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In "The Bet," why did the banker lock the letter written by the lawyer in a fireproof...

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usagolsem | College Teacher | Honors

Posted September 19, 2013 at 4:12 PM via web

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In "The Bet," why did the banker lock the letter written by the lawyer in a fireproof safe?

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 19, 2013 at 5:12 PM (Answer #1)

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Recall that prior to reading the lawyer's letter, the banker had lost most of his wealth. If he were to pay the lawyer the two million, he would become poor. So, the banker conspired to kill the lawyer before he (the lawyer) could win the bet. However, after reading the letter and that the lawyer would renounce the two million, the banker left the room. The banker despised himself more than ever after reading this: 

At no other time, even when he lost heavily on the Stock Exchange, had he felt so great a contempt for himself. 

Despite feeling contempt for himself, the banker still realizes that it looks awfully suspicious that the lawyer mysteriously disappears shortly before the end of his incarceration when he would collect his winnings. To avoid arousing suspicion (that the banker might have killed or banished the lawyer), the banker keeps the lawyer's letter in a fireproof box. Therefore, he would always have proof that the lawyer renounced the two million and voluntarily escaped from the lodge. (This would keep the banker from being criticized by others or even perhaps imprisoned, the subject of their original conversation.) 

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usagolsem | College Teacher | Honors

Posted September 21, 2013 at 1:40 PM (Answer #2)

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At the end the banker could not stop shedding tears after reading the letter in which his million was renounced besides he felt contempt for himself far deeper than before.More over he kissed the lawyer's forhead too.Itreveals that the banker is reformed and refined morally at the end and he seems realise his wickednesss and his pride.He might feel pity for his mean decision to kill the prisoner.He was at narrow escape from bankruptcy and disgrace due to the prisoner's renouncing the million through his letter. It became a sort of relic to the banker that was so significant to the banker saving his from committing a big crime and from his ruined life.So the benker took it so important to be preserved, a kind of precious gift to be taken care of, so the banker kept it secretly , dearly in a fireproof safe.

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