“You must bring him again, Quintin,” the Countess said, as they took their leave of her.
“Some day, perhaps,” said M. de Kercadiou vaguely, and swept his godson out.
In the carriage he asked him bluntly of what madame had talked.
“She was very kind — a sweet woman,” said Andre-Louis pensively.
“Devil take you, I didn’t ask you the opinion that you presume to have formed of her. I asked you what she said to you.”
“She strove to point out to me the error of my ways. She spoke of great things that I might do — to which she would very kindly help me — if I were to come to my senses. But as miracles do not happen, I gave her little encouragement to hope.”
“I see. I see. Did she say anything else?”
He was so peremptory that Andre-Louis turned to look at him.
“What else did you expect her to say, monsieur my godfather?”
“Then she fulfilled your expectations.”
“Eh? Oh, a thousand devils, why can’t you express yourself in a sensible manner that a plain man can understand without having to think about it?”
He sulked after that most of the way to the Rue du Hasard, or so it seemed to Andre-Louis. At least he sat silent, gloomily thoughtful to judge by his expression.
“You may come and see us soon again at Meudon,” he told Andre-Louis at parting. “But please remember — no revolutionary politics in future, if we are to remain friends.”
One morning in August the academy in the Rue du Hasard was invaded by Le Chapelier accompanied by a man of remarkable appearance, whose herculean stature and disfigured countenance seemed vaguely familiar to Andre-Louis. He was a man of little, if anything, over thirty, with small bright eyes buried in an enormous face. His cheek-bones were prominent, his nose awry, as if it had been broken by a blow, and his mouth was rendered almost shapeless by the scars of another injury. (A bull had horned him in the face when he was but a lad.) As if that were not enough to render his appearance terrible, his cheeks were deeply pock-marked. He was dressed untidily in a long scarlet coat that descended almost to his ankles, soiled buckskin breeches and boots with reversed tops. His shirt, none too clean, was open at the throat, the collar hanging limply over an unknotted cravat, displaying fully the muscular neck that rose like a pillar from his massive shoulders. He swung a cane that was almost a club in his left hand, and there was a cockade in his biscuit-coloured, conical hat. He carried himself with an aggressive, masterful air, that great head of his thrown back as if he were eternally at defiance.
Le Chapelier, whose manner was very grave, named him to Andre-Louis.
“This is M. Danton, a brother-lawyer, President of the Cordeliers, of whom you will have heard.”