Mme. Cadelle stopped.
“What is the matter?”
“A letter for you.”
“Here it is. A lady brought it less than five minutes ago. Really, she looked annoyed not to find you in. But she is going to come back. She knew you were to be here this morning.”
M. de Tregars had also stopped.
“What kind of a looking person was this lady?” he asked.
“Dressed all in black, with a thick veil on her face.”
“All right. I thank you.”
The porter returned to his lodge. Mme. Zelie broke the seal. The first envelope contained another, upon which she spelt, for she did not read very fluently, “To be handed to M. Vincent.”
“Some one knows that he is hiding here,” she said in a tone of utter surprise. “Who can it be?”
“Who? Why, the woman whose reputation M. Favoral was so anxious to spare when he put you in the Rue du Cirque house.”
There was nothing that irritated the young woman so much as this idea.
“You are right,” she said. “What a fool he made of me; the old rascal! But never mind. I am going to pay him for it now.”
Nevertheless when she reached her story, the third, and at the moment of slipping the key into the keyhole, she again seemed perplexed.
“If some misfortune should happen,” she sighed.
“What are you afraid of?”
“Old Vincent has got all sorts of arms in there. He has sworn to me that the first person who forced his way into the apartments, he would kill him like a dog. Suppose he should fire at us?”
She was afraid, terribly afraid: she was livid, and her teeth chattered.
“Let me go first,” suggested M. de Tregars.
“No. Only, if you were a good fellow, you would do what I am going to ask you. Say, will you?”
“If it can be done.”
“Oh, certainly! Here is the thing. We’ll go in together; but you must not make any noise. There is a large closet with glass doors, from which every thing can be heard and seen that goes on in the large room. You’ll get in there. I’ll go ahead, and draw out old Vincent into the parlor and at the right moment, v’lan! you appear.”
It was after all, quite reasonable.
“Agreed!” said Marius.
“Then,” she said, “every thing will go on right. The entrance of the closet with the glass doors is on the right as you go in. Come along now, and walk easy.”
And she opened the door.
The apartment was exactly as described by Mme. Cadelle. In the dark and narrow ante-chamber, three doors opened,—on the left, that of the dining-room; in the centre, that of a parlor and bedroom which communicated; on the right, that of the closet. M. de Tregars slipped in noiselessly through the latter, and at once recognized that Mme. Zelie had not deceived him, and that he would see and hear every thing that went on in the parlor. He saw the young woman walk into it. She laid her provisions down upon the table, and called,