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Gobseck
written by "Marriage, Ellen"
...me by her late husband? This house belongs to me now.' "A sudden blow on the head from a bludgeon would have given me less pain and astonishment. The Countess saw the look of hesitation in my face. "'Monsieur,' she cried, 'Monsieur!' She could find no other words. "'You are a trustee, are you not?' I asked. "'That is possible.' "'Then do you mean to take advantage of this crime of hers?' "'Precisely.' "I went at that, leaving the Countess sitting by her husband's bedside, shedding hot tears. Gobseck followed me. Outside in the street I separated from him, but he came after me, flung me one of those searching glances with which he probed men's minds, and said in the husky flute-tones, pitched in a shriller key: "'Do you take it upon yourself to judge me?'" "From that time forward we saw little of each other. Gobseck let the Count's mansion on lease; he spent the summers on the country estates. He was a lord of the manor in earnest, putting up farm buildings, repairing mills and roadways, and planting timber. I came across him one day in a walk in the Jardin des Tuileries. "'The Countess is behaving like a heroine,' said I; 'she gives herself up entirely to the children's education; she is giving them a perfect bringing up. The oldest boy is a charming young fellow——' "'That is possible.' "'But ought you not to help Ernest?' I suggested. "'Help him!' cried Gobseck. 'Not I. Adversity is the greatest of all teachers; adversity teaches us to know the value of money and the worth of men and women. Let him set sail on the seas of Paris; when he is a qualified pilot, we will give him a ship to steer.' "I left him without seeking to explain the meaning of his words. "M. de Restaud's mother has prejudiced him against me, and he is very far from taking me as his legal adviser; still, I went to see Gobseck last week to tell him about Ernest's love for Mlle. Camille, and press...

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