On the Saturday, however, the Countess had not been installed in the place for a couple of hours when an unexpected and extraordinary visit again plunged her into anguish. Alice fortunately had just gone out. The visitor was Busch, with his flat dirty face, greasy frock-coat, and white cravat twisted like a cord. Warned by his scent that the favourable moment had come, he had finally decided to push forward that old affair of the acknowledgment of ten thousand francs which the Count de Beauvilliers had signed in favour of Léonie Cron.
With a glance at the apartment, he took in the widow's situation. Had he waited too long? he wondered. However, like a man capable, on occasion, of urbanity and patience, he explained the case at length to the frightened Countess. This was really her husband's handwriting, was it not? It clearly told the story, upon which, by the way, he did not insist. Nor did he even conceal the fact that, fifteen years having elapsed, he did not believe that she was legally obliged to pay. However that might be, he was simply his client's representative, and knew that she was resolved to test the question in the law courts, and raise the most frightful scandal, unless the matter were compromised. When the Countess, ghastly pale, struck to the heart by the revival of the frightful past, expressed astonishment that they had waited so long before applying to her, he invented a story, saying that the acknowledgment had been lost, and found again at the bottom of a trunk; and, as she definitively refused to look into the matter, he went off, still evincing great politeness and saying that he[Pg 395] would return with his client, though not on the morrow, as she would not then be at liberty, but either on the following Monday or Tuesday.
When the Monday came the Countess de Beauvilliers had quite forgotten that ill-dressed man and his cruel story, distracted as she was by the awful calamity which had befallen her daughter, who had been brought home to her delirious, and whom she had put to bed and nursed with tear-dimmed eyes. At last Alice had fallen asleep, and the mother had just sat down, exhausted, crushed by the unrelenting fury of fate, when Busch again presented himself, accompanied this time by Léonie.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Earn money online is easy to be cheated'Madame, here is my client, and this matter must now be settled,' said the Jew.
At sight of Léonie, Madame de Beauvilliers shuddered. She looked at her, and saw her clad in crude colours, with coarse black hair falling over her eyebrows, her face broad and flabby, her whole person sordid and vile; and the Countess's heart was tortured, her woman's pride bled afresh after so many years of forgiveness and forgetfulness. O God of Heaven, to think it was for such creatures as this woman that her husband, the Count, had betrayed her!
The interview began. Neither Busch nor Léonie sought to mince matters, but spoke out plumply, crudely, with brazen faces. The woman was already telling her ignoble tale in a hoarse voice, spoilt by dram-drinking, whilst Busch unfolded and displayed the Count's promise to pay her ten thousand francs, when a moan came from the alcove, and Alice began stirring under her coverlet. Only one of the folding-doors was closed, and the Countess, with a gesture of anguish, hastened to shut the other one. Ah, that only her daughter might get to sleep again, see nothing, hear nothing, of all this abomination!
Léonie, however, was fairly launched, and went on with her narrative, speaking at last so impudently, so coarsely, that Madame de Beauvilliers, in furious exasperation, raised her hand to strike her.
'Be quiet! be quiet!' cried the Countess; whilst Léonie,[Pg 396] in a fright, instinctively raised her elbow to shield her face, like one accustomed to be beaten.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Online generation work to make moneyAnd then a fearful silence fell, soon broken, however, by a fresh plaint from the alcove, a low sound like that of stifled sobbing. The Countess heard it. 'Well, what do you want?' she asked, trembling and lowering her voice.
Tips, opportunities to make money：Ordinary people online making money projectBusch thereupon intervened: 'Why, madame, this girl wants to be paid, and she is right. Your husband signed that paper, and it ought to be honoured.'
'Never will I pay such a debt.'
'Then we shall take a cab on leaving here and go to the Palais de Justice, where I shall lodge the complaint which I have already drafted, and which you can see here. In it are related all the facts which Mademoiselle has just told you.'
'But this is abominable blackmailing; you will not do such a thing.'
'I beg your pardon, madame, I shall do it at once. Business is business.'
Intense weariness, utter discouragement, took possession of the Countess. The last flash of pride, which had kept her up, had just given way, and all her violence, all her strength, fell with it. She clasped her hands and stammered: 'But you see to what we are reduced. Look at this room. We have nothing left; to-morrow, perhaps, we shall even lack bread to eat. Where do you expect me to get the money? Ten thousand francs, my God!'