The mistress of the deceased pug, enraged at the somewhat unseasonable praises bestowed upon the Siberian, said to the orphans, “I will announce your arrival, wait for me an instant in the coach.”
So saying, she went with a rapid step towards the porch, and rang the bell. A woman, clad in a monastic garb, appeared at the door, and bowed respectfully to Mrs. Grivois, who addressed her in these few words, “I have brought you the two young girls; the orders of Abbe d’Aigrigny and the princess are, that they be instantly separated, and kept apart in solitary cells—you understand, sister—and subjected to the rule for impenitents.”
“I will go and inform the superior, and it will be done,” said the portress, with another bend.
“Now, will you come, my dear young ladies?” resumed Mrs. Grivois, addressing the two girls, who had secretly bestowed a few caresses upon Spoil sport, so deeply were they touched by his instinctive attachment; “you will be introduced to your relation, and I will return and fetch you in half an hour. Coachman keep that dog back.”
Rose and Blanche, in getting out of the coach, were so much occupied with Spoil-sport, that they did not perceive the portress, who was half hidden behind the little door. Neither did they remark, that the person who was to introduce them was dressed as a nun, till, taking them by the hand, she had led them across the threshold, when the door was immediately closed behind them.
As soon as Mrs. Grivois had seen the orphans safe into the convent, she told the coachman to leave the court-yard, and wait for her at the outer gate. The coachman obeyed; but Spoil-sport, who had seen Rose and Blanche enter by the little door, ran to it, and remained there.
Mrs. Grivois then called the porter of the main entrance, a tall, vigorous fellow and said to him: “Here are ten francs for you, Nicholas, if you will beat out the brains of that great dog, who is crouching under the porch.”
Nicholas shook his head, as he observed Spoil-sport’s size and strength. “Devil take me, madame!” said he; “’tis not so easy to tackle a dog of that build.”
“I will give you twenty francs; only kill him before me.”
“One ought to have a gun, and I have only an iron hammer.”
“That will do; you can knock him down at a blow.”
“Well, madame—I will try—but I have my doubts.” And Nicholas went to fetch his mallet.
“Oh! if I had the strength!” said Mrs. Grivois.
The porter returned with his weapon, and advanced slowly and treacherously towards Spoil-sport, who was still crouching beneath the porch. “Here, old fellow! here, my good dog!” said Nicholas striking his left hand on his thigh, and keeping his right behind him, with the crowbar grasped in it.
Spoil-sport rose, examined Nicholas attentively, and no doubt perceiving by his manner that the porter meditated some evil design, bounded away from him, outflanked the enemy, saw clearly what was intended, and kept himself at a respectful distance.