The other declared she could not get over it. No diamonds! Thatwas a misfortune exceeding all. And quick she seized the opportunitycharitably to enumerate the parures in her jewel-case, and laces inher drawers, and the dresses in her wardrobes, In the first place, itwould have been impossible for her, she swore, to live with a husbandeither miserly or poor. Hers had just presented her with a lovelycoupe, lined with yellow satin, a perfect bijon. And she made gooduse of it too; for she loved to go about. She spent her daysshopping, or riding in the Bois. Every evening she had the choiceof the theatre or a ball, often both. The genre theatres were thoseshe preferred. To be sure, the opera and the Italians were morestylish; but she could not help gaping there.

Then she wished to kiss the children; and Gilberte and Maxence hadto be brought in. She adored children, she vowed: it was herweakness, her passion. She had herself a little girl, eighteenmonths old, called Cesarine, to whom she was devoted; and certainlyshe would have brought her, had she not feared she would have beenin the way.

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All this verbiage sounded like a confused murmur to Mme. Favoral'sears. "Yes, no," she answered, hardly knowing to what she did answer.

Her head heavy with a vague apprehension, it required her utmostattention to observe her husband and his guests.

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Standing by the mantel-piece, smoking their cigars, they conversedwith considerable animation, but not loud enough to enable her tohear all they said. It was only when M. Saint Pavin spoke that sheunderstood that they were still discussing the "business;" for hespoke of articles to publish, stocks to sell, dividends to distribute,sure profits to reap.

They all, at any rate, seemed to agree perfectly; and at a certainmoment she saw her husband and M. de Thaller strike each other'shand, as people do who exchange a pledge.

Eleven o'clock struck.

M. Favoral was insisting to make his guests accept a cup of tea ora glass of punch; but M. de Thaller declared that he had some workto do, and that, his carriage having come, he must go.

And go he did, taking with him the baroness, followed by M. SaintPavin and M. Jottras. And when, the door having closed upon them,M. Favoral found himself alone with his wife,"Well," he exclaimed, swelling with gratified vanity, "what do youthink of our friends?""They surprised me," she answered.

He fairly jumped at that word.

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"I should like to know why?"Then, timidly, and with infinite precautions, she commencedexplaining that M. de Thaller's face inspired her with no confidence;that M. Jottras had seemed to her a very impudent personage; that M.

Saint Pavin appeared low and vulgar; and that, finally, the youngbaroness had given her of herself the most singular idea.

M. Favoral refused to hear more.

"It's because you have never seen people of the best society," heexclaimed.

"Excuse me. Formerly, during my mother's life -""Eh! Your mother never received but shop-keepers."The poor woman dropped her head.

"I beg of you, Vincent," she insisted, "before doing any thing withthese new friends, think well, consult -"He burst out laughing.

"Are you not afraid that they will cheat me?" he said, - "people tentimes as rich as we are. Here, don't let us speak of it any more,and let us go to bed. You'll see what this dinner will bring us, andwhether I ever have reason to regret the money we have spent."

When, on the morning after this dinner, which was to form an era inher life, Mme. Favoral woke up, her husband was already up, pencilin hand, and busy figuring.

The charm had vanished with the fumes of the champagne; and theclouds of the worst days were gathering upon his brow.