'Undoubtedly, poor creature, it is very sad,' he murmured.
'But if she is dead, I really do not see——Here, at any rate, are the six hundred francs.'
A second time Busch refused to take the sum.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Which chess and cards are available online'Excuse me,' he said, 'you do not know all yet; she had a child. Yes, a child who is now in his fourteenth year—a child who so resembles you that you cannot deny him.'
'A child, a child!' Saccard repeated several times, quite thunderstruck.
Then, suddenly replacing the six bank-notes in his pocket-book, recovering his self-possession and becoming quite merry, he continued:
'But, I say, are you having a game with me? If there is[Pg 306] a child, I shan't give you a copper! The little one is his mother's heir. He shall have the money and whatever more he wants besides. A child, indeed! Why, it makes me feel quite young again. Where is he? I must go to see him. Why didn't you bring him to me at once?'
In his turn stupefied, Busch now thought of how long he had hesitated and of the infinite pains that Madame Caroline had taken to hide Victor's existence from his father. And, quite nonplussed, he burst into complicated explanations, revealing everything—the six thousand francs claimed by La Méchain for keep and money lent, the two thousand which Madame Caroline had paid on account, the frightful instincts which Victor had displayed, and his removal to the Institute of Work. And at each fresh revelation Saccard gave a violent start. What! Six thousand francs, indeed! How was he to know, on the contrary, that they had not despoiled the little fellow? Two thousand francs on account! They had had the audacity to extort two thousand francs from a lady friend of his! Why, it was robbery, abuse of confidence! The little one, of course, had been brought up badly, and now he, Saccard, was expected to pay those who were responsible for his evil education! Did they take him to be a fool, then?
'Not a copper!' he cried. 'You hear me. You need not expect to get a copper from me!'
With a pale face, Busch rose and took his stand in front of his table. 'Well, we will see,' he exclaimed; 'I will drag you into court!'
'Don't talk nonsense. You know very well that the courts don't deal with such matters. And if you hope to blackmail me you deceive yourself, for I don't care one rap for anything you may say or do. A child! Why, I tell you it makes me feel quite proud!' Then, as La Méchain blocked up the doorway, he had to hustle her, climb over her in fact, in order to get out. She was suffocating, but managed to call to him in her flute-like voice as he went down the stairs, 'You rascal! You heartless wretch!'
'You shall hear from us,' howled Busch, shutting the door with a bang.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Online part-time earning downloadSuch was Saccard's excitement that he gave his coachman orders to drive to the Rue Saint-Lazare at once. He was in a hurry to see Madame Caroline, whom he accosted without the slightest sign of embarrassment, at once scolding her for having given the two thousand francs. 'Why, my dear friend, one should never part with money in that fashion. Why did you act without consulting me?'
She, scared at finding that he knew the story at last, remained silent. It was really Busch's handwriting that she had recognised on that envelope, and now she had nothing more to hide, since another had just relieved her of the secret. Nevertheless, she still hesitated, in confusion for this man who questioned her so much at his ease.