In fact, the unknown spoke with that impetuosity which is the principal character of English accentuation, even among men who speak the French language with the greatest purity.
“As monsieur is a foreigner, I say, it is perhaps he who does not catch my exact meaning. I wish for monsieur to give up one or two of the apartments he occupies, which would diminish his expenses and ease my conscience. Indeed, it is hard to increase unreasonably the price of the chambers, when one has had the honor to let them at a reasonable price.”
“How much does the hire amount to since yesterday?”
“Monsieur, to one louis, with refreshments and the charge for the horse.”
“Very well; and that of to-day?”
“Ah! there is the difficulty. This is the day of the king’s arrival; if the court comes to sleep here, the charge of the day is reckoned. From that it results that three chambers, at two louis each, make six louis. Two louis, monsieur, are not much; but six louis make a great deal.”
The unknown, from red, as we have seen him, became very pale.
He drew from his pocket, with heroic bravery, a purse embroidered with a coat-of-arms, which he carefully concealed in the hollow of his hand. This purse was of a thinness, a flabbiness, a hollowness, which did not escape the eye of Cropole.
The unknown emptied the purse into his hand. It contained three double louis, which amounted to the six louis demanded by the host.
But it was seven that Cropole had required.
He looked, therefore, at the unknown, as much as to say, “And then?”
“There remains one louis, does there not, master hotelier?”
“Yes, monsieur, but — "
The unknown plunged his hand into the pocket of his haut-de-chausses, and emptied it. It contained a small pocket-book, a gold key, and some silver. With this change, he made up a louis.
“Thank you, monsieur,” said Cropole. “It now only remains for me to ask whether monsieur intends to occupy his apartments to-morrow, in which case I will reserve them for him; whereas, if monsieur does not mean to do so, I will promise them to some of the king’s people who are coming.”
“That is but right,” said the unknown, after a long silence; “but as I have no more money, as you have seen, and as I yet must retain the apartments, you must either sell this diamond in the city, or hold it in pledge.”
Cropole looked at the diamond so long, that the unknown said, hastily:
“I prefer your selling it, monsieur; for it is worth three hundred pistoles. A Jew — are there any Jews in Blois? — would give you two hundred or a hundred and fifty for it — take whatever may be offered for it, if it be no more than the price of your lodging. Begone!”
“Oh! monsieur,” replied Cropole ashamed of the sudden inferiority which the unknown reflected upon him by this noble and disinterested confidence, as well as by the unalterable patience opposed to so many suspicions and evasions. “Oh, monsieur, I hope people are not so dishonest at Blois as you seem to think; and that the diamond, being worth what you say — "