Caught In The Net
Beaumarchef, when Mascarin called a general meeting of his associates, was in
the habit of assuming his very best attire; for as he was often called into the inner
office to answer questions, he was much impressed with the importance of the
occasion. This time, however, the subordinate, although he had received due
notice of the meeting, was still in his every-day dress. This discomposed him a
good deal, though he kept muttering to himself that he meant no disrespect by it.
Early in the morning he had been compelled to make up the accounts of two
cooks, who, having obtained situations, were leaving the servants' lodging-
house. When this matter was completed, he had hoped for half an hour's leisure.
As he was crossing the courtyard, however, he fell in with Toto Chupin bringing
in his daily report, which Beaumarchef thought would be what it usually was--a
mere matter of form. He was, however, much mistaken; for though outwardly
Toto was the same, yet his ideas had taken an entirely new direction; and when
Beaumarchef urged him to look sharp, the request was received with a great deal
"I ain't lost no time," said he, "and have fished up a thing or two fresh; but before
saying a word--"
He stopped, and seemed a little confused.
"Well, go on."
"I want a fresh arrangement."
Beaumarchef was staggered.
"Arrangement!" he echoed.
"Of course you can lump it if yer don't like it," said the boy. "Do you think as how
I'm going to work like a horse, and not get a wink of sleep, just for a 'thank ye,
Chupin?' No fear. I'm worth a sight more nor that."
Beaumarchef flew into a rage.
"Then you are not worth a pinch of salt," said he.
"All right, my cove."
"And you are an ungrateful young villain to talk like this after all the kindness your
master has shown you."
Chupin gave a sarcastic laugh.
"Goodness!" cried he. "To hear you go on, one would think that the boss had
ruined himself for my sake."
"He took you out of the streets, and has given you a room ever since."
"A room, do you say? I call it a dog kennel."
"You have your breakfast and dinner every day regularly."
"I know that, and half a bottle of wine at each meal, which has so much water in it
that it cannot even stain the tablecloth."
"You are an ungrateful young hound," exclaimed Beaumarchef, "and forget that,
in addition to this, he has set you up in business as a hot chestnut seller."
"Good old business! I am allowed to stand all day under the gateway, roasted on
one side, and frozen on the other, and gain, perhaps twenty sous."