Baron Trigault's Vengeance
The sumptuous interior of the Trigault mansion was on a par with its external
magnificence. Even the entrance bespoke the lavish millionaire, eager to
conquer difficulties, jealous of achieving the impossible, and never haggling
when his fancies were concerned. The spacious hall, paved with costly mosaics,
had been transformed into a conservatory full of flowers, which were renewed
every morning. Rare plants climbed the walls up gilded trellis work, or hung from
the ceiling in vases of rare old china, while from among the depths of verdure
peered forth exquisite statues, the work of sculptors of renown. On a rustic bench
sat a couple of tall footmen, as bright in their gorgeous liveries as gold coins
fresh from the mint; still, despite their splendor, they were stretching and yawning
to such a degree, that it seemed as if they would ultimately dislocate their jaws
"Tell me," inquired the servant who was escorting Pascal, "can any one speak to
"This gentleman has something to say to him."
The two valets eyed the unknown visitor, plainly considering him to be one of
those persons who have no existence for the menials of fashionable
establishments, and finally burst into a hearty laugh. "Upon my word!" exclaimed
the eldest, "he's just in time. Announce him, and madame will be greatly obliged
to you. She and monsieur have been quarrelling for a good half-hour. And,
heavenly powers, isn't he tantalizing!"
The most intense curiosity gleamed in the eyes of Pascal's conductor, and with
an airy of secrecy, he asked: "What is the cause of the rumpus? That Fernand,
no doubt--or some one else?"
"No; this morning it's about M. Van Klopen."
"The same. Monsieur and madame were breakfasting together--a most unusual
thing--when M. Van Klopen made his appearance. I thought to myself, when I
admitted him: 'Look out for storms!' I scented one in the air, and in fact the
dressmaker hadn't been in the room five minutes before we heard the baron's
voice rising higher and higher. I said to myself: 'Whew! the mantua-maker is
presenting his bill!' Madame cried and went on like mad; but, pshaw! when the
master really begins, there's no one like him. There isn't a cab- driver in Paris
who's his equal for swearing."
"And M. Van Klopen?"
"Oh, he's used to such scenes! When gentlemen abuse him he does the same
as dogs do when they come up out of the water; he just shakes his head and
troubles himself no more about it. He has decidedly the best of the row. He has
furnished the goods, and he'll have to be paid sooner or later----"
"What! hasn't he been paid then?"
"I don't know; he's still here."