Then he had no fears; and one could understand how in the mostcritical hours of the Commune, when Paris was in flames, he couldhave exclaimed almost cheerfully,"Ah! this time it is indeed the final liquidation."Doubtless, in the bottom of his heart, he wished that Paris mightbe destroyed, and, with it, the evidences of his crime. Andperhaps he was not the only one to form that impious wish.

"That's why, then," exclaimed Maxence, - "that's why my fathertreated me so rudely: that's why he so obstinately persisted inclosing the offices of the Mutual Credit against me."He was interrupted by a violent ringing of the door-bell. He lookedat the clock: ten o'clock was about to strike.

"Who can call so late?" said Mme. Favoral.

Something like a discussion was heard in the hall, - a voice hoarsewith anger, and the servant's voice.

"Go and see who's there," said Gilberte to her brother.

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It was useless; the servant appeared.

"It's M. Bertan," she commenced, "the baker - He had followed her,and, pushing her aside with his robust arm, he appeared himself.

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He was a man about forty years of age, tall, thin, already bald,and wearing his beard trimmed close.

"M. Favoral?" he inquired.

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"My father is not at home," replied Maxence.

"It's true, then, what I have just been told?""What?""That the police came to arrest him, and he escaped through awindow.""It's true," replied Maxence gently.

The baker seemed prostrated.

"And my money?" he asked.

"What money?""Why, my ten thousand francs! Ten thousand francs which I broughtto M. Favoral, in gold, you hear? in ten rolls, which I placedthere, on that very table, and for which he gave me a receipt. Hereit is, - his receipt."He held out a paper; but Maxence did not take it.