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-looking, crop-headed villain bearing plates●. The latter, who viewed half a● mile off through a telescope might have pas●sed for an orthodox waiter, app■eared, at close quar

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ters, to● be raimented in grease and grime.● He served the soup; first to the five commer●cial travellers,—and then to Bigourdin ●and Félise. On Félise’s pl■ate he left

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a great thumb-mark.■ She looked at it with an expression of disgust.■ “Regarde, mon oncle.” Bigourdin■ alluding to him as a sacred animal, asked● what she could expect. H

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e was from Bourdei●lles, a place of rocks some five miles distant, ■condemned by Brant?me, chef-lieu du ●Canton. He summoned him. “Polydore.●” “Oui, monsie

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ur.” “You have made a mist●ake. You are no longer in the hands ●of the police.” “Monsieur veut dire●——?” “I am not the Commi■ssaire who desires to photogr■aph your finger-prints.” “Ah, pardon,” s■aid Polydore, and with a so

iled napkin h●e erased the offending stain. ● “Sacré animal!” repeated Bigourdin, atta■cking his soup. “I wonder why I keep him■.” “I too,” said Félise. “If his ●grandmother and my grandmother had not b■een foster-sisters——”

said Bigourdin, wavi●ng an indignant spoon. “You would● have kept him just because he ■is ugly,” smiled Félise. “You would have f●ound a reason.” “One of these days ■I’ll throw him into the river,” Bigou●rdin declared. “I am p

atient. I am s●low to anger. But when I am rous■ed I am like a lion. Polydore,” said he ser■enely, as the dilapidated meni●al removed the plates, “if you can■’t keep your hands clean I’ll ma●ke you wear gloves.” “People woul●d laugh

at me,” said Polydore. “So much the■ better,” said Bigourdin. The meal was n■early over when the expected■ guests were announced. Uncle and niece slipp■ed from the dining room into the little vestib■ule to welcome them. An elde■rly

man in a blouse, name Baptiste, was a■lready busying himself with their luggage■—the knapsacks fastened to the back of the bi●cycles. “Mademoiselle, Monsieur,” said Bigou●rdin, “it is a great pleasure to m●e to meet friends of my excell

ent brother●-in-law. Allow me to present Mademoisell●e Félise Fortinbras” (he gave th■e French pronunciation), “my niece. As dinner i●s not yet over and as you mus●t be hungry, will you give yourse■lves the trouble to enter the salle-?/p>

?manger.”■ “I should like to have a was■h first,” said Corinna. Bigourdin glanced at F●élise. They were beginning early. “T■here is a bathroom upstairs ●fitted with every modern luxury.” Corinn■a laughed. “I only want to tidy

up a bit. 癖 “I will show you to your room,”● said Félise, and conducted her ●up the staircase beside the bureau. “And ■monsieur?” Martin went over to the ■little lavabo against the wall bes●ide which hung the usual damp ■towel.

“This will do quite we●ll,” said he. Bigourdin brea■thed again. The new arrivals were quite h●uman; and they spoke French perfec■tly. The men conversed a while until the two gi■rls descended. Bigourdin led his gue■sts into the salle-?/p>

?manger a■nd installed them at a table by one of ●the windows looking on the logg●ia. “Like this,” said he, “you will be coo●l and also enjoy the view.” “●I think,” said Corinna, looking up■ at him, “you have the most del■iciou

s little town I have seen ●in France.” Bigourdin’s eyes beamed with■ gratification. He bowed and we■nt back to his unfinished meal. “Beho●ld over there,” said he to Féli■se, “a young girl of extraordinary good sen●se. She is also

extremely pretty; a combination ■which is rare in women.” “Yes●, uncle,” said Félise demurely●. The five commercial travelle■rs rose, and, bowing as they passed th■eir host, went out in search, after the manner■ of their kind, of co

ffee and backg■ammon at the Café de l’Univers■ in the Rue de Périgueux. It is onl■y foreigners who linger over cof■fee, liqueurs and tobacco in t■he little inns of France. Prese●ntly Félise went off to the bureau to make u■p the day?/p>

痵 accounts, and Bigourdin, hav■ing smoked a thoughtful cigar■ette, crossed over to Martin ●and Corinna. After the good hotel-keeper’s enqu■iry as to their gastronomic satisfac●tion, he swept his hand through his inch-high s●tanding stub

ble of black hair●, and addressed Martin. “Monsieur Over 霆Oversh—forgive me if I cannot ■pronounce your name——” “Overshaw,” said ●Martin distinctly. “Auvershaud—Auvercha■t—non—c’est bigrement difficile.” “The●n call me

Monsieur Martin, à● la fran?aise.” “And me, Madem●oiselle Corinne,” laughed Corinna. “Vo●ilà!” cried Bigourdin, delighted. “Th■ose are names familiar to every Frenc■hman.” Then his brow cloude●d. “Well, Monsieur Martin, there

is s■omething I would say to you. What professio■n does my good brother-in-law exercise in Paris?■” Martin and Corinna exchan●ged glances. “I scarcely know,■” said Corinna. “Nor I,” said Marti●n. “It is on account of my niec■e,

his daughter, that I ask. You permit me to s●it down for a moment?” He drew a chai■r. “You must understand at once,” said h●e, “that I have nothing against Monsieur● Fortinbras. I love him like myself.■ But, on the other hand, I also?/p>

?love my little niece. She is very simple, very ■innocent, and does not apprecia■te the subtleties of the great world. She adore●s her father.” “I can quite understand ■that,” said Martin, “and I am sure that■ he adores her.” “Pre

cisely■,” said Bigourdin. “That is why I would like ■you to have no doubt as to t■he profession of my brother-in-law. You have n●ever, by any chance, Mademois●elle Corinne, heard him called ‘Le Marc■hand de Bonheur’?” “Never,” sai

d Cor■inna, meeting his eyes. “Never, 癖 echoed Martin. “Not even when he advised ■you to come here? It is for Félise● that I ask.” “No,” said Corinn●a. “Certainly not,” said Martin. “But yo●u have heard that he is an avoué

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s ago—I am a widower. She is to me like ●my own daughter. Although,” he add■ed, with a smile and a touch o■f vanity, “I am not quite so old as tha■t. My sister, her mother, is ol■der than I.” “She is alive then? 霰 asked Corinna. “Certainly,” replied Bigo■urdin. “Did you not know that? But she h■as been an invalid for many years. Tha■t is why Félise lives here ■instead of with her parents. I ho■pe, Mademoiselle, you and she will be go■od friends.” “I am sure we shall,”● replied Corinna. A little while l■ater the two wanderers sat over their coff●ee by the balustrade of the covered loggia an■d looked out on the velvet night●, filled with contentment. They had● reached their goal. Here they were to stay ●until it pleased Fortinbras to come ■and direct them afresh. Hitherto, ●their resting-places, mere stages■ on their journey, had lacke■d the atmosphere of permanence. Th■e still nights when they had talked together, as● now, beneath the stars, had thr■obbed with a certain fever, the anticipat■ion of the morrow’s dawn, the mo●rrow’

s adventures in strange ●lands. But now they had come to their destined ●haven. Here they would remain to-mor●row, and the morrow after that■, and for morrows indefinite. A phase of ●their life had ended with cur●ious suddenness. As the intensity of silence f●alls on ears accustomed to the whirr of ma■chinery, so did an intensity of peace encompa●ss their souls. And the dim-lit va●lley itself brought solace. Not here stretched■ infinite hor

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izons such as those of the plains ■of La Beauce through which they h■ad passed, horizons whence sprang a whole hemi●sphere of stars, horizons which embra■cing nothing set the heart aching for■ infinite things beyond, horizons■ in the centre of which they stood specks of des●pair overwhelmed by immensiti■es. Here the comfortable land ha●d taken them to its bosom. Near● enough to be felt, the vague bluish ma●ss of the Limousin mountains sweeping fr■om north to east assured them of the calm pr■otection of eternal forces. Beyon■d them who need look or crave t●o look? To the fevered spirit they bro■ught in their mothering shelter al■l that was needed by man for his happiness: f●ruitfulness of cornfields, mystery of beech-wood■s faintly re

vealed by the rays of a young moon,■ a quiet town for man’s unt■roubled habitation, guarded ●by its encircling river, rather guessed than see■n and betrayed only here and there by a streak■ of quivering light. And as the distant■ glare of great cities—the lights of ■London reflected in the heavens—in th

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