Cousin Pons/Section 17

One morning as he leaned against the door-post, smoking his pipe and dreaming of that fine shop on the Boulevard de la Madeleine where Mme. Cibot, gorgeously arrayed, should some day sit enthroned, his eyes fell upon a copper disc, about the size of a five-franc piece, covered thickly with verdigris. The economical idea of using Cibot's medicine to clean the disc immediately occurred to him. He fastened the thing in a bit of twine, and came over every morning to inquire for tidings of his friend the tailor, timing his visit during La Cibot's visit to her gentlemen upstairs. He dropped the disc into the tumbler, allowed it to steep there while he talked, and drew it out again by the string when he went away.

The trace of tarnished copper, commonly called verdigris, poisoned the wholesome draught; a minute dose administered by stealth did incalculable mischief. Behold the results of this criminal homoeopathy! On the third day poor Cibot's hair came out, his teeth were loosened in their sockets, his whole system was deranged by a scarcely perceptible trace of poison. Dr. Poulain racked his brains. He was enough of a man of science to see that some destructive agent was at work. He privately carried off the decoction, analyzed it himself, but found nothing. It so chanced that Remonencq had taken fright and omitted to dip the disc in the tumbler that day.

Then Dr. Poulain fell back on himself and science and got out of the difficulty with a theory. A sedentary life in a damp room; a cramped position before the barred window—these conditions had vitiated the blood in the absence of proper exercise, especially as the patient continually breathed an atmosphere saturated with the fetid exhalations of the gutter. The Rue de Normandie is one of the old-fashioned streets that slope towards the middle; the municipal authorities of Paris as yet have laid on no water supply to flush the central kennel which drains the houses on either side, and as a result a stream of filthy ooze meanders among the cobblestones, filters into the soil, and produces the mud peculiar to the city. La Cibot came and went; but her husband, a hard-working man, sat day in day out like a fakir on the table in the window, till his knee-joints were stiffened, the blood stagnated in his body, and his legs grew so thin and crooked that he almost lost the use of them. The deep copper tint of the man's complexion naturally suggested that he had been out of health for a very long time. The wife's good health and the husband's illness seemed to the doctor to be satisfactorily accounted for by this theory.

"Then what is the matter with my poor Cibot?" asked the portress.

"My dear Mme. Cibot, he is dying of the porter's disease," said the doctor. "Incurable vitiation of the blood is evident from the general anaemic condition."

No one had anything to gain by a crime so objectless. Dr. Poulain's first suspicions were effaced by this thought. Who could have any possible interest in Cibot's death? His wife?—the doctor saw her taste the herb-tea as she sweetened it. Crimes which escape social vengeance are many enough, and as a rule they are of this order—to wit, murders committed without any startling sign of violence, without bloodshed, bruises, marks of strangling, without any bungling of the business, in short; if there seems to be no motive for the crime, it most likely goes unpunished, especially if the death occurs among the poorer classes. Murder is almost always denounced by its advanced guards, by hatred or greed well known to those under whose eyes the whole matter has passed. But in the case of the Cibots, no one save the doctor had any interest in discovering the actual cause of death. The little copper-faced tailor's wife adored her husband; he had no money and no enemies; La Cibot's fortune and the marine-store dealer's motives were alike hidden in the shade. Poulain knew the portress and her way of thinking perfectly well; he thought her capable of tormenting Pons, but he saw that she had neither motive enough nor wit enough for murder; and besides—every time the doctor came and she gave her husband a draught, she took a spoonful herself. Poulain himself, the only person who might have thrown light on the matter, inclined to believe that this was one of the unaccountable freaks of disease, one of the astonishing exceptions which make medicine so perilous a profession. And in truth, the little tailor's unwholesome life and unsanitary surroundings had unfortunately brought him to such a pass that the trace of copper-poisoning was like the last straw. Gossips and neighbors took it upon themselves to explain the sudden death, and no suspicion of blame lighted upon Remonencq.

"Oh! this long time past I have said that M. Cibot was not well," cried one.

"He worked too hard, he did," said another; "he heated his blood."

"He would not listen to me," put in a neighbor; "I advised him to walk out of a Sunday and keep Saint Monday; two days in the week is not too much for amusement."

In short, the gossip of the quarter, the tell-tale voice to which Justice, in the person of the commissary of police, the king of the poorer classes, lends an attentive ear—gossip explained the little tailor's demise in a perfectly satisfactory manner. Yet M. Poulain's pensive air and uneasy eyes embarrassed Remonencq not a little, and at sight of the doctor he offered eagerly to go in search of M. Trognon, Fraisier's acquaintance. Fraisier turned to La Cibot to say in a low voice, "I shall come back again as soon as the will is made. In spite of your sorrow, you must look for squalls." Then he slipped away like a shadow and met his friend the doctor.

"Ah, Poulain!" he exclaimed, "it is all right. We are safe! I will tell you about it to-night. Look out a post that will suit you, you shall have it! For my own part, I am a justice of the peace. Tabareau will not refuse me now for a son-in-law. And as for you, I will undertake that you shall marry Mlle. Vitel, granddaughter of our justice of the peace."

Fraisier left Poulain reduced to dumb bewilderment by these wild words; bounced like a ball into the boulevard, hailed an omnibus, and was set down ten minutes later by the modern coach at the corner of the Rue de Choiseul. By this time it was nearly four o'clock. Fraisier felt quite sure of a word in private with the Presidente, for officials seldom leave the Palais de Justice before five o'clock.

Mme. de Marville's reception of him assured Fraisier that M. Leboeuf had kept his promise made to Mme. Vatinelle and spoken favorably of the sometime attorney at Mantes. Amelie's manner was almost caressing. So might the Duchesse de Montpensier have treated Jacques Clement. The petty attorney was a knife to her hand. But when Fraisier produced the joint-letter signed by Elie Magus and Remonencq offering the sum of nine hundred thousand francs in cash for Pons' collection, then the Presidente looked at her man of business and the gleam of the money flashed from her eyes. That ripple of greed reached the attorney.

"M. le President left a message with me," she said; "he hopes that you will dine with us to-morrow. It will be a family party. M. Godeschal, Desroches' successor and my attorney, will come to meet you, and Berthier, our notary, and my daughter and son-in-law. After dinner, you and I and the notary and attorney will have the little consultation for which you ask, and I will give you full powers. The two gentlemen will do as you require and act upon your inspiration; and see that everything goes well. You shall have a power of attorney from M. de Marville as soon as you want it."

"I shall want it on the day of the decease."

"It shall be in readiness."

"Mme. la Presidente, if I ask for a power of attorney, and would prefer that your attorney's name should not appear I wish it less in my own interest than in yours. . . . When I give myself, it is without reserve. And in return, madame, I ask the same fidelity; I ask my patrons (I do not venture to call you my clients) to put the same confidence in me. You may think that in acting thus I am trying to fasten upon this affair—no, no, madame; there may be reprehensible things done; with an inheritance in view one is dragged on . . . especially with nine hundred thousand francs in the balance. Well, now, you could not disavow a man like Maitre Godeschal, honesty itself, but you can throw all the blame on the back of a miserable pettifogging lawyer—"

Mme. Camusot de Marville looked admiringly at Fraisier.

"You ought to go very high," said she, "or sink very low. In your place, instead of asking to hide myself away as a justice of the peace, I would aim at the crown attorney's appointment—at, say, Mantes!—and make a great career for myself."

"Let me have my way, madame. The post of justice of the peace is an ambling pad for M. Vitel; for me it shall be a war-horse."

And in this way the Presidente proceeded to a final confidence.

"You seem to be so completely devoted to our interests," she began, "that I will tell you about the difficulties of our position and our hopes. The President's great desire, ever since a match was projected between his daughter and an adventurer who recently started a bank,—the President's wish, I say, has been to round out the Marville estate with some grazing land, at that time in the market. We dispossessed ourselves of fine property, as you know, to settle it upon our daughter; but I wish very much, my daughter being an only child, to buy all that remains of the grass land. Part has been sold already. The estate belongs to an Englishman who is returning to England after a twenty years' residence in France. He built the most charming cottage in a delightful situation, between Marville Park and the meadows which once were part of the Marville lands; he bought up covers, copse, and gardens at fancy prices to make the grounds about the cottage. The house and its surroundings make a feature of the landscape, and it lies close to my daughter's park palings. The whole, land and house, should be bought for seven hundred thousand francs, for the net revenue is about twenty thousand francs. . . . But if Mr. Wadman finds out that we think of buying it, he is sure to add another two or three hundred thousand francs to the price; for he will lose money if the house counts for nothing, as it usually does when you buy land in the country—"

"Why, madame," Fraisier broke in, "in my opinion you can be so sure that the inheritance is yours that I will offer to act the part of purchaser for you. I will undertake that you shall have the land at the best possible price, and have a written engagement made out under private seal, like a contract to deliver goods. . . . I will go to the Englishman in the character of buyer. I understand that sort of thing; it was my specialty at Mantes. Vatinelle doubled the value of his practice, while I worked in his name."

"Hence your connection with little Madame Vatinelle. He must be very well off—"

"But Mme. Vatinelle has expensive tastes. . . . So be easy, madame—I will serve you up the Englishman done to a turn—"

"If you can manage that you will have eternal claims to my gratitude. Good-day, my dear M. Fraisier. Till to-morrow—"

Fraisier went. His parting bow was a degree less cringing than on the first occasion.

"I am to dine to-morrow with President de Marville!" he said to himself. "Come now, I have these folk in my power. Only, to be absolute master, I ought to be the German's legal adviser in the person of Tabareau, the justice's clerk. Tabareau will not have me now for his daughter, his only daughter, but he will give her to me when I am a justice of the peace. I shall be eligible. Mlle. Tabareau, that tall, consumptive girl with the red hair, has a house in the Place Royale in right of her mother. At her father's death she is sure to come in for six thousand francs, you must not look too hard at the plank."

As he went back to the Rue de Normandie by way of the boulevards, he dreamed out his golden dream, he gave himself up to the happiness of the thought that he should never know want again. He would marry his friend Poulain to Mlle. Vitel, the daughter of the justice of the peace; together, he and his friend the doctor would reign like kings in the quarter; he would carry all the elections—municipal, military, or political. The boulevards seem short if, while you pace afoot, you mount your ambition on the steed of fancy in this way.

Schmucke meanwhile went back to his friend Pons with the news that Cibot was dying, and Remonencq gone in search of M. Trognon, the notary. Pons was struck by the name. It had come up again and again in La Cibot's interminable talk, and La Cibot always recommended him as honesty incarnate. And with that a luminous idea occurred to Pons, in whom mistrust had grown paramount since the morning, an idea which completed his plan for outwitting La Cibot and unmasking her completely for the too-credulous Schmucke.

So many unexpected things had happened that day that poor Schmucke was quite bewildered. Pons took his friend's hand.

"There must be a good deal of confusion in the house, Schmucke; if the porter is at death's door, we are almost free for a minute or two; that is to say, there will be no spies—for we are watched, you may be sure of that. Go out, take a cab, go to the theatre, and tell Mlle. Heloise Brisetout that I should like to see her before I die. Ask her to come here to-night when she leaves the theatre. Then go to your friends Brunner and Schwab and beg them to come to-morrow morning at nine o'clock to inquire after me; let them come up as if they were just passing by and called in to see me."

The old artist felt that he was dying, and this was the scheme that he forged. He meant Schmucke to be his universal legatee. To protect Schmucke from any possible legal quibbles, he proposed to dictate his will to a notary in the presence of witnesses, lest his sanity should be called in question and the Camusots should attempt upon that pretext to dispute the will. At the name of Trognon he caught a glimpse of machinations of some kind; perhaps a flaw purposely inserted, or premeditated treachery on La Cibot's part. He would prevent this. Trognon should dictate a holograph will which should be signed and deposited in a sealed envelope in a drawer. Then Schmucke, hidden in one of the cabinets in his alcove, should see La Cibot search for the will, find it, open the envelope, read it through, and seal it again. Next morning, at nine o'clock, he would cancel the will and make a new one in the presence of two notaries, everything in due form and order. La Cibot had treated him as a madman and a visionary; he saw what this meant—he saw the Presidente's hate and greed, her revenge in La Cibot's behavior. In the sleepless hours and lonely days of the last two months, the poor man had sifted the events of his past life.

It has been the wont of sculptors, ancient and modern, to set a tutelary genius with a lighted torch upon either side of a tomb. Those torches that light up the paths of death throw light for dying eyes upon the spectacle of a life's mistakes and sins; the carved stone figures express great ideas, they are symbols of a fact in human experience. The agony of death has its own wisdom. Not seldom a simple girl, scarcely more than a child, will grow wise with the experience of a hundred years, will gain prophetic vision, judge her family, and see clearly through all pretences, at the near approach of Death. Herein lies Death's poetry. But, strange and worthy of remark it is, there are two manners of death.

The poetry of prophecy, the gift of seeing clearly into the future or the past, only belongs to those whose bodies are stricken, to those who die by the destruction of the organs of physical life. Consumptive patients, for instance, or those who die of gangrene like Louis XIV., of fever like Pons, of a stomach complaint like Mme. de Mortsauf, or of wounds received in the full tide of life like soldiers on the battlefield—all these may possess this supreme lucidity to the full; their deaths fill us with surprise and wonder. But many, on the other hand, die of intelligential diseases, as they may be called; of maladies seated in the brain or in that nervous system which acts as a kind of purveyor of thought fuel—and these die wholly, body and spirit are darkened together. The former are spirits deserted by the body, realizing for us our ideas of the spirits of Scripture; the latter are bodies untenanted by a spirit.

Too late the virgin nature, the epicure-Cato, the righteous man almost without sin, was discovering the Presidente's real character—the sac of gall that did duty for her heart. He knew the world now that he was about to leave it, and for the past few hours he had risen gaily to his part, like a joyous artist finding a pretext for caricature and laughter in everything. The last links that bound him to life, the chains of admiration, the strong ties that bind the art lover to Art's masterpieces, had been snapped that morning. When Pons knew that La Cibot had robbed him, he bade farewell, like a Christian, to the pomps and vanities of Art, to his collection, to all his old friendships with the makers of so many fair things. Our forefathers counted the day of death as a Christian festival, and in something of the same spirit Pons' thoughts turned to the coming end. In his tender love he tried to protect Schmucke when he should be low in the grave. It was this father's thought that led him to fix his choice upon the leading lady of the ballet. Mlle. Brisetout should help him to baffle surrounding treachery, and those who in all probability would never forgive his innocent universal legatee.

Heloise Brisetout was one of the few natures that remain true in a false position. She was an opera-girl of the school of Josepha and Jenny Cadine, capable of playing any trick on a paying adorer; yet she was a good comrade, dreading no power on earth, accustomed as she was to see the weak side of the strong and to hold her own with the police at the scarcely idyllic Bal de Mabille and the carnival.

"If she asked for my place for Garangeot, she will think that she owes me a good turn by so much the more," said Pons to himself.

Thanks to the prevailing confusion in the porter's lodge, Schmucke succeeded in getting out of the house. He returned with the utmost speed, fearing to leave Pons too long alone. M. Trognon reached the house just as Schmucke came in. Albeit Cibot was dying, his wife came upstairs with the notary, brought him into the bedroom, and withdrew, leaving Schmucke and Pons with M. Trognon; but she left the door ajar, and went no further than the next room. Providing herself with a little hand-glass of curious workmanship, she took up her station in the doorway, so that she could not only hear but see all that passed at the supreme moment.

"Sir," said Pons, "I am in the full possession of my faculties, unfortunately for me, for I feel that I am about to die; and doubtless, by the will of God, I shall be spared nothing of the agony of death. This is M. Schmucke"—(the notary bowed to M. Schmucke)—"my one friend on earth," continued Pons. "I wish to make him my universal legatee. Now, tell me how to word the will, so that my friend, who is a German and knows nothing of French law, may succeed to my possessions without any dispute."

"Anything is liable to be disputed, sir," said the notary; "that is the drawback of human justice. But in the matter of wills, there are wills so drafted that they cannot be upset—"

"In what way?" queried Pons.

"If a will is made in the presence of a notary, and before witnesses who can swear that the testator was in the full possession of his faculties; and if the testator has neither wife nor children, nor father nor mother—"

"I have none of these; all my affection is centred upon my dear friend Schmucke here."

The tears overflowed Schmucke's eyes.

"Then, if you have none but distant relatives, the law leaves you free to dispose of both personalty and real estate as you please, so long as you bequeath them for no unlawful purpose; for you must have come across cases of wills disputed on account of the testator's eccentricities. A will made in the presence of a notary is considered to be authentic; for the person's identity is established, the notary certifies that the testator was sane at the time, and there can be no possible dispute over the signature.—Still, a holograph will, properly and clearly worded, is quite as safe."

"I have decided, for reasons of my own, to make a holograph will at your dictation, and to deposit it with my friend here. Is this possible?"

"Quite possible," said the notary. "Will you write? I will begin to dictate—"

"Schmucke, bring me my little Boule writing-desk.—Speak low, sir," he added; "we may be overheard."

"Just tell me, first of all, what you intend," demanded the notary.

Ten minutes later La Cibot saw the notary look over the will, while Schmucke lighted a taper (Pons watching her reflection all the while in a mirror). She saw the envelope sealed, saw Pons give it to Schmucke, and heard him say that it must be put away in a secret drawer in his bureau. Then the testator asked for the key, tied it to the corner of his handkerchief, and slipped it under his pillow.

The notary himself, by courtesy, was appointed executor. To him Pons left a picture of price, such a thing as the law permits a notary to receive. Trognon went out and came upon Mme. Cibot in the salon.

"Well, sir, did M. Pons remember me?"

"You do not expect a notary to betray secrets confided to him, my dear," returned M. Trognon. "I can only tell you this—there will be many disappointments, and some that are anxious after the money will be foiled. M. Pons has made a good and very sensible will, a patriotic will, which I highly approve."

La Cibot's curiosity, kindled by such words, reached an unimaginable pitch. She went downstairs and spent the night at Cibot's bedside, inwardly resolving that Mlle. Remonencq should take her place towards two or three in the morning, when she would go up and have a look at the document.

Mlle. Brisetout's visit towards half-past ten that night seemed natural enough to La Cibot; but in her terror lest the ballet-girl should mention Gaudissart's gift of a thousand francs, she went upstairs with her, lavishing polite speeches and flattery as if Mlle. Heloise had been a queen.

"Ah! my dear, you are much nicer here on your own ground than at the theatre," Heloise remarked. "I advise you to keep to your employment."

Heloise was splendidly dressed. Bixiou, her lover, had brought her in his carriage on the way to an evening party at Mariette's. It so fell out that the first-floor lodger, M. Chapoulot, a retired braid manufacturer from the Rue Saint-Denis, returning from the Ambigu-Comique with his wife and daughter, was dazzled by a vision of such a costume and such a charming woman upon their staircase.

"Who is that, Mme. Cibot?" asked Mme. Chapoulot.

"A no-better-than-she-should-be, a light-skirts that you may see half-naked any evening for a couple of francs," La Cibot answered in an undertone for Mme. Chapoulot's ear.

"Victorine!" called the braid manufacturer's wife, "let the lady pass, child."

The matron's alarm signal was not lost upon Heloise.

"Your daughter must be more inflammable than tinder, madame, if you are afraid that she will catch fire by touching me," she said.

M. Chapoulot waited on the landing. "She is uncommonly handsome off the stage," he remarked. Whereupon Mme. Chapoulot pinched him sharply and drove him indoors.

"Here is a second-floor lodger that has a mind to set up for being on the fourth floor," said Heloise as she continued to climb.

"But mademoiselle is accustomed to going higher and higher."

"Well, old boy," said Heloise, entering the bedroom and catching sight of the old musician's white, wasted face. "Well, old boy, so we are not very well? Everybody at the theatre is asking after you; but though one's heart may be in the right place, every one has his own affairs, you know, and cannot find time to go to see friends. Gaudissart talks of coming round every day, and every morning the tiresome management gets hold of him. Still, we are all of us fond of you—"

"Mme. Cibot," said the patient, "be so kind as to leave us; we want to talk about the theatre and my post as conductor, with this lady. Schmucke, will you go to the door with Mme. Cibot?"

At a sign from Pons, Schmucke saw Mme. Cibot out at the door, and drew the bolts.

"Ah, that blackguard of a German! Is he spoiled, too?" La Cibot said to herself as she heard the significant sounds. "That is M. Pons' doing; he taught him those disgusting tricks. . . . But you shall pay for this, my dears," she thought as she went down stairs. "Pooh! if that tight-rope dancer tells him about the thousand francs, I shall say that it is a farce.

She seated herself by Cibot's pillow. Cibot complained of a burning sensation in the stomach. Remonencq had called in and given him a draught while his wife was upstairs.

As soon as Schmucke had dismissed La Cibot, Pons turned to the ballet-girl.

"Dear child, I can trust no one else to find me a notary, an honest man, and send him here to make my will to-morrow morning at half-past nine precisely. I want to leave all that I have to Schmucke. If he is persecuted, poor German that he is, I shall reckon upon the notary; the notary must defend him. And for that reason I must have a wealthy notary, highly thought of, a man above the temptations to which pettifogging lawyers yield. He must succor my poor friend. I cannot trust Berthier, Cardot's successor. And you know so many people—"

"Oh! I have the very man for you," Heloise broke in; "there is the notary that acts for Florine and the Comtesse du Bruel, Leopold Hannequin, a virtuous man that does not know what a lorette is! He is a sort of chance-come father—a good soul that will not let you play ducks and drakes with your earnings; I call him Le Pere aux Rats, because he instils economical notions into the minds of all my friends. In the first place, my dear fellow, he has a private income of sixty thousand francs; and he is a notary of the real old sort, a notary while he walks or sleeps; his children must be little notaries and notaresses. He is a heavy, pedantic creature, and that's the truth; but on his own ground, he is not the man to flinch before any power in creation. . . . No woman ever got money out of him; he is a fossil pater-familias, his wife worships him, and does not deceive him, although she is a notary's wife.—What more do you want? as a notary he has not his match in Paris. He is in the patriarchal style; not queer and amusing, as Cardot used to be with Malaga; but he will never decamp like little What's-his-name that lived with Antonia. So I will send round my man to-morrow morning at eight o'clock. . . . You may sleep in peace. And I hope, in the first place, that you will get better, and make charming music for us again; and yet, after all, you see, life is very dreary—managers chisel you, and kings mizzle and ministers fizzle and rich fold economizzle.—Artists have nothing left here" (tapping her breast)—"it is a time to die in. Good-bye, old boy."

"Heloise, of all things, I ask you to keep my counsel."

"It is not a theatre affair," she said; "it is sacred for an artist."

"Who is your gentleman, child?"

"M. Baudoyer, the mayor of your arrondissement, a man as stupid as the late Crevel; Crevel once financed Gaudissart, you know, and a few days ago he died and left me nothing, not so much as a pot of pomatum. That made me say just now that this age of ours is something sickening."

"What did he die of?"

"Of his wife. If he had stayed with me, he would be living now. Good-bye, dear old boy, I am talking of going off, because I can see that you will be walking about the boulevards in a week or two, hunting up pretty little curiosities again. You are not ill; I never saw your eyes look so bright." And she went, fully convinced that her protege Garangeot would conduct the orchestra for good.

Every door stood ajar as she went downstairs. Every lodger, on tip-toe, watched the lady of the ballet pass on her way out. It was quite an event in the house.

Fraisier, like the bulldog that sets his teeth and never lets go, was on the spot. He stood beside La Cibot when Mlle. Brisetout passed under the gateway and asked for the door to be opened. Knowing that a will had been made, he had come to see how the land lay, for Maitre Trognon, notary, had refused to say a syllable—Fraisier's questions were as fruitless as Mme. Cibot's. Naturally the ballet-girl's visit in extremis was not lost upon Fraisier; he vowed to himself that he would turn it to good account.

"My dear Mme. Cibot," he began, "now is the critical moment for you."

"Ah, yes . . . my poor Cibot!" said she. "When I think that he will not live to enjoy anything I may get—"

"It is a question of finding out whether M. Pons has left you anything at all; whether your name is mentioned or left out, in fact," he interrupted. "I represent the next-of-kin, and to them you must look in any case. It is a holograph will, and consequently very easy to upset.—Do you know where our man has put it?"

"In a secret drawer in his bureau, and he has the key of it. He tied it to a corner of his handkerchief, and put it under his pillow. I saw it all."

"Is the will sealed?"

"Yes, alas!"

"It is a criminal offence if you carry off a will and suppress it, but it is only a misdemeanor to look at it; and anyhow, what does it amount to? A peccadillo, and nobody will see you. Is your man a heavy sleeper?"

"Yes. But when you tried to see all the things and value them, he ought to have slept like a top, and yet he woke up. Still, I will see about it. I will take M. Schmucke's place about four o'clock this morning; and if you care to come, you shall have the will in your hands for ten minutes."

"Good. I will come up about four o'clock, and I will knock very softly—"

"Mlle Remonencq will take my place with Cibot. She will know, and open the door; but tap on the window, so as to rouse nobody in the house."

"Right," said Fraisier. "You will have a light, will you not. A candle will do."