x006c;,, that her guess was correct: the doctor approved.
He returned to Fantine's bed,, and she went on:--
"You see,, when she wakes up in the morning,, I shall be able to say good morning to her,, poor kitten,, and when I cannot sleep at night,, I can hear her asleep; her little gentle breathing will do me good."
"Give me your hand,," said the doctor.
She stretched out her arm,, and exclaimed with a laugh:--
"Ah,, hold! in truth,, you did not know it; I am cured; Cosette will arrive to-morrow."
The doctor was surprised; she was better; the pressure on her chest had decreased; her pulse had regained its strength; a sort of life had suddenly supervened and reanimated this poor,, worn-out creature.
"Doctor,," she went on,, "did the sister tell you that M. le Maire has gone to get that mite of a child?"
The doctor recommended silence,, and that all painful emotions should be avoided; he prescribed an infusion of pure chinchona,, and,, in case the fever should increase again during the night,, a calming potion. As he took his departure,, he said to the sister:--
"She is doing better; if good luck willed that the mayor should actually arrive to-morrow with the child,, who knows? there are crises so astounding; great joy has been known to arrest maladies; I know well that this is an organic disease,, and in an advanced state,, but all those things are such mysteries:
we may be able to save her."
BOOK SEVENTH.--THE CHAMPMATHIEU AFFAIR
THE TRAVELLER ON HIS ARRIVAL TAKES PRECAUTIONS FOR DEPARTURE
It was nearly eight o'clock in the evening when the cart,, which we left on the road,, entered the porte-cochere of the Hotel de la Poste in Arras; the man whom we have been following up to this moment alighted from it,, responded with an abstracted air to the attentions of the people of the inn,, sent back the extra horse,, and with his own hands led the little white horse to the stable; then he opened the door of a billiard-room which was situated on the ground floor,, sat down there,, and leaned his elbows on a table; he had taken fourteen hours for the journey which he had counted on making in six; he did himself the justice to acknowledge that it was not his fault,, but at bottom,, he was not sorry.
The landlady of the hotel entered.
"Does Monsieur wish a bed?
Does Monsieur require supper?"
He made a sign of the head in the negative.
"The stableman says that Monsieur's horse is extremely fatigued."
Here he broke his silence.
"Will not the horse be in a condition to set out again to-morrow morning?"
"Oh,, Monsieur! he must rest for two days at least."
"Is not the posting-station located here?"
The hostess conducted him to the office; he showed his passport,, and inquired whether there was any way of returning that same night to M. sur M. by the mail-wagon; the seat beside the post-boy chanced to be vacant; he engaged it and paid for it.
"Monsieur,," said the clerk,, "do not fail to be here ready to start at precisely one o'clock in the morning."
This done,, he left the hotel and began to wander about the town.
He was not acquainted with Arras; the streets were dark,, and he walked on at random; but he seemed bent upon not asking the way of the passers-by. He crossed the little river Crinchon,, and found himself in a labyrinth of narrow alleys where he lost his way. A citizen was passing along with a lantern.
After some hesitation,, he decided to apply to this man,, not without having first glanced behind and in front of him,, as though he feared lest some one should hear the question which he was about to put.
"Monsieur,," said he,, "where is the court-house,, if you please."
"You do not belong in town,, sir?" replied the bourgeois,, who was an oldish man; "well,, follow me.
I happen to be going in the direction of the court-house,, that is to say,, in the direction of the hotel of the prefecture; for the court-house is undergoing repairs just at this moment,, and the courts are holding their sittings provisionally in the prefecture."
"Is it there that the Assizes are held?" he asked.
"Certainly,, sir; you see,, the prefecture of to-day was the bishop's palace before the Revolution.
M. de Conzie,, who was bishop in '82,, built a grand hall there.
It is in this grand hall that the court is held."
On the way,, the bourgeois said to him:--
"If Monsieur desires to witness a case,, it is rather late. The sittings generally close at six o'clock."
When they arrived on the grand square,, however,, the man pointed out to him four long windows all lighted up,, in the front of a vast and gloomy building.
"Upon my word,, sir,, you are in luck; you have arrived in season. Do you see those four windows?
That is the Court of Assizes. There is light there,, so they are not through.
The matter must have been greatly protracted,, and they are holding an evening session. Do you take an interest in this affair?
Is it a criminal case? Are you a witness?"
"I have not come on any business; I only wish to speak to one of the lawyers."
"That is different,," said the bourgeois.
"Stop,, sir; here is the door where the sentry stands.
You have only to ascend the grand staircase."
He conformed to the bourgeois's directions,, and a few minutes later he was in a hall containing many people,, and where groups,, intermingled with lawyers in their gowns,, were whispering together here and there.
It is always a heart-breaking thing to see these congregations of men robed in black,, murmuring together in low voices,, on the threshold of the halls of justice.
It is rare that charity and pity are the outcome of these words.
Condemnations pronounced in advance are more likely to be the result.
All these groups seem to the passing and thoughtful observer so many sombre hives where buzzing spirits construct in concert all sorts of dark edifices.
This spacious hall,, illuminated by a single lamp,, was the old hall of the episcopal palace,, and served as the large hall of the palace of justice.
A double-leaved door,, which was closed at that moment,, se