'Your Abbé is only making a fool of you. If I were in your place I shouldn't hesitate to tell him a few plain truths. To begin with, he has been disgustingly dirty for a long time[Pg 286] past, and I can't understand how you can bear to take your meals at the same table with him.''And Abbé Fenil?' he said, lowering his voice. 'Are you not afraid that he will do all he can to thwart your plans?''Ovide will hear you. Ovide is coming.' pk10心得 'Where are you going?' she asked in her blunt peasant-woman's tones.'Your reverence won't, I suppose, hear confessions to-morrow in Saint-Michael's chapel?'Mouret fancied that Trouche was examining the fastenings. Marthe was not so bitter against him as Rose was. She treated him at first like a poor relation, whose presence is just tolerated, and then gradually grew to ignore him, scarcely ever addressing a remark to him, and acting as though Abbé Faujas alone had the right to give orders in the house. Mouret, however, showed no inclination to rebel. He occasionally exchanged a few polite phrases with the priest, though he generally ate in perfect silence, and only replied to the cook's attacks by looking at her. He always finished before any of the others, folded up his napkin tidily, and then left the room, frequently before the dessert was placed upon the table.'Oh, there's some butter there! The little bit which you will take with the tip of your knife won't ruin us. You know very well that everything here is at your service. Madame would be quite angry with me if I didn't make you at home here.''Your husband is in the room, madame,' she said at last. 'Aren't you afraid to remain alone with him?''You are mistaken,' he said slowly, 'Plassans does not agree with Madame Mouret. Why not send her to pass the winter at Nice?' 'Can it be possible that he has committed a murder and has buried the body of his victim in his garden?' exclaimed Monsieur Maffre, who had turned quite pale.'Madame Mouret is becoming quite a young girl again,' exclaimed Madame de Condamin in amazement. 'It would be very magnificent if it were not so sad,' remarked Madame de Condamin, who was now calmer.She was obliged to go and lay her hand upon her son's shoulder to awaken him from his reverie. The air was growing cool, and the Abbé shivered as he got up and followed his mother in silence. As he passed before the door of the dining-room which was all bright with the cheerful glow of the lamp and merry with the chatter of the young folks, he peeped in and said in his flexible voice:Not wishing to summon Rose, Marthe herself went to get a lamp and brought in the first dish. As she was returning from the kitchen, she met, at the foot of the staircase, a woman whom she did not at first recognise. It was Madame Faujas. She had put on a cotton cap and looked like a servant in her common print gown, with a yellow kerchief crossed over her breast and knotted behind her waist. Her wrists were bare, she was quite out of breath with the work she had been doing, and her heavy laced boots clattered on the flooring of the passage.But he was wrong. For Abbé Fenil, having turned his head as though by chance, took off his hat, whereupon all the other priests who happened to be present did the same, and Abbé Faujas returned their salute. Then, after slowly glancing over the two sets of guests on his right and his left,[Pg 95] he quitted his window, carefully drawing his white and conventual-looking curtains.'Leave her alone and let her go on!' cried Mouret, who, under other circumstances, would have been very angry with the inquisitive woman. 'You peeped through the key-hole, did you?' pk10心得 Abbé Faujas made a hasty movement of his hands, as he broke out impatiently:The next day the Paloques were very humble. Madame Paloque accused Abbé Fenil of the blackest conduct; and related with consummate impudence how she had gone to see him one day, and how he had spoken in her presence of turning 'the whole of Abbé Faujas's clique' neck-and-crop out of Plassans.Monsieur de Condamin was counting upon his fingers.'It's of no use your giving yourself any further trouble,' said Macquart with a laugh. 'They won't disturb themselves to come down. Well, here you are shut out of your own home. Don't you think now that my first idea was a good one? We must take the poor child to the Rougons'. She will be better there than in her own room; I assure you she will.'At that very moment Octave and Serge made their appearance on the terrace. Leaning against the balustrade they began to tease Désirée, who had just sat down by her mother's side. However, when the young folks caught sight of their father at the second-floor window, they lowered their voices and quietly laughed. They were both silent again, and Abbé Faujas still seemed disinclined to leave the window. He now appeared to be examining their neighbour's flower beds. Monsieur Rastoil's garden was arranged in the English fashion, with little walks and grass plots broken by small flower-beds. At the bottom there was a circular cluster of trees, underneath which a table and some rustic chairs were set.'And so,' said Macquart, leaning on his elbows and looking Rose in the face, 'it was a sudden whim of my niece to come here?' On the Tuesday after the public procession the weather was lovely. Laughter was heard both in the garden of the Rastoils and in that of the Sub-Prefect, and numerous guests were sitting under the trees. Abbé Faujas read his breviary in the Mourets' garden after his usual custom, while slowly walking up and down beside the tall hedges of box. For some days past he had kept the little door that led to the lane bolted; he was indeed coquetting with his neighbours and keeping aloof, in order that he might make them more anxious to see him. Possibly too he had noticed a slight coldness in their manner after his last misunderstanding with the Bishop, and the abominable reports that his enemies had circulated against him.'Isn't it a plump, splendid fellow?''This comes from the district of Saint-Eutrope,' he said. 'I'm not to be deceived in matters of this kind. I know the different districts thoroughly.''He flies on like a shot; he nearly upset my stall,' exclaimed another woman, a greengrocer.Then, as though he wanted to prevent any further remarks on the subject, he added quickly: 'Why, it is half-past one o'clock! This is quite an orgie we are having, my dear sub-prefect; we are all very much obliged to you.' Mouret was too much excited by the meanness of the act he was committing to be able to hear well, and, besides, he thought that one of them was coming to the door, so he[Pg 111] hurried away. He took care not to mention what he had done. A few days later Abbé Faujas, in his presence, while they were all out on the terrace, gave Marthe a definite reply respecting the Secretaryship at the Home. pk10心得 After a short interval of silence, Macquart, shrugging his shoulders, angrily exclaimed:'Oh, my dear doctor, we are so very anxious!' she murmured. 'The poor child has never stirred since we put her to bed there. Her hands are already quite cold. I have kept them in my own, but it has done no good.''Aren't your surplices stiffened with a weak solution of gum?' she inquired.'Everyone seems to be late to-day,' she said after a time. 'It is nearly six o'clock, and your father hasn't come home yet. I think he must have gone to Les Tulettes.' 'I have prayed; I have prayed for hours with my head buried in my hands, trying to lose myself in every word of adoration, and yet I have not received consolation. I have not felt the presence of God.''Is she, indeed?' he said. 'Then, if madame really wishes it, and no one objects——'