But, when his nephew, leaning an elbow on the table, covered his eyes thoughtfully and dejectedly with his hand, the fine mask looked at him sideways with a stronger concentration of keenness, closeness, and dislike, than was comportable with its wearer's assumption of indifference.
`Repression is the only lasting philosophy. The dark deference of fear and slavery, my friend,' observed the Marquis, `will keep tee dogs obedient to the whip, as long as this roof,' looking up to it, `shuts out the sky.'
That might not be so long as the Marquis supposed. If a picture of the chaateau as it was to be a very few years hence, and of fifty like it as they too were to be a very few years hence, could have been shown to him that night, he might have been at a loss to claim his own from the ghastly, fire-charred, plunder-wrecked ruins. As for the roof he vaunted, he might have found that shutting out the sky in a new way--to wit, for ever, from the eyes of the bodies into which its lead was fired, out of the barrels of a hundred thousand muskets.
`Meanwhile,' said the Marquis, `I will preserve the honour and repose of the family, if you will not. But you must be fatigued. Shall we terminate our Conference for the night?'
`Sir,' said the nephew, `we have done wrong, and are reaping the fruits of wrong.'
`We have done wrong?' repeated the Marquis, with an inquiring smile, and delicately pointing, first to his nephew, then to himself.
`Our family; our honourable family, whose honour is of so much account to both of us, in such different ways. Even in my father's time, we did a world of wrong, injuring every human creature who came between us and our pleasure, whatever it was. Why need I speak of my father's time, when it is equally yours? Can I separate my father's twin-brother, joint inheritor, and next successor, from himself?'
`Death has done that!' said the Marquis.