The speaker was soon convinced that no amount of cool waiting would prevail. He did, therefore, what was a more keenly effective continuation of his sentence than any words,—raised his finger and pointed it steadily for a few moments at the Cure, and then withdrew.
For many a day the story of Quinet and the bells was told in Dormilliere.
During the addresses, Libergent, Chamilly’s nominal opponent, seemed to do nothing more than stand behind the rostrum and let things proceed. Libergent, lawyer, was a man of a shrewd low order of ability. About forty years of age and medium height, his compact, athletic physique, partly bald head, small but well rounded skull, close iron-grey hair and moustache would have made him a perfect type of the French military man, were it not for a sort of stoop of determination, which, however, added to his appearance of athletic alertness, while it took away much dignity. The expression of his face was not bad. The decided droop of the corners of the mouth, and hardness of his grey-brown eyes indicated, it is true, a measure of irritability, but on the whole, the objectionable element of the expression was only that of a man who was accustomed to measure all things on the scale of common-place personal advantage. His life was not belied by his appearance. He found his chief pleasures in fishing, and shooting, and kept a trotter of rapid pace. His quarters were comfortable in the sense of the smoker and sportsman. When he did not wear an easier costume for convenience, his shining hat and broad-cloth coat would have been the envy of many a city confrere. He lived a very moderate, regular life: now and then took a little liquor with a friend, but always with some sage remark against excess; made himself for the most part a reasonable and sufficiently agreeable companion; and had no higher tastes, unless a collection of coins, well mounted and arranged and at times added to, may claim that title. He therefore considered Haviland stark mad in spending so much money and brains upon nonsense; and the subject made him testy when he reviewed his refusal to accept some arrangement by which they could share the local political advantages between them.
“Politics is a sphere of business like any other,” he said. “Haviland is doing the injury to himself and me that a theorist in business always does. He makes himself a cursed nuisance.”
Fiercely the election stirred the energies of Dormilliere. For more than a generation, enthusiasm for political contest had been a local characteristic; but now the feelings of the village,—as pronounced and hereditary a “Red” stronghold, as Vincennes across the river was hereditarily “Blue,”—may be likened only to the feeling of the Trojans at the famous siege of Troy. Their Seigneur was the Hector, and their strand beheld debarking against it the boldest pirates of the French-Canadian Hellas.