Page:Stories by Foreign Authors (Scandinavian).djvu/133

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By Alexander Kielland

NO one could understand where he got his money from. But the person who marvelled most at the dashing and luxurious life led by Alphonse was his quondam friend and partner.

After they dissolved partnership, most of the custom and the best connection passed by degrees into Charles's hands. This was not because he in any way sought to run counter to his former partner; on the contrary, it arose simply from the fact that Charles was the more capable man of the two. And as Alphonse had now to work on his own account, it was soon clear to any one who observed him closely, that in spite of his promptitude, his amiability, and his prepossessing appearance, he was not fitted to be at the head of an independent business.

And there was one person who did observe him closely. Charles followed him step by step with his sharp eyes; every blunder, every extravagance, every loss—he knew all to a nicety, and he