“Nothing, since you are so sure of her.”
“Sure—more than of my eternal life! But I wish to know what you mean.”
“But you won’t be told just a suspicion that came to me; something that was told to me the other day; a conjecture so vague that it would be useless to dwell upon it.”
“I am not good at guessing enigmas,” said Octave, in a dry tone.
“We will speak of this again to-morrow.”
“As you like,” replied the lover, with somewhat affected indifference. “If you wish to play the part of Iago with me, I warn you I am not disposed to jealousy.”
“To-morrow, I tell you, I shall enlighten myself as to this affair; whatever the result of my inquiries may be, I will tell you the truth. After all, it was nothing but woman’s gossip.”
“Very well, take your time. But I have another favor to ask of you. Tomorrow I shall try to persuade the ladies to take a walk in the park. Mademoiselle de Corandeuil will probably not go; you must do me the favor of sticking to Bergenheim and the little sister, and gradually to walk on ahead of us, in such a way as to give me an opportunity of speaking with this cruel creature alone for a few moments; for she has given me to understand that I shall not succeed in speaking with her alone under any circumstances, and it is absolutely necessary that I should do so.”
“There will be one difficulty in the way, though—they expect about twenty persons at dinner, and all her time will probably be taken up with her duties as hostess.”
“That is true,” exclaimed Gerfaut, jumping up so suddenly that he upset his chair.
“You still forget that Mademoiselle de Corandeuil’s room is beneath us.”
“The devil is playing her hand!” exclaimed the lover, as he paced the room in long strides. “I wish that during the night he would wring the neck of all these visitors. Now; then, she has her innings. Today and tomorrow this little despot’s battle of Ligny will be fought and won; but the day after to-morrow, look out for her Waterloo!”
“Good-night, my Lord Wellington,” said Marillac, as he arose and took up his candlestick.
“Good-night, Iago! Ah! you think you have annoyed me with your mysterious words and melodramatic reticence?”
“To-morrow! to-morrow!” replied the artist as he left the room.