D’Aigrigny followed the speaker into the next room.
The Princess de Saint-Dizier, accompanied by D’Aigrigny, and followed by the servants, stopped short in the next room to that in which had remained Adrienne, Tripeaud and the doctor.
“Where is the commissary?” asked the princess of the servant, who had just before announced to her the arrival of that magistrate.”
“In the blue saloon, madame.”
“My compliments, and beg him to wait for me a few moments.”
The man bowed and withdrew. As soon as he was gone Madame de Saint Dizier approached hastily M. d’Aigrigny, whose countenance, usually firm and haughty, was now pale and agitated.
“You see,” cried the princess in a hurried voice, “Adrienne knows all. What shall we do?—what?”
“I cannot tell,” said the abbe, with a fixed and absent look. “This disclosure is a terrible blow to us.”
“Is all, then, lost?”
“There is only one means of safety,” said M. d’Aigrigny;—“the doctor.”
“But how?” cried the princess. “So, sudden? this very day?”
“Two hours hence, it will be too late; ere then, this infernal girl will have seen Marshal Simon’s daughters.”
“But—Frederick!—it is impossible! M. Baleinier will never consent. I ought to have been prepared before hand as we intended, after to-day’s examination.”
“No matter,” replied the abbe, quickly; “the doctor must try at any hazard.”
“But under what pretext?”
“I will try and find one.”
“Suppose you were to find a pretext, Frederick, and we could act immediately—nothing would be ready down there.”
“Be satisfied: they are always ready there, by habitual foresight.”
“How instruct the doctor on the instant?” resumed the princess.
“To send for him would be to rouse the suspicions of your niece,” said M. d’Aigrigny, thoughtfully; “and we must avoid that before everything.”
“Of course,” answered the princess; “her confidence in the doctor is one of our greatest resources.”
“There is a way,” said the abbe quickly; “I will write a few words in haste to Baleinier: one of your people can take the note to him, as if it came from without—from a patient dangerously ill.”
“An excellent idea!” cried the princess. “You are right. Here—upon this table—there is everything necessary for writing. Quick! quick—But will the doctor succeed?”
“In truth, I scarcely dare to hope it,” said the marquis, sitting down at the table with repressed rage. “Thanks to this examination, going beyond our hopes, which our man, hidden behind the curtain, has faithfully taken down in shorthand—thanks to the violent scenes, which would necessarily have occurred to-morrow and the day after—the doctor, by fencing himself round with all sorts of