When the notary had uttered these last words, Rodin’s nails dripped blood; for the first time, his wan lips became red.
“Oh, God! Thou hast heard and granted my prayer!” cried Gabriel, kneeling down with religious fervor, and turning his angelic face towards heaven. “Thy sovereign justice has not let iniquity triumph!”
“What do you say, my brave boy?” cried Dagobert, who, in the first tumult of joy, had not exactly understood the meaning of the codicil.
“All is put off, father!” exclaimed the smith; “the heirs will have three months and a half more to make their claim. And now that these people are unmasked,” added Agricola, pointing to Rodin and Father d’Aigrigny, “we have nothing more to fear from them. We shall be on our guard; and the orphans, Mdlle. de Cardoville, my worthy master, M. Hardy, and this young Indian, will all recover their own.”
We must renounce the attempt to paint the delight, the transport of Gabriel and Agricola, of Dagobert, and Marshal Simon’s father, of Samuel and Bathsheba. Faringhea alone remained in gloomy silence, before the portrait of the man with the black-barred forehead. As for the fury of Father d’Aigrigny and Rodin, when they saw Samuel retake possession of the casket, we must also renounce any attempt to describe it. On the notary’s suggestion, who took with him the codicil, to have it opened according to the formalities of the law, Samuel agreed that it would be more prudent to deposit in the Bank of France the securities of immense value that were now known to be in his possession.
While all the generous hearts, which had for a moment suffered so much, were overflowing with happiness, hope, and joy, Father d’Aigrigny and Rodin quitted the house with rage and death in their souls. The reverend father got into his carriage, and said to his servants: “To Saint-Dizier House!”—Then, worn out and crushed, he fell back upon the seat, and hid his face in his hands, while he uttered a deep groan. Rodin sat next to him, and looked with a mixture of anger and disdain at this so dejected and broken-spirited man.
“The coward!” said he to himself. “He despairs—and yet—”
A quarter of an hour later, the carriage stopped in the Rue de Babylone, in the court-yard of Saint-Dizier House.
The first last, and the last first.
The carriage had travelled rapidly to Saint-Dizier House. During all the way, Rodin remained mute, contenting himself with observing Father d’Aigrigny, and listening to him, as he poured forth his grief and fury in a long monologue, interrupted by exclamations, lamentations, and bursts of rage, directed against the strokes of that inexorable destiny, which had ruined in a moment the best founded hopes. When the carriage entered the courtyard, and stopped before the portico, the princess’s face could be seen