As Lord Winter had thought, milady’s wound was not dangerous. So soon as she was left alone with the woman whom the baron had summoned, and who hastened to her, she opened her eyes.

It was necessary, however, to affect weakness and pain, but this was not a very difficult task for an actress like milady. Thus the poor woman was completely the prisoner’s dupe, and notwithstanding her entreaties, she persisted in watching all night.

But this woman’s presence did not prevent milady from thinking.

There was no longer any doubt that Felton was convinced; Felton was hers. If an angel appeared to that young man to accuse milady, he would certainly, in that disposition of mind he was then in, regard him as a messenger from the demon.

Milady smiled at this thought, for Felton was henceforth her only hope, her only means of safety.

But Lord Winter might have suspected him! But Felton himself might now be watched!

Toward four o’clock in the morning the doctor came. Since milady had stabbed herself the wound had already closed. The doctor could therefore measure neither its direction nor depth. He only recognized by milady’s pulse that her case was not serious.

In the morning milady, under the pretence of not having slept during the night and wanting rest, sent away the woman who attended her.

She had one hope—that Felton would appear at the breakfast hour; but Felton did not come.

Were her fears realized? Was Felton, suspected by the baron, about to fail her at the decisive moment? She had only one day left. Lord Winter had announced her embarkation for the 23rd, and it was now the morning of the 22nd.

Nevertheless she still waited patiently till the dinner hour.

Though she had eaten nothing in the morning, the dinner was brought in at its usual time. Milady then perceived with terror that the uniform of the soldiers who guarded her was changed.

Then she ventured to ask what had become of Felton.

She was told that he had left the castle an hour before on horseback. She inquired whether the baron was still at the castle. The soldier replied that he was, and that he had given orders to be informed if the prisoner wished to speak to him.

Milady replied that she was too weak at present, and that her only desire was to be left alone.

The soldier went out, leaving the dinner served.

Felton was sent away; the marines were changed. Felton, then, was mistrusted!

This was the last blow to the prisoner.

Left alone, she got up. The bed in which she had remained for prudence, and in order that she might be believed to be seriously wounded, burnt her like a blazing fire. She cast a glance at the door. The baron had had a plank nailed over the grating. He feared, no doubt, that through this opening she might still, by some diabolical means, succeed in corrupting her guards.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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