“Let me remind you, M. Baudoin, that you have an appointment for to morrow with M. Hardy.”
“I have not forgotten it, lady, any more than the generous offers I am to convey to him.”
“That is nothing. He belongs to my family. Tell him (what indeed I shall write to him this evening), that the funds necessary to reopen his factory are at his disposal; I do not say so for his sake only, but for that of a hundred families reduced to want. Beg him to quit immediately the fatal abode to which they have taken him: for a thousand reasons he should be on his guard against all that surround him.”
“Be satisfied, lady. The letter he wrote to me in reply to the one I got secretly delivered to him, was short, affectionate, sad—but he grants me the interview I had asked for, and I am sure I shall be able to persuade him to leave that melancholy dwelling, and perhaps to depart with me, he has always had so much confidence in my attachment.”
“Well, M. Baudoin, courage!” said Adrienne, as she threw her cloak over the workgirl’s shoulders, and wrapped her round with care. “Let us be gone, for it is late. As soon as we get home, I will give you a letter for M. Hardy, and to-morrow you will come and tell me the result of your visit. No, not to-morrow,” she added, blushing slightly. “Write to me to-morrow, and the day after, about twelve, come to me.”
Some minutes later, the young sempstress, supported by Agricola and Adrienne, had descended the stairs of that gloomy house, and, being placed in the carriage by the side of Mdlle. de Cardoville, she earnestly entreated to be allowed to see Cephyse; it was in vain that Agricola assured her it was impossible, and that she should see her the next day. Thanks to the information derived from Rose-Pompon, Mdlle. de Cardoville was reasonably suspicious of all those who surrounded Djalma, and she therefore took measures, that, very evening, to have a letter delivered to the prince by what she considered a sure hand.
The two carriages.
It is the evening of the day on which Mdlle. de Cardoville prevented the sewing-girl’s suicide. It strikes eleven; the night is dark; the wind blows with violence, and drives along great black clouds, which completely hide the pale lustre of the moon. A hackney-coach, drawn by two broken-winded horses, ascends slowly and with difficulty the slope of the Rue Blanche, which is pretty steep near the barrier, in the part where is situated the house occupied by Djalma.
The coach stops. The coachman, cursing the length of an interminable drive “within the circuit,” leading at last to this difficult ascent, turns round on his box, leans over towards the front window of the vehicle, and says in a gruff tone to the person he is driving: “Come! are we almost there? From the Rue de Vaugirard to the Barriere Blanche, is a pretty good stretch, I think, without reckoning that the night is so dark, that one can hardly see two steps before one—and the street-lamps not lighted because of the moon, which doesn’t shine, after all!”