He could hardly have owned to any thing that would have frightened the poor woman as much.
"Are you not afraid," she objected, "to lose all we have so painfully accumulated? We have children -"
He did not allow her to proceed.
"Do you take me for a child?" he exclaimed; "or do I look to you like a man so easy to be duped? Mind to economize in your household expenses, and don't meddle with my business."
And he continued. And he must have been lucky in his operations; for he had never been so pleasant at home. All his ways had changed. He had had clothes made at a first-class tailor's, and was evidently trying to look elegant. He gave up his pipe, and smoked only cigars. He got tired of giving every morning the money for the house, and took the habit of handing it to his wife every week, on Sunday. A mark of vast confidence, as he observed to her. And so, the first time:
"Be careful," he said, "that you don't find yourself penniless before Thursday."
He became also more communicative. Often during the dinner, he would tell what he had heard during the day, anecdotes, gossip. He enumerated the persons with whom he had spoken. He named a number of people whom he called his friends, and whose names Mme. Favoral carefully stored away in her memory.
There was one especially, who seemed to inspire him with a profound respect, a boundless admiration, and of whom he never tired of talking. He was, said he, a man of his age, - M. de Thaller, the Baron de Thaller.