“M. Jansoulet’s carriage!”
Everybody turned round, but, as one knows, that did not embarrass him. And while the good Nabob, waiting for his suite, stood posing a little amid these fashionable and famous people, this mixed tout Paris which was there, with its every face bearing a well-known name, a nervous and well-gloved hand was stretched out to him, and the Duc de Mora, on his way to his brougham, threw to him, as he passed, these words, with that effusion which happiness gives to the most reserved of men:
“My congratulations, my dear deputy.”
It was said in a loud voice, and every one could hear it: “My dear deputy.”
There is in the life of all men one golden hour, one luminous peak, whereon all that they can hope of prosperity, joy, triumph, waits for them and is given into their hands. The summit is more or less lofty, more or less rugged and difficult to climb, but it exists equally for all, for powerful and humble alike. Only, like that longest day of the year on which the sun has shone with its utmost brilliance, and of which the morrow seems a first step towards winter, this summum of human existences is but a moment given to be enjoyed, after which one can but redescend. This late afternoon of the first of May, streaked with rain and sunshine, thou must forget it not, poor man—must fix forever its changing brilliance in thy memory. It was the hour of thy full summer, with its flowers in bloom, its fruits bending their golden boughs, its ripe harvests of which so recklessly thou wast plucking the corn. The star will now pale, gradually growing more remote and falling, incapable ere long of piercing the mournful night wherein thy destiny shall be accomplished.
Great festivities last Saturday in the Place Vendome. In honour of his election, M. Bernard Jansoulet, the new deputy for Corsica, gave a magnificent evening party, with municipal guards at the door, illumination of the entire mansion, and two thousand invitations sent out to fashionable Paris.
I owed to the distinction of my manners, to the sonority of my vocal organ, which the chairman of the board had had occasion to notice at the meetings at the Territorial Bank, the opportunity of taking part in this sumptuous entertainment, at which, for three hours, standing in the vestibule, amid the flowers and hangings, clad in scarlet and gold, with that majesty peculiar to persons who are rather generously built, and with my calves exposed for the first time in my life, I launched, like a cannon-ball, through the five communicating drawing-rooms, the name of each guest, which a glittering beadle saluted every time with the “bing” of his halberd on the floor.