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riage was out of the question till Eugène selves at the entrance of the village, where had some means of maintaining her. At the church stood, and beside it the small present, he had nothing; he was an advocate house occupied by the curé. It had a little without a brief, and had been hitherto garden in front, and under the porch sat a living on the small stipend allowed by his very ancient woman, basking in the sun uncle; starving himself three quarters of the Her head shook with palsy, her form was year, in order that he might have the means bent, and she had a pair of long knittingof spending the other quarter at the Beau- needles in her hands, from her manner of gency mansion. And what a long time might using which I perceived she was blind. The elapse before he could make any thing by his priest invited me to walk in, informing me profession! It was, as they both agreed, that that was Rosina; and adding, that if I désespérant.
liked to rest myself for half an hour, he These events occurred in the early years would ask her to tell me the rest of the of the French Republic, when France was story. Feeling assured that some strange at war with all the world, and soldiering catastrophe remained to be disclosed, I the best trade going. “I'll enter the army,' eagerly accepted the good man's offer; and said Eugène; it is the profession I always having been introduced to Henriette's forpreferred, and that for which I have most mer companion, whose memory, in spite of talent, and the only one in these times by | her great age, I found perfectly clear, I said which a man can hope to rise rapidly. At I feared it might give her pain to recall the bar I may wait for years without getting circumstances that were doubtless of a disany thing to do. Besides, I am intimate tressing nature, with a son of General Duhamel's; and I “Ah, madame," said she, “it is but putknow he will speak a good word for me, ting into words the thoughts that are always and get his father to push me on.' Of course in my head! I have never related the sad there were objections to this plan on the tale but twice ; for I would not, for my dear part of Henriette, but her lover's arguments mistress's sake, speak of such things to the overcame them; and after repeated vows people about here ; but each time I slept of fidelity, they parted, he to fulfil his in-better afterwards. I seemed to have lighttentions, and she to remain at home with ened the heaviness of my burden by imRosina and an elderly female relative who parting the secret to another." came to live with her-a plan she preferred “You were very much attached to Mle. to accepting her brother's invitation to de Beaugency ?" said I. reside with him in Catalonia, where she “My mother was her nurse, madame, but would have been exposed to the constant we grew up like sisters," answered Rosina. visits of the count: whereas, now that her “She never concealed a thought from me: father was dead, he could not with pro- and the Virgin knows her thoughts will priety visit her at ber own house. It ap- never keep me an hour out of Paradise, for peared afterwards that he had only been there was no more sin in them than a butdeferring his proposals till what he con- terfly's wing might bear.” sidered a decorous moment for making them; “I suppose she suffered a great deal when being meanwhile assured of the brother's she heard of her cousin's death ?" said I. support, and having little doubt of being “How long was it before she married the accepted since the state of M. de Beau count! For she did marry him I conclude, gency's affairs was disclosed. But before | from what I have heard ?" that moment came, a circumstance occurred “Ay, madame, she did, about a year after . to facilitate his views, in a manner he little the-the news came, worse luck! Not that expected; for, eager to distinguish himself she was unhappy with him exactly. He did under the eye of his commanding officer, not treat her ill; far from it; for be was Eugène de Beaugency, with the ardor and passionately fond of her. But he was jealinexperience of youth, had rushed into ous-Heaven knows of whom, for he had needless danger, and fallen in the very first nobody to be jealous of. But be loved like battle his regiment was engaged in.” a hot-blooded Spaniard, as he was ; and I
By the time my companion had reached suppose he felt that she did not return his this point in his narration, we found our love in the same way. How should she,
when she bad given her whole heart to her but before I reached it, he had opened the
felt on hearing this,” continued the old wom“But surely this place is very dismal too?" an. “A black curtain seemed to fall before said I.
my eyes, on which I could read Woe! woe! " Dismal !” said she. “Ay, now, I dare say, woe! I could not tell what form it would because there's a curse on it; but not then. take; I never could have guessed the form Oh, it was a pleasant place in old M. de it did take; but I saw that behind the dark Beaugency's time! besides, my poor mistress screen which veiled the future from my eyes loved it for the sake of the happy days she there was nothing but woe on the face of the had seen there; and when the period ap- earth for those three creatures. The Lord proached that she was to be confined of her have mercy upon them! thought I; and for first child, she entreated her husband to the world to come, I hope my prayer may bring her here. She wanted to have my have been heard—but it was of no avail for mother with her, who had been like a mother this !" to her ; and as she told him she was sure "Well, madame, my first fear was, that she should die if he kept her in Catalonia, the count would return and find him there, he yielded to her wishes and we came. The for well I knew there would be blooddoctor was spoken to, and every thing ar- shed if they met; so without answering his ranged; and she was so pleased, poor thing, questions, I entreated him to go away inat the thoughts of having a baby, that as stantly to my mother's, promising that I we used to sit together making the clothes would follow him presently, and tell hini for the little creature that was expected, every thing; but this very request, together she chatted away so gayly about what she with the agitation and terror her saw me in, would do with it, and how we should bring made him suspect the truth at once; and it up, that I saw she was now really be seizing my arm with such violence that I ginning to forget that she was not mar. bore the marks of his poor fingers for many ried to the husband her young heart had a day afterwards, he asked me if she was chosen.
married. “She is,' said I: 'she thought * Well, madame,” continued Rosina, after you were dead; she had no money left ; and wiping her sightless eyes with the corner of you know it was her father's dying injuncher white apron—"we were all, as you will tion that— “Married to the Spaniardunderstand, happy enough, and looking for. to Ruy Gonzalez l' said he, with such a face, ward shortly to the birth of the child, when, the Lord deliver me! (and the old woman one afternoon, whilst my master and mis- paused for a moment, as if to recover from tress were out driving, and I was looking the pain of the recollection.) “Yes,' said through the rails of the garden gate for the I, 'to Ruy Gonzalez; and if he sees you carriage—for they had already been gone here he'll kill you!' 'Let him !' said he ! longer than usual-I saw a figure coming But it will be her death,' said I; 'and hastily along the road towards where I she's-she's' – I hadn't the heart to go stood, a figure which, as it drew near, on. • What ?" said he.
“In the family brought my heart into my mouth, for I way–near her confinement,' I answered. thought it was an apparition! I just took He clenched his two fists and clapped them a second look, and then, overcome with ter on his forehead. 'I must see her,' said he. ror, I turned and ran towards the house ; l'Impossible ! I answered; he never leaves
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her for a moment.' Where are they nowľ two minutes during the whole evening. he asked. “Out driving,' said I. In a This conduct was so unusual, that it was dark-blue carriage ? • Yes; and I expect plain to me he suspected something; bethem every minute. Go, go, for the Lord's sides, I saw it in his countenance, though I sake, go to my mother's!' “I saw the car. did not know whether his suspicions had riage,' said he, with a bitter smile. "It been roused by my paleness and agitation, or passed me just this side of Noirmoutier. whether any thing else had awakened them; Little I thought and his lip quivered but I felt certain afterwards that be had for a moment, and his features were con- seen the poor young man when the carriage vulsed with agony. 'I will, I must see her,' passed him; or, at least, been sufficiently continued he; and you had better help struck with the resemblance to put the true me to do it, or it will be the worse for us interpretation on my confusion. Well, ma. all. Hide me in her room; he does not dame, you may imagine what an evening I sleep there, I suppose l' •No,' I replied ; spent. I saw clearly that he was determined .but he goes there often to talk to her when not to leave me alone with his wife; but she is dressing.' • Put me in the closet,' this was not of so much consequence, since said he; there's room enough for me to I had resolved not to give her a hint of shat crouch down under the book-shelves. You had happened till the count had taken leare can then tell her; and when he has left her of her for the night, because I knew that for the night, you can let me out.' 'My her agitation would have betrayed the secret God! I cried, my knees beginning to shake In the mean while she suspected no mischief; under me, 'I hear the carriage; they'll be for although she observed something was here in an instant!' Do as you like!' | wrong with me, she supposed I was suffering said he, seeing the advantage this gave him: in my mind about a young man I was en'if you won't help me to see her, I'll see gaged to marry, called Philippe, who had her without you. I shall stay where I am !' | been lately ill of a fever, and was now said and he struck his cane into the ground with to be threatened with consumption. a violence that showed his resolution to do “Whilst I pretended to be busying myself what he threatened. Come away, for the in my lady's room, they went out to take a Lord's sake!' cried I, for the carriage was stroll in the garden ; and when I saw them close at hand, and there was not a moment safe at the other end, I put my lips to the to spare; and seizing him by the arm, I keyhole, and conjured Eugène, for the sake dragged him into the house ; for even now of all that was good, to be still; for that I he was half inclined to wait for them, and was certain it would not only be his death, I saw he was burning to quarrel with the but my mistress's too, if he were discovered; count. Well, I had just time to lock him and he promised me he would. I bad scarceinto the closet, and put the key in my pocket, ly got upon my feet again, and turned to before they had alighted and were walking open a drawer, when I heard the count's foot up the garden.
in the salon. The countess is oppressed " You may conceive, madame, the state Iwith the heat,' said he,' and wants the large was in when I met the count and my lady; green fan ; she says you'll find it on one of and my confusion was not diminished by the shelves in the closet.' finding that he observed it. What is the “Only think, madame! only think !" said matter, Rosina l said he; 'has any thing Rosina, turning her wrinkled face towards unusual happened !' and as he spoke he me, and actually sbaking all over with the fixed his dark, piercing eyes upon me in recollection of her terror. "I thought I such a way that I felt as if he was reading should have sunk into the earth! I stood my very thoughts. I affected to be busy for a moment aghast, and then I began to about my mistress, keeping my face away fumble in my pocket. “Where can the key from him ; but I knew he was watching me be ?" said I, pretending to search for it; but for all that. Generally, when they came my countenance betrayed me, and my voice home, he used to retire to his own apart. sbook so, that he read me like a book. I ment, and leave his wife with me; but now am sure he knew the truth from that mohe came into the salon, took off his hat, and ment. He looked hard at me, whilst his sat himself down; nor did he leave her for face became quite livid; and then he said
in a calm, deep voice : 'For the fan, no the count wished to leave the house, which,
vooned; for when I came tainly, for I knew that he loved my mistress to myself it was nearly dark; I was lying to madness. on the floor, and could not at first remember "Well, madame, I passed the day more what had happened. When my recollection peacefully than I could have hoped; but returned, I crawled to the bed, and burying my mind being somewhat relieved about my face in the pillows, I gave vent to my my lady, I began to think a little of myself, anguish in sobs and tears ; for I loved my and to wonder what the count meant to do mistress, madame, and I loved M. Eugène, with me. I felt certain he would never let and I knew there would be deadly mischief me see her again if he could help it, and amongst them. I expected that the count that alone was a heart-breaking grief to me; would break open the closet, and that one and then it came into my head that perhaps or both would be killed ; and considering he would confine me somewhere for life the state she was in, I did not doubt that shut me up in a convent perhaps, or a madthe grief and fright would kill the countess house! As soon as this idea possessed me, also. You may judge, madame, what a it grew and grew till I felt as if I really night I passed ! sometimes weeping, some was going mad with the horror of it; and I times listening : but I could hear nothing resolved, though it was at the risk of breakunusual; and at length I began to fancy ing my neck, to try and make my escape by that the conflict had occurred whilst I was the window during the night. It looked to lying in the swoon. But how had it termi- the side of the house, and was not very high nated! I would have given worlds to know; up; besides, there were soft flower-beds but there I was, a prisoner, and I feared underneath to break my fall; so I thought that if I tried to give any alarm, I might by tying the sheets together, and fastening only make bad worse.
them to an iron bar that divided the lattice, Well, madame, I thought the morning I might reach the ground in safety. I was would never break; but at length the sun a little creature, and though the space was rose, and I heard people stirring. It seemed, not large, it sufficed for me to get through ; indeed, that there was an unusual bustle and when all was quiet, and I thought and running about ; and by and by I heard every body was in bed, I made the attempt, the sound of wheels and horses' feet in the and succeeded. I had to jump the last few court, and I knew they were bringing out feet, and I was over my ankles in the soft the carriage. Where could they be going? mould; but that did not signify-I was I could not imagine ; but, on the whole, I free; and taking to my heels, I ran off to was relieved, for I fancied that the meeting my mother's, who lived then in a cottage and explanation were over, and that now hard by, where we are now sitting; and
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after telling her what bad happened, it was ' I, sitting up in my bed and staring at agreed that I should go to bed, and that if bim wildly. What rats f-what closet i any body came to inquire for me she should Some closet in her bedroom,' said be. say I was ill of the fever, and could not be The count sent for Didier to wall it up seen. I knew when morning came I should directly! •To wall it up 1-wall up the be missed, for doubtless the count would go closet ? I gasped out. Yes, build and to my room; and besides that, I had left plaster it up. But what's the matter, Ro the sheets hanging out of the window. sina ? Oh, I shouldn't have told you the
" For two days, however, to my great countess was ill !' he cried out, terrified at surprise, we heard nothing ; but on the third, the agitation I was in, Leave me in the Philippe (the young man I was engaged to) name of God! I screamed, and send my hearing I was not at the Beaugency house, mother to me!' came to our cottage to inquire about me. “I remember nothing after this, madame, We had not met for some time, the countess for a long, long time. When my mother having forbidden all communication between came, she found me in my night-clothes, us, as she had a horrible dread of the fever, tying the sheets together in order to get out so that he could only hear of me through of the window, though the door was wide my mother. “Rosina is here, and unwell,' open ; but I was quite delirious. Weeks said my mother: 'we think she's got the passed before I was in a state to remember fever ;' for though we might have trusted or comprehend any thing. Before I recoF. Philippe with our lives, we thought it would ered my senses, my poor mistress and ber be safer for him to be ignorant of what had baby were in the grave, my master gone happened. Upon this he begged leave to away, nobody knew whither, the servants see me; and she brought him into my cham. all discharged, and the accursed house sbut ber. After asking about himself, and telling up. Not long afterwards the news came him I was very poorly, and so forth, he said: that the count had died in Paris." • This is a sad thing for the countess !' " But, Rosina," said I, “are you sure that • What is ?" I asked. “You're being ill at M. de Beaugency was in that closet ! Hos this time,' said he, 'when she must want do you know the count bad not first released you so much. What do you mean ? said him ?” I ; the countess is not at the house ?' " Ah, madame," she replied, ominously
Don't you know she's come back,' said he, shaking her palsied head, “ you would not ' and that she's ill! The doctor has been ask that question if you had known Ray sent for, and they say she's very bad.' Gonzalez as I did. The moment the words Gracious heavens !' I exclaimed ; 'is it were out of Philippe's mouth I saw it all possible? My poor dear mistress ill, and I It was just like him—just the revenge for not with her ! • Robert, the footman, that stern and inflexible spirit to take. Besays,' continued Philippe-- but he bade sides, madame, when all was over, and he me not mention it to any body--that when durst speak, Didier the mason told me that they stopped at the inn at Montlouis, Rateau nothing should ever convince him that there the landlord came to the carriage.door, and was not some living thing in that closet at asked if she had seen M. Eugène de Beau- the time he walled it up, though who ar gency; and that when the countess turned what it could be he never could imagine." quite pale and said, “Are you not aware “And do you think, Rosina," said I, “ do my cousin was killed in battle, M. Rateau l' you think the countess ever suspected the he assured her it was no such thing; for secret of that dreadful closet ?" that M. Eugène had called there shortly be | “Ay did she, madame," answered she; fore on his way to her house. Rateau must " and it was that which killed her; for have taken somebody else for him of course; when my mistress came back so unexpectbut I suppose she believed it, for she returnedly, the count was closeted up stairs with ed directly.' 'Rateau told her that he had his agent, making arrangements for quitting seen M. Eugène !' said I. “So Robert says; the place for ever, and had given orders not but Didier the mason says she was ill before to be disturbed. He had locked up her she went, and that it was the rats in the apartments, and had the key in his pocket; closet that frightened her.' . Rats!' said but he had forgotten that there was a spare