stroked and coaxed him, talking in my newly acquired Martian，
Ah! it was this--yes, it was this that Madame d'Argeles had dreaded. She fell upon her knees, and, with clasped hands she entreated: "Pity!--oh! have pity--forgive me! Have mercy! Have I not always been a faithful and devoted friend to you? Think of the past you have just invoked! Who helped you then to bear your intolerable sufferings? Don't you remember the day when you, yourself, had determined to die by your own hand? There was a woman who persuaded you to abandon the thought of suicide. It was I!"
He looked at her for a moment with a softer expression, tears came to his eyes, and rolled down his cheeks. Then suddenly he raised her, and placed her in an arm-chair, exclaiming: "Ah! you know very well that I shall not do what I said. Don't you know me better than that? Are you not sure of my affection, are you not aware that you are sacred in my eyes?" He was evidently striving hard to master his emotion. "Besides," he added, "I had already pardoned before coming here. It was foolish on my part, perhaps, and for nothing in the world would I confess it to my acquaintances, but it is none the less true. I shall have my revenge in a certain fashion, however. I need only hold my peace, and the daughter of M. de Chalusse and Madame Trigault would become a lost woman. Is this not so? Very well, I shall offer her my assistance. It may, or may not, be another absurd and ridiculous fancy added to the many I have been guilty of. But no matter. I have promised. And why, indeed, should this poor girl be held responsible for the sins of her parents? I--I declare myself on her side against the world!"
Madame d'Argeles rose, her face radiant with joy and hope. "Then perhaps we are saved!" she exclaimed. "Ah! I knew when I sent for you that I should not appeal to your heart in vain!"
She took hold of his hand as if to raise it to her lips; but he gently withdrew it, and inquired, with an air of astonishment: "What do you mean?"
"That I have been cruelly punished for not wishing you to assist that unfortunate man who was dishonored here the other evening."
"Yes, he is innocent. The Viscount de Coralth is a scoundrel. It was he who slipped the cards which made M. Ferailleur win, into the pack, and he did it at the Marquis de Valorsay's instigation."
The baron looked at Madame d'Argeles with pro-found amazement. "What!" said he; "you knew this and you allowed it? You were cruel enough to remain silent when that innocent man entreated you to testify on his behalf! You allowed this atrocious crime to be executed under your own roof, and under your very eyes?"
"I was then ignorant of Mademoiselle Marguerite's existence. I did not know that the young man was beloved by my brother's daughter--I did not know--"
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