here, don't fail to let me know," said Antonin. "But I could see her at
Cinq-Cygne if monsieur would send me to his house at Val-Preux." "That's
an idea. You might profit by the chariot to get there. But what reason
could you give to the little groom?" "He's a madcap, that boy, monsieur.
Would you believe it, drunk as he is, he has just mounted his master's
thoroughbred, a horse that can do twenty miles an hour, and started for
Troyes with a letter in order that it may reach Paris to-morrow! And
only nine years and a half old! What will he be at twenty?" The
sub-prefect listened mechanically to these remarks. Julien gossiped on,
his master listening, absorbed in thought about the stranger. "Wait
here," he said to the man as he turned with slow steps to re-enter the
salon. "What a mess!" he thought to himself,--"a man who dines at
Gondreville and spends the night at Cinq-Cygnes! Mysteries indeed!"