"I will show you the way," he said.
Instead of leaving the hall by the door which opened under thearchway, Grandet ceremoniously went through the passage which dividedthe hall from the kitchen. A swing-door, furnished with a large ovalpane of glass, shut this passage from the staircase, so as to fend offthe cold air which rushed through it. But the north wind whistled nonethe less keenly in winter, and, in spite of the sand-bags at thebottom of the doors of the living-room, the temperature within couldscarcely be kept at a proper height. Nanon went to bolt the outerdoor; then she closed the hall and let loose a wolf-dog, whose barkwas so strangled that he seemed to have laryngitis. This animal, notedfor his ferocity, recognized no one but Nanon; the two untutoredchildren of the fields understood each other. best cheap hair extensions
When Charles saw the yellow, smoke-stained walls of the well of thestaircase, where each worm-eaten step shook under the heavy foot-fallof his uncle, his expectations began to sober more and more. Hefancied himself in a hen-roost. His aunt and cousin, to whom he turnedan inquiring look, were so used to the staircase that they did notguess the cause of his amazement, and took the glance for anexpression of friendliness, which they answered by a smile that madehim desperate.
"Why the devil did my father send me to such a place?" he said tohimself.
When they reached the first landing he saw three doors painted inEtruscan red and without casings,--doors sunk in the dusty walls andprovided with iron bars, which in fact were bolts, each ending withthe pattern of a flame, as did both ends of the long sheath of thelock. The first door at the top of the staircase, which opened into aroom directly above the kitchen, was evidently walled up. In fact, theonly entrance to that room was through Grandet's bedchamber; the roomitself was his office. The single window which lighted it, on the sideof the court, was protected by a lattice of strong iron bars. No one,not even Madame Grandet, had permission to enter it. The old man choseto be alone, like an alchemist in his laboratory. There, no doubt,some hiding-place had been ingeniously constructed; there the title-deeds of property were stored; there hung the scales on which to weighthe louis; there were devised, by night and secretly, the estimates,the profits, the receipts, so that business men, finding Grandetprepared at all points, imagined that he got his cue from fairies ordemons; there, no doubt, while Nanon's loud snoring shook the rafters,while the wolf-dog watched and yawned in the courtyard, while Madameand Mademoiselle Grandet were quietly sleeping, came the old cooper tocuddle, to con over, to caress and clutch and clasp his gold. Thewalls were thick, the screens sure. He alone had the key of thislaboratory, where--so people declared--he studied the maps on whichhis fruit-trees were marked, and calculated his profits to a vine, andalmost to a twig.
The door of Eugenie's chamber was opposite to the walled-up entranceto this room. At the other end of the landing were the appartements ofthe married pair, which occupied the whole front of the house. MadameGrandet had a room next to that of Eugenie, which was entered througha glass door. The master's chamber was separated from that of his wifeby a partition, and from the mysterious strong-room by a thick wall.Pere Grandet lodged his nephew on the second floor, in the highmansarde attic which was above his own bedroom, so that he might hearhim if the young man took it into his head to go and come. WhenEugenie and her mother reached the middle of the landing they kissedeach other for good-night; then with a few words of adieu to Charles,cold upon the lips, but certainly very warm in the heart of the younggirl, they withdrew into their own chambers. cheap malaysian hair
"Here you are in your room, my nephew," said Pere Grandet as he openedthe door. "If you need to go out, call Nanon; without her, beware! thedog would eat you up without a word. Sleep well. Good-night. Ha! why,they have made you a fire!" he cried.
At this moment Nanon appeared with the warming pan.
"Here's something more!" said Monsieur Grandet. "Do you take my nephewfor a lying-in woman? Carry off your brazier, Nanon!"