“Yes, madame; for I have something better to do than to satirize that which is utterly odious and ridiculous,” replied Adrienne, whose eyes grew dim with tears at the thought of the cruel hurt to Agricola’s family. Then, putting her hat on, and tying the strings, she said to the doctor: “M. Baleinier, I asked you just now for your interest with the minister.”
“Yes, madame; and it will give me great pleasure to act on your behalf.”
“Is your carriage below?”
“Yes, madame,” said the doctor, much surprised.
“You will be good enough to accompany me immediately to the minister’s. Introduced by you, he will not refuse me the favor, or rather the act of justice, that I have to solicit.”
“What, mademoiselle,” said the princess; “do you dare take such a course, without my orders, after what has just passed? It is really quite unheard-of.”
“It confounds one,” added Tripeaud; “but we must not be surprised at anything.”
The moment Adrienne asked the doctor if his carriage was below, D’Aigrigny started. A look of intense satisfaction flashed across his countenance, and he could hardly repress the violence of his delight, when, darting, a rapid and significant glance at the doctor, he saw the latter respond to it by trace closing his eyelids in token of comprehension and assent.
When therefore the princess resumed, in an angry tone, addressing herself to Adrienne: “Madame, I forbid you leaving the house!”—D’Aigrigny said to the speaker, with a peculiar inflection of the voice: “I think, your highness, we may trust the lady to the doctor’s care.”
The marquis pronounced these words in so significant a manner, that the princess, having looked by turns at the physician and D’Aigrigny, understood it all, and her countenance grew radiant with joy.
Not only did this pass with extreme rapidity, but the night was already almost come, so that Adrienne, absorbed in painful thoughts with regard to Agricola, did not perceive the different signals exchanged between the princess, the doctor, and the abbe. Even had she done so, they would have been incomprehensible to her.
Not wishing to have the appearance of yielding too readily, to the suggestion of the marquis, Madame de Saint-Dizier resumed: “Though the doctor seems to me to be far too indulgent to mademoiselle, I might not see any great objection to trusting her with him; but that I do not wish to establish such a precedent, for hence forward she must have no will but mine.”
“Madame,” said the physician gravely, feigning to be somewhat shocked by the words of the Princess de Saint-Dizier, “I do not think I have been too indulgent to mademoiselle—but only just. I am at her orders, to take her to the minister if she wishes it. I do not know what she intends to solicit, but I believe her incapable of abusing the confidence I repose in her, or making me support a recommendation undeserved.”