“Yes, yes,” said the count to Florine; “even if I am still here, show him in by all means. Is not that your opinion?” asked M. de Montbron of Adrienne.
“Quite so,” answered the young girl; and a flash of indignation darted from her eyes, as she thought of Rodin’s perfidy.
“Oho! the old knave!” said M. de Montbron, “I always had my doubts of that crooked neck!” Florine withdrew, leaving the count with her mistress.
Mdlle. de Cardoville was transfigured. For the first time her beauty shone forth in all its lustre. Until now overshadowed by indifference, or darkened by grief, she appeared suddenly illumined by a brilliant ray of sunshine. The slight irritation caused by Rodin’s perfidy passed like an imperceptible shade from her brow. What cared she now for falsehood and perfidy? Had they not failed? And, for the future, what human power could interpose between her and Djalma, so sure of each other? Who would dare to cross the path of those two things, resolute and strong with the irresistible power of youth, love, and liberty? Who would dare to follow them into that blazing sphere, whither they went, so beautiful and happy, to blend together in their inextinguishable love, protected by the proof armor of their own happiness? Hardly had Florine left the room, when Adrienne approached M. de Montbron with a rapid step. She seemed to have become taller; and to watch her advancing, light, radiant, and triumphant, one might have fancied her a goddess walking upon clouds.
“When shall I see him?” was her first word to M. de Montbron.
“Well—say to-morrow; he must be prepared for so much happiness; in so ardent a nature, such sudden, unexpected joy might be terrible.”
Adrienne remained pensive for a moment, and then said rapidly: “To morrow—yes—not before to-morrow. I have a superstition of the heart.”
“What is it?”
“You shall know. He loves me—that word says all, contains all, comprehends all, is all—and yet I have a thousand questions to ask with regard to him—but I will ask none before to-morrow, because, by a mysterious fatality, to-morrow is with me a sacred anniversary. It will be an age till then; but happily, I can wait. Look here!”
Beckoning M. de Montbron, she led him to the Indian Bacchus. “How much it is like him!” said she to the count.
“Indeed,” exclaimed the latter, “it is strange!”
“Strange?” returned Adrienne, with a smile of gentle pride; “strange, that a hero, a demi-god, an ideal of beauty, should resemble Djalma?”
“How you love him!” said M. de Montbron, deeply touched, and almost dazzled by the felicity which beamed from the countenance of Adrienne.
“I must have suffered a good deal, do you not think so?” said she, after a moment’s silence.