This threat brought home to Mademoiselle de Guerchi how imminent was her danger. At first she had thought the commander's visit might be a snare laid to test her, but the coarseness of his expressions, the cynicism of his overtures in the presence of a third person, had convinced her she was wrong. No man could have imagined that the revolting method of seduction employed could meet with success, and if the commander had desired to convict her of perfidy he would have come alone and made use of more persuasive weapons. No, he believed he still had claims on her, but even if he had, by his manner of enforcing them he had rendered them void. However, the moment he threatened to seek out a rival whose identity he designated quite clearly, and reveal to him the secret it was so necessary to her interests to keep hidden, the poor girl lost her head. She looked at de Jars with a frightened expression, and said in a trembling voice--
"You don't know? Well, I shall commission the king's treasurer, Jeannin de Castille, to come here to-morrow and tell you, an hour before our duel."
"Oh no! no! Promise me you will not do that!" cried she, clasping her hands.
"Do not leave me thus! I cannot let you go till you give me your promise!"
She threw herself on her knees and clung with both her hands to de Jars' cloak, and appealing to Chevalier de Moranges, said--
"You are young, monsieur; I have never done you any harm; protect me, have pity on me, help me to soften him!"
"Uncle," said the chevalier in a pleading tone, "be generous, and don't drive this woman to despair."
"Prayers are useless!" answered the commander.