"By word of honour!" said Casimir, "I half believe you! But much would depend on the quality of the gold."
"The quality, my dear Casimir, was——" And the Doctor, in default of language, kissed his fingertips.
"I would not take your word for it, my good friend," retorted the man of business. "You are a man of very rosy views. But this robbery," he continued—"this robbery is an odd thing. Of course I pass over your nonsense about gangs and landscape-painters. For me, that is a dream. Who was in the house last night?"
"None but ourselves," replied the Doctor.
"And this young gentleman?" asked Casimir, jerking a nod in the direction of Jean-Marie.
"He too"—the Doctor bowed.
"Well; and, if it is a fair question, who is he?" pursued the brother-in-law.
"Jean-Marie," answered the Doctor, "combines the functions of a son and stable-boy. He began as the latter, but he rose rapidly to the more honourable rank in our affections. He is, I may say, the greatest comfort in our lives."
"Ha!" said Casimir. "And previous to becoming one of you?"
"Jean-Marie has lived a remarkable existence; his experience has been eminently formative," replied Desprez. "If I had had to choose an education for my son, I should have chosen such another. Beginning life with mountebanks and thieves, passing onward to the society and friendship of philosophers.