A Start in Life
Oscar followed the steward, who led him along at a rapid pace through the park.
"Jacques," said Moreau to one of his children whom they met, "run in and tell your mother that little Husson has come, and say to her that I am obliged to go to Les Moulineaux for a moment."
The steward, then about fifty years old, was a dark man of medium height, and seemed stern. His bilious complexion, to which country habits had added a certain violent coloring, conveyed, at first sight, the impression of a nature which was other than his own. His blue eyes and a large crow-beaked nose gave him an air that was the more threatening because his eyes were placed too close together. But his large lips, the outline of his face, and the easy good-humor of his manner soon showed that his nature was a kindly one. Abrupt in speech and decided in tone, he impressed Oscar immensely by the force of his penetration, inspired, no doubt, by the affection which he felt for the boy. Trained by his mother to magnify the steward, Oscar had always felt himself very small in Moreau's presence; but on reaching Presles a new sensation came over him, as if he expected some harm from this fatherly figure, his only protector.
"Well, my Oscar, you don't look pleased at getting here," said the steward. "And yet you'll find plenty of amusement; you shall learn to ride on horseback, and shoot, and hunt."
"I don't know any of those things," said Oscar, stupidly.
"But I brought you here to learn them."
"Mamma told me only to stay two weeks because of Madame Moreau."
"Oh! we'll see about that," replied Moreau, rather wounded that his
conjugal authority was doubted.
Moreau's youngest son, an active, strapping lad of twelve, here ran up.
"Come," said his father, "take Oscar to your mother."
He himself went rapidly along the shortest path to the gamekeeper's house, which was situated between the park and the forest.
CHAPTER I THAT WHICH WAS LACKING TO PIERROTIN'S HAPPINESS
CHAPTER II THE STEWARD IN DANGER
CHAPTER III THE TRAVELLERS
CHAPTER IV THE GRANDSON OF THE FAMOUS CZERNI-GEORGES
CHAPTER V THE DRAMA BEGINS
CHAPTER VI THE MOREAU INTERIOR
CHAPTER VII A MOTHER'S TRIALS
CHAPTER VIII TRICKS AND FARCES OF THE EMBRYO LONG ROBE
CHAPTER IX LA MARQUISE DE LAS FLORENTINAS Y CABIROLOS
CHAPTER X ANOTHER CATASTROPHE
CHAPTER XI OSCAR'S LAST BLUNDER