05AvAa

05AvAa

"I beg you to believe that this introduction is wholly unnecessary."Thus, the famous day having come, he told his usual Saturday guests,M. and Mme. Desciavettes, M. Chapelain, and old man Desormeaux:

"Eh, eh! I guess you are going to see a future son-in- law!"At nine o'clock, just as they had passed into the parlor, the soundof carriage-wheels startled the Rue St. Gilles.

"There he is!" exclaimed the cashier of the Mutual Credit.

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And, throwing open a window:

"Come, Gilberte," he added, "come and see his carriage and horses."She never stirred; but M. Desclavettes and M. Chapelain ran. It wasnight, unfortunately; and of the whole equipage nothing was visiblebut the two lanterns that shone like stars. Almost at the same timethe parlor-door flew open; and the servant, who had been properlytrained in advance, announced:

"Monsieur Costeclar."Leaning toward Mme. Favoral, who was seated by her side on the sofa,"A nice-looking man, isn't he? a really nice-looking man," whisperedMme. Desciavettes.

And indeed he really thought so himself. Gesture, attitude, smile,every thing in M. Costeclar, betrayed the satisfaction of self, andthe assurance of a man accustomed to success. His head, which wasvery small, had but little hair left; but it was artistically drawntowards the temples, parted in the middle, and cut short aroundthe forehead. His leaden complexion, his pale lips, and his dulleye, did not certainly betray a very rich blood; he had a great longnose, sharp and curved like a sickle; and his beard, of undecidedcolor, trimmed in the Victor Emmanuel style, did the greatest honorto the barber who cultivated it. Even when seen for the first time,one might fancy that he recognized him, so exactly was he like threeor four hundred others who are seen daily in the neighborhood ofthe Caf Riche, who are met everywhere where people run who pretendto amuse themselves, - at the bourse or in the bois; at the firstrepresentations, where they are just enough hidden to be perfectlywell seen at the back of boxes filled with young ladies withastonishing chignons; at the races; in carriages, where they drinkchampagne to the health of the winner.

He had on this occasion hoisted his best looks, and the full dressde rigueur - dress-coat with wide sleeves, shirt cut low in the neck,and open vest, fastened below the waist by a single button.

"Quite the man of the world," again remarked Mme. Desclavettes.

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M. Favoral rushed toward him; and the latter, hastening, met himhalf way, and, taking both his hands into his - "I cannot tell you,dear friend," he commenced, "how deeply I feel the honor you do mein receiving me in the midst of your charming family and yourrespectable friends."And he bowed all around during this speech, which he delivered inthe condescending tone of a lord visiting his inferiors.

"Let me introduce you to my wife," interrupted the cashier. And,leading him towards Mme. Favoral - "Monsieur Costeclar, my dear,"said he:" the friend of whom we have spoken so often."M. Costeclar bowed, rounding his shoulders, bending his lean formin a half-circle, and letting his arms hang forward.

"I am too much the friend of our dear Favoral, madame," he uttered,"not to have heard of you long since, nor to know your merits, andthe fact that he owes to you that peaceful happiness which he enjoys,and which we all envy him."Standing by the mantel-piece, the usual Saturday evening guestsfollowed with the liveliest interest the evolutions of the pretender.

Two of them, M. Chapelain and old Desormeaux, were perfectly ableto appreciate him at his just value; but, in affirming that he madehalf a million a year, M. Favoral had, as it were, thrown over hisshoulders that famous ducal cloak which concealed all deformities.

Without waiting for his wife's answer, M. Favoral brought hisprotege in front of Mlle. Gilberte.