other with a somewhat morbid intensity could be more anxious than usual, was more so now. A dreadful plot, a dire conspiracy, of which Gustave was to be the subject and victim, had been concocted beneath that innocent-seeming roof. Father, mother, and sister, seated round the family hearth, fatal as some domestic Parcae, had hatched their horrid scheme, while the helpless lad amused himself yonder in the great city, happily unconscious of the web that was being woven to enmesh him.
The cord which monsieur unwound, the mesh which madame held, the needle which dexterous mademoiselle wielded, were employed in the fabrication of a matrimonial net. These unsophisticated conspirators were bent upon bringing about the marriage of their victim, a marriage which should at once elevate and enrich the Lenobles of Beaubocage, in the person of Gustave.
Francois Lenoble's best friend and nearest neighbour was a certain Baron Frehlter, of Germanic origin, but for some generations past naturalised to the Gallic