And he got up from the chair in which he had again seated himself, and stalked out of the room.
“He has at any rate proved to us,” said Bonchamps, “that I was wrong to nominate him, and that you were right not to accept the nomination.”
“I grieve that he should be vexed with me,” said Stofflet; “but I did not seek to put myself above him.”
“Time and experience will make him wise,” said de Lescure: “let us pity his folly and forgive it.”
The council was then broken up, and the different officers went each to perform his own duties. When Denot left the room, Henri immediately followed him.
“Adolphe,” said he, as he overtook him in the market-place, “Adolphe, indeed you are wrong, no one meant to show you any indignity.”
“And have you also followed me to tell me I am wrong—of course I am wrong—I am wrong because I will not submit, as you and Charles do, to ignorant boors like Stofflet and Cathelineau, because—”
“Like Cathelineau! why, Adolphe, you are mad,” said Henri, “why you yourself voted that Cathelineau should be our General.”
“Voted! Why, Henri, what a child you are! Do you call that voting when all was arranged beforehand? You are blind, I tell you. You will vote next, I suppose, that your great General’s valour shall de rewarded with your sister’s hand!”
“My sister’s hand! what is it you are speaking of?”
“Yes, Agatha’s hand! think you that when you make a General of such as him, that his ambition will rest there? if you are content to be lieutenant to a postillion, I presume you will feel yourself honoured by a nearer connexion with him.”
“Denot, you are raving mad! Cathelineau looking for my sister’s hand?”
“Yes, Agatha’s hand, the postillion looking for your sister’s hand; and, Sir, you will find that I am not mad. Before long, Cathelineau will look for Agatha’s hand: her heart he has already,” and without waiting for any further answer, he hurried away.
“He must be raving mad,” said Henri, “unlucky in love, and thwarted in ambition, he is unable to bear his griefs like a man. What a phantasy has jealousy created in his brain But Agatha was right; a man who could speak of her, even in his madness, as he has now spoken, was not worthy of her. Cathelineau! were he ten times lower than a postillion by birth, he would still be twenty times made noble by achievements and by character, and yet I would not wish—but nonsense! he thinks no more of wedding Agatha than I of Diana.”
RETURN TO DURBELLIERE
When Adolphe Denot left his friend Henri in the street of Saumur, and ran off from him, Henri was so completely astonished by his parting words, so utterly dumb-founded by what he said respecting Agatha, that he made no attempt to follow him, but returned after awhile to the house, in which he, Charles and Adolphe were lodging, and as he walked slowly through the streets, he continued saying to himself, “Poor fellow, he is mad! he is certainly raving mad!”