« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
for opening a wound which is scarcely yet I “I fear, my good friend," said I, “ that healed. I can guess the rest of your story. this conversation is too fatiguing for you; The strange similarity of Eulalie's and your do not recall to your mind circumstances misfortune awakened her father's interest in which appear so painful. I shall never foryou, and you became another child to him.” give myself for occasioning you such an hour
“Yes, I became another child to him, and of grief." Eulalie was a sister to ie; my kind adopt. “It is not you," replied Gervais, “who ed mother and I went to take up our abode bring back these recollections, for these in the new house, which is called the Cha thoughts are never absent from my mind ; teau. Eulalie's masters were mine; together and I would ratber that it was annihilated we learned those divine strains of harmony than that they should ever cease to ocwhich raise the soul to heaven, and together, cupy it; my very existence is mixed up by means of pages printed in relief, we | with my sorrow.” I had retained Gervais's read with our fingers the sublime thoughts hand; he understood, therefore, that I was of the philosophers, and the beautiful crea- listening to him. tions of the poets. I endeavored to imitate “After all, my reminiscences are not ensome of their graceful images, and to paint tirely made up of bitterness ; sometimes I what I had not seen. Eulalie admired my imagine that my present affliction is only a verses, and this was all I desired. Ah! if dream-that my real life is full of the hapyou bad heard her sing, you would have piness which I have lost. I fancy that she thought that an angel had descended to is still near me, only perhaps a little farther entrance the valley. Every day in the fine off than usual—that she is silent because season we were conducted to this rock, she is plunged in deep meditation, of which which is called by the inhabitants of this our mutual love forms a principal part. part le Rocher des Aveugles;' here, too, the One day we were seated as usual on this kindest of fathers guided our steps, and rock, and were enjoying the sweetness and bestowed on us numberless fond attentions. serenity of the air, the perfume of our vioAround us were tufts of rhododendrons, lets, and the song of the birds ; upon this ocbeneath us was a carpet of violet. and casion we listened with a curious kind of daisies, and when our touch had recognized, pleasure to the masses of ice which, being by its short stalk and its velvety disk, the loosened by the sun, shot hissingly down last-named flower, we amused ourselves in from the peaks of the mountain, We could stripping it of its petals, and repeated a distinguish the rushing of the waters of the hundred times this innocent diversion, which Arveyron. I do not know how it was, but served as a kind of interpretation to our we were both suddenly impressed with a first avowal of love."
vague sensation of the uncertainty of hapAs Gervais proceeded, his face acquired piness, and at the same time with a feeling a mournful expression, a cloud passed over of terror and uneasiness; we threw ourselves his brow, and he became suddenly sad and into each other's arms, and held each othsilent; in his emotion he trod unthinkingly er tightly, as if somebody had wished to upon an Alpine rose, which was, however, separate us, and both of us exclaimed already withered on its stalk; I gathered it eagerly, “Ah, yes ! let it be always thus, without his being aware of it, for I wished always thus. I felt that Eulalie scarcely to preserve it in remembrance of him. breathed, and that her overwrought state of Some minutes elapsed before Gervais seemed mind required to be soothed. “Yes, Euinclined to proceed with his narrative, and I lalie, let us ever be thus to one another ; the did not like to speak to him: suddenly he world believes that our misfortune renders passed his hand over his eyes, as if to drive us objects only of pity, but how can it posaway a disagreeable dream, and then turn-sibly judge of the happiness that I enjoy in ing towards me with an ingenuous smile, he your tenderness, or that you find in mine! continued.
| How little does the turmoil and excitement “ Be charitable to my weakness, for I am of society affect us; we may be regarded young, and have not yet learned to control by many as imperfect beings, and this is the emotions of my heart; some day, per- quite natural, for they have not yet dishaps, I shall be wiser.”
covered that the perfection of happiness consists in loving and in being loved. It is not thought that my heart would burst; I wished your beauty which has captivated me, it is to die at that moment, but, alas ! I did not something which cannot be described when die. I do not know how happiness affects felt, nor forgotten when once experienced; others, but mine was imperfect, for it was it is a charm which belongs to you alone- without hope or calmness. I could not sleep, which I can discover in your voice, in your or rather I did not attempt to sleep, for it mind, in every one of your actions. Oh! if seemed to me a waste of time, and that ever I enjoyed sight, I would entreat God eternity would not be sufficiently long to to extinguish the light of my eyes in order enjoy the felicity which was in store for that I might not gaze at other women—that me; I almost regretted the past, which, my thoughts might only dwell upon you. It though it lacked the delicious intoxication is you who have rendered study pleasing to of the present moment, was yet free from me—who have inspired me with taste for doubts and fears. At length I heard the art: if the beauties of Rossini and Weber household stirring; I got up, dressed myimpressed me strongly, it was because you self, performed my morning devotions, and sang their glorious ideas. I can well afford then went to my window, which looked out to dispense with the superfluous luxuries of upon the Arve. I opened it, stretched forth art, I who possess the treasure from which my head in the morning mists to cool my it would derive its highest price ; for surely burning brow. Suddenly my door opened, thy heart is inine, if not thou couldst not and I recognized a man's footstep; it was be happy.'
not M. Robert; a hand took hold of mine"* I am happy,' replied Eulalie, 'the hap- | •M. Maunoir !' exclaimed I. piest of girls.'
“It was a great many years since he had “My dear children,' said M. Robert, while been to the Valley ; but the sound of his he joined our trembling hands, I hope you footstep, the touch of his hand, and somewill always be equally happy, for it is my thing frank and affectionate in his manner, desire that you should never be separated. brought him back to my remembrance.
"M. Robert was never long absent from L “ It is indeed he,' observed M. Maunoir, us; he was ever bestowing upon us marks in a faltering voice, to some one near him, of his tenderness. Upon this occasion he it is indeed my poor Gervais. You rehad reached the spot where we were seated member what I said to you about it at that without our having been aware of his pres- time. He then placed his fingers on my ence, and he had heard us without inten- eyelids, and kept them up for a few seconds. tionally listening. I did not feel that I was · Ah,' said he, ‘God's will be done! You in fault, and yet I was overwhelmed, embar- are happy, at any rate, are you not, Gerrassed. Eulalie trembled. M. Robert placed vais ?' himself between us, for we had withdrawn “Yes, very happy,' replied 1. M. a little from each other.”
Robert considers that I have profited by "* Why should it not be as you wish ?' | all his kindness; I assure you I can read said he, as he threw his arms around us, as well as a person who is gifted with and pressed us close together, and embraced sight ; above all, Eulalie loves me.' us with more than usual warmth, Why "She will love you, if possible, still more not ! Am I not sufficiently rich to procure if she should one day be able to see you.' you servants and friends. You will have “If she sees me, did you say ?? children who will replace your poor old fa! “I thought he alluded to that eternal ther; your infirmity is not hereditary. Re- home where the eyes of the blind are opened, ceive iny blessing, Gervais, and you, my and darkness visits them no more. Eulalie. Thank God, and dream of to- “My mother, as was her custom, brought morrow, for the day which will shine upon me here, but Eulalie had not arrived ; she is to-morrow will be beautiful even to the was later than usual. I began to wonder blind.'
how this could have happened. My poor “ Eulalie embraced her father, and then little Puck went to meet her, but he returnthrew her arms around me; for the first ed to me again without her. At length he time my lips touched hers. This happiness began to bark violently, and to jump so imwas too great to be called happiness. I patiently up and down on the bench, that I felt sure that she must be near me, though for who is the beautiful girl who would I could not hear her myself. I stretched bestow her affection on a blind lover! Oh! myself forward in the direction she would unfortunate creature that I am to be blind; come, and presently my arms were clasped in my despair I fell to the earth; she wound in hers. M. Robert had not accompanied her arms round me, twined her fingers in her as usual, and then I began at once to my hair, and covered me with kisses, while feel sure that his absence, and Eulalie's | she sobbed like a child. delay in reaching our accustomed place of “No, no! I will never love any one but rendezvous, was to be attributed to the pre-Gervais. You were happy yesterday, in sence of strangers at the Chateau. You thinking we were blind, because our love will think it very extraordinary when I tell would never be likely to change. I will be you that Eulalie's arrival, for which I had blind again, if my recovery of sight makes 80 ardently longed, filled me with a restless you unhappy. Shall I remove this bandage, sensation, which had hitherto been unknown and cause the light of my eyes to be for to me. I was not at ease with Eulalie as I ever extinguished ! Horrible idea, I had had been the day before. Now that we actually thought of it.' belonged to each other, I did not dare to “-Stop, stop,' cried I, ‘our language is make any claim on her kindness; it seemned that of madness, because we are both unto me that her father, in bestowing her on nerved and ill,-you from excess of happime, had imposed a thousand restrictions; Iness, and I from despair. Listen,' and I felt as if I might not indulge in a word or placed myself beside her, but my heart felt caress; I was conscious that she was more ready to break. “Listen,' continued I, “it than ever mine, and yet I did not venture to is a great blessing that you are permitted embrace her. Perhaps she experienced the to see, for now you are perfect; it matters same feelings, for our conversation was at not, if I do not see, or if I die ; I shall be first restrained, like that of persons who are abandoned, for this is the destiny which not much acquainted with each other; how- God has reserved for me, but promise me ever, this state of things could not last long, that you will never see me; that you will the delicious happiness of the past day was never attempt to see me; if you see me, still fresh in our minds. I drew near to you will, in spite of yourself, compare me to Eulalie, and sought her eyes with my lips, others,—to those whose soul, whose thoughts but they met a bandage.
may be read in their eyes, to those who set "" You are hurt, Eulalieľ
a woman fondly dreaming with a single "• A little hurt,' replied she, but very glance of fire. I would not let it be in your slightly, since I am going to spend the day power to compare me; I would be to you with you, as I am in the habit of doing; what I was in the mind of a little blind girl, and that the only difference is, that there is as if you saw me in a dream. I want you a green ribbon between your mouth and my to promise me that you will never come eyes.'
here without your green bandage; that you “Green! green! Oh, God! what does will visit me every week, or every month, that mean? What is a green ribbon ? or at least once every year ;-ah! promise
"* I have seen,' said she, “I can see,' and me to come back once more, without seeing her 'hard trembled in mine, as if she had me.' apprised me of some fault or misfortune. “I promise to love you always,' said
"•You have seen,' exclaimed I, you will | Eulalie, and she wept. see! Oh! unfortunate creature that I am ! "I was so overcome that my senses left Yes, you will see, and the glass which has me, and I fell at her feet. M. Robert lifted hitherto been to you a cold and polished me from the ground, bestowed many kind surface, will reflect your living image ; its words and embraces upon me, and placed language, though mute, will be animated; me under the care of my adopted mother. it will tell you each day that you are beau- Eulalie was no longer there; she came the tiful! and when you return to me it will next day, and the day after, and several make you entertain only one feeling towards days following, and each day my lips touched ime, that of pity for my misfortunes. Yet the green bandage which kept up my deluwhat do I say you will not return to me; / sion; I fancied I should continue to be the same to her as long as she did not see me. I that the books which she selected for reading I said to myself with an insane kind of rap- to me were of a different character to those ture, “My Eulalie still visits me without she used to like ; she seemed now to be more seeing me; she will never see me, and there- pleased with those writers who painted the fore I shall be always loved by her. One busy scenes of the world, she unconsciously day, a little while after this, when she came showed great interest in the description of a to visit me, and my lips sought her eyes as fête, in the numerous details of a woman's usual, they, in wandering about, encountered toilet, and in the preparations for, and the some long silky eyelashes beneath her green pomps of, a ceremony. At first I did not bandage.
imagine that she had forgotten that I was “Ah! exclaimed I, “if you were likely blind, so that though this change chilled, it to see me.
did not break my heart. I attributed the “ I have seen you,' said she, laughingly; alteration in her taste, in some measure, to what would have been the good of sight the new aspect things had assumed at the lo me, if I had not looked upon you? Ah! Chateau ; for since M. Maunoir had performed vain fellow, who dares set limits to a wom: one of the miracles of his art upon Eulalie, an's curiosity, whose eyes are suddenly M. Robert was naturally much more inclined opened to the light ?'
to enjoy society and the luxuries which “. But it is impossible, Eulalie, for you fortune had bestowed upon him; and as soon promised me.'
as his daughter was restored to him in all "I did not promise you any thing, dear- the perfection of her organization, and the est, for when you asked me to make you height of her beauty, he sought to assemble, this promise, I had already seen you. | at the Chateau, the numerous travellers that
«• You had seen me, and yet you con- the short summer season brought to the tinued to come to me; that is well ; but neighborhood. whom did you see first ?
“ The winter came at length, and M. “«M. Maunoir, my father, Julie, then this Robert told me, after slightly preparing me, great world, with its trees and mountains, that he was going to leave me for a few days, the sky and the sun.'
—for a few days at the most,--he assured “« And whom have you seen since ? me that he only required time to procure
“« Gabriel Payot, old Balmat, the good and get settled in a house at Geneva, before Terraz, the giant Cachat, and Marguerite,' he would send for me to join them; he told “ • And nobody else ?'
me that Eulalie was to accompany him; and, ". Nobody
at length, that he intended to pass the winter “ How balmy the air is this evening! | at Geneva ; the winter, which would so soon take off your bandage, or you may become be over, which had already began. I reblind again.'
mained mute with grief. Eulalie wound her “* Would that grieve me so much ? I tell arms affectionately round my neck. I felt you again and again, that the chief happi- they were cold and hung heavily on me; if ness I have in seeing, is to be able to look my memory still serves me she bestowed on at you, and to love you through the medium me all kinds of endearing and touching apof another sense. You were pictured in my pellations; but all this was like a dream. soul as you now are in my eyes. This fac- After some hours I was restored to my ulty, which has been restored to me, serves senses, and then my mother said, 'Gervais, but as another link to bring me closer to they are gone, but we shall remain at the your heart; and this is why I value the gift | Chateau. From that time I have little or of sight.'
nothing to relate. “ These words I shall never forget. My “In the month of October she sent me a days now flowed calmly on and happily, for ribbon with some words printed in relief, hope so easily seduces; our mode of life was they were these :- This ribbon is the green considerably changed, and Eulalie endeav. ribbon which I wore over my eyes—it has ored to make me prefer excitement and never left me; I send it you.' In the month variety of amusement, instead of the tranquil of November, which was very beautiful, some enjoyment which had formerly charmed us. servants of the house brought me several After some little time I thought I observed | presents from her father, but I did not inquire about them. The snow sets in in long silky coat, and with a slight pang at my December, and, oh! heavens, how long that heart, in which there was no feeling of anger, winter was ! January, February, March, I said, “Go." He flew back to Gervais like an April, were centuries of calamities and tem-arrow. Gervais will not be alone at any pests. In the month of May the avalanches rate, thought I. fell everywhere except on me. When the | A few days afterwards I found myself at sun peeped forth a little, I was guided, by Milan. I was not in spirits for enjoying my wish, to the road which led to Bogsons, society, yet I did not altogether avoid mixing for this was the way the muleteers came ; at in it; a crowded room is, in its way, a vast length, one arrived, but with no news for me; solitude, unless you are so unfortunate a and then another, and after the third I gave person as to stumble upon one of those neverup all hope of hearing from my absent tiring tourists whom you are in the habit of friends ; I felt that the crisis of my fate meeting occasionally on the Boulevards at was over. Eight days after, however, a Tortoni's, or with whom you have gaped letter from Eulalie was read to me; she away an hour at Favert's, one of those dressed. had spent the winter at Geneva, and was up puppies with fashionable cravat and pergoing to pass the summer at Milan. My fumed hair, who stares through an eye-glass, poor mother trembled for me, but I smiled; with the most perfect assurance imaginable, it was exactly what I expected. And now, and talk at the highest pitch of their voice. sir, you know my story, it is simply this, “What I are you here t” cried Roberville. that I believed myself loved by a woman, “Is it you ?” replied I He continued to and I have been loved by a dog. Poor Puck !” chatter, but his words were unheeded by Puck jumped on the blind man.
me, for my eyes suddenly fixed upon a young "Ah!" said he, "you are not my Puck, I girl of extraordinary beauty; she was sitting but I love you because you love me.” alone, and leaning against a pillar in a kind of
"Poor fellow," cried I, “ you will be loved melancholy reverie. by another, though not by her, and you will “Ah! ah !” said Roberville, “I underlove in return; but listen, Gervais, I must stand; your taste lies in that direction leave Chamouny, and I shall go to Milan. Well, well, really in my opinion you show I will see her. I will speak to Eulalie, I considerable judgment. I once thought of swear to you, and then I will return to you. her myself, but now I have higher views" I, too, have some sorrows which are not as “Indeed,” replied I, as I gazed at him from suaged; some wounds which are not yet head to foot, “ you do not say so." healed.” Gervais sought for my hand, and “Come, come,” said Roberville, “I perpressed it fervently. Sympathy in misfor-ceive your heart is already touched, you are tune is so quickly felt. “You will, at least, occupied only with her; confess that it would be comfortably provided for ; thanks to the have been a sad pity if those glorious black care of your protector, your little portion of eyes had never been opened to the light." land has become very fruitful, and the good " What do you mean ?" Chamouniers rejoice in your prosperity. “What do I mean? why, that she was Your prepossessing appearance will soon born blind. She is the daughter of a rich gain you a mistress, and will enable you to merchant of Anvers, and his only child ; be find a friend."
lost his wife very young, and was plunged " And a dog ?” replied Gervais.
in consequence in the profoundest grief." “Ah! I would not give mine for your • “Do you believe it ?” valley or mountains if he had not loved you, “I should think so, for he quitted Anbut now I give him to you."
vers, gave up bis mercantile pursuits, which • Your dog !” exclaimed he. “ Your dog; had never been more profitable to him than ah! he cannot be given away."
at that time, and, after making magnificent “Adieu, Gervais !"
presents to those persons employed in his I did not speak to Puck, or he would have service, and pensions to his servants, left his followed me; as I was moving on I saw house and occupation." Puck looked uneasy and ashamed; he drew “And what became of him afterwards to back a step, stretched out his paws, and bent said I, somewhat impatiently, for my curidown his head to the ground. I stroked his losity was gradually increasing.