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About The American. (Omaha, Nebraska) 1891-1899 | View Entire Issue (July 15, 1898)
was no longer clad in her poor, old clothes, hut
was dressed in Mack, with as much simplicity as
taste. The sad color seemed to indicate her re
nunciation of all human vanity, the eternal
mourning of her heart, and the austere duties
impou'd upon her hy her devotion to misfortune.
Wrl her black gown, she wore a large falling
co tr, white and neut as her little gauze cap, with
its grey ribbons, which, revealing her bnds of
fine brown hair, set ofr to advantage her pale
and melancholy countenance, with its soft blue
eyes. Her long, delicate hands, preserved from
the cold by gloves, were no longer, as formerly,
of a violet hue, but of an almost transparent
Her agitated features expressed a lively un
easiness. Extremely surprised, Mdlle. de Cardo-
ville exclaimed: "What do you say?" "M.
Rodin betrays you, madame."
"M.Rodin? Impossible!" "Oh, madame!
my presentiments did not deceive me."
"Your presentiments?" "The first time I
saw M. Rodin, 1 was frightened in spite of my
self. My heart sank within me, and I trembled
for you, madame."
"For me?" said Adrienne. "Why did you not
tremble for yourself, my poor friend?"
"I do not know, madame; but such was my
first impression. And this fear was so invinci
ble, that, notwithstanding the kindness that M
Rodin showed my sister, he frightened me, none
" That is strange. I can understand as well as
any one the almost irresistible influence of sym
""'pathies or aversions; but, in this instance
However," resumed Adrienne, after a moment's
reflection, "no matter for that; how have these
suspicions been changed to certainty? "
" Yesterday, I went to take to my sister Cephyse,
.the assistance that M. Rodin had given me, in
the name of a charitable person. I did not find
Cephyse at the friend's who had taken care of
her; I therefore begged the portress to inform
my sister that I would call again this morning
That is what I did; but you must excuse me,
madame, some necessary details."
" Speak, speak, my dear." " The young girl
who had received my sister," said Mother Bunch,
with embarrassment, casting down her eyes and
blushing, " does not lead a very regular life. A
person, with whom she has gone on several par
ties of pleasure, one M. Dumoulin, had informed
her of the real name of M. Rodin, who has a
kind of lodging in that house, and there goes by
the name of Charlemagne."
" That is just what he told as at Dr. Baleinier's;
and, the day before yesterday, when I again
alluded to the circumstance,, he explained to me
the necessity in which he was, for certain reasons,
to h,ave a humble retreat in -that remote quarter
and I could not but approve of his motives."
" Well, then! yesterday, M. Rodin received a
visit from the Abbe d'Aigngny." "The Abbe
d'Aigrigny ! " exclaimed Mdlle. de Cardoville.
"Yes, madame; he remained for two hours
shut up with M. Rodin."
"My child, you must have been deceived."
" I was told, madame, that the Abbe d'Aigrig
ny had called in the morning to see M. Rodin;
not finding him at home, he had left with the
portress his name written on a slip of paper, with
the words, 'I shall return in two hours.' The
girl of who I spoke, madame, had seen this slip
of paper. As all that concerns M. Rodin appears
mysterious enough, she had the curiosity to wait
for M. d'Aigrigny in the porter's lodge, and,
about two hours afterwards, he indeed returned,
and saw M. Rodin."
"No, no," said Adrienne, shuddering; "it is
impossible. There must be some mistake."
"I think not, madame; for, knowing how seri
ous such a discovery would be, I begged the
young girl to describe to me the. appearance of
M. d Aigngny."
"Well?" "The Abbe d'Aigrigny, she told
me, is about forty years of age. He is tall and
upright, dresses plainly, but with care; has grey
eyes, very large and piercing, thick eye-brows,
chestnut-colored hair, a face closely shaved, and
a very decided aspect."
"It is true," said Adrienne, hardly able to be
lieve what she heard. "The description is
" Wishing to have all possible details," re
sumed Mother Bunch, " I asked the portress if
M. Rodin and the Abbe d'Aigrigny appeared to be
at variance when they quitted the house? She
replied no, but that the abbe said to M. Rodin, as
they parted at the door: ' I will write to you to
morrow, as agreed.'"
"Is it a dream? Good heaven!" said Adrienne,
drawing her hands across her forehead in a sort
of stupor. " I cannot doubt your word, my poor
friend; and yet it is M. Rodin who himself sent
you to that house, to give assistance to your sis
ter; would he have willfuly laid open to you his
secret interviews with the Abbe d'Aigrigny? It
would have been bad policy in a traitor."
"That is true, and the same reflection occurred
to me. And yet the meeting of these two men
appeared so dangerous to you, madame, that I re
turned home full of terror."
Characters of extreme honesty are very hard to
convince of the treachery of others; the more in
famous the deception, the more they are inclined
to doubt it. Adrienne was one of the e charac
ters, rectitude being a prime quality of her mind.
Though deeply impressed by the communication,
she remarked: " Come, my dear, do not let us
frighten ourselves to soon, or be over-hasty in
believing evil. Let us try to enlighten ourselves
by reasoning, and first of all rememl er facts.
M. Rodin opened for me the doors of Dr. Balein
ier's asylum; in my presence, he brought his
charge against the Abbe d'Aigrigny; he forced
the superior of the convent to restore Marshal
Simon's daughters, he succeeded in discovering
the retreat of Print e Djalm?. he faithfully exe
cuted my intentions with regard to my young
cousin; only yesterday, he gave me the most use
ful advice. All this is true is it not?"
"Now suppose that M. Rodin, putting things
in their worst light, had some after-thought
that he hopes to be liberally rewarded, for in
stance; hitherto, at least, he has shown complete
"That also is true, madame," said poor Mother
Bunch, obliged, like Adrienne, to admit the evi
dence of fixed facts.
" Now let us look to the possibility of treach
ery. Unite with the Abbe d'Aigrigny to betray
me! Betray me? how? and for what purpose?
What have I to fear? Is it not the Abbe d'Aig
rigny, on the contrary, is it not Madame de
Saint-Dizier, who have to render an account for
the injuries they have done me?"
" But, then, madame, how do you explain the
meeting of these two men, who have so many
motives for mutual aversion? May there not be
some dark project still behind? Besides, mad
ame, I am not the only one to think so."
"How is that?" "This morning, on my
return, I was so much agitated, that Mdlle. Flor
ine asked me the cause of my trouble. I know,
madame, how much she is devoted to you."
"Nobody could be more so; only recently, you
yourself informed me of the signal service she
rendered, during my confinement at Dr. Balein
"Well, madame, this morning, on my return,
thinking it necessary to have you informed as
soon 83 possible, I told all to Mdlle Florine. Like
me even more, perhaps she was terrified at
the meeting of Rodin and M. d'Aigrigny. After
a moment's reflection, she said to me: 'It is, I
think, useless to disturb my mistress at present;
it can be of no importance whether she is in
formed of this treachery two or three hours
sooner or later; during that time I may be able
to discover something more. I have an idea,
which I think a good one. Make my excuses to
my mistress; I shall soon be back.' Then Florine
sent for a hackney-coach, and went out."
rlonne is an excellent girl," said Mdlle. de
Cardoville, with a smile, for further reflection
had quite reassured her; "but, on this occasion,
I think that her zeal and good heart have de
ceived her, as they have you, my poor friend.
Do you know, that we are two madcaps, you and
I, not to have thought of one thing, which would
have put us quite at our ease ? "
"How so, madame?" "The Abbe d'Aigrig
ny fears M. Rodin; he may have sought him out,
to entreat his forbearance. Do you not find this
explanation both satisfactory and reasonable? "
"Perhaps so, madame?" said Mother Bunch,
after a moment's reflection; "yes, it is probable."
But after another silence, and as if yielding to a
conviction superior to every possible argument,
she exclaimed: "And yet, no; believe me, mad
ame, you are deceived. I feel it. All appear
ances may be against what I affirm; yet, believe
me, these presentiments are too strong not to be
true. And have you not guessed the most secret
instincts of my heart? why should I not be able
to guess the dangers with which you are men
aced ? "
" What do you say? what have I guessed ? " re
plied Mdlle. de Cardoville, involuntarily im
pressed by the other's tone of conviction and
" What have you guessed?" resumed the lattei.
"All the troublesome susceptibility of an unfor
tunate creature, to whom destiny has decreed a
life apart. If I have hitherto been silent, it is
not from ignorance of what I owe you. Who
told you, madame, that the ouly way to make me
accept your favors without blushing, was to give
me some employment, that would enable me to
soothe the misfortunes I had so lone shared?
Who told you, when you wished me to have a!
seat at your table, and to treat as your friend the
poor needlewoman, in whose person you sought
(Continued on page o.)
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