Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

ground, and felt that her cheeks were queline unconsciously went on, and said glowing like peony roses, without hav. in the same tone as her scholar— Nous ing the remotest idea of the cause, as aimons,” we love; but suddenly she she rendered his Italian into French. corrected herself, and said the lesson “ J'aime,” I love.

was ill done. It was some time before he gained “ But it is no sin to be slow in learn. strength enough to go on to the second ing grammar," whispered Le_Blond, person.

and raised the band to his lips. To such Tu ame."

a truism as that it was impossible to She sighed, and actually blushed reply—and yet she appeared uneasy; again, as she responded

perhaps on account of the slow pro« Tu aimes," thou lovest.

gress they made in parsing ; but after a He continued—and involuntarily as somewhat embarrassing pause, they siit were, lifted her trembling hand to his multaneously returned to their lesson, heart.

and whispered at the same moment, as Egli ama,” he loves.

if in concord« Il aime,” she muttered in answer, « Nous aimons," we love. and lifted her eyes shyly to his face. This was the whole extent of their

He still held her hand pressed to his progress that day ; yet both fancied bosom, and forgetting his Italian entire- they had learned a great deal ; for the ly, continued in his own language. hearts of those young and innocent be. « Nous aimons," we love.

ings had learned a language that was “No, no,” exclaimed the teacher, neither French nor Italian; but more “you must say it in Italian.”

intelligible than either, more musical He looked into her beautiful black than the Tuscan; more graceful than eyes and repeated what he had said be- the French. Two hours passed in this fore,

lesson; and when at last they found « Nous aimons," we love.

they had to part, neither of them could But looking into such eyes is no be persuaded it had lasted twenty mi. great help to one's progress. So Jac. nutes.


From day to day their studiousness misery, winter came on apace, and increased ; and it may be remarked, stript the jasınine bower of its leaves, as a proof of the correctness of certain and shed sho wers of snow upon new theories in the art of teaching, the ground, that left every foot-print that they soon acquired a power of shamefully distinct. Their meetings carrying on a conversation without were now more rare, and only took having committed to memory a single place at church, or in some appointed rule of grammar. Le Blonde all this street; and then only for a moment. time was deeply in love with the man- But even these meetings were sometua-maker from Milan-Jacqueline thing; and spring they thought, with the son of the President of the would bring its leaves again to the Sovereign Court. But at last when bower. In the mean-time deep were they discovered their mistake it made the mutual protestations of love and no difference, except that it infused fidelity, but no less deep were the apinto the cup where Love had brimmed prehensions of them both that these before, a bitter drop of fear and disap- protestations were vain. One day pointment. But this bitter drop seem- Le Blond sat, immersed in melancholy ed by some chemical transmutation, of forebodings, in one of the principal which they poor souls were ignorant, coffeerooms of the city ; but the wine, to increase the strength of the though the best of the vintage of contents of the aforesaid cup a hun- Champagne, had no effect upon his dred-fold.

spirits. It was eight days since he “ Tis true,” sighed Le Blond, “ that had seen Jacqueline ; and all this time by birth I am a gentleman; I only wish she was going out to balls and parties Iwere rich !"

among the chief people of the town“ And I,” sighed Jacqueline, “ah! I ay, at that moment was gracing an only wish I were poor !"

assembly in the house of the President, And now, as if to increase their but two flights of stairs above his

humble warehouse! He had rushed -more deeply than you think. You -X. out to avoid the revelry, and fly from don't know me; but let us become ac

his own miserable thoughts. Near quainted. I am sure I can help you, him sat a gentleman in a grey riding, if you will only give me your conficoat—a man of middle age, calm and dence." silent. He looked at Le Blond, and “ You are very good,” sighed Le pledged him in a glass of Pontac. Blond, and shook his head.

" Have I not the honour of speak “ Has any one injured you?" ing to Monsieur Le Blond ?" he in By no means.' quired.

" Or a lover's quarrel ?" Le Blond looked at him closely, and • No, no, no quarrel !" recognised him, by a deep scar upon “ Or do you want money? I can his left cheek, to be a gentleman he help you to as much as you want." had seen frequently gazing upon him Le Blond looked astonished into the for the last two days : once he had long yellow face of the old man. come into his shop and bought some “Say the word,” he went on; thing; then he had beset him on the “how much? Two or three thousand street; then at church; then kept con- livres ? You are in luck's way, my stantly promenading in front of his friend, and may be the richest man in door; and now had addressed him here. Namur.

There was something repulsive in “How ?" the stranger's appearance ; a long hag “ That I will tell you whenever you gard countenance, and eyes that glow- wish to be so.” ed like flame. Le Blond answered his "Who wouldn't wish to be rich ?" inquiry

inquired Le Blond, with a faint smile. ** You don't seem in good spirits ?" “Good," said the stranger; “but continued the stranger.

we must leave this place, where so Perhaps so, sir," replied Le Blond; many eyes may be upon us. I am a " one isn't merry at all hours.”

stranger in Namur.

Will you accomDrink !" said the stranger. pany me to my hotel, and do me the

That has no effect," answer the honour to sup with me to-night !" other, despondingly.

Le Blond looked distrustfully at the • Indeed! I am distressed to hear stranger; but when he recollected it. Is there any thing I can do to that Jacqueline was, perhaps, at that serve you ?"

moment dancing above his small back

pa rlour, he resolved to accept the " Try me," rejoined the stranger; invitation for the sake of a little * you interest me deeply, young man, amusement.


[ocr errors]

" I can't say."


The stranger occupied two or three “ My course has happened to bring splendid apartments in the hotel;-a me here. Partly ennui, and partly a couple of servants flew at his bidding thirst of knowledge to regulate my mo to prepare a supper. Le Blond was tions. I have thoughts of going to wonderstruck at all he saw; for he Iceland as soon as the spring is a little perceived that the stranger in the grey advanced.” riding-coat must be a man of great “To Iceland ?-and is it long since wealth, who might have his choice of you left Asia ?” finer company than that of a humble The Chaldean appeared to consider laceman.

for a minute, and then said, “I think • With whom have I the honour to in about a fortnight from this time, it be?" inquired the young man mo- will be a hundred and twenty-two destly.

years since I left home.” “Call me only Abnbeker,” an “ My God !” exclaimed Le Blond, swered the other; “ by birth I am a “ a hundred and twenty-two years. Chaldean."

And how many years old are you, “My stars !-a Chaldean! How sir ?" come you into our parts, so far from

“Three hundred and twelve years Asia ?"


« Three hundred ”. cried Le “I make no turns, as you call it, of Blond.

my art, but this I can tell you, young " —And twelve years last month,” man, the lines of your face inforin me calmly repeated the stranger. “[ you will be rich and fortunate. Tell perceive you are a little surprised — me your exact position-you will find you think, perhaps, I am quizzing you; my assistance no affair of legerdebut when you know me a little better main. For example, are you in any you will think far otherwise. But mercantile difficulty? Do you need think just what you like; and never money?" trust to any man's words, but to his Le Blond laughed, and said, to try actions."

him, “ Perhaps I am ; what then ?" Le Blond thought it somewhat ex “ Ah! why did you keep this from traordinary, but resolved to let the old me so long? You should have told me gentleman go on with his hoax, being so at first. You are decreed to lift a determined not to be taken in.

treasure that lies hidden under the The servants announced supper, and ruins of Valerien des Anges." when Abubeker and Le Blond had “ A treasure?" taken their seats at the splendid table, “ Ay, and a great one." which was covered with the richest Why don't you lift it for yourself, wines and dishes, and were left again Master Abubeker?" alone,

“ Because it is not my fate; and, “Now, my good fellow," said the besides, I don't require it.” Chaldean, gaily, “throw aside all " When should I lift it ?" troublesome thoughts for a little ; “ As soon as you can make the jour. fill up a good bumper, and tell me ney." all your distresses in the same open

« Does it need no previous preparfamiliar way I have spoken to you." ations ?"

Le Blond took the advice as regard “ Not the least." ed the bumper, and towards the end Le Blond was somewhat startled by of the feast was lively and amused. the dry manner of the Chaldean, but The Chaldean exerted himself for his still believed he was amusing himself entertainment, but, in spite of all his with trying to cram him. efforts, he could not penetrate the “ se “ Very well, Master Abubeker," he cret sorrow” of his guest. Le Blond said, “ I will put you to the test. Towas very incredulous, and couldn't morrow morning I have a bill of exbring himself to swallow all the won- change to answer for five thousand derful narratives given by Abubeker livres; if this matter is so certain, as of his adventures by sea and land. you say, you will perhaps advance me

“Yes, yes, my good friend," he that sum, and I will faithfully repay said at last, offended at the old fellow's it when we dig up the treasure." exaggerations, “you tell your mar Le Blond, as he said this, fixed his vels very well, but do you fancy that eyes upon the Chaldean to enjoy his any sensible man would believe a confusion; but that individual never word of them ?"

altered a muscle of his features, and “ It makes no difference to me," only said quietly, * You shall have it, replied the other, “ whether you be my friend." He then turned the conlieve me or not; the loss is yours. versation into its former channel about But you may easily convince yourself his own wonderful adventures. that my studies have been pretty About midnight Le Blond rose to deep. Did you ever hear of necro. depart ; but out of delicacy to the

feelings of the impostor, he made no To be sure, but never believed in mention of the five thousand livres he it. It is a science that depends en- had promised. Moreover, his story of tirely on cheating and sleight of the bill of exchange was an invention hand.”

of the moment, to put an end to the " Likely enough, among you un- old man's rigmarole stories about his skilful Europeans. It is very differ- achievements. But Abubeker, retira ent, I assure you, in Chaldea." ing for a few minutes to another room,

- Will you let me see a turn of your brought with him four sacks of money, art?" inquired Le Blond, with a dis- and laid them on the table. He then dainful smile."

ordered an attendant to accompany

mancy ?!

Monsieur Le Blond home, and carry vant accompanied him to his dwelling, the gold to his house. Le Blond was and having delivered the sacks to the astonished; he thanked the old man amazed domestic who opened the door, courteously and went off. The ser. disappeared without saving a word.


This incident, as may easily be sup- received him in the friendliest way posed, interfered considerably with possible. Monsieur Le Blond's sleep. He be “ Have you discounted the bill ?" gan to believe the most unbelievable he inquired. things in the world. When he awak. Le Blond confessed his stratagem; ened next morning his first thought and after many apologies for it, told was of the Chaldean, as it used to be him he was now going to let him into of Jacqueline. “But with the morn- all the secrets he had. And this he ing calm reflection came," and he felt did. He told him every thing—the persuaded the old man had filled the whole story of the jasmin bowersacks with sand—for he had not as yet the lessons—the mistake about the opened them--and as the suspicion sisters Buonvicini—the love of Jaccrossed him, he sprang out of bed in a queline—the pride of General de Fano horrible rage, and rushed to the money--and his despair of ever attaining bags; but great was his astonishment the hand of the fair and noble lady. and we may add his gratification no The Chaldean listened with great less, to find that no sand was the con- attention. tents, but in each of the bags fifty “ Friend,” he said, after a long fit Louis d'or, new and shining as if that of thinking, “why should you demoment from the mint.

spair ? Lift the treasure, buy a noble "Forged to a certainty!" was his estate, and present yourself to the half-audible exclamation, as he hur- General as a lord of acres. He will nied for the scales. But the weight not refuse you his daughter.” was correct to the fraction of a grain, * Ah! don't deceive me with false the sound clear as bell-metal, and the hopes of a treasure.” honour and integrity of Abubeker as 1. What interest have I to deceive mdisputable as the holiness of Saint you ?” replied Abubeker to the inGudule. The poor young man was treaty which the glistening eye and grievously to be pitied; one after an- quivering lip of the young man showed other his faculties stood still; and in to proceed from the deepest recesses this interregnum of the reason, the of his heart. “ Deceive you !-No, existence of the treasure at Valerien no, my good friend—what deceit des Anges established itself as one of there has been has proceeded from the best authenticated events in his- yourself. You should not have told tory, whether sacred or profane. me that story about the bill of exWhat object, he thought, could any change." Le Blond hung down his man have in playing a trick on him head and blushed. “ But you don't at such an incredible expense. Vague like to be absent from home so long, hopes of wealth began to crowd into perhaps, as it will take you if you achis soul ; a vision of claiming the cept the treasure I offer you ?" rank that he inherited from his father, • What have I to do if I go?" inand of claiming at the same time an- quired Le Blond. other object dearer to his unsophisti “ Set your house in order," ancated heart than the rank of a crowned swered Abubeker; “tell no one of king. For Jacqueline was the aim what has passed between us; pretend and end of all his aspirations. It was that you must be absent some time on not long before he betook himself to business; or better than all, sell off Abubeker, determined to be a little your whole concern, root and branch, more communicative with him than for the treasure will make you indehe had previously been. The old pendent of trade or profession of any man, who did not seem, from the live- kind. If not, give over your property liness of his movements, to be nearly to the care of some friend." three hundred and twelve years of age, “ Shall I tell Jacqueline about it?"

“ About your going away from can be no harm in trying; I will lift home, and your certainty of soon be- the treasure.” ing in a condition to make her your When the appointed time came own, you may tell her without the every thing was arranged ; Jacqueline least fear of disappointment. But had been made acquainted with his breathe not a syllable of Valerien des hopes, and parted with him amid vows Anges—breathe not a syllable of the of eternal constancy and bright anticitreasure."

pations of a happy meeting. The shop . When should we start ?"

was closed and locked, and Le Blond “ In three days I leave Namur.” placed himself by the side of Abubeker

Le Blond promised to have all his in a handsome travelling carriage, and preparations made by that time; hurried from Namur when it

for,” as he thought to himself when pitch-dark at midnight. The first he had reached his back parlour once crack of the postilions' whips sounded more, “what have I to hope for if exactly as the cathedral clock struck Jacqueline can't be mine? Better to twelve. die-better to do any thing. There



The Chaldean remained quite un- subterranean treasures occurred to changed; quite as big-speaking, and his memory. He inquired of Abubeker cool and careless, as in the coffee- if they were likely to encounter any room at Namur. The whole day was thing of the kind ? spent in the close shut-up carriage, The Chaldean shook his head and with many changes of horses. The laughed. “ Nonsense!” he said weather was dull and rainy ; they “ Are you afraid of old women's did not even pause for refreshments, tales ?" but ate and drank in the carriage. Wine and conversation made them In the evening they pulled up at a get through the long evening very solitary hunting lodge, or something well; but Le Blond was dreadfuily of that kind, in the middle of a wood. fatigued, partly from having had no A sort of yager, in a handsome but sleep the night before, and partly from decayed uniformn, received the travel. the labours of the journey. The Chal. lers, and conducted them into a cham- dean did not fail in many extraordinary ber whose broken windows, repaired stories, of which he himself was usu. with pieces of paper, consorted very ally the hero, by way of diverting his well with the tattered remains of the companion. once splendid tapestry that hung from When the clock struck twelve, Abuthe mildewed walls. When a stove beker broke off in the middle of an had been lighted in this cheerless adventure, and when he observed the apartment, the Chaldean's servants extreme sleepiness of Le Blond, he brought in wine and some cold provis- stood in front of him, and said, in a ions, while the yager and his assist- solemn toneant spread a couple of mattrasses on “ You have not deceived me with the floor.

any falsehood ? it may bury both you “Do we spend the night here?" and me in the ruins.” inquired Le Blond, looking round “I assure you on my honour," with a disconsolate air, for the whole replied Le Blond, “with the excepplace appeared to him “uncanny." tion of the invention about the bill.

“ Ten steps from this are the ruins which”of Valerien des Anges. At midnight " That was wrong," replied the exactly—not an instant before, not an other, “ very wrong. But your sleepiinstant after-we must be there. Let ness on an occasion of such importance lis drink a little here in the meantime, -not to mention the interesting events and warm ourselves at the fire." I was telling you of-awoke my sus

A cold shudder passed through Le picion. I have met with cases of the Blond. All the horrible stories he kind when the experimentalist fell into had ever heard of awful apparitions a trance that lasted a whole month the that had taken place at the lifting of moment he had found the treasure."

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »