the petting it craves. I could not resist the ludicrousness，
The baron was stroking his chin, as was his usual habit when his mind was deeply exercised. "The first thing to be done," he replied, "is to show Coralth in his real colors, and prove M. Ferailleur's innocence. It will probably cost me a hundred thousand francs to do so, but I shall not grudge the money. I should probably spend as much or even more in play next summer; and the amount had better be spent in a good cause than in swelling the dividends of my friend Blanc, at Baden."
"But M. de Coralth will speak out as soon as he finds that I have revealed his shameful past."
Madame d'Argeles shuddered. "Then the name of Chalusse will be disgraced," said she; "and Wilkie will know who his mother is."
"Ah! allow me to finish, my dear friend. I have my plan, and it is as plain as daylight. This evening you will write to your London correspondent. Request M. Patterson to summon your son to England, under any pretext whatever; let him pretend that he wishes to give him some money, for instance. He will go there, of course, and then we will keep him there. Coralth certainly won't run after him, and we shall have nothing more to fear on that score."
"Great heavens!" murmured Madame d'Argeles, "why did this idea never occur to me?"
The baron had now completely recovered his composure. "As regards yourself," said he, "the plan you ought to adopt is still more simple. What is your furniture worth? About a hundred thousand francs, isn't it? Very well, then. You will sign me notes, dated some time back, to the amount of a hundred thousand francs. On the day these notes fall due, on Monday, for instance, they will be presented for payment. You will refuse to pay them. A writ will be served, and an attachment placed upon your furniture; but you will offer no resistance. I don't know if I explain my meaning very clearly."
"So your property is seized. You make no opposition, and next week we shall have flaming posters on all the walls, telling Paris that the furniture, wardrobe, cashmeres, laces, and diamonds of Madame Lia d'Argeles will be sold without reserve, at public auction, in the Rue Drouot, with the view of satisfying the claims of her creditors. You can imagine the sensation this announcement will create. I can see your friends and the frequenters of your drawing-room meeting one another in the street, and saying: 'Ah, well! what's this about poor d'Argeles?' 'Pshaw!--no doubt it's a voluntary sale.' 'Not at all; she's really ruined. Everything is mortgaged above its value.' 'Indeed, I'm very sorry to hear it. She was a good creature.' 'Oh, excellent; a deal of amusement
could be found at her house,--only between you and me----' 'Well?' 'Well, she was no longer young.' 'That's true. However, I shall attend the sale, and I think I shall bid.' And, in fact, your acquaintances won't fail to repair to the Hotel Drouot, and maybe your most intimate friends will yield to their generous impulses sufficiently to offer twenty sous for one of the dainty trifles on your etageres."
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