I must know.
I will wake up Susan and question her."
She went barefooted, in order not to make a noise, and with a candle in her hand, towards her daughter's room.
She opened the door softly, went in, and looked at the bed.
She did not comprehend matters at first, and thought that the girl might still be arguing with her father.
But all at once a horrible suspicion crossed her mind, and she rushed to her husband's room.
She reached it in a bound, blanched and panting.
He was in bed reading.
He asked, startled: "Well, what is it? What is the matter with you?"
She stammered: "Have you seen Susan?"
"She has--she has--gone!
She is not in her room."
He sprang onto the carpet, thrust his feet into his slippers, and, with his shirt tails floating in the air, rushed in turn to his daughter's room.
As soon as he saw it, he no longer retained any doubt.
She had fled.
He dropped into a chair and placed his lamp on the ground in front of him.
His wife had rejoined him, and stammered: "Well?"
He had no longer the strength to reply; he was no longer enraged, he only groaned:
"It is done; he has got her.
We are done for."
She did not understand, and said:
"What do you mean? done for?"
"Yes, by Jove!
He will certainly marry her now."
She gave a cry like that of a wild beast:
You must be mad!"
He replied, sadly: "It is no use howling.
He has run away with her, he has dishonored her.
The best thing is to give her to him.
By setting to work in the right way no one will be aware of this escapade."
She repeated, shaken by terrible emotion: "Never, never; he shall never have Susan.
I will never consent."
Walter murmured, dejectedly: "But he has got her.
It is done.
And he will keep her and hide her as long as we do not yield.
So, to avoid scandal, we must give in at once."
His wife, torn by pangs she could not acknowledge, repeated:
"No, no, I will never consent."
He said, growing impatient:
"But there is no disputing about it.
It must be done.
Ah, the rascal, how he has done us!
He is a sharp one.
All the same, we might have made a far better choice as regards position, but not as regards intelligence and prospects.
He will be a deputy and a minister."
Madame Walter declared, with savage energy: "I will never allow him to marry Susan.