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She escaped, ashamed and happy at having gone there. Innocence alonecan dare to be so bold. Once enlightened, virtue makes hercalculations as well as vice. Eugenie, who had not trembled beside hercousin, could scarcely stand upon her legs when she regained herchamber. Her ignorant life had suddenly come to an end; she reasoned,she rebuked herself with many reproaches.

"What will he think of me? He will think that I love him!"That was what she most wished him to think. An honest love has its ownprescience, and knows that love begets love. What an event for thispoor solitary girl thus to have entered the chamber of a young man!Are there not thoughts and actions in the life of love which tocertain souls bear the full meaning of the holiest espousals? An hourlater she went to her mother and dressed her as usual. Then they bothcame down and sat in their places before the window waiting forGrandet, with that cruel anxiety which, according to the individualcharacter, freezes the heart or warms it, shrivels or dilates it, whena scene is feared, a punishment expected,,a feeling so natural thateven domestic animals possess it, and whine at the slightest pain ofpunishment, though they make no outcry when they inadvertently hurtthemselves. The goodman came down; but he spoke to his wife with anabsent manner, kissed Eugenie, and sat down to table without appearingto remember his threats of the night before.

"What has become of my nephew? The lad gives no trouble.""Monsieur, he is asleep," answered Nanon.

"So much the better; he won't want a wax candle," said Grandet in ajeering tone.

This unusual clemency, this bitter gaiety, struck Madame Grandet withamazement, and she looked at her husband attentively. The goodman,here it may be well to explain that in Touraine, Anjou, Pitou, andBretagne the word "goodman," already used to designate Grandet, isbestowed as often upon harsh and cruel men as upon those of kindlytemperament, when either have reached a certain age; the title meansnothing on the score of individual gentleness,the goodman took hishat and gloves, saying as he went out,,

"I am going to loiter about the market-place and find Cruchot.""Eugenie, your father certainly has something on his mind."Grandet, who was a poor sleeper, employed half his nights in thepreliminary calculations which gave such astonishing accuracy to hisviews and observations and schemes, and secured to them the unfailingsuccess at sight of which his townsmen stood amazed. All human poweris a compound of time and patience. Powerful beings will and wait. Thelife of a miser is the constant exercise of human power put to theservice of self. It rests on two sentiments only,,self-love and self-interest; but self-interest being to a certain extent compact andintelligent self-love, the visible sign of real superiority, itfollows that self-love and self-interest are two parts of the samewhole,,egotism. From this arises, perhaps, the excessive curiosityshown in the habits of a miser's life whenever they are put before theworld. Every nature holds by a thread to those beings who challengeall human sentiments by concentrating all in one passion. Where is theman without desire? and what social desire can be satisfied withoutmoney?

Grandet unquestionably "had something on his mind," to use his wife'sexpression. There was in him, as in all misers, a persistent cravingto play a commercial game with other men and win their money legally.To impose upon other people was to him a sign of power, a perpetualproof that he had won the right to despise those feeble beings whosuffer themselves to be preyed upon in this world. Oh! who has evertruly understood the lamb lying peacefully at the feet of God?,touching emblem of all terrestrial victims, myth of their future,suffering and weakness glorified! This lamb it is which the miserfattens, puts in his fold, slaughters, cooks, eats, and then despises.The pasture of misers is compounded of money and disdain. During thenight Grandet's ideas had taken another course, which was the reasonof his sudden clemency. He had hatched a plot by which to trick theParisians, to decoy and dupe and snare them, to drive them into atrap, and make them go and come and sweat and hope and turn pale,,aplot by which to amuse himself, the old provincial cooper, sittingthere beneath his gloomy rafters, or passing up and down the rottenstaircase of his house in Saumur. His nephew filled his mind. Hewished to save the honor of his dead brother without the cost of apenny to the son or to himself. His own funds he was about to investfor three years; he had therefore nothing further to do than to managehis property in Saumur. He needed some nutriment for his maliciousactivity, and he found it suddenly in his brother's failure. Feelingnothing to squeeze between his own paws, he resolved to crush theParisians in behalf of Charles, and to play the part of a good brotheron the cheapest terms. The honor of the family counted for so littlein this scheme that his good intentions might be likened to theinterest a gambler takes in seeing a game well played in which he hasno stake. The Cruchots were a necessary part of his plan; but he wouldnot seek them,,he resolved to make them come to him, and to lead upthat very evening to a comedy whose plot he had just conceived, whichshould make him on the morrow an object of admiration to the wholetown without its costing him a single penny.

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