“God has put into us the sentiment that is now appealing to that man; but all that is merely what is called ‘presumptive,’ and human justice requires something more.”
The abbe maintained the silence of a priest. As often happens in similar circumstances, he thought much oftener than he wished to think of the robbery, now almost admitted by Minoret, and of Savinien’s happiness, delayed only by Ursula’s loss of fortune—for the old lady had privately owned to him that she knew she had done wrong in not consenting to the marriage in the doctor’s lifetime.
SHOWING HOW DIFFICULT
IT IS TO STEAL THAT
WHICH SEEMS VERY EASILY STOLEN
The following day, as the abbe was leaving the altar after saying mass, a thought struck him with such force that it seemed to him the utterance of a voice. He made a sign to Ursula to wait for him, and accompanied her home without having breakfasted.
“My child,” he said, “I want to see the two volumes your godfather showed you in your dreams—where he said that he placed those certificates and banknotes.”
Ursula and the abbe went up to the library and took down the third volume of the Pandects. When the old man opened it he noticed, not without surprise, a mark left by some enclosure upon the pages, which still kept the outline of the certificate. In the other volume he found a sort of hollow made by the long-continued presence of a package, which had left its traces on the two pages next to it.
“Yes, go up, Monsieur Bongrand,” La Bougival was heard to say, and the justice of the peace came into the library just as the abbe was putting on his spectacles to read three numbers in Doctor Minoret’s hand-writing on the fly-leaf of colored paper with which the binder had lined the cover of the volume,—figures which Ursula had just discovered.
“What’s the meaning of those figures?” said the abbe; “our dear doctor was too much of a bibliophile to spoil the fly-leaf of a valuable volume. Here are three numbers written between a first number preceded by the letter M and a last number preceded by a U.”
“What are you talking of?” said Bongrand. “Let me see that. Good God!” he cried, after a moment’s examination; “it would open the eyes of an atheist as an actual demonstration of Providence! Human justice is, I believe, the development of the divine thought which hovers over the worlds.” He seized Ursula and kissed her forehead. “Oh! my child, you will be rich and happy, and all through me!”
“What is it?” exclaimed the abbe.
“Oh, monsieur,” cried La Bougival, catching Bongrand’s blue overcoat, “let me kiss you for what you’ve just said.”
“Explain, explain! don’t give us false hopes,” said the abbe.
“If I bring trouble on others by becoming rich,” said Ursula, forseeing a criminal trial, “I—”