Suddenly Rose laid her hand on her sister’s arm, and said to her, with anxiety: “Listen! listen! they are talking very loud in father’s bedroom.”
“Yes,” said Blanche, listening in her turn; “and I can hear him walking. That is his step.”
“Good heaven! how he raises his voice; he seems to be in a great passion; he will perhaps come this way.”
And at the thought of their father’s coming—that father who really adored them—the unhappy children looked in terror at each other. The sound of a loud and angry voice became more and more distinct; and Rose, trembling through all her frame, said to her sister: “Do not let us remain here! Come into our room.”
“We should hear, without designing it, the words of our father—and he does not perhaps know that we are so near.”
“You are right. Come, come!” answered Blanche, as she rose hastily from her seat.
“Oh! I am afraid. I have never heard him speak in so angry a tone.”
“Oh! kind heaven!” said Blanche, growing pale, as she stopped involuntarily. “It is to Dagobert that he is talking so loud.”
“What can be the matter—to make our father speak to him in that way?”
“Alas! some great misfortune must have happened.”
“Oh, sister! do not let us remain here! It pains me too much to hear Dagobert thus spoken to.”
The crash of some article, hurled with violence and broken to pieces in the next room, so frightened the orphans, that, pale and trembling with emotion, they rushed into their own apartment, and fastened the door. We must now explain the cause of Marshal Simon’s violent anger.
The stung lion.
This was the scene, the sound of which had so terrified Rose and Blanche. At first alone in his chamber, in a state of exasperation difficult to describe, Marshal Simon had begun to walk hastily up and down, his handsome, manly face inflamed with rage, his eyes sparkling with indignation, while on his broad forehead, crowned with short-cut hair that was now turning gray, large veins, of which you might count the pulsations, were swollen almost to bursting; and sometimes his thick, black moustache was curled with a convulsive motion, not unlike that which is seen in the visage of a raging lion. And even as the wounded lion, in its fury, harassed and tortured by a thousand invisible darts, walks up and down its den with savage wrath, so Marshal Simon paced the floor of his room, as if bounding from side to side; sometimes he stooped, as though bending beneath the weight of his anger; sometimes, on the contrary, he paused abruptly, drew himself up to his full height, crossed his arms upon his vigorous chest, and with raised brow, threatening and terrible look, seemed to defy some invisible enemy, and murmur confused exclamations. Then he stood like a man of war and battle in all his intrepid fire.