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44. THE UTILITY OF STOVEPIPES (continued)
There was an instant of profound silence between the two interlocutors. It was evident that the cardinal was weighing beforehand the terms in which he was about to speak, and that Milady was collecting all her intellectual faculties to comprehend the things he was about to say, and to engrave them in her memory when they should be spoken.
Athos took advantage of this moment to tell his two companions to fasten the door inside, and to make them a sign to come and listen with him.
The two Musketeers, who loved their ease, brought a chair for each of themselves and one for Athos. All three then sat down with their heads together and their ears on the alert.
"You will go to London," continued the cardinal. "Arrived in London, you will seek Buckingham."
"I must beg your Eminence to observe," said Milady, "that since the affair of the diamond studs, about which the duke always suspected me, his Grace distrusts me."
"Well, this time," said the cardinal, "it is not necessary to steal his confidence, but to present yourself frankly and loyally as a negotiator."
"Frankly and loyally," repeated Milady, with an unspeakable expression of duplicity.
"Yes, frankly and loyally," replied the cardinal, in the same tone. "All this negotiation must be carried on openly."
"I will follow your Eminence's instructions to the letter. I only wait till you give them."
"You will go to Buckingham in my behalf, and you will tell him I am acquainted with all the preparations he has made; but that they give me no uneasiness, since at the first step he takes I will ruin the queen."
"Will he believe that your Eminence is in a position to accomplish the threat thus made?"
"Yes; for I have the proofs."
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