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Émile Gaboriau
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 483 pages of information about Within an Inch of His Life.

VIII.

“What can have happened to Dionysia, that she does not come back?” murmured Grandpapa Chandore, as he walked up and down the Square, and looked, for the twentieth time, at his watch.  For some time the fear of displeasing his grandchild, and of receiving a scolding, kept him at the place where she had told him to wait for her; but at last it was too much for him, and he said,—­

“Upon my word, this is too much!  I’ll risk it.”

And, crossing the road which separates the Square from the houses, he entered the long, narrow passage in the house of the sisters Mechinet.  He was just putting his foot on the first step of the stairs, when he saw a light above.  He distinguished the voice of his granddaughter, and then her light step.

“At last!” he thought.

And swiftly, like a schoolboy who hears his teacher coming, and fears to be caught in the act, he slipped back into the Square.  Dionysia was there almost at the same moment, and fell on his neck, saying,—­

“Dear grandpapa, I bring you back your bonds,” and then she rained a shower of kisses upon the old gentleman’s furrowed cheeks.

If any thing could astonish M. de Chandore, it was the idea that there should exist in this world a man with a heart hard, cruel, and barbarous enough, to resist his Dionysia’s prayers and tears, especially if they were backed by twenty thousand francs.  Nevertheless, he said mournfully,—­

“Ah!  I told you, my dear child, you would not succeed.”

“And you were mistaken, dear grandpapa, and you are still mistaken; for I have succeeded!”

“But—­you bring back the money?”

“Because I have found an honest man, dearest grandpapa,—­a most honorable man.  Poor fellow, how I must have tempted his honesty!  For he is very much embarrassed, I know it from good authority, ever since he and his sisters bought that house.  It was more than comfort, it was a real fortune, I offered him.  Ah! you ought to have seen how his eyes brightened up, and how his hands trembled, when he took up the bonds!  Well, he refused to take them, after all; and the only reward he asks for the very good service which he is going to render us”—­

M. de Chandore expressed his assent by a gesture, and then said,—­

“You are right, darling:  that clerk is a good man, and he has won our eternal gratitude.”

“I ought to add,” continued Dionysia, “that I was ever so brave.  I should never have thought that I could be so bold.  I wish you had been hid in some corner, grandpapa, to see me and hear me.  You would not have recognized your grandchild.  I cried a little, it is true, when I had carried my point.”

“Oh, dear, dear child!” murmured the old gentleman, deeply moved.

“You see, grandpapa, I thought of nothing but of Jacques’s danger, and of the glory of proving myself worthy of him, who is so brave himself.  I hope he will be satisfied with me.”

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