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Other People's Money

Chapter I.5
Had the commissary received any information in advance? or was he guided only
by the scent peculiar to men of his profession, and the habit of suspecting every
thing, even that which seems most unlikely?
At any rate he expressed himself in a tone of absolute certainty.
The agents who had accompanied and assisted him in his researches were
winking at each other, and giggling stupidly. The situation struck them as rather
pleasant.
The others, M. Desclavettes, M. Chapelain, and the worthy M. Desormeaux
himself, could have racked their brains in vain to find terms wherein to express
the immensity of their astonishments. Vincent Favoral, their old friend, paying for
cashmeres, diamonds, and parlor sets! Such an idea could not enter in their
minds. For whom could such princely gifts be intended? For a mistress, for one
of those redoubtable creatures whom fancy represents crouching in the depths of
love, like monsters at the bottom of their caves!
But how could any one imagine the methodic cashier of the Mutual Credit Society
carried away by one of those insane passions which knew no reason? Ruined by
gambling, perhaps, but by a woman!
Could any one picture him, so homely and so plain here, Rue St. Gilles, at the
head of another establishment, and leading elsewhere in one of the brilliant
quarters of Paris, a reckless life, such as strike terror in the bosom of quiet
families?
Could any one understand the same man at once miserly-economical and madly-
prodigal, storming when his wife spent a few cents, and robbing to supply the
 
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