Baron Trigault's Vengeance
Mademoiselle Marguerite knew Pascal Ferailleur. Suddenly struck down in the
full sunlight of happiness by a terrible misfortune, he, of course, experienced
moments of frenzy and terrible depression; but he was incapable of the
cowardice which M. Fortunat had accused him of.
Mademoiselle Marguerite only did him justice when she said that the sole
condition on which he could consent to live was that of consecrating his life, and
all his strength, intelligence and will to confounding this infamous calumny. And
still she did not know the extent of Pascal's misfortune. How could she suppose
that he believed himself deserted by her? How could she know the doubts and
fears and the anguish that had been roused in his heart by the note which
Madame Leon had given him at the garden gate? What did she know of the
poignant suspicions that had rent his mind, after listening to Madame
Vantrasson's disparaging insinuations?
It must be admitted that he was indebted to his mother alone for his escape from
suicide--that grim madness that seizes hold of so many desperate, despairing
men. And it was still to his mother-- the incomparable guardian of his honor--that
he owed his resolution on the morning he applied to Baron Trigault. And his
courage met with its first reward.
He was no longer the same man when he left the princely mansion which he had
entered with his heart so full of anguish. He was still somewhat bewildered with
the strange scenes which he had involuntarily witnessed, the secrets he had
overheard, and the revelations which had been made to him; but a light gleamed
on the horizon--a fitful and uncertain light, it is true, but nevertheless a hopeful
gleam. At least, he would no longer have to struggle alone. An honest and
experienced man, powerful by reason of his reputation, his connections and his
fortune, had promised him his help. Thanks to this man whom misfortune had
made a truer friend than years could have done, he would have access to the
wretch who had deprived him both of his honor and of the woman he loved. He
knew the weak spot in the marquis's armor now; he knew where and how to
strike, and he felt sure that he should succeed in winning Valorsay's confidence,
and in obtaining irrefutable proofs of his villainy.
Pascal was eager to inform his mother of the fortunate result of his visit, but
certain arrangements which were needful for the success of his plans required
his attention, and it was nearly five o'clock when he reached the Route de la
Revolte. Madame Ferailleur was just returning home when he arrived, which
surprised him considerably, for he had not known that she had intended going
out. The cab she had used was still standing before the door, and she had not
had time to take off her shawl and bonnet when he entered the house. She
uttered a joyful cry on perceiving her son. She was so accustomed to read his
secret thoughts on his face, that it was unnecessary for him to say a word; before
he had even opened his lips, she cried: "So you have succeeded?"
"Yes, mother, beyond my hopes."