The chevalier was still holding Angelique's hand when a step resounded outside, and a
voice was heard.
"Can it be that he has come back?" exclaimed the damsel, hastily freeing herself from
the passionate embrace of the chevalier. "It's not possible! Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu! it's his
She grew pale to the lips, and stood staring at the door with outstretched arms, unable
to advance or recede.
The chevalier listened, but felt sure the approaching voice belonged neither to the
commander nor to the treasurer.
"'His voice'?" thought Quennebert to himself. "Can this be yet another aspirant to her
The sound came nearer.
"Hide yourself!" said Angelique, pointing to a door opposite to the partition behind which
the widow and the notary were ensconced. "Hide yourself there!--there's a secret
staircase--you can get out that way."
"I hide myself!" exclaimed Moranges, with a swaggering air. "What are you thinking of? I
It would have been better for him to have followed her advice, as may very well have
occurred to the youth two minutes later, as a tall, muscular young man entered in a
state of intense excitement. Angelique rushed to meet him, crying--
"Ah! Monsieur le duc, is it you?"
"What is this I hear, Angelique?" said the Duc de Vitry. "I was told below that three men
had visited you this evening; but only two have gone out--where is the third? Ha! I do
not need long to find him," he added, as he caught sight of the chevalier, who stood his
ground bravely enough.
"In Heaven's name!" cried Angelique,--"in Heaven's name, listen to me!"
"No, no, not a word. Just now I am not questioning you. Who are you, sir?"
The chevalier's teasing and bantering disposition made him even at that critical moment
insensible to fear, so he retorted insolently