The hour had now come for the denouement of that home tragedy whichwas being enacted in the Rue St. Gilles.
Tips, opportunities to make money：deep in the money covered callsThe reader will remember the incidents narrated at the beginning ofthis story, - M. de Thaller's visit and angry words with M. Favoral,his departure after leaving a package of bank-notes in Mlle.
Tips, opportunities to make money：bag of money soundGilberte's hands, the advent of the commissary of police, M.
Tips, opportunities to make money：butts tits and moneyFavoral's escape, and finally the departure of the Saturday eveningguests.
The disaster which struck Mme. Favoral and her children had been sosudden and so crushing, that they had been, on the moment, toostupefied to realize it. What had happened went so far beyond thelimits of the probable, of the possible even, that they could notbelieve it. The too cruel scenes which had just taken place wereto them like the absurd incidents of a horrible nightmare.
But when their guests had retired after a few commonplaceprotestations, when they found themselves alone, all three, in thathouse whose master had just fled, tracked by the police, - thenonly, as the disturbed equilibrium of their minds became somewhatrestored, did they fully realize the extent of the disaster, andthe horror of the situation.
Whilst Mme. Favoral lay apparently lifeless on an arm-chair,Gilberte kneeling at her feet, Maxence was walking up and down theparlor with furious steps. He was whiter than the plaster on thehalls; and a cold perspiration glued his tangled hair to his temples.
His eyes glistening, and his fists clinched,"Our father a thief!" he kept repeating in a hoarse voice, "a forger!"And in fact never had the slightest suspicion arisen in his mind.
In these days of doubtful reputations, he had been proud indeed ofM. Favoral's reputation of austere integrity. And he had enduredmany a cruel reproach, saying to himself that his father had, by hisown spotless conduct, acquired the right to be harsh and exacting.
"And he has stolen twelve millions!" he exclaimed.
And he went on, trying to calculate all the luxury and splendorwhich such a sum represents, all the cravings gratified, all thedreams realized, all it can procure of things that may be bought.
And what things are not for sale for twelve millions!
Then he examined the gloomy home in the Rue St. Gilles, - thecontracted dwelling, the faded furniture the prodigies of aparsimonious industry, his mother's privations, his sister's penury,and his own distress. And he exclaimed again,"It is a monstrous infamy!"The words of the commissary of police had opened his eyes; and henow fancied the most wonderful things. M. Favoral, in his mind,assumed fabulous proportions. By what miracles of hypocrisy anddissimulation had he succeeded in making himself ubiquitous as itwere, and, without awaking a suspicion, living two lives so distinctand so different, - here, in the midst of his family, parsimonious,methodic, and severe; elsewhere, in some illicit household,doubtless facile, smiling, and generous, like a successful thief.
For Maxence considered the bills found in the secretary as aflagrant, irrefutable and material proof.
Upon the brink of that abyss of shame into which his father had justtumbled, he thought he could see, not the inevitable woman, thatincentive of all human actions, but the entire legion of thosebewitching courtesans who possess unknown crucibles wherein to swellfortunes, and who have secret filters to stupefy their dupes, andstrip them of their honor, after robbing them of their last cent.
"And I," said Maxence, - " I, because at twenty I was fond ofpleasure, I was called a bad son! Because I had made some threehundred francs of debts, I was deemed a swindler! Because I lovea poor girl who has for me the most disinterested affection, I amone of those rascals whom their family disown, and from whom nothingcan be expected but shame and disgrace!"He filled the parlor with the sound of his voice, which rose likehis wrath.
And at the thought of all the bitter reproaches which had beenaddressed to him by his father, and of all the humiliations thathad been heaped upon him,"Ah, the wretch!" he fairly shrieked, " - the coward!"As pale as her brother, her face bathed in tears, and her beautifulhair hanging undone, Mlle. Gilberte drew herself up.
"He is our father, Maxence," she said gently.