But, as soon as we have returned, I shall place all the details of my long investigation before his eyes; and I will extricate him from this den of thieves by persuasion or by force. They have finished their negotiations downstairs. Old Piedigriggio is crossing the square, playing with his long peasant's purse, which looks to me to be well-filled. The bargain is concluded, I suppose.

A venerable-looking person in fact, and when he crossed the square, shaking hands with the priest, smiling protectingly at the gamblers, I would never have believed that I was looking at the famous brigand Piedigriggio, who held the woods in Monte-Rotondo from 1840 to 1860, outwitted the police and the military, and who to-day, thanks to the proscription by which he benefits, after seven or eight cold-blooded murders, moves peaceably about the country which witnessed his crimes, and enjoys a considerable importance.

And thereupon followed a sketch in bold colors of Corsican banditti in general and the Piedigriggio family in particular. The Chamber listened with close attention and with considerable uneasiness.

And that is not all. Not a sound anywhere except the drops of water on the stone, the oaths of one of the players who swears by the sango del seminaro, and from underneath my room in the inn parlour the eager voice of our friend mingling with the sputterings of the illustrious Paganetti, who is interpreter, in his conversation with the not less illustrious Piedigriggio.

Old Piedigriggio is crossing the square, pulling up the slip-knot of his long peasant's purse, which looks to me well filled. The bargain is made, I conclude. Good-bye, hurriedly, my dear M. Joyeuse; remember me to your daughters and ask them to keep a tiny little place for me round the work-table.

"And that is all not a sound anywhere except the regular dropping of the water on the stone, the exclamations of one of the gamblers, who swears by the sango del seminario; and in the common-room of the inn, under my chamber, our friend's earnest voice, mingled with the buzzing of the illustrious Paganetti, who acts as interpreter in his conversation with the no less illustrious Piedigriggio.

This is the explanation: Piedigriggio has two sons, who, following nobly in his footsteps, have toyed with the rifle and now hold the thickets in their turn. Impossible to lay hands upon or to find, as their father was for twenty years, informed by the shepherds of the movements of the gendarmerie, as soon as the gendarmes leave a village, the brigands appear there.

He is a tall old man of seventy-five, still very erect in his short cloak over which his long white beard falls, his brown woollen Catalan cap on his hair, which is also white, a pair of scissors in his belt, which he uses to cut the great leaves of green tobacco in the hollow of his hand; a venerable old fellow in fact, and when he crossed the square and shook hands with the curé, with a patronizing smile at the two gamblers, I never would have believed that I had before me the famous brigand Piedigriggio, who, from 1840 to 1860, held the thickets in Monte-Rotondo, tired out gendarmes and troops of the line, and who to-day, his seven or eight murders with the rifle or the knife being outlawed by lapse of time, goes his way in peace throughout the region that saw his crimes, and is a man of considerable importance.

And then came a sketch in outline of Corsican banditti in general, and of the Piedigriggio family in particular. The Chamber listened attentively, with a certain uneasiness.

This is why: Piedigriggio has two sons who, nobly following in his footsteps, have taken to the carbine and the woods, in their turn not to be found, not to be caught, as their father was, for twenty years; warned by the shepherds of the movements of the police, when the latter leave a village, they make their appearance in it. The eldest, Scipio, came to mass last Sunday at Pozzonegro.