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Hark! she sings.
Her wreathed smiles and dimpling cheeks betray.
Loudly lilting at the milking with the rest;
The Mary we all loved the best.
And her parting grieves them sore.
And homeward you are going to the west;
To pleasure the old couple we love best.
And here she comes to tell you all the rest!
With a welcome home to Mary, you love best !
Richmond Harbour, Longford.
THE MYSTIC VIAL; OR, THE LAST DEMOISELLE DE CHARREBOURG.
BLASSEMARE, meanwhile, made his one of Le Prun's confidential advisers, toilet elaborately, and by ten o'clock has got the piece in his possession was in Paris. He stopped at the Hotel “Psha! you are jesting. Why, Secqville.
there are more blue coats than one in “ Is the Marquis yet risen ?” he the world." asked.
“I know ; but there is only one “ No ;" he was in his bed; he had Marquis de Secqville. And as I hapnot retired until very late, and must pened, purely accidentally, upon my not be disturbed.
honour, to witness with my own eyes “ But I must see him, my good no inconsiderable part of his last friend; his happiness, indeed his safety, night's adventure, it may be as well if depends upon my seeing him imme- he reserves his clever points of evidiately."
dence for Monsieur Le Prun, should Blassemare was so very urgent, that his suspicions chance to take an unat length the servant consented to de. fortunate direction." liver a note to his master.
• What adventure pray, sir, do you Rubbing his eyes, and more asleep speak of ?" than awake, the Marquis took the bil- “ Your interview with Madame Le let, and read
Prun, your unfortunate descent from
the balcony, your flight through the “ The Sieur de Blassemare, who park-door, and the disastrous severhad the honour of meeting the Mar- ance of a button and a specimen-bit quis de Secqville last night at the of velvet from your coat--in short, Chateau des Anges, implores a few my dear Marquis, you may, if you minutes' conversation without one mo- please, affect a reserve, which, indeed, ment's delay; by granting which the I should prefer to a frank confession, Marquis may possibly avert conse- by which, although I have nothing to quences the most deplorable."
learn, I should, in some sort, be com
pelled to regard your secret as one of Certain shocks are strong enough honour; as it is, you know, I am to restore a drunken man to sobriety free in an instant, and, a fortiori, to dispel “ No gentleman is free to comproin a moment the fumes of sleep. mise a lady's character by his insinua. few seconds the Marquis, in slippers tions." and morning.gown, received Blasse- “ Nor by his conduct, my dear Marinare, with many apologies, in his quis. But should he be so unfortunate dressing-room.
as to have done so, he ought, in pru“ A very slight acquaintance will dence and generosity, to seal as many justify a friendly interposition," said lips as he possibly can." Blassemare, after a few little speeches “ It seems, sir, to me that you have of ceremony at each side; "and my visit come to me with a cock-and-a-bull is inspired by a friendly and charitable story, to establish an imaginary conmotive. The fact is--the fact is--my nexion between me and some stupid dear friend, that--your coat is torn." adventure, which occurred at the
“ My coat torn!" repeated the Mar- Chateau des Anges." quis, visibly disconcerted, while he af. " And such being your belief, my fected surprise.
dear Marquis, I have, of course, only “ Yes, the coat you wore last night. to make my adieux, and relieve you Ah! there it is--this blue velvet, with from so impertinent an intrusion.” diamond button. La! Yes, there is “ Stay, sir. You are a gentleman ; the place. It was caught--ha, ha, ha! there are, perhaps, circumstances of --in that cursed door ; and, egad, as suspicion. It is very embarrassing to
have a lady's name involved ; andand-in short, sir, I
“ I throw myself upon your ho. nour!" said the Marquis, with an effort, and extending his hand.
“ You are righi, my dear Marquis," said Blassemare, accepting his prof. fered hand. “ You know I am Le Prun's friend; and as there was no obligation of secrecy, till your own confidence imposed it, I should have been in a difficult position as respected him. I have now learned your secret from yourself-honour seals my lips; and so, having put you upon your guard, and enjoined the extremest caution, at least for the present, I commend you to your presiding planets, Mercury and Venus. But you had better burn that tell-tale coat ; for there is not a shrewder fellow in all France than Le Prun, and 'gad you are not safe till it is in ashes."
“ My dear Blassemare, be my friend; quiet his suspicions. I shall one day tell you all ; only avert his suspicions from her.”
“ By my faith, that is more than I can do.
Give me a line to her ; I must direct her conduct, or she will ruin herself. I know Le Prun; it needs a skilful player to hide one's cards from him. I am a man of my word; and I pledge my honour that Le Prun shall not have a hint of your secret."
“ You are right, Blassemare. I can't see her without exposing her to risk; do all you can to protect her from jealousy.
“ Well, give me my credentials."
Secqville wrote :-“ Blassemare is the friend of Dubois ; Lucille may trust him."
“ She knew me first by that name; be careful not to risk losing the paper."
Again they bid farewell, and Blassemare departed.
Blassemare's head was as full of strange images as the steam of a witch's cbaldron. He had his own notions of honour-somewhat fantastic and inconsis. tent, but still strong enough to prevent his betraying to Le Prun the secret of which he had just made himself completely master. He was mortified in. tensely by the discovery of a successful rival where he had so coolly and con
fidently Aattered himself with a solitary conquest. He looked upon him. self as the dupe of a young girl and her melancholy lover. His vanity, his spleen, and his guilty fancy, which, with the discovery of his difficulties, expanded almost into a passion, all stimulated him to continue the pursuit, and his brain teemed with schemes for outwitting them both, supplanting his rival, and
gaining his point. Full of these, he reached the Cha. teau des Anges—a sage, trustworthy, and virtuous counsellor for old Le Prun to lean on in his difficulties !
“ You did wrong, in my opinion, to unmask your suspicions to old Charrebourg,” said Blassemare, after he and Le Prun had talked over the affair.
“ But he has not seen my wife since, and she, therefore, knows nothing of them."
“ Were I in your place, notwithstanding, I should see him again, undo the effect of what I had said, and so prevent his putting Madame Le Prun on her guard."
“ You are right for once. I thougbt of doing so myself.”
Le Prun generally acted promptly; and so he left Blassemare to his medi. tations. Framing his little speech of apology as he went along, he traversed several passages, descended a stair in one of the towers, and found himself at last at the lobby of the Visconte's suite of rooms. It was now night-and these apartments lying in the oldest part of the chateau, and little frequented, were but very dimly lighted. There was nobody waiting in the ante-room—the servant had probably taken advantage of his master's repose, or reverie, to steal away to the gay society of his brother domestics ; and these sombre and magnificently, constructed rooms were as deserted as they were dim.
Having called in vain, the Fermier. General lighted a candle at the murky lamp, and entered the Visconte's apartment. His step was arrested by a howling from the inner chambers that might have spoken the despair of an evil spirit.
“ Charrebourg! Visconte! Charre. bourg !"
No answer. There was a silence then another swelling howl.
“ Psha !-it is that cursed old cur,
I had forgotten him. Jonquil, Jon- And he looked for a moment at the quil! come here, boy."
old hound, that was sniffing and whim. The old dog came scrambling along pering in his master's ears, as if he and looking up into Le Prun's face, could answer him. Poor Jonquil! he yelped strangely.
has shared his master's fortune fairly • What!--hungry? They have for- -the better and the worse ; for years gotten you, I dare say. What! not a his humble comrade in the sylvan soliscrap, not a bone! But where is your tudes of Charrebourg, and here the master ?"
solitary witness of his parting moment. Le Prun entered the inner room, Who can say with what more than hu. and the dog, preceding him, ran behind man grief that dumb heart is swelling ! the fauteuil that stood at the table ; He will not outlive his old friend and then running a step or two towards many days—Jonquil is past the age Le Prun, raised a howl that made him for making new ones. jump.
Le Prun glanced at the letter, a few “ Hey! what's the matter ? But, sa- lines of which the dead man had cre! there is something-what is this ?" traced when he was thus awfully in
There was a candle burning on the terrupted. “ Sir," it began “the fa. table, and writing materials. The mily of Charrebourg, of which I am Visconte de Charrebourg, who had evi- the unworthy representative, have been dently been writing, had fallen forward remarkable at all times for a chivalric upon the table_dead. Le Prun touched and honourable spirit. They have him, he was quite cold. He raised maintained their dignity in prosperity the tall lank figure as well as he could, by great deeds and princely munificence so that it leaned back in the chair ; a -in adversity, by encountering grief little blood came from the corner of with patience, and insolence with the mouth, the eyes were glazed, but defiance. Insult has never approachthe features wore, even in death, a cha- ed them unexpiated by blood ; and I, old racter of sternness and dignity. He as I am, in consequence of what this had fallen forward upon the fingers morning" here the summons had that held the pen, and the hand came interrupted him. stiffly back along with the body, still “ Intended for me !" said Le Prun, holding the pen in the attitude in with an ugly sneer. “ Well, he can't which the chill of death had stiffened now put his daughter on her guard, or them. In this attitude he looked as inflame her with the magnificent spirit if he only awaited a phrase or a of the beggarly Charrebourgs." thought of which he was in search to And so saying, he surrendered the resume his writing.
chamber to the dead Visconte and his “ Dead-dead-a long time dead ! canine watcher. how the devil has all this happened ?"
Blassemare kept his counsel and his word. He dropped no hint to Le Prun of his interview with the Marquis de Secqville. His own vanity was at once mortified and excited by the discovery he had made. He was resolved to obliterate the digrace of having been duped, by the reality of his meditated triumph. Love and war have much in common, a trutb perhaps embodied in the allegoric loves of Mars and Venus. Certain, at least, it is, that in each pursuit all authorities agree that every stratagem is fair. Blassemare was not the man to rob this canon of its force by any morbid scruples of conscience; and having the courage
of a lion, associated with some of the vulpine attributes, and a certain prankish love of mischief, he was tolerably qualified by nature for the enterprises of rivalry and intrigue.
Le Prun brooded savagely over his suspected wrongs. He awaited with affected contempt, but a real and malignant anxiety, the verdict of Blassemare, who insisted upon deferring his interview with Madame Le Prun until some weeks had passed over the grave of that “high and puissant signor, the Visconte de Charrebourg."
It was nearly a month after the death of that old gentleman, when Blassemare, happening to meet Madame Le easy air
Prun as she walked upon one of the withstanding his coarseness, had a suffiterraces, dressed in so exquisite a suit ciency of tact. of mourning, and looking altogether “ Madame perceives that I am not so irresistibly handsome, that, for the without discretion and zeal in her serlife of hiin, he could not forbear salut. vice." ing, approaching, and addressing her. “Sir, you speak enigmas; you talk He was affably received, and the con- of secrets and provocation; and while versation, at first slight and indifferent, you affect an air of deference, your turned gradually, without premedita- meaning is full of insolence.” tion on his part, but, as it were, by a It was plain her pride was mastering sort of irresistible fatality, into that her fears. Blassemare thought it high sombre and troubled channel whither, time to lower his key. He therefore sooner or later, though not exactly said, with a confident smile and an then, he had determined to direct it.
“ Monsieur Le Prun is unaccount. "My meaning may be disagreeable, ably out of spirits, madame_I should but that is chargeable not upon me, say morose, ill-tempered. I almost fear but on the circumstances of our retroto approach him.”
spect ; and if I am enigmatical rather “Is there anything to surprise one than explicit, I am so from respect, in that ?”
not insolence. My dear madame, on “Why, no, considering his provo- the honour of a gentleman, I saw Moncations."
sieur le Marquis de Secqville take « Provocations! what do you mean, his abrupt departure from your win. sir ?”
dow-you understand. I not only “Madame must pardon me. I hap- saw him, but found and retained pen to be in possession of some se- proofs of his identity, armed with crets."
which, I taxed him with the fact, and There was a short pause, during obtained his full confession. Now, which Madame Le Prun's colour came madame, perhaps you will give me and went more than once.
credit for something better than hy“ Will Madame Le Prụn be so kind pocrisy and insolence.” as to sit down here for a few minutes, Lucille looked thunderstruck for a and I will convince her that I have moment, then rising, she darted on kept those secrets well, and that I am him a glance of rage and defiance, -İ dare not say her friend-but the and overpowered by the tumult within most devoted of her servants?”
her, she burst into a flood of tears, and Madame Le Prun sate down upon covering her face with her hands, sob. the marble couch that stood there, bed in silence, almost hysterically. carved with doves and Cupids, and Blassemare waited patiently while embowered, in the transparent sha- she wept on. Suddenly she looked full dows of myrtle, like a throne of Venus. and fiercely on him, and criedBlassemare fancied that he had never “ Perhaps you have told me false. beheld so beautiful and piquante an hoods, and dared thus to trifle with image as Lucille at that moment pre- me." sented: her cheeks glowing, her long “I swear, madame, on the honour lashes half dropped over the quenched of a nobleman of France, I have told fires of her proud dark
eyes ; her coun- you the simple truth. De Secqville tenance full of a confusion that was at did not venture to deny the fact; on once beautiful and sinister; one hand the contrary, he confessed it frankly." laid upon her heart, as if to quell its “Yes-I
tell me the truth; beatings, and shut with an expression it was base of De Secqville !". half defiant, half irresolute—and the “Well, to say truth, I did think pretty fingers of the other unconsciously he might have kept a lady's secret betplaying with the tendrils of a pavenche. ter."
Blassemare enjoyed this pretty pic- Blassemare was ready and unscruture too much to disturb it by a word. pulous ; but all is fair in love. Perhaps, too, there comfort “I am innocent !" she cried, with to his vanity in the spectacle of her abrupt vehemence, and fixing her fiery humiliation; at all events he suffered
him. some time to pass before he spoke to “Of course, madame." her. When he did, it was with a great “I say I am innocent, sir. Why deal of respect; for Blassemare, not- do you say of course.”