Adrienne glanced at Rodin. The latter made an affirmative movement of the head, and answered: “Yes, yes, my dear young lady: it was I who wrote to the brave soldier, but without signing the letter, or giving any explanation. You shall know why.”
“Then, my dear girl, why did you come alone?” said Adrienne.
“Alas, madame! on arriving here, it was your kind reception that made me forget my fears.”
“What fears?” asked Rodin.
“Knowing that you lived here, madame, I supposed the letter was from you; I told M. Dagobert so, and he thought the same. When we arrived, his impatience was so great, that he asked at the door if the orphans were in this house, and he gave their description. They told him no. Then, in spite of my supplications, he insisted on going to the convent to inquire about them.”
“What imprudence!” cried Adrienne.
“After what took place the other night, when he broke in,” added Rodin, shrugging his shoulders.
“It was in vain to tell him,” returned Mother Bunch, “that the letter did not announce positively, that the orphans would be delivered up to him; but that, no doubt, he would gain some information about them. He refused to hear anything, but said to me: `If I cannot find them, I will rejoin you. But they were at the convent the day before yesterday, and now that all is discovered, they cannot refuse to give them up—”
“And with such a man there is no disputing!” said Rodin, with a smile.
“I hope they will not recognize him!” said Adrienne, remembering Baleinier’s threats.
“It is not likely,” replied Rodin; “they will only refuse him admittance. That will be, I hope, the worst misfortune that will happen. Besides, the magistrate will soon be here with the girls. I am no longer wanted: other cares require my attention. I must seek out Prince Djalma. Only tell me, my dear young lady, where I shall find you, to keep you informed of my discoveries, and to take measures with regard to the young prince, if my inquiries, as I hope, shall be attended with success.”
“You will find me in my new house, Rue d’Anjou, formerly Beaulieu House. But now I think of it,” said Adrienne, suddenly, after some moments of reflection, “it would not be prudent or proper, on many accounts, to lodge the Prince Djalma in the pavilion I occupied at Saint-Dizier House. I saw, some time ago, a charming little house, all furnished and ready; it only requires some embellishments, that could be completed in twenty four hours, to make it a delightful residence. Yes, that will be a thousand times preferable,” added Mdlle. de Cardoville, after a new interval of silence; “and I shall thus be able to preserve the strictest incognito.”
“What!” cried Rodin, whose projects would be much impeded by this new resolution of the young lady; “you do not wish him to know who you are?”
“I wish Prince Djalma to know absolutely nothing of the anonymous friend who comes to his aid; I desire that my name should not be pronounced before him, and that he should not even know of my existence—at least, for the present. Hereafter—in a month, perhaps—I will see; circumstances will guide me.”