expect of me if ever I escape from his hands. So it is useless to attempt anything with him. But Felton—that’s another thing. He is an ingenuous, pure, and apparently virtuous young man; there is a way of getting him.”

And milady went to bed, and fell asleep with a smile on her lips. Any one who had seen her sleeping might have said she was a young girl dreaming of the crown of flowers she was to wear on her brow at the next fête.

Milady dreamed that she at length had D’Artagnan in her power, that she was present at his execution; the sight of his odious blood, flowing beneath the executioner’s axe, spread that charming smile upon her lips.

She slept as a prisoner sleeps who is rocked by his first hope.

In the morning when they entered her chamber she was still in bed. Felton remained in the corridor. He brought with him the woman of whom he had spoken the evening before, and who had just arrived; this woman entered, and approaching milady’s bed, offered her services.

Milady was habitually pale. Her complexion might therefore deceive a person who saw her for the first time.

“I am in a fever,” said she; “I have not slept a single instant during all this long night; I am in frightful pain. Will you be more humane to me than others were to me yesterday? Besides, all I ask is permission to stay in bed.”

“Would you like a physician sent for?” asked the woman.

Felton listened to this dialogue without speaking a word.

Milady reflected that the more people she had around her, the more she should have to work upon, and the stricter would be the watch Lord Winter kept over her. Besides, the physician might declare the malady was feigned; and milady, having lost the first game, was not willing to lose the second.

“Send for a physician!” said she. “What would be the good of that? These gentlemen declared yesterday that my illness was a comedy; it would be just the same to-day, no doubt, for since yesterday evening they have had plenty of time to send for a doctor.”

“Then,” said Felton, becoming impatient, “say yourself, madame, what treatment you wish followed.”

“Eh! how can I tell? My God! I know that I am in pain, that’s all. Give me anything you like; it is of very little consequence to me.”

“Go, get Lord Winter,” said Felton, tired of these eternal complaints.

“Oh no, no!” cried milady; “no sir, do not call him, I conjure you. I am well, I want nothing; do not call him.”

She put such prodigious vehemence, such irresistible eloquence, into this exclamation that Felton, in spite of himself, advanced some steps into the room.

“He has come!” thought milady.

“Now, if you are really in pain,” said Felton, “a physician shall be sent for; and if you deceive us—well, why, it will be so much the worse for you. But at least we shall not have to reproach ourselves with anything.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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