All was too clear to Paul, and a cold shiver ran through his frame as he saw himself arrested, tried, and condemned.
"But," stammered he, "M. Tantaine holds my note of hand, which is a proof that I acted honestly."
"My poor boy, do you think that if he hoped to save himself at your expense he would produce it?"
"Luckily, sir, you know the real state of the case."
"Would my story be credited?" asked he. "Justice is not infallible, and I must confess that appearances are against you."
Paul was crushed down beneath this weight of argument. "There is no resource for me then but death," murmured he, "for I will not live a dishonored man."
The conduct of Paul was precisely what Mascarin had expected, and he felt that the moment had arrived to strike a final blow.
"You must not give way to despair, my boy," said he.