Once he addressed Juliette somewhat abruptly: “Pardon me, mademoiselle, but for your own sake we must guard you a prisoner here awhile. No one would harm you under this roof, but it would not be safe for you to cross the neighbouring streets to-night.”
“But I must go, monsieur. Indeed, indeed I must!” she said earnestly. “I am deeply grateful to you, but I could not leave Petronelle.”
“Who is Petronelle?”
“My dear old nurse, monsieur. She has never left me. Think how anxious and miserable she must be, at my prolonged absence.”
“Where does she live?”
“At No. 15 Rue Taitbout, but...”
“Will you allow me to take her a message?—telling her that you are safe and under my roof, where it is obviously more prudent that you should remain at present.”
“If you think it best, monsieur,” she replied.
Inwardly she was trembling with excitement. God had not only brought her to this house, but willed that she should stay in it.
“In whose name shall I take the message, mademoiselle?” he asked.
“My name is Juliette Marny.”
She watched him keenly as she said it, but there was not the slightest sign in his expressive face, to show that he had recognised the name.
Ten years is a long time, and every one had lived through so much during those years! A wave of intense wrath swept through Juliette’s soul, as she realised that he had forgotten. The name meant nothing to him! It did not recall to him the fact that his hand was stained with blood. During ten years she had suffered, she had fought with herself, fought for him as it were, against the Fate which she was destined to mete out to him, whilst he had forgotten, or at least had ceased to think.
He bowed to her and went out of the room.
The wave of wrath subsided, and she was left alone
Deroulede: presently Anne Mie came in.
The three women chatted together, waiting for the return of the master of the house. Juliette felt well and, in spite of herself, almost happy. She had lived so long in the miserable, little attic alone with Petronelle that she enjoyed the well-being of this refined home. It was not so grand or gorgeous of course as her father’s princely palace opposite the Louvre, a wreck now, since it was annexed by the Committee of National Defence, for the housing of soldiery. But the Derouledes’ home was essentially a refined one. The delicate china on the tall chimney-piece, the few bits of Buhl and Vernis Martin about the room, the vision through the open doorway of the supper-table spread with a fine white cloth, and sparkling with silver, all spoke of fastidious tastes, of habits of luxury and elegance, which the spirit of Equality and Anarchy had not succeeded in eradicating.
When Deroulede came back, he brought an atmosphere of breezy cheerfulness with him.
The street was quiet now, and when walking past the hospital—his own gift to the Nation—he had been loudly cheered. One or two ironical voices had asked him what he had done with the aristo and her lace furbelows, but it remained at that and Mademoiselle Marny need have no fear.