Baron Trigault's Vengeance
As a millionaire and a gambler, Baron Trigault enjoyed all sorts of privileges. He
assumed the right to be brutal, ill-bred, cynical and bold; to be one of those
persons who declare that folks must take them as they find them. But his
rudeness now was so thoroughly offensive that under any other circumstances
the marquis would have resented it. However, he had special reasons for
preserving his temper, so he decided to laugh.
"Yes, these stories always end in the same way, baron," said he. "You haven't
touched a card this morning, and I know your hands are itching. Excuse me for
making you waste precious time, as you say; but what you have just heard was
only a necessary preface."
"Only a preface?"
"Yes; but don't be discouraged. I have arrived at the object of my visit now."
As Baron Trigault was supposed to enjoy an income of at least eight hundred
thousand francs a year, he received in the course of a twelvemonth at least a
million applications for money or help, and for this reason he had not an equal for
detecting a coming appeal. "Good heavens!" he thought, "Valorsay is going to
ask me for money." In fact, he felt certain that the marquis's pretended
carelessness concealed real embarrassment, and that it was difficult for him to
find the words he wanted.
"So I am about to marry," M. de Valorsay resumed--"I wish to break off my former
life, to turn over a new leaf. And now the wedding gifts, the two fetes that I
propose giving, the repairs at Valorsay, and the honeymoon with my wife--all
these things will cost a nice little sum."
"A nice little sum, indeed!"
"Ah, well! as I'm not going to wed an heiress, I fear I shall run a trifle short. The
matter was worrying me a little, when I thought of you. I said to myself: 'The
baron, who always has money at his disposal, will no doubt let me have the use
of five thousand louis for a year.'"
The baron's eyes were fixed upon his companion's face. "Zounds!" he exclaimed
in a half-grieved, half-petulant tone; "I haven't the amount!"
It was not disappointment that showed itself on the marquis's face; it was
absolute despair, quickly concealed.
But the baron had detected it; and he realized his applicant's urgent need. He felt
certain that M. de Valorsay was financially ruined--and yet, as it did not suit his
plans to refuse, he hastily added: "When I say I haven't that amount, I mean that
I haven't got it on hand just at this moment. But I shall have it within forty-eight
hours; and if you are at home at this time on the day after to-morrow, I will send
you one of my agents, who will arrange the matter with you."
A moment before, the marquis had allowed his consternation to show itself; but
this time he knew how to conceal the joy that filled his soul. So it was in the most
indifferent manner, as if the affair were one of trivial importance, that he thanked
the baron for being so obliging. Plainly enough, he now longed to make his