Looking at Rodin, Father d’Aigrigny said to him: “Your reverence thinks with me that this note is not very satisfactory?”
Rodin held down his head. One saw by the expression of his countenance how much he suffered by not being able to speak. Twice he put his hand to his throat, and looked at Father d’Aigrigny with anguish.
“Oh!” cried Father d’Aigrigny, angrily, when he had perused another note, “for one lucky chance, to-day brings some very black ones.”
At these words turning hastily to Father d’Aigrigny, and extending his trembling hands, Rodin questioned him with look and gesture. The cardinal, sharing his uneasiness, exclaimed: “What do you learn by this note, my dear father?”
“We thought the residence of M. Hardy in our house completely unknown,” replied Father d’Aigrigny, “but we now fear that Agricola Baudoin has discovered the retreat of his old master, and that he has even communicated with him by letter, through a servant of the house. So,” added the reverend father, angrily, “during the three days that I have not been able to visit the pavilion, one of my servants must have been bought over. There is one of them, a man blind of one eye, whom I have always suspected—the wretch! But no: I will not yet believe this treachery. The consequences would be too deplorable; for I know how matters stand, and that such a correspondence might ruin everything. By awaking in M. Hardy memories with difficulty laid asleep, they might destroy in a single day all that has been done since he inhabits our house. Luckily, this note contains only doubts and fears; my other information will be more positive, and will not, I hope, confirm them.”
“My dear father,” said the cardinal, “do not despair. The Lord will not abandon the good cause!”
Father d’Aigrigny seemed very little consoled by this assurance. He remained still and thoughtful, whilst Rodin writhed his head in a paroxysm of mute rage, as he reflected on this new check.
“Let us turn to the last note,” said Father d’Aigrigny, after a moment of thoughtful silence. “I have so much confidence in the person who sends it, that I cannot doubt the correctness of the information it contains. May it contradict the others!”
In order not to break the chain of facts contained in this last note, which was to have so startling an effect on the actors in this scene, we shall leave it to the reader’s imagination to supply the exclamations of surprise, hate, rage and fear of Father d’Aigrigny, and the terrific pantomime of Rodin, during the perusal of this formidable document, the result of the observations of a faithful and secret agent of the reverend fathers. Comparing this note with the other information received, the results appeared more distressing to the reverend fathers. Thus Gabriel had long and frequent conferences with Adrienne, who before was unknown to him. Agricola Baudoin had opened a communication with Francis Hardy, and the officers of justice were on the track of the authors and instigators of the riot which had led to the burning of the factory of Baron Tripeaud’s rival. It seemed almost certain that Mdlle. de Cardoville had had an interview with Prince Djalma.