Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (French I).djvu/74

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ANOTHER GAMBLER

A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

by paul bourget

THOUGH he was your cousin," I said to Claude after reading a telegram which he handed to me, "you surely cannot grieve for his death. He has done justice on himself; and I did not expect it of him. His suicide spares your old uncle the scandal of a shocking trial. But what a history! That old woman murdered merely for the sake of her trumpery savings! To come to such an end, through degradation after degradation—he whom we once knew so proud, so elegant! I see him now when he first arrived in our old provincial town, just after he had been appointed lieutenant of artillery. We followed him in the streets with such boyish pride. He was twenty-seven, and you and I were not a third of his age. Ah, well, in spite of all—poor, poor Lucien!"

"Fate is often very strange," said my companion. As he said these words in a serious tone, which relieved them of all triteness, he was poking the fire and gazing into it—at what? It was the 24th of December. We had planned to go to the theatre and then to sup together at a

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