who was deaf and dumb to us a few short days ago. Where，
The valet, who had just received a week's notice, was only too glad of an opportunity for revenge. So with a malicious smile, and in a drawling tone, he replied: "Then monsieur must give me the money. Monsieur knows very well that neither the grocer nor the wine-merchant will trust him any longer."
M. de Fondege rose from the table, looking very pale; but before he had time to utter a word, his wife came to the rescue. "You know, my dear, that I don't trust the key of my cellar to this lad. Evariste, call Justine."
The pert-looking chambermaid appeared, and her mistress told her where she would find the key of the famous cellar. About a quarter of an hour afterward, one of those bottles which grocers and wine-merchants prepare for the benefit of credulous customers was brought in--a bottle duly covered with dust and mould to give it a venerable appearance, and festooned with cobwebs, such as the urchins of Paris collect and sell at from fifteen sous to two francs a pound, according to quality. But the Bordeaux did not restore the General's equanimity. He was silent and subdued; and his relief was evident when, after the coffee had been served, his wife exclaimed: "We won't keep you from your club, my dear. I want a chat with our dear child."
Since she dismissed the General so unceremoniously, Madame de Fondege evidently wished for a tete-a-tete with Mademoiselle Marguerite. At least Madame Leon thought so, or feigned to think so, and addressing the young girl, she said: "I shall be obliged to leave you for a couple of hours, my dear young lady. My relatives would never forgive me if I did not inform them of my change of residence."
This was the first time since she had been engaged by the Count de Chalusse, that the estimable "companion" had ever made any direct allusion to her relatives, and what is more, to relatives residing in Paris. She had previously only spoken of them in general terms, giving people to understand that her relatives had not been unfortunate like herself--that they still retained their exalted rank, though she had fallen, and that she found it difficult to decline the favors they longed to heap upon her.
However, Mademoiselle Marguerite evinced no surprise. "Go at once and inform your relatives, my dear Leon," she said, without a shade of sarcasm in her manner. "I hope they won't be offended by your devotion to me." But in her secret heart, she thought: "This hypocrite is going to report to the Marquis de Valorsay, and these relatives of hers will furnish her with excuses for future visits to him."
The General went off, the servants began to clear the table, and Mademoiselle Marguerite followed her hostess to the drawing-room. It was a lofty and spacious apartment, lighted by three windows, and even more sumptuous in its appointments than the dining-room. Furniture, carpets, and hangings, were all in rather poor taste, perhaps, but costly, very costly. As the evening was a cold one, Madame de Fondege ordered the fire to be lighted. She seated herself on a sofa near the mantelpiece, and when Mademoiselle Marguerite had taken a chair opposite her, she began, "Now, my dear child, let us have a quiet talk."
Mademoiselle Marguerite expected some important communication, so that she was not a little surprised when Madame de Fondege resumed: "Have you thought about your mourning?"
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