“What does that man say?” cried Rodin, in a voice of thunder; for, at the name of Djalma, he had sprung with one bound to Gabriel’s side.
“M. Rodin!” exclaimed the missionary, falling back in surprise.
“M. Rodin,” cried the other shipwrecked person; and from that moment, he kept his eye fixed on the correspondent of M. Van Dael.
“You here, sir?” said Gabriel, approaching Rodin with an air of deference, not unmixed with fear.
“What did that man say to you?” repeated Rodin, in an excited tone. “Did he not utter the name of Prince Djalma?”
“Yes, sir; Prince Djalma was one of the passengers on board the English ship, which came from Alexandria, and in which we have just been wrecked. This vessel touched at the Azores, where I then was; the ship that brought me from Charlestown having been obliged to put in there, and being likely to remain for some time, on account of serious damage, I embarked on board the ‘Black Eagle,’ where I met Prince Djalma. We were bound to Portsmouth, and from thence my intention was to proceed to France.”
Rodin did not care to interrupt Gabriel. This new shock had completely paralyzed his thoughts. At length, like a man who catches at a last hope, which he knows beforehand to be vain, he said to Gabriel: “Can you tell me who this Prince Djalma is?”
“A young man as good as brave—the son of an East Indian king, dispossessed of his territory by the English.”
Then, turning towards the other shipwrecked man, the missionary said to him with anxious interest: “How is the Prince? are his wounds dangerous?”
“They are serious contusions, but they will not be mortal,” answered the other.
“Heaven be praised!” said the missionary, addressing Rodin; “here, you see, is another saved.”
“So much the better,” observed Rodin, in a quick, imperious tone.
“I will go see him,” said Gabriel, submissively. “You have no orders to give me?”
“Will you be able to leave this place in two or three hours, notwithstanding your fatigue?”
“If it be necessary—yes.”
“It is necessary. You will go with me.”
Gabriel only bowed in reply, and Rodin sank confounded into a chair, while the missionary went out with the peasant. The man with the sallow complexion still lingered in a corner of the room, unperceived by Rodin.
This man was Faringhea, the half-caste, one of the three chiefs of the Stranglers. Having escaped the pursuit of the soldiers in the ruins of Tchandi, he had killed Mahal the Smuggler, and robbed him of the despatches written by M. Joshua Van Dael to Rodin, as also of the letter by which the smuggler was to have been received as passenger on board the “Ruyter.” When Faringhea left the hut in the ruins of Tchandi, he had not been seen by Djalma; and the latter, when he met him on shipboard, after his escape (which we shall explain by and by), not knowing that he belonged to the sect of Phansegars, treated him during the voyage as a fellow-countryman.