“I’ll not believe it,” said the one-eyed man in the
As Paul listened to this brief conversation, he wondered if he was awake or asleep. Tantaine stood at the door and watched the woman down stairs; then he closed it carefully, and coming up to Paul, said,--
"Well, what do you think of all this?"
At first Paul was so astounded that he could hardly find words in which to express himself; but he remembered the words that Dr. Hortebise had so often dinned into his ears during the last five days,--
"I suppose," said he at last, "that you had taught this old woman her lesson beforehand."
"Merciful powers!" exclaimed Tantaine in tones of extreme disgust. "If these are all the ideas you have gained from what you have heard, our task will not be by any means an easy one."
Paul was wounded by Tantaine's contemptuous manner.
"I understand well enough, sir," answered he sulkily, "that this is merely a prologue to a romantic drama."
"You are right, my lad," cried he, in a more satisfied voice; "and it is one that is quite indispensable. The plot of the drama will be revealed to you later on, and also the reward you will receive if you play your part well."