"By no means, madam," rejoined the doctor. "We have covenanted to pay the reward to the person who could give us the information we required."
"Well, sir! have I not given you part of it? And am I not prepared to give you the whole?"
"Certainly; but the misfortune is, that another person has been beforehand with you. We ascertained who the lady in the yellow domino was, and how she contrived to personate the face of the late Countess D'Ascoli, several hours ago from another informant. That person has consequently the prior claim; and, on every principle of justice, that person must also have the reward. Nanina, this bag belongs to you--come and take it."
Nanina appeared from the window-seat. Brigida, thunderstruck, looked at her in silence for a moment; gasped out, "That girl!"--then stopped again, breathless.
"That girl was at the back of the summer-house this morning, while you and your accomplice were talking together," said the doctor.
D'Arbino had been watching Brigida's face intently from the moment of Nanina's appearance, and had quietly stolen close to her side. This was a fortunate movement; for the doctor's last words were hardly out of his mouth before Brigida seized a heavy ruler lying, with some writing materials, on the table. In another instant, if D'Arbino had not caught her arm, she would have hurled it at Nanina's head.
"You may let go your hold, sir," she said, dropping the ruler, and turning toward D'Arbino with a smile on her white lips and a wicked calmness in her steady eyes. "I can wait for a better opportunity."
With those words she walked to the door; and, turning round there, regarded Nanina fixedly.