Leaving Djalma and Faringhea in the coach, on their way, a few words are indispensable before continuing this scene. Ninny Moulin, ignorant of the real object of the step he took at the instigation of Rodin, had, on the evening before, according to orders received from the latter, offered a considerable sum to Sainte-Colombe, to obtain from that creature (still singularly rapacious) the use of her apartments for whole day. Sainte-Colombe, having accepted this proposition, too advantageous to be refused, had set out that morning with her servants, to whom she wished, she said, in return for their good services, to give a day’s pleasure in the country. Master of the house, Rodin, in a black wig, blue spectacles, and a cloak, and with his mouth and chin buried in a worsted comforter—in a word, perfectly disguised—had gone that morning to take a look at the apartments, and to give his instructions to the half-caste. The latter, in two hours from the departure of the Jesuit, had, thanks to his address and intelligence, completed the most important preparation and returned in haste to Djalma, to play with detestable hypocrisy the scene at which we have just been present.
During the ride from the Rue de Clichy to the Rue de Richelieu, Faringhea appeared plunged in a mournful reverie. Suddenly, he said to Djalma to a quick tone: “My lord, if I am betrayed, I must have vengeance.”
“Contempt is a terrible revenge,” answered Djalma.
“No, no,” replied the half-caste, with an accent of repressed rage. “It is not enough. The nearer the moment approaches, the more I feel I must have blood.”
“Listen to me—”
“My lord, have pity on me! I was a coward to draw back from my revenge. Let me leave you, my lord! I will go alone to this interview.”
So saying, Faringhea made a movement, as if he would spring from the carriage.
Djalma held him by the arm, and said: “Remain! I wilt not leave you. If you are betrayed, you shall not shed blood. Contempt will avenge and friendship will console you.”
“No, no, my lord; I am resolved. When I have killed—then I will kill myself,” cried the half-caste, with savage excitement. “This kandjiar for the false ones!” added he, laying his hand on his dagger. “The poison in the hilt for me.”
“If I resist you, my lord, forgive me! My destiny must be accomplished.”
Time pressed, and Djalma, despairing to calm the other’s ferocious rage, resolved to have recourse to a stratagem.
After some minutes’ silence, he said to Faringhea: “I will not leave you. I will do all I can to save you from a crime. If I do not succeed, the blood you shed be on your own head. This hand shall never again be locked in yours.”