He was decidedly in disgrace in that quarter. The Hemerlingues were triumphant. A last affront had filled up the measure. At Jansoulet's departure, the Bey had commissioned him to have gold-pieces struck at the Paris Mint of a new design to the value of several millions; then the order, suddenly withdrawn, had been given to Hemerlingue.
The Hemerlingues had triumphed. A last insult had filled the measure to overflowing: on Jansoulet's departure the bey had commissioned him to have several millions of gold coined after a new pattern at the Paris Mint; then the commission had been abruptly withdrawn and given to Hemerlingue.
They were the Hemerlingues, father and son, who had reconquered his Highness and were carrying him in triumph to Paris. A ghastly dream! All those people, although they knew Jansoulet well, stared coolly at him as if his face conveyed no idea to them.
It was for that reason, no doubt, that Jenkins had judged it wise to disappear for some time, leaving madame to continue to frequent the houses still open to them, to gauge and hold public opinion in respect. It was a hard task for the poor woman, who found everywhere the cool and distant welcome which she had received at the Hemerlingues.
Has he not just lent fifteen million francs as a simple loan passing from hand to hand, to the Bey of Tunis? I repeat, fifteen millions. It was a trick he played on the Hemerlingues, who wished to embroil him with that monarch and cut the grass under his feet in those fine regions of the Orient where it grows golden, high, and thick.
You may fancy, what an honour! To receive a reigning prince as a guest! The Hemerlingues are in a rage. They who had manoeuvred so carefully the son at Tunis, the father in Paris to get the Nabob into disfavour. And then it is true that fifteen millions is a big sum. And do not say, "Passajon is telling us some fine tales."
They were the Hemerlingues, father and son, who had won over his Highness and were bearing him off in triumph to Paris. What a horrible dream! All three men, who knew Jansoulet well, looked at him coldly as though his face recalled nothing.
A quarter of an hour later he made his appearance at the Hemerlingues', making a despairing gesture as he entered to the banker, and approached the baroness stammering the ready-made phrase he had heard repeated so often the night of his ball, "His wife, very unwell most grieved not to have been able to come " She did not give him time to finish, rose slowly, unwound herself like a long and slender snake from the pleated folds of her tight dress, and said, without looking at him, "Oh, I knew I knew!" then changed her place and took no more notice of him.
Three interminable weeks spent in struggling among intrigues, and traps secretly laid by the powerful hatred of the Hemerlingues in wandering from hall to hall, from ministry to ministry through the immense palace of the Bardo, which gathered within one enclosure, bristling with culverins, all the departments of the State, as much under the master's eye as his stables and harem.
Three interminable weeks, passed in struggling amid a network of intrigues, of plots cunningly devised by the powerful enmity of the Hemerlingues, wandering from office to office, from department to department, through that vast résidence on the Bardo, where all the different departments of the State are collected in the same frowning enclosure, bristling with culverins, under the immediate supervision of the master, like his stables and his harem.