“It is said, my lord, that they use dead bodies in preparing their magic charms.”
“Those unbelievers are capable of anything—even of holding communication with the Enemy of mankind. However, we will look after this: the discovery may be of importance.”
At this instant a clock struck twelve in the distance.
“Yes, my lord.”
“I must be gone. Good-bye—but for the last time swear to me that, should matters so turn out, as soon as you receive the other half of the ivory crucifix I have just given you, you will keep your promise.”
“I have sworn it by Bowanee, my lord.”
“Don’t forget that, to make all sure, the person who will deliver to you the other half of the crucifix is to say—come, what is he to say?”
“He is to say, my lord: ’There is many a slip ’twixt the cup and the lip.’”
“Very well. Adieu! secrecy and fidelity!”
“Secrecy and fidelity, my lord,” answered the man in the cloak.
Some seconds after the hackney-coach started, carrying with it Cardinal Malipieri, one of the speakers in the above dialogue. The other, whom the reader has no doubt recognized as Faringhea, returned to the little garden-door of the house occupied by Djalma. At the moment he was putting the key into the lock, the door opened, to his great astonishment, and a man came forth. Faringhea rushed upon the unknown, seized him violently by the collar, and exclaimed: “Who are you? whence came you?”
The stranger evidently found the tone of this question anything but satisfactory; for, instead of answering, he struggled to disengage himself from Faringhea’s hold, and cried out, in a loud voice: “Help! Peter!”
Instantly the carriage, which had been standing a few yards off, dashed up at full speed, and Peter, the tall footman, seizing the half-breed by the shoulders, flung him back several paces, and thus made a seasonable diversion in favor of the unknown.
“Now, sir,” said the latter to Faringhea, shaking himself, and still protected by the gigantic footman, “I am in a state to answer your questions, though you certainly have a very rough way of receiving an old acquaintance. I am Dupont, ex-bailiff of the estate of Cardoville, and it was I who helped to fish you out of the water, when the ship was wrecked in which you had embarked.”
By the light of the carriage-lamps, indeed, the half-caste recognized the good, honest face of Dupont, formerly bailiff, and now house-steward, to Mdlle. de Cardoville. It must not be forgotten that Dupont had been the first to write to Mdlle. de Cardoville, to ask her to interest herself for Djalma, who was then detained at Cardoville Castle by the injuries he had received during the shipwreck.
“But, sir, what is your business here? Why do you introduce yourself clandestinely into this house?” said Faringhea, in an abrupt and suspicious tone.