'I certainly hope that you did not insist,' said Jordan.
'Why, yes, I did insist; and then they fell upon you. You see that I tell you everything; I had promised myself to keep this from you, and now it escapes me. They repeated to me that they had foreseen how it would be, that writing in the newspapers isn't a proper business for anyone, and that we should end by dying on the straw. Finally, as I was getting angry in my turn, and was just about to leave, the Captain came in. You know that Uncle Chave has always been very fond of me. Well, in his presence, they became reasonable, especially as he triumphed over papa by asking him if he meant to keep on getting himself robbed like that. Then[Pg 200] mamma took me aside, and slipped fifty francs into my hand, saying that with that we could obtain a few days' delay, enough time to turn round.'
'Fifty francs! a pittance! And you accepted them?'
Marcelle had grasped his hands tenderly, calming him with her quiet good sense.
'Come, don't be angry. Yes, I accepted them, and I understood so well that you would never dare to take them to the process-server that I went at once myself to his office, you know, in the Rue Cadet. But just imagine! he refused to take the money, explaining that he had formal orders from M. Busch, and that M. Busch could alone stop the proceedings. Oh! that Busch! I hate nobody, but how he exasperates and disgusts me! Still, all the same, I ran off to his office in the Rue Feydeau and he had to content himself with the fifty francs; so there, here we are, with a little peace before us for a fortnight.'
Deep emotion had contracted Jordan's face, while the tears that he was restraining moistened his eyelids. 'You did that, little wife, you did that?' said he.
'Why yes, I did not wish you to be annoyed any further. What harm does it do to me to get a scolding if you are allowed to work in peace?'
She was laughing now, and forthwith she began to tell the story of her arrival at Busch's office amid all his dusty, grimy papers; the brutal way in which he had received her, his threats that he would not leave them a rag on their backs if the whole debt were not paid at once. The queer part was that she had given herself the treat of exasperating him by disputing his legal right to recover the debt, those three hundred francs represented by the notes, which costs had run up to no less than seven hundred and fifty francs and fifteen centimes, whereas he had probably found the papers in some bundle of old rags which hadn't perhaps cost him a hundred sous. On hearing this he had almost choked with fury; in the first place, said he, he had paid a very high price for the notes; and there was his lost time, and all the running about during a couple of years to discover the person[Pg 201] who had signed them, and the intelligence that he had had to display in this hunt. Was he not to be repaid for all that? So much the worse for those who allowed themselves to be caught! All the same, however, he had ended by taking the fifty francs, for his prudent system was always to compromise.
Tips, opportunities to make money：plies i got plenty money'Ah! little wife, how brave you are, and how I love you!' said Jordan, impulsively kissing Marcelle, although the sub-editor was just passing. And then, lowering his voice, he asked: 'How much have you left at home?'
'Good!' he rejoined, feeling quite happy, 'we can go two days on that, so I won't ask for an advance, which would surely be refused. Besides, it worries me so to ask. To-morrow I will go to see if the "Figaro" will take an article from me. Ah! if I had only finished my novel, and if that would sell a little!'
Marcelle kissed him in her turn. 'Yes, things will go on all right. Now you will come home with me, won't you? That will be so nice of you, and for to-morrow morning we'll buy a red herring at the corner of the Rue de Clichy, where I saw some splendid ones. To-night we have potatoes and bacon.'
Tips, opportunities to make money：peso to usdHaving asked a comrade to look at his proofs, Jordan started off with his wife. Saccard and Huret were also going away just then. In the street a brougham had stopped outside the newspaper office, and they saw the Baroness Sandorff step out. She bowed with a smile, and then went hurriedly up the stairs. She now sometimes visited Jantrou in this fashion, just by way of asking him if he knew of anything. In spite of his sudden rise, she still treated him as she had done in the days when he had presented himself at her father's house, bending double and soliciting orders. Her father had been a frightfully brutal man, and she could not forget how she had once seen him, when enraged by a heavy loss, kick Jantrou out of the door. And now that the ex-professor was at the fountain-head of information, she had again become familiar, and sought to extract tips from him.
'Well, is there nothing new?' she asked, when she had reached his office, where she would not even sit down.