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understand, all this for the afternoon."

The next morning, Jasmin started early for Gagny,
where he arrived about ten o'clock. First of all, he asked
for Cherubin, and Nicole informed him that he had gone
to walk with Louise toward Maison Rouge. The old
servant was about to go in search of the young people
when he met Monsieur Gerondif in the square, and
hastened to inform him as to what was to happen during
the day.

The professor clapped his hands, tossed his new hat in
the air, and seemed inclined to cut a caper.

"Tandem! Denique! Ultima cumcri venit jam car-
minis atas! Jam nova progenies coclo demit titur alto!"

" Why no, that isn't it," replied Jasmin ; " I tell you
that the notary and two of his friends are coming."

" Very good ! perfect ! more than perfect ! We must
now find my pupil at once."



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES III

" I was going to look for him ; he is walking with
little Louise in the direction of Maison Rouge."

" With little Louise, who is already large. How im-
prudent it is! It is high time to separate the man from
the serpent ! "

" Did you see a serpent ? "

" The serpent, my dear Jasmin, is woman, the apple,
sin! You don't seem to understand; I will explain it
to you some other day, but now we must find the child
at once."

" Especially as those gentlemen requested me to send
the little girl away this morning, while they were talking
to my master."

" You see, those gentlemen think as I do ; they under-
stand that this little girl is now a dangerous companion,
most certainly. We will get her out of the way, virtuous
Jasmin, we will find a pretext, a subterfuge. Come, take
my arm and let us run."

" Run ! the devil ! that's very easy to say ! However,
I'll try."

" Men run at all ages, worthy Jasmin, and you were
built for a runner."

As he spoke, the professor took the old servant's arm
and hurried him away in the direction where they hoped
to find Cherubin. As they walked rapidly along, Jasmin
asked Monsieur Gerondif:

" Have you thought of any excuse for sending the girl
away ? "

" No; have you?"

" No, I have not."

" Let us go on, that will come in due time."

That rapid march lasted for three-quarters of an hour.
Jasmin could hold out no longer, he was entirely out of
breath. But the professor still pulled him along, saying:



112 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" Macte puer! made animo! Our dear Cherubin's
happiness is at stake. Look out, excellent Jasmin, you
are stumbling; you are putting your feet in the ruts, in
pools of water ! "

The excellent Jasmin's breath was exhausted, and he
decided to fall in the middle of the road.

" I can't go any farther," he stammered ; " I must get
my breath."

But at that moment Monsieur Gerondif glanced at a
clump of trees a short distance from the road and ex-
claimed :

" There they are ! the little girl is eating apricots ; she
offers one to my pupil, who stands lost in admiration be-
fore his apricot ! It is time that we arrived."

Cherubin had gone out early with Louise that morn-
ing; they had taken a basket containing bread and fruit,
and looked forward to eating their luncheon in the
woods; that frugal collation seemed most delicious to
them. And, in sooth, what more could they desire ? they
were together, and they loved each other ; that is the most
enjoyable repast to which one brings a contented heart.

The relations between Louise and Cherubin at this
time were so pleasant, so pure, that they were happy to
be together and aspired to no other happiness. It may
be, however, that young Louise's affection was more
eager, more expansive, because there was already a tinge
of sadness in it. She was afraid that Cherubin would
decide to go to Paris ; she was afraid that she was going
to lose her friend ; and that fear made her love him even
more, for our affections are strengthened by the sorrows
that they cause us.

The two young people were greatly surprised when the
professor and Jasmin suddenly appeared in the midst of
their open-air repast.



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES ' 113

X

" We were looking for you, attractive youths," said
Monsieur Gerondif; "we were perturbed in spirit. The
adventure of Pyramus and Thisbe has been running in
my head ; I have mistaken every dog I met for a lioness.
I am well aware that my pupil has no inclination to fly,
like the young Assyrian, with any Thisbe; but anyone
may make a false step."

" Tell me, why did you come to look for us ? " said
Cherubin ; " I have time enough to study, I should think.
I know enough already. Is anyone sick? Has anything
happened, that Jasmin comes with you ? "

Monsieur Gerondif seemed struck by a sudden thought ;
he glanced at Jasmin and said :

" In truth, my noble pupil, there has been an accident
not at all serious, I trust. Your nurse's oldest son has
hurt himself ; he is at Montf ermeil he has written ; and
Nicole would like to have Louise go to him at once ; she
will come too very soon."

" We'll go with Louise," said Cherubin.

" No, we had better go back to poor Nicole, who is
in grief she doesn't know where to go for a doctor.
Louise can go to Montfermeil alone; you can see the
first houses from here."

" Oh, yes ! yes ! I will be there in a few minutes,"
said Louise ; " but where is dear mother Nicole's son ? "

" At Madame Patineau's, on the main street. Here,
here is her address, and a line for her."

Monsieur Gerondif scrawled a few words in pencil,
wherein he requested the lady to whom he was sending
the girl to keep her at her house, and not to let her go
until she was sent for. The girl took the note, bade
Cherubin adieu and ran off toward Montfermeil. The
professor rubbed his hands and glanced at Jasmin, who
said to himself:



114 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" I should never have thought of that."

They returned to Gagny; as they approached the
square, they saw a carriage stop and a gentleman alight:
it was Monsieur d'Hurbain, the notary.

" Here's a visitor for you," said Jasmin to his master.
" This gentleman is your notary, in whose care your ven-
erable father placed his testament."

" And it was to prevent your attention being distracted
so that you might receive some gentlemen who are com-
ing from Paris to see you, that we sent little Louise to
Montfermeil," said Gerondif with a smile. *

" What ? the accident to Nicole's son "

" Was all a joke."

Before Cherubin had time to reply, Monsieur d'Hur-
bain came up and bowed low to him. The notary's
solemn manner made an impression on the young man,
who faltered a few words in reply to the flattering re-
marks that were addressed to him. They walked toward
the nurse's house, and for the first time Cherubin had a
feeling of something like shame when the notary said :

" What, monsieur le marquis, is this where you are
studying? You are sixteen and a half years old, you
belong to a noble family, you have a handsome fortune,
and you pass your life beneath the roof of these village
folk ! I honor the laboring man, I esteem all honest per-
sons, but everyone should keep to his own rank, monsieur
le marquis, otherwise society would fall into confusion
and anarchy; and there would no longer be that desire
to rise, to succeed, which, by implanting in men's hearts
a praiseworthy ambition, makes them capable of noble
efforts to attain the end at which they are eager to arrive."

"Bravo! recte dicis!" cried Monsieur Gerondif, smil-
ing at the notary ; " monsieur talks now as I used to
talk."



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES 115

Cherubin blushed and did not know what to reply.
Monsieur d'Hurbain continued his efforts to make the
young man listen to reason, displaying the utmost ami-
ability and suavity in his arguments. He was careful,
however, to dwell on the marquis's rank and wealth, and
he always ended with these words :

" You agree with me now, do you not, and you are
coming back to Paris with me ? "

But Cherubin, although he seemed to listen with great
deference to the notary's speeches, replied in a very mild
tone:

" No, monsieur, I prefer to stay here."

" It certainly isn't my fault ! " cried Monsieur Geron-
dif, raising his eyes heavenward. " Every day I say to
my pupil the same things that you have said, monsieur;
but I reinforce them by example from history, ancient
and modern; it's as if I were teaching a blind man to
draw!"

Monsieur d'Hurbain was beginning to doubt the suc-
cess of his visit, when they heard a horse's footsteps.
They ran to the door to see what it was, and discovered
a very stylishly dressed gentleman in a dainty tilbury,
accompanied by his groom only.

It was Edouard de Monfreville, who was driving him-
self. He stopped, jumped lightly to the ground and ap-
proached the party, bowing courteously to Cherubin, to
whom the notary said :

" Allow me to introduce the son of one of your father's
old friends, Monsieur de Monfreville, who has come to
add his entreaties to mine, to induce you to go to
Paris."

Monfreville took Cherubin's hand and pressed it;
and after scrutinizing the young man for some time,
he said:



Il6 THE BASHFUL LOVER

" When, in addition to a name and a fortune, a man
also possesses such a charming face, it is really inex-
cusable for him to hide in a village."

" Most assuredly ! " murmured Gerondif, smiling at
Monfreville ; " if Helen had hidden, we should not have
had the siege of Troy ; if Dunois had remained with his
nurse, he probably would not have been called ' le beau
Dunois.' "

Monfreville bestowed an ironical glance on the pro-
fessor, and continued to address Cherubin :

" My dear monsieur, my father was a friend of yours,
and that made me desire your acquaintance; it rests
entirely with you whether we shall be friends as our
fathers were. Oh! I realize that the difference between
my age and yours may make my suggestion seem ab-
surd to you, but when you know the world, you will
find that such differences vanish before congenial tastes
and temperaments; I am certain even now that we shall
get on very well together. But deuce take it ! what sort
of costume is this? A good-looking young fellow, with
a fine figure, rigged out in such style! It is pitiful ! "

" My young master employs his late father's tailor,"
murmured Jasmin ; " I thought that I ought not to take
him anywhere else."

" You were wrong, my faithful servant ; a tailor is
not a relic to be preserved with respect; evidently this
particular one is out of touch with the styles of the day.
Franck! bring what I told you to put under the seat
of the tilbury."

Monfreville's servant soon appeared laden with clothes ;
he laid out on a table a beautiful coat made in the latest
style, a waistcoat of bewitching material, black satin
stocks, dainty cravats, and a little blue velvet cap, with
gold lace and tassel.



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES llj

Cherubin could not restrain a cry of admiration at
sight of all those things. Without asking his permis-
sion, Monfreville removed his jacket and waistcoat and
made him put on what he had brought; then he put a
richly embroidered cravat about his neck and tied it
rakishly; and lastly he placed the charming little velvet
cap on his head and arranged the curls which it did not
hide. Then he led the young man in front of a mirror
and said:

" Look at yourself ! Aren't you a hundred times bet-
ter-looking? "

Cherubin blushed with pleasure when he saw how
comely he was ; and in truth his new costume did impart
a wholly different expression to his pretty face. He was
so handsome that Nicole, although distressed to find that
her fieu was to be taken away from her, could not help
crying out:

" Jarni ! how fine he is ! Why, he's superb in that rig !
He's a hundred times better-looking than he was ! "

" He doesn't look at all like his late father," murmured
Jasmin.

" He resembles the son of Jupiter and Latona, Diana's
brother, otherwise called Apollo, Phoebus, if you pre-
fer," cried Monsieur Gerondif, still smiling.

Monsieur d'Hurbain glanced at Monfreville with an
air of satisfaction, as if to congratulate him on having
discovered the means of seducing Cherubin, who, in
truth, seemed delighted with his costume. He constantly
gazed at and admired himself; and Monsieur de Mon-
freville, to encourage his favorable disposition, made
haste to say to him:

" I was told that you lived in a village, but I was
loath to believe it! The son of the Marquis de Grand-
vilain, who ought to be noted for his style, his dress, his



1 I 8 THE BASHFUL L O VER

manners, who, in short, was made to be a shining light
in Parisian society, cannot remain buried in a peasant's
house ! It is an anomaly a crime ! These trifling speci-
mens of clothes will give you an idea of what you would
have in Paris. I have come in my tilbury to fetch you,
and I propose that within a week you shall be the best
dressed, the most stylish young man in the capital. You
will set the fashion ; you are rich enough and handsome
enough for that."

Cherubin seemed to be captivated by Monfreville's
words, and the latter, assured of his triumph, said in a
moment :

" Let us start, my young friend, let us not delay any
longer. The tilbury is waiting for us, and Paris is
beckoning to you."

But at that Cherubin's face became clouded, and in-
stead of following Monsieur de Monfreville and the
notary, who had risen, he resumed his seat, saying:

" No, I don't want to go away, for I want Louise to
see me in these clothes."

The two gentlemen from the city were in despair ; they
believed that they had fully persuaded the young mar-
quis to accompany them, and again he refused.

The notary argued, Monfreville put forth all his elo-
quence and drew fascinating pictures of the pleasures of
Paris, but Cherubin refused to go with them.

Monsieur Gerondif was in dismay, Nicole was trium-
phant, and Jasmin muttered under his breath:

" I had an idea that these men wouldn't be any smarter
than me."

No one spoke, for no one knew what course to adopt.
Suddenly they heard another carriage approaching.
Thereupon a gleam of hope shone in Monfreville's eyes,
and Monsieur d'Hurbain exclaimed:



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES 119

" Faith ! it's high time that Monsieur Darena arrived,
but I doubt very much his having any better success
than we have had."

" Perhaps he will," murmured Monfreville ; " Darena
is one of those people who dare to do anything."

The carriage stopped in front of the nurse's house,
and Nicole's guests ran to the door to see who alighted.

The cab, for it was a vulgar cab that had arrived,
seemed to contain a number of people, to judge by the
noise inside. Several voices could be heard speaking at
once, and continual bursts of laughter. At last the door
opened. Monsieur Darena alighted first, dressed even
more shabbily than on the previous day; which fact did
not deter him from exhibiting the most distinguished
manners, as he assisted his companions to alight.

First came a young woman dressed as a Spaniard,
then one dressed as an Odalisk, a third in a Swiss cos-
tume, and a fourth in the piquant garb of a Neapolitan.
And they were all young, pretty, graceful and shapely;
their eyes were bright, mischievous, and most alluring;
and there was in their manner of jumping from the car-
riage, a surprising lightness and grace, and in their
general bearing an uncommon absence of restraint.

The villagers gazed at them in wide-eyed amazement.
Monsieur Gerondif affected to lower his eyes, but he
hazarded a glance nearly every minute. The notary
glanced at Monfreville with an air of surprise, muttering :

" What does all this mean ? "

Monfreville laughed heartily, as he replied:

" Faith ! I believe that he is cleverer than we are."

Meanwhile, Darena took two of the ladies by the hand.

" Come, Rosina and Malvina ; follow us, Coelina and
Fcedora. We have come to pay our respects to the young
Marquis de Grandvilain. Where is he? Ah, yes, I see



120 THE BASHFUL LOVER

him ; this charming young man with the melting eyes is
he. Peste! be on your guard, mesdames; those eyes
will make terrible havoc in your ranks."

As he spoke, Darena entered the house with his com-
panions. After ushering in his four ladies, who seemed
not in the least embarrassed, and who scrutinized laugh-
ingly the interior of the rustic dwelling, Darena saluted
Cherubin as if he were an old acquaintance, and said:

" My dear marquis, your notary, Monsieur d'Hurbain,
is mine as well ; your friend Monsieur de Monfreville is
also a very intimate friend of mine; so you see that I
too should be your friend that is a title which I should
deem myself fortunate to deserve. Shake hands, marquis
men like us understand each other instantly. You are
young, but we will form you."

Cherubin was bewildered by all that he saw and heard ;
moreover, the Spaniard and the Neapolitan were already
flashing glances at him of a sort to which he was not ac-
customed; while the Odalisk smiled at him in a most
enticing fashion, and the Swiss constantly passed the tip
of her tongue over her lips and winked at him. All this
caused him a perturbation which he could not define.

" Marquis Cherubin," continued Darena, " I have ven-
tured to bring with me four fascinating ladies ; they are
artists, dancers of the greatest talent, connected with the
Grand Opera in Paris ; they had a most eager desire to
see you and to drink milk in the country. Is it possible
to obtain milk here, virtuous villager ? "

While Darena put this question to Nicole, who ran
off at once to the dairy, the little woman dressed as a
Swiss jumped up and down on her chair, crying:

" Yes ! milk's splendid ! I'm going to drink it hard."

Darena walked to where she sat and nudged her with
his elbow, saying in her ear:



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES 121

" Be kind enough to keep quiet, Malvina, for you
can't say anything but nonsense."

And Monfreville, biting his lips to avoid laughing,
whispered to Darena:

" You have the face to say that these women are from
the Opera ! "

" Three of them are, my dear fellow ; I swear that
those three are figurantes. The Swiss is at one of the
boulevard theatres, it is true, but she has a bewitching
leg. I have brought these ladies in their stage cos-
tumes," Darena continued, addressing Cherubin, " be-
cause they promised to give you a slight specimen of
their talent. Come, my goddesses, give us a pretty pas
de quatre for the young marquis, who has no idea of
what is to be seen at the Opera. I realize that this isn't
as convenient a place for dancing as the stage ; the floor
isn't parqueted ; but you will have all the more credit."

" It isn't even tiled ! " cried the Swiss, looking at her
feet ; " how do you expect us to slide on such a floor ?
No, thanks ! it's too much work ! We shall come down
on our backsides ! "

" Ha ! ha ! very pretty ! very pretty ! " cried Darena,
affecting to laugh heartily in order to lessen the effect
produced by the Swiss girl's expression ; " you must ex-
cuse madame ; she isn't a Parisian and she doesn't know
our language very well ; she doesn't understand the com-
parative value of words."

" Tibullus, Petronius and Ovid sometimes employed
the equivalent," said Monsieur Gerondif, perpetrating an
immense smile, so that the four dancers might see all
his teeth.

" I ain't a Parisian ! " cried Mademoiselle Malvina ;
" well, upon my word ! I was born on Rue Mouffetard
just where my mother sells Brie cheese."



122 THE BASHFUL LOVER

Darena trod on her foot and whispered to her :

" If you don't hold your tongue, Malvina, I'll put
you in the cab, you shan't have any milk, and you shan't
come to the dinner."

The Swiss held her tongue, and the count, taking a
kit from his pocket, prepared to play.

" I'll be the orchestra," he said ; " I have thought of
everything, you see. Come, mesdames, ready."

Meanwhile, Monsieur d'Hurbain went to Monfreville
and said to him in an undertone:

" Really, Monsieur le Comte de Darena has employed
an expedient which I don't know whether I ought to
assent to this. His scheme seems to me rather shady."

" Why so ? " rejoined Monfreville. " Darena is clev-
erer than we are. I think that his method of seduction
is all right. After all, the young fellow would go to the
Opera, if he went to Paris; so what is the harm of
letting him see here what he would see on the stage?
In fact, it seems to me that the illusion is much less."

" Very well," said the notary, resuming his seat ;
" after all, the end justifies the means."

The four dancers were on the point of beginning their
performance, when Nicole appeared with milk and cups.
They pounced upon the latter and declared that they
proposed to have something to drink first.

While they were drinking, Cherubin kept his eyes con-
stantly on those four women, who were so utterly unlike
all the women he had ever before seen. Monsieur Geron-
dif poured the milk for the dancers with his own hands.

" Assuredly I bear a resemblance to Ganymede at this
moment," he said to them. " He served Jupiter, I serve
Terpsichore and her sisters."

" I say," said Malvina, snatching the pail from the pro-
fessor's hand, " you make us sick, pouring it out so,



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES 123

drop by drop ! I'd rather drink as much as I like it's a
quicker way."

" It's amazing how thirsty they are, for fashionable
ladies," said old Jasmin, rolling his eyes in wonderment.

When the milk was exhausted, the four dancers took
their places. The others were seated, Darena with his
kit. He played the air of the Jota Arragonaise, and the
ladies began to dance with much grace and lightness of
foot.

The peasants were lost in admiration. Jasmin ap-
plauded ; Monsieur Gerondif no longer lowered his eyes,
and his whole face was as red and inflamed as his nose.

Monfreville and the notary watched Cherubin; he
seemed fascinated, enchanted by the novel spectacle pre-
sented to him, and his eyes did not grow weary of gazing
at those young and pretty women, whose steps, whose at-
titudes, whose slightest movements were instinct with
pleasure and licentiousness. Darena, observing the effect
produced by the dance, played a livelier air, then another
in even quicker time. The dancers followed the change
of tempo, and their dance became more rapid, more
seductive. They seemed to vie with one another in
grace and litheness; their eyes, enlivened by the violent
exercise, shone brighter and with more fire. Jasmin
applauded wildly, Monsieur Gerondif scratched his nose
as if he would demolish it, and Cherubin became much
moved. At that moment, excited by the zest with which
she danced, Mademoiselle Malvina began to hurl her
legs into space with such vigor that it was impossible
for the spectators to avoid seeing that she wore no
drawers.

" They are bayaderes ! " cried Monsieur Gerondif,
whose eyes were almost out of his head ; " it's the
Mozambique dance ! it's very interesting ! "



124 THE BASHFUL LOVER

Monsieur d'Hurbain, considering that the Mozambique
dance went altogether too far, rose and said:

" Very good, mesdames, but that will do ; you must
be tired."

" Bah ! " cried Mademoiselle Malvina, " I'd like to
dance the cancan myself! I'm rather good at the can-
can."

Darena, who was desirous that the effect produced by
the dance should not be wasted, ran to Cherubin and took
his arm, saying :

" Now we are going back to Paris ; we are to dine at
the Rocher de Cancale with these ladies, and they hope
that you will join us, for the party would not be com-
plete without you."

Cherubin was excited, and he hesitated. Darena made
a sign to the dancers, who at once surrounded the youth,
saying :

" Oh, yes, monsieur, come to Paris with us ! "

" You must go to the Opera to-night ; you will see us
dance there, and it will be rather different from what
it was in this room."

" It would be very mean of you to refuse us."

" And then," cried Malvina, " at the Rocher de Can-
cale ! That's the place to get a good dinner ! I'm going
to stuff myself, I am ! "

" Come, come, you must be one of us ! " exclaimed
Darena.

The Spaniard and the Neapolitan each seized one of
Cherubin's arms; he let them drag him away and they
carried him, almost dancing, to the cab, which he entered
with Darena and the four dancers.

" But I have a carriage," cried the notary ; " you will
be too crowded with six in there ! Let some of the ladies
come in my carriage."



THE ARMS OF ACHILLES 125

" No, no ! " said Darena ; " we'll sit in one another's
laps it's all the more fun ! Off you go, driver ; founder
your nags we'll pay you for them. To the Rocher de
Cancale ! "

The cab drove away with Cherubin, who had not even



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