Uncle Bernac eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 171 pages of information about Uncle Bernac.

‘It is a foul calumny, sire.’

’Very possibly, but it is awkward when so many calumnies cluster round one person.  You are certainly a most unfortunate lady in that respect.  You had a scandal once before with General Rapp’s aide-de-camp.  This must come to an end.  What is your name?’ he continued, turning to another.

‘Mademoiselle de Perigord.’

‘Your age?’

‘Twenty.’

’You are very thin and your elbows are red.  My God, Madame Boismaison, are we never to see anything but this same grey gown and the red turban with the diamond crescent?’

‘I have never worn it before, sire?’

’Then you had another the same, for I am weary of the sight of it.  Let me never see you in it again.  Monsieur de Remusat, I make you a good allowance.  Why do you not spend it?’

‘I do, sire.’

’I hear that you have been putting down your carriage.  I do not give you money to hoard in a bank, but I give it to you that you may keep up a fitting appearance with it.  Let me hear that your carriage is back in the coach-house when I return to Paris.  Junot, you rascal, I hear that you have been gambling and losing.’

‘The most infernal run of luck, sire,’ said the soldier, ’I give you my word that the ace fell four times running.’

’Ta, ta, you are a child, with no sense of the value of money.  How much do you owe?’

‘Forty thousand, sire.’

’Well, well, go to Lebrun and see what he can do for you.  After all, we were together at Toulon.’

‘A thousand thanks, sire.’

’Tut!  You and Rapp and Lasalle are the spoiled children of the army.  But no more cards, you rascal!  I do not like low dresses, Madame Picard.  They spoil even pretty women, but in you they are inexcusable.  Now, Josephine, I am going to my room, and you can come in half an hour and read me to sleep.  I am tired to-night, but I came to your salon, since you desired that I should help you in welcoming and entertaining your guests.  You can remain here, Monsieur de Laval, for your presence will not be necessary until I send you my orders.’

And so the door closed behind him, and with a long sigh of relief from everyone, from the Empress to the waiter with the negus, the friendly chatter began once more, with the click of the counters and the rustle of the cards just as they had been before he came to help in the entertainment.

CHAPTER XVI

THE LIBRARY OF GROSBOIS

And now, my friends, I am coming to the end of those singular adventures which I encountered upon my arrival in France, adventures which might have been of some interest in themselves had I not introduced the figure of the Emperor, who has eclipsed them all as completely as the sun eclipses the stars.  Even now, you see, after all these years, in an old man’s memoirs, the Emperor is still true to his traditions,

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Uncle Bernac from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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