Mrs. Cliff felt there was something in the air. “You seem queer,” said she. “You seem unusually excited and ready to laugh. It isn’t natural. And Cheditafa looks very ashy. I saw him just a moment ago, and it seems to me a dose of quinine would do him good. It may be that it is a sort of spring fever which is affecting people, and I am not sure but that something of the kind is the matter with me. At any rate, there is that feeling in my spine and bones which I always have when things are about to happen, or when there is malaria in the air.”
Edna felt she must endeavor in all possible ways to prevent Mrs. Cliff from finding out that the curses of a wicked Rackbird were in the air, but she herself shuddered when she thought that one or more of the cruel desperadoes, whose coming they had dreaded and waited for through that fearful night in the caves of Peru, were now to be dreaded and feared in the metropolis of France. If Edna shuddered at this, what would Mrs. Cliff do if she knew it?
As for the man with the white cap, who had walked slowly away about his business that morning when he grew tired of following the gendarmes, he was in a terrible state of mind. He silently raged and stormed and gnashed his teeth, and swore under his breath most awfully and continuously. Never had he known such cursed luck. One thousand dollars had been within two feet of his hand! He knew that the lady had that sum in her pocket-book. He was sure she spoke truthfully. Her very denunciation of him was a proof that she had not meant to deceive him. She hesitated a moment, but she would have given him the money. In a few seconds more he would have made her take the letter and give him the price she promised. But in those few seconds that Gehenna-born baboon had rushed in and spoiled everything. He was not enraged against the lady, but he was enraged against himself because he had not snatched the wallet before he ran, and he was infuriated to a degree which resembled intoxication when he thought of Cheditafa and what he had done. The more he thought, the more convinced he became that the lady had not brought the negro with her to spy on him. If she had intended to break her word, she would have brought a gendarme, not that ape.
No, the beastly blackamoor had done the business on his own account. He had sneaked after the lady, and when he saw the gendarmes coming, he had thought it a good chance to pay off old scores.
“Pay off!” growled Banker, in a tone which made a shop-girl, who was walking in front of him carrying a band-box, jump so violently that she dropped the box. “Pay off! I’ll pay him!” And for a quarter of a mile he vowed that the present purpose of his life was the annihilation, the bloody annihilation, of that vile dog, whom he had trampled into the dirt of the Pacific coast, and who now, decked in fine clothes, had arisen in Paris to balk him of his fortune.