But Faringhea, seemingly a prey to a dull and mute frenzy, stood with fixed and haggard eyes, as though he did not hear Djalma.
The latter laid his hand on his shoulder, and resumed: “Faringhea, listen to me!”
“My lord,” said the half-caste, starting abruptly, as from a dream, “forgive me—but—”
“In the anguish occasioned by these cruel suspicions, it is not of your kandjiar that you must take counsel—but of your friend.”
“To this interview, which will prove the innocence or the treachery of your beloved, you will do well to go.”
“Oh, yes!” said the half-caste, in a hollow voice, and with a bitter smile: “I shall be there.”
“But you must not go alone.”
“What do you mean, my lord?” cried the half-caste. “Who will accompany me?”
“You, my lord?”
“Yes—perhaps, to save you from a crime—for I know how blind and unjust is the earliest outburst of rage.”
“But that transport gives us revenge!” cried the half-caste, with a cruel smile.
“Faringhea, this day is all my own. I shall not leave you,” said the prince, resolutely. “Either you shall not go to this interview, or I will accompany you.”
The half-caste appeared conquered by this generous perseverance. He fell at the feet of Djalma, pressed the prince’s hand respectfully to his forehead and to his lips, and said: “My lord, be generous to the end! forgive me!”
“For what should I forgive you?”
“Before I spoke to you, I had the audacity to think of asking for what you have just freely offered. Not knowing to what extent my fury might carry me, I had thought of asking you this favor, which you would not perhaps grant to an equal, but I did not dare to do it. I shrunk even from the avowal of the treachery I have cause to fear, and I came only to tell you of my misery—because to you alone in all the world I could tell it.”
It is impossible to describe the almost candid simplicity, with which the half-breed pronounced these words, and the soft tones, mingled with tears, which had succeeded his savage fury. Deeply affected, Djalma raised him from the ground, and said: “You were entitled to ask of me a mark of friendship. I am happy in having forestalled you. Courage! be of good cheer! I will accompany you to this interview, and if my hopes do not deceive me, you will find you have been deluded by false appearances.”
When the night was come, the half-breed and Djalma, wrapped in their cloaks, got into a hackney-coach. Faringhea ordered the coachman to drive to the house inhabited by Sainte-Colombe.
An evening at Sainte-Colombe’s.