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one unhappy ! I should think not ! I say that you shall
not! Look, see how he is crying, the dear boy! For
heaven's sake, what is the 'matter with you to-day, mon-
sieur ? Has the gout gone to your heart ? "

" Jasmin "

" I don't care, monsieur ; beat me, discharge me, send
me to the stable, make me sleep with the horses; do


whatever you choose, but don't make this child cry; for
if you do, why I

Jasmin paused; he could say no more, because he too
was weeping.

Monsieur de Grandvilain, when he saw his faithful
servant cover his eyes with his handkerchief, held out
his hand instead of scolding him, and said:

" Come ! come ! don't lose your head. I was wrong,
yes, I was wrong, since I have made this poor child
unhappy. After all, my company is not very lively; the
gout often makes me cross. What would he do in this
great house, poor boy? He is too young to be made to
study. And then he no longer has any mother, so we
must leave him with his nurse as long as possible. Be-
sides, the air in Paris is not so good as that which he
breathes in the village. So take back your foster-child,
nurse; as he loves you so dearly, it must be that you
make him happy. Come and kiss me, Cherubin, and
don't cry any more; you are going back to your good
friends ; they do not love you any more than we do, but
you love them more. I will try to be patient, and perhaps
my turn will come some day."

" Bravo ! bravo ! " cried Jasmin, while his master em-
braced his son. " Ah ! that is what I call talking ; I
recognize you now, monsieur. Why, certainly your
Cherubin will love you, he will adore you, but later;
you can't expect that all at once; let him grow a little,
and if he doesn't love you then, why I shall have a word
to say to him."

So the nurse took Cherubin back to the village. Nicole
was well pleased to keep a child who was a fortune to
her; but she promised the old marquis to bring his son
to him the next week, for the old man seemed more de-
pressed than usual at parting.


They say that there are presentiments, secret warnings,
which enable us to divine that some disaster threatens
us; that our heart beats more violently when we part
from a dear one whom we are destined never to see
again. Why should we not believe in presentiments?
The ancients believed in omens; men of sense are some-
times very superstitious; it is infinitely better to believe
in many things than to believe in nothing; and strong
minds are not always great minds.

Had the Marquis de Grandvilain a presentiment, that
he was so loath to allow his son to go? That is some-
thing that we cannot tell; but it is a fact that he was
destined never to see him again. Three days after the
scene which we have described, an attack of gout carried
the old nobleman off in a few hours; he had only time
to whisper to Jasmin the name of his notary, and to
breathe that of his son.

The grief of the marquis's valet was more intense,
more touching, more sincere, than that of a multitude
of friends and relations would have been. When our
servants love us, they love us dearly, for they know our
faults as well as our good qualities, and they forgive us
the former in favor of the latter, which our friends and
acquaintances never do.

Jasmin was especially distressed because he had re-
proved his master for wanting to keep his son with him.

" I am responsible for his not being able to embrace
his son again before he died, my poor master ! " he said
to himself. " He had a presentiment of his approaching
death when he didn't want to send the child back to the
country ; and I presumed to scold him, villain that I am !
and he did not strike me as I deserved ; on the contrary,
he gave me his hand ! Ah ! I would die of grief if I had
not Cherubin to look out for."


Thereupon Jasmin recalled the fact that his master,
before he closed his eyes, had stammered the name of
his notary; and presuming that that functionary was
instructed concerning the wishes of the late marquis, he
made haste to go to him and tell him of his master's

Monsieur de Grandvilain's notary was a man still
young, but of a serious and even somewhat severe aspect ;
he had, in fact, the marquis's will in his keeping, and
was instructed to carry out his last wishes. He lost no
time in opening the document which he had in charge,
and read what follows:

" I possess thirty thousand francs a year. All my
property descends to my son, my sole heir. I desire that
he be put in possession of his property at the age of
fifteen. Until then I beg that my notary will undertake
to manage it. I desire that no change shall be made
inside my house, and that none of my servants shall be
discharged. I appoint Jasmin, my faithful valet de
chambre, steward of my household. Every month my
notary shall hand him such sum as he shall require for
the household expenses and for the education of my son.


The notary could not help smiling after reading this
extraordinary testament, and Jasmin, who had listened
with all his ears, gazed at him with an air of amazement,
and faltered:

" In all this, monsieur le notaire, I didn't understand
who is to be the child's guardian."

" There isn't any, Jasmin, his father hasn't appointed
any; he relied upon you and me; upon me to admin-
ister his fortune, and upon you to superintend his


conduct. It seems that Monsieur de Grandvilain had
great confidence in you ; I have no doubt that you deserve
it, but I urge you to redouble your zeal with respect to the
young marquis. Remember that it is your duty now to
watch over him. As for his fortune, his father wished
him to be placed in possession of it at the age of fifteen.
That is making him rich at a very early age; but since
it is his father's will, see to it, Jasmin, that at all events,
when fifteen, the young marquis is already a man in
knowledge and strength of character."

Jasmin listened to this speech with the greatest at-
tention; he attempted to reply, but got confused, lost
his way in a sentence which he could not finish, and
finally left the notary, after receiving a sum of money
with which to begin to manage his master's household.

On returning to the house, Jasmin had grown three
inches and was puffed up like a balloon; vanity perches
everywhere, among the small as well as among the great,
and it is likely to be even more powerful among the
former who are not accustomed to grandeur.

All the servants gathered about the valet, curious to
learn the contents of the will. Jasmin assumed a pecu-
liarly idiotic expression, and replied, speaking through
his nose:

" Never fear, my friends, there is to be no change
here; I keep you all in my service."

" You, Monsieur Jasmin ! are you our master's heir ? "

" No, no, I am not the heir, but I represent the heir ;
in fact, I am the steward of the household. I will keep
everybody: cook, coachman, housekeeper, because Mon-
sieur de Grandvilain wished it; otherwise I should have
discharged you all, for servants without a master are
useless things. But I forget, our master now is the
young marquis, and whenever he chooses to occupy his


house, he will find his household all arranged; that was
his late father's wish, no doubt, and we must conform
to it"

All the servants bowed before Jasmin, who had be-
come a man of weight, and he, after receiving the con-
gratulations of those who were now his inferiors, with-
drew to his chamber, and, reflecting upon what the
notary had said, cudgelled his brains to decide what it
was his duty to do with Cherubin, in order properly to
carry out his master's designs.

After passing several hours at this occupation, with-
out result, Jasmin exclaimed:

" Faith, I believe the best thing to do is to leave little
Cherubin out at nurse."



Cherubin was still at the village, still living with his
nurse Nicole Frimousset, and yet Cherubin was ten years
old. Although of small stature, his health was excellent,
and the attentions of a nurse had long since ceased to
be necessary to him. But the marquis's heir had retained
undiminished his affection for the place where he had
passed his childhood, and he lost his temper when it was
suggested that he should leave it.

Meanwhile Jacquinot, the foster-father, had become
more of a sot than ever ; and as she grew older, Nicole,
being obliged to scold her husband incessantly, was rarely


in good humor. And then her two boys had left the
village: one was a mason at Orleans, the other was ap-
prenticed to a carpenter at Livry.

In spite of that, Cherubin still enjoyed life at his
nurse's house, where he had for his companion a little
girl who was only two years younger than he. It was
a few days before the Marquis de Grandvilain's death,
that one morning, a very young lady from the city,
fashionably dressed, alighted from a cab in front of
Nicole's cottage. This young lady, who was beautiful
and bore a look of distinction, was very pale and seemed
much excited; she had in her arms a little girl of about
a year old, and she said to Jacquinot's wife, in a voice
broken by sobs :

" This is my daughter ; she is only a year old, but she
has been weaned for some months; I wish to leave her
with some kindhearted people who will take great care
of her and treat her as their own child. Will you take
charge of her, madame? I cannot keep her with me any
longer; indeed, it is possible that I may not be able to
take her for a long while. There are three hundred
francs in this roll; that is all that I can raise at present;
but within a year I will send you the same amount, if I
do not come before that to see my child."

Nicole, who had profited much by bringing up one
child, thought that a second fortune had fallen into her
lap, and eagerly accepted the proposition which was made
to her. The young lady handed her the little girl, the
money, and a large bundle containing the child's clothes ;
then, after embracing her daughter once more, she hur-
riedly entered her carriage, which instantly drove away.

Not until then did Nicole reflect that she had not
asked the young lady her name, or her child's name, or
her address ; but it was too late, for the cab was already


a long way off. Nicole soon consoled herself for her
f orgetf ulness, thinking :

" After all, she will come again, she certainly can't
mean to abandon her child. She has given me three
hundred francs; that is enough for me to be patient;
and then the child is a sweet little thing, and I believe
I would have kept her for nothing. What shall I call
her? Pardieu! Louise; for this is the feast of Saint-
Louis. When her mother comes back, if she don't like
that name, she can tell me the child's own name. What
a fool I was not to ask her! But she seemed in such a
hurry, and so excited. Well, Louise, that is decided;
she will be a playmate for my Cherubin, and in that way
the dear child won't get tired of living with us. Bless
my soul ! the longer we keep him, the better off we are."

And the little girl had, in fact, become Cherubin's in-
separable companion; she had grown up with him, she
shared all his games, all his pleasures. Cherubin was
not happy when Louise was not with him ; the little girl's
activity was a foil to the little marquis's natural mildness
of character; and when he began to show signs of be-
coming a charming young man, Louise gave promise of
being a very pretty young girl. But the young lady
who had brought to Nicole that child whose mother
she claimed to be, had not returned to Gagny; once
only, a year after her visit, a messenger from Paris had
appeared at Frimousset's house and had handed them a
paper which contained only one hundred and fifty francs,
saying :

" This is from the mother of the little girl who was
brought here a year ago; she requests you to continue
to take care of her child."

Nicole had questioned the man, had asked him for
the name and address of the lady who sent him ; but the


messenger had replied that he did not know, that she
had come to his stand in Paris and had given him the
errand to do, paying him in advance, after making sure
that he had a badge.

Nicole had not been able to learn anything more, and
since then she had received neither money nor informa-
tion. But Louise was so attractive that the idea of send-
ing her away had not once occurred to her. Besides,
Cherubin was devoted to her, the little girl was a new
bond which kept him in his nurse's family ; and when by
chance Jacquinot made any reflection upon the child
whom they were bringing up for nothing, his wife would
reply :

" Hold your tongue, you drunkard ; it isn't any of
your business; if the girl's mother doesn't come to see
her, it must be because she is dead, or else because she
is a bad mother; if she is dead, then I must take her
place with the child; if she is a bad mother, Louise
would be unhappy with her, and I prefer to keep her
with me."

While Cherubin grew up beside his little friend, Jasmin
continued to govern the Marquis de Grandvilain's house-
hold ; he was careful in his expenditure ; the servants
were not permitted to indulge in any excesses, and he
himself got tipsy only once a week, which was very
modest in one who had the keys to the cellar. But
Jasmin thought constantly of his young master ; he went
to see him often, and sometimes passed whole days at
Gagny; and he always asked Cherubin if he wished to
go back to Paris with him, to his own house. The little
fellow always refused, and Jasmin always returned to
Paris alone, consoling himself with the thought that
the young marquis was in excellent health, and that that
was the main point.


When Jasmin went to the notary to ask for money,
which he never did without presenting an exact state-
ment of what he had to pay out, the notary, after prais-
ing the faithful valet for the honesty and economy with
which he regulated the household expenditure, never
failed to ask him :

" And our young marquis, how does he come on ? "

" He is in superb health," Jasmin would reply.

" He ought to be a big fellow now, he is nearly eleven
years old."

" He has a very pretty figure and a charming face ; he
will be a little jewel, whom all the women will dote on,
I am sure, as they doted on his late father; but I
presume that they won't be the same women."

" That is all very well ; but how is he getting on with
his studies; have you placed the little marquis at a
good institution ? "

" Excellent, monsieur ; oh, yes ! he is in a very good
house indeed; he eats as much as he wants."

" I have no doubt that he is well fed, but that is not
enough ; at his age, what he wants above all is food for
the mind. Does he give satisfaction ? "

" They are enchanted with him ; they would like
never to part with him, he is so attractive."

" Has he had any prizes ? "

" Prizes ! he has whatever he wants ; he has only to
ask, they refuse him nothing."

" You don't understand me ; has he obtained any
prizes for his work, I mean ; is he strong in Latin,
Greek, and history?"

Jasmin was slightly embarrassed by those questions ;
he coughed, and faltered a few words which could not
be understood. But the notary, who attributed his em-
barrassment to other causes, continued:


" I am talking about things you don't understand, eh,
my old Jasmin? Latin and Greek and such matters are
not within your scope. However, when I have a few
moments to myself, I will come to you, and you must
take me to see your young marquis."

Jasmin went away, muttering:

" The deuce ! the deuce ! if he goes to see my little
Cherubin some day, he won't be very well content with
his studies; but it isn't my fault if monsieur le marquis
refuses to leave his nurse. That notary keeps talking
to me about food for the mind; it seems to me that
when a child eats four meals a day with a good appetite,
his mind ought not to be any more hungry than his
stomach, unless it doesn't want to be fed."

One day, however, after a visit to the notary, when
he had again urged the old valet to commend the young
marquis to his teachers, Jasmin started at once for
Gagny, saying to himself on the way:

" I am an old brute ! I leave my master's son in ignor-
ance; for after all, I know how to read myself, and I
believe that Cherubin doesn't even know that. Certainly
this state of things can't be allowed to go on. Later,
people will say : ' Jasmin took no care of the child who
was placed in his charge. Jasmin is unworthy of the late
marquis's confidence.' I don't propose that people shall
say that of me. I am sixty years old now, but that's no
reason for being an idiot. I propose to show my strength
of character."

When Jasmin arrived at Nicole's, he found her at
work in the house, while Jacquinot sat half asleep in an
old easy-chair.

" My friends," said Jasmin, entering the room with
a very busy air, and rolling his eyes about, " things can't
remain like this; we must make a complete change."


Nicole gazed at the old servant and said:

" You want to change our house over ; you think this
room is too dark ? Dear me ! we're used to it, you see."

" Ain't we going to drink a glass ? " said Jacquinot,
rising, and rubbing his eyes.

" In a minute, Jacquinot, in a minute. My friends, you
don't understand me. I am talking about your foster-
child, my young master, to whom you only give such
food as you yourselves eat ; do you not ? "

" Ain't he satisfied, the dear child ? " cried Nicole.
" Bless my soul ! I will give him whatever he wants ; all
he has got to do is to speak. I will make him tarts,

" It isn't that, Nicole, it isn't that sort of food that
I'm talking about. It's Cherubin's mind that needs a lot
of things."

" Mind ? Something light, I suppose ? I will make
him some cream cheese."

" Once more, Dame Frimousset, allow me to speak.
My young master must become a scholar, or something
like it; it isn't a question of eating, but of studying.
What does he learn here with you? Does he even know
how to read, to write or to figure ? "

" Faith, no," said Nicole ; " you never mentioned those
things, and we didn't think they were necessary, espe-
cially as Cherubin is going to be very rich ; we didn't
think there was any need of his learning a trade."

" It isn't a question of learning a trade, but of becom-
ing a scholar."

" Ah yes ! I understand, like the schoolmaster, who
always stuffs his conversation full of words that no-
body knows what they mean."

" That's the very thing. Oh ! if Cherubin could say
some of those fine sentences that no one can understand,


that would be splendid. So you have a learned school-
master in this village, have you ? "

" To be sure, Monsieur Gerondif."

" Gerondif ! the name alone indicates a very learned
man. Do you think he would consent to come to your
house and give my young master lessons? For it is im-
possible for monsieur le marquis to go to school with
all the young brats in the village."

" Why shouldn't Monsieur Gerondif come here ? He
has educated two or three children for people who
come to Gagny to pass the summer. Besides, he ain't
very well fixed, the dear man, and to earn a little
money "

" There is no difficulty about that ; I will pay him
whatever he asks. Do you suppose that I could talk
that I could see this Monsieur Gerondif ? "

" That's easy enough ; Jacquinot will go and fetch
him. It's after five o'clock, so his school is over. Jac-
quinot, you will find the schoolmaster at Manon the
baker's, because he goes there every day to bake potatoes
in her oven while it's still hot."

" Go, my dear Jacquinot ; bring me this scholar, and
then we will empty a few bottles; I will treat Monsieur
Gerondif too."

That promise roused Jacquinot, who went out, promis-
ing to make haste, and Jasmin asked Nicole:

" Where is my young master ? "

"My fieuf"

" My master, the young Marquis de Grandvilain. He
is eleven years old now, my dear Nicole, and it seems to
me that he is rather large for you to keep on calling him
your fieu."

"Oh! bless my soul! habit what do you expect?
He's in the garden, under the plum trees."



" Oh no ! Louise is with him, always with him. As
if he could get along without her ! "

" Ah ! is that the little girl who was left here, and
whose parents you don't know ? "

" Mon Dieu ! yes."

" And you are still taking care of her ? "

" Pardi! one child more. When there's enough for
three, there's enough for four."

" That is what my father used to say, when he cribbed
my share of breakfast; and in our house, on the con-
trary, when there was four of us, there was never
enough for two. Never mind, Dame Frimousset, you
are an excellent woman, and when Cherubin leaves you,
we will make you a handsome present."

" Oh ! don't speak of that ; I should rather not have
any present, if my fieu would never leave me."

" Oh yes ! I can understand that ; but still, we can't
leave him out at nurse until he is thirty; that isn't the
custom. I am going to present my respects to him, while
I am waiting for Monsieur Gerondif ; and I will inform
him that he must become a scholar."

Cherubin was at the farther end of the garden, which
ended in an orchard. There, trees which were never
trimmed extended at pleasure their branches laden with
fruit, as if to prove to man that nature does not need his
help to grow and bear.

The Marquis de Grandvilain's son had attractive, reg-
ular features ; his great blue eyes were exceedingly beau-
tiful, and their soft and languorous expression made them
resemble a woman's eyes rather than a man's ; long dark
lashes shaded those lovely eyes, which, according to ap-
pearances, were destined to realize Jasmin's prophecy,
and to make many conquests some day. The rest of the


face was agreeable, although not especially remarkable,
except his complexion, which was as white as that of a
girl who has a white skin; life in the country had not
tanned the young marquis, because Nicole, who had
always taken the greatest care of her foster-child, never
left him exposed to the sun; and because the little fel-
low, who was not employed in the arduous labor of the
fields, always had leisure to seek the cool shade.

Little Louise, who was then nine years old, had one
of those pretty faces, gay and sad by turns, which paint-
ers delight to copy when they wish to represent a young
maiden of Switzerland or of the neighborhood of Lake
Geneva. It was a lovely face, after the style of
Raphael's virgins, in which however there was a melan-
choly and charm distinctly French. Louise's eyes and
hair were jet black, but very long lashes tempered their
brilliancy, and gave to them a sort of velvety aspect which
had an indescribable charm; a high, proud forehead, a
very small mouth, and white teeth set like pearls, com-
bined with her other features to make her one of the
sweetest little girls whom one could hope to meet; and
when she laughed, two little dimples which appeared in
her cheeks added a new charm to her whole person ; and
she laughed often, for she was only nine years old.
Nicole treated her as her own child, Cherubin as his
sister, and she had as yet no suspicion that her mother
had abandoned her.

When Jasmin walked toward the orchard, Cherubin
and Louise were eating plums. The little girl was pluck-
ing them and throwing them to her companion, who sat
at the foot of a tree so heavily laden that its branches
seemed on the point of breaking beneath their burden.

Jasmin removed his hat, and humbly saluted his young
master, uncovering his head which was almost bald,


though the few hairs which still remained above the ears
were brought together and combed with much care over
the forehead, and made the old servant look, at a dis-
tance, as if he had tied a bandage around his head.

" I present my respects to Monsieur le Marquis de
Grandvilain," said Jasmin.

At that moment the girl shook a branch which ex-
tended over the old valet's head, and a shower of plums
rained down upon Jasmin's skull.

Thereupon there was a roar of laughter from behind
the tree, and Cherubin mingled his laughter with it;
while the old servant, who would not have kept his hat
on his head in his master's presence for anything in the
world, received with resignation the rain of plums that

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