“How she adores him!” whispered the banker. “And yet I cannot judge of the effect that she has produced upon him.”
“Surely Mascarin will worm it all out of him to-morrow,” returned the doctor. “To-morrow the poor fellow will have his hands full, for there is to be a general meeting, when we shall hear all about Catenac’s ideas, and I shall be glad to know what Croisenois’s conduct will be when he knows what he is wanted for.”
It was growing late, and the guests began to drop off. Dr. Hortebise signalled to Paul, and they left the house together. According to the promise to her father, Flavia had acted her part so well, that Paul did not know whether he had made an impression or not.
Beaumarchef, when Mascarin called a general meeting of his associates, was in the habit of assuming his very best attire; for as he was often called into the inner office to answer questions, he was much impressed with the importance of the occasion. This time, however, the subordinate, although he had received due notice of the meeting, was still in his every-day dress. This discomposed him a good deal, though he kept muttering to himself that he meant no disrespect by it. Early in the morning he had been compelled to make up the accounts of two cooks, who, having obtained situations, were leaving the servants’ lodging-house. When this matter was completed, he had hoped for half an hour’s leisure. As he was crossing the courtyard, however, he fell in with Toto Chupin bringing in his daily report, which Beaumarchef thought would be what it usually was—a mere matter of form. He was, however, much mistaken; for though outwardly Toto was the same, yet his ideas had taken an entirely new direction; and when Beaumarchef urged him to look sharp, the request was received with a great deal of sullenness.
“I ain’t lost no time,” said he, “and have fished up a thing or two fresh; but before saying a word—”
He stopped, and seemed a little confused.
“Well, go on.”
“I want a fresh arrangement.”
Beaumarchef was staggered.
“Arrangement!” he echoed.
“Of course you can lump it if yer don’t like it,” said the boy. “Do you think as how I’m going to work like a horse, and not get a wink of sleep, just for a ‘thank ye, Chupin?’ No fear. I’m worth a sight more nor that.”
Beaumarchef flew into a rage.
“Then you are not worth a pinch of salt,” said he.
“All right, my cove.”
“And you are an ungrateful young villain to talk like this after all the kindness your master has shown you.”
Chupin gave a sarcastic laugh.
“Goodness!” cried he. “To hear you go on, one would think that the boss had ruined himself for my sake.”
“He took you out of the streets, and has given you a room ever since.”