In fact, it seemed to his former customers that the devil could only by his great heat have furnished these hermetic distillations, that they remembered to have obtained on demand from this good confessor, who always had le diable au corps.
The interpretation which he chooses to put on them is an interpretation of no consequence, and can never have misled any one who is in any sense worth misleading. The most obvious line of criticism in connection with the memoirs entitled Le Diable au XIX^e Siècle would be the preposterous and impossible nature of its supernatural narratives.
One morning, as I called on Coraline, he said to me, "Ah! I am very glad to see you, for I have promised the Duchess of Rufe to present you to her, and we can go to her immediately." Again a duchess! My star is decidedly in the ascendant. Well, let us go! We got into a 'diable', a sort of vehicle then very fashionable, and at eleven o'clock in the morning we were introduced to the duchess.
Here is the story: When Napoleon was overthrown my grandfather, Paul Bellaire, was a boy of eighteen. But already Napoleon's eye had found him and he was Captain Bellaire. That title suited him better than his inherited one of Count. Already men called him le Beau Diable. Then Napoleon went down before Wellington and Paul Bellaire had to shift for himself under difficult circumstances.
It had, however, been of no use, and Grassette had refused the advances and ministrations of the little good priest, Father Laflamme, who had come from the coast of purpose to give him the offices of the Church. Silent, obdurate, sullen, he had looked the priest straight in the face, and had said, in broken English, "Non, I pay my bill. Nom de diable!
"At the Austrian court we have a tribunal of justice to decide all charges against modesty and virtue The Empress Maria Theresa is its president." "Diable!" cried the Frenchman, "what earthly chance would the Russian empress and my lovely, enchanting marquise have, if summoned before this tribunal by their most august ally the Empress Maria Theresa?
"'Twas Diable did that, so Laplante says." "Then what shall we do with him?" "Do with him," slowly repeated the Nor'-Wester in a low, vibrating voice. "Do with him?" and again I felt a vague shudder of apprehension at this silent, uncompromising man's purpose. The camp fires were dead.
This annoyed him, and he said so to the king. "Diable!" said Henri, "it is your own fault; you tried to run away from Nerac, and I am afraid you will try it again." "Sire, if I give my word as a gentleman not to do so?" "That will do." "Besides, I should be wrong to do so." "How so?" "Yes; for if I stay, I believe I shall see curious things." "I am of your opinion, my dear Chicot."
You are right. The stuff was in him, but the Fates were unkind. I stretch out my hand to the pauvre diable. 'I think one learns more from the mock magnifico than from anything else, observed his Grace. 'When the lion saw the donkey in his own royal skin, said Aunt Bel, 'add the rhyme at your discretion he was a wiser lion, that's all.
The peasants dreaded him, and never spoke of him but as the Sorcier, the Vieux Diable; when naughty little children refused to learn their letters or to go to bed, it was only necessary to threaten them with sending for the Père Séguin and his red dog, and the whole of the rosy troop would scamper off to their nursery in an instant.