There was also a postscript.
“Please, sir, don’t say a word of this to the Count de Tremorel.”
“Ah ha,” thought Sauvresy, “there’s some trouble about Hector, that’s bad for the marriage.”
“I was told, sir,” said the beggar, “there would be an answer.”
“Say that I will come,” answered Sauvresy, throwing him a franc piece.
The next day was cold and damp. A fog, so thick that one could not discern objects ten steps off, hung over the earth. Sauvresy, after breakfast, took his gun and whistled to his dogs.
“I’m going to take a turn in Mauprevoir wood,” said he.
“A queer idea,” remarked Hector, “for you won’t see the end of your gun-barrel in the woods.”
“No matter, if I see some pheasants.”
This was only a pretext, for Sauvresy, on leaving Valfeuillu, took the direct road to Corbeil, and half an hour later, faithful to his promise, he entered the Belle Image tavern.
Jenny was waiting for him in the large room which had always been reserved for her since she became a regular customer of the house. Her eyes were red with recent tears; she was very pale, and her marble color showed that she had not slept. Her breakfast lay untouched on the table near the fireplace, where a bright fire was burning. When Sauvresy came in, she rose to meet him, and took him by the hand with a friendly motion.
“Thank you for coming,” said she. “Ah, you are very good.”
Jenny was only a girl, and Sauvresy detested girls; but her grief was so sincere and seemed so deep, that he was touched.
“You are suffering, Madame?” asked he.
“Oh, yes, very much.”
Her tears choked her, and she concealed her face in her handkerchief.
“I guessed right,” thought Sauvresy. “Hector has deserted her. Now I must smooth the wound, and yet make future meetings between them impossible.”
He took the weeping Jenny’s hand, and softly pulled away the handkerchief.
“Have courage,” said he.
She lifted her tearful eyes to him, and said:
“You know, then?”
“I know nothing, for, as you asked me, I have said nothing to Tremorel; but I can imagine what the trouble is.”
“He will not see me any more,” murmured Jenny. “He has deserted me.”
Sauvresy summoned up all his eloquence. The moment to be persuasive and paternal had come. He drew a chair up to Jenny’s, and sat down.
“Come, my child,” pursued he, “be resigned. People are not always young, you know. A time comes when the voice of reason must be heard. Hector does not desert you, but he sees the necessity of assuring his future, and placing his life on a domestic foundation; he feels the need of a home.”
Jenny stopped crying. Nature took the upper hand, and her tears were dried by the fire of anger which took possession of her. She rose, overturning her chair, and walked restlessly up and down the room.