Just then the minister saw a deputy of the Right Centre enter the room, and he left his wife abruptly to cajole an undecided vote.
The minister, or to speak correctly, des Lupeaulx had invited to dinner on this occasion one of those irremovable officials who, as we have said, are to be found in every ministry; an individual much embarrassed by his own person, who, in his desire to maintain a dignified appearance, was standing erect and rigid on his two legs, held well together like the Greek hermae.
At the time of which we write, the Chamber did not meddle shabbily with the budget, as it does in the deplorable days in which we now live; it did not contemptibly reduce ministerial emoluments, nor save, as they say in the kitchen, the candle-ends; on the contrary, it granted to each minister taking charge of a public department an indemnity, called an "outfit." It costs, alas, as much to enter on the duties of a minister as to retire from them; indeed, the entrance involves expenses of all kinds which it is quite impossible to inventory.
Bentley he didn't mind him, but he's going to find it hard to get acquainted with a new minister, and a new minister's wife will frighten him to death."
Having the minister and his wife to tea was a serious and important undertaking, and Marilla was determined not to be eclipsed by any of the Avonlea housekeepers.
"Sire, it is fatality!" murmured the minister, feeling that the pressure of circumstances, however light a thing to destiny, was too much for any human strength to endure.
The minister quailed before this outburst of sarcasm.
The Duke assented, and waited while the secretary locked up the papers which the Prime Minister had been examining, and prepared others to be carried into the House.
"Devenham," the Prime Minister said, "we were speaking, a few minutes ago, of Prince Maiyo.
The minister had thought himself fortunate in marriage and had never permitted himself to think of other women.
The minister almost wept with joy at this deliver- ance from the carnal desire to "peep" and went back to his own house praising God.
The Prince de Conde, the first prince of the blood, the conqueror of Rocroy, Lens and Nordlingen, was, in fact, entering the apartment of Monseigneur de Mazarin, followed by his gentlemen, and had already saluted the king, when the prime minister raised his curtain.
"Good-evening, monsieur le prince," said the minister, in a careless tone; "it is very kind of you to visit an old sick friend."
At this wild and singular appeal, which indicated that Hester Prynne's situation had provoked her to little less than madness, the young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his hand over his heart, as was his custom whenever his peculiarly nervous temperament was thrown into agitation.
"There is truth in what she says," began the minister, with a voice sweet, tremulous, but powerful, insomuch that the hall re-echoed and the hollow armour rang with it -- "truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her!