Besides, it is only in October that any situation will be open at the Credit National. But, I say, my dear friend, keep the matter entirely to yourself, for we don't want to quarrel with the Beauchenes just now." Then he looked at his watch, for, like a good clerk, he was very punctual, and did not wish to be late at the office.
And it was thus, indeed, three months later, when the Beauchenes and the Seguins, keeping their promise, came husbands, wives, and children to spend a Sunday afternoon at Chantebled. The Froments had even prevailed on Morange to be of the party with Reine, in their desire to draw him for a day, at any rate, from the dolorous prostration in which he lived.
Then, after a moment's rapture, during which they both heard their hearts beating, he began to tell her of his day. She questioned him with loving interest, and he answered, happy at having to tell her no lie. "No, the Beauchenes cannot come here on Sunday. Constance never cared much for us, as you well know. Their boy Maurice is suffering in the legs; Dr.
He avoided looking at the Beauchenes, but there was a malicious twinkle in his little eyes, and it was evident that he took pleasure in recapitulating the employer's arguments against excessive prolificness. He pretended to get angry and to reproach the Moineauds for their ten wretched children the boys fated to become food for powder, the girls always liable to misfortune.
His wife Charlotte had conquered the Beauchenes by her fair grace, her charming, bouquet-like freshness, to such a point, indeed, that even Constance had desired to have her near her. The truth was that Madame Desvignes had made adorable creatures of her two daughters, Charlotte and Marthe.
However, this madman, who knew the truth and who remained silent this madman, left free amid the mysterious drama enacted in the Beauchenes' home, was gradually coming to a rebellious mood, particularly since he was compelled to hide himself to kiss his little friend Hortense. His heart growled at the thought of it, and he felt ready to explode should his passion be interfered with.
There were the Beauchenes, with their factory, and their only son, Maurice, whom they were bringing up to be a future prince, the Beauchenes, who had prophesied to him that he and his wife and their troop of children could only expect a life of black misery, and death in a garret.
In fact, he even jested about the girl, and at last went off repeating his instructions: "See that my conditions are fully understood. I don't want to know anything about any child. Do whatever you please, but never let me hear another word of the matter." That day was certainly one fertile in incidents, for in the evening there was quite an alarm at the Beauchenes.
It is quite true that Mathieu did not plainly say all these things to himself; indeed, he felt slightly ashamed of the four children that he already had, and was disturbed by the counsels of prudence addressed to him by the Beauchenes. But within him there struggled his faith in life, his belief that the greatest possible sum of life must bring about the greatest sum of happiness.
First he was at the Beauchenes' in the morning, and saw the father and mother standing, like accomplices who fully shared one another's views, beside the sofa on which Maurice, their only son, lay dozing with a pale and waxen face. The works must never be exposed to the danger of being subdivided.