"I nodded, and showed him the fragments fastened on to the sheet of note-paper.
" 'How much do you want for that?' asked he. 'I will give you a thousand francs.'
"I declare to you, gentlemen, that up to this time I had no intention of making money by the secret. My intention in going had been simply to say, 'I bring you this paper, of which some one else might have taken an undue advantage. I have done you a service; lend me a hundred francs.' This is what I meant to say, but his behavior irritated me, and I answered,--
" 'No, I want two thousand francs.'
"He opened a drawer, drew out a bundle of banknotes, and threw them in my face.
" 'Pay yourself, you villain!' said he.
"I can, I fear, never make you understand what I felt at this undeserved insult. I was not myself, and Heaven knows that I was not responsible for any crime that I might have committed in the frenzy of the moment, and I was nearly doing so. That man will, perhaps, never see death so near him, save at his last hour. On his writing table lay one of those Catalan daggers, which he evidently used as a paper- cutter. I snatched it up, and was about to strike, when the recollection of Marie dying of cold and starvation occurred to me. I dashed the knife to the ground, and rushed from the house in a state bordering on insanity. I went into that house an honest man, and left it a degraded scoundrel. But I must finish. When I reached the street, the two banknotes which I had taken from the packet seemed to burn me like coals of fire. I hastened to a money-changer, and got coin for them. I think, from my demeanor, he must have thought that I was insane. With my plunder weighing me down, I regained our wretched garret in the Rue de la Harpe. Catenac and Hortebise were waiting for me with the utmost anxiety. You remember that day, my friends. Marquis, my story is especially intended for you. As soon as I entered the room, my friends ran up to me, delighted at seeing me return in safety, but I thrust them aside.
" 'Let me alone!' cried I; 'I am no longer fit to take an honest man's hand; but we have money, money!' And I threw the bags upon the table. One of them burst, and a flood of silver coins rolled to every part of the room.
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