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learn her. But the first thing, Madame, I make haste to throw myself your feet and squeeze your
hand. Agree, Madame, the respectuous homages of your obeying server,
" PASCAL PERROTAN.
6. One thousand remembers of my part to the
This letter, superscribed as above, he sent to the post-office by a porter who was sufficiently skilled in polite literature to be able to grin at the direction, and sufficiently kind-hearted to wish that he or she, whoever it was meant for, "might get it,”-a phrase in great vogue just then, which, popularly understood, detracted rather from the porter's claim to benevolence of disposition.
It was not Monsieur Perrotin's intention to wait for Mrs. Scrope's answer, his object in writing being merely to herald his own approach. He had found out, by dint of much hammering at the Ganymede of the Blue Posts, that there was a night-coach for London, and he forthwith secured a place outside. With the amount of the fare and his bill at the inn, Monsieur Perrotin's Three-pound-five was reduced by at least onehalf. He stormed a good deal at the price of his dinner and the charge for a broken glass, and then it was the waiter discovered the meaning which Monsieur Perrotin attached to the word “
“sheep." “ You should have spoke out like a man,” he said, " and not have chattered in gibberish as no onecan't unde rstand, if you wanted me to know you meant to dine here cheap. Roast mutton's a precious sight too good for anybody as is mean enough for to go and offer a waiter three-halfpence, and them French ones, not worth nothing, most likely. Keep 'em yourself, you'll want 'em afore you've done."
This growling farewell accompanied Monsieur Perrotin all the way to the door of the Blue Posts, from whence the Telegraph set out for London. He climbed up to a seat behind the coachman, where he was conspicuous enough to be recognised on the road by the three young gentlemen of the Powerful, as they galloped back from Portsdown fair. Luckily for him they had no oranges in their pockets, but they favoured him, as they rode by, with a shower of nuts and the vociferous salutation of “ Bonsoir, Johnny Crappo.” Monsienr Perrotin did not smile on this occasion, for he could not resist the conclusion that the greeting thus bestowed was not intended for a compliment. But he was something of a philosopher, and being also very tired, he soon afterwards fell asleep, dipping and diving and very nearly falling off the coach at least twenty times in the course of the night." He, however, weathered that danger, partly by the strong instinct of self-preservation, partly by the assistance of a friendly hand, and eventually got down, safe and sound, at the sign of the White Bear in Piccadilly.
MONSIEUR PERROTIN FINDS A FRIEND, AND HEARS A LOVE STORY. ALONE. on the London pavement in the grey of the morning, with his little bundle tightly grasped in his hand, Monsieur Perrotin looked round. inquiringly, uncertain whither to bend his steps. Two or three passengers by the Telegraph had gone into the hotel, but the French traveller, remembering his scanty purse and the charges at the Blue Posts, hesitated to follow their example.
While he lingered, a tall, handsome, military-looking young man, who was waiting to have his luggage taken out of the coach, came up and addressed him: it was the owner of the friendly hand.
“ You seem to be a stranger, sir, in London," he said.
“Oh yas !" replied Monsieur Perrotin, “I am very strange. It is the first time of my life that I come here."
“And have you no acquaintance in this great city ?”
“ Yas, I have somm. Not a great many. But it is too soon to call to them, and where is their house I do not know.”
The young man smiled.
“ It is,” he said, “rather too early for a morning visit, and I am in the same predicament as yourself that is to say, about calling. I think you had better do as I do. I mean to put up here. It's not a bad house of its kind, and one is sure of getting something to eat. I don't know how you feel, but travelling all night outside the coach has made me very hungry. Do me the favour of breakfasting with me!"
There was something so off-hand and good-natured in this offer—which a rapid survey of Monsieur Perrotin's little bundle had suggested—that it was not to be resisted. The Teacher of Languages bowed, and said it should give him a great pleasure.
They were soon very comfortably seated at breakfast, and Monsieur Perrotin, who required little pressing, entered into the history of his adventures. He told his entertainer all that the reader knows, interspersed with various details, chiefly relating to the subject that was uppermost in his mind, the events of the three days of July. As an eye-witness of those events he had not very much to say, for the moment the firing began in the streets he shut himself up elose in his room, and never left it till all was over ; but this trifling circumstance did not prevent him from giving a very picturesque account of the revolution, mainly derived from his own scared imagination. His strongest point, however, was the manner in which he had effected his retreat from the blood-stained streets of Paris. It was a piece of strategy, as he described it, to which there was nothing comparable in the annals of retrograde movement. “ And
wife and family ?” asked his new friend, who took it for granted that a person of Monsieur Perrotin's appearance must be so accommodated. “Did they escape with you ?" “ I have not a wife,” replied Monsieur Perrotin—"not any
littel shild. I have only myself and my effects. It was not mosh to take,” he added, with a half-suppressed sigh,
The young man made a quick gesture as if about to say something,
but checked himself, and was silent for a few moments. At length he appeared to have made up his mind.
* I hope," he stammered, "you won't be offended at what I'm going to say, but perhaps you didn't bring much money with you. Now it's a hard thing to be driven out like that, and come to a strange country. If you happen to be short, I shall be very happy to lend you some."
He took out his purse as he spoke.
Monsieur Perrotin's eyes glistened, and the piece of toast he was in the act of swallowing very nearly choked him.
“You are a good person, sir,” he said, seizing the young stranger's hand, and closing it upon what it held. But, I thank you, no! It is not a great deal I have, but before that is gone I have hopes to get more. There is in London one very great lady whose daughters I have the honour to teach in Paris. Madame Scrop will give me to do when she know that here I am.”
At this name the young man changed colour, and asked where the lady lived.
Monsieur Perrotin had recourse to his pocket-book, and, spreading it wide open on the table, pointed to the entry he had made.
“ I can make nothing of this,” observed the youthful Amphitryon, repressing a strong desire to laugh at what he saw; “I never heard in all my life of Grinram Kipper.' And what on earth does • Shut' mean? I'll venture to say there's no such place in London !"
“Ah, but you must be mistake: my young lady have wrote it down herself. See !"
He took out a piece of paper and placed it beside his own copy.
The young man glanced at the writing and again changed colour. He bent his head over it, as if for the purpose of closer examination. When he looked up again, he said :
“ The mistake is yours. I believe I can make this out. • Mrs. Scrope' -we don't in England put · Esquire after a lady's name, that only belongs to gentlemen, (you observe it is not so in the original : “Mrs. Scrope, No. 64, Grosvenor'-yes, it certainly is Grosvenor-Upper Grosvenor'-only the word • Upper' has been added, to distinguish it from Lower'—and what you took for .Shut’ is · Street.' It's plain enough now. Lucky you had this to show. I defy the cleverest hackneycoachman in London to have found out the place by your description.”
Monsieur Perrotin's face lengthened. “But so I address
letterre to Madame Scrop." “Then it's fifty to one if she has received it. However, that don't so much matter, I suppose,
you have come here yourself. Do you know Mrs. Scrope well ?"
“Certainly I know her. Madame Scrop is one grand personage, but very kind for me.”
“ And-her-her daughters. You liked them ?”
“ It should be impossible not; all two of them are so equally good and handsom." 66 Which did
you admire most, now? Agatha or Edith ?” “How, then! You also are acquaint with those agreeable misses ?” “I-I-that is, I have met them frequently in society."
“Where you see them? Not in Paris ?”
“No-not in Paris. Mrs. Scrope was in the Isle of Wight this summer, after she came from abroad. I am quartered there with my regiment."
“ You are an officer, perhaps ?"
“Exactly. Here's my card. Lieutenant Walter Cobham, of the Rifle Brigade."
“Monsieur Cobham, I am very much oblige. Now I shall answer your question. It is the elderly sisterre I think the finest.”
“ Elderly! What do you mean? Edith Scrope is not elderly !" “ She is the old one. Not so ?”
Oh, I see! Yes, you're right in that respect. Edith is a year older than Agatha, but she'll be only eighteen the tenth of next month.'
“Ah, ha!” said Monsieur Perrotin, with a merry twinkle in his eye, “you know that !”
Lieutenant Walter Cobham blushed exceedingly,-a propensity he could no more get the better of, than he could conquer the eager frankness of his nature, which always led him to betray his closest secrets.
“ Monsieur Perrotin,” he said, “I haven't known you long”—the exact time was thirty-five minutes—" but I think I can trust you.
The Teacher of Languages placed bis hand on his heart, and, if the grateful expression for the more than civility which Walter Cobham had shown him might be relied on, the young man had not been
wrong in his hasty calculation.
“I'll tell you all about it, then, if you like to listen."
The speaker did, however, take the precaution of looking round him, to see if they were alone in the room, before he went on.
Having satisfied himself on this point, he continued:
“ The fact is, Monsieur Perrotin, Miss Scrope-that is, Edith-and myself are engaged. Only it's an odd business. No one knows anything about it but ourselves. You see the Isle of Wight is a great place for parties of pleasure, pic-nics, and all that sort of thing. Do you understand ?”
“Oh yas ! vary well. I have pique-nique myself with the family of Madame Scrop, in the forest of Montmorency. We had baudetsdonkeys, I think—and strawberries at the hermitage of Rousseau, where Miss Edith play on the piano of Grétry.”
have heard her play! Isn't it beautiful ? What a voice she has, too! I never heard anything like it-on the stage or off it. Well, I was telling you about our parties, sometimes in carriages, to one place or other, sometimes in boats, sailing round the island.”
“ On the sea !” exclaimed Monsieur Perrotin, with a shiver. mon Dieu! Quel triste plaisir !" “On the sea—of course," returned Walter Cobham.
" What can be more delightful !"
Monsieur Perrotin groaned.
“ Thrown together in this kind of way, wasn't it the most natural thing in the world that I should fall in love with Edith Scrope? It was at Carisbrooke Castle, in the ruins; I was helping her round the walls when I stopped and told her all about it. I asked her to have me. She didn't say .No,' and she didn't say · Yes'--not at first, at least, but
afterwards she consented. Only there was a difficulty in the way: she was afraid to tell her mother. I offered to go at once and speak to her, but Edith wouldn't let me. I know Mrs. Serope is very rich and very proud, and wants her daughters to marry men of rank and fortune, for that's what she is always saying: I know, too, I've neither one nor the other, but my father was a gentleman, and so am I, and people can live, if they like, on very little. I fancy if I was allowed the opportunity of speaking to Mrs. Scrope, I could make her hear reason."
Monsieur Perrotin smiled.
“ What, you think not! Ah, that's like Edith. Walter,' she said, in her very last letter, . I'm persuaded mamma won't listen to anything at present. She has very strong feelings—prejudices, perhaps, I must call them. We must wait for time to remove them. Now waiting is impossible, for my regiment is ordered out to Canada, and if I go abroad before we're married fifty things may happen. So I decided at once. The minute I received Edith's letter I went to the commanding officer, and asked for leave between the returns. He gave it me directly, and I started for town yesterday afternoon, to try and see her somehow. Now, what is
advice? How should you act in my position?" “ Shall you go see Madame Serop ?” “That's just what I should like. I see you agree with me.
I ought to go. But Edith won't hear of it. She says there would be an end of everything. She don't even want me to call, for fear of exciting her mother's suspicions, so what I must do is this : I must get Edith to meet me privately, and then we can come to a thorough understanding. Letters never say half enough, and I'm obliged to be very cautious in writing. I think it quite a godsend I met with you, and I'll tell you why. You wouldn't mind taking a note for me? I declare I should be so thankful! You'd be the best fellow in the world !"
Although Monsieur Perrotin had some difficulty in following the impetuous lover through all he said, he perfectly comprehended the nature of the service that was required of him. He was himself of an impressionable character, felt interested in the story he had heard, and was really grateful for the young officer's proffered kindness and positive hospitality. As a Frenchman, also, he did not see any great impropriety in abetting a love affair, and therefore very readily expressed his willingness to do what Walter Cobham requested. At his instance he also consented to remain at the hotel for the present, instead of seeking a lodging elsewhere.
With various conversation, in the course of which both Walter Cobham and Monsieur Perrotin went over a good deal of their former ground, love passages and scenes of terror alternating, the morning was oceupied until the hour arrived when the Teacher of Languages might reasonably hope to be admitted in Upper Grosvenor-street.
As Monsieur Perrotin did not, of course, know an inch of the way, Walter Cobham undertook to be his escort there and back: he accompanied him to within a short distance of Mrs. Scrope's house, and when he saw the door closed upon him, took up a position in the neighbourhood, and anxiously waited the result of the Frenchman's mission.