A Gentleman of France

第52章 AT ROSNY.(3)

She waved me off in such a wind of passion as might have amused me in another,but in her smacked so strongly of ingratitude as to pain me not a little.I went,however,and sent Simon to her;though I liked the errand very ill,and no better when I saw the lad's face light up at the mention of her name.But apparently she had not recovered her temper when he reached her,for he fared no better than I had done;coming away presently with the air of a whipped dog,as I saw from the yew-tree walk where I was strolling.

Still,after that she made it a habit to talk to him more and more;and,Monsieur and Madame de Rosny being much taken up with one another,there was no one to check her fancy or speak a word of advice.Knowing her pride,I had no fears for her;but it grieved me to think that the lad's head should be turned.Adozen times I made up my mind to speak to her on his behalf;but for one thing it was not my business,and for another I soon discovered that she was aware of my displeasure,and valued it not a jot.For venturing one morning,when she was in a pleasant humour,to hint that she treated those beneath her too inhumanly,and with an unkindness as little becoming noble blood as familiarity,she asked me scornfully if I did not think she treated Simon Fleix well enough.To which I had nothing to answer.

I might here remark on the system of secret intelligence by means of which M.de Rosny,even in this remote place,received news of all that was passing in France.But it is common fame.There was no coming or going of messengers,which would quickly have aroused suspicion in the neighbouring town,nor was it possible even for me to say exactly by what channels news came.But come it did,and at all hours of the day.In this way we heard of the danger of La Ganache and of the effort contemplated by the King of Navarre for its relief.M.de Rosny not only communicated these matters to me without reserve,but engaged my affections by farther proofs of confidence such as might well have flattered a man of greater importance.

I have said that,as a rule,there was no coming or going of messengers.But one evening,returning from the chase with one of the keepers,who had prayed my assistance in hunting down a crippled doe,I was surprised to find a strange horse,which had evidently been ridden hard and far,standing smoking in the yard.

Inquiring whose it was,I learned that a man believed by the grooms to be from Blois had just arrived and was closeted with the baron.An event so far out of the ordinary course of things naturally aroused my wonder;but desiring to avoid any appearance of curiosity,which,if indulged,is apt to become the most vulgar of vices,I refrained from entering the house,and repaired instead to the yew-walk.I had scarcely,however,heated my blood,a little chilled with riding,before the page came to me to fetch me to his master.

I found M.de Rosny striding up and down his room,his manner so disordered and his face disfigured by so much grief and horror that I started on seeing him.My heart sinking in a moment,Idid not need to look at Madame,who sat weeping silently in a chair,to assure myself that something dreadful had happened.

The light was failing,and a lamp had been brought into the room.

Stanley John Weyman