"Try and find me a wealthy widower, or a young woman married to a very old fellow. Now, do look round; I'll drop in again to-morrow;" and with a farewell pinch of snuff, she left the office.
Paul listened to this conversation with feelings of anger and humiliation, and in his heart cursed old Tantaine for having introduced him into such company. He was seeking for some plausible excuse for withdrawal, when the door at the end of the room was thrown open, and two men came in, talking as they did so. The one was young and well dressed, with an easy, swaggering manner, which ignorant people mistake for good breeding. He had a many-colored rosette at his buttonhole, showing that he was the knight of more than one foreign order. The other was an elderly man, with an unmistakable legal air about him. He was dressed in a quilted dressing-gown, fur-lined shoes, and had on his head an embroidered cap, most likely the work of the hands of some one dear to him. He wore a white cravat, and his sight compelled him to use colored glasses.
"Then, my dear sir," said the younger man, "I may venture to entertain hopes?"
"Remember, Marquis," returned the other, "that if I were acting alone, what you require would be at once at your disposal. Unfortunately, I have others to consult."
"I place myself entirely in your hands," replied the Marquis.
The appearance of the fashionably dressed young man reconciled Paul to the place in which he was.
"A Marquis!" he murmured; "and the other swell-looking fellow must be M. Mascarin."
Paul was about to step forward, when Beaumarchef respectfully accosted the last comer,--