He did not reply, and as they heard the whistle of the train, he immediately began to kiss them all. When it came to Rosa’s turn, he tried to get to her mouth, which she, however, smiling with her lips closed, turned away from him each time by a rapid movement of her head to one side. He held her in his arms, but he could not attain his object, as his large whip, which he was holding in his hand and waving behind the girl’s back in desperation, interfered with his movements.
“Passengers for Rouen, take your seats!” a guard cried, and they got in. There was a slight whistle, followed by a loud whistle from the engine, which noisily puffed cut its first jet of steam, while the wheels began to turn a little with a visible effort, and Rivet left the station and ran along by the track to get another look at Rosa, and as the carriage passed him, he began to crack his whip and to jump, while he sang at the top of his voice:
My dimpled arms,
My nimble legs,
And vanished charms.”
And then he watched a white pocket-handkerchief, which somebody was waving, as it disappeared in the distance.
They slept the peaceful sleep of a quiet conscience, until they got to Rouen, and when they returned to the house, refreshed and rested, Madame Tellier could not help saying:
“It was all very well, but I was longing to get home.”
They hurried over their supper, and then, when they had put on their usual evening costume, waited for their regular customers, and the little colored lamp outside the door told the passers-by that Madame Tellier had returned, and in a moment the news spread, nobody knew how or through whom.
Monsieur Philippe, the banker’s son, even carried his friendliness so far as to send a special messenger to Monsieur Tournevau, who was in the bosom of his family.
The fish curer had several cousins to dinner every Sunday, and they were having coffee, when a man came in with a letter in his hand. Monsieur Tournevau was much excited; he opened the envelope and grew pale; it contained only these words in pencil:
“The cargo of cod has been found; the ship has come into port; good business for you. Come immediately.”
He felt in his pockets, gave the messenger two sons, and suddenly blushing to his ears, he said: “I must go out.” He handed his wife the laconic and mysterious note, rang the bell, and when the servant came in, he asked her to bring him has hat and overcoat immediately. As soon as he was in the street, he began to hurry, and the way seemed to him to be twice as long as usual, in consequence of his impatience.
Madame Tellier’s establishment had put on quite a holiday look. On the ground floor, a number of sailors were making a deafening noise, and Louise and Flora drank with one and the other, and were being called for in every direction at once.