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Chapter 22
I am very much obliged to you for coming," Newman said. "I hope it won't get you
into trouble."
"I don't think I shall be missed. My lady, in, these days, is not fond of having me
about her." This was said with a certain fluttered eagerness which increased
Newman's sense of having inspired the old woman with confidence.
"From the first, you know," he answered, "you took an interest in my prospects.
You were on my side. That gratified me, I assure you. And now that you know
what they have done to me, I am sure you are with me all the more."
"They have not done well--I must say it," said Mrs. Bread. "But you mustn't blame
the poor countess; they pressed her hard."
"I would give a million of dollars to know what they did to her!" cried Newman.
Mrs. Bread sat with a dull, oblique gaze fixed upon the lights of the chateau.
"They worked on her feelings; they knew that was the way. She is a delicate
creature. They made her feel wicked. She is only too good."
"Ah, they made her feel wicked," said Newman, slowly; and then he repeated it.
"They made her feel wicked,--they made her feel wicked." The words seemed to
him for the moment a vivid description of infernal ingenuity.
"It was because she was so good that she gave up--poor sweet lady!" added
Mrs. Bread.
"But she was better to them than to me," said Newman.
"She was afraid," said Mrs. Bread, very confidently; "she has always been afraid,
or at least for a long time. That was the real trouble, sir. She was like a fair
peach, I may say, with just one little speck. She had one little sad spot. You
pushed her into the sunshine, sir, and it almost disappeared. Then they pulled
her back into the shade and in a moment it began to spread. Before we knew it
she was gone. She was a delicate creature."
This singular attestation of Madame de Cintre's delicacy, for all its singularity, set
Newman's wound aching afresh. "I see," he presently said; "she knew something
bad about her mother."
"No, sir, she knew nothing," said Mrs. Bread, holding her head very stiff and
keeping her eyes fixed upon the glimmering windows of the chateau.
"She guessed something, then, or suspected it."
"She was afraid to know," said Mrs. Bread.
"But YOU know, at any rate," said Newman.
She slowly turned her vague eyes upon Newman, squeezing her hands together
in her lap. "You are not quite faithful, sir. I thought it was to tell me about Mr.
Valentin you asked me to come here."
"Oh, the more we talk of Mr. Valentin the better," said Newman. "That's exactly
what I want. I was with him, as I told you, in his last hour. He was in a great deal
of pain, but he was quite himself. You know what that means; he was bright and
lively and clever."
"Oh, he would always be clever, sir," said Mrs. Bread. "And did he know of your