Other People's Money
According to the time and place where they are uttered, there are words which
acquire a terrible significance. In this disordered room, in the midst of these
excited people, that word, the "police," sounded like a thunderclap.
"Do not open," Maxence ordered; "do not open, however they may ring or knock.
Let them burst the door first."
The very excess of her fright restored to Mme. Favoral a portion of her energy.
Throwing herself before her husband as if to protect him, as if to defend him,
"They are coming to arrest you, Vincent," she exclaimed. "They are coming; don't
you hear them?"
He remained motionless, his feet seemingly riveted to the floor.
"That is as I expected," he said.
And with the accent of the wretch who sees all hope vanish, and who utterly
gives up all struggle,
"Be it so," he said. "Let them arrest me, and let all be over at once. I have had
enough anxiety, enough unbearable alternatives. I am tired always to feign, to
deceive, and to lie. Let them arrest me! Any misfortune will be smaller in reality
than the horrors of uncertainty. I have nothing more to fear now. For the first time
in many years I shall sleep to-night."
He did not notice the sinister expression of his guests. "You think I am a thief," he
added: "well, be satisfied, justice shall be done."
But he attributed to them sentiments which were no longer theirs. They had
forgotten their anger, and their bitter resentment for their lost money.