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above all, to prevent any one else from supplanting him in her—it was impossible to say affections, for in them surely this man could have no place? At any rate, he was determined to keep her from coming in contact with any one with whom he himself might be disadvantageously compared. And who were these English ladies? Had they no one to take interest in them except this one Frenchman? Were they altogether, as they seemed to be, in his power? and Madeleine herself, was she happy in being under such restraint? Was the fate that seemed to be in store for her one to which it was possible that she could willingly resign herself?
With these questions, and many more of a similar kind, our Englishman was now continually troubling himself, and to how little purpose? It is easy to ask oneself questions, but it is very difficult to get answers to them. Trelane arrived in Paris with his questions unsolved.
He had left instructions at the hotel that, in case a certain M. Jacques Morlot came there and inquired for him, he was to be allowed to go into his apartment and there wait Trelane's arrival. Our Englishman had, however, forgotten all about this, and therefore was the more surprised when, on entering his room, he found a gentleman of sedate appearance seated at his table, with a small box or casket open before him containing sundry bottles, and a great many small packets of divers forms. The sedate
gentleman had, moreover, various little blank books that looked like account-books, open on the table; he had a pen and ink too, with which he was writing inscriptions on some of the little packets before mentioned, and close to his side was a small tray, in which were rows of lancets, two or three pairs of forceps, a probang, and other instruments of a like ingratiatory sort; but all brilliantly kept, and in the choicest order. All these matters the sedate gentleman was handling in the daintiest manner. When he took out a packet a small pigeon-hole was left vacant which it exactly fitted; when he lifted a bottle to see that the label upon it was correct, the compartment out of which the bottle came was found to be lined with a deep layer of wadding covered over with velvet, so that the bottle might run no risk of breakage. Everything had a groove, or a compartment, or a drawer to itself; everything was labelled, and every label was written in the same small handwriting.
The sedate gentleman, who was no other than our dearly beloved friend, Monsieur Jacques Morlot, rose quite calmly on Trelane's entry, and, making him a profound bow, inquired as if what he said was part of a conversation which had been going on for some time:
"Is it the custom of monsieur to keep his accounts by single or double entry?"
As Trelane was never in the habit of keeping
accounts by any kind of entry whatsoever, this question was rather a difficult one to answer. major was, in fact, so entirely knocked over by what he saw before him, and by this demand together, that he remained altogether speechless.
"I would say," said Monsieur Morlot, putting it differently, with a view to being more intelligible, "is it the habit of monsieur to enter the different items of his expenditure all together and to subdivide them under heads afterwards, or to enter them under their specific headings at once?"
"In the name of Heaven!" said our Englishman, recovering at length the use of speech, and pointing to the mass of objects arranged upon his table; "in the name of Heaven! what are all these things?
"Monsieur, it would take a long time, a very long time, to tell you what they all are. However, if monsieur desires to know: this," he continued, beginning methodically with the front row of bottles, and selecting that which occupied the left-hand corner compartment-"this is valerianate of zinc, a tonic antispasmodic of great power and efficiency; this again," he continued, lifting another bottle, after softly dropping the first into its place—" this is the spirit of nitric ether, stimulant and diuretic; it” No, no," interrupted our bewildered major; "that is not what I meant. I want to know what all these things are here for, how they came here, who they belong to."
Monsieur, as to who they belong to, strictly speaking, they are the property of your humble servant;" this was accompanied with a profound bow; "as to whose they virtually are, as to the gentleman for whose use and comfort they are intended, and who is as welcome to avail himself of them," he added, taking out a lancet, and gently feeling its edge, "as the flowers in May; that gentleman is Monsieur le Major himself."
"But, my good friend," Trelane burst out, "what do I want with your antispasmodics and diuretics? I never travelled with anything of the sort in my life."
"So much the worse, monsieur," replied Monsieur Morlot, gravely. "A great mistake, believe me. Besides, Monsieur will not fail to remember that he has been recently a great invalid and sufferer. Monsieur has passed through a crisis, and there is no telling to what extent monsieur's constitution is impaired. It might happen to monsieur to be afflicted with spasm of the respiratory organs, and then he has only to speak, and here," continued Monsieur Morlot, bringing his finger, with a sweeping pounce, down upon the stopper of one of the bottles-"here is the ethereal tincture of the Lobelia inflata, a sedative, expectorant, and also an antispasmodic. Rheumatism, again, might settle on the localities were monsieur has received his wounds; here"-at this the fore finger pounced again—"here is the wine of colchicum,
narcotic, diuretic, and cathartic. Or, supposing that fever was once again to set in and the head of monsieur to become affected, here I have a collection of LEECHES, which, for vigorous appetite and discerning choice of locality in their gripe, I will match against any in the world," and with that, this remarkable personage held up a round glass jar covered over with perforated zinc, and containing about half a dozen of the wriggling monsters in a violent state of activity.
"And do you mean to say that you propose travelling about with those disgusting animals in your keeping?" asked Trelane.
"Monsieur, they are leeches whose acquaintance
I do not make now for the first time. They have long been pets of mine, and I can answer for their discretion and general good behaviour."
The major was entirely nonplussed. He sat himself down in a chair and looked about him. Close by his side was his open portmanteau. By Jove! Monsieur Morlot had been at work here too. More
labelling. More methodical arrangement. Here was a package, done up in paper, flat, square, symmetrical, and inscribed, in French of course, "black coat of society;" here was another, "pantaloons of society." Each pair of boots was wrapped up in a separate parcel, and the nature of the article designated in simple terms. " Boots lacing in front," or "boots with buttons," or "boots lacing in front of