pronounced fashion. And Malvina had halted in front
of the young man, shot a burning glance at him, and said :
232 THE BASHFUL LOVER
" So you don't mean to come to see me, Monsieur
Cherubin? Do you know that that is very bad of you,
and that you are an ungrateful wretch not to cultivate my
acquaintance? You know my address come and break-
fast with me. I get up late, but I give you leave to come
Thus Cherubin was exposed to a rattling fire from a
number of fair ones, when Darena, who had found a
way to freshen up his costume, called for him and took
him to the Cirque, on Boulevard du Temple.
On the road the young man did not fail to tell
Darena all that had happened to him; and he, having
listened attentively, said:
" It seems to me, my dear fellow, that you are a regular
Faublas all women adore you! And how is it with
" Oh ! I adore them too ! "
" So you love Madame Celival, eh?"
"Why, yes, I think so; I find her very fascinating."
" And the languishing Comtesse Valdieri ? "
" Oh ! I like her very much too."
" And the grisette otherwise called the linen-draper's
apprentice ? "
" I think that she's very nice."
" And Malvina, who dances so well ? "
" She is very much to my taste."
" Well ! if that is so, how do you stand with all these
women? Men don't make any secret of such things
among themselves, parbleu ! "
" How do I stand ? Why, no farther ahead than I was."
Darena roared with laughter, to the great annoyance
of Cherubin, and rejoined at last:
" Then, my dear fellow, it's because the will was lack-
ing! and, according to that, I am bound to think that
THE COMTESSE DE GLOBE SKA 233
all these ladies have made very little impression on your
heart. However, I understand that: salon conquests
grisettes lorettes there's nothing interesting in any of
them! Sometimes chance brings us into contact with
something better. But here we are at the Cirque."
Cherubin purchased the tickets Darena always left
that duty to him and they entered the theatre.
" This is a very good place," said Cherubin, stopping
at the entrance to the balcony.
But Darena, who had caught sight of the persons he
was looking for in a box, answered :
" We shall be more comfortable in a box ; besides, it's
better form. Come let us go in here, for instance."
And Darena bade the box-opener admit them to the
box in which he had recognized Poterne and Mademoi-
selle Chichette Chichemann.
One must have had Darena's keen sight to recognize
those two individuals, and must have been certain that
they were there, for they were perfectly disguised, espe-
cially Poterne, who was absolutely unrecognizable.
Darena's intimate friend had sacrificed the bristly hair
that covered his head ; he had been shaved, and so closely
that he resembled a poodle returning from Pont Neuf.
He wore on his nose green goggles, the sides of which
were screened by silk of the same color; and he had
stuffed something in his mouth, which transformed his
hollow cheeks into chubby ones. The change was com-
plete. The false Comte de Globeski was suitably attired
in a blue frockcoat with frogs, buttoned to the chin, so
that it almost made a cravat unnecessary.
Mademoiselle Chichette wore a silk dress of faded
pink, a long cloak trimmed with fur, and a sort of little
toque of green velvet, with silk tassels and bows of the
same color, which fell over her left ear. Her costume
234 THE BASHFUL LOVER
was not new, but her plump face was prettier than ever
under the velvet toque, and her astonishment at finding
herself in such fine array gave an almost piquant expres-
sion to her eyes.
Darena grasped all this at a glance.
" That miserable Poterne bought everything at the
Temple ! " he muttered. " However, the little one is
very pretty, luckily, and if my young Cupid doesn't take
fire, I shall begin to believe that there's something wrong
in his make-up."
Poterne nudged Mademoiselle Chichette with his knee,
calling her attention with his eyes to the young man
who had seated himself behind her. The supposititious
Pole turned, and after eying Cherubin, she murmured :
" He's very pretty almost as pretty as my little pays ! "
Cherubin, on his side, glanced at the lady in front of
him, and whispered to Darena:
" Pray look at that pretty creature, my dear fellow ! "
Darena put his head forward, pretended to be moved
to admiration, and replied:
" Upon my word, I never saw anything so perfect !
The freshness of the rose and the splendor of the lily!
She's a pearl! At your age I would have stormed the
moon to possess that woman."
Cherubin made no reply, but he paid much more at-
tention to the young lady in the green cap than to the
play that was being performed. For her part, Made-
moiselle Chichette, faithful to her instructions, turned
constantly to look at Cherubin. Her glances lasted so
long sometimes that Poterne was compelled to pull her
dress, and whisper:
" That's enough, you're going too far ! Anyone would
think that you did nothing else on the boulevards."
After some time Darena said to his young friend :
THE COMTESSE DE GLOBE SKA 235
" It seems to me that you are making progress, and
that your business with this rose-bud is in a fair way to
end in a bargain."
" Why, it is true, she does look at me rather often.
I don't know whether I ought to hope."
" You don't know ! What in the devil more do you
expect a woman to do at first sight than to return your
glances yes, and with big interest! You have made a
conquest of her, that is evident. Gad ! what a lucky fel-
low you are ! I have an idea that she's a foreigner ; that
man isn't a Frenchman; he must be her husband."
" Do you think so ? "
" However, he has a very respectable look."
" Do you think so ? "
" It seems to me that nobody can help seeing it."
During the entr'acte Monsieur Poterne did not fail
to leave the box, alone; Darena followed him at once,
saying to Cherubin:
" Here's an excellent opportunity to start a conversa-
tion. Go at it boldly."
"Do you think that I might?"
" I promise you that the lady wishes it too. You see
it is hard to be more hideous than that man who was
with her, and she would not be his wife if she did not
Cherubin, when he was left alone with the charming
person with whom he felt that he was very much in love,
wondered how he should begin the conversation. Mean-
while she was making eyes at him in a fashion which
invited him to speak, with an accompaniment of the most
melting smiles. The young man ventured at last.
" Is madame fond of the theatre ? "
" Yes, messie."
" Does madame come often ? "
236 THE BASHFUL LOVER
" No, messie. But I used to go ever so much with
my cuisine." *
Cherubin opened his ears, trying to understand.
" My cuisine liked the theatre ever so much."
" Ah ! you are speaking of a cousine, no doubt ? "
" Yes, yes, my cuisine."
" And this gentleman with you is he your husband ? "
" Yes ; Comte Glo Globe Oh dear ! I have forgot
his name ! I am stupid ! "
" You are not French, madame ? "
" Oh, no ! I am from Alsa No, no, I'm from some
other place ! I have forgot again ; I am awful stupid ! "
Mademoiselle Chichette said all this so comically, and
rested her eyes on Cherubin so often, that the young man
paid no heed to the incoherency of her speech, but became
more and more enamored of the lovely stranger.
" Do you enjoy Paris, madame ? "
" Oh yes ! I enjoy it ; but I am always thinking of my
little pays ! "
"Ah! you regret it?"
" Yes ! I would like to see my little pays again ! "
" You love your country pays that is perfectly
" Ah, yes ! he's a tourlourou now."
Here Cherubin again failed to understand, but Poterne
returned, luckily for Mademoiselle Chichette, who was
beginning to forget her part and to talk at random.
Darena soon returned also ; he asked Cherubin whether
he had carried forward his affair with his pretty neighbor.
" Yes, we talked ; she seemed to ask nothing better.
You were not mistaken; the gentleman is her husband;
she's a foreigner, she has a very strong accent."
* Cuisine means ' kitchen ' or ' cooking ' . She intended to say cou-
THE COMTESSE DE GLOBE SKA 237
" They're Poles ; I found that out in the foyer."
" She seems to be very much attached to her country
pays, for she sighs for it and talks about it all the
time ! "
" Her country ! oh, yes ! Poland. Did you make an
appointment with her ? "
" An appointment ? Oh ! we didn't get so far as that ! "
" How did you amuse yourselves then ? A woman who
is mad over you, who fairly eats you with her eyes ! "
" Do you think so ? What good fortune ! She is so
pretty, and her accent is so fascinating ! "
" Yes, the Polish accent has much charm."
" I am quite mad over her, my dear fellow."
" And you are right. It would be downright murder
not to carry that rose-bud away from that old cater-
" Carry her away ! What ! do you think that it will
be necessary "
" Hush ! let me act ; I will arrange the whole busi-
The play came to an end. Monsieur Poterne donned
his umbrella-like hat, and gave the fair Chichette his
arm. She, although sorely embarrassed in her costume,
succeeded in holding her hand out straight behind her.
Darena and his companion walked on the heels of the
Poles, who took care not to turn around. Darena almost
compelled Cherubin to seize the hand which the lady
obligingly held behind her back, and the young man
turned crimson as he whispered in his friend's ear:
" Ah ! she squeezed my hand ! she is squeezing it
again ! she keeps squeezing it ! "
"Parbleu! what did I tell you?" rejoined Darena.
" Sympathy I believe that you were made for each
238 THE BASHFUL LOVER
As he spoke, Darena kicked Poterne's legs viciously,
to make him walk faster and force Mademoiselle Chi-
chette to drop Cherubin 's hand, which she seemed to have
resolved never to release.
The so-called foreigners entered a cab. Cherubin and
Darena took another and told the driver to follow the
first, which stopped in front of a modest, furnished lodg-
ing house on Rue Vieille-du-Temple.
" Good," said Darena ; " we know where they live, and
that is enough for to-night. To-morrow you must write
an impassioned letter to that Pole; I will undertake to
see that she gets it without the knowledge of her hus-
band, and I promise you that she will reply to it."
Everything being agreed between them, Cherubin went
home, where Darena left him, congratulating himself on
the success of his stratagem.
LOUISE IN PARIS
Although fairly launched in fashionable society, al-
though he had become the object of the allurements of
several women whose conquest was desired of all; de-
spite the ogling of grisettes and the assignation prof-
fered him by lorettes, Cherubin had not wholly for-
gotten the village of Gagny, and little Louise, with whom
he had passed his earliest years.
He often spoke of going to Gagny to see and embrace
his dear Nicole; he had several times despatched Mon-
sieur Gerondif to bring him news of her, accompanying
LOUISE IN PARIS 239
the commission with little gifts for the people of the vil-
lage, and bidding him inquire concerning Louise's posi-
tion and prospects. The tutor always half performed his
errand: he went to Gagny, delivered the presents, de-
voured with his eyes young Louise, who improved every
day, then returned and told his pupil that his former play-
mate was still in Bretagne, where she was so happy that
she did not intend ever to return to Nicole.
But on the day preceding his visit to the Cirque with
Darena, Cherubin had once more spoken about going
to Gagny, and he had stated positively, in Monsieur
Gerondif's presence, that he should not allow the week to
pass without going to see and embrace his old nurse.
At that the tutor was greatly disturbed.
" If monsieur le marquis goes to Gagny," he said to
himself, " he will find young Louise there, and conse-
quently he will see that I have lied to him. He is quite
capable of discharging me; for, notwithstanding his
usual mildness of manner, there are times when he is
extremely quick to take fire. I am not at all anxious to
lose a place worth fifteen hundred francs, in a fine house
where I am boarded, lodged and coddled; where my
duties are confined to sleeping, eating and reciting poetry
to the mammoth Turlurette. Moreover, if my pupil
sees young Louise again, it is probable that his love for
her will revive; and that would interfere with my plans,
for that girl has kindled a conflagration in my insides.
My designs are honorable, I propose to make her my
wife, to raise her to the honor of my name. But, in
order to marry, I must obtain some advance in my pay.
If I stay with the marquis two years longer, I can save
money, for I can put aside almost all that I earn; the
only thing is to put little Louise in a safe place, so that
she can't be whisked away from me."
240 THE BASHFUL LOVER
Monsieur Gerondif mused upon this subject all day,
and in the evening he went to pursue his meditations in
the company of the kindhearted Turlurette, who fed
him on brandied fruits which she prepared to perfection ;
and while the professor was smacking his lips over his
third plum, old Jasmin, who became less active every
day, but was sorely aggrieved because his master had
hired a young groom, entered the housekeeper's room
and said to her:
" Do you happen to know a lady's maid who is out of
a place ? "
" Why do you ask, Monsieur Jasmin ? " queried Ma-
" Because not long ago I was waiting for my master
at some reception. He always forbids me to do it, but
that day his little groom was sick, and I seized the oppor-
tunity to drive his cabriolet in the evening. In fact, I
ran into two booths; some people won't get out of the
" Well, Monsieur Jasmin ? "
" Well, I was talking in the antechamber with the
servants who happened to be there and we had time
enough to talk; people stay so late at these parties now-
adays ! To cut it short, one of them says to me : ' We're
looking for a lady's maid for mademoiselle. Her
mother's gone to the country for a while; monsieur in-
sisted on keeping his daughter at home with him; and
just at that moment they had to dismiss the lady's maid,
because she talked too much with a floor-washer. As
monsieur is very strict, it didn't take long; but we are
looking for another maid.' At that I proposed a person
I know, who's as intelligent as can be; but when I told
them that she was sixty years old, they informed me
that it wasn't worth while to send her. It's surprising
LOUISE IN PARIS 241
the way people act nowadays ; they want children to wait
" I don't know anybody who wants a place," Made-
moiselle Turlurette replied.
Monsieur Gerondif, who had not lost a word of what
Jasmin said, interposed at this point, with an affectation
" Who were the people who wanted a lady's maid ?
I might be able to oblige some acquaintance of mine in
Paris by offering her the place; but before I do any-
thing about it, you will understand that I want to be
sure that it's with respectable people."
" Oh ! as to that, you needn't be at all afraid, Mon-
sieur Gerondif," replied Jasmin. " It's in the most honor-
able family you can imagine. Monsieur de Noirmont, an
ex-magistrate, a man who never laughs, and who wouldn't
wrong a bird. He was a friend of the late Monsieur de
Grandvilain, our marquis's father."
" What does the family consist of ? "
" Monsieur de Noirmont, his wife, their daughter, who
is fifteen years old, a cook, monsieur's servant, and the
maid they are looking for."
" Is the man-servant young ? "
" Yes, he's the one I talked with. He's only fifty-six,
but he seems to be a very sensible fellow."
Monsieur Gerondif smiled as he inquired :
" Do they receive much company, give balls ? Are they
the sort of people who pass their life in varietate vol-
" Never a ball, and no volupetas, as you call them.
The lady doesn't care for society, and Monsieur de Noir-
mont passes his life in his library. So our young mar-
quis doesn't care to go to the house, although he has
242 THE BASHFUL LOVER
" Ah ! he has been invited there, has he ? "
" Yes ; but I've often heard him say when he's dressing
in the morning : ' I've no desire to go to that house ; it
must be horribly dull there.' "
" Are you sure that Monsieur Cherubin said that ? "
" Yes ; and I've heard Monsieur de Monfreville an-
swer : ' You are very wise ; it's a house which has little
to offer that is attractive to a man of your age.' "
Monsieur Gerondif rubbed his hands and asked no
more questions. The next day, after procuring Mon-
sieur de Noirmont's address, he went to his house, asked
to speak to his servant, introduced himself as coming
from old Jasmin and as having to suggest a lady's maid
for Mademoiselle de Noirmont.
Jasmin was the Nestor of servants; his recommenda-
tion was most influential, and that of so serious-minded
a man as Monsieur Gerondif seemed to be could only
confirm the favorable opinion which was sure to be en-
tertained of Jasmin's protegee.
The young servant of fifty-six informed the tutor that
madame was absent, and that, as monsieur never inter-
fered in any domestic details, the choice of another lady's
maid was left to him; that he was perfectly content to
accept the one whom the venerable Monsieur Jasmin was
kind enough to send, and that his only wish was that she
should arrive as soon as possible.
Sure of success in that direction, Monsieur Gerondif
thanked the servant, promised to bring the girl soon,
and set out at once for Gagny and Nicole's house.
The tutor's presence always brought joy to the humble
abode of the villagers; for he brought news of Paris,
and with him they talked constantly of Cherubin.
After answering the questions of Nicole and Louise,
who inquired first of all for the health of the object of
LOUISE IN PARIS 243
their affections, Monsieur Gerondif turned to the girl
" My child, it is principally on your account that I
have come to Gagny, for I am thinking about your
future, your lot in life. You are seventeen years of age,
you are tall, and well-developed physically as well as
mentally; I mean by that that you have intelligence
beyond your years; and you have profited by being
present at the lessons which I gave to my pupil; you
read and write very fairly and speak quite correctly.
Moreover, you handle the needle with facility, and you
seem to be apt at all the tasks suited to your sex; isn't
that so, Mere Nicole ? "
" Why, yes, it's all true," replied the good woman,
staring at the visitor. " What scheme have you got in
your head for our Louise; do you mean to make a
duchess of her too ? "
" No, not exactly ; but I tell you again, I mean to
assure her future. What would it be if she remained in
this village? She has no relations, no fortune; so she
must think herself very lucky if some uneducated country
clown should want to marry her."
" Oh ! never ! never ! " cried Louise ; " I won't marry ! "
" Bless my soul, my dear child," said Nicole, " you
know very well that nobody'll force you to, and that I'll
never turn you out of our house."
" That is all very well," rejoined Gerondif. " But if
Louise should find a good place in Paris, in a respectable
family, where she could lay by a little money, and then
find a good match, it seems to me that that would be
worth thinking about."
" In Paris ! " cried Louise, with a joyful exclamation ;
" go to Paris ! Oh ! what bliss ! how glad I should be !
Oh ! yes, yes ! you'll let me go, won't you, mother ? "
244 THE BASHFUL LOVER
" What, my child, do you want to leave me too ? " said
But Louise kissed her again and again, crying:
" Why, just think that he is in Paris ! If I live in the
same city with him, it seems to me that I may see him,
meet him sometimes; and that thought is the only thing
that makes me want to go to Paris. Isn't it true, Mon-
sieur Gerondif, that people are sure to meet when they
live in the same place, and that I should see him some-
times if I was in Paris ? "
" See him ? whom ? "
" Why Cherubin monsieur le marquis. Whom do
you suppose I am talking about, if not him ? "
The tutor realized that the hope of seeing Cherubin was
the sole reason that led the girl to welcome his suggestion
so joyously, and he was careful not to undeceive her.
" Certainly," he replied, " when two people live in the
same place, there is much more probability of their meet-
ing than when one is at the north and the other at the
south or, if you prefer, when one is per fas and the
other nefas. Well, my interesting young friend Louise,
I have found what I wanted to find for you; the place
of lady's maid is offered you in a first-rate family; and
when I say ' lady's maid,' it's as if I said 'companion ; '
and when I say ' companion,' it's as if I said ' friend,' to
a young lady of fifteen who is said to be as amiable as
she is kindhearted. You will assist her to dress, and
she will not assist you; but we see that every day be-
tween friends: there's one who does everything, while
the other one strolls about. Lastly, you will be well
dressed ; the friend who strolls generally gives the gowns
and fichus that she doesn't want to the friend who
dresses her. And then you will earn money, which is
never a bad thing to have ; for with money silver you
LOUISE IN PARIS 245
get gold, which is the purest of metals, when there's no
alloy in it. Well ! what do you think of my proposition ?
" Oh ! I ask nothing better if my adopted mother
consents ! "
" Dear me ! my child," said Nicole, " if it will make
you so happy to go to Paris, I won't stand in your way;
besides, I don't think that Monsieur Gerondif, who's
been the village schoolmaster, could propose anything
that wasn't for your good."
" You are as wise as ^sop, Dame Nicole, although
you are not hunchbacked ! My only desire is to assure a
happy lot for this puella formosa, and the future will
" And Monsieur Cherubin ? " ventured Louise, who
no longer dared to say " Cherubin " simply, when she
spoke of the young man she loved ; " does he know of
this plan that you propose to me? does he want me to
go to Paris ? "
Monsieur Gerondif scratched his nose a moment, then
replied with assurance:
" Does he know it ? why, of course he does ; and he is
very anxious that my offer should please you."
" Oh ! in that case, there must be no hesitation ; must
there, dear mother? I accept, monsieur; I will start
whenever you choose ; I am ready."
" Then we will start at once."
" What ! " cried Nicole, " do you mean to say you're
going to take the dear child right away like this ? "
" I must, Dame Frimousset ; the place I have secured
for her is wanted by a great many people ; if we delay, it
may be given to somebody else. We are not flooded with
good places in Paris, so that I must introduce her and
have her engaged to-day."
246 THE BASHFUL LOVER
" Oh, yes ! let me go, mother ! I know that it will
make you unhappy not to have me with you, and it makes
me unhappy too to leave you. But, on the other hand,
I am so glad to be near Monsieur Cherubin. Besides,
he wants me to come to Paris, and we mustn't vex him.
But I will come to see you; oh! I won't do as he did,
I shall never forget the village and those who have taken
the place of my parents."
Nicole embraced the girl lovingly, and said at last:
" Go, my child ; I am not your mother ; I haven't any
rights over you, and even if I had, I wouldn't stand in
the way of your future good. But do at least come to
see me sometimes. She'll be allowed to, won't she, Mon-
sieur Gerondif ? "
" Oh ! certainly. She will enjoy a reasonable liberty,
on condition that she doesn't abuse it. Come, sweet
Louise, make a bundle of your belongings only those
that are most necessary. You needn't carry your wooden
shoes you won't wear that kind where you are going.
Make haste ; I will wait for you."
Louise hastily made a bundle of her clothes; she was
so surprised, so bewildered by what had happened to her,
that it seemed to her that it must be a dream. Her
heart leaped for joy at the thought of going to Paris.
But the pleasures of the great city were not what she
was thinking about, nor beautiful dresses, nor a less
laborious life than she had led ; in that journey she saw
but one thing that she was going to live in the same city