With his pretty face, girlish but no longer fresh, his eyes blue and clear, hiding the emptiness of his brain, he had just left the bath, and, his skin cool and balmy, had slipped on an elegant white flannel costume. Through the door could still be heard the dripping from one of the bath taps,[Pg 161] and a strong flowery perfume ascended from the soft warm water.
'No, no; it is not so serious,' she answered, put out by the quietly jesting tone of the question. 'And yet what I have to say to you embarrasses me a little. You will excuse me for thus falling in upon you——'
Tips, opportunities to make money：Broadcast host professional online reading novels to make money?'It's true I dine out, but I have time enough to dress. Come, what is the matter?'
He waited, and now she hesitated, and began to stammer, greatly struck by all the luxury and enjoyable refinement which she perceived about her. Cowardice seized upon her; and she could not find courage to tell the whole story. Was it possible that existence, so stern to the child of chance over yonder, in the sink of the Cité de Naples, had shown itself so prodigal to this one, living amid such well-ordered wealth? So much vile wretchedness, hunger, and filth on the one hand, and on the other such exquisite refinement, abundance, and beautiful life. Could money, then, be education, health, intelligence? And if the same human mud remained beneath, did not all civilisation consist in the superiority of smelling nice and living well?
'Mon Dieu!' said she, 'it is such a story! But I believe I do right in telling it to you. For that matter, I am obliged to; I have need of you.'
Maxime at first listened to her standing; then he sat down in front of her, his legs giving way, such was his surprise. And when she had finished, he exclaimed: 'What, what! So I am not the only son! A frightful little brother falls on me from the sky, without so much as shouting "Look out!"'
Tips, opportunities to make money：Mobile part-time online make money?She thought he spoke from an interested motive, and made an allusion to the question of inheritance.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Students make money online online'Oh! an inheritance from papa!' said he.
And he made a gesture of ironical carelessness, which she did not understand. What—what did he mean? Did he not believe in his father's great qualities, his certainty of attaining to fortune?
'No, no, I have my pile,' he added. 'I need nobody. But[Pg 162] really this is such a queer affair that I cannot help laughing at it.'
And he did laugh, but in a vexed, anxious, hollow fashion, thinking only of himself, not yet having had time to consider what good or harm this event might bring him. He felt that he lived altogether apart from the others, and dropped a remark in which he brutally gave expression to his real feelings: 'After all, what do I care?'
Having risen, he passed into the dressing-room, and came back directly with a tortoiseshell polisher, with which he began gently rubbing his nails. 'And what are you going to do with your monster?' he asked. 'He cannot be put in the Bastille, like the Man with the Iron Mask.'
She then spoke of La Méchain's accounts, explained her idea of placing Victor at the Institute of Work, and asked for the two thousand francs.
'I don't wish your father to know anything of the matter yet awhile,' said she. 'You are the only person to whom I can apply; you must advance this money.'
But he flatly refused. 'To papa—not if I know it! not a sou! Listen, it is an oath! Even if papa only needed a sou to pay a bridge-toll, I would not lend it to him. Understand! there are some silly things that are altogether too silly; I do not wish to be ridiculous.'
Again she looked at him, disturbed by his ugly insinuations. In this exciting moment, however, she had neither the wish nor the time to make him talk. 'And to me,' she abruptly rejoined—'will you lend these two thousand francs to me?'
'To you, to you——'