The Clique of Gold
Count Ville-Handry had hardly closed the door, when M. de Brevan rushed out of the
bedroom in which he had been concealed.
"Was I right?" he exclaimed.
But Daniel did not hear him. He had forgotten his very presence. Overcome by the great
effort he had made to conceal his emotions, he had sunk into a chair, hiding his face in
his hands, and said to himself in a mournful voice, and as if trying to convince himself of
an overwhelming fact,--
"The count has lost his mind altogether, and we are lost."
The grief of this excellent young man was so great and so bitter, that M. de Brevan
seemed to be deeply moved. He looked at him for some time with an air of pity, and then
suddenly, as if yielding to a good impulse, he touched his shoulder, and said,--
The unhappy man started like one who has suddenly been roused from deep slumber;
and, as he recalled what had just happened, he said,--
"You have heard all, Maxime?"
"All! I have not lost a word nor a gesture. But do not blame me for my indiscretion. It
enables me to give you some friendly advice. You know I have paid dear for my
He hesitated, being at a loss how to express his ideas; then he continued in a short, sharp
"You love Miss Ville-Handry?"
"More than my life, don't you know?"
"Well, if that is so, abandon all thoughts of useless resistance; induce Miss Henrietta to
do as her father wishes; and persuade Miss Brandon to let your wedding take place a
month after her own. But ask for special pledges. Miss Ville-Handry may suffer
somewhat during that month; but the day after your wedding you will carry her off to
your own home, and leave the poor old man to his amorous folly."
Daniel showed in his face that this suggestion opened a new prospect before him.
"I had not thought of that," he said.
"It is all you can do."