The Clique of Gold
In the meantime, the long, trying scene had exhausted Daniel; and he lay there, panting,
on his bed. The surgeon and the lawyer withdrew, to let him have some rest.
He certainly needed it; but how could he sleep with the fearful idea of his Henrietta--she
whom he loved with his whole heart--being in the hands of this Justin Chevassat, a
forger, a former galley-slave, the accomplice and friend of Crochard, surnamed
"And I myself handed her over to him!" he repeated for the thousandth time,--"I, her only
friend upon earth! And her confidence in me was so great, that, if she had any
presentiment, she suppressed it for my sake."
Daniel had, to be sure, a certain assurance now, that Maxime de Brevan would not be
able to escape from justice. But what did it profit him to be avenged, when it was too late,
long after Henrietta should have been forced to seek in suicide the only refuge from
Brevan's persecution? Now it seemed to him as if the magistrate was far more anxiously
concerned for the punishment of the guilty than for the safety of the victims. Blinded by
passion, so as to ask for impossibilities, Daniel would have had this lawyer, who was so
clever in unearthing crimes committed in Saigon, find means rather to prevent the
atrocious crime which was now going on in France. On his part, he had done the only
thing that could be done.
At the first glimpse of reason that had appeared after his terrible sufferings, he had
hastened to write to Henrietta, begging her to take courage, and promising her that he
would soon be near her. In this letter he had enclosed the sum of four thousand francs.
This letter was gone. But how long would it take before it could reach her? Three or four
months, perhaps even more.
Would it reach her in time? Might it not be intercepted, like the others? All these
anxieties made a bed of burning coals of the couch of the poor wounded man. He twisted
and turned restlessly from side to side, and felt as if he were once more going to lose his
senses. And still, by a prodigious effort of his will, his convalescence pursued its normal,
steady way in spite of so many contrary influences.
A fortnight after Crochard's confession, Daniel could get up; he spent the afternoon in an
arm-chair, and was even able to take a few steps in his chamber. The next week he was
able to get down into the garden of the hospital, and to walk about there, leaning on the
arm of his faithful Lefloch. And with his strength and his health, hope, also, began to
come back; when, all of a sudden, two letters from Henrietta rekindled the fever.
In one the poor girl told him how she had lived so far on the money obtained from the
sale of the little jewelry she had taken with her, but added that she was shamefully
cheated, and would soon be compelled to seek employment of some sort in order to