“We do think of them, madame, I have come to ask you which are their windows.”
“One is on the ground floor, the last on the garden-side; the other is exactly over it, on the first story.”
“Then they are saved!” cried the smith.
“But let me see!” resumed Adrienne, hastily; “the first story is pretty high. You will find, near the chapel they are building, some long poles belonging to the scaffolding. They may be of use to you.”
“They will be as good as a ladder, to reach the upstairs window. But now to think of you madame.”
“Think only of the dear orphans. Time presses. Provided they are delivered to-night, it makes little difference to me to remain a day or two longer in this house.” “No, mademoiselle,” cried the smith, “it is of the first importance that you should leave this place to-night. Interests are concerned, of which you know nothing. I am now sure of it.”
“What do you mean?”
“I have not time to explain myself further; but I conjure you madame, to come. I can wrench out two of these bars; I will fetch a piece of iron.”
“It is not necessary. They are satisfied with locking the outer door of this building, which I inhabit alone. You can easily break open the lock.”
“And, in ten minutes, we shall be on the boulevard,” said the smith. “Make yourself ready, madame; take a shawl, a bonnet, for the night is cold. I will return instantly.”
“M. Agricola,” said Adrienne, with tears in her eyes, “I know what you risk for my sake. I shall prove to you, I hope, that I have as good a memory as you have. You and your adopted sister are noble and valiant creatures, and I am proud to be indebted to you. But do not return for me till the daughters of Marshal Simon are in safety.”
“Thanks to your directions, the thing will be done directly, madame. I fly to rejoin my father, and we will come together to fetch you.”
Following the excellent advice of Mdlle. de Cardoville, Agricola took one of the long, strong poles that rested against the wall of the chapel, and, bearing it on his robust shoulders, hastened to rejoin his father. Hardly had Agricola passed the fence, to direct his steps towards the chapel, obscured in shadow, than Mdlle. de Cardoville thought she perceived a human form issue from one of the clumps of trees in the convent-garden, cross the path hastily, and disappear behind a high hedge of box. Alarmed at the sight, Adrienne in vain called to Agricola in a low voice, to bid him beware. He could not hear her; he had already rejoined his father, who, devoured by impatience, went from window to window with ever-increasing anguish.
“We are saved,” whispered Agricola. “Those are the windows of the poor children—one on the ground floor, the other on the first story.”
“At last!” said Dagobert, with a burst of joy impossible to describe. He ran to examine the windows. “They are not grated!” he exclaimed.