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She and her husband lived on as previously, in happy
placidity and quiet affection. She still assisted him as before, their
hands still met amidst the sausage-meat, she still glanced over his
shoulder into the pots and pans, and still nothing but the great fire in
the kitchen brought the blood to their cheeks.

However, Lisa was a woman of practical common sense, and speedily saw
the folly of allowing eighty-five thousand francs to lie idle in a chest
of drawers. Quenu would have willingly stowed them away again at the
bottom of the salting-tub until he had gained as much more, when they
could have retired from business and have gone to live at Suresnes, a
suburb to which both were partial. Lisa, however, had other ambitions.
The Rue Pirouette did not accord with her ideas of cleanliness, her
craving for fresh air, light, and healthy life. The shop where Uncle
Gradelle had accumulated his fortune, sou by sou, was a long, dark
place, one of those suspicious looking pork butchers' shops of the old
quarters of the city, where the well-worn flagstones retain a strong
odour of meat in spite of constant washings. Now the young woman longed
for one of those bright modern shops, ornamented like a drawing-room,
and fringing the footway of some broad street with windows of
crystalline transparence. She was not actuated by any petty ambition to
play the fine lady behind a stylish counter, but clearly realised that
commerce in its latest development needed elegant surroundings. Quenu
showed much alarm the first time his wife suggested that they ought to
move and spend some of their money in decorating a new shop. However,
Lisa only shrugged her shoulders and smiled at finding him so timorous.

One evening, when night was falling and the shop had grown dark, Quenu
and Lisa overheard a woman of the neighbourhood talking to a friend
outside their door.

"No, indeed! I've given up dealing with them," said she. "I wouldn't buy
a bit of black-pudding from them now on any account. They had a dead man
in their kitchen, you know."

Quenu wept with vexation. The story of Gradelle's death in the kitchen
was clearly getting about; and his nephew began to blush before his
customers when he saw them sniffing his wares too closely. So, of his
own accord, he spoke to his wife of her proposal to take a new shop.
Lisa, without saying anything, had already been looking out for other
premises, and had found some, admirably situated, only a few yards
away, in the Rue Rambuteau. The immediate neighbourhood of the central
markets, which were being opened just opposite, would triple their
business, and make their shop known all over Paris.

Quenu allowed himself to be drawn into a lavish expenditure of money; he
laid out over thirty thousand francs in marble, glass, and gilding.
Lisa spent hours with the workmen, giving her views about the slightest
details. When she was at last installed behind the counter, customers
arrived in a perfect procession, merely for the sake of examining the
shop. The inside walls were lined from top to bottom with white marble.
The ceiling was covered with a huge square mirror, framed by a broad
gilded cornice, richly ornamented, whilst from the centre hung a crystal
chandelier with four branches. And behind the counter, and on the left,
and at the far end of the shop were other mirrors, fitted between the
marble panels and looking like doors opening into an infinite series
of brightly lighted halls, where all sorts of appetising edibles were
displayed. The huge counter on the right hand was considered a very fine
piece of work. At intervals along the front were lozenge-shaped panels
of pinky marble. The flooring was of tiles, alternately white and pink,
with a deep red fretting as border. The whole neighbourhood was proud
of the shop, and no one again thought of referring to the kitchen in
the Rue Pirouette, where a man had died. For quite a month women stopped
short on the footway to look at Lisa between the saveloys and bladders
in the window. Her white and pink flesh excited as much admiration as
the marbles. She seemed to be the soul, the living light, the healthy,
sturdy idol of the pork trade; and thenceforth one and all baptised her
"Lisa the beauty."

To the right of the shop was the dining-room, a neat looking apartment
containing a sideboard, a table, and several cane-seated chairs of light
oak. The matting on the floor, the wallpaper of a soft yellow tint, the
oil-cloth table-cover, coloured to imitate oak, gave the room a somewhat
cold appearance, which was relieved only by the glitter of a brass
hanging lamp, suspended from the ceiling, and spreading its big shade
of transparent porcelain over the table. One of the dining-room doors
opened into the huge square kitchen, at the end of which was a small
paved courtyard, serving for the storage of lumber--tubs, barrels
and pans, and all kinds of utensils not in use. To the left of the
water-tap, alongside the gutter which carried off the greasy water,
stood pots of faded flowers, removed from the shop window, and slowly
dying.

Business was excellent. Quenu, who had been much alarmed by the initial
outlay, now regarded his wife with something like respect, and told his
friends that she had "a wonderful head." At the end of five years they
had nearly eighty thousand francs invested in the State funds. Lisa
would say that they were not ambitious, that they had no desire to pile
up money too quickly, or else she would have enabled her husband to
gain hundreds and thousands of francs by prompting him to embark in the
wholesale pig trade. But they were still young, and had plenty of
time before them; besides, they didn't care about a rough, scrambling
business, but preferred to work at their ease, and enjoy life, instead
of wearing themselves out with endless anxieties.

"For instance," Lisa would add in her expansive moments, "I have, you
know, a cousin in Paris. I never see him, as the two families have
fallen out. He has taken the name of Saccard,[*] on account of certain
matters which he wants to be forgotten. Well, this cousin of mine, I'm
told, makes millions and millions of francs; but he gets no enjoyment
out of life. He's always in a state of feverish excitement, always
rushing hither and thither, up to his neck in all sorts of worrying
business. Well, it's impossible, isn't it, for such a man to eat his
dinner peaceably in the evening? We, at any rate, can take our meals
comfortably, and make sure of what we eat, and we are not harassed by
worries as he is. The only reason why people should care for money
is that money's wanted for one to live. People like comfort; that's
natural. But as for making money simply for the sake of making it, and
giving yourself far more trouble and anxiety to gain it than you can
ever get pleasure from it when it's gained, why, as for me, I'd rather
sit still and cross my arms. And besides, I should like to see all those
millions of my cousin's. I can't say that I altogether believe in
them. I caught sight of him the other day in his carriage. He was quite
yellow, and looked ever so sly. A man who's making money doesn't have
that kind of expression. But it's his business, and not mine. For our
part, we prefer to make merely a hundred sous at a time, and to get a
hundred sous' worth of enjoyment out of them."

[*] See M. Zola's novel, _Money_.

The household was undoubtedly thriving. A daughter had been born to the
young couple during their first year of wedlock, and all three of
them looked blooming. The business went on prosperously, without any
laborious fatigue, just as Lisa desired. She had carefully kept free of
any possible source of trouble or anxiety, and the days went by in an
atmosphere of peaceful, unctuous prosperity. Their home was a nook of
sensible happiness--a comfortable manger, so to speak, where father,
mother, and daughter could grow sleek and fat. It was only Quenu who
occasionally felt sad, through thinking of his brother Florent. Up to
the year 1856 he had received letters from him at long intervals. Then
no more came, and he had learned from a newspaper that three convicts
having attempted to escape from the Ile du Diable, had been drowned
before they were able to reach the mainland. He had made inquiries
at the Prefecture of Police, but had not learnt anything definite; it
seemed probable that his brother was dead. However, he did not lose
all hope, though months passed without any tidings. Florent, in the
meantime, was wandering about Dutch Guiana, and refrained from writing
home as he was ever in hope of being able to return to France. Quenu at
last began to mourn for him as one mourns for those whom one has been
unable to bid farewell. Lisa had never known Florent, but she spoke
very kindly whenever she saw her husband give way to his sorrow; and
she evinced no impatience when for the hundredth time or so he began to
relate stories of his early days, of his life in the big room in the
Rue Royer Collard, the thirty-six trades which he had taken up one after
another, and the dainties which he had cooked at the stove, dressed all
in white, while Florent was dressed all in black. To such talk as this,
indeed, she listened placidly, with a complacency which never wearied.

It was into the midst of all this happiness, ripening after careful
culture, that Florent dropped one September morning just as Lisa was
taking her matutinal bath of sunshine, and Quenu, with his eyes still
heavy with sleep, was lazily applying his fingers to the congealed fat
left in the pans from the previous evening. Florent's arrival caused
a great commotion. Gavard advised them to conceal the "outlaw," as
he somewhat pompously called Florent. Lisa, who looked pale, and more
serious than was her wont, at last took him to the fifth floor, where
she gave him the room belonging to the girl who assisted her in the
shop. Quenu had cut some slices of bread and ham, but Florent was
scarcely able to eat. He was overcome by dizziness and nausea, and went
to bed, where he remained for five days in a state of delirium,
the outcome of an attack of brain-fever, which fortunately received
energetic treatment.



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