“In what pieces was your money?”
“Six bills of a hundred, ten tens and ten fives, sir!”
“Don’t you recollect anything about the pedlar?”
“I was certain I recollected him getting off, but Cuiller saw him later.”
“If Cuiller knew he took your purse why didn’t he wake you or stop him?”
“I don’t know, sir.”
“Cuiller is as much to blame as the pedlar.”
“You think so?” said the simple Bonhomme.
At sunset of the day before the Election, Chamilly came over very tired from the Institution and ordered tea to be brought out on the lawn. Little Breboeuf sat with them; the visiting politicians also; and last, least, and highly delighted at the honor, Francois Vadeboncoeur dit Le Brun. To-morrow is the election day.
“How do we stand, Zotique?” Chamilly asked, with some air of fatigue. Zotique’s duty of directing the actual carrying out of the campaign made him an authority on the “feel” of the constituency.
“Breboeuf will give you figures,” replied he, reticently, for the struggle had proved grave. The Cure had almost succeeded, so far, in keeping his vow.
“Eh bien, ma brebis?”
“From the lists as Zotique has marked them I compute a majority of 28.”
“Morbleu,—that’s not comfortable!” exclaimed a young editor, fond of old oaths.
“But these estimations of Mr. Genest’s prove surprisingly accurate,” explained Chamilly.
“A majority of 28, composed as follows:” Breboeuf continued; “Donnilliere, 83 to 44—majority 39; Petite Argentenaye, 96 to 47;—majority 49; St. Dominique, 11 to 19—majority 8; Misericorde, majority 47. Esneval.—”
Zotique spoke, and his eyes darkened energetically.
“I cannot guarantee you, Misericorde.”
All looked at each other. There was consternation.
“But surely Benoit has reported on that place,” said Chamilly.
“In my absence. He has met me as little as possible. But Cuiller was seen an hour ago entering the Circuit Court.”
“Traitors!” breathed de la Lande.
“I do not trust this American. Unless I was ever mistaken, he and Benoit are goods and effects of Libergent, and we must save Misericorde without letting those know, of perish. Let one go over; you cannot, and I cannot, nor any of the prominent, but let us send our Francois here, let him discover how it stands, and be back within two hours, so that we can work there, if needful, the rest of the night. This is the only salvation.”
“I will go,” cried Francois cheerfully, and picking up his hat, started rapidly away. Josephte came in at the gates as he was passing out; she bowed to him, and moved by us into the house, wrapped in the composure of one mourning at heart.