“To be sure! I hear and understand all about it. No need of your winking. Poor fellow! he was the support of his mother.”
“Alas! yes, sir—and it is the more distressing, as his father has but just returned from Russia, and his mother—”
“Here,” said Sleepinbuff, interrupting, and giving Mother Bunch a purse; “take this—all the expenses here have been paid beforehand—this is what remains of my last bag. You will find here some twenty-five or thirty Napoleons, and I cannot make a better use of them than to serve a comrade in distress. Give them to Agricola’s father; he will take the necessary steps, and to-morrow Agricola will be at his forge, where I had much rather he should be than myself.”
“Jacques, give me a kiss!” said the Bacchanal Queen.
“Now, and afterwards, and again and again!” said Jacques, joyously embracing the queen.
Mother Bunch hesitated for a moment; but reflecting that, after all, this sum of money, which was about to be spent in follies, would restore life and happiness to the family of Agricola, and that hereafter these very five hundred francs, when returned to Jacques, might be of the greatest use to him, she resolved to accept this offer. She took the purse, and with tearful eyes, said to him: “I will not refuse your kindness M. Jacques; you are so good and generous, Agricola’s father will thus at least have one consolation, in the midst of heavy sorrows. Thanks! many thanks!”
“There is no need to thank me; money was made for others as well as ourselves.”
Here, without, the noise recommenced more furiously than ever, and Ninny Moulin’s rattle sent forth the most doleful sounds.
“Cephyse,” said Sleepinbuff, “they will break everything to pieces, if you do not return to them, and I have nothing left to pay for the damage. Excuse us,” added he, laughing, “but you see that royalty has its duties.”
Cephyse deeply moved, extended her arms to Mother Bunch, who threw herself into them, shedding sweet tears.
“And now,” said she, to her sister, “when shall I see you again?”
“Soon—though nothing grieves me more than to see you in want, out of which I am not allowed to help you.”
“You will come, then, to see me? It is a promise?”
“I promise you in her name,” said Jacques; “we will pay a visit to you and your neighbor Agricola.”
“Return to the company, Cephyse, and amuse yourself with a light heart, for M. Jacques has made a whole family happy.”
So saying, and after Sleepinbuff had ascertained that she could go down without being seen by his noisy and joyous companions, Mother Bunch quietly withdrew, eager to carry one piece of good news at least to Dagobert; but intending, first of all, to go to the Rue de Babylone, to the garden-house formerly occupied by Adrienne de Cardoville. We shall explain hereafter the cause of this determination.