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- The Money Master, Volume 4. - 13/13 -

"This minute?" asked madame.

"For sure, this very minute. Why should the poor lady wait? It's a lonely time of day, this, the evening, when the long night's ahead."

A moment later the two were walking along the street to the door of Mme. Popincourt's lodgings, and people turned to look at the pair, one carrying something covered with a white cloth, evidently a savoury dish of some kind--the other with a cage in which a handsome canary hopped about, well pleased with the world.

At Mme. Popincourt's door Mme. Glozel took the cage and went upstairs. Jean Jacques, left behind, paced backwards and forwards in front of the house waiting and looking up, for Mme. Glozel had said that behind the front window on the third floor was where the sick woman lived. He had not long to wait. The setting sun shining full on the window had roused the bird, and he began to pour out a flood of delicious melody which flowed on and on, causing the people in the street to stay their steps and look up. Jean Jacques' face, as he listened, had something very like a smile. There was that in the smile belonging to the old pride, which in days gone by had made him say when he looked at his domains at the Manor Cartier--his houses, his mills, his store, his buildings and his lands--"It is all mine. It all belongs to Jean Jacques Barbille."

Suddenly, however, there came a sharp pause in the singing, and after that a cry--a faint, startled cry. Then Mme. Glozel's head was thrust out of the window three floors up, and she called to Jean Jacques to come quickly. As she bade him come, some strange premonition flashed to Jean Jacques, and with thumping heart he hastened up the staircase. Outside a bedroom door, Mme. Glozel met him. She was so excited she could only whisper.

"Be very quiet," she said. "There is something strange. When the bird sang as it did--you heard it--she sat like one in a trance. Then her face took on a look glad and frightened too, and she stared hard at the cage. 'Bring that cage to me,' she said. I brought it. She looked sharp at it, then she gave a cry and fell back. As I took the cage away I saw what she had been looking at--a writing at the bottom of the cage. It was the name Carmen."

With a stifled cry Jean Jacques pushed her aside and entered the room. As he did so, the sick woman in the big armchair, so pale yet so splendid in her death-beauty, raised herself up. With eyes that Francesca might have turned to the vision of her fate, she looked at the opening door, as though to learn if he who came was one she had wished to see through long, relentless days.

"Jean Jacques--ah, my beautiful Jean Jacques!" she cried out presently in a voice like a wisp of sound, for she had little breath; and then with a smile she sank back, too late to hear, but not too late to know, what Jean Jacques said to her.


Being generous with other people's money I had to listen to him, and he had to pay me for listening Law. It is expensive whether you win or lose Protest that it is right when it knows that it is wrong


The Money Master, Volume 4. - 13/13

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