Milady assumed her smile of a resigned victim, and shook her head.
"Either you are a demon," continued Felton, "or the baron — my benefactor, my father — is a monster. I have known you four days; I have loved him four years. I therefore may hesitate between you. Be not alarmed at what I say; I want to be convinced. Tonight, after twelve, I will come and see you, and you shall convince me."
"No, Felton, no, my brother," said she; "the sacrifice is too great, and I feel what it must cost you. No, I am lost; do not be lost with me. My death will be much more eloquent than my life, and the silence of the corpse will convince you much better than the words of the prisoner."
"Be silent, madame," cried Felton, "and do not speak to me thus; I came to entreat you to promise me upon your honor, to swear to me by what you hold most sacred, that you will make no attempt upon your life."
"I will not promise," said Milady, "for no one has more respect for a promise or an oath than I have; and if I make a promise I must keep it."
"Well," said Felton, "only promise till you have seen me again. If, when you have seen me again, you still persist — well, then you shall be free, and I myself will give you the weapon you desire."
"Well," said Milady, "for you I will wait."
"I swear it, by our God. Are you satisfied?"
"Well," said Felton, "till tonight."
And he darted out of the room, shut the door, and waited in the corridor, the soldier's half-pike in his hand, and as if he had mounted guard in his place.
The soldier returned, and Felton gave him back his weapon.
Then, through the grating to which she had drawn near, Milady saw the young man make a sign with delirious fervor, and depart in an apparent transport of joy.
As for her, she returned to her place with a smile of savage contempt upon her lips, and repeated, blaspheming, that terrible name of God, by whom she had just sworn without ever having learned to know Him.
"My God," said she, "what a senseless fanatic! My God, it is I — I — and this fellow who will help me to avenge myself."