"And yet," he added, "is it possible that a cashier should taketwelve millions, and his employer know nothing of it? And is ourfather really the only man who benefitted by these millions?"Then came back to the mind of Maxence and Mlle. Gilberte the lastwords of their father at the moment of his flight," I have been betrayed; and I must suffer for all!"And his sincerity could hardly be called in question; for he wasthen in one of those moments of decisive crisis in which the truthforces itself out in spite of all calculation.
"He must have accomplices then," murmured Maxence.
Although he had spoken very low, Mme. Favoral overheard him. Todefend her husband, she found a remnant of energy, and, straighteningherself on her seat,"Ah! do not doubt it," she stammered out. "Of his own inspiration,Vincent could never have committed an evil act. He has beencircumvented, led away, duped!""Very well; but by whom?""By Costeclar," affirmed Mlle. Gilberte.
"By the Messrs. Jottras, the bankers," said Mme. Favoral, "and alsoby M. Saint Pavin, the editor of 'the Financial Pilot.'""By all of them, evidently," interrupted Maxence, "even by hismanager, M. de Thaller."When a man is at the bottom of a precipice, what is the use offinding out how he has got there, - whether by stumbling over astone, or slipping on a tuft of grass! And yet it is always ourforemost thought. It was with an eager obstinacy that Mme. Favoraland her children ascended the course of their existence, seeking inthe past the incidents and the merest words which might throw somelight upon their disaster; for it was quite manifest that it wasnot in one day and at the same time that twelve millions had beensubtracted from the Mutual Credit. This enormous deficit must havebeen, as usual, made gradually, with infinite caution at first,whilst there was a desire, and some hope, to make it good again,then with mad recklessness towards the end when the catastrophe hadbecome inevitable.
"Alas!" murmured Mme. Favoral, "why did not Vincent listen to mypresentiments on that ever fatal day when he brought M. de Thaller,M. Jottras, and M. Saint Pavin to dine here? They promised him afortune."Maxence and Mlle. Gilberte were too young at the time of that dinnerto have preserved any remembrance of it; but they remembered manyother circumstances, which, at the time they had taken place, hadnot struck them. They understood now the temper of their father,his perpetual irritation, and the spasms of his humor. When hisfriends were heaping insults upon him, he had exclaimed,"Be it so! let them arrest me; and to-night, for the first time inmany years, I shall sleep in peace."There were years, then, that he lived, as it were upon burning coals,trembling at the fear of discovery, and wondering, as he went tosleep each night, whether he would not be awakened by the rude handof the police tapping him on the shoulder. No one better than Mme.
Favoral could affirm it.
"Your father, my children," she said, "had long since lost his sleep.
There was hardly ever a night that he did not get up and walk theroom for hours."They understood, now, his efforts to compel Mlle. Gilberte to marryM. Costeclar.
"He thought that Costeclar would help him out of the scrape,"suggested Maxence to his sister.
The poor girl shuddered at the thought, and she could not helpfeeling thankful to her father for not having told her his situation;for would she have had the sublime courage to refuse the sacrifice,if her father had told her?.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Qq brush task to make money online"I have stolen! I am lost! Costeclar alone can save me; and hewill save me if you become his wife."M. Favoral's pleasant behavior during the siege was quite natural.
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.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Shanghai online earning project"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.