anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently
update time:2023-12-07

anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently

作者:Words do not express meaning networkupdate time:2023-12-07 分类:map

anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently,

"Well--when your mother was a young girl, about twenty, she fled from her paternal home with a man she loved. Forsaken afterward, she found herself in the depths of poverty. She was obliged to live. You were starving. So she changed her name, and now she is known as Lia d'Argeles."

anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently

M. Wilkie sprang to his feet. "Lia d'Argeles!" he exclaimed. Then, with a burst of laughter, he added: "Nevertheless, I think it a piece of grand good luck!"

anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently

"This man carries away your secret; you are lost." A sinister voice whispered these words in Madame Lia d'Argeles's heart when M. Isidore Fortunat, after being rudely dismissed, closed the door of her drawing-room behind him. This man had addressed her by the ancient and illustrious name of Chalusse which she had not heard for twenty years, and which she had forbidden her own lips to pronounce. This man knew that she, Lia d'Argeles, was really a Durtal de Chalusse.

anyway should I attempt it, and she warned me most urgently

This frightful certainty overwhelmed her. It is true this man Fortunat had declared that his visit was entirely disinterested. He had pretended that his regard for the Chalusse family, and the compassion aroused in his heart by the unfortunate plight of Mademoiselle Marguerite, were the only motives that has influenced him in taking this step. However, Madame d'Argeles's experience in life had left her but limited faith in apparent or pretended disinterestedness. This is a practical age; chivalrous sentiments are expensive--as she had learned conclusively. "If the man came here," she murmured, "it was only because he thought he might derive some benefit from the prosecution of my claim to my poor brother's estate. In refusing to listen to his entreaties, I have deprived him of this expected profit and so I have made him my enemy. Ah! I was foolish to send him away like that! I ought to have pretended to listen--I ought to have bound him by all sorts of promises."

She suddenly paused. It occurred to her that M. Fortunat could not have gone very far; so that, if she sent for him to come back, she might perhaps be able to repair her blunder. Without losing a second, she rushed downstairs, and ordered her concierge and a servant to run after the gentleman who had just left the house, and ask him to return; to tell him that she had reflected, and wished to speak to him again. They rushed out in pursuit, and she remained in the courtyard, her heart heavy with anxiety. Too late! About a quarter of an hour afterward her emissaries returned. They had made all possible haste in contrary directions, but they had seen no one in the street who at all resembled the person they were looking for. They had questioned the shopkeepers, but no one had seen him pass. "It doesn't matter," faltered Madame d'Argeles, in a tone that belied her words. And, anxious to escape the evident curiosity of her servants, she hastened back to the little boudoir where she usually spent her mornings.

M. Fortunat had left his card--that is to say, his address--and it would have been an easy matter to send a servant to his house. She was strongly tempted to do so; but she ultimately decided that it would be better to wait--that an hour more or less would make but little difference. She had sent her trusty servant, Job, for Baron Trigault; he would probably return with the baron at any moment; and the baron would advise her. He would know at once what was the best course for her to pursue. And so she waited for his coming in breathless anxiety; and the more she reflected, the more imminent her peril seemed, for she realized that M. Fortunat must be a very dangerous and cunning man. He had set a trap for her, and she had allowed herself to be caught. Perhaps he had only suspected the truth when he presented himself at the house. He had suddenly announced the death of the Count de Chalusse; she had betrayed herself; and any doubts he might have entertained were dispelled. "If I had only had sufficient presence of mind to deny it," she murmured. "If I had only been courageous enough to reply that I knew absolutely nothing about the person he spoke of. Ah! then he would have gone away convinced that he was mistaken."

But would the smooth-spoken visitor have declared that he knew everything, if he had not really penetrated the mystery of her life? It was scarcely probable. He had implored her to accept the property, if not for her own sake at least for the sake of another. And when she asked him whom he meant he had answered, "Mademoiselle Marguerite," but he was undoubtedly thinking of Wilkie. So this man, this Isidore Fortunat, knew that she had a son. Perhaps he was even acquainted with him personally. In his anger he would very likely hasten to Wilkie's rooms and tell him everything. This thought filled the wretched woman's heart with despair. What! Had she not yet expiated her fault? Must she suffer again?

For the first time a terrible doubt came over her. What she had formerly regarded as a most sublime effort of maternal love, was, perhaps, even a greater crime than the first she had committed. She had given her honor as the price of her son's happiness and prosperity. Had she a right to do so? Did not the money she had lavished upon him contain every germ of corruption, misfortune, and shame? How terrible Wilkie's grief and rage would be if he chanced to hear the truth!

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