Zotique was mysterious, and in better humor. He supervised with determination, and seemed to know how to calculate the exact effect of everything. Breboeuf was marvellously transformed into a little flying spider, running backwards and forwards strengthening Haviland’s web. The Honorable seemed to act slowly, but really with deliberation and effect, remarking neglected points, and himself seeing that certain “weak ones” were brought to the right side of the poll. The schoolmaster was away haranguing the back parishes. For the Blue side, Picault and Grandmoulin appeared but once on the scene, but the energy of Ross de Bleury was astonishing. Cajoling, ordering, opening bottles aside and treating, volubly greeting everybody in his strong voice all day, he seemed to have raised supporters for his party of whom no one would have dreamt except Zotique; but the little closet up in the attic satisfied the requirements of strict logic.
Haviland had added the fatigues of the last night to weeks of wearing labor, with consequences at length upon his fund of spirits, and also plainly on his face. He felt, like Grandmoulin, that his battle was principally with De la Lande in the back of the county, cheering up his ranks.
About two o’clock Zotique drove over to Misericorde alone. He did not return for an hour and a half, and when he did, his expression had altered to one of decided triumph, though still mysterious and silent Zotique, in fact, the evening before, when he drove to Misericorde in Josephte’s little gig, found what he had suspected to be the truth, that Benoit and Spoon had bought every vote of the hamlet; and paid for them, in the interest of Libergent; but he still believed it possible,—Benoit being incapacitated, and Spoon, he felt sure, not likely to turn up—to bend this plastic material the other way with the same tool, and casting, therefore, aside all delicate distinctions, he succeeded, by a reasonable hour in the evening, in obtaining once more the adhesion of the hotellier and most of the population, giving—for he had no Government funds like his opponents—his own personal notes for the amounts, and enjoining on the tavern-keeper to have the whole of the suffrages polled early. This was all he could do, as it was impossible for him to be present on the morrow, or to delegate any other person of Haviland’s circle. His remaining anxiety was removed, when, on driving over, his investigations proved that the arrangement had been fully completed.
De Bleury only got the news in the morning, and Picault, who immediately hurried over at his suggestion, found himself too late, and his carefully prepared representation that “promissory notes representing an immoral compact were invalid” was of no use, while his invitation of the crowd to ‘whiskeyblanc’ only produced useless condolences. “C’est dommage, monsieur. If we could have known.” He was not altogether displeased, however, to find what he considered the inevitable hole in Chamilly’s professions of purity, and meeting the latter driving just outside the place, he wheeled his horse across the road and compelled an interview.