The Count's Millions HTML version

Chapter 20.
When Mademoiselle Marguerite left the dead count's bedside at ten o'clock at night to
repair to Pascal Ferailleur's house, she did not yet despair of the future. Father, friend,
rank, security, fortune--she had lost all these in a single moment--but she could still see a
promise of happiness in the distance.
She suffered undoubtedly, and yet she experienced a sort of bitter pleasure at the thought
of uniting her life to the man who was as unfortunate as herself, who was slandered as
she herself had been slandered, branded with the most cruel and unjust imputations, and
had neither fortune nor friends. Others might scorn them; but what did they care for the
world's disdain so long as they had the approval of their consciences? Would not their
mutual esteem suffice since they loved each other? It seemed to Marguerite that their
very misfortunes would bind them more closely to each other, and cement the bonds of
their love more strongly. And if it were absolutely necessary for them to leave France--
ah, well! they would leave it. To them Fatherland would always be the spot where they
lived together.
As the cab approached the Rue d'Ulm she pictured Pascal's sorrow, and the joy and
surprise he would feel when she suddenly appeared before him, and faltered: "They
accuse you--here I am! I know that you are innocent, and I love you!"
But the brutal voice of the concierge, informing her of Pascal's secret departure, in the
most insulting terms, abruptly dispelled her dreams. If Pascal had failed her, everything
had failed her. If she had lost him, she had lost her all. The world seemed empty--
struggling would be folly--happiness was only an empty name. She indeed longed for
Madame Leon who had a set of formulas adapted to all circumstances, undertook to
console her. "Weep, my dear young lady, weep; it will do you good. Ah! this is certainly
a horrible catastrophe. You are young, fortunately, and Time is a great consoler. M.
Ferailleur isn't the only man on earth. Others will love you. There are others who love
you already!"
"Silence!" interrupted Marguerite, more revolted than if she had heard a libertine
whispering shameful proposals in her ear. "Silence! I forbid you to add another word." To
speak of another-- what sacrilege! Poor girl. She was one of those whose life is bound up
in one love alone, and if that fails them--it is death!
The thought that she was utterly alone added to the horror of her situation. Whom could
she depend upon? Not on Madame Leon. She distrusted her; she had no confidence
whatever in her. Should she ask for the advice of either of her suitors? The Marquis de
Valorsay inspired her with unconquerable aversion, and she despised the so-called
General de Fondege. So her only friend, her only protector was a stranger, the old justice
of the peace who had taken her defence, by crushing the slander of the servants, and