s of the factory were often discussed at that table, to which Georges brought his acquaintances from the club with the tranquil self-assurance of the gentleman who pays.
"Business breakfasts and dinners!" To Risler's mind that phrase explained everything: his partner's constant presence, his choice of guests, and the marvellous gowns worn by Sidonie, who beautified herself in the interests of the firm. This coquetry on his mistress's part drove Fromont Jeune to despair. Day after day he came unexpectedly to take her by surprise, uneasy, suspicious, afraid to leave that perverse and deceitful character to its own devices for long.
"What in the deuce has become of your husband?"
Pere Gardinois would ask his grand-daughter with a cunning leer. "Why doesn't he come here oftener?"
Claire apologized for Georges, but his continual neglect began to disturb her. She wept now when she received the little notes, the despatches which arrived daily at the dinner-hour: "Don't expect me to-night, dear love.