The chevalier was still holding Angelique's hand when a step resounded outside, and a voice was heard.
"Can it be that he has come back?" exclaimed the damsel, hastily freeing herself from the passionate embrace of the chevalier. "It's not possible! Mon Dieu! Mon Dieu! it's his voice!"
She grew pale to the lips, and stood staring at the door with outstretched arms, unable to advance or recede.
The chevalier listened, but felt sure the approaching voice belonged neither to the commander nor to the treasurer.
"'His voice'?" thought Quennebert to himself. "Can this be yet another aspirant to her favour?"
"Hide yourself!" said Angelique, pointing to a door opposite to the partition behind which the widow and the notary were ensconced. "Hide yourself there!--there's a secret staircase--you can get out that way."
"I hide myself!" exclaimed Moranges, with a swaggering air. "What are you thinking of? I remain."
It would have been better for him to have followed her advice, as may very well have occurred to the youth two minutes later, as a tall, muscular young man entered in a state of intense excitement. Angelique rushed to meet him, crying--