Not a doubt, therefore, arose in Daniel’s mind. On the contrary, he thanked God for having sent him such an ally, such a friend, who had lived long enough amid all these intrigues of Parisian high life to know all its secret springs, and to guide him safely. He took Maxime’s hand in his own, and said with deep feeling,—
“Now, my friend, we are bound to each other for life.”
Brevan seemed deeply touched; he raised his hand as if to wipe a tear from his eyes. But he was not a man to give way to tender feelings. He said,—
“But how about your friend? How can we prevent his marrying Miss Sarah? Does any way occur to you? No? Ah! you see, it will be hard work.”
He seemed to meditate deeply for a few moments; then uttering his words slowly and emphatically, as if to lend them their full weight, and impress them forcibly on Daniel’s mind, he resumed,—
“We must attack Miss Brandon herself, if we want to master the situation. If we could once know who she really is, all would be safe. Fortunately there is no difficulty in Paris in finding spies, if you have money enough.”
As the clock on the mantlepiece struck half-past ten, he started and stopped. He jumped up as if suddenly inspired by a bright idea, and said hurriedly,—
“But now I think of it, Daniel, you do not know Miss Brandon; you have never even seen her!”
“Well, that’s a pity. We must know our enemies; how else can we even smile at them? I want you to see Miss Sarah.”
“But who will point her out to me? where? when?”
“I will do it to-night, at the opera. I bet she will be there!”
Daniel was in evening costume, having called upon Henrietta, and then he was all ready.
“Very well,” he said, “I am willing.”
Without losing a moment, they went out, and reached the theatre just as the curtain rose on the fourth act of Don Giovanni. They were, fortunately, able to secure two orchestra-chairs. The stage was gorgeous; but what did they care for the singer on the boards, or the divine music of Mozart? Brevan took his opera-glasses out, and rapidly surveying the house, he had soon found what he was looking for. He touched Daniel with his elbow, and, handing him the glasses, whispered in his ear,—
“Look there, in the third box from the stage; look, there she is!”
Daniel looked up. In the box which Maxime had pointed out to him he saw a girl of such rare and dazzling beauty, that he could hardly retain a cry of admiration. She was leaning forward, resting on the velvet cushion of her box, in order to hear better.
Her hair, perfectly overwhelming in its richness, was so carelessly arranged, that no one could doubt it was all her own; it was almost golden, but with such a bright sheen, that at every motion sparks seemed to start from its dark masses. Her large, soft eyes were overshadowed by long lashes; and as she now opened them wide, and now half closed them again, they changed from the darkest to the lightest blue.