“I wish I could—Dorothy, you don’t believe that I have the power to open this door and am blackguard enough to keep you here? My God, what do you think I am?” he cried, drawing away from her.
“Open this door!” she commanded, resolutely. He looked long and earnestly into her unflinching eyes, and his heart chilled as if ice had clogged the blood.
“I cannot open it,” he said at last. With not another word he sat down again at her feet, and, for what seemed like an age, neither spoke. The lantern sputtered warningly, but they did not know the light of its life was ebbing away. They breathed and thought, and that was all. At length the chill air began to tell, and he plainly heard the chatter of her teeth, the rustling of her dress as her body shivered. He arose, stiff and cold, drew off his coat and threw it about her shoulders. She resisted at first, but he was master. Later his waistcoat was wrapped about her throat and the warm lantern was placed at her feet, but she never gave him one look of gratitude.
At intervals he pounded on the door until finally there came the joyous, rasping sound of a key in the lock, and then excited exclamations filled the ears of the two prisoners.
“The king of evil-doers”
“Turk has been in Brussels,” said Quentin to her on the day following her underground adventure. She was walking in the courtyard, and her brain was busy with a new interest. Again had the lonely priest passed along the road far below, and she had made him understand that he was wanted at the castle gates. When he turned off the road and began slowly to climb the steep, she was almost suffocated with nervous excitement. Her experience of the day before had left her unstrung and on the verge of collapse, and she was beginning to enjoy a strange resignation.
She was beginning to feel that there were terrors worse than those of the kindly prison, and that escape might be tenfold more unpleasant than confinement. Then she saw the priest, and her half-hearted attempt to attract his attention to her plight, resulted so differently from what she had expected that her nerves were again leaping with the old desire to outwit her captors. He was coming to the castle, but how was she to acquaint him with the true state of affairs? She would not be permitted to see him, much less to talk with him; of that she was sure. Not knowing what else to do, she went into the courtyard and loitered near the big gates, trying to appear at ease. She prayed for but a few moments’ time in which to cry out to him that she was a prisoner and the woman for whom 100,000 francs were offered in Brussels.
But now comes Quentin upon the scene. His voice was hoarse, and it was plain that he had taken a heavy cold in the damp cellar. She deliberately turned her back upon him, not so much in disdain as to hide the telltale confusion in her face. All hope of conversing with the priest was lost if Quentin remained near by.