futile attempt to dislodge me. With all his immense bulk，
"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?"
The baron had entirely forgotten the existence of Victor Chupin's honorable employer. "You are mistaken, Lia," he replied. "M. Fortunat has had no hand in this."
"Then who could have betrayed my secret?"
"Why, your former ally, the rascal for whose sake you allowed Pascal Ferailleur to be sacrificed--the Viscount de Coralth!"
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