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and Mme. de Claire held out her hand with one of her truffles ? There were plenty of them encumbering the bright smiles.

Versailles lobbies, -men who did not care for the jibes of "You are most welcome, my dear count. I only returned the press, nor blink koo-tooing to grocer-politicians, and yesterday, and Lucie and I were just wondering together whose consciences were not sensitive to a peccadillo more whether our good fortune would send us any visitors.' or less when it suited the public good or their own. A

“You see before you the most perplexed of men,” minister should be a man with vigorous lungs, forward of answered the count, raising her hand to his lips, — for one speech, and impressed with the belief that Heaven had put is sorry to state that Anglomania has not yet generalized in him where he was, to sit upon the public like a hair shirt France that charming mode of salutation which consists in without paying heed to remonstrances. No man was fit to squeezing a lady's hand, and working it up and down like a be a minister who could not shed opportune tears over his pump-handle, — " the most perplexed of men, who comes to own civic virtues, his integrity, his disinterestedness, and beg alms of you in the shape of advice,” added he, proceed- yet fight with desperate energy whenever an attempt was ing to salute Mlle. Lucie, whom he lifted up and kissed. made to unseat him. Nobody had ever seen a minister take his

“I dot a noo dol, une grande poupee avec bloo eyes, tu place in a cabinet with the private wish to be relieved from sais, monsieur,” observed Miss Lucie, who, having a Scotch his emoluments as soon as possible. This would be a nurse and an English governess, spoke at times a very odd breach of faith towards one's colleagues, a precedent likely jumble of languages.

to create confusion and bring the ministerial office into ridi. " Then Lucie had better leave us,” said Mme. de Claire, cule. Thus argued M. le Comte de Ris for the better part with an apologetic glance towards the little thing, who was of a quarter of an hour; whilst Mme. de Claire, continuing the miniature portrait of herself. “ You will find her terri- to embroider, listened patiently and attentively. Mlle. bly noisy if she remains. Put down the rest of the flowers, Lucie, less patient and attentive, slipped at an early stage Lucie, and make your best courtesy to M. de Ris.

of the argument off the count's knees, and went to fetch off “Oh! Lucie and I are old friends,” replied M. de Ris; the hearth-rug her Angora kitten, Minette, with a view to "she shall sit on my knee;" and Mlle. Lucie, who foresaw establishing points of comparison, by and by, between this that her withdrawal might lead to an hour's spelling lesson much-favored cat and the count's own chat, Prit. in the company of Miss Thompson, the governess, protested : “And now,” said the count, by manner of conclusion, " Je ne talkerai pas, maman; j'écouterai tout ce que le “I do hope you approve of all I have said; for I inean to monsieur says."

be guided entirely by your advice as to the way in which I On that understanding Mlle. Lucie was allowed to sit ought to decline this unreasonable offer.". on the visitor's knee and play with his watch-chain, where The baroness paused in her work and looked up. the name “ Pritchard,” embossed on the locket, soon engaged “ Well, there are two kinds of advices, my dear count; her undivided attention. Mme. de Claire took her place the first of which I may call constitutional,' for it conon the sofa opposite a tambour-frame, on which shone, half sists in coming with a set of resolutions already framed in completed, one of those smart chasubles which French one's own mind, and asking sombody simply to ratify them. ladies fill their leisure by embroidering for the country If it be constitutional advice you want, then I say that your clergy. M. de Ris then drew out the letter of the great pleas are very humorous, and that you cannot do better personage, and handed it to the baroness, beginning at the than follow your own inclination. Only I think I would same time to unfold his most painful story.

go in person to Versailles, and state my reasons for refusing. “ Then it is true?” said Mme. de Claire, returning him It is more polite than writing. The other advice is the the letter with a smile, after reading its contents, and candid”... and with a slight smile Mme. de Claire bent making a slight inclination of the head, which might be over her chasuble again. coustrued into a congratulation. “I saw it announced in “ Please give me candid advice,” answered the count, the papers, but it was only mentioned as a rumor.”

after a moment's hesitation, and looking both resigned and " It is in the papers already!” exclaimed the count, in miserable. “I could bear any thing from you, even blame.” real consternation. “ Then the matter is worse than I My candid advice, then, is, that you should accept the expected. They have done that in order to make it more offer,” said Mme. de Claire gently. “You say that you difficult for me to refuse. But I shall not be caught for all are dismayed at the unsettled condition of affairs? This is that. I will refuse."

reason the more for lending your aid to calm us. You urge “ You will refuse ?” echoed the baroness, quite quietly, that you have not the qualities necessary for the post : that, and working at her chasuble.

I think, is excess of modesty." “ Why? Is not such your advice?” inquired the count,

The count looked crushed. a little astonished; and he unhooked his watch-chain to “ You cannot, surely, think it is my duty to set myself up facilitate Mlle. Lucie's inspection.

as a butt for all the journalists and coffee-house orators of " That must depend on the reasons you have to give,” this scribbling, chattering nation?” said he. said she, raising her large, clear eyes, and fixing them on " Duty is a big word, and a man can only judge for himhim interrogatively,

self where his duty lies. But, if every man of education " P-R-I-T — Prit,” broke in Mlle. Lucie, in a speculative and intluence refused to serve his country, what would bewhisper, “C-H-A-R-D Chat, Prit-Chat"

(here a come of us?” pause). “ Dat is zoor cat's name : le chat Prit?" and she “ I risked my life without hesitation,” broke in the count, softly nudged the count's elbow. “Dis moi de quelle color expostulating. “ And I would give up every franc of my il est, black or tabby, ton chat Prit ? ”

fortune to-morrow, if it could do France any good.” The name of the missionary who was nearly being the “ Life and money are the two things to which men of cause of a war between France and England, lisped out your rank hold least,” answered Mme. de Claire; - but from between Mlle. Lucie's small lips, acted like a clarion supposing you were to sacrifice that for which you really do upon the distressed count, waking him to sudden elo- care, - a little of your time, your habits, some of your quence. Mme. de Claire wanted his reasons: he gave

comforts ? ?" them her. Quickly, and with that fervor which fires us She glanced up at him gayly, almost coaxingly; and her all when we speak of our own hardships, he sketched the manner of speaking was so sensible and feeling that he unruffled life he had led hitherto, and grew pathetic about knew not what to say. In his inmost heart the conviction the proposal that tended to transform him in four and arose, that, having asked her advice so far, he was now twenty hours from the happiest man in all Paris into the bound to follow it; and this added to his embarrassment: most wretched cabinet minister of all Europe. It was like but as she proceeded to review, in her musical voice, all a shell falling upon a pleasure villa; a blight settling upon the objections he had raised, and found a pitby, well-put a tree; a drug mingling with wine, -- any thing that was answer to each, another sentiment overshadowed the first; unexpected, needless, and unkind. Why had they not and he began dimly to discern a career of useful labor and appealed to one of those men who are constantly running fame opening to him, where at first he had seen only gloom after appointments, like a certain edible quadruped after and annoyance. After all, he was a man of birth, whose




ancestors had at different times and in divers ways done all the most vexing people in the country, and then you service to the State; and he was the only one of his line complain of it having such unmannerly advocates! Why who had set his heart's ambition on doing nothing. What not be Republicans yourselves, and study to make repubwas this but selfishness? He might veil his conduct under licanism properly understood ? There is no form of governwhat paradoxes he pleased, his aversion to office was due ment under which your influence would be greater or more to motives that were not very noble or very creditable. Of respected. For, as you may suppose, I am not advocating a a sudd it urred to him, that in arguing him out of his republic with Mr. Rhetorician this or Mr. Iconoclast that apathy, as she was doing, Mme. de Claire must feel a cer- at its head, and a whole attendant train of supporters fresh tain amount of contempt for a man who needed thus to be from the tavern. That is the caricature of republicanism. spurred on to duties which a spirited mind would have un- My republic would be the rule of talent and merit under dertaken at once with eagerness and pride. This thought all its forms. No man should be exiled because he was a fillipped his Frenchman's vanity as with a whip, and he felt prince, nor excluded from the chance of honor because he himself reddening to the roots of his hair." He was on was poor. There should be liberty of speech and pen for the point of exclaiming that he saw it all now, and thanking all; dukes and counts should bear their titles if it pleased his hostess for unsealing his eyes; but he was arrested by them, though no more empty distinctions should be conferred, the reflection that he really and truly had no political opin- and the only difference between this republicanism and ions to use as a banner on commencing his official career, monarchy would be that instead of setting over us a privand this was certainly an impediment, for political con- ileged family to rule by dint of perpetual coups-d'état and victions are not extemporized in a minute like puns or rid- amid constant panics, you gentlemen, who would make up dles. However, it was in quite an altered and appeased two legislative chambers, should elect periodically the most tone that he urged this new difficulty, and said, “If I only eminent man among you to govern the country for so many had a belief in some system or other! By rights, I ought years according to your directions. I am sure that under to be a Bourbonist, but in that, party-faith is required, and such a system as this, that is, with republicanism put under a certain dash of fanaticism. To be an Orleanist one must the safeguard of birth and genius, the fussy agitators who needs believe in the panaceal virtues of parliaments, are now the high priests of the party, would be reduced to whereas parliaments have never cured any thing in France. making themselves Royalists to attract public attention.”

“If I took to Bonapartism I should be obliged to agitate The debate, which grew more and more one-sided and for plebiscitums — Heaven help me! — as if our last plebis- more and more convincing to the one who played the pascitum were not enough!”

sive part in it, was prolonged during a few minutes until in“Then be a Republican,” said Mme. de Claire simply. terrupted by Mlle. Lucie, who, emerging from behind the He started a little, for such a suggestion in Mme. de sofa with the cat Minette in her arms, took it up to the count Claire's mouth was unlooked for. Was this the brilliant, and laid it on his knees, saying with becoming seriousness, courted baroness, whose husband's shield numbered so many “ Dis moi, is he aussi blanc que this, your cat Prit?quarterings that it looked like a harlequin's coat? He

“What does Lucie mean by your cat Prit ? ” asked Mme. would have thought she was mocking him, but for her per- de Claire, amused. fect gravity:

The count explained, laughing, to what uses he had put “ Republicanism,” she said, “is a word which we have the clerical name of Pritchard; and then taking off his converted into a bugbear because we have always associ- watch-chain completely, he wound it two or three times ated it with noisy people. But why not try and make of it round Mlle. Lucie's plump and pink little wrist : it made a the government of France by all the most distinguished

pretty bracelet. Frenchmen? I can scarcely myself, in these times, under- “I have no further use for it now," he said ; "and you stand a man having any other aim. If it were possible to must keep it, Lucie, as a souvenir of what your ma restore the loyalty of the people such as it was in the days did for an incorrigible idler, — taught him that we are here when they worshipped the king, and touched his garments to work, and not always to please ourselves.” to be cured of diseases, then I should pray for the return of “ Then I shall next hear from you at Versailles," obHenri V. But as this cannot be, and as the only kingship served Mme. de Claire, with an expression of very pardonwe seem able to tolerate is an expedient that has the bare able pleasure at the success her arguments had wrought. name of royalty without any of its privileges or prestige, Mlle. Lucie, one is compelled to state, had vanished and which besides leads us into distracting revolutions every behind the sofa, with a forefinger in her mouth and her twenty years, why not adopt at once the form of govern- eyes


upon her trinket, as if she apprehended being ment which agrees best with such theories as we still do re- bidden to return it. spect? They are not many, but they are good: individual “I am like a knight you will have armed for the fray," merit , equality, and the popular will."

answered the count, rising to go. “I have both sword and He was quite surprised, though not disagreeably.

banner.” "I have often thought myself,” he rejoined, “what a bless- “ And I am certain you will distinguish yourself in the ing it would be if we could sink our differences into a lists,” she rejoined kindly. common system that would bring all parties into co-opera- “ I could not but act well,” he said, "if I had always at tion. But republicanism has never succeeded anywhere, hand an adviser like yourself.” not even in the United States, where it is corruption organ- His voice was somewhat earnest as he bowed. ized, and where it will collapse as soon as the country is peo- She blushed very slightly, and he took his leave. On pled enough and respectable enough to wish for honest in- his way from Beaupré to his own park, and thence, an hour stitutions. The constitution of England seems the utmost later, to the railway station, John, the groom, noticed that to which we can aspire, though I do not even see how we he handled his horses with much greater tenderness than are to found that."

he had done that morning. As for M. Narcisse, the valet, "Nor shall we," answered Mme. de Claire. England he noticed nothing; for having heard from the count's own is England, and the liberal papers there call the Queen lips that it was his intention to accept the seat in the cabi*ber Most Gracious Majesty' until our own opposition net offered him, that excellent servant was wrapped in journals do the same, I cannot see what hope there is of copy- meditation as to whether it would not be more politic, before ing a state of things which is based on religious reverence urging the claims of his relatives on the Government, to for the sovereign ; it would be like trying to make a watch solicit of that power (in his master's person) something without the mainspring. As to republicanism," added she, for himself, — say a snug Bureau de Tabac in a good quarter with a touch of patriotic pride that was not without spirit, of Paris, or a place on the customs with a furnished house, " I think we are a great nation enough, my dear count, to a salary of three thousand francs a year, and perquisites ? set precedents instead of following them. Republicanism has failed up to this moment because you noblemen, instead

III. of regarding it as the government of all

, have treated it as a When the appointment of M. le Comte de Ris to the mere party. You have given it ov to be championed by minis ip of the Cochin-China colonies became an au



of a provincial mayor who has received the honor of knighthood. At that minute he thanked Heaven that the photographers who sold him for ten-pence on the Boulevards were not behind to knock off a new set of portraits; for, catching sight of himself in a glass, he thought he had never looked so stiff and ridiculous. He had no leisure, though, to pursue his reflections on this topic any further; for by this time he had come to the end of the clerks, and reached a spot where stood, mingling with the clerks, and yet distinct from them, as who should say a steeple forming part of the church, and yet overtopping it, a man of venerable mein, with a smooth bald head, who made obeisance to him with humble yet collected courtesy.

Impossible to look more imposing than this hairless veteran, who resembled an image of Nestor, king of the Pylians, shaved and in modern garb. Deep reverence, not unmingled with dread, was observable in the parliamentary secretary's manner as he introduced him: "The permanent, irresponsible under-secretary, Monsieur Jobus."

This work was of necessity, at first, occult. As the Assembly was not sitting, no opportunity existed for a public display; and after the count had received his portfolio at the hands of the president, made his bow to Mme. Thiers, and exchanged visits with all his colleagues in the Cabinet, he had nothing important to do but to take formal possession of his two official residences at Versailles and in Paris. A certain degree of solemnity usually attends these installations, and the count found the whole staff of his office marshalled in dress-coats and white ties to receive him. Truth to say, he was not in very good spirits. He had felt sad on leaving his luxurious rooms on the Boulevard Malesherbes for the bleak apartments which the nation put at his disposal in the Palace of Versailles; and though M. Narcisse had assured him with some elation that no less a person than Louis XV. had once slept in the chamber where he was going to rest, this piece of glory had cheered him but slightly. Then a sigh had escaped him at beholding on a wall, as he drove along, the Gymnase playbill announcing the Visite de Noces. He had not yet seen this last play of Dumas; and if it had not been for his official dignity he should have been going to dine snugly at the Café Anglais that night, then afterwards to the Gymnase, and between the acts he should have gone behind the scenes to compliment Mlle. Desclée, and have a quarter of an hour's chat with Miles. Pierson and Massin. He was, further, painfully impressed by the awe-stricken look which fell on the countenance of the sentry who saluted him as he alighted. He was not accustomed to see people so horribly frightened as this at his approach.

The count had never heard of the permanent and irre sponsible M. Jobus; but a man who has never heard tell of a sphinx is not the less moved at the sight of one. M. Jobus was the Cochin-China office in septuagenarian form. People in the outer world talked of the Cochin-China office, its doings, its mistakes; but they labored under a wrong impression. That office was M. Jobus; its doings were his doings, its mistakes were his — no, its mistakes were those of the parliamentary under-secretary, or of the parliamentary minister, both responsible. M. Jobus, as above said, was irresponsible. Ministries might fall, and dynasties go away by train, but M. Jobus remained where he was. Now and then the wrong-headed public would get up with the notion that things were being done at the Cochin-China office which ought not to be done; and there would be an agitation about it in the papers, then speeches about it in the legislature, finally splits about it in the Cabinet, resulting in the retirement of some Cochin-China minister and his parliamentary henchman. But after this matters would go on at the Cochin-China office exactly as they had done before, because, in dismissing the minister and his henchman, people had overlooked M. Jobus, which is as if the passengers of the ship that bore Jonah to Tarshish had thrown the captain overboard but overlooked Jonah. In dealing with the affairs of the nation, of the office, or with his own affairs personally, M. Jobus always seemed to bear in mind the golden fact that he was permanent and irresponsible. If anybody belonging to the office fell athwart him, M. Jobus visited him with his displeasure, and this is what would then sometimes happen: The person visited by the permanent irresponsibility of M. Jobus would appeal to M. Jobus's responsible chief; but as this gentleman, being not permanent but fleeting, seldom knew much or indeed any thing of office matters, he would refer back the appeal to M. Jobus for particulars; in other words, ask for M. Jobus's opinion on his own judgment. And this might happen several times over, so that frequently a person who held in his possession five or six epistolary condemnations from successive Cochin-China ministers would virtually possess but one reply, that dictated and redictated by M. Jobus, who had acted in the matter as prosecutor, judge of first instance, judge of first appeal, and judge of final appeal. One is

However, state is state, and the clerks in the receptionroom looked very stately. There were clerks of every shape, magnitude, and denomination, head clerks, first clerks, second clerks, third clerks, assistant clerks, super-happy to add, however, that M. Jobus was a functionary numerary clerks, copying clerks; in short, more than the pen can enumerate; and all these clerks bowed like one clerk as he dawned magisterially upon their eyesight. To his left walked the under-secretary of state for the CochinChina department, a middle-aged parliamentarian of great tongue power, who had been very strong on the estimates during its opposition days, but had somewhat neglected this branch ever since his own salary had been included in the budget. This fellow-worker acted as his master of the ceremonies, and whispered names as they sidled along. The count strove generously by his own urbane demeanor to provoke something like a sign of life and welcome on the starched faces of the sea of subordinates; but the effort was vin, and the chilliness of the whole scene so re-acted on him that he felt his back-bone becoming ironized like that

highly appreciated by all who had ever been brought into harmonious contact with him. People had even been heard to speculate as to what the Cochin-China office would ever do if deprived of his services; for indeed, men like M. Jobus are not manufactured out of hand in a day. They can only be produced by a long, most delicately-nurtured and most carefully-guarded career of irresponsibility.

The count gazed for a few seconds at Monsieur Jobus as if an inward voice told him that here was an official of greater weight than appeared on the surface; then, by way of beginning an acqu 'intance, he said he would always rely on M. Jobus's zeal at which M. Jobus bowed; that he put the greatest confidence in M. Jobus's abilities- M. Jobus bowed anew; and that he hoped often to have the pleasure of seeing M. Jobus again, whereupon there was a

thentic fact, duly notified to the world in the columns of the Journal Officiel, the event gave rise to much discussion. It was at a critical moment, when the public mind, uncertain as to whether the Government were leaning towards monarchy or the opposite extreme, looked anxiously for the first appointment which should furnish a precise indication. As it was, the appointment furnished nothing, and was consequently, from the official point of view, an extremely clever move. Half the journals in Paris were convinced that the count was a Monarchist; the other half were equally persuaded that he was a Republican. Controversies of great bitterness, and in which much irony was lavished, were waged on this subject between rival prints; and then the newspapers of each inimical section took to fighting pleasantly among themselves as to which exact shade of monarchism or republicanism the new minister belonged to. This lasted a week, during which the illustrated sheets published portrait engravings of him, and the photographers stuck his cartes-de-visite in their windows at one franc apiece. Provincial and foreign journalists also called to beg for biographical details; and an "own correspondent" from New York appeared one morning at breakfasttime, to interview him through the nose, and ask whether he were any relation to Count de Ris, who had fought under Lafayette, and either beaten or been beaten by the English. Then, this inaugurative hubbub over, the public folded its arms, and waited patiently to see the Cochin-China minister at work.

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rustling down the whole line of clerks, like the shaking of of M. Jobus! The fact is, the count had not accepted ofaspen leaves, set in motion by the wind. Somehow, the fice for his amusement; and, as often happens with men who count could not help imagining there was a symptom of have never done a stroke of work all their days, he was bringironical mirth in this rustling. It reminded him of the ing to bear on his new occupations the reserves of energy diabolical notes which accompany the mild-worded serenade accumulated during a life-time. Such men are a curse and in Don Giovanni.

a bitterness to any department where th introduce themThe presentation being over, the new minister was about selves. M. Jcbus had seen no lack of ministers evince an to pass into his study; but the parliamentary secretary, ardor for reform on accession to power; but this was usually taking alarm, whispered that it would be contrary to all no more than a flash in the pan, a brief mania, that subsided usage not to make a speech. A speech – why a speech ? under the temperate influence of oflicial atmosphere: nay, What could the count have to say to all these gentlemen it was one of the curious facts of M. Jobus's experience, that who were eying him as if he were somebody admitted on the more a minister had talked of reform before attaining sufferance, and intruding, rather unwarrantably on the office the less did he dwell on the subject afterwards, whole, into their comfortable midst? However, the hungry which was perfectly natural; for when a man has waded expression in the stare of the clerks, and the expectant air through a certain amount of sloppy country to reach a given on the physiognomy of M. Jobus, told so plainly that with- height, his chief pre-occupation on arriving is to change his out oratory of some sort the day's programme would be con- boots, and to dismiss as soon as possible from his mind all sidered incomplete, that he stood still, and in a polite con- the trying incidents of the journey. Besides, reforming versational tone said,

ministers are generally taken up when they first come to pow“GENTLEMEN, I shall not forget that which I am er by the material comforts and dignities of their new posipersuaded is the guiding maxim of your own conduct, that tion, the being housed, and having one's letters posted at we are the servants of the public, and should make it a the expense of the tax-payer; the being able to say, “ Put point of honor to discharge the duties confided to us in the more coals on the fire, Auguste,” without inward pangs as fullest way we honestly can. If we bear this in mind, and to coals costing sixty francs a ton; the wearing of gold-laced are conscientious as regards the quality of our labor as well swallow-tails, and secing pretty women in drawing-rooms as its quantity, I have every hope that on the day we part, wreathe their faces in smiles at one's approach, — with many we shall do so mutually pleased with one another.”

other little nicenesses equally new and gratitying. But minThis was not quite the kind of speech that had been ex- isters of Count de Ris's rank and fortune, who have never pected, and it caused a moment's astonishment. However, had to bemoan the price of fuel and stationery, look upon allowances must be made for a minister new to his work. power as a field for active exertions, which exertions, in the The venerable M. Jobus started an applauding murmur; case of clear and comparatively young minds, are apt to asand all the clerks echoed the applauding murmur, the par- sume a shape extremely fatiguing for those who are pressed liumentary under-secretary chiming in with a sonorous into forced co-operation. M. Jobus had already had occa“Good, good,” such as those he delivered in the House sion to observe this during the occupancy of a marquis who when official persons were holding forth. Nevertheless, the had worked two private secretaries on to the verge of brainmore did the venerable and irresponsible M. Jobus ponder fever, and during that of a viscount who had caused him, upon the speech of his new chief, once the latter had with- M. Jobus, much mental anguish by his love of statistics. drawn, the less did he like it. That reference to the public But both these noblemen had, after all, confined their exuwas singularly infelicitous. What had the public to do berant diligence to questions of great state interest. M.de with the Cochin-China office ? Other ministers, when Ris was the first minister whom M. Jobus had ever seen they made inaugurative harangues, began with a compli- show that Frederick-the-Great-like disposition to interfere ment to their predecessors, which was a courtly custom and in those ninutiæ of the office which M. Jobus had, theretoinnocuous, that ought not lightly to be set aside. Then fore, regarded as his private, sanctified domain. they extolled the institutions under which they were living. “ There seems to me to be a great many clerks,” remarked cautioned their hearers against the perils of anarchy, and the count, when he had pumped the irresponsible M. Jubus wound up with the promise that they would be the fathers pretty nearly dry. of all the clerks and subalterns in their departments. M. “Does your Excellency think so ?” replied M. Jobus ; for Jobus had seen full a score ministers come and go who had it was a rule with that esteemed public servant never to combeen fathers to the Cochin-China office; and this sort of mit himself to a downright statement, either affirmative or eloquence wrought no evil. It was easily digestible, like negative. good pastry, - very different from allusions to the "quan- They struck me as very numerous. Could you give me tity" and "quality" of labor, the honest discharge of con- any idea of their approximate number ? ” scientious duties, and so on. M. Jobus fancied he felt “ I could not venture to speak with any certitude, M. le something disquietingly harc under this speech. He had Comte," answered M. Jobus, deprecatingly; the implied corread of iron hands covered with velvet gloves; and, though ollary being, “ These questions really afflict me beyond he had never met with such a thing, he opined it must have measure, your Excellency.” some such touch as this. His usual peace of mind was far “Well, I should hold it a favor, M. Jobus,” said the from restored when, an hour after the speech, the minister count, “if you would kindly have a tabular list drawn up, commanded his attendance, to learn from him the current stating the exact number of clerks, their salaries, the dates business of the office.

of their appointments, and the nature and amount of work He found the count already at work, opening despatches, allotted to each. At a time when France is bleeding at all and fresh-primed with information which the parliamentary her veins, you must agree with me, that not a centime vught secretary had given him. This parliamentary secretary to be spent more than there is any necessity for. And I take made his exit as M. Jobus entered ; and then the count, mo- this opportunity of beyging that you will direct those whom tioning his new interlocutor to a handsome and uncomforta- it may concern, that my personal expenses, firing, lightiny, ble chair with an eighteenth-century back, listened with furniture repairs, and the wages of the ushers and messengreat patience, and with more than expedient interest, for a gers who specially attend on me, are not to be entered in the space exceeding two hours, to all that he had to say. Fresh office accounts. I intend to defray all such myself. Thank ministers are usually inquisitive, but not, sighed M. Jobus, you, meanwhile, for your very lucid information.” to this extent. The permanent irresponsible was surprised, M. Jobus shivered from head to feet, and retired, not taken aback, and gradually alarmed to the depths of his knowing, for the first time in his life, on what limbs of his soul by the probing nature of the questions which the new venerable person he was walking. And that evening the minister put; by his minuteness in having every detail elab- news went forth through clerkdom that the new minister orately explained before passing on to the next one; by his for the Cochin-China department was a man bent on innoevident intention, in a word, to master all the items of his vation. If you can imagine a Cingalese rising amid an asdepartmental labors thoroughly, just as if it was he who sembly of Buddhists, and declaring unexpectedly that the meant to be every thing in the Cochin-China House instead tooth of the fourth Boodh, Guadama, which all the faithtul


He was

worship with exemplary fervor, was cut from the tusk of a his bed at an early hour, and, under doctor's advice, took a hog; or a mandarin of Pekin denying, in a conclave of his glass of brandy neat, in a basin of water-gruel. peers, that the constellation of the Great Dog appeared in The count's next move was to issue a minute with his the year 647 before the Christian era, and dictated his max- own band, stating that he regretted to perceive that the govims to Confucius, you may realize the sort of consternation ernment stamp of the office was used to frank private corre produced by this announcement.

spondence. He was informed that clerks brought the letters of

their families in their pockets, to despatch gratis, and were IV.

even in the habit of sending parcels through the pattern

and book post franked. This was a manifest fraud upon The press got wind of the matter. That lively organ, the revenue.* It must cease, and for the future the the Cigare, announced that a strange sight was to be seen frank would only be affixed by one of his own secretaries at the Cochin-China office: a minister who rose at un- on letters duly authenticated as official. In the next place, holy hours in the morning to work; clerks who were the practice of despatching government estafettes upon hushed, and attentive to their business, neither reading the private errands must be put a stop to. Mounted dragoons newspapers in office hours, nor playing pitch-and-toss with might be seen galloping at all hours about the streets of trancs, as the good old custom had been, but writing con- Paris, with brown paper parcels under their arms; and tinuously and silently, and beginning to look pale from this a clerk in the Cochin-China office was reported to unwonted exercise. It was further added, that people who have sent an unwrapped watermelon to his wife in now went to the Cochin-China office for information stood this way, from Versailles to Paris, to the great astonishsome chance of obtaining a civil answer. Nobody quite be- ment of bystanders. † Dragoons were not armed and lieved this last report, but still it was found entertaining. mounted to carry watermelons. In the third place, clerks

It was the truth, however; and not only in this, but in were requested to remember that civility of speech was one other respects, the Cochin-China office had so far changed of the duties of their condition. This last reminder folsince the count's accession that the excellent M. Jobus lowed close upon an event which had struck as much terror began to feel as if he were a stranger there.

in the department as the fall of a thunder-bolt. An old thinning in a manner painful to witness; and besides his officer of some sort, fresh arrived from Cochin-China, harleanness, he was growing to resemble Shakspeare's Cassius ing applied at the office on a matter connected with arrears in this other point, that he seemed to be thinking a good of pay or pension, had been received in the orthodox deal, as if there were schemes on his mind that needed fashion, “tongue in cheek we don't care - and call ripening. He had submitted to the count, as it had been again " style. Unfortunately, the count bad entered at the his custom to do with other ministers from time out of very moment when the veteran, twirling his hat disconsomind, certain names for gazetting to posts of emolument; lately between his fingers, was being sent to the right-about but the count, instead of ratifying these nominations with by a handsome sprig, in a blue-striped shirt-collar, and a a merely formal question or two, had taken time to consider double eye-glass on the bridge of his nose. To the horror the matter, saying he should suspend all appointments un- of all present, not excepting the veteran, the minister had til the tabular list for which he had asked had been made cashiered the sprig on the spot; and then, baring his head, out. This list was a long time coming. The count had had asked of the old officer what he wanted. appended to his first request a desire that it might include It must not be supposed that M. de Ris was in any way the names of all the employés, in any capacity whatever, blind to the cheerful amount of unpopularity he was storing who drew pay from the office. To this M. Jobus had up for himself by this manner of proceeding; nor was his answered, that a great many of the office papers had life a very sunny one. Every morning he received dozens been destroyed under the Cominune; that others were diffi- upon dozens of letters from old friends, asking for posts, cult to find, but that he would do his best; and so day after official recommendations, favors, or calling upon him to day went by without the famous list appearing. One assist in the redress of grievances in which, without knowing morning M. de Ris had said very gently, but with a firm- much about them, he had professed to sympathize in his ness that admitted of no reply, that he should expect the non-ministerial days. These letters put his stoicism to a list on the morrow, at twelve o'clock; and of course the list sore test.

Three of them, taken at hazard from a single had been forthcoming at that hour. But this is the way in morning's post-bag, will give an idea of the rest. which M. Jobus, an old and most blameless functionary, The first was from the Legitimist Marquise de Rosewas being treated!

croix : Another grievous thing was this. The count had, of course, brought with him a private secretary, a young gen

My Dear Count,- In proof of the confidence our party tieman full of Greek, and with eyes that looked as if ihey

repose in you, I ask you not to forget my young brother Gaston were going to jump out of his head; but he was entitled to

in the next distribution of diplomatic posts. Prevail upon Count a titular secretary, holding official rank and salary. For

de Rémusat to send him to a country where the society is good; some days no such person was appointed; but on the morn

an attachéship in London or at St. Petersburg is what he would

like best. If there be no vacancy at either of these courts, I suping when the list was handed him, the count, after an pose one could be made for him, either by removing one of the afternoon's study of this document, sent for a clerk, whom present attachés or by creating an extra attacheship. This I it so chanced the venerable M. Jobus viewed with disfavor, leave to your discretion, but trust you will get the appointment and who — though this must only have been a coincidence- gazetted at once, - say next week. Since I am writing, I must had never earned a step of promotion in the course of

tell you that the prefect in our department is a shocking man. fifteen years' service. The count had noticed that all the

He is one of those promoted by that horrible M. Gambetta. Pray précis in this clerk's hand were admirably careful and in

induce your colleague at the Home Office to discharye him. I telligent; which was no wonder, for the clerk was probably

think the post would suit the Baron de Sanslesou, who is a dishaunted by some dream of M. Jobus's eye perpetually

tant connection of ours, but not rich. I will speak to the baron

about it, and tell him that you will arrange the matter. watching him for a first slip.

Believe, my dear count, “ This précis is by you ?” said the count, as the clerk

In the best wishes of yours faithfully, entered, and bent low.


“You are of long standing in the office : how long must P.S. - You have probably some pos: in Cochin-China that it be before you become a chief clerk (chef de division)?

will do for the brother of our curé, a very worthy man. I will “It may be a hundred years, without patronage ; less

send him to you to Versailles that he may choose for himself.

C. DE R. than a hundred seconds if your Excellency wishes it.” “ Very well, monsieur; the first vacant chiet-clerkship

* In 1868 M. Vandal, Directeur Général des Postes, estimated at will be yours: mean « hile, you will act as my official secre- over 1,000,000 francs (£10,000) the yearly loss to the revenue from iltary.”

legal frauking. It must be remembered that the paid government

em plonjes of all grades in France number more than 120,000. On the evening of this occurrence M. Jobus retired to


f Fact.

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