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Baron Trigault's Vengeance

Chapter 13
It was pure childishness on Pascal's part to doubt Baron Trigault's willingness to
agree even with closed eyes to any measures he might propose. He ought to
have recollected that their interests were identical, that they hated the same men
with equal hatred, and that they were equally resolved upon vengeance. And
certainly the events which had occurred since their last interview had not been of
a nature to modify the baron's intentions. However, misfortune had rendered
Pascal timid and suspicious, and it was not until he reached the baron's house
that his fears vanished. The manner in which the servants received him proved
that the baron greatly esteemed him: for the man must be stupid indeed who
does not know that the greeting of the servants is ever in harmony with the
feelings of the master of the house. "Will you be kind enough to follow me?" said
the servant to whom he handed his card. "The baron is very busy, but that
doesn't matter. He gave orders that monsieur should be shown up as soon as he
Pascal followed without a word. The elegance of this princely abode never
varied. The same careless, prodigal, regal luxury was apparent everywhere. The
servants--whose name was legion--were always passing noiselessly to and fro. A
pair of horses, worth at least a thousand louis, and harnessed to the baroness's
brougham, were stamping and neighing in the courtyard; and the hall was, as
usual, fragrant with the perfume of rare flowers, renewed every morning.
On his first visit Pascal had only seen the apartments on the ground floor. This
time his guide remarked that he would take him upstairs to the baron's private
room. He was slowly ascending the broad marble staircase and admiring the
bronze balustrade, the rich carpet, the magnificent frescoes, and the costly
statuary, when a rustle of silk resounded near him. He had only time to step
aside, and a lady passed him rapidly, without turning her head, or even deigning
to look at him. She did not appear more than forty, and she was still very
beautiful, with her golden hair dressed high on the back of her head. Her
costume, brilliant enough in hue to frighten a cab horse, was extremely eccentric
in cut; but it certainly set off her peculiar style of beauty to admirable advantage.
"That's the baroness," whispered the servant, after she had passed.
Pascal did not need to be told this. He had seen her but once, and then only for a
second; but it had been under such circumstances that he should never forget
her so long as he lived. And now he understood the strange and terrible
impression which had been produced upon him when he saw her first.
Mademoiselle Marguerite was the living prototype of this lady, save as regards
the color of her hair. And there would have been no difference in this respect had
the baroness allowed her locks to retain their natural tint. Her hair had been
black, like Marguerite's, and black it had remained until she was thirty-five, when
she bleached it to the fashionable color of the time. And every fourth day even
now her hairdresser came to apply a certain compound to her head, after which