MONSIEUR DUMAS AND HIS BEASTS 117
with the sword which he used to have when he fought duels, he could not wash out his affronts in the blood of his rival, but became a prey to silent melancholy and wounded affection.
While we were still looking at the monkeys, a servant came in bringing a tray with wine and seltzer water.
' I say,' said Alexandre, ' let us make Mademoiselle Desgarcins open the seltzer-water bottle !' and he put the bottle inside the cage on the floor. No sooner had he done so, than all three monkeys surrounded it and looked at it with the greatest curiosity. Mademoiselle Desgarcins was the first to understand that something would happen if she undid the four crossed wires which held down the cork. She accordingly set to work, first with her fingers, and then with her teeth, and it was not long before she undid the first three. She next attacked the fourth, while the whole company, both men and monkeys, watched her proceedings with breathless attention. Presently a frightful explosion was heard: Mademoiselle Desgarcins was knocked over by the cork and drenched with seltzer water, while Potich and the Last of the Laidmanoirs fled to the top of their cage, uttering piercing cries.
' Oh!' cried Alexandre, ' I'll give my share of seltzer water to see her open another bottle ! ' Mademoiselle Desgarcins had got up, shaken herself, and gone to rejoin her companions, who were still howling lamentably.
' You don't suppose she'll let herself be caught a second time,' said Giraud.
' Do you know,' said Maquet, ' I should not wonder if she would. I believe her curiosity would still be stronger than her fear.'
' Monkeys,' said Michel, who had come in on hearing their cries, ' are more obstinate than mules. The more seltzer-water bottles you give them, the more they will uncork.'
' Do you think so, Michel?'