While Ursula was playing variations on Weber’s “Last Thought” to her godfather, a plot was hatching in the Minoret-Levraults’ dining-room which was destined to have a lasting effect on the events of this drama. The breakfast, noisy as all provincial breakfasts are, and enlivened by excellent wines brought to Nemours by the canal either from Burgundy or Touraine, lasted more than two hours. Zelie had sent for oysters, salt-water fish, and other gastronomical delicacies to do honor to Desire’s return. The dining-room, in the center of which a round table offered a most appetizing sight, was like the hall of an inn. Content with the size of her kitchens and offices, Zelie had built a pavilion for the family between the vast courtyard and a garden planted with vegetables and full of fruit-trees. Everything about the premises was solid and plain. The example of Levrault-Levrault had been a warning to the town. Zelie forbade her builder to lead her into such follies. The dining-room was, therefore, hung with varnished paper and furnished with walnut chairs and sideboards, a porcelain stove, a tall clock, and a barometer. Though the plates and dishes were of common white china, the table shone with handsome linen and abundant silverware. After Zelie had served the coffee, coming and going herself like shot in a decanter,—for she kept but one servant, —and when Desire, the budding lawyer, had been told of the event of the morning and its probably consequences, the door was closed, and the notary Dionis was called upon to speak. By the silence in the room and the looks that were cast on that authoritative face, it was easy to see the power that such men exercise over families.