“Take this address,” repeated the half-caste, “and you may then assure yourself—”
“Really, sir,” cried Rodin, pushing back the card with his hand, “your impudence confounds me. I repeat that I wish to have nothing in common with you. For the last time, I tell you to leave the house. I know nothing about your Prince Djalma. You say you can injure me—do so—make no ceremonies—but, in heaven’s name, leave me to myself.”
So saying, Rodin rang the bell violently. Faringhea made a movement as if to stand upon the defensive; but only the old servant, with his quiet and placid mien, appeared at the door.
“Lapierre, light the gentleman out,” said Rodin, pointing to Faringhea.
Terrified at Rodin’s calmness, the half-caste hesitated to leave the room.
“Why do you wait, sir?” said Rodin, remarking his hesitation. “I wish to be alone.”
“So, sir,” said Faringhea, as he withdrew, slowly, “you refuse my offers? Take care! to-morrow it will be too late.”
“I have the honor to be your most humble servant, sir,” said Rodin, bowing courteously. The Strangler went out, and the door closed upon him.
Immediately, Father d’Aigrigny entered from the next room. His countenance was pale and agitated.
“What have you done?” exclaimed he addressing Rodin.
“I have heard all. I am unfortunately too sure that this wretch spoke the truth. The Indian is in his power, and he goes to rejoin him.”
“I think not,” said Rodin, humbly, as bowing, he reassumed his dull and submissive countenance.
“What will prevent this man from rejoining the prince?”
“Allow me. As soon as the rascal was shown in, I knew him; and so, before speaking a word to him, I wrote a few lines to Morok, who was waiting below with Goliath till your reverence should be at leisure. Afterwards, in the course of the conversation, when they brought me Morok’s answer, I added some fresh instructions, seeing the turn that affairs were taking.”
“And what was the use of all this, since you have let the man leave the house?”
“Your reverence will perhaps deign to observe that he did not leave it; till he had given me the direction of the hotel where the Indian now is, thanks to my innocent stratagem of appearing to despise him. But, if it had failed, Faringhea would still have fallen into the hands of Goliath and Morok, who are waiting for him in the street, a few steps from the door. Only we should have been rather embarrassed, as we should not have known where to find Prince Djalma.”
“More violence!” said Father d’Aigrigny, with repugnance.
“It is to be regretted, very much regretted,” replied Rodin; “but it was necessary to follow out the system already adopted.”
“Is that meant for a reproach?” said Father d’Aigrigny, who began to think that Rodin was something more than a mere writing-machine.