OPM, a popular story
One year, day for day, after her marriage, she gave birth to a son, who received the name of Maxence.There, evidently, every piece of furniture must have its invariable place, every object its irrevocable shelf or hook.Suitably dressed, he seemed timid and awkward, reserved, quite diffident, and of mediocre intelligence.“Instead of gathering so much useless information,” he added, “why did you not post yourself as to the outlets of the house?”A man some thirty years of age, wearing the working livery of servants of the upper class,—the long striped waistcoat with sleeves, and the white linen apron,—was going from door to door.Alas! six weeks had not elapsed, before she knew that she had but exchanged her wretched fate for a more wretched one still.M. Desclavettes would have been glad to add something to the forty-five thousand francs he had just lost, to be, together with Mme. Desclavettes, a hundred miles away.Every morning he handed her the money for the expenses of the day; and every evening he expressed his surprise that she had not made better use of it.
“Positively,” she said in a troubled voice, “something serious must have happened to—my husband.He to forget!He to fail in one of his habits!It is the first time in twenty-six years.”The appearance of Maxence at this moment prevented her from going on.M. Favoral was about to administer a sound reprimand to his son, when dinner was announced.“Take up a light,” said he to one of the agents who had remained at the door, “and follow me.We shall see.”The accountant was but indifferently pleased at the coming of this son.His wife alone he held responsible for this deception.Thus on the afternoon of the 27th of April, 1872 (a Saturday), a fact which anywhere else might have passed unnoticed was attracting particular attention.He was at this time chief accountant in a large factory of the Faubourg St. Antoine, with a salary of four thousand Francs a year.Meantime, Mme. Favoral, whispering to Mme. Desclavettes:He has received the strangest confidences:he has listened to the most astounding confessions.The dark side of the most brilliant lives has no mysteries for him.Mother, she defied her tyrant.“Would it be indiscreet,” timidly inquired the old bronze-merchant, “to ask the nature of the charges against that poor Favoral?”He has been sent for by the shop-keeper whom his wife deceives, and by the millionaire who has been blackmailed.It was a fact.Every Saturday, on his way home, he was in the habit of stopping at the old woman’s shop in front of the Church of St. Louis, and buying a bouquet for Mlle. Gilberte.And to-day .
A Paris commissary of police, who after ten years’ practice, could retain an illusion, believe in something, or be astonished at any thing in the world, would be but a fool.Under his placid countenance revolved thoughts of the most burning covetousness.At last Mme. Favoral found herself alone with her children and free to give herself up to the most frightful despair.“Silence means assent,
” he added.“Very well:which way did he get off?”“Often, indeed!” interrupted the commissary of police; “for here are many other receipted bills,—earrings, sixteen thousand francs; a bracelet, three thousand francs; a parlor set, a horse, two velvet dresses.When he returns, you may be sure it is between twenty and twenty-five minutes past five.It was, above all, a cause of expense.He had been compelled to give some thirty francs to a nurse, and almost twice as much for the baby’s clothes.“He does not live with his parents any more?”And if, after midnight, some belated citizen passes on his way home, he quickens his step, feeling lonely and uneasy, and apprehensive of the reproaches of his concierge, who is likely to ask him whence he may be coming at so late an hour.