Another joy was reserved for her. The happy are quick in detecting happiness in others, and Adrienne guessed, by the hunchback’s last words, that there was no longer any secret between the smith and the sempstress. She could not therefore help exclaiming, as she entered: “Oh! this will be the brightest day of my life, for I shall not be happy alone!”
Agricola and Mother Bunch turned round hastily. “Lady,” said the smith, “in spite of the promise I made you, I could not conceal from Magdalen that I knew she loved me!”
“Now that I no longer blush for this love before Agricola, why should I blush for it before you, lady, that told me to be proud of it, because it is noble and pure?” said Mother Bunch, to whom her happiness gave strength enough to rise, and to lean upon Agricola’s arm.
“It is well, my friend,” said Adrienne, as she threw her arms round her to support her; “only one word, to excuse the indiscretion with which you will perhaps reproach me. If I told your secret to M. Agricola—”
“Do you know why it was, Magdalen?” cried the smith, interrupting Adrienne. “It was only another proof of the lady’s delicate generosity. ‘I long hesitate to confide to you this secret,’ said she to me this morning, ’but I have at length made up my mind to it. We shall probably find your adopted sister; you have been to her the best of brothers: but many times, without knowing it, you have wounded her feelings cruelly—and now that you know her secret, I trust in your kind heart to keep it faithfully, and so spare the poor child a thousand pangs—pangs the more bitter, because they come from you, and are suffered in silence. Hence, when you speak to her of your wife, your domestic happiness, take care not to gall that noble and tender heart.’—Yes, Magdalen, these were the reasons that led the lady to commit what she called an indiscretion.”
“I want words to thank you now and ever,” said Mother Bunch.
“See, my friend,” replied Adrienne, “how often the designs of the wicked turn against themselves. They feared your devotion to me, and therefore employed that unhappy Florine to steal your journal—”
“So as to drive me from your house with shame, lady, When I supposed my most secret thoughts an object of ridicule to all. There can be no doubt such was their plan,” said Mother Bunch.
“None, my child. Well! this horrible wickedness, which nearly caused your death, now turns to the confusion of the criminals. Their plot is discovered—and, luckily, many other of their designs,” said Adrienne, as she thought of Rose-Pompon.
Then she resumed, with heartfelt joy: “At last, we are again united, happier than ever, and in our very happiness we shall find new resources to combat our enemies. I say our enemies—for all that love me are odious to these wretches. But courage, the hour is come, and the good people will have their turn.”
“Thank heaven, lady,” said the smith; “or my part, I shall not be wanting in zeal. What delight to strip them of their mask!”