“Yes, it is strict and severe,” answered Gabriel, with a shudder, and a stifled sigh.
“Come, shake hands—and let’s say farewell for the present. After all, twenty-four hours will soon pass away.”
“Adieu! adieu!” replied the missionary, much moved, whilst he returned the friendly pressure of the veteran’s hand.
“Adieu, Gabriel!” added the orphans, sighing also, and with tears in their eyes.
“Adieu, my sisters!” said Gabriel—and he left the room with Rodin, who had not lost a word or an incident of this scene.
Two hours after, Dagobert and the orphans had quitted the Castle for Paris, not knowing that Djalma was left at Cardoville, being still too much injured to proceed on his journey. The half-caste, Faringhea, remained with the young prince, not wishing, he said, to desert a fellow countryman.
We now conduct the reader to the Rue Brise-Miche, the residence of Dagobert’s wife.
The following scenes occur in Paris, on the morrow of the day when the shipwrecked travellers were received in Cardoville House.
Nothing can be more gloomy than the aspect of the Rue Brise-Miche, one end of which leads into the Rue Saint-Merry, and the other into the little square of the Cloister, near the church. At this end, the street, or rather alley—for it is not more than eight feet wide—is shut in between immense black, muddy dilapidated walls, the excessive height of which excludes both air and light; hardly, during the longest days of the year, is the sun able to throw into it a few straggling beams; whilst, during the cold damps of winter, a chilling fog, which seems to penetrate everything, hangs constantly above the miry pavement of this species of oblong well.
It was about eight o’clock in the evening; by the faint, reddish light of the street lamp, hardly visible through the haze, two men, stopping at the angle of one of those enormous walls, exchanged a few words together.
“So,” said one, “you understand all about it. You are to watch in the street, till you see them enter No. 5.”
“All right!” answered the other.
“And when you see ’em enter so as to make quite sure of the game, go up to Frances Baudoin’s room—”
“Under the cloak of asking where the little humpbacked workwoman lives—the sister of that gay girl, the Queen of the Bacchanals.”
“Yes—and you must try and find out her address also—from her humpbacked sister, if possible—for it is very important. Women of her feather change their nests like birds, and we have lost track of her.”
“Make yourself easy; I will do my best with Hump, to learn where her sister hangs out.”
“And, to give you steam, I’ll wait for you at the tavern opposite the Cloister, and we’ll have a go of hot wine on your return.”