"A word with you, Castanier," said Melmoth when the piece was at an end, and the attendant was fastening Mme. de la Garde's cloak. The corridor was crowded, and escape impossible. "Very well, what is it?" "No human power can hinder you from taking Aquilina home, and going next to Versailles, there to be arrested." "How so?"
It was the handkerchief which the Wanderer had worn about his neck the preceding night. That was the last trace of the Wanderer. Melmoth and Monçada exchanged looks of silent horror, and returned slowly home. Lazarillo de Tormes Don Diego Hurtado de Mendoza's career was hardly of a kind that would be ordinarily associated with a lively romance of vagabondage.
But Ellen differed so far from the idea she had previously formed of her, as a daughter of one of the principal merchants, who were then, as now, like nobles in the land, that the stock of dislike which Mrs. Melmoth had provided was found to be totally inapplicable. It was soon seen that her education had not been neglected in those points which Mrs. Melmoth deemed most important.
"It is a heavy misfortune, doubtless; and Ellen will grieve as a daughter should," replied Mrs. Melmoth, speaking with the good sense of which she had a competent share. "But she has never known her father; and her sorrow must arise from a sense of duty, more than from strong affection. I will go and inform her of her loss. It is late, and I wonder if she be still asleep."
He sounded dark depths of painful thought as he listened to the service performed for Melmoth. The Dies irae filled him with awe; he felt all the grandeur of that cry of a repentant soul trembling before the Throne of God. The Holy Spirit, like a devouring flame, passed through him as fire consumes straw.
He was, in fact, Moliere's Don Juan, Goethe's Faust, Byron's Manfred, Mathurin's Melmoth great allegorical figures drawn by the greatest men of genius in Europe, to which Mozart's harmonies, perhaps, do no more justice than Rossini's lyre.
As he watched, a man had stepped forward, had looked calmly at the bodies, and had burst into a horrible demoniac laugh. Stanton saw the man several times, always in circumstances of horror; he learnt that his name was Melmoth. This being exercised a kind of fascination over Stanton, who searched for him far and wide.
While he was engaged in their perusal, Mrs. Melmoth amused herself with the newspaper, a little sheet of about twelve inches square, which had but one rival in the country.
"Señor," he said, "I understand your name is" he gasped "Melmoth?" "It is." "Had you," said the Spaniard rapidly, "a relative who was, about one hundred and forty years ago, said to be in Spain?" "I believe I fear I had." "Are you his descendant? Are you the repository of that terrible secret which ?" He gave way to uncontrollable agitation. Gradually he recovered himself, and went on.
The gaze of those strange eyes had left Aquilina like one spellbound; she was helpless, unable to take any thought for her lover; moreover, she believed him to be safe in Jenny's room, whereas their early return had taken the waiting woman by surprise, and she had hidden the officer in the dressing room. It had all happened exactly as in the drama that Melmoth had displayed for his victim.