The Jew bowed, but without answering.
“Are you deaf, my good fellow?” cried the clerk, close to his ears.
“No, sir,” said Samuel, with a quiet smile, as he advanced several steps beyond the passage. Then pointing to the old house, he added: “That, sir, is the door which you will have to open; you will also have to remove the lead and iron from the second window to the right.”
“Why not open all the windows?” asked the clerk.
“Because, sir, as guardian of this house, I have received particular orders on the subject.”
“Who gave you these orders?”
“My father, sir, who received them from his father, who transmitted them from the master of this house. When I cease to have the care of it, the new proprietor will do as he pleases.”
“Oh! very well,” said the clerk, not a little surprised. Then, addressing himself to the masons, he added: “This is your business, my fine fellows; you are to unwall the door, and remove the iron frame-work of the second window to the right.”
Whilst the masons set to work, under the inspection of the notary’s clerk, a coach stopped before the outer gate, and Rodin, accompanied by Gabriel, entered the house in the Rue Saint-Francois.
Samuel opened the door to Gabriel and Rodin.
The latter said to the Jew, “You, sir, are the keeper of this house?”
“Yes, sir,” replied Samuel.
“This is Abbe Gabriel de Rennepont,” said Rodin, as he introduced his companion, “one of the descendants of the family of the Renneponts.”
“Happy to hear it, sir,” said the Jew, almost involuntarily, struck with the angelic countenance of Gabriel—for nobleness and serenity of soul were visible in the glance of the young priest, and were written upon his pure, white brow, already crowned with the halo of martyrdom. Samuel looked at Gabriel with curiosity and benevolent interest; but feeling that this silent contemplation must cause some embarrassment to his guest, he said to him, “M. Abbe, the notary will not be here before ten o’clock.”
Gabriel looked at him in turn, with an air of surprise, and answered, “What notary, sir?”
“Father d’Aigrigny will explain all this to you,” said Rodin, hastily. Then addressing Samuel, he added, “We are a little before the time. Will you allow us to wait for the arrival of the notary?”
“Certainly,” said Samuel, “if you please to walk into my house.”
“I thank you, sir,” answered Rodin, “and accept your offer.”
“Follow me, then, gentlemen,” said the old man.
A few moments after, the young priest and the socius, preceded by Samuel, entered one of the rooms occupied by the latter, on the ground-floor of the building, looking out upon the court-yard.
“The Abbe d’Aigrigny, who has been the guardian of M. Gabriel, will soon be coming to ask for us,” added Rodin; “will you have the kindness, sir to show him into this room?”