grass and piles of dry leaves that flurried and flew when
"What do you mean?" asked Hortebise, his lips tightly compressed with anxiety. "Do you mean that they are aware of the manner by which De Croisenois hopes to succeed?"
"Look here?" answered Tantaine. "A general, on the eve of a battle, takes every precaution, but among his subordinates there are always fools, if not traitors. I had arranged a pretty little scene between Croisenois and Van Klopen, by which the Viscountess would be securely trapped. Unfortunately, though the rehearsal was excellent, the representation was simply idiotic. Neither of the actors took the least trouble to enter into the spirit of his part. I had arranged a scene full of delicacy and /finesse/, and they simply made a low, coarse exhibition of it and themselves. Fools! they thought it was the easiest thing in the world to deceive a woman; and finally the Marquis, to whom I had recommended the most perfect discretion, opened fire, and actually spoke of Sabine and his desire to press his suit. The Viscountess found, with a woman's keen perceptions, that there was something arranged between Van Klopen and her visitor, and hurried off to her cousin, M. de Breulh-Faverlay for advice and assistance."
The doctor listened to this recital, pallid and trembling.
"Who told you all this?" gasped he.
"No one; I discovered it; and it was easy to do so. When we have a result, it is easy to trace it back to the cause. Yes, this is what took place."
"Why don't you say at once that the whole scheme is knocked on the head?" asked the doctor.
"Because I do not think that it is; I know that we have sustained a very severe check; but when you are playing /ecarte/ and your adversary has made five points to your one, you do not necessarily throw down the cards and give up the game? Not a bit; you hold on and strive to better your luck."
The worthy Dr. Hortebise did not know whether the most to admire the perseverance or deplore the obstinacy of the old man, and exclaimed,--