M. Folgat was shown in, and found him still under the effects of the terrible scene he had undergone in the morning. He had said nothing to his wife that he did not really think; but he was distressed at having said it under such circumstances. And yet he felt a kind of relief; for, to tell the truth, he felt as if the horrible doubts which he had kept secret so many years had vanished as soon as they were spoken out. When he saw M. Folgat, he asked in a sadly-changed voice,—
The young advocate repeated in detail the account given by the marchioness; but he added what the latter had not been able to mention, because she did not know it, the desperate resolution which Jacques had formed. At this revelation the marquis looked utterly overcome.
“The unhappy man!” he cried. “And I accused him of—He thought of killing himself!”
“And we had a great trouble, M. Magloire, and myself,” added M. Folgat, “to overcome his resolution, great trouble to make him understand, that never, under any circumstances, ought an innocent man to think of committing suicide.”
A big tear rolled down the furrowed cheek of the old gentleman; and he murmured,—
“Ah! I have been cruelly unjust. Poor, unhappy child!”
Then he added aloud,—
“But I shall see him. I have determined to accompany the marchioness to Sauveterre. When will you leave?”
“Nothing keeps me here in Paris. I have done all that could be done, and I might return this evening. But I am really too tired. I think I shall to-morrow take the train at 10.45.”
“If you do so, we shall travel in company; you understand? To-morrow at ten o’clock at the Orleans station. We shall reach Sauveterre by midnight.”
When the Marchioness de Boiscoran, on the day of her departure for Paris, had gone to see her son, Dionysia had asked her to let her go with her. She resisted, and the young girl did not insist.
“I see they are trying to conceal something from me,” she said simply; “but it does not matter.”
And she had taken refuge in the sitting-room; and there, taking her usual seat, as in the happy days when Jacques spent all his evenings by her side, she had remained long hours immovable, looking as if, with her mind’s eye, she was following invisible scenes far away.
Grandpapa Chandore and the two aunts were indescribably anxious. They knew their Dionysia, their darling child, better than she knew herself, having nursed and watched her for twenty years. They knew every expression of her face, every gesture, every intonation of voice, and could almost read her thoughts in her features.
“Most assuredly Dionysia is meditating upon something very serious,” they said. “She is evidently calculating and preparing for a great resolution.”
The old gentleman thought so too, and asked her repeatedly,—