Happily he discovered that he had not been recognised; that the woman of sixty years of age was not looking his way. She had good taste; discovering the hideous aspect of the country, which is usually known as the Vallee du Diable, she had opened a volume, bound in morocco, which her waiting-woman had placed in her hands. This volume was not a new novel; it was a German book, entitled “The History of Civilization, viewed in Accordance with the Doctrines of Evolution, from the most Remote Period to the Present Day.” She neither had made much progress in the pages of the book nor in the history of civilization; she had not got beyond the age of stone or of bronze; she was still among primitive animal life, among the protozoa, the monads, the infusoria, the vibratiles—in the age of albumen, or gelatinous civilization, as it was called by the author, the sagacity of whose views charmed her. She only interrupted her reading at intervals to lightly stroke the nose of her pug, who lay snoring in her lap, and she was a thousand leagues from suspecting that Count Abel Larinski was at hand, watching her.
The berlin passed by him without stopping, and soon it had begun the descent towards Bergun. Then he felt a great weight roll from his heart, which beat freely once more. The berlin moved rapidly away; the count followed it with his prayers, smoothing its course, removing every stone or other obstacle that might retard its progress. It was just disappearing round one of the curves of the road, when it crossed another post-chaise, making the ascent in a walk, and in it Count Abel perceived something red: it was the hood of Mlle. Antoinette Moriaz. A moment more and the berlin was gone; it seemed to him that the shadow of his sorrowful youth, emerged suddenly from the realm of shades, had been plunged back there forever, and that the fay of hope—she who holds in her keeping the secrets of the future—was ascending toward him, red-hooded, flowers in her hands, sunshine in her eyes. The clouds parted, the deep shadow covering the Vallee du Diable cleared away, and the dismal solitude began to smile. Count Abel arose, picked up his staff, and shook himself. As he passed before the cavern, he discovered, among the tufts of aconite which covered it, a mossy hollow, and he perceived that this hollow was ornamented with beautiful blue campanulas, whose little bells gracefully waved in the gentle breeze which was stirring. He gathered one of these campanulas, carried it to his lips, and found its taste most agreeable. Half an hour later he turned from the highway into a foot-path which led through green pastures and forests of larch-trees.
By the time he had reached the heart of the valley it was nightfall. He traversed the hamlet of Cresta, crossed a bridge, found himself at the entrance of the village of Cellarina, about twenty-five minutes’ walk form Saint Moritz. After taking counsel with himself, he resolved to proceed no farther; and so he put up at a neat, pretty inn, which had just been freshly white-washed.