"You do not speak," he said; "I see it was all a joke."
"No," said the widow at last in a timid voice, "it was no joke; I was quite in earnest. But the way you take things is not very encouraging."
"Pray, do you imagine that I can go on while you glare at me with that angry frown puckering your forehead, as if you had someone before you who had tried to insult you?"
A sweet smile chased the frown from the notary's brow. Encouraged by the suspension of hostilities, Madame Rapally with sudden boldness approached him, and, pressing one of his hands in both her own, whispered--
" It is I who am going to lend you the money."
He repulsed her gently, but with an air of great dignity, and said--
"Madame, I thank you, but I cannot accept."
At this he began to walk round and round the room, while the widow, who stood in the middle, turned as upon a pivot, keeping him always in view. This circus-ring performance lasted some minutes before Quennebert stood still and said--