“But his name was not Durand; and I distinctly recollect that his address was Paris, not Chartres. And, besides,” said the soldier, thoughtfully, “if he has some important documents, why didn’t he transmit them to me?”
“It seems to me that you ought not to neglect going to him as soon as possible,” said Agricola, secretly rejoiced that this circumstance would withdraw his father for about two days, during which time his (Agricola’s) fate would be decided in one way or other.
“Your counsel is good,” replied his father.
“This thwarts your intentions in some degree?” asked Gabriel.
“Rather, my lads; for I counted upon passing the day with you. However, ‘duty before everything.’ Having come happily from Siberia to Paris, it is not for me to fear a journey from Paris to Chartres, when it is required on an affair of importance. In twice twenty-four hours I shall be back again. But the deuce take me if I expected to leave Paris for Chartres to-day. Luckily, I leave Rose and Blanche with my good wife; and Gabriel, their angel, as they call him, will be here to keep them company.”
“That is, unfortunately, impossible,” said the missionary, sadly. “This visit on my arrival is also a farewell visit.”
“A farewell visit! Now!” exclaimed Dagobert and Agricola both at once.
“You start already on another mission?” said Dagobert; “surely it is not possible?”
“I must answer no question upon this subject,” said Gabriel, suppressing a sigh: “but from now, for some time, I cannot, and ought not, come again into this house.”
“Why, my brave boy,” resumed Dagobert with emotion, “there is something in thy conduct that savors of constraint, of oppression. I know something of men. He you call superior, whom I saw for some moments after the shipwreck at Cardoville Castle, has a bad look; and I am sorry to see you enrolled under such a commander.”
“At Cardoville Castle!” exclaimed Agricola, struck with the identity of the name with that of the young lady of the golden hair; “was it in Cardoville Castle that you were received after your shipwreck?”
“Yes, my boy; why, does that astonish you?” asked Dagobert.
“Nothing father; but were the owners of the castle there at the time?”
“No; for the steward, when I applied to him for an opportunity to return thanks for the kind hospitality we had experienced, informed me that the person to whom the house belonged was resident at Paris.”
“What a singular coincidence,” thought Agricola, “if the young lady should be the proprietor of the dwelling which bears her name!”
This reflection having recalled to Agricola the promise which he had made to Mother Bunch, he said to Dagobert; “Dear father, excuse me; but it is already late, and I ought to be in the workshop by eight o’clock.”
“That is too true, my boy. Let us go. This party is adjourned till my return from Chartres. Embrace me once more, and take care of yourself.”