“I will not leave you,” she persisted in answering. “You have devoted yourself to me; I will show the same devotion to you. We will both escape, or we will die together.”
“I am not mistaken,” I cried; “it is a light that I see between the branches. Edmee, there is a house yonder; go and knock at the door. You need not feel anxious about leaving me here; and you will find a guide to take you home.”
“Whatever happens,” she said, “I will not leave you; but I will try to find some one to help you.”
“Yet, no,” I said, “I will not let you knock at that door alone. That light, in the middle of the night, in a house situated in the heart of the woods, may be a lure.”
I dragged myself as far as the door. It felt cold, as if of metal. The walls were covered with ivy.
“Who is there?” cried some one within, before we had knocked.
“We are saved!” cried Edmee; “it is Patience’s voice.”
“We are lost!” I said; “he and I are mortal enemies.
“Fear nothing,” she said; “follow me. It was God that led us here.”
“Yes, it was God that led you here, daughter of Heaven, morning star!” said Patience, opening the door; “and whoever is with you is welcome too at Gazeau Tower.”
We entered under a surbased vault, in the middle of which hung an iron lamp. By the light of this dismal luminary and of a handful of brushwood which was blazing on the hearth we saw, not without surprise, that Gazeau Tower was exceptionally honoured with visitors. On one side the light fell upon the pale and serious face of a man in clerical garb. On the other, a broad-brimmed hat overshadowed a sort of olive-green cone terminating in a scanty beard; and on the wall could be seen the shadow of a nose so distinctly tapered that nothing in the world might compare with it except, perhaps, a long rapier lying across the knees of the personage in question, and a little dog’s face which, from its pointed shape, might have been mistaken for that of a gigantic rat. In fact, it seemed as if a mysterious harmony reigned between these three salient points—the nose of Don Marcasse, his dog’s snout, and the blade of his sword. He got up slowly and raised his hand to his hat. The Jansenist cure did the same. The dog thrust its head forward between its master’s legs, and, silent like him, showed its teeth and put back its ears without barking.
“Quiet, Blaireau!” said Marcasse to it.
No sooner had the cure recognised Edmee than he started back with an exclamation of surprise. But this was nothing to the stupefaction of Patience when he had examined my features by the light of the burning brand that served him as torch.
“The lamb in the company of the wolf!” he cried. “What has happened, then?”
“My friend,” replied Edmee, putting, to my infinite astonishment, her little white hand into the sorcerer’s big rough palm, “welcome him as you welcome me. I was a prisoner at Roche-Mauprat, and it was he who rescued me.”