“Then, father,” cried Caboccini, with a new effusion of tenderness and admiration, “I shall be the shadow of your light, and, in fact, your second self. I shall have the happiness of being always with you, day and night, and of acting as your socius, since, after having allowed you to be without one for some time, according to your wish, and for the interest of our blessed Company, our excellent General now thinks fit to send me from Rome, to fill that post about your person—an unexpected, an immense favor, which fills me with gratitude to our General, and with love to you, my dear, my excellent father!”
“It is well played,” thought Rodin; “but I am not so soft, and ’tis only among the blind that your Cyclops are kings!”
The evening of the day in which this scene took place between the Jesuit and his new socius, Ninny Moulin, after receiving in presence of Caboccini the instructions of Rodin, went straight to Madame de la Sainte-Colombe’s.
This woman had made her fortune, at the time of the allies taking Paris, by keeping one of those “pretty milliner’s shops,” whose “pink bonnets” have run into a proverb not extinct in these days when bonnets are not known. Ninny Moulin had no better well to draw inspiration from when, as now, he had to find out, as per Rodin’s order, a girl of an age and appearance which, singularly enough, were closely resembling those of Mdlle. de Cardoville.
No doubt of Ninny Moulin’s success in this mission, for the next morning Rodin, whose countenance wore a triumphant expression, put with his own hand a letter into the post.
This letter was addressed:
“To M. Agricola Baudoin,
“No. 2, Rue Brise-Miche,
It will, perhaps, be remembered that Djalma, when he heard for the first time that he was beloved by Adrienne, had, in the fulness of his joy, spoken thus to Faringhea, whose treachery he had just discovered, “You leagued with my enemies, and I had done you no harm. You are wicked, because you are no doubt unhappy. I will strive to make you happy, so that you may be good. Would you have gold?—you shall have it. Would you have a friend?—though you are a slave, a king’s son offers you his friendship.”
Faringhea had refused the gold, and appeared to accept the friendship of the son of Kadja-sing. Endowed with remarkable intelligence, and extraordinary power of dissimulation the half-breed had easily persuaded the prince of the sincerity of his repentance, and obtained credit for his gratitude and attachment from so confiding and generous a character. Besides, what motives could Djalma have to suspect the slave, now become his friend? Certain of the love of Mdlle. de Cardoville, with whom he passed a portion of every day, her salutary influence would have guarded him against any dangerous counsels or calumnies of