“You are a dangerous woman,” said George Delphin, as he took his leave; “I must go and warn my friend Worse.”
“Yes, you dare!” cried Fanny, holding up her taper finger threateningly at him.
There was something which Madeleine could not exactly define, that she did not quite like, about Fanny. She noticed it most when they were in the society of men, but even when they were alone the same unpleasant manner would sometimes appear. She was not accustomed to all these questions, innuendoes, and allusions, which always seemed to take the same direction; but at last she became so fascinated by her lively and talkative friend, that she began to lose some of her self-possession, and a feeling of anxiety which she could not comprehend, came over her lest some fate was in store for her which she was unable to avert.
Fanny stood by the window, looking at Delphin as he left the house. He was not such a little man, after all! He had a nice figure, and his clothes fitted as if he had been melted into them. There was an air of distinction about his black moustache and curly hair. He was, in fact, a man that you would look twice at anywhere. It was wonderful she had never remarked it before!
Fanny turned to Madeleine, who was clearing the table, and observed her narrowly.
“I notice, Mr. Johnsen,” said Rachel, “that in almost all the conversations we have had on serious subjects, we seem to come to some point or another which all at once gives rise to a whole army of doubts and questions in us both; or perhaps, to speak more correctly, in you rather than in myself.”
“The reason is that your extraordinary acuteness leads the conversation into certain lines of thought,” answered the inspector.
Rachel paused for a moment, and looked at him. At every turn of their interesting acquaintance she had been on her guard against any word which had the slightest resemblance to a compliment. But when she saw before her the earnest and somewhat plain features of her friend, she felt that her caution was unnecessary, and she answered, “It does not require any extraordinary acuteness to perceive that when two people make an attempt in common to thoroughly understand any subject, they are more likely to be successful than if each were to work for himself. But what appears to me most remarkable is really this, that you did not long ago work out these problems for yourself.”
“You have opened my eyes to many things which hitherto—”
“But hear what I have to say,” broke in Rachel, with some impatience. “We have been going backwards and forwards here certainly for half an hour, talking about the many difficulties which must beset a clergyman, who is at the same time the servant of both God and the State, and continually, or at least several times, you have told me that I was right, or that you had not thought of such and