Brother and Sister
While Lord Winter was shutting the door, closing a shutter, and drawing a chair near to his sister-in-laws armchair, milady was thoughtfully plunging her glance into the depths of possibility, and discovered the whole plot, not even a glimpse of which she could get so long as she was ignorant into whose hands she had fallen. She knew her brother-in-law was a worthy gentleman, a bold huntsman, an intrepid player, enterprising with women, but with less than average skill in intrigues. How could he have discovered her arrival and caused her to be seized? Why did he detain her?
Athos had indeed said some words which proved that the conversation she had had with the cardinal had fallen into others ears; but she could not suppose that he had dug a counter-mine so promptly and so boldly. She feared, rather, that her preceding operations in England had been discovered. Buckingham might have guessed that it was she who had cut off the two studs, and avenged himself for that little treachery. But Buckingham was incapable of going to any excess against a woman, particularly if that woman was supposed to have acted from a feeling of jealousy.
This supposition appeared to her the most reasonable: it seemed to her that they wanted to revenge the past, and not to anticipate the future. At all events, she congratulated herself on having fallen into the hands of her brother-in-law, with whom she reckoned she could come off easily, rather than into the hands of an avowed and intelligent enemy.
Yes, let us talk, brother, said she, with a kind of springhtliness, now that she had decided to get from the conversation, in spite of all dissimulation Lord Winter could bring to it, the information of which she stood in need for regulating her future conduct.
So you decided to come to England again, said Lord Winter, in spite of the resolutions you so often manifested in Paris never to set your foot again on British soil?
Milady replied to this question by another question.
Before everything, said she, tell me how you had me watched so closely as to be aware in advance not only of my arrival, but, still more, of the day, the hour, and the port at which I should arrive?
Lord Winter adopted the same tactics as milady, thinking that as his sister-in-law employed them they must be good.
But tell me, my dear sister, replied hewhat have you come to do in England?
Why, to see you, replied milady, without knowing how much she aggravated by this reply the suspicions which DArtagnans letter had given birth to in her brother-in-laws mind, and only desiring to gain her auditors good-will by a falsehood.
Ah, to see me? said Lord Winter craftily.
Well, I reply that your every wish should be fulfilled, and that we should see each other every day.
Am I, then, to remain here eternally? demanded milady in some terror.
Yes, at present, continued Lord Winter, you will remain in this castle. The walls of it are thick, the doors strong, and the bars solid. Moreover, your window opens immediately over the sea. The men of my crew, who are devoted to me for life and death, mount guard around this apartment, and watch all the passages leading to the castle yard. The officer who commands alone here in my absence you have seen, and therefore already know him. As you must have observed, he knows how to obey orders, for I am sure you did not come from Portsmouth here without trying to make him speak. What do you say to that? Could a statue of marble have been more impassive and more mute? You have already
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