“My lord!” said the half-caste, with growing amazement.
“Yes, you must have suffered much, and met with little mercy, poor creature, to have become so merciless, in your hate, and proof against the sight of a happiness like mine. When I listened to you just now, and saw the sad perseverance of your hatred, I felt the deepest commiseration for you.”
“I do not know, my lord—but—” stammered the half-caste, and was unable to find words to proceed.
“Come, now—what harm have I ever done you?”
“None, my lord,” answered Faringhea.
“Then why do you hate me thus? why pursue me with so much animosity? Was it not enough to give me the perfidious counsel to feign a shameful love for the young girl that was brought hither, and who quitted the house disgusted at the miserable part she was to play?”
“Your feigned love for that young girl, my lord,” replied Faringhea, gradually recovering his presence of mind, “conquered the coldness of—”
“Do not say that,” resumed the prince, interrupting him with the same mildness. “If I enjoy this happiness, which makes me compassionate towards you, and raises me above myself, it is because Mdlle de Cardoville now knows that I have never for a moment ceased to love her as she ought to be loved, with adoration and reverence. It was your intention to have parted us forever, and you had nearly succeeded.”
“If you think this of me, my lord, you must look upon me as your most mortal enemy.”
“Fear nothing, I tell you. I have no right to blame you. In the madness of my grief, I listened to you and followed your advice. I was not only your dupe, but your accomplice. Only confess that, when you saw me at your mercy, dejected, crushed, despairing, it was cruel in you to advise the course that might have been most fatal to me.”
“The ardor of my zeal may have deceived me, my lord.”
“I am willing to believe it. And yet again to-day there were the same evil counsels. You had no more pity for my happiness than for my sorrow. The rapture of my heart inspires you with only one desire—that of changing this rapture into despair.”
“I, my lord!”
“Yes, you. It was your intention to ruin me—to dishonor me forever in the eyes of Mdlle. de Cardoville. Now, tell me—why this furious hate? what have I done to you?”
“You misjudge me, my lord—and—”
“Listen to me. I do not wish you to be any longer wicked and treacherous. I wish to make you good. In our country, they charm serpents, and tame the wildest tigers. You are a man, with a mind to reason, a heart to love, and I will tame you too by gentleness. This day has bestowed on me divine happiness; you shall have good cause to bless this day. What can I do for you? what would you have—gold? You shall have it. Do you desire more than gold? Do you desire a friend, to console you for the sorrows that made you