watching the battle with wide, staring eyes. When I had，
"The person who called here the other day, M. Isidore Fortunat. Ah! why didn't I not bribe him to hold his peace?"
The baron had entirely forgotten the existence of Victor Chupin's honorable employer. "You are mistaken, Lia," he replied. "M. Fortunat has had no hand in this."
"Then who could have betrayed my secret?"
"Why, your former ally, the rascal for whose sake you allowed Pascal Ferailleur to be sacrificed--the Viscount de Coralth!"
The bare supposition of such treachery on the viscount's part brought a flush of indignant anger to Madame d'Argeles's cheek. "Ah! if I thought that!" she exclaimed. And then, remembering what reasons the baron had for hating M. de Coralth, she murmured: "No! Your animosity misleads you--he wouldn't dare!"
The baron read her thoughts. "So you are persuaded that it is personal vengeance that I am pursuing?" said he. "You think that fear of ridicule and public odium prevents me from striking M. de Coralth in my own name, and that I am endeavoring to find some other excuse to crush him. This might have been so once; but it is not the case now. When I promised M. Ferailleur to do all in my power to save the young girl he loves, Mademoiselle Marguerite, my wife's daughter, I renounced all thought of self, all my former plans. And why should you doubt Coralth's treachery? You, yourself, promised me to unmask HIM. If he has betrayed YOU, my poor Lia, he has only been a little in advance of you."
She hung her head and made no reply. She had forgotten this.
"Besides," continued the baron, "you ought to know that when I make such a statement I have some better foundation for it than mere conjecture. It was to some purpose that I watched M. de Coralth during your absence. When the servant handed you that card he turned extremely pale. Why? Because he knew whose card it was. After you left the room his hands trembled like leaves, and his mind was no longer occupied with the game. He--who is usually such a cautious player--risked his money recklessly. When the cards came to him he did still worse; and though luck favored him, he made the strangest blunders, and lost. His agitation and preoccupation were so marked as to attract attention; and one acquaintance laughingly inquired if he were ill, while another jestingly remarked that he had dined and wined a little too much. The traitor was evidently on coals of fire. I could see the perspiration on his forehead, and each time the door opened or shut, he changed color, as if he expected to see you and Wilkie enter. A dozen times I surprised him listening eagerly, as if by dint of attention, or by the magnetic force of his will, he hoped to hear what you and your son were saying. With a single word I could have wrung a confession from him."
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