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Chapter 18
Newman went the next morning to see Madame de Cintre, timing his visit so as
to arrive after the noonday breakfast. In the court of the hotel, before the portico,
stood Madame de Bellegarde's old square carriage. The servant who opened the
door answered Newman's inquiry with a slightly embarrassed and hesitating
murmur, and at the same moment Mrs. Bread appeared in the background, dim-
visaged as usual, and wearing a large black bonnet and shawl.
"What is the matter?" asked Newman. "Is Madame la Comtesse at home, or
Mrs. Bread advanced, fixing her eyes upon him: he observed that she held a
sealed letter, very delicately, in her fingers. "The countess has left a message for
you, sir; she has left this," said Mrs. Bread, holding out the letter, which Newman
"Left it? Is she out? Is she gone away?"
"She is going away, sir; she is leaving town," said Mrs. Bread.
"Leaving town!" exclaimed Newman. "What has happened?"
"It is not for me to say, sir," said Mrs. Bread, with her eyes on the ground. "But I
thought it would come."
"What would come, pray?" Newman demanded. He had broken the seal of the
letter, but he still questioned. "She is in the house? She is visible?"
"I don't think she expected you this morning," the old waiting-woman replied.
"She was to leave immediately."
"Where is she going?"
"To Fleurieres."
"To Fleurieres? But surely I can see her?"
Mrs. Bread hesitated a moment, and then clasping together her two hands, "I will
take you!" she said. And she led the way upstairs. At the top of the staircase she
paused and fixed her dry, sad eyes upon Newman. "Be very easy with her," she
said; "she is most unhappy!" Then she went on to Madame de Cintre's
apartment; Newman, perplexed and alarmed, followed her rapidly. Mrs. Bread
threw open the door, and Newman pushed back the curtain at the farther side of
its deep embrasure. In the middle of the room stood Madame de Cintre; her face
was pale and she was dressed for traveling. Behind her, before the fire-place,
stood Urbain de Bellegarde, looking at his finger-nails; near the marquis sat his
mother, buried in an arm-chair, and with her eyes immediately fixing themselves
upon Newman. He felt, as soon as he entered the room, that he was in the
presence of something evil; he was startled and pained, as he would have been
by a threatening cry in the stillness of the night. He walked straight to Madame
de Cintre and seized her by the hand.
"What is the matter?" he asked, commandingly; "what is happening?"
Urbain de Bellegarde stared, then left his place and came and leaned upon his
mother's chair, behind. Newman's sudden irruption had evidently discomposed
both mother and son. Madame de Cintre stood silent, with her eyes resting upon
Newman's. She had often looked at him with all her soul, as it seemed to him; but