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He stepped forward, no longer bowing humbly as formerly, but withlegs outstretched, chest thrown out, with an ill-concealed look ofgratified vanity. "I did not expect the honor of your visit, sir,"said the young girl.

Passing rapidly his hat and his cane from the right hand into theleft, and then the right hand upon his heart, his eyes raised tothe ceiling, and with all the depth of expression of which he wascapable,"It is in times of adversity that we know our real friends,mademoiselle," he uttered. "Those upon whom we thought we couldrely the most, often, at the first reverse, take flight forever!"She felt a shiver pass over her. Was this an allusion to Marius?

The other, changing his tone, went on,"It's only last night that I heard of poor Favoral's discomfiture,at the bourse where I had gone for news. It was the general topicof conversation. Twelve millions! That's pretty hard. The MutualCredit Society might not be able to stand it. From 580 at whichit was selling before the news, it dropped at once to 300. At nineo'clock, there were no takers at 180 And yet, if there is nothingbeyond what they say, at 180, I am in."Was he forgetting himself, or pretending to?

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"But please excuse me, mademoiselle," he resumed: "that's not whatI came to tell you."I came to ask if you had any news of our poor Favoral.""We have none, sir.""Then it is true: he succeeded in getting away through this window?""Yes.""And he did not tell you where he meant to take refuge?"Observing M. Costeclar with all her power of penetration, Mlle.

Gilberte fancied she discovered in him something like a certainsurprise mingled with joy.

"Then Favoral must have left without a sou!""They accuse him of having carried away millions, sir; but I wouldswear that it is not so."M. Costeclar approved with a nod.

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"I am of the same opinion he declared, "unless - but no, he was notthe man to try such a game. And yet - but again no, he was tooclosely watched. Besides, he was carrying a very heavy load, a loadthat exhausted all his resources."Mlle. Gilberte, hoping that she was going to learn something, madean effort to preserve her indifference.

"What do you mean?" she inquired.

He looked at her, smiled, and, in a light tone,"Nothing," he answered, "only some conjectures of my own."And throwing himself upon a chair, his head leaning upon its back,"That is not the object of my visit either," he uttered. "Favoralis overboard: don't let us say any thing more about him. Whetherhe has got 'the bag' or not, you'll never see him again: he is asgood as dead. Let us, therefore, talk of the living, of yourself.

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What's going to become of you?""I do not understand your question, sir.""It is perfectly limpid, nevertheless. I am asking myself how youare going to live, your mother and yourself?

"Providence will not abandon us, sir?"M. Costeclar had crossed his legs, and with the end of his cane hewas negligently tapping his immaculate boot.

"Providence!" he giggled; "that's very good on the stage, in a play,with low music in the orchestra. I can just see it. In real life,unfortunately, the life which we both live, you and I, it is notwith words, were they a yard long, that the baker, the grocer, andthose rascally landlords, can be paid, or that dresses and shoescan be bought."She made no answer.

"Now, then," he went on, "here you are without a penny. Is itMaxence who will supply you with money? Poor fellow! Where wouldhe get it? He has hardly enough for himself. Therefore, what areyou going to do?"I shall work, sir."He got up, bowed low, and, resuming his seat,"My sincere compliments," he said. "There is but one obstacle tothat fine resolution: it is impossible for a woman to live by herlabor alone. Servants are about the only ones who ever get theirfull to eat.""I'll be a servant, if necessary.".

For two or three seconds he remained taken aback, but, recoveringhimself,"How different things would be," he resumed in an insinuating tone,"if you had not rejected me when I wanted to become your husband!

But you couldn't bear the sight of me. And yet, 'pon my word, I wasin love with you, oh, but for good and earnest! You see, I am ajudge of women; and I saw very well how you would look, handsomelydressed and got up, leaning back in a fine carriage in the Bois -"Stronger than her will, disgust rose to her lips.

"Ah, sir!" she said.

He mistook her meaning.

"You are regretting all that," he continued. "I see it. Formerly,eh, you would never have consented to receive me thus, alone withyou, which proves that girls should not be headstrong, my dear child."He, Costeclar, he dared to call her, "My dear child." Indignant andinsulted, "Oh!" she exclaimed. But he had started, and kept on,"Well, such as I was, I am still. To be sure, there probably wouldbe nothing further said about marriage between us; but, frankly,what would you care if the conditions were the same, - a fine house,carriages, horses, servants -"Up to this moment, she, had not fully understood him. Drawingherself up to her fullest height, and pointing to the door,"Leave this moment," she ordered.