The Clique of Gold
Like all energetic natures, Daniel felt a wonderful relief as soon as he had formed an
irrevocable decision. He would even have enjoyed the peace that had once more returned
to his mind, but for the savage hatred which had accumulated in his heart, and which
confused his thoughts whenever he remembered Miss Brandon.
Providentially, it seemed to him, Maxime had not gone out, or, rather, having been to
breakfast at the English cafe with some of his friends, he had just returned.
In ten words Daniel had told him every thing, and even shown him that masterpiece of
forgery, which he attributed to Miss Brandon's mind, and M. Elgin's skill. Then, without
heeding Maxime's exclamations of wonder and indignation, loud and deep as they were,
"Now, my dear Maxime, listen to me. It may be my last will which I am going to give in
And, when his friend tried to remonstrate, he insisted,--
"I know what I am saying. I am sure I hope I shall not be buried out there; but the climate
is murderous, and I may encounter a cannon- ball. It is always better to be prepared."
He paused a moment to collect his thoughts; and then he went on.
"You alone, in this world, Maxime, know all my private affairs. I have no secret from
you. I have friends whom I have known longer than you; but I have none in whom I feel
more confidence. Besides, my old friends are all sailors,--men, who, like myself, may at
any moment be sent, Heaven knows where. Now I want a reliable, safe, and experienced
man, possessed of prudence and energy, and sure not to leave Paris. Will you be that
M. de Brevan, who had remained in his chair, rose, and, putting his hand on his heart,
"Between us, Daniel, oaths are useless; don't you think so? I say, therefore, simply, you
may count upon me."
"And I do count upon you," exclaimed Daniel,--"yes, blindly and absolutely; and I am
going to give you a striking proof of it."
For a few moments it looked as if he were trying to find some brief and yet impressive
form for his communication; and then he said, speaking very rapidly,--
"If I leave in despair, it is because I leave Henrietta in the hands of the enemy. What
persecution she will have to endure! My heart bleeds at the mere thought. Miss Brandon