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Other People's Money

Chapter I.9
But the respite granted by fate to Mme. Favoral was drawing to an end: her trials
were about to return more poignant than ever, occasioned, this time, by her
children, hitherto her whole happiness and her only consolation.
Maxence was nearly twelve. He was a good little fellow, intelligent, studious at
times, but thoughtless in the extreme, and of a turbulence which nothing could
tame.
At the Massin School, where he had been sent, he made his teachers' hair turn
white; and not a week went by that he did not signalize himself by some fresh
misdeed.
A father like any other would have paid but slight attention to the pranks of a
schoolboy, who, after all, ranked among the first of his class, and of whom the
teachers themselves, whilst complaining, said,
"Bash! What matters it, since the heart is sound and the mind sane?"
But M. Favoral took every thing tragically. If Maxence was kept in, or otherwise
punished, he pretended that it reflected upon himself, and that his son was
disgracing him.
If a report came home with this remark, "execrable conduct," he fell into the most
violent passion, and seemed to lose all control of himself.
"At your age," he would shout to the terrified boy, "I was working in a factory, and
earning my livelihood. Do you suppose that I will not tire of making sacrifices to
procure you the advantages of an education which I lacked myself? Beware.
Havre is not far off; and cabin-boys are always in demand there."
 
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