this, when we were alone for a moment, before I went away. She took my hand, and silenced me at the first words.
"After all that we three have suffered together," she said, "there can be no parting between us, till the last parting of all. My heart and my happiness, Walter, are with Laura and you. Wait a little till there are children's voices at your fireside. I will teach them to speak for me, in their language; and the first lesson they say to their father and mother shall be—We can't spare our aunt!"
My journey to Paris was not undertaken alone. At the eleventh hour, Pesca decided that he would accompany me. He had not recovered his customary cheerfulness since the night at the Opera; and he determined to try what a week's holiday would do to raise his spirits.
I performed the errand entrusted to me, and drew out the necessary report, on the fourth day from our arrival in Paris. The fifth day I arranged to devote to sight-seeing and amusements in Pesca's company.
Our hotel had been too full to accommodate us both on the same floor. My room was on the second story, and Pesca's was above me, on the third. On the morning of the fifth day, I went up-stairs to see if the Professor was ready to go out. Just before I reached the landing, I saw his door opened from the inside; a long, delicate, nervous hand (not my friend's hand certainly) held it ajar. At the same time I heard Pesca's voice saying eagerly, in low tones, and in his own language: "I remember the name, but I don't know the man. You saw at the Opera, he was so changed that I could not recognise him. I will forward the report—I can do no more." "No more need be done," answered a second voice. The door opened wide, and the light-haired man with the scar on his cheek—the man I had seen following Count Fosco's cab a week before—came out. He bowed, as I drew aside to let him pass—his face was fearfully pale—and he held fast by the banisters, as he descended the stairs.
I pushed open the door, and entered Pesca's room. He was crouched up, in the strangest manner, in a corner of the sofa. He seemed to shrink from me, when I approached him.
"Am I disturbing you?" I asked. "I did not know you had a friend with you till I saw him come out."
"No friend," said Pesca eagerly. "I see him to-day for the first time, and the last."
"I am afraid he has brought you bad news?"