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   Chapter 8 THE BITER BITTEN

The Lane That Had No Turning, Volume 4 By Gilbert Parker Characters: 2947

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


Madelinette was faint, and, sitting down, she drank the wine feebly, then leaned her head against the back of the chair, her face turned from Fournel.

"Forgive me, if you can," he said. "You have this to comfort you, that if friendship is a boon in this world you have an honest friend in George Fournel."

She made a gesture of assent with her hand, but she did not speak. Tears were stealing quietly down her cold face. For a moment so, in silence, and then she rose to her feet, and pulled down over her face the veil she wore. She was about to hold out her hand to him to say good-bye, when there was a noise without, a knocking at the door, then it was flung open, and Tardif, intoxicated, entered followed by two constables, with Fournel's servant vainly protesting.

"Here she is," Tardif said to the officers of the law, pointing to Madelinette. "It was her set the fellow on to shoot me. I had the will she stole from him," he added, pointing to Fournel.

Distressed as Madelinette was, she was composed and ready.

"The man was dismissed my employ-" she began, but Fournel interposed.

"What is this I hear about shooting and a will?" he said sternly.

"What will!" cried Tardif. "The will I brought you from Pontiac, and Madame there followed, and her servant shot me. The will I brought you, M'sieu'. The will leaving the Manor of Pontiac to you!"

Fournel turned as though with sudden anger to the officers. "You come here-you enter my house to

interfere with a guest of mine, on the charge of a drunken scoundrel like this! What is this talk of wills! The vapourings of his drunken brain. The Seigneury of Pontiac belongs to Monsieur Racine, and but three days since Madame here dismissed this fellow for pilfering and other misdemeanours. As for shooting-the man is a liar, and-"

"Ah, do you deny that I came to you?-" began Tardif.

"Constables," said Fournel, "I give this fellow in charge. Take him to gaol, and I will appear at court against him when called upon."

Tardif's rage choked him. He tried to speak once or twice, then began to shriek an imprecation at Fournel; but the constables clapped hands on his mouth, and dragged him out of the room and out of the house.

Fournel saw him safely out, then returned to Madelinette. "Do not fear for the fellow. A little gaol will do him good. I will see to it that he gives no trouble, Madame," he said. "You may trust me."

"I do trust you, Monsieur," Madelinette answered quietly. "I pray that you may be right, and that-" "It will all come out right," he firmly insisted. "Will you ask for Madame Marie?" she said. Then with a smile: "We will go happier than we came."

As she and Madame Marie passed from the house, Fournel shook Madelinette's hand warmly, and said: "'All's well that ends well.'"

"That ends well," answered Madelinette, with a sorrowful questioning in her voice.

"We will make it so," he rejoined, and then they parted.

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