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CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBERS, EDITORS OF CHAMBERS'S INFORMATION FOR
THE PEOPLE, CHAMBERS'S EDUCATIONAL COURSE,' &c.
deepest consideration, for they are connected with our DOMESTIC ACCOMPLISHMENTS.
social wellbeing in a variety of ways.
Business and The term accomplishments is so commonly applied to enjoyment should act and react on one another, as the 1 what are thought merely ornamental arts and graces, centripetal and centrifugal forces do in nature: we want
that the use of the sober word domestic in connection the one to give steadiness and stability to the life, the with it may excite some surprise. I commence my other to provide expansion for the feelings and venexplanation with an assertion that there are two kinds tilation for the mind. But for this latter purpose it is of utility—the one material, and the other spiritual; impossible to work much on a large scale; we must the one contributing to the sustenance of the bodily content ourselves, for the most part, with the resources existence, the other to the enrichment of our intellectual the family affords; and I, for one, am persuaded, that nature. Hence when we speak of objects of utility, it is if these were turned to better account, our social evils Darrowing the word to limit it to visible and tangible would be found to diminish both in number and extent. things. In one sense, that only is useful which is con- But for a wish to leave the reader sufficient interest vertible, in some form or other, into bread; in the other, to pursue the subject for himself, I might have gone that is of the first and highest utility which, whether or into the philosophy of amusements, as connected with not it advantage the body, serves to promote the well. morality, and shown how community of enjoyment being of the mind. If we turn to God's creation, we serves to bind men together in heart. Turning my shall find provision made for both ends, and this more back, however, on the theoretical side of the subject, richly than at first sight we may be able to perceive. I proceed to consider some of its leading particulars, Let us for a moment imagine a world into which only in the hope that an acquaintance with the simplicity of the lower kind of utility had entered, in order that we the necessary means may be a stimulus to our efforts may see how marvellously they have been blended in in the cause of social reformation. our own. Beginning with rain and dew, why might I would, in the first place, urge that whatever elegant not the earth have been sufficiently watered by a great acquirements we may chance to have made, instead black cloud, which should fill the heavens periodically of being reserved for rare occasions, should be suffered from zenith to horizon? Why might not the flowers to shed their softening influence on our every-day have fulfilled all their chemical functions without those existence. The prints should not be carefully kept delicately-veined petals, and the birds performed their out of sight of the children of the family, and turned appointed tasks without that dainty plumage and that over only for the benefit of the stranger; the pictures exquisite song? The outward form of this higher utility should not be curtained except when there is company; men have agreed to call beauty; but unhappily they or the piano be dumb because there is no one but have too often divorced it from the lower, with which, ourselves' to listen. There may be less triumph, but in nature, it is connected; and thus, on the one hand, there is surely equal if not greater happiness in singwe have utilitarians decrying all that cannot be turned ing by the fireside than in warbling in the saloon ; into pence; on the other, idle dilettanti, who imagine the and though the thanks of father or of brother be world to be a mere spectacle, and forget the saying of homely in expression, there is more sweetness in them St Paul, that “if a man will not work, neither shall he than in all the studied commonplaces of society. eat.' One of the great objects for which beauty wa A sadder sight can scarcely be conceived than that bestowed, was undoubtedly that it might be a means of of the spirit of dulness taking possession of the family uniting together those who are divided by motives of circle. We see it in the husband who, hour by hour, interest and gain. The essential principle of material gazes moodily at the fire; in the wife who occupies utility is exclusiveness, just as that of spiritual is herself with her mechanical employment, without seekcomprehensiveness and universality. Every vegetable ing to break the enchanted silence. Neither entertains I gather for my own table is one less to be given to the intention of injuring the other, and yet they are my neighbour ; whereas the greater the number of mutually defrauded of the happiness they ought to persons who can inhale the fragrance of my flower- enjoy. Both are conscious of an unsatisfied want, an garden, the more perfect my individual delight in the unfulfilled desire; and this influencing their manner same. Now the larger part of our daily life is a pro- without their being aware of it, the consequence is, that longed attempt to obtain those substantial benefits they become mutually repellent. Now what would which begin and end with ourselves ; and the inevitable have prevented them from subsiding into this state at tendency of this is to make us selfish and hard-natured, first, and what is most likely to rouse them from it ? unless some counteracting influence be set to work. Clearly something that would not only offer bodily Haring divided men by the necessities of daily labour, rest, but quiet and gentle excitement of mind; somewe must endeavour to reunite them by innocent re- thing that would remind them of the world of beauty laxations; and on this account amusements require the in which we dwell, and of the thousand objects of interest by which we are surrounded. Surely in nature perceived by many of its admirers : a sweet melody or art there must be something that would fix their binds all hearts together, as it were, with a golden cord; interest, if they could succeed in finding it out. But it makes the pulses beat in unison, and the hearts thrill the pleasures we desire to enjoy we must be at the with sympathy. But the music of the fireside must pains of making for ourselves.
be simple and unpretending; it does not require bril. In the domestic relationship there ought to be no liancy of execution, but tenderness of feeling—a merry selfishness. The pleasure of one should be the happi- tune for the young, and a more subdued strain for the ness of all; and this surely can be attained without aged, but none of the noisy clap-trap which is so popuunduly encroaching on individuality. Wives are some- lar in public. It is a mistake to suppose that to enjoy times heard to complain that their husbands do not music requires great cultivation; the degree of enjoy. talk to and confide in them; they leave them to mope ment will of course vary with our power of appreciation, and become nervish. This is undoubtedly true; but but like all other great influences, it is able to attract the husbands as frequently allege that it is no use even the ignorant; and this is what the poets taught pouring out their feelings to their wives, because they when they made Orpheus and his brethren the civilisers don't sympathise with them. Perhaps the misunder of the earth. Begin with simple airs, and you may standing arises from women not sufficiently compre- gradually ascend to the highest music, for the taste will hending that men have spirits to be cheered-hobbies, be formed at the same time that the mind is refreshed; it may be, requiring a degr of sympathy—faculties and those who begin with admiring only the simple which cannot brook being subdued, without danger to ballad of the nursery, will end with delighting in the the temper. Man, in short, 'cannot live on bread productions of the great masters of song. alone;' he needs something besides bodily comforts. A Much remains to be said with regard to music; wife of course is not without excuse; but granted that but my desire is to indicate rather than to amplify. I she has her express household duties, and also matters will therefore proceed to mention another domestic of some little moment to herself to attend to, would it accomplishment' to which I attach the highest valuenot be better that the new cap should go untrimmed, the power of reading aloud agreeably and well. Unor perhaps be finished by less skilful hands, than that happily this is very rare. For every three women who the being she has vowed to cherish' should come can sing, it would be difficult to find one who can be home ‘seeking rest, and finding none.' The common said to read well; that is, who so completely possesses idea with regard to rest is, that it consists of a bright herself of the meaning of a writer, as to be able to give fire, an easy-chair, and a comfortable pair of slippers ; us his thoughts in all their original freshness and force. and under this impression, when the husband has been Highly as I value music and singing, I do not know provided with tea and toast, he is considered to be whether reading is not, on the whole, more important; disposed of for the remainder of the evening. That for it may be made to include all tastes, and to suit all for a certain class of persons this suffices, I am ready times, and combines intellectual profit with spiritual to admit; but happily there are minds not so easily delight. The man who can sit by his own fireside to satisfied — minds for whom comfort is not synony- hear his favourite authors in the tones of a voice at mous with happiness, whose rest is found in change once familiar and dear, will feel little interest in public of employment rather than in idleness. Many of amusements, and little temptation from any kind or these read, and find interest for themselves; an in- species of excitement. And how the happiness that terest in which, unhappily, the wife is no partaker; follows is intensified to both by the fact of its being others seek abroad what is denied them at home, and enjoyed in common. It is blessed to be ministered to regard their own houses as places where they can be by those we love-more blessed than anything, save to boarded and lodged. That we are all disposed to seek minister. the causes of our failures anywhere rather than in our- And now let me anticipate one objection : that the selves, is a fact which no one will be hardy enough to foregoing remarks are addressed to certain classes, and deny. But for this unfortunate tendency, it might to those only; that they apply to people who are surhave been hoped that our mistakes would teach us wis- rounded by luxuries, and not to those who earn their dom; and that, seeing our present habits were unfavour- daily bread in the sweat of their brow. This arises able to domestic happiness, we should revise them, with from confounding the graceful and the costly, and a view to remedying what had been wrong. My own imagining that elegance presupposes wealth; whereas impression of the duty of the mistress of a family is, it is possible to see the highest refinement in those who that it is broader than it is commonly supposed to be, are destitute of all the luxuries of life. In cases where and extends to supplying not only the bodily, but also musical instruments are not within reach, we may the spiritual wants of its members. I conceive it to be modulate our own voices, and make them give forth incumbent on her, as far as possible, to bestow happi- sweet sounds; we may sing those simple strains which ness on all who belong to her circle ; and this applies require neither teaching nor skill, but which, if they peculiarly to him whose very existence is bound up come from one heart, are sure of finding their way to with her own. The care of the linen, and the control another. of the larder, too often stand in place of sympathy and On one side of the subject I have been altogether companionship; and sad as it is to hear it imputed to silent-not from having nothing to say, but a great men that they care principally for dinner, can it be deal too much : this is the importance of domestic wondered at if it is the only thing they can make sure accomplishments' with reference to education and of getting ?
the training of the young. My reader must consider Every woman who has an aptitude for music or for this question for bimself, or for herself, for to women singing, sliould bless God for the gift, and cultivate it my thoughts are specially addressed. Would I could with diligence; not that she may dazzle strangers, convince them that their life is a beautiful and a happy or win applause from a crowd, but that she may one, if they will but study its meaning, and carry out bring gladness to her own fireside. The influence of its requirements! Has it not been given to us to infuse music in strengthening the affections is far from being into the cup of life a large portion of its sweetness, and to lighten the labours undertaken on our behalf? on the table, bade M. Hyacinthe pay himself for the May these duties be better fulfilled as the years advance, first month's rent, and keep the change until another and may our sympathy be yielded with that cordial month was up. Without giving M. Hyacinthe time to alacrity which is its greatest charm! Above all, may remonstrate, he proceeded to inform him that he could none of the frivolities of fashion or of custom be suffered apply to Madame Sébillard, his present landlady, for to obscure the brightness of our domestic happiness!
references, but that, as he hated hypocrisy, he would give him his character himself; and in order to do
this with due comfort, he composedly sat down on the THE MYSTERIOUS LODGER.
bed. MONSIEUR HYACINTHE Was a quiet middle-aged widower real name? That is of no consequence. My father is
My name,' he began, 'is Henri Renaudin. Is it my of retired habits, and an exceedingly cautious and timid rich : I might live in his hotel if I liked ; but there is a disposition. It was one of his firmly-rooted beliefs that stepmother in the way, and I wish to be free. Still you the whole world was in a kind of league to oppress him, will say—Why come to a poor place like this? I lave and defraud him of his rights—a feeling which pre- private reasons for doing so; but to satisfy you, we will vented him from agreeing with any one, from his im- say a whim brought me hither, or rather let it be the portant and stately landlord, Monsieur Moreau, down wish of studying human nature in all its infinite to his sharp-tempered portress, Madame Latour.
variety;' and as though pleased with this euphonious Owing to this peculiarity, M. Hyacinthe resided alone sentence, M. Renaudin repeated it several times in a
complacent tone. in a small apartment on the third floor of a quiet house
M. Hyacinthe here wanted to slip in a remark; but in a retired neighbourhood. As he kept no servant, he the other was too quick for him. I know what you are had economically resolved to underlet, furnished, a small going to say-Does my father allow me much? No; servants' room on the fourth floor, which belonged to but I make him pay the same tailor's bills two or three his apartment. This room was still to be let, when, on times over : I never pay my tailor myself; it is really a winter's evening several years ago, M. Hyacinthe, too shabby,' added M. Renaudin, with profound conafter putting on his nightcap, and settling himself tempt for the meanness of such an act. You need not
speak,' he continued, seeing that M. Hyacinthe was comfortably by the fireside, opened his newspaper, in opening his mouth ; 'I know what you are going to order to read the continuation of some fearful tale say--How do I get money? The easiest thing in the which it contained; for, like most timid individuals, world : I have already spent three fortunes, of which I he delighted in the sad and the horrible. He had not never touched a sou. My mother's fortune was the read a line, however, when he was disturbed by a first. Oh, no! now I think of it, it was my cousin's knock at the door. His first thought was of thieves; five hundred thousand francs that went first. Ah! then it occurred to him that the knock, which was now they are all gone. Then came my mother's propertyrepeated, might proceed from a visitor. It was not until gone too : and my old uncle's fortune is going now. He a third impatient knock was heard that M. Hyacinthe is still alive, but he has made a will in my favour, so suddenly recollected that the individual at the door that I live on my future expectations. You seem astomight be a future lodger. No sooner had this thought nished: it is very easy : I can put you in the way: impressed itself on his mind, than, snatching up a light, borrow money at the rate of two or three hundred per and entirely forgetting his nightcap, he precipitately cent., spend it, give parties, and so forth; you will find rushed to open the door. A pale, slender, fair-haired that a moderate fortune does not last much more than young man, about twenty, but whose manners were a year. But you look economical: well, then, let us say very cool and self-possessed, was standing on the dark eighteen months, if you wish to see old Isaac.' landing. He was showily dressed, and smelt very * Thank you, sir, precipitately interrupted M. Hyastrongly of Eau de Cologne; the thumb of his left hand cinthe:‘you were speaking about your character?' was placed in the corresponding waistcoat pocket; in • You are welcome to it. In the first place, I am a the other hand he held a small and flexible badine. dreadful gambler and a fearful spendthrift. I delight in
*Well, sir,' said he, frowning on M, Hyacinthe, as throwing money out of the windows, and seeing the much as his very smooth forehead and eyebrows would people rush and fight for it. Does this window look out allow him to frown, do you know that I have knocked on the street? No: ah, sorry for it. Never mind, we five times at your door?'
shall find an opportunity. I see you are greatly shocked; I protest, sir,' stammered forth M. Hyacinthe, 'I can't help it, my dear sir-family failing—my mother only heard three knocks.'
was a charming woman, but very extravagant, yet • Then, sir,' sternly observed the stranger, “it was greatly admired by the other sex; and to say the truth, exceedingly impertinent in you not to open sooner. I believe that I have also inherited this peculiarityYou have a room to let-show it to me!'
that is to say, reversed; but I hate vanity, so we will But M. Hyacinthe, who disliked his authoritative drop the subject. Well, I think you have my character tone, promptly replied that the room was no longer to correctly now. Stop, I was forgetting one very remarkbe let.
able peculiarity: I am dreadfully violent, a famous On hearing this the stranger betrayed great indig- duellist, and when excited, would no more mind thrownation. Why was there a bill up? Did he think ing you out of the window than I would the smoking of gentlemen were to grope up dark stairs, and knock at a cigar;' and as an apt illustration of this happy comdoors, to be made fools of? He should insist on seeing parison, M. Renaudin drew a cigar from his cigar-case, the room !
and lighting it from the candle held by M. Hyacinthe, M. Hyacinthe protested, but the stranger was peremp- began smoking it with great composure. tory; and as it was one of his, M. Hyacinthe's, maxims, Sir,' ejaculated the alarmed M. Hyacinthe, endeathat a wise man ought to submit to anything in order vouring to smile, this is only some pleasant joke of to avoid a present risk, he yielded at length, though not yours. Remember the window is very high; you would
without calling on every one to witness that he was no not have the heart to throw a poor man from a fourth i longer a free agent. As the stranger was the only per- floor?'
son who could hear this protest, it was useless ; but But M. Renaudin said he had the heart to do anyM. Hyacinthe's conscience was satisfied-he had done thing; should feel extremely sorry when it was all over, everything which a brave and peaceable man could do, but could not help it; had therefore thought it best to and he proceeded to show the furnished room to the mention this weakness, as it would be more pleasant to stranger, now fully warned of his illegal conduct. The both parties if nothing of the kind occurred. * And young man cast a careless look around him, observed now,' he added, that everything is explained, I think that the room suited him, and throwing two gold pieces that, as I feel rather sleepy, you may leave me.'
'I cannot allow that,' uneasily exclaimed M. Hya. thought himself a marked man, asserted that it would cinthe; “I must give notice to the police.'
be prudent to turn him out of the house at once, as he 'I scorn the police,' answered Renaudin with deep was probably the spy of a gang of thieves or conspiracontempt.
tors, both of which characters were in his opinion iden“Sir,' indignantly exclaimed M. Hyacinthe, who was tical; Madame Latour called him a libertine and gradually edging towards the door, ‘you fail in the re- mauvais sujet, and strictly forbade her niece Minna to spect due to the constituted authorities : your language cast even a look upon him; the old tailor gave a very is very illegal.'
diffuse opinion, in which there was something about *I delight in everything illegal,' was Renaudin's pro- the degeneracy of human nature, and the cut of M. fane reply.
Renaudin's coat, which was not, it seems, at all ortho• Then, sir,' resolutely observed M. Hyacinthe, now on dox. M. Hyacinthe, who knew most on the subject, the landing, 'I shall alarm the house.'
said least; for,' as he sententiously observed, 'walls * Do,' answered M. Renaudin : 'there will be noise, had ears.' Occasionally, however, he ventured to obfighting, smashing of window-panes, &c.— things in serve that there was something fatal about his lodger's which I rejoice-another trait in my character. But if look-that he was, like Napoleon, a child of destiny, you have a bone or two broken in the affray, do not say &c. — with which observations every one agreed, as you received no warning.'
being remarkably applicable to M. Renaudin. This was uttered with such suavity of manner, and But such, however, was the exemplary conduct of the speaker had such a fair, meek face, of which the this strange individual, so regularly did he pay his rent, most prominent features were large eyes of a pale blue, an so nearly did he, upon the whole, behave like other a fat nose, and a retreating chin, that he did not seem people, that every one began to think him a commonthe most likely individual to carry his threat into exe- place fellow, and some persons went so far as to com. cution. But M. Hyacinthe, who never trusted to ap- plain that they had been taken in. But events showed pearances when his safety was at stake, submitted, that their murmurs had been premature, and Renaudin though not without a protest, and ended by putting the soon let them see what he could do. First, however, it two Napoleons into his pocket, and leaving M. Renaudin should be known that Madame Latour's piece Minna master of the field of battle. Fear was not his only was greatly dissatisfied with her lot, which was indeed reason for acting thus: being a considerate man, he did none of the most enviable. From the unlimited free. not like to disturb a quiet house. Nor was he sorry to dom of a country life, she had been transplanted to the let his room to an individual who could afford to throw gloom and confinement of her aunt's lodge; for Madame money out of the window; for though it is very well to Latour, not being able to go out with her niece, had discountenance extravagant people, every one knows prudently determined that she should remain at home. that it is profitable to deal with them in the long-run. Minna soon grew pale and melancholy; and her wise The next morning, however, M. Hyacinthe did not ne- aunt concluded that she had formed an attachment for glect, as soon as his lodger was gone out-for he would some one in the house. But who could be the object of not have ventured to leave the house sooner, lest her affections ? Was it M. Moreau? M. Hyacinthe? M. Renaudin should carry off something in his absence, or the old tailor? Impossible ! A flash of light crossed though, save an old candlestick and a pair of snuffers, Madame Latour's mind-it was Renaudin! True, she there was nothing portable in the room—to call on his had no proof of this ; but suspicion is a powerful maglate landlady.
nifying-glass, and it enabled her to read looks, and Madame Sébillard gave M. Renaudin an excellent understand the meaning of certain words otherwise character for steadiness and propriety of conduct; but unintelligible. When she discovered, therefore, one this only roused the suspicions of M. Hyacinthe, who fine morning, that her ungrateful niece had run away shrewdly concluded that she wanted to get rid of her from her, she could have no doubt that it was with the late lodger-a fact which afforded him another conclu artful Renaudin, on whom she immediately vowed to sive proof of the universal tendency which every indi- be revenged, should he presume to show his face again vidual had to cheat and deceive him. He resolved, in the house, which every one declared to be extremely however, to watch his lodger's motions so strictly, as to unlikely. leave him few opportunities of effecting any mischief. But Renaudin proved that he was capable of anything, But though his vigilance was most persevering, he could for he came home at his usual hour. Madame Latour discover nothing reprehensible in the conduct of M. began the attack by asking him politely-and her poRenaudin. This singular individual went out early in liteness being very uncommon, always foreboded some the morning, and came home late at night, occasionally deep insult—what he had done with her niece Minna? hinting in a dark and mysterious manner at certain M. Renaudin looked surprised, and protested he knew deeds of guilt and horror in which he had been engaged nothing about her; upon which the portress sharply during the day; but though M. Hyacinthe's hair 'stood asked him if he thought she was blind, and had not on end to hear him,' as he elegantly expressed it, this observed the looks her niece cast upon hin? M. Renauwas all he could learn, and every one agreed that the din did not deny that the young lady might entertain a information was exceedingly vague. There was, how-tender feeling for him, but asserted that he had never ever, a kind of fearful charm in Renaudin's conversation given her the least encouragement. This presumption for the peaceful Hyacinthe ; for though of course it was greatly incensed Madame Latour, who immediately very shocking to hear his guest speak with unparal- asked M. Renaudin what he meant by it, and without leled and revolting coldness of the innocent hearts he giving him time to reply, overwhelmed him with abuse. had broken through mere wantonness, and of the foes It was in vain that he opened his lips to answer her whom he had laid in mortal combat at his feet-with-invectives by a word of self-defence; for every time out speaking of all the tailors' bills which he had never that the portress paused in her speech, being out of paid-every one knows that those are subjects of the breath—which was not often—the lodgers, who hai most thrilling interest, as any modern romance or drama gathered around her, took up the strain, and declared can show. No wonder, therefore, that M. Hyacinthe, that M. Renaudin ought to be ashamed of himself to being fond of the dark and dismal, was fascinated by speak so of a poor girl who had given up everything for the gloomy discourse of Renaudin. “And indeed he was him!' But Renaudin was indeed Renaudin the obdunot the only person on whom this mysterious individual rate ; for he refused to confess his guilt, and contempexercised an influence: every one in the house, from tuously termed the fair Minna a provinciale. Madanie M. Moreau the landlord, who lived on the first floor, to Latour being now exhausted, became hysterical; and the portress in her lodge, and the little tailor in his declared that her darling Minna being gone, she had garret, declared that there was something very strange nothing to live for. She partly revived, however, when about him. M. Moreau, who, having once been a her friends bade her rouse herself for the sake of her deputy, and voted against the freedom of the press, lodgers; and she even exerted herself so much, as to promise M. Renaudin, who was now going up to his worth to undertake such an office, as he knew Renauroom, that she would soon be revenged upon him. din would fight like a tiger; but he hinted something
And faithfully, indeed, did she keep her word. Dur- about M. Moreau's great moral courage, and Madame ing a whole week, her foe could neither leave nor enter Latour being safe on account of her sex ; upon which the house without hearing himself reproached by the landlord eyed him askance, muttering something Madame Latour with the abduction of her niece. But about hidden accomplices, whilst the portress sharply hatred has quick instincts; and the portress soon per- asked 'if M. Hyacinthe wanted to get rid of her that ceived that the graceless Renaudin was rather flattered way?' It was at length agreed that the deed should be at being thus reminded of the impression he had pro- effected by cunning. At dead of night, therefore, when duced on the too-susceptible heart of the fair Minna: every one in the house was safely in bed, and fast she accordingly sought for a surer method of inflicting asleep, Madame Latour raised up an alarm of fire in a wound, and soon found a very effectual one, which most unearthly accents. The lodgers, being all warned, she practised thrice with great success. This was to took no notice of the fact, with the exception of the sleep 80 soundly at night, that she never heard her luckless Renaudin, who flew out of his room, and rushed enemy's knock at the door, and that consequently M. down stairs as pale and breathless as though it would Renaudin had to spend the night in the open air, not have been as sure a method of committing suicide which, as the portress managed to be particularly to remain in bed whilst the house was on fire, as any drowsy in rainy weather, was not always very pleasant. other which he might adopt. M. Hyacinthe, who was Of course when he came in in the morning, M. Renau- lying in ambush on the landing, immediately darted din raved at Madame Latour in an awful manner, and into the room, pounced upon the pistol, which was still uttered such fearful threats of vengeance, that the lying on the table, caught up a box of razors, and huralarmed M. Hyacinthe assured her the whole affair ried off with his spoil to his own apartment. On diswould end in something dreadful. But the portress covering that the alarm was a false one, M. Renaudin, was a dauntless woman; she continued to brave the who only saw in this another method taken by his anger of her foe in the most fearless manner, and seem- enemy the portress to annoy him, gave her a ferocious ingly without suffering in consequence.
look, and walked up to his room. His ill-humour was Punishment, indeed, seemed in this case to fall on the too great to enable him to perceive his loss, and it head of the guilty individual; for such was the perse lucklessly made him neglect to lock his door. cution M. Renaudin sustained on the subject of Minna, But the next morning M. Renaudin missed his razors, that the unhappy gentleman declared, in a tone of then his pistol, and ended by discovering that he was despair, he would leave the house unless it ceased. locked up. His cries soon brought M. Hyacinthe to his From morning till night, indeed, he heard of nothing door. The worthy gentleman then explained to his but Minna. The female lodgers looked upon him with lodger through the keyhole that he was to remain a evident horror ; the men remonstrated with him; and prisoner until he could prove that he no longer entereven the timid M. Hyacinthe used the most persuasive tained hostile designs against his own person, and might arguments in order to induce him to give up Minna. be trusted with a debt. He added, however, that if M.
*Sir!' exclaimed M. Renaudin, rolling his blue eyes Renaudin would solemnly promise not to throw himself in a portentous manner, 'if I hear the name of Minna into the Seine, nor to leap down from the towers of again, I shall do something desperate!'
Notre Dame, nor to destroy himself in any manner As it did not escape M. Hyacinthe that his lodger, whatsoever; and if he would pay down to him, M. whilst speaking thus, grasped a small pocket-pistol Hyacinthe, the two months' rent which he owed him, which was lying on the table, he hastened to retreat; and another month's rent to which he was entitled, not but when he had left the room, he said in a loud tone, having received warning, he would see what he could though perhaps not quite loud enough to be heard, do in order to free him from his bondage in two or three • Hard-hearted wretch!'
days' time. These conditions were, however, indigBut the circumstance of the pistol, which he had nantly rejected by M. Renaudin, who vowed that he never seen before, nevertheless dwelt in his mind. What would have justice if there was law in the land, and did his lodger want it for? A duel or a suicide? M. appealed to the police for protection. But M. HyaHyacinthe inclined rather towards the latter supposi-cinthe reminded him that, as he delighted in everytion. It seemed exceedingly likely that something thing illegal, and scorned the police, he had no right to fatal had befallen the unhappy Minna, and in such a complain; and thus ended the conference. case it was only natural that the guilty Renaudin's After walking about his room for some time in a mind should be burdened with remorse ; and every one state of great indignation, M. Renaudin gradually cooled knows that, in such dark and mysterious characters, down, and requested to speak to M. Hyacinthe and M. remorse leads to the most dreadful extremities. The Moreau. When they were both on the landing, he more he thought on the subject, the more M. Hyacinthe again demanded an explanation of their conduct. M. became convinced that it was his lodger's intention to Hyacinthe replied by saying that a pistol had been commit some rash act; and remembering, with the most found in his room, and by hinting something about the disinterested humanity, that he owed him nearly two unhappy Minna. months' rent, he resolved to save him in spite of him- • Minna again!' groaned the captive in a tone of self
. He immediately communicated his suspicions to despair; adding with reckless calmness, How long do the portress and M. Moreau, who both appeared much you mean to keep me a prisoner, and when will you startled on hearing of the pistol. The landlord espe- give me anything to eat?' cially seemed thrown into an unusual state of agitation. M. Hyacinthe pretended not to hear this last quesHe treated the idea of a suicide with mysterious con- tion; and after a good deal of hesitation, M. Moreau tempt, and darkly asked M. Hyacinthe if he had never said something about feeding one's enemies, and proheard of such things as political assassination, and mised to send up M. Renaudin his breakfast. 'l'his pistol-shots being fired at marked men? After which meal, however, only consisted of a cup of cold coffee, he made some unintelligible allusion to a warning letter, with a very scanty supply of bread; but such as it was, but ended by declaring that the pistol should be se- M. Moreau took the precaution of not delivering it to cured by all means; and that, in order to prevent him the captive without previously exacting from him a from committing mischief
, Renaudin should be locked solemu promise of not attempting to escape for the up in his room. But who was to beard the lion in his whole of that day. M. Renaudin, who was hungry, den? The portress and M. Moreau agreed that M. would have promised anything, and readily complied Hyacinthe was the most fit person to be intrusted with with this condition; the more so, as M. Moreau artfully such a task. This worthy individual, however, who gave him to understand that he was going to get a entertained a most considerate regard for his personal dijeûner à la fourchette. When he saw the deceit which safety, declared it would be as much as his life was I had been practised upon him, he gave vent to his irri