“Oh, what a goose you are, my Jenny! That’s only a figure of speech in our business.”
“A fine business, then!”
“Well, but listen; if you talk all the time you’ll always be in the right.”
“I mean to be. Upon my word, you take things easy!”
“You don’t let me finish. I have taken under my protection a superlative idea,—a journal, a newspaper, written for children. In our profession, when travellers have caught, let us suppose, ten subscribers to the ‘Children’s Journal,’ they say, ’I’ve got ten Children,’ just as I say when I get ten subscriptions to a newspaper called the ‘Movement,’ ‘I’ve got ten Movements.’ Now don’t you see?”
“That’s all right. Are you going into politics? If you do you’ll get into Saint-Pelagie, and I shall have to trot down there after you. Oh! if one only knew what one puts one’s foot into when we love a man, on my word of honor we would let you alone to take care of yourselves, you men! However, if you are going away to-morrow we won’t talk of disagreeable things,—that would be silly.”
The coach stopped before a pretty house, newly built in the Rue d’Artois, where Gaudissart and Jenny climbed to the fourth story. This was the abode of Mademoiselle Jenny Courand, commonly reported to be privately married to the illustrious Gaudissart, a rumor which that individual did not deny. To maintain her supremacy, Jenny kept him to the performance of innumerable small attentions, and threatened continually to turn him off if he omitted the least of them. She now ordered him to write to her from every town, and render a minute account of all his proceedings.
“How many ‘Children’ will it take to furnish my chamber?” she asked, throwing off her shawl and sitting down by a good fire.
“I get five sous for each subscriber.”
“Delightful! And is it with five sous that you expect to make me rich? Perhaps you are like the Wandering Jew with your pockets full of money.”
“But, Jenny, I shall get a thousand ‘Children.’ Just reflect that children have never had a newspaper to themselves before. But what a fool I am to try to explain matters to you,—you can’t understand such things.”
“Can’t I? Then tell me,—tell me, Gaudissart, if I’m such a goose why do you love me?”
“Just because you are a goose,—a sublime goose! Listen, Jenny. See here, I am going to undertake the ‘Globe,’ the ‘Movement,’ the ‘Children,’ the insurance business, and some of my old articles Paris; instead of earning a miserable eight thousand a year, I’ll bring back twenty thousand at least from each trip.”
“Unlace me, Gaudissart, and do it right; don’t tighten me.”
“Yes, truly,” said the traveller, complacently; “I shall become a shareholder in the newspapers, like Finot, one of my friends, the son of a hatter, who now has thirty thousand francs income, and is going to make himself a peer of France. When one thinks of that little Popinot,—ah, mon Dieu! I forgot to tell you that Monsieur Popinot was named minister of commerce yesterday. Why shouldn’t I be ambitious too? Ha! ha! I could easily pick up the jargon of those fellows who talk in the chamber, and bluster with the rest of them. Now, listen to me:—