jueves, 22 de febrero de 2018


False Angostura

Héloïse de Villefort had, in all aspects save one, the gift that the true scientist must desire: that detachment from human loves and hatreds that allowed her to perform certain actions and to observe the results, without distressing herself about the means that she was obliged to employ.
Or, indeed, the obstacles that she was obliged to remove.
She listed them, carefully but without feeling, as she might have made an inventory of the instruments and chemicals in her possession:
Monsieur and Madame de Saint-Méran.
Noirtier de Villefort.
Yes, Valentine was the crux. Valentine was the point where it all met: two noble lines; two inheritances. Valentine was the final, the most important, link in the chain. And Valentine was young. Had she only had the grandparents to consider, Héloïse might have been patient; she might have left matters to nature. As things were, that was out of the question.
She had no quarrel with Valentine. Had she ever wanted a stepdaughter, she could not have asked for a meeker, sweeter, more pliant, one. But Héloïse de Villefort had not asked to become a stepmother when she was herself barely out of her teens. And when she became a mother – well.
Neither one of them desired Valentine's inheritance for herself. Valentine had a detachment of her own, an infuriating indifference to her own fortune. Why, it was scarcely a year ago that she would have renounced it all, and her freedom as well – would have confined herself to a convent for the rest of her life, would have flung aside all the riches that Héloïse would have crawled on the floor to retrieve. Not for herself. No, not for herself.
'Oh, but if she had!' Héloïse whispered to herself.
Well, there was no use thinking about that. Valentine was to inherit a vast fortune from her grandparents. Valentine was to be married.
This, of course, was entirely as matters should be. And Valentine's stepmother was obliged every day to agree that nothing could be more suitable than the match with Franz d'Epinay, to wish her a long and happy marriage, to accept with a gracious smile society's praise of her obedient stepdaughter.
No, there was nothing to complain at in Valentine's behaviour. She was inconvenient, that was all it was. Inconvenient as her maternal grandparents had been. Inconvenient as her paternal grandfather still was.
Héloïse de Villefort felt no more for Valentine than she felt for any of her scientific explorations. No – less, for she granted to this particular vial a respect that she afforded no human being. Sometimes she took it out and held it up, this little bottle of liquid, so that the light shone through it and made it glow. She murmured its names aloud, when nobody could hear her. Nux vomica. Saint Ignatius' nut. False angostura.
It had one name that she did not ever utter, not even to herself. And in this name was its power. This it was that would grant her the power to take life, and bestow riches where they were rightly due.
What, beside that, was Valentine?

No hay comentarios:

Publicar un comentario