Thus, when it was necessary to cross the ditch between the Empire and the Restoration, at a time when every one was looking about for planks, and the curs of the Empire were howling their devotion right and left, des Lupeaulx borrowed large sums from the usurers and crossed the frontier.
Were it so, des Lupeaulx would have been a man of genius, whereas he was only a man of talent.
To be elected deputy it was necessary to pay taxes to the amount of a thousand francs; and the miserable homestead of the des Lupeaulx was rated at only five hundred.
In addition to all this, des Lupeaulx complicated matters by believing in the friendship of his minister, to whom he had the imprudence to express the wish to sit on the ministerial benches.
Then he worked an hour or two; that is to say, he lay back in a comfortable chair and read the newspapers, dictated the meaning of a letter, received visitors when the minister was not present, explained the work in a general way, caught or shed a few drops of the holy-water of the court, looked over the petitions with an eyeglass, or wrote his name on the margin,--a signature which meant "I think it absurd; do what you like about it." Every body knew that when des Lupeaulx was interested in any person or in any thing he attended to the matter personally.
The Rue des
Lombards had its share of the caresses of Aurora with the rosy fingers, and D'Artagnan arose like Aurora.
Many of these coureurs des bois became so accustomed to the Indian mode of living, and the perfect freedom of the wilderness, that they lost relish for civilization, and identified themselves with the savages among whom they dwelt, or could only be distinguished from them by superior licentiousness.
Those who did not choose to fit out the expeditions themselves, were permitted to sell them to the merchants; these employed the coureurs des bois, or rangers of the woods, to undertake the long voyages on shares, and thus the abuses of the old system were revived and continued.
The Canadian traders, for a long time, had troublesome competitors in the British merchants of New York, who inveigled the Indian hunters and the coureurs des bois to their posts, and traded with them on more favorable terms.
The old coureurs des bois were broken up and dispersed, or, where they could be met with, were slow to accustom themselves to the habits and manners of their British employers.
The Cour des Miracles was, in fact, merely a dram-shop; but a brigand's dram-shop, reddened quite as much with blood as with wine.
Meanwhile Gringoire, without knowing why, had regained some hope, on recognizing in the King of the Cour des Miracles his accursed mendicant of the Grand Hall.
The second,--old, black, wrinkled, hideous, with an ugliness conspicuous even in the Cour des Miracles, trotted round Gringoire.
This rare creature seemed, even in the Cour des Miracles, to exercise her sway of charm and beauty.
They dragged themselves upward in a worn and weary way, for they had been climbing steadily from the Grand Mulets, on the Glacier des
Dossons, since three in the morning, and it was eleven, now.