She then gave me a slip of paper, begging me to tell the coachman to drive us to the address thereon.
I was on thorns, and my heart beat fast, for I thought I should have to read out the address of the convent. I do not know what I should have done if my fears had been well grounded, but I should certainly not have gone to the convent. At last I read what was written; it was "Place Maubert," and I grew calm once more.
I told the coachman to drive us to the Place Maubert. We set off, and in a short time stopped at the opening of an obscure back street before a dirty-looking house, which did not give one a high idea of the character of its occupants. I gave Madame X. C. V. my arm, and she had the satisfaction of looking into every room in the five floors of the house, but what she sought for was not there, and I expected to see her overwhelmed with grief. I was mistaken, however. She looked distressed but satisfied, and her eyes seemed to ask pardon of me. She had found out from the coachman, who had taken her daughter on the first stage of her journey, that she had alighted in front of the house in question, and had gone down the back street. She told me that the scullion had confessed that he had taken me letters twice from his young mistress, and that Madelaine said all the time that she was sure her mistress and I were in love with each other. They played their parts well.
As soon as I had seen Madame X. C. V. safely home, I went to Madame du Rumain to tell her what had happened; and I then wrote to my fair recluse, telling her what had gone on in the world since her disappearance.
Three or four days after this date, Madame du Rumain gave me the first letter I received from Mdlle. X. C. V. She spoke in it of the quiet life she was leading, and her gratitude to me, praised the abbess and the lay-sister, and gave me the titles of the books they lent her, which she liked reading. She also informed me what money she had spent, and said she was happy in everything, almost in being forbidden to leave her room.
I was delighted with her letter, but much more with the abbess's epistle to Madame du Rumain. She was evidently fond of the girl, and could not say too much in her praise, saying how sweet-tempered, clever, and lady-like she was; winding up by assuring her friend that she went to see her every day.
I was charmed to see the pleasure this letter afforded Madame du Rumain--pleasure which was increased by the perusal of the letter I had received. The only persons who were displeased were the poor mother, the frightful Farsetti, and the old fermier, whose misfortune was talked about in the clubs, the Palais-Royal, and the coffee- houses. Everybody put me down for some share in the business, but I laughed at their gossip, believing that I was quite safe.
All the same, la Popeliniere took the adventure philosophically and made a one-act play out of it, which he had acted at his little theatre in Paris. Three months afterwards he got married to a very pretty girl, the daughter of a Bordeaux alderman. He died in the course of two years, leaving his widow pregnant with a son, who came into the world six months after the father's death. The unworthy heir to the rich man had the face to accuse the widow of adultery, and got the child declared illegitimate to the eternal shame of the court which gave this iniquitous judgment and to the grief of every honest Frenchman. The iniquitous nature of the judgment was afterwards more clearly demonstrated--putting aside the fact that nothing could be said against the mother's character--by the same court having the, face to declare a child born eleven months after the father's death legitimate.
I continued for ten days to call upon Madame X. C. V., but finding myself coldly welcomed, decided to go there no more.
Fresh Adventures--J. J. Rousseau--I set Up A Business--Castel--Bajac --A Lawsuit is Commenced Against Me--M. de Sartine
Mdlle. X. C. V. had now been in the convent for a month, and her affair had ceased to be a common topic of conversation.