“Yes, I understand that sort of pride,” said Adrienne, more and more struck with Rodin’s original turn of mind.
“But let us return to what concerns you, my dear young lady. On the eve of the 13th of February, the Abbe d’Aigrigny delivered to me a paper in shorthand, and said to me, `Transcribe this examination; you may add that it is to support the decision of a family council, which has declared, in accordance with the report of Dr. Baleinier, the state of mind of Mdlle. de Cardoville to be sufficiently alarming to render it necessary to confine her in a lunatic asylum.’”
“Yes,” said Adrienne, with bitterness; “it related to a long interview, which I had with the Princess de Saint-Dizier, my aunt, and which was taken down without my knowledge.”
Behold me, then, poring over my shorthand report, and beginning to transcribe it. At the end of the first ten lines, I was struck with stupor. I knew not if I were awake or dreaming. `What! mad?’ They must be themselves insane who dare assert so monstrous a proposition!—More and more interested, I continued my reading—I finished it—Oh! then, what shall I say? What I felt, my dear young lady, it is impossible to express. It was sympathy, delight, enthusiasm!”
“Sir,” said Adrienne.
“Yes, my dear young lady, enthusiasm! Let not the words shock your modesty. Know that these ideas, so new, so independent, so courageous which you expressed to your aunt with so much brilliancy, are, without your being aware of it, common to you and another person, for whom you will one day feel the most tender and religious respect.”
“Of whom do you speak, sir?” cried Mdlle. de Cardoville, more and more interested.
After a moment’s apparent hesitation, Rodin resumed, “No, no—it is useless now to inform you of it. All I can tell you, my dear young lady, is that, when I had finished my reading, I ran to Abbe d’Aigrigny’s, to convince him of the error into which he had fallen with regard to you. It was impossible then to find him; but yesterday morning I told him plainly what I thought. He only appeared surprised to find that I could think at all. He received my communications with contemptuous silence. I thought him deceived; I continued my remonstrances, but quite in vain. He ordered me to follow him to the house, where the testament of your ancestor was to be opened. I was so blind with regard to the Abbe d’Aigrigny, that it required the successive arrivals of the soldier, of his son, and of Marshal Simon’s father, to open my eyes thoroughly. Their indignation unveiled to me the extent of a conspiracy, plotted long ago, and carried on with terrible ability. Then, I understood why you were confined here as a lunatic; why the daughters of Marshal Simon were imprisoned in a convent. Then a thousand recollections returned to my mind; fragments of letters and statements, which had been given me to copy or decipher, and of which