem likely to
interest you ; 1 hasten therefore, to bring them to
your notice. The house where I am employed is that
of an old scientist, one Monsieur Picot, who occupies
a first floor on Place de la Madeleine, the same
house and the same suite once occupied by my for-
mer masters, the Thuilliers.
"What!" cried LaPeyrade, breaking off his read-
ing, "Pere Picot, that bankrupt old madman, living
in those magnificent apartments?"
"Come, come!" said Corentin, "life is full of
stranger things than that; that will be made clear
to you below ; our correspondent it's a fault they
all have, drowning themselves in details puts too
many dots over his i's."
"The Thuilliers," Henri continued, "left this
apartment some time ago to return to their Latin
quarter. Mademoiselle Brigitte never enjoyed herself
much inowr latitude; her absolute lack of education
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 405
made her uncomfortable there. Just because I speak
correctly, she used to call me the orator, and could
never endure Monsieur Pascal, her concierge, seeing
that being a beadle of the parish of the Madeleine,
he has rather a formal manner; and even the dealers
at the great market behind the church, where she
naturally bought her provisions, she found some
reason to find fault with, complaining that they
were conceited because they're not foul-mouthed as
they are at the Halle, and because they laughed in
her face when she haggled about prices. She has
let the whole property to one Monsieur Cerizet, a
hideous-looking man whose nose is all eaten away,
for an annual rent of fifty-five thousand francs.
This tenant seems to know what he's about; he has
just married an actress at one of the small theatres
and intended to occupy the first floor, where he was
even talking of setting up, with his household gods,
the offices of a Minor Children's Endowment Assurance
Company, when Monsieur Picot, arriving from Eng-
land with his wife, a very rich Englishwoman, saw
the apartment, and offered a good price for it, and
Monsieur Cerizet decided to let him have it; it was
then that, through the good offices of Monsieur Pas-
cal, the concierge, with whom I was on the best of
terms, I procured a situation with this Monsieur
"Monsieur Picot married to a very rich English
woman," said La Peyrade, interrupting himself
again, "it's past my comprehension."
406 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
"Read on," said Corentin, "! tell you you'll un-
"My new master's fortune," the report contin-
ued, "is a long story, and I mention it to Monsieur
le Directeur because another person, in -whose
marriage Madame de Godollo interested herself, is
closely connected with it. This other person is one
Felix Phellion, discoverer of a star, who, in despair
at being unable to marry the young lady they
wanted to give Sieur de la Peyrade, whom Madame
de Godollo bamboozled so prettily
"The villain!" exclaimed the Provencal paren-
thetically, "how he speaks of me! he doesn't know
yet whom he has to deal with "
Corentin laughed heartily, then requested his
pupil to continue.
"Who, in despair at being unable to marry the
young lady, etc., had gone to England, where he pro-
posed to start on a journey round the world, which
is a typical lover's scheme. Hearing of his depar-
ture, Monsieur Picot, his former professor, who
takes a deep interest in him, immediately started
after him to argue him out of his whim, and it
wasn't a difficult thing to do. The English are
naturally very jealous on the subject of discoveries,
and when they found Monsieur Phellion preparing
to set sail in the track of their scientific men, they
asked him if he had an order from the Admiralty;
as he couldn't furnish one, they laughed in his face
THE PETTY BOURGEOIS 407
and went away refusing to hear a word, because
they were afraid he knew more than they.
"Your Monsieur Henri isn't very careful of the
entente cordiale," said La Peyrade, with a laugh.
"No," Corentin replied; "you'll be surprised to
notice this general and continual tendency to dis-
paragement in all our agents' reports. But what
would you expect? you can't get angels to follow
the trade of spies."
"Left upon the strand," La Peyrade continued,
"Telemachus and his Mentor
"You see that our men are well-lettered, " observed
"Telemachus and his Mentor were preparing to
return to France, when Monsieur Picot received such
a letter as only English women can write. The
writer said that she had read his Theory of Perpetual
Motion; that she had heard of his recent mag-
nificent discovery of a star; that she looked
upon him as at least Newton's equal in genius, and
that if the writer's hand, added to a dowry of eighty
thousand pounds sterling or two million francs, had
any attraction for him, it was at his disposal. Mon-
sieur Picot seemed to appreciate the offer, and he
kept the appointment made by the Englishwoman,
who turned out to be at least forty years old with a
red nose and huge teeth, and spectacles. The good
man's first thought was to marry her to his pupil,
408 THE PETTY BOURGEOIS
but realizing that that would be impossible, before
accepting her on his own account, he called her at-
tention to the fact that he was an old man, three-
quarters blind, that he hadn't discovered any star,
and that he hadn't a sou in the world. The English-
woman replied that Milton wasn't young either and
was stone-blind; that Monsieur Picot seemed to