hild by teaching." He stopped
for a moment, as if swallowing his grief, and then continued, in a lower
tone, half speaking to himself, "And, yet, did I not promise my dear
wife on her death-bed--did I not promise it on the holy cross--that our
child should not undergo such a fate? Ten years of suffering--ten abject
years--have not sufficed to realize my promise; and now, at last, a
feeble ray of hope struggles into my sombre future--" He grasped the
notary's hand, looked wildly but earnestly into his eyes, and added, in
suppliant tones, "Oh, my friend, help me! help me in this last and
trying effort; do not prolong my torture; grant my prayer, and as long
as I live I will bless my benefactor, the savior of my child!"
The notary withdrew his hand as he answered, with some embarrassment,
"Yet, Monsieur De Vlierbeck, I cannot comprehend what all this has to do
with the loan of a thousand francs!"
De Vlierbeck thrust his rejected hand into his pocket as he replied,
"Yes, sir, it is ridicul