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"Desroches' mother had a friend, a druggist's wife," continued Bixiou. "Said druggist had retired with a fat fortune. These druggist folk have absurdly crude notions; by way of giving his daughter a good education, he had sent her to a boarding-school! Well, Matifat meant the girl to marry well, on the strength of two hundred thousand francs, good hard coin with no scent of drugs about it."

The old clerk did not leave the afflicted household that night without obliging Philippe to sign a petition to the minister of war, asking for his reinstatement in the active army. Desroches promised the two women to follow up the petition at the war office, and to profit by the triumph of a certain duke over Philippe in the matter of the danseuse, and so obtain that nobleman's influence.

Three days later, Desroches, furnished with the necessary authority, fetched Philippe from the prison of the Court of Peers, and took him to his own house, rue de Bethizy.

Well, a haggler like that won't resist the attraction of an extra thousand francs, especially if he is only the instrument of a cupidity behind him. It is no matter to us how he fights it out with those who prompt him. Now, then, do you think you can get the Thuillier family out of this?" "I'll go and see Desroches at once," said Godeschal.

If one of these fellows tries one of Maitre Gonin's tricks once too often, the guild forces him to sell his connection. Desroches, our friend Desroches, understood the full resources of a trade carried on in a beggarly way enough by poor devils; he would buy up causes of men who feared to lose the day; he plunged into chicanery with a fixed determination to make money by it.

A young man as handsome and attractive as Georges might very well aspire to the hand of a rich creole; and the clerks in Desroches' office, all of them the sons of poor parents, having never frequented the great world, or, indeed, known anything about it, put themselves into their best clothes on the following day, impatient enough to behold, and be presented to the Mexican Marquise de las Florentinas y Cabirolos.

"And these men are fathers!" thought Agathe, weeping anew. "What I am trying to show you, my dear Madame Bridau, is that you had better let your boy be a painter; if not, you will only waste your time." "If you were able to coerce him," said the sour Desroches, "I should advise you to oppose his tastes; but weak as I see you are, you had better let him daub if he likes."

"Oh, mother! you are a mother just as Raphael was a painter. And you will always be a fool of a mother!" Madame Bridau's mind, diverted before long from her griefs by the distractions of the journey, began to dwell on the purpose of it. She re-read the letter of Madame Hochon, which had so stirred up the lawyer Desroches.

He was feeling about for the small amount of heart that he possessed, when, at a turn of the staircase, he encountered his lawyer, who said to him, smiling, "Just a word, Monseigneur," in the tone of familiarity assumed by men who know they are indispensable. "What is it, my dear Desroches?" exclaimed the politician. "Has anything happened?"

"So far as my poor head, which whirls at the thought of Philippe in prison, without tobacco, perhaps, and about to appear before the Court of Peers! leaves me any distinct memory," returned Agathe, "I think young Desroches said we were to get evidence of undue influence, in case my brother has made a will in favor of that that woman." "He is good at that, Desroches is," cried the painter.