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on second thoughts accepted the invitation, costly trinket was intended as a present to not having, indeed, any good reason to offer bis only child, a daughter who had lately for declining it. Having taken leave of the married a wealthy baronet. general, therefore, he proceeded towards “ We will none of us leave this room unhome, and announced their rencontre to his til it is found !" exclaimed one of the gentlewife. She, poor woman, immediately took men with ominous emphasis. out his well-saved suit, and occupied her. “That decision,” said a young man, who self in repairing, as best she might, the cruel was engaged that night to a ball, "might ravages of time; as well as in starching quarter us on our bost for an indefinite time. and ironing an already snowy shirt to the I propose a much more speedy and satishighest degree of perfection.
factory expedient: let us all be searched.” Next day, in due time, he arrived at Gen. This suggestion was received with laugheral Vernon's handsome temporary dwelling, ter and acclamations ; and the young man, and received a cordial welcome. A dozen presenting himself as the first victim, was guests, civilians as well as soldiers, sat searched by the valet, who, for the nonce, down to a splendid banquet. After dinner, enacted the part of custom-house officer. the conversation happened to turn on the The general, who at first opposed this piece recent improvements in arts and manufac. of practical pleasantry, ended by laughing tures; and comparisons were drawn be at it; and each new inspection of pockets tween the relative talent for invention produced fresh bursts of mirth. Captain displayed by artists of different countries. Dutton alone took no share in what was Watchmaking happened to be mentioned as going on: his hand trembled, his brow one of the arts which had during late years darkened, and he stood as much apart as been wonderfully improved, the host de possible. At length his turn came; the sired his valet to fetch a most beautiful lit- other guests had all displayed the contents tle watch, a perfect chef d'oeuvre of work of their pockets, so with one accord, and manship, which he had lately purchased in amid renewed laughter, they surrounded Paris ; and which was less valuable for its him, exclaiming that he must be the guilty richly-jewelled case, than for the exquisite one, as he was the last. The captain, pale perfection of the mechanism it enshrined. and agitated, muttered some excuses, unThe trinket passed from band to hand, and heard amid the uproar. was greatly admired by the guests: then “Now for it, Johnson !" cried one to the the conversation turned on other topics, and valet. many subjects were discussed, until they ad. “Johnson, we're watching you !” said journed to the drawing-room to take coffee. another ; "produce the culprit.”
After sitting there a while, the general The servant advanced; but Dutton crosssuddenly recollected his watch, and ringing ing his arms on his breast, declared in an for his valet, desired him to take it from the agitated voice, that, except by violence, no dining room table, where it had been left, one should lay a hand on him. A very and restore it to its proper place. In a awkward silence ensued, which the general few moments the servant returned, looking broke by saying: “Captain Dutton is right; somewhat frightened; he could not find the this child's play has lasted long enough. I watch. General Vernon, surprised, went claim exemption for him and for myself.” himself to search, but was not more fortu- Dutton, trembling and unable to speak, nate.
thanked his kind host by a grateful look, "Perhaps, sir, you or one of the company | and then took an early opportunity of withmay have carried it by mistake into the drawing. General Vernon did not make the drawing-room ?"
slightest remark on his departure, and the "I think not; but we will try.”
remaining guests, through politeness, imiAnother search, in which all the guests tated his reserve; but the mirth of the joined, but without avail.
evening was gone, every face looked anxious, “What I fear,” said the general, “is that and the host himself seemed grave and some one by chance may tread upon and thoughtful. break it."
Captain Dutton spent some time in General Vernon was a widower, and this wandering restlessly on the sands before he
returned home. It was late when he en- of being suspected by you of a crime, my tered the cottage, and his wife could not distress should never have been known ! repress an exclamation of affright when she “A life of unblemished honor," replied saw his pale and troubled countenance. his friend, " bas placed you above the reach
"What bas happened ?” cried she. of suspicion ; besides, look bere !" And he
“Nothing," replied her husband, throwing showed the missing watch. “It is I," conhimself on a chair, and laying a small packet tinued he,“ who must ask pardon of you all. on the table. “You have cost me very In a fit of absence I had dropped it into my dear," he said, addressing it. In vain did waistcoat-pocket, where, in Johnson's preshis wife try to soothe him, and obtain an ence, I discovered it while undressing." explanation. “Not now, Jane,” he said; “If I had only known !" murmured poor "to-morrow we shall see. To-morrow I Dutton. will tell you all.”
“Don't regret what has occurred,” said Early next morning he went to General | the general, pressing his band kindly. “ It Vernon's house. Although he walked reso has been the means of acquainting me with lutely, his mind was sadly troubled. How what you should never have concealed from could he present himself? In what way an old friend, who, please God, will find would he be received? How could he some means to serve you.” speak to the general without risking the In a few days Captain Dutton received reception of some look or word which he another invitation to dine with the general. could never pardon! The very meeting All the former guests were assembled, and with Johnson was to be dreaded.
their host, with ready tact, took occasion to He knocked; another servant opened the apologize for his strange forgetfulness about door, and instantly gave him admission. the watch. Captain Dutton found a paper “ This man, at all events,” he thought, within the folds of his napkin : it was bis " knows nothing of what has passed.” Will nomination to an honorable and lucrative the general receive him? Yes; he is post, which insured competence and comfort ushered into his dressing-room. Without to himself and his family. Jaring to raise his eyes, the poor man began to speak in a low hurried voice. “General Vernon, you thought my con
From Elias Cook's Journal." duct strange last night; and painful and humiliating as its explanation will be, I feel
THE PAINTER'S SECRET. it due to you and to myself to make it.” His auditor tried to speak, but Dutton
BY PERCY B. ST. JOHN. went on, without beeding the interruption. “My misery is at its height: that is my Charles Dupont dwelt in one of those only excuse. My wife and our four little numerous small apartments which form the ones are actually starving !"
summit of nearly all large hotels or man"My friend !" cried the general with sions in Paris. He was a young man about emotion. But Dutton proceeded.
twenty, and as he stood at his garret window " I cannot describe my feelings yesterday in the light of the summer's sun, smoking, as while seated at your luxurious table. I artists are wont to smoke, a short pipe, he thought of my poor Jane, depriving herself looked handsome, and for many women capof a morsel of bread to give it to her baby ; tivating. He was pale, thin, and intellectualof my little pale, thin Annie, whose delicate looking, with long hair, mustaches, and beard. appetite rejects the coarse food which is To an indifferent observer, he presented the all we can give her; and in an evil hour I aspect of one who was simply indulging in transferred two pátés from my plate to my the pleasures of tobacco smoke; but such pocket, thinking they would tempt my little was not the case. The house he occupied darling to eat. I should have died of shame ran round three sides of a square court, the had these things been produced from my fourth being taken up by the wall of the pocket, and your guests and servant made next house. On the opposite side of the witnesses of my cruel poverty. Now, court, on the same floor as that occupied by general, you know all; and but for the fear himself, was the apartment of a work-girl.
This young person was remarkably pretty, | than ever by the sweet smile that sat upon and bad been often remarked by the young her face, and by her really singular beauty. artist, with at first only the admiring eye of An idea flashed across his mind. He took a painter, but afterwards with more tender off his working blouse, passed his hand interest.
through his hair, took his hat, and went out She was a very industrious girl. She of his room, locking the door behind him. rose early, almost with the sun, and went to He moved rapidly and boldly to the door bed late, as the young artist knew, for he of the young girl. Once in front of it he often noticed her candle burning until mid- halted. Charles was brave; and would night. Almost alone in the world, without have defended a barricade with cool defriends, save a few students like himself, termination ; but here he hesitated. MusCharles Dupont felt irresistibly drawn to- tering courage, however, he knocked gently. wards that happy smiling face, which had The instant he had done so, he would have so often formed the charm of his garret given the world to have been away, and his window. Of late the young man seemed heart beat so violently he could almost hear unusually fond of smoking. Every moment its throbbings. not taken up by his art was occupied in in “ What is it I can do for Monsieur ?" said haling the fragrance of the Indian weed. the young girl, smiling and blushing, as on He scarcely ever went out now, bis walks opening the door she recognized her handin search of scenery were abandoned, and some neighbor the artist. he never joined his more noisy companions · Mademoiselle,” said Charles, with conat those public estaminets, where the young siderable hesitation, “I fancied by your hopes of France spend their hours in play. flowers, and your dress, that to-day was ing billiards, cards, dominoes, in drinking your fête. I am your neighbor, and I unnumbered glasses of beer, and in black- thought I might take the liberty to come ening short clay pipes—a perfect science in and wish you a happy one.” the city of Paris. But then Charles Dupont “Monsieur is very good. We are old was in love, and much as the cold-hearted neighbors it is true, though we have never and worldly may sneer, the influence of this spoken—" passion, when sincere and pure, is always “ It has not been for the want of wishbeneficial to a young man. The change it ing on my part,” exclaimed the artist, produced in Charles was that always inci- eagerly. dent to elevated and superior minds, gener The young girl looked at Charles. There ally the simplest. He had no care now for was so much modesty, resigned and respectnoisy pleasures. His dream was to be near ful affection in the expression of his face, the unknown idol of his heart, to sit by her, that she could not for a moment confound to read to her, to talk to her, and as these him with the usual mass of young men, who could not be, he was satisfied to gaze on her caught by her pretty face had sought to from a distance.
make her acquaintance. She held out her Plans upon plans were laid by the young hand. man to make the acquaintance of his fair “Since we are neighbors, let us be friends," mistress ; but, like all sincere lovers, in the said she. outset, he was timid. He remarked with “Oh, thank you,” exclaimed Charles, with pleasure that she had very few visitors, and a burst of genuine gratitude. “ Mademoithose always of her own sex None ever selle, you do me good. I have no friends. escaped his jealous eye, who entered that I scarcely ever see a human face which has room, and he never saw a man enter it. any sympathy for me. If Mademoiselle Charles sighed, however, deeply, for he too would only let me paint her portrait, it saw no chance of making his way to the side would give me so much pleasure.” of his beloved.
“But, Monsieur, it would be encroaching One day, it was in the month of May, the on your goodness,” replied Constance, who, young girl stood at her window, putting some however, looked excessively pleased. pretty flowers in water. She was dressed “You accept, then ?" better than usual, and had got up a little “Why, Monsieur, I never had my portrait later. Charles Dupont was more struck painted. How could I refuse ?"
“We would begin to-day ; but this is the happiest day which either had ever yet your fête. Would Mademoiselle allow me spent. the honor of taking her out for a walk ?" The acquaintance so pleasantly made vas
Constance, after a moment's hesitation, continued. Every morning they nodded to accepted. When one is young, one makes one another from their windows, and about friends so easily, especially in France; and mid-day, Constance gave the artist a sitting. then Charles had the talent of making Several times, too, Charles brought in himself liked by every body. He en- sketches to show her, and then in the eventered her little room, so neat, so clean, so ing he would get books from a cabinet de pretty, it made him sigh, as he compared it lecture and read to her. Every day their with his own bachelor den, where no wo happiness seemed to increase. They learned man's hand had for many months disturbed each other's good qualities. Charles was either dust or cobwebs. In ten minutes well-educated, well-read, with a fund of Constance was ready. She put on a nice anecdote, and rich stores of knowledge. bonnet and a neat shawl, the fruits of her Constance knew little, but she was an apt industry, and then tripped down stairs scholar. She had a quick intelligence, a noble happy as a bird, for we may as well reveal and generous heart, and she was pure and a secret. Constance had for more than a innocent as a child. month longed as much to make the pale For some weeks the lovers, for such they young artist's acquaintance, as he had to now were, went on happier each day than make hers.
the last. The portrait made little progress, They made for the Boulevards mechani- because Constance could spare little time, and cally, as every body does, followed them some because Charles talked more than he painted. distance, crossed the magnificent Place de la Still it went on. At the end, however, of a Concorde, the finest Place in the world, month, Constance remarked that Charles was entered the Champs Elysées, and by common paler than usual, that his spirits seemed gone, consent made for the Bois de Boulogne. It he brought no book in the evening, and went was a lovely day. But though they had away early to bed. She questioned him, poor both seen many such, yet they thought they girl, for she was deeply anxious. She feared never had. They scarcely spoke. They he was falling ill, that he was going to die, walked arm in arm, side by side, and in the and then, poor orphan child what was to wood hand-in-hand. Once Charles asked become of her. For Constance loved him Constance if she enjoyed herself.
dearly, as women only love men who are “ I am so happy," she replied, raising her above the common mass, men of mind and dove-like eyes beaming with happiness intellect, though women who can love such towards him.
men are more rare and precious than aught There was something in the words, in the else in the world. look, which made the young man's heart! She watched narrowly the painter's face, beat with intense emotion. Thus passed the and the wild eye and haggard looks made day in occasional conversation, in constant her see that the sufferings of Charles were walking until both felt hungry. They then more mental than any thing else. The mind entered the house of a humble traiteur, and was ill at ease. She offered to go in and the young artist offered his fair friend a very work in his room, while he painted, but he plain dinner, but which neither would have stammered out some excuse, and declined. It exchanged for the feasts of the Palais. was clear then he bad a secret, and woman's National. Happy age! happy feelings ! curiosity was at once at work. She queshappy Charles ! happy Constance! tioned him, she coaxed, she was cross with
Towards dusk they returned to Paris, and him, but all in vain, he returned but vague the young man insisted, on the occasion of answers to all she said. Constance became of the girl's fête, upon taking her to the uneasy: what could be the matter! He theatre. They selected a moderate-priced became paler every day, and came less to seat, and here again, the thing being rare to see her. One day she heard him leave his both, enjoyed themselves exceedingly. On room and go hurriedly down stairs. She leaving the theatre they walked quietly ran out to speak to him, to ask when he home and parted, to think with rapture on would come back, but he was gone. His key was in his door. Moved by an irresisti- | morning had been thus profitably spent ble influence she entered his room. It was a that the afternoon passed more gayly, more miserable garret, containing nothing save a quickly, more delightfully than usual. few paintings and a mattress on the floor. “Welcome, Constance," she said as the Not a chair, not a table, not a scrap of any work-girl was ushered into her breakfastthing in the shape of clothes or food. room. I was waiting impatiently for you. Constance rushed out of the room, turned My cousin Pierre is coming to take me for the key, gained her own lodgings, threw a drive in the Bois de Boulogne by and by, herself on her bed and sobbed aloud. and I want to wear that cloak, which no Charles was starving. A few pawn- doubt you have made charmingly." broker's tickets lying on the mantel-piece “I hope it will please you, Madame,” rehad more than anything else convinced plied Constance, taking a proffered seat. her of this fact.
“What is that you have in that square The pain and suffering now endured by parcel, child ? and why are you so out of Constance is not to be described. Her feel-/ breath and so pale ?" ings were worked up to an intense pitch of “It is a whole history," said Constance, excitement. Far from finding her affection lowering her eyes upon the ground. lessened at the discovery of the student's “Let me have it. You know I am vastly poverty, she found it much increased. An curious. Take this cup of chocolate, and unearthly interest seemed now attached to tell it me at once.” the name of Charles. She felt his talents to Constance, taking courage from the emerbe great, and in her heart was sure that he gency, told, in as few words as possible, her would rise to competence and fame. But at history. She narrated how she made the that moment he was clearly starving. What acquaintance of the painter, and then how, was she to do? She would have rushed to after nearly a month's delay, she bad found him, have told him all, and bid him share her out his secret. Madame Pellissier listened humble meal, use her little savings, and thus with rapidly awakened interest. gain time to work; but she feared to wound! “And what would you have me do, his pride. He had hitherto kept his own child ?” said she, when the young girl had secret, he therefore wished his sufferings to told her story. be concealed from her. In vain she thought “Madame, Charles Dupont is very proud. of any project for relieving his misery, with. Relief in money he would not receive, but out betraying her full knowledge of it. The if you would only be so good as to sit for poor girl wept bitterly at her own want of your portrait to him, you would add deeply inventive genius.
to that debt of gratitude which Constance At last, however, an idea flashed across already owes you." her mind. She caught up some work she “ With pleasure,” cried the young widow. had finished the night before, and putting it " But it seems the case is pressing. Give in a neat parcel, hurried down stairs, taking me his address, and I will send round to with her also the half-finished portrait of him at once. But I cannot pay him for the herself by Charles. She gained the street, portrait until it be finished. Has he any and made towards the habitation of a lady thing I can buy of him.” for whom she had been working. Madame “He has several little pictures in his Pellissier was a young widow, rich, courted, room," replied Constance, in a tone of deep and happy. With every luxury and com- emotion. fort around her, which wealth could give, “Go home, child, and be satisfied. My she deserved her well-being, for she made cousin shall ride alone to-day. I will write good use of it. Fond of pleasure, she was round to your protégé at once." even still fonder of giving pleasure to others. “But, Madame, not a word of me.” Many were the poor families which owed to “Never fear, Constance; I know your her relief from misery and despair. Ma- good little heart.” dame Pellissier would always give up the About an hour later, Charles was crouchmost charming day's amusement, to find out ing on his mattress, his hands covering his the details of some tale of sorrow which face in mute despair, when a knock came to had been told her; and she felt, when her the door. He started, rose, opened the door