which says that you may not fight a fellow warrior in private，
Poor woman! with returning life came the consciousness of the terrible reality. "He is my son!" she moaned, "my son, my Wilkie!" Then with a despairing gesture she pressed her hands to her forehead as if to calm its throbbings. "And I believed that my sin was expiated," she pursued. "I thought I had been sufficiently punished. Fool that I was! This is my chastisement, Jacques. Ah! women like me have no right to be mothers!"
A burning tear coursed down the baron's cheek; but he concealed his emotion as well as he could, and said, in a tone of assumed gayety: "Nonsense! Wilkie is young--he will mend his ways! We were all ridiculous when we were twenty. We have all caused our mothers many anxious nights. Time will set everything to rights, and put some ballast in this young madcap's brains. Besides, your friend Patterson doesn't seem to me quite free from blame. In knowledge of books, he may have been unequalled; but as a guardian for youth, he must have been the worst of fools. After keeping your son on a short allowance for years, he suddenly gorges him with oats--or I should say, money--lets him loose; and then seems surprised because the boy is guilty of acts of folly. It would be a miracle if he were not. So take courage, and hope for the best, my dear Lia."
She shook her head despondingly. "Do you suppose that my heart hasn't pleaded for him?" she said. "I am his mother; I can never cease to love him, whatever he may do. Even now I am ready to give a drop of blood for each tear I can save him. But I am not blind; I have read his nature. Wilkie has no heart."
"Ah! my dear friend, how do you know what shameful advice he may have received before coming to you?"
Madame d'Argeles half rose, and said, in an agitated voice: "What! you try to make me believe that? 'Advice!' Then he must have found a man who said to him: 'Go to the house of this unfortunate woman who gave you birth, and order her to publish her dishonor and yours. If she refuses, insult and beat her! 'You know, even better than I, baron, that this is impossible. In the vilest natures, and when every other honorable feeling has been lost, love for one's mother survives. Even convicts deprive themselves of their wine, and sell their rations, in order to send a trifle now and then to their mothers--while he----"
She paused, not because she shrunk from what she was about to say, but because she was exhausted and out of breath. She rested for a moment, and then resumed in a calmer tone: "Besides, the person who sent him here had counselled coolness and prudence. I discovered this at once. It was only toward the close of the interview, and after an unexpected revelation from me, that he lost all control over himself. The thought that he would lose my brother's millions crazed him. Oh! that fatal and accursed money! Wilkie's adviser wished him to employ legal means to obtain an acknowledgment of his parentage; and he had copied from the Code a clause which is applicable to this case. By this one circumstance I am convinced that his adviser is a man of experience in such matters--in other words, the business agent----"
"What business agent?" inquired the baron.
"The person who called here the other day, M. Isidore Fortunat. Ah! why didn't I not bribe him to hold his peace?"
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