“To-morrow, when we take him to the Rue Saint-Francois, I will hear what he has to say. It will be time enough. Thus, at this hour,” said Father d’Aigrigny, with an air of triumphant satisfaction, “all the descendants of this family, whose presence might ruin our projects, are so placed that it is absolutely impossible for them to be at the Rue Saint-Francois to-morrow before noon, while Gabriel will be sure to be there. At last our end is gained.”
Two cautious knocks at the door interrupted Father d’Aigrigny. “Come in,” said he.
An old servant in black presented himself, and said: “There is a man downstairs who wishes to speak instantly to M. Rodin on very urgent business.”
“His name?” asked Father d’Aigrigny.
“He would not tell his name; but he says that he comes from M. Van Dael, a merchant in Java.”
Father d’Aigrigny and Rodin exchanged a glance of surprise, almost of alarm.
“See what this man is,” said D’Aigrigny to Rodin, unable to conceal his uneasiness, “and then come and give me an account of it.” Then, addressing the servant, he added: “Show him in”—and exchanging another expressive sign with Rodin, Father d’Aigrigny disappeared by a side-door.
A minute after, Faringhea, the ex-chief of the Stranglers, appeared before Rodin, who instantly remembered having seen him at Cardoville Castle.
The socius started, but he did not wish to appear to recollect his visitor. Still bending over his desk, he seemed not to seen Faringhea, but wrote hastily some words on a sheet of paper that lay before him.
“Sir,” said the servant, astonished at the silence of Rodin, “here is the person.”
Rodin folded the note that he had so precipitately written, and said to the servant: “Let this be taken to its address. Wait for an answer.”
The servant bowed, and went out. Then Rodin, without rising, fixed his little reptile-eyes on Faringhea, and said to him courteously: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”
The two brothers of the good work.
Faringhea, as we have before stated, though born in India, had travelled a good deal, and frequented the European factories in different parts of Asia. Speaking well both English and French, and full of intelligence and sagacity, he was perfectly civilized.
Instead of answering Rodin’s question, he turned upon him a fixed and searching look. The socius, provoked by this silence, and forseeing vaguely that Faringhea’s arrival had some connection—direct or indirect—with Djalma, repeated, though still with the greatest coolness: “To whom, sir, have I the honor of speaking?”
“Do you not recognize me,” said Faringhea, advancing two steps nearer to Rodin’s chair.
“I do not think I have ever had the honor of seeing you,” answered the other, coldly.