The American eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about The American.

“My wife has tried to kill me, and she has done it; I am dying, dying horribly.  It is to marry my dear daughter to M. de Cintre.  With all my soul I protest,—­I forbid it.  I am not insane,—­ask the doctors, ask Mrs. B——.  It was alone with me here, to-night; she attacked me and put me to death.  It is murder, if murder ever was.  Ask the doctors.

Henri-Urbain de Bellegarde

CHAPTER XXIII

Newman returned to Paris the second day after his interview with Mrs. Bread.  The morrow he had spent at Poitiers, reading over and over again the little document which he had lodged in his pocket-book, and thinking what he would do in the circumstances and how he would do it.  He would not have said that Poitiers was an amusing place; yet the day seemed very short.  Domiciled once more in the Boulevard Haussmann, he walked over to the Rue de l’Universite and inquired of Madame de Bellegarde’s portress whether the marquise had come back.  The portress told him that she had arrived, with M. le Marquis, on the preceding day, and further informed him that if he desired to enter, Madame de Bellegarde and her son were both at home.  As she said these words the little white-faced old woman who peered out of the dusky gate-house of the Hotel de Bellegarde gave a small wicked smile—­a smile which seemed to Newman to mean, “Go in if you dare!” She was evidently versed in the current domestic history; she was placed where she could feel the pulse of the house.  Newman stood a moment, twisting his mustache and looking at her; then he abruptly turned away.  But this was not because he was afraid to go in—­though he doubted whether, if he did so, he should be able to make his way, unchallenged, into the presence of Madame de Cintre’s relatives.  Confidence—­excessive confidence, perhaps—­quite as much as timidity prompted his retreat.  He was nursing his thunder-bolt; he loved it; he was unwilling to part with it.  He seemed to be holding it aloft in the rumbling, vaguely-flashing air, directly over the heads of his victims, and he fancied he could see their pale, upturned faces.  Few specimens of the human countenance had ever given him such pleasure as these, lighted in the lurid fashion I have hinted at, and he was disposed to sip the cup of contemplative revenge in a leisurely fashion.  It must be added, too, that he was at a loss to see exactly how he could arrange to witness the operation of his thunder.  To send in his card to Madame de Bellegarde would be a waste of ceremony; she would certainly decline to receive him.  On the other hand he could not force his way into her presence.  It annoyed him keenly to think that he might be reduced to the blind satisfaction of writing her a letter; but he consoled himself in a measure with the reflection that a letter might lead to an interview.  He went home, and feeling rather tired—­nursing a vengeance was, it

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The American from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.