“Turn out that beast,” said Mrs. Grivois, imperiously; “he frightens my dog, and may do him some harm.”
“Do not be afraid, madame,” replied Rose, with a smile; “Spoil-sport will do no harm, if he is not attacked.”
“Never mind!” cried Mrs. Grivois; “an accident soon happens. The very sight of that enormous dog, with his wolf’s head and terrible teeth, is enough to make one tremble at the injuries he might do one. I tell you to turn him out.”
Mrs. Grivois had pronounced these last words in a tone of irritation, which did not sound at all satisfactory in Spoil-sport’s ears; so he growled and showed his teeth, turning his head in the direction of the stranger.
“Be quiet, Spoil-sport!” said Blanche sternly.
A new personage here entered the room, and put an end to this situation, which was embarrassing enough for the two young girls. It was a commissionaire, with a letter in his hand.
“What is it, sir?” asked Mother Bunch.
“A very pressing letter from the good man of the house; the dyer below stairs told me to bring it up here.”
“A letter from Dagobert!” cried Rose and Blanche, with a lively expression of pleasure. “He is returned then? where is he?”
“I do not know whether the good man is called Dagobert or not,” said the porter; “but he is an old trooper, with a gray moustache, and may be found close by, at the office of the Chartres coaches.”
“That is he!” cried Blanche. “Give me the letter.”
The porter handed it to the young girl, who opened it in all haste.
Mrs. Grivois was struck dumb with dismay; she knew that Dagobert had been decoyed from Paris, that the Abbe Dubois might have an opportunity to act with safety upon Frances. Hitherto, all had succeeded; the good woman had consented to place the young girls in the hands of a religious community—and now arrives this soldier, who was thought to be absent from Paris for two or three days at least, and whose sudden return might easily ruin this laborious machination, at the moment when it seemed to promise success.
“Oh!” said Blanche, when she had read the letter. “What a misfortune!”
“What is it, then, sister?” cried Rose.
“Yesterday, half way to Chartres, Dagobert perceived that he had lost his purse. He was unable to continue his journey; he took a place upon credit, to return, and he asks his wife to send him some money to the office, to pay what he owes.”
“That’s it,” said the porter; “for the good man told me to make haste, because he was there in pledge.”
“And nothing in the house!” cried Blanche. “Dear me! what is to be done?”
At these words, Mrs. Grivois felt her hopes revive for a moment, they were soon, however, dispelled by Mother Bunch, who exclaimed, as she pointed to the parcel she had just made up: “Be satisfied, dear young ladies! here is a resource. The pawnbroker’s, to which I am going, is not far off, and I will take the money direct to M. Dagobert: in half an hour, at latest, he will be here.”