Within an Inch of His LifeWithin an Inch of His Life
When the Marchioness de Boiscoran, on the day of her departure for Paris, had gone to
see her son, Dionysia had asked her to let her go with her. She resisted, and the young
girl did not insist.
"I see they are trying to conceal something from me," she said simply; "but it does not
And she had taken refuge in the sitting-room; and there, taking her usual seat, as in the
happy days when Jacques spent all his evenings by her side, she had remained long hours
immovable, looking as if, with her mind's eye, she was following invisible scenes far
Grandpapa Chandore and the two aunts were indescribably anxious. They knew their
Dionysia, their darling child, better than she knew herself, having nursed and watched her
for twenty years. They knew every expression of her face, every gesture, every intonation
of voice, and could almost read her thoughts in her features.
"Most assuredly Dionysia is meditating upon something very serious," they said. "She is
evidently calculating and preparing for a great resolution."
The old gentleman thought so too, and asked her repeatedly,--
"What are you thinking of, dear child?"
"Of nothing, dear papa," she replied.
"You are sadder than usual: why are you so?"
"Alas! How do I know? Does anybody know why one day we have sunshine in our
hearts, and another day dismal clouds?"
But the next day she insisted upon being taken to her seamstresses, and finding Mechinet,
the clerk, there, she remained a full half-hour in conference with him. Then, in the
evening, when Dr. Seignebos, after a short visit, was leaving the room, she lay in wait for
him, and kept him talking a long time at the door. Finally, the day after, she asked once
more to be allowed to go and see Jacques. They could no longer refuse her this sad
satisfaction; and it was agreed that the older of the two Misses Lavarande, Miss Adelaide,
should accompany her.
About two o'clock on that day they knocked at the prison-door, and asked the jailer, who
had come to open the door, to let them see Jacques.