ZANONI: A ROSICRUCIAN TALE
Glyndon did not perceive, as he hurried from the house, two forms crouching by the angle of the wall. He saw still the spectre gliding by his side; but he beheld not the yet more poisonous eyes of human envy and woman's jealousy that glared on his retreating footsteps.
Nicot advanced to the house; Fillide followed him in silence. The painter, an old sans-culotte, knew well what language to assume to the porter. He beckoned the latter from his lodge, "How is this, citizen? Thou harbourest a 'suspect.'"
"Citizen, you terrify me! -- if so, name him."
"It is not a man; a refugee, an Italian woman, lodges here."
"Yes, au troisieme, -- the door to the left. But what of her? -- she cannot be dangerous, poor child!"
"Citizen, beware! Dost thou dare to pity her?"
"I? No, no, indeed. But -- "
"Speak the truth! Who visits her?"
"No one but an Englishman."
"That is it, -- an Englishman, a spy of Pitt and Coburg."
"Just Heaven! is it possible?"
"How, citizen! dost thou speak of Heaven? Thou must be an aristocrat!"
"No, indeed; it was but an old bad habit, and escaped me unawares."
"How often does the Englishman visit her?"
Fillide uttered an exclamation.
She never stirs out," said the porter. "Her sole occupations are in work, and care of her infant."
Fillide made a bound forward. Nicot in vain endeavoured to arrest her. She sprang up the stairs; she paused not till she was before the door indicated by the porter; it stood ajar, she entered, she stood at the threshold, and beheld that face, still so lovely! The sight of so much beauty left her hopeless. And the child, over whom the mother bent! -- she who had never been a mother! -- she uttered no sound; the furies were at work within her breast. Viola turned, and saw her, and, terrified by the strange apparition, with features that expressed the deadliest hate and scorn and vengeance, uttered a cry, and snatched the child to her bosom. The Italian laughed aloud, -- turned, descended, and, gaining the spot where Nicot still conversed with the frightened porter drew him from the house. When they were in the open street, she halted abruptly, and said, "Avenge me, and name thy price!"
"My price, sweet one! is but permission to love thee. Thou wilt fly with me to-morrow night; thou wilt possess thyself of the passports and the plan."
"And they -- "
"Shall, before then, find their asylum in the Conciergerie. The guillotine shall requite thy wrongs."
"Do this, and I am satisfied," said Fillide, firmly.
And they spoke no more till they regained the house. But when she there, looking up to the dull building, saw the windows of the room which the belief of Glyndon's love had once made a paradise, the tiger relented at the heart; something of the woman gushed back upon her nature, dark and savage as it was. She pressed the arm on which she leaned convulsively, and exclaimed, "No, no! not him! denounce her, -- let her perish; but I have slept on HIS bosom, -- not HIM!"
"It shall be as thou wilt," said Nicot, with a devil's sneer; "but he must be arrested for the moment. No harm shall happen to him, for no accuser shall appear. But her, -- thou wilt not relent for her?"
Fillide turned upon him her eyes, and their dark glance was sufficient answer.