Instead of going to his office, as usual, without saying a word to any one, he called his wife and children to the parlor; and, after having carefully bolted all the doors, he turned to Maxence.
"I want you," he commenced, "to give me a list of your creditors. See that you forget none; and let it be ready as soon as possible."
But Maxence was no longer the same man. After the terrible and well-deserved reproaches of his sister, a salutary revolution had taken place in him. During the preceding night, he had reflected over his conduct for the past four years; and he had been dismayed and terrified. His impression was like that of the drunkard, who, having become sober, remembers the ridiculous or degrading acts which he has committed 'under the influence of alcohol, and, confused and humiliated, swears never more to drink.
Thus Maxence had sworn to himself to change his mode of life, promising that it would be no drunkard's oath, either. And his attitude and his looks showed the pride of great resolutions.
Instead of lowering his eyes before the irritated glance of M. Favoral, and stammering excuses and vague promises:
"It is useless, father," he replied, "to give you the list you ask for. I am old enough to bear the responsibility of my acts. I shall repair my follies: what I owe, I shall pay. This very day I shall see my creditors, and make arrangements with them.
"Very well, Maxence," exclaimed Mlle. Favoral, delighted.
But there was no pacifying the cashier of the Mutual Credit.