He could not help noticing the absent look of the young girl; buthe had, thought he, other means of compelling her attention. Andhe went on, saying that he felt himself cast of the metal of whichmodel husbands are made. His plans were all made in advance. Hiswife would be free to do as she pleased. She would have her owncarriage and horses, her box at the Italiens and at the Opera, andan open account at Worth's and Van Klopen's. As to diamonds, hewould take care of that. He meant that his wife's display ofwealth should be noticed; and even spoken of in the newspapers.
Was this the terms of a bargain that he was offering?
If so, it was so coarsely, that Mlle. Gilberte, ignorant of life asshe was, wondered in what world it might be that he had met with somany "successes." And, somewhat indignantly:
"Unfortunately," she said, "the bourse is perfidious; and the manwho drives his own carriage to-day, to-morrow may have no shoes towear."M. Costeclar nodded with a smile.
Tips, opportunities to make money：give me the fucking money"Exactly so," said he. "A marriage protects one against suchreverses.""Every man in active business, when he marries, settles upon hiswife reasonable fortune. I expect to settle six hundred thousandfrancs upon mine.""So that, if you were to meet with an - accident?""We should enjoy our thirty thousand a year under the very nose ofthe creditors."Blushing with shame, Mlle. Gilberte rose.
"But then," said she, "it isn't a wife that you are looking for: itis an accomplice."He was spared the embarrassment of an answer, by the servant, whocame in, bringing in tea. He accepted a cup; and after two orthree anecdotes, judging that he had done enough for a first visit,he withdrew, and a moment later they heard his carriage driving offat full gallop.
It was not without mature thought that M. Costeclar had determinedto withdraw, despite M. Favoral's pressing overtures. Howeverinfatuated he might be with his own merits, he had been compelledto surrender to evidence, and to acknowledge that he had not exactlysucceeded with Mlle. Gilberte. But he also knew that he had thehead of the house on his side; and he flattered himself that hehad produced an excellent impression upon the guests of the house.
"Therefore," had he said to himself, "if I leave first, they willsing my praise, lecture the young person, and make her listen toreason."He was not far from being right. Mme. Desciavettes had beencompletely subjugated by the grand manners of this pretender; andM. Desclavettes did not hesitate to affirm that he had rarely metany one who pleased him more.
The others, M. Chapelain and old Desormeaux, did not, doubtless,share this optimism; but M. Costeclar's annual half-millionobscured singularly their clear-sightedness.
They thought perhaps, they had discovered in him some alarmingfeatures; but they had full and entire confidence in their friendFavoral's prudent sagacity.
The particular and methodic cashier of the Mutual Credit was notapt to he enthusiastic; and, if he opened the doors of his house toa young man, if he was so anxious to have him for his son-in-law,he must evidently have taken ample information.
Finally there are certain family matters from which sensible peoplekeep away as they would from the plague; and, on the question ofmarriage especially, he is a bold man who would take side for oragainst.