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“Several days ago. I have not been at Paris; I am returning from Chartres. I believed you were informed of everything.”

Monsieur de Lamotte remained silent for some moments. Then, fixing his eyes upon Derues’ immovable countenance, he said, with some emotion—

“You are a husband and father, sir; in the name of this double and sacred 佛山桑拿一条龙多少钱 affection which is, not unknown to you, do not hide anything from me: I fear some misfortune has happened to my wife which you are concealing.”

Derues’ physiognomy expressed nothing but a perfectly natural astonishment.

“What can have suggested such ideas to you; dear sir?” In saying this he glanced at the cure; wishing to ascertain if this distrust was Monsieur de Lamotte’s own 佛山桑拿按摩一条龙服务 idea, or had been suggested to him. The movement was so rapid that neither of the others observed it. Like all knaves, obliged by their actions to be continually on the watch, Derues possessed to a remarkable extent the art of seeing all round him without appearing to observe anything in particular. He decided that as yet he had only to combat a suspicion unfounded on proof, and he waited till he should be attacked more seriously.

“I do not know,” he said, “what may have happened during my absence; pray explain yourself, for you are making me share your disquietude.”

“Yes, I am exceedingly anxious; I entreat you, tell me the whole truth. Explain this silence, and this absence prolonged beyond all expectation. You finished your business with Madame de Lamotte several days ago: once again, why did she not write? There is 佛山桑拿全套 no letter, either from her or my son! To-morrow I shall send someone to Paris.”

“Good heavens!” answered Derues, “is there nothing but an accident which could cause this delay? . . . Well, then,” he continued, with the embarrassed look of a man compelled to betray a confidence,—”well, then, I see that in order to reassure you, I shall have to give up a secret entrusted to me.”

He then told Monsieur de Lamotte that his wife was no longer at Paris, but at Versailles, where she was endeavouring to obtain an important and lucrative appointment, and that, if she had left him in ignorance of her efforts in this direction; it was only to give him an agreeable surprise. He added that she had removed her son from the school, and hoped to place him either in the riding school or amongst the royal pages. To prove his words, he opened 佛山夜生活哪里好玩 his paper-case, and produced the letter written by Edouard in answer to the one quoted above.

All this was related so simply, and with such an appearance of good faith, that the cure was quite convinced. And to Monsieur de Lamotte the plans attributed to his wife were not entirely improbably. Derues had learnt indirectly that such a career for Edouard had been actually under consideration. However, though Monsieur de Lamotte’s entire ignorance prevented him from making any serious objection, his fears were not entirely at rest, but for the present he appeared satisfied with the explanation.

The cure resumed the conversation. “What you tell us ought to drive away gloomy ideas. Just now, when you were announced, Monsieur de Lamotte was confiding his troubles to me. I was as concerned as he was, and I could say nothing to help him; never did visitor arrive more apropos. Well, my friend, what now remains of your vain terrors? What was it you were saying just as Monsieur Derues arrived? . . . Ah! we were discussing dreams, you asked if I believed in them.”

Monsieur, de Lamotte, who had sunk back in his easy-chair and seemed lost in his reflections, started on hearing these words. He raised his head and looked again at Derues. But the latter had had time to note the impression produced by the cure’s remark, and this renewed examination did not disturb him.

“Yes,” said Monsieur de Lamotte, “I had asked that question.”

“And I was going to answer that there are certain secret warnings which can be received by the soul long before they are intelligible to the bodily senses-revelations not understood at first, but which later connect themselves with realities of which they are in some way the precursors. Do you agree with me, Monsieur Derues?”

“I have no opinion on such a subject, and must leave the discussion to more learned people than myself. I do not know whether such apparitions really mean anything or not, and I have not sought to fathom these mysteries, thinking them outside the realm of human intelligence.”

“Nevertheless,” said the cure, “we are obliged to recognise their existence.”

“Yes, but without either understanding or explaining them, like many other eternal truths. I follow the rule given in the Imitation o f Jesus Christ: ‘Beware, my son, of considering too curiously the things beyond thine intelligence.'”

“And I also submit, and avoid too curious consideration. But has not the soul knowledge of many wondrous things which we can yet neither see nor touch? I repeat, there are things which cannot be denied.”

Derues listened attentively, continually on his guard; and afraid, he knew not why, of becoming entangled in this conversation, as in a trap. He carefully watched Monsieur de Lamotte, whose eyes never left him. The cure resumed—

“Here is an instance which I was bound to accept, seeing it happened to myself. I was then twenty, and my mother lived in the neighbourhood of Tours, whilst I was at the seminary of Montpellier. After several years of separation, I had obtained permission to go and see her. I wrote, telling her of this good news, and I received her answer—full of joy and tenderness. My brother and sister were to be informed, it was to be a family meeting, a real festivity; and I started with a light and joyous heart. My impatience was so great, that, having stopped for supper at a village inn some ten leagues from Tours, I would not wait till the next morning for the coach which went that way, but continued the journey on foot and walked all night. It was a long and difficult road, but happiness redoubled my strength. About an hour after sunrise I saw distinctly the smoke and the village roofs, and I hurried on to surprise my family a little sooner. I never felt more active, more light-hearted and gay; everything seemed to smile before and around me. Turning a corner of the hedge, I met a peasant whom I recognised. All at once it seemed as if a veil spread over my sight, all my hopes and joy suddenly vanished, a funereal idea took possession of me, and I said, taking the hand of the man, who had not yet spoken—

“‘My mother is dead, I am convinced my mother is dead!’

“He hung down his head and answered—

“‘She is to be buried this morning!’

“Now whence came this revelation? I had seen no one, spoken to no one; a moment before I had no idea of it!”

Derues made a gesture of surprise. Monsieur de Lamotte put his hand to his eyes, and said to the cure—

“Your presentiments were true; mine, happily, are unfounded. But listen, and tell me if in the state of anxiety which oppressed me I had not good reason for alarm and for fearing some fatal misfortune.”

His eyes again sought Derues. “Towards the middle of last night I at length fell asleep, but, interrupted

every moment, this sleep was more a fatigue than a rest; I seemed to hear confused noises all round me. I saw brilliant lights which dazzled me, and then sank back into silence and darkness. Sometimes I heard someone weeping near my bed; again plaintive voices called to me out of the darkness. I stretched out my arms, but nothing met them, I fought with phantoms; at length a cold hand grasped mine and led me rapidly forward. Under a dark and damp vault a woman lay on the ground, bleeding, inanimate—it was my wife! At the same moment, a groan made me look round, 佛山桑拿按摩全套体验 and I beheld a man striking my son with a dagger. I cried out and awoke, bathed in cold perspiration, panting under this terrible vision. I was obliged to get up, walk about, and speak aloud, in order to convince myself it was only a dream. I tried to go to sleep

again, but the same visions still pursued me. I saw always the same man armed with two daggers streaming with blood; I heard always the cries of his two victims. When day came, I felt utterly broken, worn-out; and this morning, you, my father, could see by my despondency what an impression this awful night had made upon me.”

During this recital Derues’ calmness never gave way for a single moment, and the most skilful physiognomist could only have discovered an expression of incredulous curiosity on his countenance.

“Monsieur le cure’s story,” said he, “impressed me 佛山桑拿全套按摩论坛 much; yours only brings back my uncertainty. It is less possible than ever to deliver any opinion on this serious question of dreams, since the second instance contradicts the first.”

“It is true,” answered the cure, “no possible conclusion can be drawn from two facts which contradict each other, and the best thing we can do is to choose a less dismal subject of conversation.”

“Monsieur Derues;” asked Monsieur de Lamatte, “if you are not too tired with your journey, shall we go and look at the last improvements I have made? It is now your affair to decide upon them, since I shall shortly be only your guest here.”

“Just as I have been yours for long enough, and I trust you will often give me the opportunity of exercising hospitality in my turn. But you are ill, the day is cold and damp; if you do not care to go out, do not 南海桑拿按摩论坛 let me disturb you. Had you not better stay by the fire with Monsieur le cure? For me, Heaven be thanked! I require no assistance. I will look round the park, and come back presently to tell you what I think. Besides, we shall have plenty of time to talk about it. With your permission, I should like to stay two or three days.”

“I shall be pleased if you will do so.”

Derues went out, sufficiently uneasy in his mind, both on account of his reception of Monsieur de Lamotte’s fears and of the manner in which the latter had watched him during the conversation. He walked quickly up and down the park—

“I have been foolish, perhaps; I have lost twelve or fifteen days, and delayed stupidly from fear of not foreseeing everything. But then, how was I to imagine that this simple, easily deceived man would all at once become suspicious? 佛山桑拿全套特服 What a strange dream! If I had not been on my guard, I might have been disconcerted. Come, come, I must try to disperse these ideas and give him something else to think about.”

He stopped, and after a few minutes consideration turned back towards the house.

As soon as he had left the room, Monsieur de Lamotte had bent over towards the cure, and had said—

“He did not show any emotion, did—he?”

“None whatever.”

“He did not start when I spoke of the man armed with those two daggers?”