‘How soon do we go?’ I asked.
’I do not know. Bote I was to bring in a case of eau de cologne that came this evening, and he laid down a letter and say:—“The blow has descended, Madame! My niece must hold herself in readiness.” I said, “For what, Monsieur?” twice; bote he did not answer. I am sure it is un proces. They ’av ruin him. Eh bien, my dear. I suppose we shall leave this triste place immediately. I am so rejoice. It appears to me un cimetiere!’
‘Yes, I should like to leave it,’ I said, sitting up, with a great sigh and sunken eyes. It seemed to me that I had quite lost all sense of resentment towards Madame. A debility of feeling had supervened—the fatigue, I suppose, and prostration of the passions.
‘I weel make excuse to go into his room again,’ said Madame; ’and I weel endeavor to learn something more from him, and I weel come back again to you in half an hour.’
She departed. But in half an hour did not return. I had a dull longing to leave Bartram-Haugh. For me, since the departure of poor Milly, it had grown like the haunt of evil spirits, and to escape on any terms from it was a blessing unspeakable.
Another half-hour passed, and another, and I grew insufferably feverish. I sent Mary Quince to the lobby to try and see Madame, who, I feared, was probably to-ing and fro-ing in and out of Uncle Silas’s room.
Mary returned to tell me that she had seen old Wyat, who told her that she thought Madame had gone to her bed half an hour before.
A SUDDEN DEPARTURE
‘Mary,’ said I, ’I am miserably anxious to hear what Madame may have to tell; she knows the state I am in, and she would not like so much trouble as to look in at my door to say a word. Did you hear what she told me?’
‘No, Miss Maud,’ she answered, rising and drawing near.
’She thinks we are going to France immediately, and to leave this place perhaps for ever.’
‘Heaven be praised for that, if it be so, Miss!’ said Mary, with more energy than was common with her, ’for there is no luck about it, and I don’t expect to see you ever well or happy in it.’
’You must take your candle, Mary, and make out her room, upstairs; I found it accidentally myself one evening.’
‘But Wyat won’t let us upstairs.’
’Don’t mind her, Mary; I tell you to go. You must try. I can’t sleep till we hear.’
‘What direction is her room in, Miss?’ asked Mary.
‘Somewhere in that direction, Mary,’ I answered, pointing. ’I cannot describe the turns; but I think you will find it if you go along the great passage to your left, on getting to the top of the stairs, till you come to the cross-galleries, and then turn to your left; and when you have passed four or perhaps five doors, you must be very near it, and I am sure she will hear if you call.’