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"You see what happens to me, my boys," he said. "But don't beuneasy. In less than forty-eight hours, the error of which I amthe victim will be recognized, and I shall be liberated on bail.

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At any rate, I can rely upon you, can't I?"They all swore that they would be more attentive and more zealousthan ever.

And then addressing himself to his cashier, who was hisconfidential and right-hand man,"As to you, Bernard," he said, "you will run to M. de Thaller's,and advise him of what's going on. Let him have funds ready; forall our depositors will want to draw out their money at once. Youwill then call at the printing-office: have my article on theMutual Credit kept out, and insert in its place some financial newscut out from other papers. Above all, don't mention my arrest,unless M. de Thaller should demand it. Go ahead, and let 'ThePilot' appear as usual: that's important."He had, whilst speaking, lighted a cigar. The honest man, victimof human iniquity, has not a firmer and more tranquil countenance.

"Justice does not know," he said to the commissary, who was fumblingin all the drawers of the desk, "what irreparable damage she maycause by arresting so hastily a man who has charge of immenseinterests like me. It is the fortune of ten or twelve smallcapitalists that is put in jeopardy."Already the witnesses of the arrest had retired, one by one, to goand scatter the news along the Boulevard, and also to see whatcould be made out of it; for, at the bourse, news is money.

M. de Traggers and Maxence left also. As they passed the door,"Don't you say any thing about what I told you," M. Saint Pavinrecommended to them.

M. de Traggers made no answer. He had the contracted features andtightly-drawn lips of a man who is maturing a grave determination,which, once taken will be irrevocable.

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Once in the street, and when Maxence had opened the carriage-door,"We are going to separate here," he told him in that brief tone ofvoice which reveals a settled plan. "I know enough now to ventureto call at M. de Thaller's. There only shall I be able to see howto strike the decisive blow. Return to the Rue St. Gilles, andrelieve your mother's and sisters anxiety. You shall see me duringthe evening, I promise you."And, without waiting for an answer, he jumped into the cab, whichstarted off.

But it was not to the Rue St. Gilles that Maxence went. He wasanxious, first, to see Mlle. Lucienne, to tell her the events ofthat day, the busiest of his existence; to tell her his discoveries,his surprises, his anxieties, and his hopes.

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To his great surprise, he failed to find her at the Hotel desFolies. She had gone riding at three o'clock, M. Fortin told him,and had not yet returned; but she could not be much longer, as itwas already getting dark. Maxence went out again then, to see ifhe could not meet her. He had walked a little way along theBoulevard, when, at some distance off, on the Place du Chateaud'Eau, he thought he noticed an unusual bustle. Almostimmediately he heard shouts of terror. Frightened people wererunning in all directions; and right before him a carriage, goingat full gallop, passed like a flash.

But, quick as it had passed, he had time to recognize Mlle.

Lucienne, pale, and clinging desperately to the seat. Wild withfear, he started after it as fast as he could run. It was clearthat the driver had no control over his horses. A policeman whotried to stop them was knocked down. Ten steps farther, thehind-wheel of the carriage, catching the wheel of a heavy wagon,broke to splinters; and Mlle. Lucienne was thrown into the street,whilst the driver fell over on the sidewalk.

The Baron de Thaller was too practical a man to live in the samehouse, or even in the same district, where his offices werelocated. To dwell in the midst of his business; to be constantlysubjected to the contact of his employes, to the unkindly commentsof a crowd of subordinates; to expose himself to hourly annoyances,to sickening solicitations, to the reclamations and eternalcomplaints of his stockholders and his clients! Pouah! He'd havegiven up the business first. And so, on the very days when he hadestablished the offices of the Mutual Credit in the Rue deQuatre-Septembre, he had purchased a house in the Rue de laPepiniere within a step of the Faubourg St. Honore.

It was a brand-new house, which had never yet been occupied, andwhich had just been erected by a contractor who was almostcelebrated, towards 1866, at the moment of the great transformationsof Paris, when whole blocks were leveled to the ground, and roseagain so rapidly, that one might well wonder whether the masons,instead of a trowel, did not make use of a magician's wand.

This contractor, named Parcimieux, had come from the Limousin in1860 with his carpenter's tools for all fortune, and, in less thansix years, had accumulated, at the lowest estimate, six millionsof francs. Only he was a modest man, and took as much pains toconceal his fortune, and offend no one, as most parvenus do todisplay their wealth, and insult the public.

Though he could hardly sign his name, yet he knew and practisedthe maxim of the Greek philosopher, which is, perhaps, the truesecret of happiness, - hide thy life. And there were no expedientsto which he did not resort to hide it. At the time of his greatestprosperity, for instance, having need of a carriage, he had appliedto the manager of the Petites Voitures Company, and had had builtfor himself two cabs, outwardly similar in every respect to thoseused by the company, but within, most luxuriously upholstered, anddrawn by horses of common appearance, but who could go theirtwenty-five miles in two hours any day. And these he had hired bythe year.

Having his carriage, the worthy builder determined to have, also,his house, his own house, built by himself. But this requiredinfinitely greater precautions still.

"For, as you may imagine," he explained to his friends, "a man doesnot make as much money as I have, without also making many cruel,bitter, and irreconcilable enemies. I have against me all thebuilders who have not succeeded, all the sub-contractors I employ,and who say that I speculate on their poverty, and the thousands ofworkmen who work for me, and swear that I grind them down to thedust. Already they call me brigand, slaver, thief, leech. Whatwould it be, if they saw me living in a beautiful house of my own?