The Mystery of Orcival
On going to bed, that night, the count was less enchanted than ever with the devotion of
his friend Sauvresy. There is not a diamond on which a spot cannot be found with a
"Here he is," thought he, "abusing his privileges as the saver of my life. Can't a man do
you a service, without continually making you feel it? It seems as though because he
prevented me from blowing my brains out, I had somehow become something that
belongs to him! He came very near upbraiding me for Jenny's extravagance. Where will
The next day at breakfast he feigned indisposition so as not to eat, and suggested to
Sauvresy that he would lose the train.
Bertha, as on the evening before, crouched at the window to see them go away. Her
troubles during the past eight-and-forty hours had been so great that she hardly
recognized herself. She scarcely dared to reflect or to descend to the depths of her heart.
What mysterious power did this man possess, to so violently affect her life? She wished
that he would go, never to return, while at the same time she avowed to herself that in
going he would carry with him all her thoughts. She struggled under the charm, not
knowing whether she ought to rejoice or grieve at the inexpressible emotions which
agitated her, being irritated to submit to an influence stronger than her own will.
She decided that to-day she would go down to the drawing-room. He would not fail -
were it only for politeness - to go in there; and then, she thought, by seeing him nearer,
talking with him, knowing him better, his influence over her would vanish. Doubtless he
would return, and so she watched for him, ready to go down as soon as she saw him
approaching. She waited with feverish shudderings, anxiously believing that this first
tete-a-tete in her husband's absence would be decisive. Time passed; it was more than
two hours since he had gone out with Sauvresy, and he had not reappeared. Where could
At this moment, Hector was awaiting Jenny at the Corbeil station. The train arrived, and
Jenny soon appeared. Her grief, joy, emotion had not made her forget her toilet, and
never had she been so rollickingly elegant and pretty. She wore a green dress with a train,
a velvet mantle, and the jauntiest little hat in the world. As soon as she saw Hector
standing near the door, she uttered a cry, pushed the people aside, and rushed into his
arms, laughing and crying at the same time. She spoke quite loud, with wild gestures, so
that everyone could hear what she said.
"You didn't kill yourself, after all," said she. "Oh, how I have suffered; but what
happiness I feel to-day!"