Downtown

Downtown

"What's the use? Wherever we should go, it would be the same thing.

Besides, I don't want to leave this neighborhood.""And I am too much your friend not to tell you, that your reputationin it is absolutely lost."I have no accounts to render to any one.""Except to your friend the commissary of police, however."A pale smile flitted upon her lips. "Ah!" she uttered, "he knowsthe truth.""You have seen him again, then?""Several times.""Since we have known each other?""Yes.""And you never told me anything about it?""I did not think it necessary."Maxence insisted no more; but, by the sharp pang that he felt, herealized how dear Mlle. Lucienne had become to him.

"She has secrets from me," thought he, - "from me who would deem ita crime to have any from her."What secrets? Had she concealed from him that she was pursuing anobject which had become, as it were, that of her whole life. Hadshe not told him, that with the assistance of her friend thepeace-officer, who had now become commissary of police of thedistrict, she hoped to penetrate the mystery of her birth, and torevenge herself on the villains, who, three times, had attempted todo away with her?

She had never mentioned her projects again; but it was evident thatshe had not abandoned them, for she would at the same time havegiven up her rides to the bois, which were to her an abominabletorment.

But passion can neither reason nor discuss.

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"She mistrusts me, who would give my life for hers" repeated Maxence.

And the idea was so painful to him, that he resolved to clear hisdoubts at any cost, preferring the worst misery to the anxiety whichwas gnawing at his heart.

And as soon as he found himself alone with Mlle. Lucienne, arminghimself with all his courage, and looking her straight in the eyes,"You never speak to me any more of your enemies?" he said.

She doubtless understood what was passing within him.

"It's because I don't hear any thing of them myself," she answeredgently.

"Then you have given up your purpose?"Not at all.""What are your hopes, then, and what are your prospects?""Extraordinary as it may seem to you, I must confess that I knownothing about it. My friend the commissary has his plan, I amcertain; and he is following it with an indefatigable obstinacy.

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I am but an instrument in his hands. I never do any thing withoutconsulting him; and what he advises me to do I do."Maxence started upon his chair.

"Was it he, then," he said in a tone of bitter irony, "who suggestedto you the idea of our fraternal association?"A frown appeared upon the girl's countenance. She evidently felthurt by the tone of this species of interrogatory.

"At least he did not disapprove of it," she replied.

But that answer was just evasive enough to excite Maxence's anxiety.