for the brute, but the mood passed, their old selves reasserted，
"Ah! you won't? You refuse----" He approached threateningly, and caught hold of her arm. "Take care!" he vociferated; "take care! Do not infuriate me beyond endurance----"
As cold and rigid as marble, Madame d'Argeles faced him with the undaunted glance of a martyr whose spirit no violence can subdue. "You will obtain nothing from me," she said, firmly; "nothing, nothing, nothing!"
Maddened with rage and disappointment, M. Wilkie dared to lift his hand as if about to strike her. But at this moment the door was flung open, and a man sprang upon him. It was Baron Trigault.
Like the other guests, the baron had seen the terrible effect produced upon Madame d'Argeles by a simple visiting card. But he had this advantage over the others: he thought he could divine and explain the reason of this sudden, seemingly incomprehensible terror. "The poor woman has been betrayed," he thought; "her son is here!" Still, while the other players crowded around their hostess, he did not leave the card-table. He was sitting opposite M. de Coralth, and he had seen the dashing viscount start and change color. His suspicions were instantly aroused, and he wished to verify them. He therefore pretended to be more than ever absorbed in the cards, and swore lustily at the deserters who had broken up the game. "Come back, gentleman, come back," he cried, angrily. "We are wasting precious time. While you have been trifling there, I might have gained--or lost--a hundred louis."
He was nevertheless greatly alarmed, and the prolonged absence of Madame d'Argeles increased his fears each moment. At the end of an hour he could restrain himself no longer. So taking advantage of a heavy loss, he rose from the table, swearing that the beastly turmoil of a few moments before had changed the luck. Then passing into the adjoining drawing-room, he managed to make his escape unobserved. "Where is madame?" he inquired of the first servant he met.
"No; a young gentleman is with her."
The baron no longer doubted the correctness of his conjectures, and his disquietude increased. Quickly, and as if he had been in his own house, he hastened to the door of the little sitting-room and listened. At that moment rage was imparting a truly frightful intonation to M. Wilkie's voice. The baron really felt alarmed. He stooped, applied his eye to the keyhole, and seeing M. Wilkie with his hand uplifted, he burst open the door and went in. He arrived only just in time to fell Wilkie to the floor, and save Madame d'Argeles from that most terrible of humiliations: the degradation of being struck by her own son. "Ah, you rascal!" cried the worthy baron, transported with indignation, "you beggarly rascal! you brigand! Is this the way you treat an unfortunate woman who has sacrificed herself for you--your mother? You try to strike your mother, when you ought to kiss her very footprints!"
As livid as if his blood had been suddenly turned to gall--with quivering lips and eyes starting from their sockets--M. Wilkie rose, with difficulty, to his feet, at the same time rubbing his left elbow which had struck against the corner of a piece of furniture, in his fall. "Scoundrel! You brutal scoundrel!" he growled, ferociously. And then, retreating a step: "Who gave you permission to come in here?" he added. "Who are you? By what right do you meddle with my affairs?"
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