In spite of herself, she pronounced the last words with an expression so heart-breaking—there was something so moving in the comparison which this unfortunate creature, obscure and disdained, infirm and miserable, made of herself with Adrienne de Cardoville, the very type of resplendent youth, beauty, and opulence—that Agricola was moved even to tears; and, holding out one of his hands to the speaker, he said to her, tenderly, “How very good you are; how full of nobleness, good feeling, and delicacy!”
“Unhappily,” said the weeping girl, “I can do nothing more than advise.”
“And your counsels shall be followed out, my sister dear. They are those of a soul the most elevated I have ever known. Yes, you have won me over into making this experiment, by persuading me that the heart of Miss de Cardoville is perhaps equal in value to your own!”
At this charming and sincere assimilation of herself to Miss Adrienne, the sempstress forgot almost everything she had suffered, so exquisitely sweet and consoling were her emotions. If some poor creatures, fatally devoted to sufferings, experience griefs of which the world knows naught, they sometimes, too, are cheered by humble and timid joys, of which the world is equally ignorant. The least word of true tenderness and affection, which elevates them in their own estimation, is ineffably blissful for these unfortunate beings, habitually consigned, not only to hardships and to disdain, but even to desolating doubts, and distrust of themselves.
“Then it is agreed that you will go, to-morrow morning to this young lady’s house?” exclaimed Mother Bunch, trembling with a new-born hope. “And,” she quickly added, “at break of day I’ll go down to watch at the street-door, to see if there be anything suspicious, and to apprise you of what I perceive.”
“Good, excellent girl!” exclaimed Agricola, with increasing emotion.
“It will be necessary to endeavor to set off before the wakening of your father,” said the hunchback. “The quarter in which the young lady dwells, is so deserted, that the mere going there will almost serve for your present concealment.”
“I think I hear the voice of my father,” said Agricola suddenly.
In truth, the little apartment was so near Agricola’s garret, that he and the sempstress, listening, heard Dagobert say in the dark:
“Agricola, is it thus that you sleep, my boy? Why, my first sleep is over; and my tongue itches deucedly.”
“Go quick, Agricola!” said Mother Bunch; “your absence would disquiet him. On no account go out to-morrow morning, before I inform you whether or not I shall have seen anything suspicious.”
“Why, Agricola, you are not here?” resumed Dagobert, in a louder voice.
“Here I am, father,” said the smith, while going out of the sempstress’s apartment, and entering the garret, to his father.
“I have been to fasten the shutter of a loft that the wind agitated, lest its noise should disturb you.”