the house, like the loss of a front tooth, had quite transformed the village. Through the gap the eye commanded a great stretch of open snowy country, and the place shrank in comparison. It was like a room with an open door. The sentinel stood by the green gate, looking very red and cold, but he had a pleasant word for the Doctor and his wealthy kinsman.
Casimir looked at the mound of ruins, he tried the quality of the tarpaulin. "H'm," he said, "I hope the cellar arch has stood. If it has, my good brother, I will give you a good price for the wines."
"We shall start digging to-morrow," said the sentry. "There is no more fear of snow."
"My friend," returned Casimir sententiously, "you had better wait till you get paid."
The Doctor winced, and began dragging his offensive brother-in-law towards Tentaillon's. In the house there would be fewer auditors, and these already in the secret of his fall.
"Hullo!" cried Casimir, "there goes the stable-boy with his luggage; no, egad, he is taking it into the inn."
And sure enough, Jean-Marie was seen to cross the snowy street and enter Tentaillon's, staggering under a large hamper.
The Doctor stopped with a sudden, wild hope.
"What can he have?" he said. "Let us go and see." And he hurried on.
"His luggage, to be sure," answered Casimir. "He is on the move—thanks to the commercial imagination."