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La Constantin

Chapter 7
On the day following this extraordinary series of adventures, explanations between
those who were mixed up in them, whether as actors or spectators, were the order of
the day. It was not till Maitre Quennebert reached the house of the friend who had
offered to put him up for the night that it first dawned on him, that the interest which the
Chevalier de Moranges had awakened in his mind had made him utterly forget the bag
containing the twelve hundred livres which he owed to the generosity of the widow. This
money being necessary to him, he went back to her early next morning. He found her
hardly recovered from her terrible fright. Her swoon had lasted far beyond the time
when the notary had left the house; and as Angelique, not daring to enter the bewitched
room, had taken refuge in the most distant corner of her apartments, the feeble call of
the widow was heard by no one. Receiving no answer, Madame Rapally groped her
way into the next room, and finding that empty, buried herself beneath the bedclothes,
and passed the rest of the night dreaming of drawn swords, duels, and murders. As
soon as it was light she ventured into the mysterious room once more; without calling
her servants, and found the bag of crowns lying open on the floor, with the coins
scattered all around, the partition broken, and the tapestry hanging from it in shreds.
The widow was near fainting again: she imagined at first she saw stains of blood
everywhere, but a closer inspection having somewhat reassured her, she began to pick
up the coins that had rolled to right and left, and was agreeably surprised to find the tale
complete. But how and why had Maitre Quennebert abandoned them? What had
become of him? She had got lost in the most absurd suppositions and conjectures when
the notary appeared. Discovering from the first words she uttered that she was in
complete ignorance of all that had taken place, he explained to her that when the
interview between the chevalier and Mademoiselle de Guerchi had just at the most
interesting moment been so unceremoniously interrupted by the arrival of the duke, he
had become so absorbed in watching them that he had not noticed that the partition
was bending before the pressure of his body, and that just as the duke drew his sword it
suddenly gave way, and he, Quennebert, being thus left without support, tumbled head
foremost into the next room, among a perfect chaos of overturned furniture and lamps;
that almost before he could rise he was forced to draw in self-defence, and had to make
his escape, defending himself against both the duke and the chevalier; that they had
pursued him so hotly, that when he found himself free he was too far from the house
and the hour was too advanced to admit of his returning, Quennebert added
innumerable protestations of friendship, devotion, and gratitude, and, furnished with his
twelve hundred crowns, went away, leaving the widow reassured as to his safety, but
still shaken from her fright.
While the notary was thus soothing the widow, Angelique was exhausting all the
expedients her trade had taught her in the attempt to remove the duke's suspicions. She
asserted she was the victim of an unforeseen attack which nothing in her conduct had
ever authorised. The young Chevalier de Moranges had, gained admittance, she
declared, under the pretext that he brought her news from the duke, the one man who