But the abbess contented herself with listening and smiling without replying a word.
She did not know whether the abbess was a royalist or a cardinalist; she therefore confined herself to a prudent middle course.
Desirous of seeing how far the discretion of the good abbess would go, she began to tell a story, obscure at first, but very circumstantial afterward, about the cardinal, relating the amours of the minister with Mme.
The abbess listened more attentively, grew animated by degrees, and smiled.
The abbess only crossed herself, without approving or disapproving.
This confirmed Milady in her opinion that the abbess was rather royalist than cardinalist.
"I am very ignorant of these matters," said the abbess, at length; "but however distant from the court we may be, however remote from the interests of the world we may be placed, we have very sad examples of what you have related.
But after all," resumed the abbess, "Monsieur Cardinal has perhaps plausible motives for acting thus; and though she has the look of an angel, we must not always judge people by the appearance."
"You would, then, be tempted to believe," said the abbess, "that this young person is innocent?"
"Permit me, madame, to express my surprise," said the abbess.
"Then," said the abbess, looking at Milady with increasing interest, "I behold another poor victim?"
The abbess looked at her for an instant with uneasiness, as if a fresh thought suggested itself to her mind.
"Then, madame," said the abbess, smiling, "be reassured; the house in which you are shall not be a very hard prison, and we will do all in our power to make you cherish your captivity.
She therefore took leave of the abbess, and went to bed, softly rocked by the ideas of vengeance which the name of Kitty had naturally brought to her thoughts.