At nine o’clock M. Langis mounted his horse and took his departure.
Meanwhile, Mlle. Moriaz, her arm resting on the ledge of her window, was meditating on the strange conduct of Count Larinski as she gazed on the stars; the sky was without clouds, unless a little black speck above Mount-Valerien might be so called. Mlle. Moriaz’s heart swelled with emotion, and she felt implicit confidence that all would be arranged the next day. What is one black spot in the immensity of a starry sky?
In all that Samuel Brohl did, even in his wildest freaks, there was somewhat of calculation, or contrivance. Unquestionably, he had experienced intense displeasure at encountering M. Camille Langis at Cormeilles; he had, doubtless, very particular and very personal reasons for not liking him. He knew, however, that there was need for controlling his temper, his impressions, his rancour; and, if he ceased to do so for a moment, it was because he counted upon deriving advantage therefrom. He was impatient to enter into possession, to feel his good-fortune sheltered from all hazards; delays, procrastinations, long waiting, displeased and irritated him. He suspected M. Moriaz of purposely putting his shoulder to the wheel of time, and of preparing a contract that would completely tie the hands of Count Larinski. He resolved to seize the first opportunity of proving that he was mistrustful, stormy, susceptible, in the hope that Mlle. Moriaz would become alarmed and say to her father, “I intend to marry in three weeks, and without any conditions.” The opportunity had presented itself, and Samuel Brohl had taken good care not to lose it.
The next day he received the following note:
“You have caused me pain, a great deal of pain. Already! I passed a sorrowful evening, and slept wretchedly all night. I have reflected seriously upon our dispute; I have endeavoured to persuade myself that I was in the wrong: I have neither been able to succeed, nor to comprehend you. Ah! how your lack of confidence astonishes me! It is so easy to believe when one loves. Please write me word quickly that you also have reflected, and that you have acknowledged your misdemeanour. I will not insist upon your doing penance, your face humbled to the ground; but I will condemn you to love me to-day more than yesterday, to-morrow more than to-day. Upon these conditions, I will pass a sponge across your grave error, and we shall speak of it no more.
“Ever yours. It is agreed, is it not?” Samuel Brohl had the surprise of receiving at the same time another letter, thus worded:
“MY DEAR COUNT: I cannot explain to myself your conduct; you no longer give me any signs of life. I believed that I had some claims upon you, and that you would hasten to announce to me in person the great event of events, and seek my congratulations. Come, I beg of you, and dine this evening at Maisons with Abbe Miollens, who is dying to embrace you; he studies men in Horace, you know, and he finds none whom he prefers to you.