those who have too little. Marshal Simon's daughters are members of my family, and they will reside here with me, which will be more suitable. You will apprise your worthy mother of this; and in the evening, besides going to thank her for the hospitality which she has shown to my young relations, I shall fetch them home." At this moment Georgette, throwing open the door which separated the room from an adjacent apartment, hurriedly entered, with an affrighted look, exclaiming: "Oh, madame, something extraordinary is going on in the street." "How so? Explain yourself," said Adrienne. "I went to conduct my dressmaker to the little garden-gate," said Georgette; "where I saw some ill-looking men, attentively examining the walls and windows of the little out-building belonging to the pavilion, as if they wished to spy out some one." "Madame," said Agricola, with chagrin, "I have not been deceived. They are after me." "What say you?" "I thought I was followed, from the moment when I left the Rue St. Merry: and now it is beyond doubt. They must have seen me enter your house; and are on the watch to arrest me. Well, now that your interest has been acquired for my mother,--now that I have no farther uneasiness for Marshal Simon's daughters,--rather than hazard your exposure to anything the least unpleasant, I run to deliver myself up." "Beware of that sir," said Adrienne, quickly. "Liberty is too precious to be voluntarily sacrificed. Besides, Georgette may have been mistaken. But in any case, I entreat you not to surrender yourself. Take my advice, and escape being arrested. That, I think, will greatly facilitate my measures; for I am of opinion that justice evinces a great desire to keep possession of those upon whom she has once pounced." "Madame," said Hebe, now also entering with a terrified look, "a man knocked at the little door, and inquired if a young man in a blue blouse has not entered here. He added, that the person whom he seeks is named Agricola Baudoin, and that he has something to tell him of great importance." "That's my name," said Agricola; "but the important information is a trick to draw me out." "Evidently," said Adrienne; "and therefore we must play off trick for trick. What did you answer, child?" added she, addressing herself to Hebe. "I answered, that I didn't know what he was talking about." "Quite right," said Adrienne: "and the man who put the question?" "He went away, madame." "Without doubt to come back again, soon," said Agricola. "That is very probable," said Adrienne, "and therefore, sir, it is necessary for you to remain here some hours with resignation. I am unfortunately obliged to go immediately to the Princess Saint-Dizier, my aunt, for an important interview, which can no longer be delayed, and is rendered more pressing still by what you have told me concerning the daughters of Marshal Simon. Remain here, then, sir; since if you go out, you will certainly be arrested." "Madame, pardon my refusal; but I must say once more that I ought not to accept this generous offer." "Why?" "They have tried to draw me out, in order to avoid penetrating with the power of the law into your dwelling but if I go not out, they will come in; and never will I expose you to anything so disagreeable. Now that I am no longer uneasy about my mother, what signifies prison?" "And the grief that your mother will feel, her uneasiness, and her fears,--nothing? Think of your father; and that poor work-woman who loves you as a brother, and whom I value as a sister;--say, sir, do you forget them also? Believe me, it is better to spare those torments to your family. Remain here; and before the evening I am certain, either by giving surety, or some other means, of delivering you from these annoyances." "But, madame, supposing that I do accept your generous offer, they will come and find me here." "Not at all. There is in this pavilion, which was formerly the abode of a nobleman's left-handed wife,--you see, sir," said Adrienne, smiling, "that live in a very profane place--there is here a secret place of concealment, so wonderfully well-contrived, that it can defy all searches. Georgette will conduct you to it. You will be very well accommodated. You will even be able to write some verses for me, if the place inspire you." "Oh, madame! how great is your goodness! how have I merited it?" "Oh, sir, I will tell you. Admitting that your character and your position do not entitle you to any interest;--admitting that I may not owe a sacred debt to your father for the touching regards and cares he has bestowed upon the daughters of Marshal Simon, my relations--do you forget Frisky, sir?" asked Adrienne, laughing, -"Frisky, there, whom you have restored to my fondles? Seriously, if I laugh," continued this singular and extravagant creature, "it is because I know that you are entirely out of danger, and that I feel an increase of happiness. Therefore, sir, write for me quickly your address, and your mother's, in this pocket-book; follow Georgette; and spin me some pretty verses, if you do not bore yourself too much in that prison to which you fly." While Georgette conducted the blacksmith to the hiding-place, Hebe brought her mistress a small gray beaver hat with a gray feather; for Adrienne had to cross the park to reach the house occupied by the Princess Saint-Dizier. A quarter of an hour after this scene, Florine entered mysteriously the apartment of Mrs. Grivois, the first woman of the princess. "Well?" demanded Mrs. Grivois of the young woman. "Here are the notes which I have taken this morning," said Florine, putting a paper into the duenna's hand. "Happily, I have a good memory." "At what time exactly did she return home this morning?" asked the duenna, quickly. "Who, madame?" "Miss Adrienne." "She did not go out, madame. We put her in the bath at nine o'clock." "But before nine o'clock she came home, after having passed the night out of her house. Eight o'clock was the time at which she returned, however." Florine looked at Mrs. Grivois with profound astonishment, and said-- "I do not understand you, madame." "What's that? Madame did not come home this morning at eight o'clock? Dare you lie?" "I was ill yesterday, and did not come down till nine this morning, in order to assist Georgette and Hebe help our young lady from the bath. I know nothing of what passed previously, I swear to you, madame." "That alters the case. You must ferret out what I allude to from your companions. They don't distrust you, and will tell you all." "Yes, madame." "What has your mistress done this morning since you saw her?" "Madame dictated a letter to Georgette for M. Norval, I requested permission to send it off, as a pretext for going out, and for writing down all I recollected." "Very well. And this letter?" "Jerome had to go out, and I gave it him to put in the post-office." "Idiot!" exclaimed Mrs. Grivois: "couldn't you bring it to me?" "But, as madame dictated it aloud to Georgette, as is her custom, I knew the contents of the letter; and I have written it in my notes." "That's not the same thing. It is likely there was need to delay sending off this letter; the princess will be very much displeased." "I thought I did right, madame." "I know that it is not good will that fails you. For these six months I have been satisfied with you. But this time you have committed a very great mistake." "Be indulgent, madame! what I do is sufficiently painful!" The girl stifled a sigh. Mrs. Grivois looked fixedly at her, and said in a sardonic tone: "Very well, my dear, do not continue it. If you have scruples, you are free. Go your way." "You well know that I am not free, madame," said Florine, reddening; and with tears in her eyes she added: "I am dependent upon M. Rodin, who placed me here." "Wherefore these regrets, then?" "In spite of one's self, one feels remorse. Madame is so good, and so confiding." "She is all perfection, certainly! But you are not here to sing her praises. What occurred afterwards?" "The working-man who yesterday found and brought back Frisky, came early this morning and requested permission to speak with my young lady." "And is this working-man still in her house?" "I don't know. He came in when I was going out with the letter." "You must contrive to learn what it was this workingman came about." "Yes, madame." "Has your mistress seemed preoccupied, uneasy, or afraid of the interview which she is to have to-day with the princess? She conceals so little of what she thinks, that you ought to know." "She has been as gay as usual. She has even jested about the interview!" "Oh! jested, has she?" said the tire-woman, muttering between her teeth, without Florine being able to hear her: "`They laugh most who laugh last.' In spite of her audacious and diabolical character, she would tremble, and would pray for mercy, if she knew what awaits her this day." Then addressing Florine, she continued - "Return, and keep yourself, I advise you, from those fine scruples, which will be quite enough to do you a bad turn. Do not forget!" "I cannot forget that I belong not to myself, madame." "Anyway, let it be so. Farewell." Florine quitted the mansion and crossed the park to regain the summer- house, while Mrs Grivois went immediately to the Princess Saint-Dizier."
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