"There is none that I know of."
"What, have you not seen Paul?"
Mascarin was often laconic, but he seldom gave such short answers as this.
"What is the matter?" asked the doctor. "Your greeting is quite funereal. Are you not well?"
"I am merely preoccupied, and that is excusable on the eve of the battle we are about to fight," returned Mascarin.
He only, however, told a portion of the truth; for there was more in the background, which he did not wish to confide to his friend. Toto Chupin's revolt had disquieted him. Let there be but a single flaw in the axletree, and one day it will snap in twain; and Mascarin wanted to eliminate this flaw.
"Pooh!" remarked the doctor, playing with his locket, "we shall succeed. What have we to fear, after all,--opposition on Paul's part?"
"Paul may resent a little," answered Mascarin disdainfully; "but I have decided that he shall be present at our meeting of to-day. It will be a stormy one, so be prepared. We might give him his medicine in minims, but I prefer the whole dose at once."
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