And now he stamped angrily with his foot, approached the chimney-piece, and pulled the bell so violently that the bell-rope remained in his hand. A servant hastened to attend to this precipitate summons. “Did you not tell Dagobert that I wished to speak to him?” cried the marshal.
“I executed your grace’s orders, but M. Dagobert was accompanying his son to the door, and—”
“Very well!” interrupted Marshal Simon, with an abrupt and imperious gesture.
The servant went out, and his master continued to walk up and down with impatient steps, crumpling, in his rage, a letter that he held in his left hand. This letter had been innocently delivered by Spoil-sport, who, seeing him come in, had run joyously to meet him. At length the door opened, and Dagobert appeared. “I have been waiting for you a long time, sirrah!” cried the marshal, in an irritated tone.
Dagobert, more pained than surprised at this burst of anger, which he rightly attributed to the constant state of excitement in which the marshal had now been for some time past, answered mildly: “I beg your pardon, general, but I was letting out my son—”
“Read that, sir!” said the marshal abruptly, giving him the letter.
While Dagobert was reading it, the marshal resumed, with growing anger, as he kicked over a chair that stood in his way: “Thus, even in my own house, there are wretches bribed to harass me with incredible perseverance. Well! have you read it, sir?”
“It is a fresh insult to add to the others,” said Dagobert, coolly, as he threw the letter into the fire.
“The letter is infamous—but it speaks the truth,” replied the marshal. Dagobert looked at him in amazement.
“And can you tell who brought me this infamous letter” continued the marshal. “One would think the devil had a hand in it—for it was your dog!”
“Spoil-sport?” said Dagobert, in the utmost surprise.
“Yes,” answered the marshal, bitterly; “it is no doubt a joke of your invention.”
“I have no heart for joking, general,” answered Dagobert, more and more saddened by the irritable state of the marshal; “I cannot explain how it happened. Spoil-sport is a good carrier, and no doubt found the letter in the house—”
“And who can have left it there? Am I surrounded by traitors? Do you keep no watch? You, in whom I have every confidence?”
“Listen to me, general—”
But the marshal proceeded, without waiting to hear him. “What! I have made war for five-and-twenty years, I have battled with armies, I have struggled victoriously through the evil times of exile and proscription, I have withstood blows from maces of iron—and now I am to be killed with pins! Pursued into my own house, harassed with impunity, worn out, tortured every minute, to gratify some unknown, miserable hate!—When I say unknown, I am wrong—it is d’Aigrigny, the renegade, who is at the bottom of all this, I am sure. I have in the world but one enemy, and he is the man. I must finish with him, for I am weary of this—it is too much.”