He was going to leave her, when a thought struck him.
“I ought to tell you, moreover,” he added, “that I leave a faithful friend behind me; and, if the count or his daughter should die very suddenly, the coroner will be informed. And now, madam, farewell—or, rather, till we meet again!”
At eight o’clock on the evening of the next day, after having left in M. de Brevan’s hands a long letter for Henrietta, and after having given him his last instructions, Daniel took his seat in the train which was to take him to his new post.
It was a week after Daniel’s departure, a Wednesday, and about half-past eleven o’clock.
Some thirty carriages, the most elegant, by all means, that Paris could boast of, were standing alongside of the Church of St. Clothilda. In the pretty little square before the building, some hundred and fifty or two hundred idlers were waiting with open mouths. The passers-by, noticing the crowd, went up and asked,—
“What is going on?”
“A wedding,” was the answer.
“And a grand wedding, apparently.”
“Why, the grandest thing you ever saw. It is a nobleman, and an immensely rich one, who is going to be married,—Count Ville-Handry. He marries an American lady. They have been in the church now for some time, and they will soon come out again.”
Under the porch a dozen men, in the orthodox black costume, with yellow kid gloves, and white cravats showing under their overcoats, evidently men belonging to the wedding-party, were chatting merrily while they were waiting for the end of the ceremony. If they were amused, they hardly showed it; for some made an effort to hide their yawning, while others kept up a broken conversation, when a small coupe drove up, and stopped at the gate.
“Gentlemen,” said a young man, “I announce M. de Brevan.”
It was he really.
He stepped leisurely out of his carriage, and came up in his usual phlegmatic manner. He knew the majority, perhaps, of the young men in the crowd; and so he commenced at once shaking hands all around, and then said in an easy tone of voice,—
“Who has seen the bride?”
“I!” replied an old beau, whose perpetual smile displayed all the thirty-two teeth he owed to the dentist.
“Well, what do you think of her?”
“She is always sublime in her beauty, my dear. When she walked up the aisle to kneel down at the altar, a murmur of admiration followed her all the way. Upon my word of honor, I thought they would applaud.”
This was too much enthusiasm. M. de Brevan cut it short, asking,—
“And Count Ville-Handry?”
“Upon my word,” replied the old beau ironically, “the good count can boast of a valet who knows almost as much as Rachel, the famous English enameller. At a little distance you would have sworn that he was sixteen years old, and that he was going, not to be married, but to be confirmed.”