“He knows nothing,” thought Rodin; for he was too well convinced of Gabriel’s sincerity to retain the least doubt after so positive a declaration. “I believe you,” went on he. “The idea only occurred to me in reflecting what could be the reason of sufficient weight to induce you to transgress Father d’Aigrigny’s orders with regard to the absolute retirement he had commanded, which was to exclude all communication with those without. Much more, contrary to all the rules of our house, you ventured to shut the door of your room, whereas it ought to remain half open, that the mutual inspection enjoined us might be the more easily practiced. I could only explain these sins against discipline, by the necessity of some very important conversation with your adopted mother.”
“It was to a priest, and not to her adopted son, that Madame Baudoin wished to speak,” replied Gabriel, in a tone of deep seriousness. “I closed my door because I was to hear a confession.”
“And what had Frances Baudoin of such importance to confess?”
“You will know that by-and-bye, when I speak to his reverence—if it be his pleasure that you should hear me.”
These words were so firmly spoken, that a long silence ensued. Let us remind the reader that Gabriel had hitherto been kept by his superiors in the most complete ignorance of the importance of the family interests which required his presence in the Rue Saint-Francois. The day before, Frances Baudoin, absorbed in her own grief, had forgotten to tell him that the two orphans also should be present at this meeting, and had she even thought of it, Dagobert would have prevented her mentioning this circumstance to the young priest.
Gabriel was therefore quite ignorant of the family ties which united him with the daughters of Marshal Simon, with Mdlle. de Cardoville, with M. Hardy, Prince Djalma, and Sleepinbuff. In a word, if it had then been revealed to him that he was the heir of Marius de Rennepont, he would have believed himself the only descendant of the family. During the moment’s silence which succeeded his conversation with Rodin, Gabriel observed through the windows the mason’s at their work of unwalling the door. Having finished this first operation, they set about removing the bars of iron by which a plate of lead was fixed over the same entrance.
At this juncture, Father d’Aigrigny, conducted by Samuel, entered the room. Before Gabriel could turn around, Rodin had time to whisper to the reverend father, “He knows nothing—and we have no longer anything to fear from the Indian.”