Chapter XX.

Some months later, one evening, at old Mademoiselle de Goello's house, the Marchioness d'Arlange, looking ten years younger than when we saw her last, was giving her dowager friends an account of the wedding of her granddaughter Claire, who had just married the Viscount Albert de Commarin.

"The wedding," said she, "took place on our estate in Normandy, without any flourish of trumpets. My son-in-law wished it; for which I think he is greatly to blame. The scandal raised by the mistake of which he had been the victim, called for a brilliant wedding. That was my opinion, and I did not conceal it. But the boy is as stubborn as his father, which is saying a good deal; he persisted in his obstinacy. And my impudent granddaughter, obeying beforehand her future husband, also sided against me. It is, however, of no consequence; I defy anyone to find to-day a single individual with courage enough to confess that he ever for an instant doubted Albert's innocence. I have left the young people in all the bliss of the honeymoon, billing and cooing like a pair of turtle doves. It must be admitted that they have paid dearly for their happiness. May they be happy then, and may they have lots of children, for they will have no difficulty in bringing them up and in providing for them. I must tell you that, for the first time in his life, and probably for the last, the Count de Commarin has behaved like an angel! He has settled all his fortune on his son, absolutely all. He intends living alone on one of his estates. I am afraid the poor dear old man will not live long. I am not sure that he has entirely recovered from that last attack. Anyhow, my grandchild is settled, and grandly too. I know what it has cost me, and how economical I shall have to be. But I do not think much of those parents who hesitate at any pecuniary sacrifice when their children's happiness is at stake."

The marchioness forgot, however, to state that, a week before the wedding, Albert freed her from a very embarrassing position, and had discharged a considerable amount of her debts.

Since then, she had not borrowed more than nine thousand francs of him; but she intends confessing to him some day how greatly she is annoyed by her upholsterer, by her dressmaker, by three linen drapers, and by five or six other tradesmen.

Ah, well, she is all the same a worthy woman; she never says anything against her son-in-law!

Retiring to his father's home in Poitou, after sending in his resignation, M. Daburon has at length found rest; forgetfulness will come later on. His friends do not yet despair of inducing him to marry.

Madame Juliette is quite consoled for the loss of Noel. The eighty thousand francs hidden by him under the pillow were not taken from her. They are nearly all gone now though. Before long the sale of a handsome suite of furniture will be announced.

Old Tabaret, alone, is indelibly impressed. After having believed in the infallibility of justice, he now sees every where nothing but judicial errors.

The ex-amateur detective doubts the very existence of crime, and maintains that the evidence of one's senses proves nothing. He circulates petitions for the abolition of capital punishment, and has organised a society for the defence of poor and innocent prisoners.