Hortebise threw himself back in his chair with an expression of resignation. "If you want advice," remarked he, "why not apply to our worthy friend Catenac?--he knows something of business, as he is a lawyer."
The name of Catenac seemed to irritate Mascarin so much, that calm, and self-contained as he usually was, he pulled off his cap and dashed it on his desk.
"Are you speaking seriously?" said he angrily.
"Why should I not be in earnest?"
Mascarin removed his glasses, as though without them he could the more easily peer into the depths of the soul of the man before him.
"Because," replied he slowly, "both you and I distrust Catenac. When did you see him last?"
"True, and I allow that he seems to be acting fairly toward his old associates; but you will admit that, in keeping away thus, his conduct is without excuse, for he has made his fortune; and though he pretends to be poor, he is certainly a man of wealth."
"Were he here, I would force him to acknowledge that he is worth a million, at least."