“That you had sent her to the Sainte-Vierge,” he answered, “and that you were to follow her here—as you did. Even now the nephews are searching the lower town for you.”
“But if I had not come before nine?”
“I should have waited all night, monsieur, even though I had lost my post for it,” he said explosively, and I reached out and gripped his hand.
“You may not have seen the baggage here,” continued the captain slyly.
I glanced round me. Upon the floor stood the two suit-cases, which should have been in our rooms in the chateau, and Jacqueline was busily tearing up some filmy material in hers for bandages.
I looked at Dubois in astonishment.
“Ah, monsieur, I sent for those,” he said, “and paid your bill also. When I fight Simon Leroux I do not do things by halves. You see, monsieur, wise though he is, there are other minds equal to his own, and since he killed my brother, I——”
Here he nearly broke down, and I looked discreetly away.
“One question of curiosity, monsieur, if it is permissible,” he said a little later. “Why does Leroux wish so much to stop your marriage with mademoiselle that he is ready to stoop to assassination and kidnapping?”
My heart felt very warm toward the good man. I knew how that loose end in the romance that he had built up troubled him. And, though I hardly knew myself, I must give him some satisfactory solution of his problem.
“Because he is himself in love with her,” I said.
The captain clenched his fists. “God forbid!” he muttered. “They say his wife died of a broken heart. Ah, monsieur, swear to me that this shall never come about, that mademoiselle become his wife. Swear it to me, mon ami!”
I swore it, and we shook hands again. I was sorry for my deception then, and afterward I had occasion to remember it.
Five minutes later we had cast off, and the Sainte-Vierge steamed slowly through the drift ice that packed the gulf. There were no lights upon the Claire, and I surmised that the conspirators were keeping quietly hidden in expectation of Jacqueline’s arrival, though how Dubois had outwitted them I could not at the time surmise.
However, there was little doubt that once the trick was discovered the Claire would follow on our heels.
Standing on deck, I watched the lights of Levis and Quebec draw together as we steamed eastward. I cast a last look at the chateau and the ramparts. I felt it would be many days before I set eyes on them again.
Then I sought my cabin and fell asleep, dreaming of Jacqueline.
DREAMS OF THE NIGHT
Jacqueline and I were together, the only human beings within a score of miles. We were seated side by side in the sleigh at which the dogs pulled steadily.