"It will be a hard winter," said one; "Pere Grandet has put on his furgloves."
"Pere Grandet is buying quantities of staves; there will be plenty ofwine this year."
Monsieur Grandet never bought either bread or meat. His farmerssupplied him weekly with a sufficiency of capons, chickens, eggs,butter, and his tithe of wheat. He owned a mill; and the tenant wasbound, over and above his rent, to take a certain quantity of grainand return him the flour and bran. La Grande Nanon, his only servant,though she was no longer young, baked the bread of the householdherself every Saturday. Monsieur Grandet arranged with kitchen-gardeners who were his tenants to supply him with vegetables. As tofruits, he gathered such quantities that he sold the greater part inthe market. His fire-wood was cut from his own hedgerows or taken fromthe half-rotten old sheds which he built at the corners of his fields,and whose planks the farmers carted into town for him, all cut up, andobligingly stacked in his wood-house, receiving in return his thanks.His only known expenditures were for the consecrated bread, theclothing of his wife and daughter, the hire of their chairs in church,the wages of la Grand Nanon, the tinning of the saucepans, lights,taxes, repairs on his buildings, and the costs of his variousindustries. He had six hundred acres of woodland, lately purchased,which he induced a neighbor's keeper to watch, under the promise of anindemnity. After the acquisition of this property he ate game for thefirst time.
Monsieur Grandet's manners were very simple. He spoke little. Heusually expressed his meaning by short sententious phrases uttered ina soft voice. After the Revolution, the epoch at which he first cameinto notice, the good man stuttered in a wearisome way as soon as hewas required to speak at length or to maintain an argument. Thisstammering, the incoherence of his language, the flux of words inwhich he drowned his thought, his apparent lack of logic, attributedto defects of education, were in reality assumed, and will besufficiently explained by certain events in the following history.Four sentences, precise as algebraic formulas, sufficed him usually tograsp and solve all difficulties of life and commerce: "I don't know;I cannot; I will not; I will see about it." He never said yes, or no,and never committed himself to writing. If people talked to him helistened coldly, holding his chin in his right hand and resting hisright elbow in the back of his left hand, forming in his own mindopinions on all matters, from which he never receded. He reflectedlong before making any business agreement. When his opponent, aftercareful conversation, avowed the secret of his own purposes, confidentthat he had secured his listener's assent, Grandet answered: "I candecide nothing without consulting my wife." His wife, whom he hadreduced to a state of helpless slavery, was a useful screen to him inbusiness. He went nowhere among friends; he neither gave nor accepteddinners; he made no stir or noise, seeming to economize in everything,even movement. He never disturbed or disarranged the things of otherpeople, out of respect for the rights of property. Nevertheless, inspite of his soft voice, in spite of his circumspect bearing, thelanguage and habits of a coarse nature came to the surface, especiallyin his own home, where he controlled himself less than elsewhere.Physically, Grandet was a man five feet high, thick-set, square-built,with calves twelve inches in circumference, knotted knee-joints, andbroad shoulders; his face was round, tanned, and pitted by the small-pox; his chin was straight, his lips had no curves, his teeth werewhite; his eyes had that calm, devouring expression which peopleattribute to the basilisk; his forehead, full of transverse wrinkles,was not without certain significant protuberances; his yellow-grayishhair was said to be silver and gold by certain young people who didnot realize the impropriety of making a jest about Monsieur Grandet.His nose, thick at the end, bore a veined wen, which the common peoplesaid, not without reason, was full of malice. The whole countenanceshowed a dangerous cunning, an integrity without warmth, the egotismof a man long used to concentrate every feeling upon the enjoyments ofavarice and upon the only human being who was anything whatever tohim,--his daughter and sole heiress, Eugenie. Attitude, manners,bearing, everything about him, in short, testified to that belief inhimself which the habit of succeeding in all enterprises never failsto give to a man. hair extensions human hair