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had saved more than two thousand francs.
He had, moreover, made a reputation for
sagacity in conducting his master's business;
and his friends were ready to help him
when he declared himself strong enough
to start for himself. Antoine declared his
intention of leaving his master one day;
whereupon his master spoke angry words.
Antoine of course replied by standing on
the dignity of man, and declaring his
intention of leaving at once. He carried this
dreadful threat into execution; and, three or
four weeks afterwards, was the contented
owner of Le Vieux Chêne.

As Antoine talked to me in this establishment
of modest pretensions, in his morning
dress of coarse cloth, protected by a green
baize apron, he had not the prim air which
characterised him when he served the master
of the great restaurant. But Antoine was
evidently on excellent terms with the world:—it
was easy to see, without asking him the
question, that his speculation was successful. I
asked him why he had not chosen a more
fashionable part of the town? He laughed and
his wife laughed, as he told me, with a knowing
look, that fortunes were not made out of
the rich, but rather out of the working men.
He then insisted that I should take a glass
of good Strasbourg beer with him; and while
his boy was gone to the cellar to fetch it, he
volunteered to show me over his establishment.
I followed him down a dark passage
through a second bar which opened into a
long, wide, low room. It was in terrible
confusion; the rush chairs were piled in
stacks; the forms were lying about; and the
floor was wet. "Here we can stow away
nearly five hundred people," said Antoine,
leisurely planting himself against the wall,
and twirling his bunch of keys. I asked
him for the details of his business, and
he glibly gave them in the following words:
—"When I first took this place I was
very nervous. People didn't come. Nobody
knew anything about it; but I was patient.
I knew that, by degrees, I should get my
customers. I gave them good things to
drink; treated them well; and sent them
away content when they did come. So,
every visitor came a second time, and brought
a friend; until, now, we have scarcely room
for them. I am thinking how I can enlarge
my space. Every visitor pays six sous
at the door, except the soldiers. They pay
nothing. They never pay anywhere. I don't
exactly know why, but it seems to be their
privilege. Then all the visitors who dance,
pay three sous for each country danceexcept
the soldiers who pay two souswhich is a
great matter to get from a soldier. I go
to a tobacconist for a parcel of tobacco.
I pay sixteen sous for it. A soldier goes:
he pays four sous for the same quantity,
and with his four sous gives a warrant
to the shopkeeper, which, upon being delivered
at the proper government office is cashed.
All people favour the military. For my
musicians, I prefer two or three
performers of a regimental band. I get them
cheap. I give them only twelve francs a
month each, yet they are glad to get leave
from their commanding officer to come to me.
My principal patrons are working men.
You are surprised to hear that a working
man can afford to pay six sous entrance
money, and three sous for every dance. Yet
it is easily explained. Say he gets twenty
francs a week: well, he lives upon ten francs,
and spends ten in pleasure. This is how
they generally manage till they marry, and
then good-bye to balls. We admit only
decently dressed people; for instance we
rigidly exclude women who wear handkerchiefs
on their heads, for these are always of
the lowest class. The chiffonniers and
chiffonnières never come here; they go to a ball
on the opposite side of the lane, where there
is no rule about dress. You should see this
room on a Sunday evening:—there is only
just room to dance. Sometimes on Sunday
evenings, I take as much as one hundred
francs for dance money alone. I consider
it a good night when my receipts are about
five hundred francs. I take even more
occasionally. On Shrove Tuesday the visitors
danced all night; and it was difficult to get
rid of many of them at eight o'clock the next
morning."

Antoine would have gossipped on about his
contemplated improvements; the excellent
beer his guests got for their entrance fees; and
his conviction that establishments like his
paid larger dividends than those devoted to
the elegant classes. Antoine had good
reasons for his opinions, since he had a large
deposit in the savings bankthe result of his
reign under Le Vieux Chêne. I am assured
that this young fellow, now in his twenty-
eighth year, is putting aside at least seven
thousand francs a year. It is said in the
neighbourhood to be quite a picture, when
Antoine and his wife resign their cellar keys
to their servants, and sally forth, in holiday
attire, to spend a day at Versailes [sic], or to
breathe a little fresh air in the Bois de
Boulogne.

NEW TALE by Mr. CHARLES DICKENS now
publishing Weekly in HOUSHOLD WORDS.
On the Twenty-ninth of July will be published in Household
Words, the EIGHTEENTH Portion of a New Work
of Fiction, called
HARD TIMES.
BY CHARLES DICKENS.
The publication of this Story will be continued in HOUSEHOLD
WORDS from Week to Week, and compeleted in five Months
(twenty weeks) from its commencement on the First of April.

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