The report adopted, they sent for M. Sarigue to make some supplementary explanations. He appeared, pale-faced, abashed, stammering like a criminal before conviction, and you would have laughed to see the patronizing, authoritative air with which Jansoulet encouraged and reassured him: "Be calm, my dear colleague." But the members of the eighth committee did not laugh.
There was talk of elections, of counting ballots, and the poor mother, leaning forward over the rail in her shabby cap, knitting her thick eyebrows, would have listened religiously to the report on the Sarigue election to the very end, had not the usher who had admitted her come to tell her that it was all over and that she had better go. "Really?
The report having been adopted, M. Sarigue was summoned in order that he might offer some supplementary explanations. He arrived, pale, emaciated, stuttering like a criminal before conviction, and you would have laughed to see with what an air of authority and protection Jansoulet encouraged and reassured him. "Calm yourself, my dear colleague." But the members of Committee No. 8 did not laugh.
The scuffle at an end, the Nabob pulled down his sleeves, which had risen to his elbows, smoothed his rumpled linen, picked up his satchel from which the papers relating to the Sarigue election had scattered as far as the gutter, and replied to the police officers, who asked him his name in order to prepare their report: "Bernard Jansoulet, Deputy for Corsica." A public man!
He had, however, one friend in the Chamber, a deputy newly elected for Deux-Sèvres, named M. Sarigue, a poor fellow not unlike the inoffensive, ignoble animal whose name he bore, with his sparse, red hair, his frightened eyes, his hopping gait in his white gaiters.
M. Sarigue need not be afraid; never could he have put his hand on an examiner with kinder intentions or more indulgent, for the Nabob, taking pity on the sufferer, knowing by experience how painful is the anguish of waiting, had made haste through his labour; and the enormous portfolio which he carried under his arm, as he left the Mora mansion, contained his report ready to be sent in to the bureau.
They spoke of an election, of a scrutiny, and the poor mother leaning forward in her red hood, wrinkling her great eyebrows, would have religiously listened to the whole of the report of the Sarigue election, if the attendant who had introduced her had not come to say that it was finished and she had better go away. She seemed very much surprised. "Indeed!
By an amusing irony of fate, Jansoulet, himself agitated by all the anxieties of his own validation, was chosen in Bureau no. 8 to draw up the report on the election in the Deux-Sevres; and M. Sarigue, humble and supplicating, conscious of his incapacity and filled by a horrible dread of being sent back to his home in disgrace, used to follow about this great jovial fellow with the curly hair and big shoulder blades that moved like the bellows of a forge beneath a light and tightly fitting frock-coat, without any suspicion that a poor anxious being like himself lay concealed within that solid envelope.
He had, however, one friend in the Chamber, a deputy newly elected for the Deux-Sevres, called M. Sarigue, a poor man sufficiently resembling the inoffensive and ill-favoured animal whose name he bore, with his red and scanty hair, his timorous eyes, his hopping walk, his white gaiters; he was so timid that he could not utter two words without stuttering, almost voiceless, continually sucking jujubes, which completed the confusion of his speech.
A little more and he would have killed him. The struggle over, pulling down his sleeves, adjusting his crumpled linen, picking up his portfolio out of which the papers of the Sarigue election were flying scattered even to the gutter, the Nabob answered the policemen who were asking him for his name in order to draw up a summons: "Bernard Jansoulet, Deputy for Corsica." A public man!