A minute after, Faringhea, the ex-chief of the Stranglers, appeared before Rodin, who instantly remembered having seen him at Cardoville Castle.
The socius started, but he did not wish to appear to recollect his visitor. Still bending over his desk, he seemed not to seen Faringhea, but wrote hastily some words on a sheet of paper that lay before him.
“Sir,” said the servant, astonished at the silence of Rodin, “here is the person.”
Rodin folded the note that he had so precipitately written, and said to the servant: “Let this be taken to its address. Wait for an answer.”
The servant bowed, and went out. Then Rodin, without rising, fixed his little reptile-eyes on Faringhea, and said to him courteously: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”
The two brothers of the good work.
Faringhea, as we have before stated, though born in India, had travelled a good deal, and frequented the European factories in different parts of Asia. Speaking well both English and French, and full of intelligence and sagacity, he was perfectly civilized.
Instead of answering Rodin’s question, he turned upon him a fixed and searching look. The socius, provoked by this silence, and forseeing vaguely that Faringhea’s arrival had some connection—direct or indirect—with Djalma, repeated, though still with the greatest coolness: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”
“Do you not recognize me,” said Faringhea, advancing two steps nearer to Rodin’s chair.
“I do not think I have ever had the honor of seeing you,” answered the other, coldly.
“But I recognize you,” said Faringhea; “I saw you at Cardoville Castle the day that a ship and a steamer were wrecked together.”
“At Cardoville Castle? It is very possible, sir. I was there when a shipwreck took place.”
“And that day I called you by your name, and you asked me what I wanted. I replied: ‘Nothing now, brother—hereafter, much.’ The time has arrived. I have come to ask for much.”
“My dear sir,” said Rodin, still impassible, “before we continue this conversation, which appears hitherto tolerably obscure, I must repeat my wish to be informed to whom I have the advantage of speaking. You have introduced yourself here under pretext of a commission from Mynheer Joshua Van Dael, a respectable merchant of Batavia, and—”
“You know the writing of M. Van Dael?” said Faringhea, interrupting Rodin.
“I know it perfectly.”
“Look!” The half-caste drew from his pocket (he was shabbily dressed in European clothes) a long dispatch, which he had taken from one Mahal the Smuggler, after strangling him on the beach near Batavia. These papers he placed before Rodin’s eyes, but without quitting his hold of them.