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THE TRAGI-COMICAL HISTORY OF THE LOTERS OF QUIMPER-CORENTIN.
MADAME DE MARCEL was about for- ble excellent. He had brought with ty years of age, rich, and lived at Pa- him his nephew, a young man really ris in a handsome style. She was amiable, whom the abbé was introducaccustomed, the greater part of the ing into life, and who joined to a fair year, to have at her house a select so- outside a brilliant and well cultivated ciety of men of letters, and of women, mind. If he had an earnest desire to who were interested in the success of please (and the presence of the young all new publications, particularly such lady seemed to animate his exertions), as regarded the theatres. She was, it was without any fixed plan ; but it however, obliged, by the will of an is always right to endeavour to be uncle, to pass six weeks or two months amiable, for that leads to every thing. every autumn at a country seat in The first week after their arrival Poitiers; but to console herself for the was taken up by receiving formal comennui of a country life, and of coun- pany, and cards were of course introtry company, which she could not duced, which tired our Parisians exavoid seeing, she had taken care to ceedingly; scarcely could the presihave her chateau well filled with a set dent and abbé find time for a game of of acquaintances sufficient for her a- chess after dinner, or Madame de musement while thus banished. Marcel in the evenings for a game of
The company consisted, independent tric-trac with her brother-in-law the of her husband, the president (who chevalier. found enough of occupation in the After some time the influence of management of his land, in settling company diminished, and they were with his tenants, and in the embellish- left to amuse themselves, or rather to ment of his place), of Madame d'Ai their own tranquillity. Madame de greinont, nearly of her own age, and Marcel lost no time in proposing an whose taste, as to literature, was per- amusement that would occupy the fectly conformable to her own. This mind and employ the memory-a plan lady was accompanied by her daugh- she had formed the preceding winter, ter, an exceedingly handsome girl, six- and it was instantly put into executeen or seventeen years old, who had tion. At first, when it commenced already made herself mistress of every after supper, it consisted of innoagreeable talent, and gone through a cent games, in which forfeits are paid, proper course of reading to form the and punishments ordered to redeem heart, taste, and mind of a young per
the forfeits. These punishments were son.
always to relate some story, to recite The president's brother, called the verses, or to sing; and the company Chevalier de St Marcel, had been in were delighted whenever the nephew the army many years, and had been of the abbé incurred a penalty, for he thought amiable in all the towns never failed to produce something awhere his regiment had been garrison-greeable, inspired, no doubt, by his ed. He was indeed thought so in wish to please, and to display his tamany parts of Paris, but, to be sure, lents before the object who seemed to they were not the most fashionable. notice him. He frequently attended the theatres Madame de Marcel and her friend from want of something to do-read had very cultivated minds, and if they all new pamphlets and journals for the did not trouble or fatigue their imagi, same reason-and saw and heard the nations, showed off at least their mediscussions of the learned at his sister- mories. The abbé was not behind in-law's. An abbé, the complaisant of hand ; but he was diffuse, often obMadame de Marcel, known as the au- scure, and always in prose. The chethor of some works of science, but valier related feats of war, and mowho, to extend the atmosphere of his destly owned they were not his own. reputation, had condescended to dis- but the two persons who were the cuss works of lighter importance, had most embarrassed, and whom they agreed to pass the autumn with the were very soon forced to excuse from persons before named, and so much paying their forfeits, were the presithe more willingly, as the house was dent and the young lady. The first handsome and convenient, and the ta- excused himself by saying, that noVOL. V.
thing was so difficult to him as the will be a romance, she cannot as yet be making a tale off hand—that he would supposed capable of forming one. The a thousand times rather sum up the president shall sleep, because he makes evidence in the longest trial that up, after supper here, for the little naps ever came into court. But he soon he used to take in the mornings when got rid of it, by falling asleep im- on the bench. The abbé shall employ mediately after supper, which pre- his genius to increase the intrigues of vented his taking any part in the our history, in such wise that the amusements.
winding up shall become very diffiThe young lady did not want either cult; it shall be for him to form the understanding or talents, but it was veritable Gordian knot. My brotherthought unbecoming her age or situa- in-law must be careful to avoid cutting tion to appear too well informed. The it; on the contrary, he must multiply nephew therefore willingly undertook events as much as he can. M. de the payment of her debts; and his Verbois will then have to unravel the security being accepted, the game con- whole ; and I am persuaded, that tinued for several nights.
whatever pains we may take to em. At length, Madame de Marcel wish- barrass him, he will produce a denoueing to retine upon this kind of amuse ment at once simple, rational, and ment, said to M. de Verbois, “Sir, fortunate.” you seem to have so much wit and ta “ You expect a great deal from me,” lent, that I should think you capable said M. de Verbois, “and will make of succeeding at a trifling game, which me modest as to any talent I may have I have heard was formerly played at for the unravelling such histories; the Hôtel de Rambouillet, when the but I do not despair to succeed to Dutchess of Montausier was known your satisfaction in this point, either under the name of the tair Julia d’An- by the stroke of a wand, by a little gennes. It is said that she, and each fairy assistance, or by magic; besides, of the ladies and men of letters who I know full well, that in a romance, were used to assemble there, began a when any personage becomes too emstory, and continued it until the his- barrassing, how easily he may be
got tory became exceedingly complicated, rid of by poison or by the sword.' and the hero placed in the most em « Oh! that is not the case here, if barrassing situation,-and that then you please, sir,” exclaimed Madame de one of the company undertook to dis- Marcel ;” it is not so that we underpel all the chaos, and clear up the stand you are to perform your task. embarrassments that had enveloped the Not one person that may be introducdifferent personages. I have heard that ed in our history shall disappear, and the famous bishop of Avranches had they must all be forthcoming at the a particular talent in the unravelling end, and all happy. The aid of magic these histories, however difficult. You and of fairies is forbidden: neither know that this prelate, when young, the president nor myself believe in was a frequent visitor at the Hôtel de sorcerers--all the events, if not exactRambouillet, and as he was very short, ly true, must be probable, and the he was called the Julia's dwarf. Now, conclusion simple and natural.”M. de Verbois,” continued she, “ do “ These laws are somewhat severe,” you think yourself capable of acting said the abbé, “ but I dare say that the part of M. Huet ?"
my nephew will glory in submitting Assuredly, madam,” replied the to and observing them.” The nephew young man, “I am neither so short confirmed his uncle's assertion by a nor so learned as the bishop of Av- bow, and Madame de Marcel thus beranches; but what that prelate did in gan her history. his youth for his divine Julia, I think. myself capable of undertaking, in the The town of Quimper-Corentin if honour of paying my court to you, renowned throughout all lower Britand to those ladies."
tany, for the beauty of the women, “ That being the case," answered the refinement of the men, and the Madame de Marcel, “ I will begin a singularity of the adventures which history—you shall continue it, my happen there. I shall begin by makdear, looking at Madame d’Aigre- ing a slight sketch of some of them; mont; we will dispense with your but what I shall say will be trifling in daughter from interfering, for, as it comparison of those singular and in
teresting adventures that will be told; say, was sometimes, in laughing, that they will astonish, affect, and confound one of these days they should see you, and prepare you for the most un- eight persons married at once. The expected and happy conclusion. If high steward replied, that this could ever it may be said that the end not be, for that his daughters were not erowns the work, it will be so in this such desirable matches, and that his instance, and redound to the glory of nieces would return to their parents, M. de Verbois.” The young man per- and not marry in Brittany. In truth, ceived how much she was bantering these comfortable arrangements were with him, but allowed her to proceed, cruelly broken up. The young ladies uninterruptedly, as follows, without were forced to quit. Quimper-Corentin, despairing of final success.
and I shall explain the cause. M. de Lokrenan, high steward The high steward had two sisters : of Quimper-Corentin, was one of the one had married an officer of infantry, richest and most respectable persons of who had successively risen to the rank the province: his house was frequent- of lieutenant-colonel, and had been ed by all the young men of abilities or appointed governor of Colicoure, a seatalents; and it was the more agreeable port in Roussillon; the other was setto them, from its being inhabited by tled with her husband, a rich merfour young ladies equally amiable. chant, at Cadiz in Spain. These two Two of them were the seneschal's sisters not having any children, and daughters, and made only part of his knowing that their brother, besides family, which was numerous ; the eld- many boys, had two girls, had written est was called Balzamie—the younger to him, to desire that he would send Gabrielle. The two others were bis each of them one, hinting their intennieces, whose parents, residing in fo- tions of making them heiresses, and of reign parts, had sent them to the establishing them advantageously in seneschal's lady, a woman of abilities, the countries wherein they resided. who had taken charge of their educa- The high steward thinking the protion. One was named Adelaide, and posals most advantageous, and the the other Aline.
aunts having provided for the expenses M. de Kerenflute, son to rich of the journey, he sent off his two and celebrated merchant, accustomed daughters in proper carriages, under early to the dangers of the sea—brave, the care of trusty servants of both well made, and amiable-seemed sexes. They traversed France to Rousstrongly smitten with the charms of sillon, and the eldest remained at Mademoiselle Balzamie, who, to a Colicoure. The youngest having rested lively imagination, added wit, and the herself a few days, continued her jourgrace of a fine figure.
ney to Cadiz. M. du Courei, the son also of a The adieus had been most tender very respectable mercantile family, and affecting. The lover of Balzamie showed an inclination to marry Made- was plunged in the deepest affliction. moiselle Gabrielle, whose too brilliant He seemed to foresee some melancholy eyes announced a romantic head, and event; and his mistress had nearly a disposition for great adventures. the same presentiment, but she had
Monsieur de Sainval, an officer in wrought up her mind to support whatthe East India Company's service, was ever might befall her, like a true hemuch in love with Aline, to whose roine of romance. The lover of Gapretty face was joined simple manners brielle was less afflicted: not that he and good temper.
was less attached to his mistress, but M. de Saint Leon, a reduced in- he had formed a plan, the execution fantry officer, had yielded his heart to of which he thought certain, namely, the beauty of Adelaide the more rea- to go himself to Cadiz, where he had dily, as her disposition seemed inclined relatives, and flattered himself that he to favour his passion and meet his ad- could there continue his court to vances.
Gabrielle with the same ease as at For a period all these lovers passed Quimper, their time very agreeably in the house Immediately upon the departure of of the high steward. Their amours the daughters, preparations were made were confined within the bounds of the for that of the nieces. Aline was to strictest decency and decorum; and be sent to her father, brother to the all that the gossips of the town could high steward's wife, at Pondicherry,
where she might flatter herself to gain India. Every one's mind, therefore, a brilliant establishment. She would was tranquil about them, when two never have undertaken such a long couriers arrived with letters that voyage without shuddering, had not plunged the whole town of Quimper Sainval, who, we have said, was in into the utmost distress. The melanthe India Company's service, promised choly news they brought had been to meet her in India. She set out, preceded by an accident that had haptherefore, for L'Orient, somewhat con- pened to one of the couriers, as he was soled by this hope, where Sainval was passing through the forest between already arrived. They embarked on Nantes and Vannes. He was attacked board different vessels, but bound to by robbers, who carried away his portthe same port, and set sail together. manteau, and opened it, in search of
There now only remained at Quim- jewels or gold; but not finding any, per the tender and romantic Adelaide; they tore all the papers and letters to but she was soon recalled to Italy by pieces, and threw them into a rivulet, her father, another brother to the high whence they were taken out in a misteward's lady, and speedily departed serable condition, and, when carefully for Leghorn. Saint Leon was in de- dried, they were all, or in parts, despair, and daily mingled his tears and livered according to their different diregrets with those of the wretched rections. The letters from Spain and Kerenflute. Having thus made you from Roussillon had been sadly damacquainted with the heroes and hero- aged; however, the high steward's ines of my history,--having painted lady decyphered him that of Balzamie, their characters, and pretty tolerably as follows : dispersed them over the globe,-1 be “ Imagine,' my dear mamma, what lieve, added Madame de Marcel, I was my despair, when carried off in may be permitted to take some rest. spite of my resistance. I found myself It will be your turn, my dear friend, transported on board the vessel of (looking at Madame d’Aigremont,) to Barbarossa, who instantly setting every tell us to-morrow what afterwards be- sail, made for Algiers. I arrived there fell these young ladies and gentlemen. more dead than alive; and with what
On the morrow, at the same hour, horror was I not penetrated, when I that is to say, after supper, the presi- saw myself shut up in the seraglio of dent sleeping, and the rest of the com this barbarian! It was in vain that I pany listening, the friend of Madame called for assistance on all my relade Marcel thus spoke :
tions, and even on M. de Kerenfiute, The lovers, separated from their who had so often amused us with his hearts' delight, continued to afflict exploits at sea, and who had told me themselves; but the other inhabitants twenty times, that if I ever should of Quimper looked for nothing but fall into the hands of the Turks, be agreeable news from these young la- would find means to deliver me.” The dies. Balzamie seemed contented and remainder of the letter was illegible'; satisfied with her aunt in Roussillon. but this was sufficient to throw the Gabrielle had arrived at Cadiz before family of the Lokrenans into the utDu Courci, and her aunt had pressed most grief. Kerenflute was present at her to marry an old Spaniard, lately the reading of this fatal letter. In any returned from Peru, immensely rich, other circumstances, with what pleawhich she refused as much and as long sure would he have heard that Madeas she could, because he was very old, moiselle Balzamie had kept him in her very ugly, and, as it was said, very thoughts ! At present he eagerly seized jealous; but they remarked to her, the idea that she had hinted to him, that as he was so old, he might pos- to hasten to deliver her from the sibly die soon; and as he would leave hands of these barbarians. “ Yes,” her his whole fortune, she might in cried he with joy, “ I hear, dearest that case, if she then pleased, enjoy it Balzamie, that thou callest on me for with Du Courci. This excellent rea succour. She has need of my courage; soning had its effect upon her, and it I fly to her aid ; and I swear never to was thought that she had made up re-enter Quimper again, until I shall her mind to marry the rich Peruvian. have obtained her liberty.” Having
Adelaide was at Leghorn. It re said this, Kerenfiute quitted the house, quired a year at least to receive any and began instantly to collect all his news from those who had sailed to
own money, and made use also of the
credit of his friends, to raise a suffi- that her father had intentions to marry cient sum. Should he embark from her in Calabria, to a merchant of Quimper, he would be obliged to em- Reggio, who was his friend and corploy longer time, and pass the Straits respondent; but that, from the de. of Gibraltar: he determined, there- scription she had had of him, she had fore, to travel post on the wings of conceived such a disgust, that she had love, through France, to Toulon. On rather die a thousand times than be his arrival at Toulon with good letters his wife. That her father had forced of exchange, he instantly bought, her to set out with him, to deliver her armed, and equipped a vessel, in into the hands of this villanous Calawhich he embarked with the utmost brese ; but that she should ever regret haste, and made sail for Algiers. Feel- her dear uncle, her dear aunt, her ing hearts, be not alarmed for Keren- cousins, and the unfortunate Saint flute; the motive that animates him Leon. Saint Leon, having the exwill preserve him from all accidents. ample of Kerenflute before his eyes, In fact, he arrived safely at Algiers; thought himself equally bound to sucand I recommend him to the person cour and avenge his mistress by land, who is next to continue this history. as the other had done by sea. He
We will now return to Quimper. formed, therefore, a similar resolution; The unfortunate accident that had and having adopted like measures, set happened to Balzamie was nothing to out to traverse Calabria after the fair the affliction which the letter from Adelaide, as his friend had crossed the Mademoiselle Gabrielle added to this seas after the handsome Balzamie. miserable family. This is all that I shall now leave them, with your could be made out from her torn permission, ladies and gentlemen, said letter:
the friend of Madame de Marcel. “ What horror! Who can even Monsieur L'Abbé will tell us to-more support the mere idea of such horror ? row whether their expeditions have The wretched Gabrielle has then, been fortunate, or the contrary. without knowing it, devoured the Ladies, said the Abbé on the heart of her lover. Her husband, in- morrow, romances and such light lie sulting her grief, said, ' Dost thou terature are not my forte; it is well koow what meat thou hast just been known that I have pursued other stueating? What a dish I had prepared dies, but I will risk every thing to for thee? The feasts of Atreus and please you-I shall prolong' your hisThyestes, of Pelops and of Tantalus, tory and labour against mine own were nothing in comparison of what blood, by embarrassing, as much as in thou hast just done. It was—it was my power, my nephew, who has unthe heart of Du Courci.' At these dertaken the denouement. words, my dear mamma, I fainted. Kerenflute had a prosperous voyage I long lost all my senses. They were to Algiers—having secured the proforced to carry me out, and I know tection of the Consul of France, he not even now where I am
landed at his house, and made instant Had the rest of the letter not been inquiries if the Corsair Barbarossa had torn, there was no one in Quimper not lately returned from a cruise with that would have had the courage to some French female slaves. The conhear it read. Everywhere sobs and sul assured him, that he had not heard lamentations resounded : all pitied the of any such thing, but each having miserable Gabrielle, all tried to con- made farther and more exact researches, sole her relations, without being able they learned, that an European slave, to receive any consolation themselves. but from what nation was not exactly There were no longer any suppers or known, had lately been admitted into amusements in the house of the high the seraglio of the Corsair. Having steward : visitors came thither but to paid largely an eunuch to know the weep. Saint Leon, the only one of name of this slave, he said, she was the four lovers who had remained in called Bolsani or Basani, ah, cried Lower Brittany, hastened with eager- out Kerenflute, it must be my dear ness to partake of their grief; when a Balzamie-new cares and fresh exletter received from Leghorn made penses to obtain a sight of, and to him as much in want of consolation speak to her. Alas, all his cares were himself.
ended, by hearing that the Bashaw of Adelaide had written to her aunt, Algiers having a present to offer to