It seemed to him that he was thinking of nothing, but far down and deep within him his soul was occupied with something important and comforting. This something was a most subtle spiritual deduction from a conversation with Karataev the day before. At their yesterday's halting place, feeling chilly by a dying campfire, Pierre had got up and gone to the next one, which was burning better.
It was, however, the usual gap in the genius of great detectives. "Pray what do you desire of me, Monsieur le Ministre?" said Pierre at last; "I don't quite understand." "Why, Monsieur l'Abbe, I leave all this to your sense of prudence.
Everything succeeds with them since that madman, Salvat, had his head cut off. They're provided for. They've plenty of bread on the shelf." Then, turning towards Pierre and Thomas, she continued: "We others are done for, you know, we're down in the mud, with no hope of getting out of it. But what would you have?
Jeanne, much puzzled, asked herself, what could have brought Pierre back? It must certainly be something very important. She had always felt somewhat awed in Pierre's presence. At that moment the idea of being face to face with the young man was most distressing to her. A curtain was lifted and Pierre appeared.
"Pani," in a low tone scarce above the ripple of the water, "M. Marsac is very handsome. The Indian blood does not show much in him." "Yes, child. He is improved. There is what do you call it? the grand air about him, like a gentleman, only he was impertinent to thee." "You will not be persuaded to like him? It was different with Pierre." Jeanne made this concession with a slight hesitation.
Pierre caught my arm as I reeled, sick with the shock of the discovery, and yelled into my ear above the dim. "Le Vieil Ange!" he cried. "This way Simon mean you to go to-morrow. Lacroix him tell you: 'Get down, we find the road. He take you up here and push you so." He made a graphic gesture with his arm and pointed.
And so he urged Pierre to exert himself with such cardinals as were favourable, to secure an audience with the Holy Father whatever the obstacles, and to remain in Rome until he should have secured the Pontiff's approbation, which alone could decide the victory.
Seeing how gay and triumphant he looked, a sudden inspiration came to the priest, who said to himself that he ought to win over this young man, whose report had had such a disastrous effect. As it happened, the cab having been compelled to stop altogether, the deputy had just recognized him and was smiling at him. "Where are you going, Monsieur Duthil?" Pierre asked.
Pierre had to restrain a smile, for be had heard the story from Doctor Chassaigne. This miraculously healed individual was a feigner, who had eventually been recognised at the Medical Verification Office.
"But what is there to say about me?" said Pierre, his face relaxing into a careless, merry smile. "What am I? An illegitimate son!" He suddenly blushed crimson, and it was plain that he had made a great effort to say this. "Without a name and without means... And it really..." But he did not say what "it really" was. "For the present I am free and am all right.