"Your father was very angry when you said no?"
"I should think so.
He wanted to send me back to the convent."
"You see that it is necessary to be energetic."
"I will be so."
She looked at the vast horizon, her head full of the idea of being ran off with.
She would go further than that with him.
She would be ran away with.
She was proud of it.
She scarcely thought of her reputation--of what shame might befall her.
Was she aware of it?
Did she even suspect it?
Madame Walter, turning round, exclaimed:
"Come along, little one.
What are you doing with Pretty-boy?"
They rejoined the others and spoke of the seaside, where they would soon be.
Then they returned home by way of Chatou, in order not to go over the same road twice.
George no longer spoke.
If the little girl had a little courage, he was going to succeed at last.
For three months he had been enveloping her in the irresistible net of his love.
He was seducing, captivating, conquering her.
He had made himself loved by her, as he knew how to make himself loved.
He had captured her childish soul without difficulty.
He had at first obtained of her that she should refuse Monsieur de Cazolles.
He had just obtained that she would fly with him.
For there was no other way.
Madame Walter, he well understood, would never agree to give him her daughter.
She still loved him; she would always love him with unmanageable violence.
He restrained her by his studied coldness; but he felt that she was eaten up by hungry and impotent passion.
He could never bend her.
She would never allow him to have Susan.
But once he had the girl away he would deal on a level footing with her father.
Thinking of all this, he replied by broken phrases to the remarks addressed to him, and which he did not hear.
He only seemed to come to himself when they returned to Paris.
Susan, too, was thinking, and the bells of the four horses rang in her ears, making her see endless miles of highway under eternal moonlight, gloomy forests traversed, wayside inns, and the hurry of the hostlers to change horses, for every one guesses that they are pursued.
When the landau entered the court-yard of the mansion, they wanted to keep George to dinner.
He refused, and went home.
After having eaten a little, he went through his papers as if about to start on a long journey.
He burnt some compromising letters, hid others, and wrote to some friends.
From time to time he looked at the clock, thinking:
"Things must be getting warm there."
And a sense of uneasiness gnawed at his heart.
Suppose he was going to fail?
But what could he fear?
He could always get out of it.
Yet it was a big game he was playing that evening.
He went out towards eleven o'clock, wandered about some time, took a cab, and had it drawn up in the Place de la Concorde, by the Ministry of Marine.
From time to time he struck a match to see the time by his watch.