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him with unwearying solicitude passionate earnestness, imploring that through his delicate infancy, had de- his father might be allowed to leave voted themselves to his education his prison for a single hour, under when he grew older, and had con- good guard, to visit the bedside of sented with difficulty and regret to his expiring wife, in presence of such part from him, when his arrival at witnesses as the authorities would man's estate rendered it desirable he think proper to name. The reply to should visit the capital for the con- this prayer was a formal and decided clusion of his studies. Dominique negative. Until the prisoner Lafon repaid their care with devoted love. had undergone a second examination, His father's consistency and strength no one could be admitted to see him of character inspired him with re- under any pretext whatever. That spect; he listened to his precepts with examination was not to take place veneration and gratitude ; but he for at least a week. Dominique idolised his mother, whose feminine was very sure, from what the phygraces and tender care were inter- sicians had told him, that his motwined with the sweetest reminiscences ther could not survive for a third of childhood's happy days. He now of that time. strove to repay some portion of his The frigid manner and unsymdebt of filial love by the most un- pathising tone of the magistrate, and wearying attendance at the invalid's the uncourteous brevity of his refusal, pillow. His arrival brought a gleam grated so unpleasantly upon the irriof joy and hope to the sick woman's tated feelings of the student, that he brow, but the ray was transient, and had difficulty in restraining a momenquickly faded. The vital flame had tary anger. In less imminent circumsunk too low to revive again per- stances, his pride would have premanently. She grew weaker and vented his persisting in a petition weaker, and felt that her hour ap- thus unkindly rejected, but the thought proached. But her spirit, so soon to of his dying mother brought patience appear before her Maker, yet clung and humility to his aid. Warmly, to an earthly love. Whilst striving but respectfully, he reiterated his to fix her thoughts on things heavenly, suit. The magistrate was a widower, they still dwelt upon him by whose but he had children, to whom report side she had made life's checkered said he was devotedly attached. pilgrimage. She wrung her hands in Harsh and rigid in his official duties, agony at the thought that she must in his domestic circle he was said to leave the world without bidding him be the tenderest of fathers. Domia last farewell. She asked but a mo- nique had heard this, and availed of ment to embrace him who, for five- it in pleading his suit. and-twenty years, had been her guar- “You have children, sir !” he said; dian and protector, her_tenderest “you can picture to yourself the grief friend and companion. Dominique you would feel were your deathbed could not endure the spectacle of her unblessed by their presence. How grief. He left the house to use every doubly painful must be the parting endeavour to obtain for her the in- agony, when the ear is unsoothed by dulgence she so ardently desired. the voice of those best beloved, when

The first person to whom he ap- no cherished hand is there to prop the plied was the Judge of Instruction, sinking head, and close the eyes for Monsieur Noell. Provided with a ever on this world and its sufferings ! medical certificate of his mother's Refuse not my father the consolation dying state, he obtained admission to of a last interview with his dying that magistrate's cabinet. He found wife! Have compassion on my poor a tall thin man, with harsh strongly mother's agony! Suffer her to breathe marked features, and a forbidding her last between the two beings who expression of countenance. The glazed share all her affection! So may your stare of his cold gray eyes, and the own deathbed be soothed by the cruel lines about his mouth, chilled sence of those you most dearly love !" Dominique's hopes, and almost made Doubtless Monsieur Noell's ear was him despair of success. The youth well used to such pleadings, and his preferred his request, however, with heart was hardened by a long course



of judicial severity. His glance lost In his dreams he heard his mother's nothing of its habitual cold indiffer- well-known voice, mournfully proence, as he replied to Dominique's nouncing the name of her beloved passionate entreaties with a decided husband, and praying, as she had negative.

done in the last hours of her life, that "I must repeat my former answer,' she might again behold him before he said ; “I neither can nor will grant she departed. Nor were these visions the indulgence you require. And dissipated by daylight. They recurnow I will detain you no longer, as red to his excited imagination, and you may perhaps make use of your kindled emotions of fierce hatred time to greater advantage in other towards the man who had had it in his quarters."

power to smooth his mother's passage He rose from his chair, and re- from life to death, and who had wanmained standing till Dominique left tonly refused the alleviation. Nay the room. The tone of his last words more ; convinced of his father's innohad wellnigh crushed_hope in the cence, Dominique considered the young man's bosom. But as long as judge who had thrown him into prison à possibility remained, the student as in some sort his mother's murderer. pursued it. He betook himself to the He had accelerated her decease, and Procureur du Roi, whose office consti- thrown gall into the cup it is the lot tuted him public prosecutor in cases of of every mortal to drain. The physithis kind." That functionary declared cians had declared anxiety of mind himself incompetent, until the pri- to be the immediate cause of her soner should have undergone another death. Dominique brooded over this examination. Until then, the only declaration, and over the misfortunes appeal from the judge was to the that had so suddenly overtaken him, minister of justice. Dominique in- until he came to consider M. Noell stantly drew up and forwarded a as much an assassin as if he had petition ; but before it reached Paris, struck a dagger into his mother's his mother breathed her last. She heart. “What matter," he thought, met her death, preceded and attended " whether the wound be dealt to body by acute sufferings, with the resigna- or to soul, so long as it slays ?" He tion of a martyr. But even after the had nothing to distract his thoughts last sacrament of her religion had from dwelling upon and magnifying been administered, and when she the wrongs that had deprived him of earnestly strove to fix her mind on

both parents, one by death, the other eternity, to the exclusion of things by an imprisonment whose terminatemporal, the thought of her husband, tion he could not foresee. At times so long and tenderly beloved, and his melancholy was broken by bursts absent at this supreme hour, intruded of fury against him he deemed the itself upon her pious meditations, cause of his misfortunes. brought tears to her eyes, and drew 66 Could I but see him die!” he heartrending sobs from her bosom; would exclaim, “ the cold blooded her last sigh was for him, her latest heartless tyrant-die alone, childless, breath uttered his name. This fer- accursed, without a friendly hand to vent desire, so cruelly thwarted, wipe the death-sweat from his face ! those tears of deferred hope and final Then, methinks, I could again be profound disappointment, were inex- happy, when his innocent victim was pressibly painful to contemplate. thus revenged. Alas, my mother ! Upon Dominique, whose love for his my poor, meek, long-suffering mother, mother was so deep and holy, they must your death go unrequited ? For made a violent impression. Bitter what offence was your life taken as were his feelings as he sat beside her atonement ? By what vile distortion couch when the spirit had fled, and of justice did this base inquisitor gazed upon her clay-cold features, visit upon your innocent head a transwhereon there yet lingered a grieved gression that never was committed ?" and suffering expression. And later, Meanwhile the captivity of the when the earth had received her into elder Lafon was prolonged. A second its bosom, that pallid and sorrowful examination relaxed nothing of his countenance was ever before his eyes. jailor's severity, and his son's applications to see him were all rejected. ing brow, gazing at the small grated Dominique wrote to his father, but aperture that gave light and air to his he received no answer; and he after father's cell, and hoping to see his wards learned that his letter had not beloved parent look out and recognise been delivered when sent, but had him. He gazed in vain : twilight been detained by Noell, who, finding came, night followed, no one appeared nothing criminatory in its contents, at the window. Dominique knew not had subjected it, with characteristic that it was high above the prisoner's suspicion, to chemical processes, in reach. He returned home, fancying hopes to detect writing with sym- his father ill, nourishing a thousand pathetic ink, and had finally made it bitter thoughts, and heaping up fresh accessory to an attempt to extort a hatred against the author of so much confession from the prisoner. This misery. That night Michel, the old information, obtained from an under- servant, came twice to his room door, strapper of the prison by means of a to see what ailed him, since, instead large bribe, raised Dominique's exas- of retiring to rest, he unceasingly peration to the highest pitch.

paced the apartment. Dominique "Gracious Heaven !" he exclaimed, dismissed the faithful fellow to his bed, " are such things to be endured in and resumed his melancholy walk. silence and submission ? Has human But in the morning he was so pale justice iron scourges for nominal of- and haggard that Michel slipped out fences,-honours and rewards for real to ask the family physician to call in crimes ? On a false accusation my by accident. When he returned, father pines in a dungeon, whilst my Dominique had left the house. In mother's murderer walks scatheless great alarm-for his young master's and exalted amongst his fellows; but gloomy despondency at once suggested if the laws of man are impotent to fear of suicide-Michel tracked his avenge her death, who shall blame steps. His fears proved unfounded. her son for remembering her dying With some trouble he ascertained that agony, and requiting it on those who Dominique had quitted the town on aggravated her sufferings?”

the top of a passing diligence, with a And he walked forth, pondering valise for sole baggage, and without vengeance. Unconsciously his steps informing any one of the object of his took the direction of the prison. Long journey. he stood, with folded arms and lower


Antony Noell, the judge, had three collegians ; whilst peaceable citizens children, and report lied not when it and demure young ladies regarded said that he was tenderly attached to them with mingled aversion, interest, them. A harsh and unfeeling man in and curiosity, on account of certain his official capacity, and in the ordi- mad pranks, by which, during their nary affairs of life, all the softer part first half-year's residence, they had of his nature seemed to have resolved gained a certain notoriety in the quiet itself into paternal affection. His two city of Toulouse. sons were students at the university It happened one night, as the broof Toulouse ; his youngest child, a thers came both flushed with play and blooming maiden of twelve, still wine from their accustomed coffeebrightened his home and made his house on the Place du Capitole, that heart joyful, although she soon was Vincent, the elder of the two, stumbled to leave him to finish her education over the feet of a man who sat upon in a convent. The two students were one of the benches placed outside the gay handsome lads, but somewhat establishment. The passage through dissipated ; fonder of the bottle and the benches and tables was narrow; the billiard-room than of grave lec- and the stranger, having thrust his tures and dry studies. They were in legs nearly across it, had little reason small favour with their pedagogues, to complain of the trifling offence ofbut in high repute with their fellow fered him. Nevertheless he jumped to laid upon

his feet and fiercely taxed young Noell resistance to Wellington's conquering with an intentional insult. Noell, forces, the combatants met at the apfull of good humour and indifferent pointed hour, and saluted each other wine, and taking his interlocator for with cold courtesy. Dominique was a fellow student, made a jesting re- pale, but his hand and eye were steady, ply, and seizing one of the stranger's and his pulse beat calmly. The two arms, whilst his brother Martial Noells were cheerful and indifferent, grasped the other, dragged him into and bore themselves like men to whom the lamp-light to see who he was. But encounters of this kind were no novelty. the face they beheld was unknown to The elder brother took the first turn. them; and scarcely had they obtained The seconds asked once more if the afa glimpse at it when its owner shook fair could not be peaceably arranged ; them off, applying to them at the same but, receiving no answer, they made time a most injurious epithet. The the final arrangements. Two peeled students would have struck him, but willow rods were

the ground, he made a pace backwards, and, seiz, six yards apart. At ten yards from ing a heavy chair which he whirled either of these the duellists were placed, over his head as though it had been a making the entire distance between feather, he swore he would dash out them six and twenty yards; and it was the brains of the first who laid a finger at their option, when the seconds gave on him.

the word, either to advance to the “I do not fight like a water-car- barrier before firing, or to fire at once, rier," he said, " with fists and feet; or from any intervening point. but if you are as ready with your The word was given, and the antaswords as you are with your insolence, gonists stepped out. Vincent Noell you shall not long await satisfac- took but two paces, halted and fired. tion."

He had missed. Dominique continued And offering a card, which was at steadily to advance. When he had once accepted, he received two in re- taken five paces, the seconds looked turn. The disputants then separated; at each other, and then at him, as if and as soon as the Noells turned out expecting him to stop. He took no of the square, they paused beneath a notice, and moved on. It was a lamp to examine the card they had minute of breathless suspense. In the received. Inscribed_upon it was the dead silence, his firm tread upon the name of Dominique Lafon.

grass was distinctly audible.

He It was too late, when this quarrel paused only when his foot touched the occurred, for further steps to be taken willow wand. Then he slowly raised that night; but early on the following his arm, and fired. morning Dominique's second, a young The whirling smoke prevented him lawyer whom he had known during for an instant from discerning the effect his studies at Paris, had an interview of his shot, but the hasty advance of with the friends appointed by the the seconds and of two surgeons who Noells to act on their behalf. The had accompanied them to the field, latter anticipated a duel with swords, left him little doubt that it had told. and were surprised to find that Domi- It had indeed done so, and with fatal nique, entitled, as the insulted party, effect. The unhappy Vincent was to fix the weapon, selected the more bathed in his blood.

The surgeons dangerous and less usual one of pistols. hastened to apply a first dressing, but They could not object, however, and their countenances gave little hope of the meeting was fixed for the next a favourable result. day; the arrangement being that both Pale and horror-stricken, not with brothers should come upon the ground, personal fear, but with grief at his and that, if Dominique was unhurt in brother's fate, Martial Noell whispered the first encounter, the second duel his second, who proposed postponing should immediately succeed it. the second duel till another day.

In a secluded field, to the right of Dominique, who, whilst all his comthe pleasant road from Toulouse to panions had been busy with the Albi, and at no great distance from wounded man, had remained leaning the tumulus on whose summit a stone against a tree, his discharged pistol in pillar commemorates Soult’s gallant his hand, collected and unsympathising, stepped forward on hearing this if by word of command, simultaneously proposition.

discharged. This time both balls took " Another day?" said he with a effect. The one that struck Domicruel sneer. “Before another day nique went through his arm, without arrives, I shall doubtless be in prison breaking the bone, and lodged in his for this morning's work.

But no

back, inflicting a severe but not a matter; if the gentleman is less ready dangerous wound. But Martial Noell to fight than he was to insult me, let was shot through the head. him leave the field.”

The news of this bloody business The scornful tone and insinuation soon got wind, and the very same day brought a flush of shame and anger it was the talk of all Toulouse. Marto the brow of the younger Noell. He tial Noell had died upon the spot; his detested himself for the momentary brother expired within forty-eight weakness he had shown, and a fierce hours. The seconds got out of the flame of revenge kindled in his heart. way, till they should see how the

“Murderer!” he exclaimed, “my thing was likely to go. Dominique's brother's blood calls aloud for ven- wound prevented his following their geance. May Providence make me example, if he were so disposed ; and its instrument !"

when it no longer impeded his moveDominique replied not. Under the

Under the ments, he was already in the hands same conditions as before, the two of justice. Frantic with grief on young men took their stations. But learning the fate of his beloved sons, the chances were not equal. Domi- Anthony Noell hurried to Toulouse, nique retained all his coolness; his and vigorously pushed a prosecution. opponent's whole frame quivered with He hoped for a very severe sentence, passionate emotion. This time, neither and was bitterly disappointed when was in haste to fire. Advancing Dominique escaped, in consideration slowly, their eyes fixed on each other, of his wounds and of his having been they reached at the same moment the the insulted party, with the lenient limits of their walk. Then their doom of five years' imprisonment. pistols were gradually raised, and, as


Five years of absence from home should be guarded in his own house. may glide rapidly enough away, when The recommendation was forwarded passed in pursuit of pleasure or profit; to Paris, but the same post took a dragged out between prison walls, letter from Anthony Noell, and a few they appear an eternity, a chasm days brought the physician's dismisbetween the captive and the world. sal and an order for the close confineSo thought Dominique as he re- ment of Lafon, Examinations folentered Montauban, at the expiration lowed each other in rapid succession, of his sentence. During the whole but they served only to torment the time, not a word of intelligence had prisoner, without procuring his rereached him from his home, no friend- lease; and after some months he ly voice bad greeted his ear, no line died, his innocence unrecognised. of familiar handwriting had gladdened The cause of his death, and the cirhis tearless eyes. Arrived in his cumstances attending it, were loudly native town, his first inquiry was for proclaimed by the indignant physihis father. Pascal Lafon was dead. cian; and Dominique, on his return The fate of his wife and son bad to Montauban, had no difficulty in preyed upon bis health ; the prison obtaining all the details, aggravated air had poisoned the springs of life in probably by the unpopularity of the the strong, free-hearted man. The judge. He heard them with unchangphysician declared drugs useless in ing countenance; none could detect a his case, for that the atmosphere of sign of emotion on that cheek of liberty alone could save him; and he marble paleness, or in that cold and recommended, if unconditional release steadfast eye. He then made inquiries were impossible, that the prisoner concerning Anthony Noell. That

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