" 'I say, Nepomucene,' rejoined the other, 'do you fancy that you would get off scot-free if I were caught and tried?'
" 'Why not?' answered the Trappist. 'I had no hand in your folly, nor did I advise anything of this kind.'
" 'Ha! ha! my fine apostle!' cried Antony, throwing himself back in his chair in a fit of laughter. 'You are glad enough about it, now that it is done. You were always a coward; and had it not been for me you would never have thought of anything better than getting yourself made a Trappist, to ape devotion and afterward get absolution for the past, so as to have a right to draw a little money from the "Headbreakers" of Sainte-Severe. By Jove! a mighty fine ambition, to give up the ghost under a monk's cowl after leading a pretty poor life and only tasting half its sweets, let alone hiding like a mole! Come, now; when they have hung my pretty Bernard, and the lovely Edmonde is dead, and when the old neck-breaker has given back his big bones to the earth; when we have inherited all that pretty fortune yonder; you will own that we have done a capital stroke of business--three at a blow! It would cost me rather too much to play the saint, seeing that convent ways are not quite my ways, and that I don't know how to wear the habit; so I shall throw the cowl to the winds, and content myself with building a chapel at Roche-Mauprat and taking the sacrament four times a year.'
" 'Everything you have done in this matter is stupid and infamous.'
" 'Bless my soul! Don't talk of infamy, my sweet brother, or I shall make you swallow this bottle whole.'
" 'I say that it is a piece of folly, and if it succeeds you ought to burn a fine candle to the Virgin. If it does not succeed, I wash my hands of the whole business, do you hear? After I had been in hiding in the secret passage in the keep, and had heard Bernard telling his valet after supper that he was going out of his mind on account of the beautiful Edmee, I happened to throw out a suggestion that there might be a chance here of doing a good stroke of business; and like a fool you took the matter seriously, and, without consulting me or waiting for a favourable moment, you went and did a deed that should have been thought over and properly planned.'
" 'A favourable moment, chicken-heart that you are! How the deuce was I to get one? "Opportunity makes the thief." I find myself surprised by the hunt in the middle of the forest; I go and hide in that cursed Gazeau Tower; I see my turtle-doves coming; I overhear a conversation that might make one die of laughing, and see Bernard blubbering and the girl playing the haughty beauty; Bernard goes off like an idiot without showing himself a man; I find on me--God knows how--a rascally pistol already loaded. Bang! . . .'
" 'Hold your tongue, you wild brute!' said the other, quite frightened. 'Do you think a tavern is the proper place to talk of these things? Keep that tongue quiet, you wretched creature, or I will never see you again.'