On arriving she drank off a large glass of water. She was very pale. She said to him
Léon, you will do me a service?
And, shaking him by both hands that she grasped tightly, she added
Listen, I want eight thousand francs.
But you are mad!
And thereupon, telling him the story of the distraint, she explained her distress to him; for Charles knew nothing of it; her mother-in-law detested her; old Rouault could do nothing; but he, Leon, he would set about finding this indispensable sum.
How on earth can I?
What a coward you are! she cried.
Then he said stupidly, You are exaggerating the difficulty. Perhaps, with a thousand crowns or so the fellow could be stopped.
All the greater reason to try and do something; it was impossible that they could not find three thousand francs. Besides, Leon, could be security instead of her.
Go, try, try! I will love you so!
He went out, and came back at the end of an hour, saying, with solemn face
I have been to three people with no success.
Then they remained sitting face to face at the two chimney corners, motionless, in silence. Emma shrugged her shoulders as she stamped her feet. He heard her murmuring
If I were in your place I should soon get some.
At your office. And she looked at him.
An infernal boldness looked out from her burning eyes, and their lids drew close together with a lascivious and encouraging look, so that the young man felt himself growing weak beneath the mute will of this woman who was urging him to a crime. Then he was afraid, and to avoid any explanation he smote his forehead, crying
Morel is to come back to-night; he will not refuse me, I hope (this was one of his friends, the son of a very rich merchant); and I will bring it you to-morrow, he added.
Emma did not seem to welcome this hope with all the joy he had expected. Did she suspect the lie? He went on, blushing
However, if you dont see me by three oclock do not wait for me, my darling. I must be off now; forgive me! Goodbye!
He pressed her hand, but it felt quite lifeless. Emma had no strength left for any sentiment.
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