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getting the bustling, outspoken fat doctor who had sewed up Gaston’s head the time madame’s villa went sliddering toward the sea—or tried to—as well as all the great and small folk of the village who claimed the least little bit of acquaintance with any one connected with the function from Lemois down.

Why the distinguished Madame la Marquise de la Caux—to say nothing of Lemois and the equally distinguished sculptors, painters, and authors, some of whom were well known to them by reputation—should make all this fuss about a simple little serving-maid who had brought them their coffee—a waif, really, picked from between the cobbles—one like a dozen others the village over, except for her beauty—was a question no one of them had been able to answer. Was it a whim of the great lady?—for it was well known she had made the match—or was there something else behind it all? (a mystery, by the way, which they are still trying to solve; disinterested kindness being the most incomprehensible thing in the world to some people). The notary was particularly outspoken in his opinion. He even criticised the great woman herself from behind his hand to the apothecary, whose upper room