Jezebel's Daughter HTML version

Chapter II.1
In the preceding portion of this narrative I spoke as an eye-witness. In the present part of
it, my absence from Frankfort leaves me dependent on the documentary evidence of other
persons. This evidence consists (first) of letters addressed to myself; (secondly) of
statements personally made to me; (thirdly) of extracts from a diary discovered after the
lifetime of the writer. In all three cases the materials thus placed at my disposal bear
proof of truthfulness on the face of them.
Early in the month of December, Mr. Keller sent a message to Madame Fontaine,
requesting to see her on a matter of importance to both of them.
"I hope you feel better to-day, madam," he said, rising to receive the widow when she
entered the room.
"You are very good, sir," she answered, in tones barely audible--with her eyes on the
ground. "I can't say that I feel much better."
"I have news for you, which ought to act as the best of all restoratives," Mr. Keller
proceeded. "At last I have heard from my sister on the subject of the marriage."
He stopped, and, suddenly stepping forward, caught the widow by the arm. At his last
words she had started to her feet. Her face suddenly turned from pale to red--and then
changed again to a ghastly whiteness. She would have fallen if Mr. Keller had not held
her up. He placed her at once in his own easy chair. "You must really have medical
advice," he said gravely; "your nerves are seriously out of order. Can I get you
"A glass of water, sir, if you will be so kind as to ring for it."
"There is no need to ring for it; I have water in the next room."
She laid her hand on his arm, and stopped him as he was about to leave her.
"One word first, sir. You will forgive a woman's curiosity on such an interesting subject
as the marriage of her child. Does your sister propose a day for the wedding?"
"My sister suggests," Mr. Keller answered, "the thirtieth of this month."
He left her and opened the door of the next room.
As he disappeared, she rapidly followed out a series of calculations on her fingers. Her
eyes brightened, her energies rallied. "No matter what happens so long as my girl is
married first," she whispered to herself. "The wedding on the thirtieth, and the money due
on the thirty-first. Saved by a day! Saved by a day!"
Mr. Keller returned with a glass of water. He started as he looked at her.