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"'What has become of these gardeners?'

"'They are dead.'

"'What was your mother's name?'

"'I never knew.'

"To M. de Thaller's first surprise had succeeded a feeling ofevident irritation; but, the more haughty and brutal his manners,the cooler and the more self-possessed I became.

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"'And you are soliciting assistance?' he said.

"I drew myself up, and, looking at him straight in the eyes,"'I beg your pardon,' I replied: 'it is a legitimate indemnity whichI claim.'

"Indeed, it seemed to me that my firmness alarmed him. With afeverish haste, he began to feel in his pockets. He took out theircontents of gold and bank-notes all in a heap, and, thrusting itinto my hands without counting,"'Here,' he said, 'take this. Are you satisfied?'

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"I observed to him, that, having sent a letter to Mme. de Thaller,it would perhaps be proper to await her answer. But he replied thatit was not necessary, and, pushing me towards the door,"You may depend upon it,' he said, 'I shall tell my wife that Isaw you.'

"I started to go out; but I had not gone ten steps across the yard,when I heard him crying excitedly to his servants,"'You see that beggar, don't you? Well, the first one who allowsher to cross the threshold of my door shall be turned out on theinstant.'

"A beggar, I! Ah the wretch! I turned round to cast his alms intohis face; but already he had disappeared, and I only found before methe footman, chuckling stupidly.

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"I went out; and, as my anger gradually passed off, I felt thankfulthat I had been unable to follow the dictates of my wounded pride.

"'Poor girl,' I thought to myself, 'where would you be at this hour?

You would only have to select between suicide and the vilestexistence; whereas now you are above want.'

"I was passing before a small restaurant. I went in; for I wasvery hungry, having, so to speak, eaten nothing for several dayspast. Besides, I felt anxious to count my treasure. The Baron deThaller had given me nine hundred and thirty francs.

"This sum, which exceeded the utmost limits of my ambition, seemedinexhaustible to me: I was dazzled by its possession.

"'And yet,' I thought, 'had M. de Thaller happened to have tenthousand francs in his pockets he would have given them to me allthe same.'

"I was at a loss to explain this strange generosity. Why hissurprise when he first saw me, then his anger, and his haste to getrid of me? How was it that a man whose mind must be filled withthe gravest cares had so distinctly remembered me, and the letterI had written to his wife? Why, after showing himself so generous,had he so strictly excluded me from his house?

"After vainly trying for some time to solve this riddle, I concludedthat I must be the victim of my own imagination; and I turned myattention to making the best possible use of my sudden fortune. Onthe same day, I took a little room in the Faubourg St. Denis; andI bought myself a sewing-machine. Before the week was over, I hadwork before me for several months. Ah! this time it seemed indeedthat I had nothing more to apprehend from destiny; and I lookedforward, without fear, to the future. At the end of a month, I wasearning four to five francs a day, when, one afternoon, a stout man,very well dressed, looking honest and good-natured, and speakingFrench with some difficulty, made his appearance at my room. Hewas an American he stated, and had been sent to me by the woman forwhom I worked. Having need of a skilled Parisian work-woman, hecame to propose to me to follow him to New York, where he wouldinsure me a brilliant position.