。， It is now easy to understand the full meaning of the term, "the houseof Monsieur Grandet,"--that cold, silent, pallid dwelling, standingabove the town and sheltered by the ruins of the ramparts. The twopillars and the arch, which made the porte-cochere on which the dooropened, were built, like the house itself, of tufa,--a white stonepeculiar to the shores of the Loire, and so soft that it lasts hardlymore than two centuries. Numberless irregular holes, capriciouslybored or eaten out by the inclemency of the weather, gave anappearance of the vermiculated stonework of French architecture to thearch and the side walls of this entrance, which bore some resemblanceto the gateway of a jail. Above the arch was a long bas-relief, inhard stone, representing the four seasons, the faces already crumblingaway and blackened. This bas-relief was surmounted by a projectingplinth, upon which a variety of chance growths had sprung up,--yellowpellitory, bindweed, convolvuli, nettles, plantain, and even a littlecherry-tree, already grown to some height.
"Thank you, my cousin, but I dined at Tours. And," he added, lookingat Grandet, "I need nothing; I am not even tired."。， The notary, sitting in his corner, looked calmly at the abbe, sayingto himself: "The des Grassins may do what they like; my property andmy brother's and that of my nephew amount in all to eleven hundredthousand francs. The des Grassins, at the most, have not half that;besides, they have a daughter. They may give what presents they like;heiress and presents too will be ours one of these days."At half-past eight in the evening the two card-tables were set out.Madame des Grassins succeeded in putting her son beside Eugenie. Theactors in this scene, so full of interest, commonplace as it seems,were provided with bits of pasteboard striped in many colors andnumbered, and with counters of blue glass, and they appeared to belistening to the jokes of the notary, who never drew a number withoutmaking a remark, while in fact they were all thinking of MonsieurGrandet's millions. The old cooper, with inward self-conceit, wascontemplating the pink feathers and the fresh toilet of Madame desGrassins, the martial head of the banker, the faces of Adolphe, thepresident, the abbe, and the notary, saying to himself:--"They are all after my money. Hey! neither the one nor the other shallhave my daughter; but they are useful--useful as harpoons to fishwith."
"What a crazy idea of my brother to bequeath his son to me! A finelegacy! I have not fifty francs to give him. What are fifty francs toa dandy who looked at my barometer as if he meant to make firewood ofit!"。， shall be lying in my winding-sheet of infamy. I deprive my son of
that world where we must all go, and where I am now as you read。， In order that he might make a becoming first appearance before hisuncle either at Saumur or at Froidfond, he had put on his most eleganttravelling attire, simple yet exquisite,--"adorable," to use the wordwhich in those days summed up the special perfections of a man or athing. At Tours a hairdresser had re-curled his beautiful chestnutlocks; there he changed his linen and put on a black satin cravat,which, combined with a round shirt-collar, framed his fair and smilingcountenance agreeably. A travelling great-coat, only half buttoned up,nipped in his waist and disclosed a cashmere waistcoat crossed infront, beneath which was another waistcoat of white material. Hiswatch, negligently slipped into a pocket, was fastened by a short goldchain to a buttonhole. His gray trousers, buttoned up at the sides,were set off at the seams with patterns of black silk embroidery. Hegracefully twirled a cane, whose chased gold knob did not mar thefreshness of his gray gloves. And to complete all, his cap was inexcellent taste. None but a Parisian, and a Parisian of the upperspheres, could thus array himself without appearing ridiculous; noneother could give the harmony of self-conceit to all these fopperies,which were carried off, however, with a dashing air,--the air of ayoung man who has fine pistols, a sure aim, and Annette.
。， After the dinner at which for the first time allusion had been made toEugenie's marriage, Nanon went to fetch a bottle of black-currantratafia from Monsieur Grandet's bed-chamber, and nearly fell as shecame down the stairs.
"Ah! my dear cousin, if you were in full dress at the Opera, I assureyou my aunt's words would come true,--you would make the men committhe mortal sin of envy, and the women the sin of jealousy."The compliment went to Eugenie's heart and set it beating, though shedid not understand its meaning.。， "She is twenty-three years old to-day, the child; we must soon beginto think of it."
"Put in more milk," answered the master of the house; "your coffeewill taste sweeter."。， The mother and daughter sat down in silence, the former upon herraised seat, the latter in her little armchair, and both took up theirwork. Swelling with gratitude for the full heart-understanding hermother had given her, Eugenie kissed the dear hand, saying,--"How good you are, my kind mamma!"
， Thus, though his manners were unctuous and soft outwardly, MonsieurGrandet's nature was of iron. His dress never varied; and those whosaw him to-day saw him such as he had been since 1791. His stout shoeswere tied with leathern thongs; he wore, in all weathers, thickwoollen stockings, short breeches of coarse maroon cloth with silverbuckles, a velvet waistcoat, in alternate stripes of yellow and puce,buttoned squarely, a large maroon coat with wide flaps, a blackcravat, and a quaker's hat. His gloves, thick as those of a gendarme,lasted him twenty months; to preserve them, he always laid themmethodically on the brim of his hat in one particular spot. Saumurknew nothing further about this personage.。， "I think so," answered Madame Grandet.