"Good," said Tantaine. "You are growing more reasonable now. Of course I came alone, but do you think that plenty of people did not know where I was going to? Had I not returned to-night, do you think that my master, M. Mascarin, would have been satisfied? and how long do you think it would have been before he and the police would have been here. If you do not do all that I wish for the rest of your life, you will be the most ungrateful fellow in the world."
Perpignan was deeply mortified; he had been worsted in single combat, and now he was being found out, and these things had never happened to him before.
"Well, I suppose that I must give in," answered he sulkily.
"Quite so; it is a pity that you did not think of that before."
"You vexed me and made me angry."
"Just so; well, now, get up, take that chair, and let us talk reasonably."
Perpignan obeyed without a word.
"Now," said Tantaine, "I came here with a really magnificent proposal. But I adopted the course I pursued because I wished to prove to you that /you/ belonged more absolutely to Mascarin than did your wretched foreign slaves to you. You are absolutely at his mercy, and he can crush you to powder whenever he likes."
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