the duchess, struck from the first by the appearance of this romantic figure, was even more impressed when she learned that this was that marquis de montriveau of whom she had dreamed during the night. she had been with him among the hot desert sands, he had been the companion of her nightmare wanderings; for such a woman was not this a delightful presage of a new interest in her life? and never was a man's exterior a better exponent of his character; never were curious glances so well justified. the principal characteristic of his great, square-hewn head was the thick, luxuriant black hair which framed his face, and gave him a strikingly close resemblance to general kleber; and the likeness still held good in the vigorous forehead, in the outlines of his face, the quiet fearlessness of his eyes, and a kind of fiery vehemence expressed by strongly marked features. he was short, deep-chested, and muscular as a lion. there was something of the despot about him, and an indescribable suggestion of the security of strength in his gait, bearing, and slightest movements. he seemed to know that his will was irresistible, perhaps because he wished for nothing unjust. and yet, like all really strong men, he was mild of speech, simple in his manners, and kindly natured; although it seemed as if, in the stress of a great crisis, all these finer qualities must disappear, and the man would show himself implacable, unshaken in his resolve, terrific in action. there was a certain drawing in of the inner line of the lips which, to a close observer, indicated an ironical bent.
"i left you pure, and i find you muck. ha! why did i ever leave you! you are here to betray us; to deliver up the gars!"
these sentences sounded more like roars than words. though francine was frightened, she raised her angelic eyes at this last accusation and answered calmly, as she looked into his savage face: "i will pledge my eternal safety that that is false. that's an idea of the lady you are serving."
he lowered his head; then she took his hand and nestling to him with a pretty movement said: "pierre, what is all this to you and me? i don't know what you understand about it, but i can't make it out. recollect one thing: that noble and beautiful young lady has been my benefactress; she is also yours--we live together like two sisters. no harm must ever come to her where we are, you and i--in our lifetime at least. swear it! i trust no one here but you."