Dusting with the end of his glove the knees of his trousers, andrestoring as best he could the harmony of his toilet, which had beenseriously disturbed,"Is it showing any courage," he grumbled, "to abuse one's physicalstrength?"M. de Tregars had already recovered his self-possession; and Mlle.

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Gilberte thought she could read upon his face regret for his violence.

"Would it be better to make use of what you know?" M. Costeclarjoined his hands.

"You would not do that,", he said. "What good would it do you toruin me?""None," answered M. de Tregars: "you are right. But yourself?"And, looking straight into M. Costeclar's eyes, - "If you could beof service to me," he inquired, "would you be willing?""Perhaps. That I might recover possession of the papers you have."M. de Tregars was thinking.

"After what has just taken place," he said at last, "an explanationis necessary between us. I will be at your house in an hour. Waitfor me."M. Costeclar had become more pliable than his own lavender kidgloves: in fact, alarmingly pliable.

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"I am at your command, sir," he replied to M. de Tregars.

And, bowing to the ground before Mlle. Gilberte, he left the parlor;and, a few moments after, the street-door was heard to close upon him.

"Ah, what a wretch!" exclaimed the, girl, dreadfully agitated.

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"Marius, did you see what a look he gave us as he went out?""I saw it," replied M. de Tregars.

"That man hates us: he will not hesitate to commit a crime to avengethe atrocious humiliation you have just inflicted upon him.""I believe it too."Mlle. Gilberte made a gesture of distress.

"Why did you treat him so harshly?" she murmured.

"I had intended to remain calm, and it would have been politic tohave done so. But there are some insults which a man of heartcannot endure. I do not regret what I have done."A long pause followed; and they remained standing, facing each other,somewhat embarrassed. Mlle. Gilberte felt ashamed of the disorderof her dress. M. de Tregars wondered how he could have been boldenough to enter this house.

"You have heard of our misfortune," said the young girl at last.