CHAPTER XII

A BOHEMIAN "AT HOME"

The night when he paid out of his own purse for the supper consumed at the cafe, Barbemuche managed to make Colline accompany him. Since his first presence at the meetings of the four friends whom he had relieved from their embarrassing position, Carolus had especially remarked Gustave, and already felt an attractive sympathy for this Socrates whose Plato he was destined to become. It was for this reason he had chosen him to be his introducer. On the way, Barbemuche proposed that they should enter a cafe which was still open, and take something to drink. Not only did Colline refuse, but he doubled his speed in passing the cafe, and carefully pulled down his hyperphysic hat over his face.

"But why won't you come in?" politely asked the other.

"I have my reasons," replied Colline. "There is a barmaid in that establishment who is very much addicted to the exact sciences, and I could not help having a long discussion with her, to avoid which I never pass through this street at noon, or any other time of day. To tell you the truth," added he innocently, "I once lived with Marcel in this neighborhood."

"Still I should be very glad to offer you a glass of punch, and have a few minutes' talk with you. Is there no other place in the vicinity where you could step in without being hindered by any mathematical difficulties?" asked Barbemuche, who thought it a good opportunity for saying something very clever.

Colline mused an instant. "There is a little place here," he said, pointing to a wine shop, "where I stand on a better footing."

Barbemuche made a face, and seemed to hesitate. "Is it a respectable place?" he demanded.

His cold and reserved attitude, his limited conversation, his discreet smile, and especially his watch chain with charms on it, all led Colline to suppose that Barbemuche was a clerk in some embassy, and that he feared to compromise himself by going into some wine shop.

"There is no danger of anyone seeing us," said he. "All the diplomatic body is in bed by this time."

Barbemuche made up his mind to go in, though at the bottom of his heart he would have given a good deal for a false nose. For greater security, he insisted on having a private room, and took care to fasten a napkin before the glass door of it. These precautions taken, he appeared more at ease, and called for a bowl of punch. Excited a little by the generous beverage, Barbemuche became more communicative, and, after giving some autobiographical details, made bold to express the hope he had conceived of being personally admitted a member of the Bohemian Club, for the accomplishment of which ambitious design he solicited the aid of Colline.

Colline replied that, for his part, he was entirely at the service of Barbemuche, but, nevertheless, he could make no positive promise. "I assure you of my vote," said he. "But I cannot take it upon me to dispose of those of my comrades."

"But," asked Barbemuche, "for what reasons could they refuse to admit me among them?"

Colline put down the glass which he was just lifting to his mouth, and, in a very serious tone, addressed the rash Carolus, saying, "You cultivate the fine arts?"

"I labor humble in those noble fields of intelligence," replied the other, who felt bound to hang out the colors of his style.

Colline found the phrase well turned, and bowed in acknowledgment.

"You understand music?" he continued.

"I have played on the bass-viol."

"A very philosophical instrument. Then, if you understand music, you also understand that one cannot, without violation of the laws of harmony, introduce a fifth performer into a quartet; it would cease to be a quartet."

"Exactly, and become a quintet."

"A quintet, very well, now attend to me. You understand astronomy?"

"A little, I'm a bachelor of arts."

"There is a little song about that," said Colline. "'Dear bachelor, says Lisette' -- I have forgotten the tune. Well then, you know that there are four cardinal points. Now suppose there were to turn up a fifth cardinal point, all the harmony of nature would be upset. What they call a cataclysm -- you understand?"

"I am waiting for the conclusion," said Carolus, whose intelligence began to be a little shaky.

"The conclusion -- yes, that is the end of the argument, as death is the end of life, and marriage of love. Well, my dear sir, I and my friends are accustomed to live together, and we fear to impair, by the introduction of another person, the harmony which reigns in our habits, opinions, tastes, and dispositions. To speak frankly, we are going to be, some day, the four cardinal points of contemporary art; accustomed to this idea, it would annoy us to see a fifth point."

"Nevertheless," suggested Carolus, "where you are four it is easy to be five."

"Yes, but then we cease to be four."

"The objection is a trivial one."

"There is nothing trivial in this world; little brooks make great rivers; little syllables make big verses; the very mountains are made of grains of sand -- so says 'The Wisdom of Nations,' of which there is a copy on the quay -- tell me, my dear sir, which is the furrow that you usually follow in the noble fields of intelligence?"

"The great philosophers and the classic authors are my models. I live upon their study. 'Telemachus' first inspired the consuming passion I feel."

"'Telemachus' -- there are lots of him on the quay," said Colline. "You can find him there at any time. I have bought him for five sous -- a second-hand copy -- I would consent to part with it to oblige you. In other respects, it is a great work; very well got up, considering the age."

"Yes, sir," said Carolus. "I aspire to high philosophy and sound literature. According to my idea, art is a priesthood --."

"Yes, yes," said Colline. "There's a song about that too," and he began to hum

"Art's a priesthood, art's a priesthood,"

to the air of the drinking song in "Robert the Devil."

"I say, then, that art being a solemn mission, writers ought, above all things --"

"Excuse me, said Colline, who heard one of the small hours striking, "but it's getting to be tomorrow morning very fast."

"It is late, in fact," said Carolus. "Let us go."

"Do you live far off?"

"Rue Royale St. Honore, No. 10."

Colline had once had occasion to visit this house, and remembered that it was a splendid private mansion.

"I will mention you to my friends," said he to Carolus on parting, "and you may be sure that I shall use all my influence to make them favorably disposed to you. Ah, let me give you one piece of advice."

"Go on," said the other.

"Be very amiable and polite to Mademoiselles Mimi, Musette and Phemie; these ladies exercise an authority over my friends, and by managing to bring their mistresses' influence to bear upon them you will contrive far more easily to obtain what you require from Marcel, Schaunard and Rodolphe."

"I'll try," said Carolus.

Next day, Colline tumbled in upon the Bohemian association. It was the hour of breakfast, and for a wonder, breakfast had come with the hour. The three couples were at table, feasting on artichokes and pepper sauce.

"The deuce!" exclaimed the philosopher. "This can't last, or the world would come to an end. I arrive," he continued, "as the ambassador of the generous mortal whom we met last night."

"Can he be sending already to ask for his money again?" said Marcel.

"It has nothing to do with that," replied Colline. "This young man wishes to be one of us; to have stock in our society, and share the profits, of course."

The three men raised their heads and looked at one another.

"That's all," concluded Colline. "Now the question is open."

"What is the social position of your principal?" asked Rodolphe.

"He is no principal of mine," answered the other. "Last night he begged me to accompany him, and overflowed me with attentions and good liquor for a while. But I have retained my independence."

"Good," said Schaunard.

"Sketch us some leading features of his character," said Marcel.

"Grandeur of soul, austerity of manners, afraid to go into wine shops, bachelor of arts, candid as a transparency, plays on the bass-viol, is disposed to change a five franc piece occasionally."

Good again!" said Schaunard.

"What are his hopes?"

"As I told you already, his ambition knows no bounds; he aspires to be 'hail-fellow-well-met' with us."

"That is to say," answered Marcel, "he wishes to speculate upon us, and to be seen riding in our carriages."

"What is his profession?" asked Rodolphe.

"Yes," said Marcel, "what does he play on?"

"Literature and mixed philosophy. He calls art a priesthood."

"A priesthood!" cried Rodolphe, in terror.

"So he says."

"And what is his road in literature?"

"He goes after 'Telemachus'."

"Very good," said Schaunard, eating the seed of his artichoke.

"Very good! You dummy!" broke our Marcel. "I advise you not to say that in the street."

Schaunard relieved his annoyance at this reproof by kicking Phemie under the table for taking some of his sauce.

"Once more," said Rodolphe. "What is his condition in the world? What does he live on, and where does he live? And what is his name?"

His station is honorable. He is professor of everything in a rich family. His name is Carolus Barbemuche. He spends his income in luxurious living and dwells in the Rue Royale."

"Furnished lodging?"

"No, there is real furniture."

"I claim the floor," said Marcel. "To me it is evident that Colline has been corrupted. He has already sold his vote for so many drinks. Don't interrupt me! (Colline was rising to protest.) You shall have your turn. Colline, mercenary soul that he is, has presented to you this stranger under an aspect too favorable to be true. I told you before; I see through this person's designs. He wants to speculate on us. He says to himself, 'Here are some chaps making their way. I must get into their pockets. I shall arrive with them at the goal of fame.'"

"Bravo!" quoth Schaunard, "have you any more sauce there?"

"No," replied Rodolphe, "the edition is out of print."

"Looking at the question from another point of view," continued Marcel, "this insidious mortal whom Colline patronizes, perhaps aspires to our intimacy only from the most culpable motives. Gentlemen, we are not alone here!" continued the orator, with an eloquent look at the women. "And Colline's client, smuggling himself into our circle under the cloak of literature, may perchance be but a vile seducer. Reflect! For one, I vote against his reception."

"I demand the floor," said Rodolphe, "only for a correction. In his remarkable extemporary speech, Marcel has said that this Carolus, with the view of dishonoring us, wished to introduce himself under the cloak of literature."

"A Parliamentary figure."

"A very bad figure; literature has no cloak!"

"Having made a report, as chairman of committee," resumed Colline, rising, "I maintain the conclusions therein embodied. The jealousy which consumes him disturbs the reason of our friend Marcel; the great artist is beside himself."

"Order!" cried Marcel.

"So much so, that, able designer as he is, he has just introduced into his speech a figure the incorrectness of which has been ably pointed out by the talented orator who preceded me."

"Colline is an ass!" shouted Marcel, with a bang of his fist on the table that caused a lively sensation among the plates. "Colline knows nothing in an affair of sentiment; he is incompetent to judge of such matters; he has an old book in place of a heart."

Prolonged laughter from Schaunard. During the row, Colline kept gravely adjusting the folds of his white cravat as if to make way for the torrents of eloquence contained beneath them. When silence was reestablished, he thus continued:

"Gentlemen, I intend with one word to banish from your minds the chimerical apprehensions which the suspicions of Marcel may have engendered in them respecting Carolus."

"Oh, yes!" said Marcel ironically.

"It will be as easy as that," continued Colline, blowing the match with which he had lighted his pipe.

"Go on! Go on!" cried Schaunard, Rodolphe, and the women together.

"Gentlemen! Although I have been personally and violently attacked in this meeting, although I have been accused of selling for base liquors the influence which I possess; secure in a good conscience I shall not deign to reply to those assaults on my probity, my loyalty, my morality. [Sensation.] But there is one thing which I will have respected. [Here the orator, endeavoring to lay his hand on his heart, gave himself a rap in the stomach.] My well tried and well known prudence has been called in question. I have been accused of wishing to introduce among you a person whose intentions were hostile to your happiness -- in matters of sentiment. This supposition is an insult to the virtue of these ladies -- nay more, an insult to their good taste. Carolus Barbemuche is decidedly ugly." [Visible denial on the face of Phemie; noise under the table; it is Schaunard kicking her by way of correcting her compromising frankness.]

"But," proceeded Colline, "what will reduce to powder the contemptible argument with which my opponent has armed himself against Carolus by taking advantage of your terrors, is the fact that the said Carolus is a Platonist." [Sensation among the men; uproar among the women.]

This declaration of Colline's produced a reaction in favor of Carolus. The philosopher wished to improve the effect of his eloquent and adroit defense.

"Now then," he continued, "I do not see what well founded prejudices can exist against this young man, who, after all, has rendered us a service. As to myself, who am accused of acting thoughtlessly in wishing to introduce him among us, I consider this opinion an insult to my dignity. I have acted in the affair with the wisdom of the serpent; if a formal vote does not maintain me this character for prudence, I offer my resignation."

"Do you make it a cabinet question?" asked Marcel.

"I do."

The three consulted, and agreed by common consent to restore to the philosopher that high reputation for prudence which he claimed. Colline then gave the floor to Marcel, who, somewhat relieved of his prejudices, declared that he might perhaps favor the adoption of the report. But before the decisive and final vote which should open to Carolus the intimacy of the club, he put to the meeting this amendment:

"WHEREAS, the introduction of a new member into our society is a grave matter, and a stranger might bring with him some elements of discord through ignorance of the habits, tempers, and opinions of his comrades,

RESOLVED, that each member shall pass a say with the said Carolus, and investigate his manner of life, tastes, literary capacity, and wardrobe. The members shall afterward communicate their several impressions, and ballot on his admission accordingly. Moreover, before complete admission, the said Carolus shall undergo a noviciate of one month, during which time he shall not have the right to call us by our first names or take our arm in the street. On the day of reception, a splendid banquet shall be given at the expense of the new member, at a cost of not less than twelve francs."

This amendment was adopted by three votes against one. The same night Colline went to the cafe early on purpose to be the first to see Carolus. He had not long to wait for him. Barbemuche soon appeared, carrying in his hand three huge bouquets of roses.

"Hullo!" cried the astonished Colline. "What do you mean to do with that garden?"

"I remember what you told me yesterday. Your friends will doubtless come with their ladies, and it is on their account that I bring these flowers -- very handsome ones."

"That they are; they must have cost fifteen sous, at least."

"In the month of December! If you said fifteen francs you would have come nearer."

"Heavens!" cried Colline, "three crowns for these simple gifts of flora! You must be related to the Cordilleras. Well my dear sir, that is fifteen francs which we must throw out of the window."

It was Barbemuche's turn to be astonished. Colline related the jealous suspicions with which Marcel had inspired his friends, and informed Carolus of the violent discussion which had taken place between them that morning on the subject of his admission.

"I protested," said Colline, "that your intentions were the purest, but there was strong opposition nevertheless. Beware of renewing these suspicions by much politeness to the ladies; and to begin, let us put these bouquets out of the way." He took the roses and hid them in a cupboard. "But this is not all," he resumed. "Before connecting themselves intimately with you, these gentlemen desire to make a private examination, each for himself, of your character, tastes, etc."

Then, lest Barbemuche might do something to shock his friends, Colline rapidly sketched a moral portrait of each of them. "Contrive to agree with them separately," added the philosopher, "and they will end by all liking you."

Carolus agreed to everything. The three friends soon arrived with their friends of the other sex. Rodolphe was polite to Carolus, Schaunard familiar with him, while Marcel remained cold. Carolus forced himself to be gay and amiable with the men and indifferent to the women. When they broke up for the night, he asked Rodolphe to dine with him the next day, and to come as early as noon. The poet accepted, saying to himself, "Good! I am to begin the inquiry, then."

Next morning at the hour appointed, he called on Carolus, who did indeed live in a very handsome private house, where he occupied a sufficiently comfortable room. But Rodolphe was surprised to find at that time of day the shutters closed, the curtains drawn, and two lighted candles on the table. He asked Barbemuche the reason.

"Study," replied the other, "is the child of mystery and silence."

They sat down and talked. At the end of an hour, Carolus, with infinite oratorial address, brought in a phrase which, despite its humble form, was neither more nor less than a summons made to Rodolphe to hear a little work, the fruit of Barbemuche's vigils.

The poet saw himself caught. Curious, however, to learn the color of the other's style, he bowed politely, assured him that he was enchanted, that --

Carolus did not wait for him to finish the sentence. He ran to bolt the door, and then took up a small memorandum book, the thinness of which brought a smile of satisfaction to the poet's face.

"Is that the manuscript of your work?" he asked.

"No," replied Carolus. "It is the catalog of my manuscripts and I am looking for the one which you will allow me to read you. Here it is: 'Don Lopez or Fatality No. 14.' It's on the third shelf," and he proceeded to open a small closet in which Rodolphe perceived, with terror, a great quantity of manuscripts. Carolus took out one of these, shut the closet, and seated himself in front of the poet.

Rodolphe cast a glance at one of the four piles of elephant paper of which the work was composed. "Come," said he to himself, "it's not in verse, but it's called 'Don Lopez.'"

Carolus began to read:

"On a cold winter night, two cavaliers, enveloped in large cloaks, and mounted on sluggish mules, were making their way side by side over one of the roads which traverse the frightful solitudes of the Sierra Morena."

"May the Lord have mercy on me!" ejaculated Rodolphe mentally.

Carolus continued to read his first chapter, written in the style above throughout. Rodolphe listened vaguely, and tried to devise some means of escape.

"There is the window, but it's fastened; and beside, we are in the fourth story. Ah, now I understand all these precautions."

"What do you think of my first chapter?" asked Carolus. "Do not spare any criticism, I beg of you."

Rodolphe thought he remembered having heard some scraps of philosophical declamation upon suicide, put forth by the hero of the romance, Don Lopez, to wit; so he replied at hazard:

"The grand figure of Don Lopez is conscientiously studied; it reminds me of 'Savoyard Vicar's Confession of Faith;' the description of Don Alvar's mule pleases me exceedingly; it is like a sketch of Gericault's. There are good lines in the landscape; as to the thoughts, they are seeds of Rousseau planted in the soil of Lesage. Only allow me to make one observation: you use too many stops, and you work the word henceforward too hard. It is a good word, and gives color, but should not be abused."

Carolus took up a second pile of paper, and repeated the title "Don Lopez or, Fatality."

"I knew a Don Lopez once," said Rodolphe. "He used to sell cigarettes and Bayonne chocolate. Perhaps he was a relative of your man. Go on."

At the conclusion of the second chapter, the poet interrupted his host:

"Don't you feel your throat a little dry?" he inquired.

"Not at all," replied Carolus. "We are coming to the history of Inesilla."

"I am very curious to hear it, nevertheless, if you are tired --"

"Chapter third!" enunciated Carolus in a voice that gave no signs of fatigue.

Rodolphe took a careful survey of Barbemuche and perceived that he had a short neck and a ruddy complexion. "I have one hope left," thought the poet on making this discovery. "He may have an attack of apoplexy."

"Will you be so good as to tell me what you think of the love scene?"

Carolus looked at Rodolphe to observe in his face what effect the dialogue produced upon him. The poet was bending forward on his chair, with his neck stretched out in the attitude of one who is listening for some distant sound.

"What's the matter with you?"

"Hist!" said Rodolphe, "don't you hear? I thought somebody cried fire! Suppose we go and see."

Carolus listened an instant but heard nothing.

"It must have been a ringing in my ears," said the other. "Go on, Don Alvar interests me exceedingly; he is a noble youth."

Carolus continued with all the music that he could put into his voice:

"Oh Inesilla! Whatever thou art, angel or demon; and whatever be thy country, my life is thine, and thee will follow, be it to heaven or hell!"

Someone knocked at the door.

"It's my porter," said Barbemuche, half opening the door.

It was indeed the porter with a letter. "What an unlucky chance!" cried Carolus, after he had perused it. We must put off our reading until some other time. I have to go out immediately. If you please, we will execute this little commission together, as it is nothing private, and then we can come back to dinner."

"There," thought Rodolphe, "is a letter that has fallen from heaven. I recognize the seal of Providence."

When he rejoined the comrades that night, the poet was interrogated by Marcel and Schaunard.

"Did he treat you well?" they asked.

"Yes, but I paid dear for it."

"How? Did Carolus make you pay?" demanded Schaunard with rising choler.

"He read a novel at me, inside of which the people are named Don Lopez and Don Alvar; and the tenors call their mistresses 'angel,' or 'demon.'"

"How shocking!" cried the Bohemians, in chorus.

"But otherwise," said Colline, "literature apart, what is your opinion of him?"

"A very nice young man. You can judge for yourselves; Carolus means to treat us all in turn; he invites Schaunard to breakfast with him tomorrow. Only look out for the closet with the manuscripts in it."

Schaunard was punctual and went to work with the minuteness of an auctioneer taking an inventory, or a sheriff levying an execution. Accordingly he came back full of notes; he had studied Carolus chiefly in respect of movables and worldly goods.

"This Barbemuche," he said, on being asked his opinion, "is a lump of good qualities. He knows the names of all the wines that were ever invented, and made me eat more nice things than my aunt ever did on her birthday. He is on very good terms with the tailors in the Rue Vivienne, and the bootmakers of the Passage des Panoramas; and I have observed that he is nearly our size, so that, in case of need, we can lend him our clothes. His habits are less austere than Colline chose to represent them; he went wherever I pleased to take him, and gave me breakfast in two acts, the second of which went off in a tavern by the fish market where I am known for some Carnival orgies. Well, Carolus went in there as any ordinary mortal might, and that's all. Marcel goes tomorrow."

Carolus knew that Marcel was the one who had made the most objections to his reception. Accordingly, he treated him with particular attention, and especially won his heart by holding out the hope of procuring him some sitters in the family of his pupil. When it came to Marcel's turn to make his report, there were no traces of his original hostility to Carolus.

On the fourth day, Colline informed Barbemuche that he was admitted, but under conditions. "You have a number of vulgar habits," he said, "which must be reformed."

"I shall do my best to imitate you," said Carolus.

During the whole time of his noviciate the Platonic philosopher kept company with the Bohemians continually, and was thus enabled to study their habits more thoroughly, not without being very much astonished at times. One morning, Colline came to see him with a joyful face.

"My dear fellow," he said, "it's all over; you are now definitely one of us. It only remains to fix the day and the place of the grand entertainment; I have come to talk with you about it."

"That can be arranged with perfect ease," said Carolus. "The parents of my pupil are out of town; the young viscount, whose mentor I am, will lend us the apartments for an evening, only we must invite him to the party."

"That will be very nice," replied Colline. "We will open to him the vistas of literature; but do you think he will consent?"

"I am sure of it."

"Then it only remains to fix the day."

"We will settle that tonight at the cafe."

Carolus then went to find his pupil and announced to him that he had just been elected into a distinguished society of literary men and artists, and that he was going to give a dinner, followed by a little party, to celebrate his admission. He therefore proposed to him to make him one of the guests. "And since you cannot be out late," added Carolus, "and the entertainment may last some time, it will be for our convenience to have it here. Your servant Francois knows how to hold his tongue; your parents will know nothing of it; and you will have made acquaintance with some of the cleverest people in Paris, artists and authors."

"In print?" asked the youth.

"Certainly, one of them edits 'The Scarf of Iris,' which your mother takes in. They are very distinguished persons, almost celebrities, intimate friends of mine, and their wives are charming."

"Will there be some women?" asked Viscount Paul.

"Delightful ones," returned Carolus.

"Oh, dear master, I thank you. The entertainment shall certainly take place here. All the lustres shall be lit up, and I will have the wrappers taken off the furniture."

That night at the cafe, Barbemuche announced that the party would come off next Saturday. The Bohemians told their mistresses to think about their toilettes.

"Do not forget," said they, "that we are going into the real drawing rooms.  Therefore, make ready; a rich but simple costume."

And from that day all the neighborhood was informed that Mademoiselles Phemie, Mimi, and Musette were going into society.

On the morning of the festivity, Colline, Schaunard, Marcel, and Rodolphe called, in a body, on Barbemuche, who looked astonished to see them so early.

"Has anything happened which will oblige us to put it off?" he asked with some anxiety.

"Yes--that is, no," said Colline. "This is how we are placed. Among ourselves we never stand on ceremony, but when we are to meet strangers, we wish to preserve a certain decorum."

"Well?" said the other.

"Well," continued Colline, "since we are to meet tonight, the young gentleman to whom we are indebted for the rooms, out of respect to him and to ourselves, we come simply to ask you if you cannot lend us some becoming toggery. It is almost impossible, you see, for us to enter this gorgeous roof in frock-coats and colored trousers."

"But," said Carolus, "I have not black clothes for all of you."

"We will make do with what you have," said Colline.

"Suit yourselves then," said Carolus, opening a well-furnished wardrobe.

"What an arsenal of elegancies!" said Marcel.

"Three hats!" exclaimed Schaunard, in ecstasy. "Can a man want three hats when he had but one head?"

"And the boots!" said Rodolphe, "only look!"

"What a number of boots!" howled Colline.

In a twinkling of an eye each had selected a complete equipment.

"Till this evening," said they, taking leave of Barbemuche. "The ladies intend to be most dazzling.

"But," said Barbemuche, casting a glance at the emptied wardrobe. "You have left me nothing. What am I to wear?"

"Ah, it's different with you," said Rodolphe. "You are the master of the house; you need not stand upon etiquette."

"But I have only my dressing gown and slippers, flannel waistcoat and trousers with stocking feet. You have taken everything."

"Never mind; we excuse you beforehand," replied the four.

"A very good dinner was served at six. The company arrived, Marcel limping and out of humor. The young viscount rushed up to the ladies and led them to the best seats. Mimi was dressed with fanciful elegance; Musette got up with seductive taste; Phemie looked like a stained glass window, and hardly dared sit down.

The dinner lasted two hours and a half, and was delightfully lively. The young viscount, who sat next to Mimi, kept treading on her foot. Phemie took twice of every dish. Schaunard was in clover. Rodolphe improvised sonnets and broke glasses in marking the rhyme. Colline talked to Marcel, who remained sulky.

"What is the matter with you?" asked the philosopher.

"My feet are in torture; this Carolus has boots like a woman's."

"He must be given to understand that, for the future, some of his shoes are to be made a little larger. Be easy, I will see to it. But now to the drawing room, where the coffee and liquers await us."

The revelry recommenced with increased noise. Schaunard seated himself at the piano and executed, with immense spirit, his new symphony, "The Death of the Damsel." To this succeeded the characteristic piece of "The Creditor's March," which was twice encored, and two chords of the piano were broken.

Marcel was still morose, and replied to the complaints and expostulations of Carolus:

"My dear sir, we shall never be intimate friends, and for this reason: Physical differences are almost always the certain sign of a moral difference; on this point philosophy and medicine agree."

"Well?" said Carolus.

Chapter 12 Illustration

"Well," continued Marcel, showing his feet, "your boots, infinitely too small for me, indicate a radical difference of temper and character; in other respects, your little party has been charming."

At one in the morning the guests took leave, and zig-zagged homeward. Barbemuche felt very ill, and made incoherent harangues to his pupil, who, for his part, was dreaming of Mademoiselle Mimi's blue eyes.


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