Glyndon broke the pause.
“Thou wouldst stay, for what? To betray a mother’s duty! If any evil happen to thee here, what becomes of thine infant? Shall it be brought up an orphan, in a country that has desecrated thy religion, and where human charity exists no more? Ah, weep, and clasp it to thy bosom; but tears do not protect and save.”
“Thou hast conquered, my friend, I will fly with thee.”
“To-morrow night, then, be prepared. I will bring thee the necessary disguises.”
And Glyndon then proceeded to sketch rapidly the outline of the path they were to take, and the story they were to tell. Viola listened, but scarcely comprehended; he pressed her hand to his heart and departed.
Van seco pur anco
Sdegno ed Amor, quasi due Veltri al fianco.
“Ger. Lib.” cant. xx. cxvii.
(There went with him
still Disdain and Love, like two greyhounds
side by side.)
Glyndon did not perceive, as he hurried from the house, two forms crouching by the angle of the wall. He saw still the spectre gliding by his side; but he beheld not the yet more poisonous eyes of human envy and woman’s jealousy that glared on his retreating footsteps.
Nicot advanced to the house; Fillide followed him in silence. The painter, an old sans-culotte, knew well what language to assume to the porter. He beckoned the latter from his lodge, “How is this, citizen? Thou harbourest a ‘suspect.’”
“Citizen, you terrify me!—if so, name him.”
“It is not a man; a refugee, an Italian woman, lodges here.”
“Yes, au troisieme,—the door to the left. But what of her?—she cannot be dangerous, poor child!”
“Citizen, beware! Dost thou dare to pity her?”
“I? No, no, indeed. But—”
“Speak the truth! Who visits her?”
“No one but an Englishman.”
“That is it,—an Englishman, a spy of Pitt and Coburg.”
“Just Heaven! is it possible?”
“How, citizen! dost thou speak of Heaven? Thou must be an aristocrat!”
“No, indeed; it was but an old bad habit, and escaped me unawares.”
“How often does the Englishman visit her?”
Fillide uttered an exclamation.
“She never stirs out,” said the porter. “Her sole occupations are in work, and care of her infant.”
Fillide made a bound forward. Nicot in vain endeavoured to arrest her. She sprang up the stairs; she paused not till she was before the door indicated by the porter; it stood ajar, she entered, she stood at the threshold, and beheld that face, still so lovely! The sight of so much beauty left her hopeless. And the child, over whom the mother bent!—she who had never been a mother!—she uttered no sound; the furies were at work within her breast.