A committee was formed, consisting of De Bouy, mayor; H. Noubel, deputy; Aunac, banker; Canon Deyche, arch-priest of the cathedral; Dufort, imperial councillor; Guizot, receiver-general; Labat, advocate-general; Maysonnade, president of the conference of Saint-Vincent de Paul; Couturier, the engineer, and other gentlemen.
The couturier, you see, is not a tradesman: he is an artist, and he renders a woman far greater service than the artist-painter, who finds her already dressed and only has to copy her, whereas the couturier dresses a woman not once, but twenty times a year, and each time that he invents a becoming toilet he makes a new creation not only of the toilet, but of the woman.
This obligation cost her so much that she consulted her director, the Abbe Couturier, upon the subject of this honest but puerile civility.
The Abbe de Sponde, adroitly questioned when he left Saint-Leonard's to take his daily walk with the Abbe Couturier, replied with his usual kindliness that he expected the Vicomte de Troisville, a nobleman in the service of Russia during the Emigration, who was returning to Alencon to settle there.
The French couturier simply resorted to a shrug of the shoulder and a laugh, implying that the accusations were beneath his notice.
It will leak out from the d'Esgrignon salon, and go straight to the bishop at Seez, and so get round through the grand vicars to the curate of Saint-Leonard's, who will be certain to tell it to the Abbe Couturier; and Mademoiselle Cormon will get the shot in her upper works.
The high-priests of Parisian fashion have their shrines up-stairs. Where the highest perfection is aimed at, shops are nowhere. The grand couturier makes no outside show. You will find him occupying two or three floors in one of those plain, flat-fronted Restoration houses which line the Rue de la Paix, the Rue Taitbout, the Rue Louis-le-Grand, or the Faubourg St.-Honoré.
What other mysteries are there to be revealed in the house of the couturier? We have glanced at the packing-rooms, the working-rooms with their battalions of girls and women toiling away with their needles by daylight and gas-light.
"Uncle, your Monsieur de Troisville is very amiable," she said, on returning. "Why, niece, he hasn't as yet said a word." "But you can see it in his ways, his manners, his face. Is he a bachelor?" "I'm sure I don't know," replied the abbe, who was thinking of a discussion on mercy, lately begun between the Abbe Couturier and himself.
"You must be mistaken," he eventually remarked, rising from his seat and summoning all his energy to his assistance. "That man is not Couturier." "Oh, I'm not mistaken; you may be quite sure of that. He fully answers the description appended to the circular ordering his capture, and even the little finger of his left hand is lacking, as is mentioned."
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