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Cease to write altogether? But looked more beautiful, more radiant, then how live? His pen was his than she did now; and there was sole subsistence, save 30 sous a-day a wonderful heartfelt fondness in as a National Guard—30 sous a-day her voice when she cried, “ Mon to him who, in order to be Sybarite homme! mon homme ! seul homme in tastes, was Spartan in doctrine. au monde à mon cour, Gustave, Nothing better just at that mo- chéri adoré! I have found theement than Spartan doctrine—“Live at last—at last !” Gustave gazed on black broth, and fight the upon her, stupefied. Involuntarily enemy.” And the journalists in his eye glanced from the freshness vogue so thrived upon that patriotic of bloom in her face, which the insentiment, that they were the last tense cold of the atmosphere only persons compelled to drink the black seemed to heighten into purer health, broth or to fight the enemy.
to her dress, which was new and “Those women are such idiots handsome-black-he did not know when they meddle in politics,” that it was mourning—the cloak grumbled between his teeth the trimmed with costly sables. Cerenthusiastic advocate of Woman's tainly it was no mendicant for alms Rights on all matters of love. who thus reminded the shivering “And,” he continued, soliloquising, Adonis of the claims of a pristine “ it is not as if the girl had any Venus. He stammered out her large or decent dot; it is not as if name—“Julie !” — and then he she said, “In return for the sacri- stopped. fice of your popularity, your pros. “Oui, ta Julie! Petit ingrat ! pects, your opinions, I give you not how I have sought for thee ! how only a devoted heart, but an excel- I have hungered for the sight of lent table and a capital fire and thee! That monster Savarin ! he plenty of pocket-money. Sacre would not give me any news of bleu ! when I think of that frozen thee. That is ages ago. But at salon, and possibly the leg of a least Frederic Lemercier, whom I mouse for dinner, and a virtuous saw since, promised to remind thee homily by way of grace, the pros- that I lived still. He did not do pect is not alluring; and the girl so, or I should have seen theeherself is not so pretty as she was— n'est ce pas ? " grown very thin. Sur mon âme, I “Certainly, certainly — only think she asks too much-far more chère amie-you know that—that than she is worth. No, no; I had —as I before announced to thee, better have accepted her dismissal. I-I—was engaged in marriageElle n'est pas digne de moi"
and-and- " Just as he arrived at that con- “But are you married ?" clusion, Gustave Rameau felt the “No, no. Hark! Take caretouch of a light, a soft, a warm, yet is not that the hiss of an obus ?” a firm hand, on his arm. He turned, “What then? Let it come! and beheld the face of the woman Would it might slay us both while whom, through so many dreary my hand is in thine !" weeks, he had sought to shun- « Ah !” muttered Gustave, inthe face of Julie Caumartin. Julie wardly, “what a difference! This was not, as Savarin had seen her, is love! No preaching here! Elle looking pinched and wan, with est plus digne de moi que l'autre." faded robes, nor, as when met in “No," he said, aloud, “I am the café by Lemercier, in the faded not married. Marriage is at best robes of a theatre. Julie never a pitiful ceremony. But if you
wished for news of me, surely you from Madeleine I put into a box must have heard of my effect as an for thee, in case thou shouldst come orator not despised in the Salle Fayre. back to me some day. Mon homme, Since, I have withdrawn from that how could I go to the Salle Favre ? arena. But as a journalist I flatter How could I read journals, Gustave? myself that I have had a beau But thou art not married, Gustave ? succès."
Parole d'honneur ?”. “Doubtless, doubtless, my Gus. “ Parole d'honneur ! What does tave, my Poet! Wherever thou that matter?” art, thou must be first among men. “Everything! Ah! I am not so But, alas ! it is my fault-my mis- méchante, so mauvaise tête, as I was fortune. I have not been in the some months ago. If thou wert midst of a world that perhaps rings married, I should say, 'Blessed and of thy name.”
sacred be thy wife! Forget me.' “ Not my name. Prudence com- But as it is, one word more. Dost pelled me to conceal that. Still, thou love the young lady, whoever Genius pierces under any name, she be? or does she love thee so You might have discovered me well that it would be sin in thee to under my nom de plume."
talk trifles to Julie? Speak as “Pardon me I was always bête. honestly as if thou wert not a poet." But, oh! for so many weeks I was “Honestly, she never said she so poor—so destitute. I could go loved me. I never thought she did. nowhere, except-don't be ashamed But, you see, I was very ill, and my of me-except- "
parents and friends and my physi“Yes? Go on.”
cian said that it was right for me to “Except where I could get some arrange my life, and marry, and so money. At first to dance — you forth. And the girl had money, remember my bolero. Then I got and was a good match. In short, a better engagement. Do you not the thing was settled. But oh, Julie, remember that you taught me to she never learned my songs by heart ! recite verses? Had it been for my- She did not love as thou didst, and self alone, I might have been con- still dost. Andmah! well-now tented to starve. Without thee, that we meet again—now that I look what was life? But thou wilt re- in thy face—now that I hear thy collect Madeleine, the old bonne voice-- No, I do not love her who lived with me. Well, she had as I loved, and might yet love, attended and cherished me since I thee. But-but--" was so high-lived with my mother. “Well, but? oh, I guess. Thou Mother! no; it seems that Madame seest me well dressed, no longer Surville was not my mother after dancing and declaiming at cafés : all. But, of course, I could not let and thou thinkest that Julie has my old Madeleine starve; and there- disgraced herself? she is unfaithfore, with a heart heavy as lead, I ful?” danced and declaimed. My heart Gustave had not anticipated that was not so heavy when I recited frankness, nor was the idea which thy songs."
it expressed uppermost in his mind “My songs ! Pauvre ange!" ex- when he said, “but, but- " claimed the Poet.
There were many buts, all very con“And then, too, I thought, 'Ah! fused, struggling through his mind this dreadful siege! He, too, may as he spoke. However, he answered be poor-he may know want and as a Parisian sceptic, not ill bred, hunger ;' and so all I could save naturally would answer
“My dear friend, my dear child” explain all. Only, only let me (the Parisian is very fond of the repeat, if another has rights over word child or enfant in address- thee which forbid thee to come, say ing a woman), “I have never so kindly, and I will never trouble seen thee so beautiful as thou art thee again." now; and when thou tellest me Gustave had been hitherto walkthat thou art no longer poor, and ing slowly by the side of Julie, the proof of what thou sayest is amidst the distant boom of the bevisible in the furs, which, alas! siegers' cannon, while the short day I cannot give thee, what am I to began to close; and along the dreary think?"
Boulevards sauntered idlers turning “Oh, mon homme, mon homme! to look at the young, beautiful, wellthou art very spirituel, and that is dressed woman who seemed in such why I loved thee. I am very bête, contrast to the capital whose former and that is excuse enough for thee luxuries the “Ondine” of imperial if thou couldst not love me. But Paris represented. He now offered canst thou look me in the face and his arm to Julie; and, quickening his not know that my eyes could not pace, said, “ There is no reason why meet thine as they do, if I had been I should refuse to attend thee home, faithless to thee even in a thought, and listen to the explanations thou when I so boldly touched thine arm ? dost generously condescend to volViens chez moi, come and let me unteer.”
“Ah, indeed! what a difference! Gustave passed his arm round her what a difference !” said Gustave to neck and sought to draw her on his himself when he entered Julie's lap, she slid from his embrace, apartment. In her palmier days, shaking her head gently, and seated when he had first made her acquaint- herself, with a pretty air of cereance, the apartment no doubt had monious decorum, at a little distance. been infinitely more splendid, more Gustave looked at her amazed. abundant in silks and fringes and “ Causons," said she, gravely : flowers and nick-nacks; but never “thou wouldst know why I am so had it seemed so cheery and com- well dressed, so comfortably lodged, fortable and home-like as now. and I am longing to explain to thee What a contrast to Isaura's dis- all. Some days ago I had just mantled chilly salon! She drew finished my performance at the him towards the hearth, on which, Café --, and was putting on my blazing though it was, she piled shawl, when a tall Monsieur, fort bel fresh billets, seated him in the homme, with the air of a grand easiest of easy-chairs, knelt beside seigneur, entered the café, and, aphim, and chafed his numbed hands proaching me politely, said, 'I think in hers; and as her bright eyes I have the honour to address Madefixed tenderly on his, she looked moiselle Julie Caumartin ?' “That so young and so innocent! You is my name,' I said, surprised; and, would not then have called her looking at him more intently, I rethe “ Ondine of Paris."
cognised his face. He had come But when, a little while after, into the café a few days before with revived by the genial warmth and thine old acquaintance Frederic moved by the charm of her beauty, Lemercier, and stood by when I asked Frederic to give me news of his hands. He will confirm my thee. Mademoiselle,' he continued, statement. All that I have now with a serious melancholy smile, 'I to say is this : If you accept my shall startle you when I say that I guardianship, if you obey implicitly am appointed to act as your guardian my advice, I shall consider the inby the last request of your mother.' terest of this sum which has accu
Of Madame Surville ?' 'Madame mulated since deposited with M. Surville adopted you, but was not N— due to you; and the capital your mother. We cannot talk at will be your dot on marriage, if the ease here. Allow me to request marriage be with my consent.'” that you will accompany me to Gustave had listened very attenMonsieur N- , the avoué. It is tively, and without interruption, till not very far from this : and by the now; when he looked up, and said way I will tell you some news that with his customary sneer, “Did may sadden, and some news that your Monsieur, fort bel homme you may rejoice.'
say, inform you of the value of the “There was an earnestness in the advice, rather of the commands, you voice and look of this Monsieur that were implicitly to obey ?" impressed me. He did not offer me “Yes,"answered Julie, “not then, his arm ; but I walked by his side but later. Let me go on. We arin the direction he chose. As we rived at M. N--'s, an elderly grave walked he told me in very few words man. He said that all he knew that my mother had been separated was that he held the money in from her husband, and for certain trust for the Monsieur with me, to family reasons had found it so diffi- be given to him, with the accumulacult to rear and provide for me her- tions of interest, on the death of self, that she had accepted the offer the lady who had deposited it. If of Madame Surville to adopt me as that Monsieur had instructions how her own child. While he spoke, to dispose of the money, they were there came dimly back to me the not known to him. All he had to remembrance of a lady who had do was to transfer it absolutely to taken me from my first home, when him on the proper certificate of the I had been, as I understood, at nurse, lady's death. So you see, Gustave, and left me with poor dear Madame that the Monsieur could have kept Surville, saying, "This is henceforth all from me if he had liked.” your mamma. I never again saw “Your Monsieur is very generous. that lady. It seems that many Perhaps you will now tell me his years afterwards my true mother name." desired to regain me. Madame “No; he forbids me to do it Surville was then dead. She failed yet." to trace me out, owing, alas ! to my “And he took this apartment for own faults and change of name. you, and gave you the money to buy She then entered a nunnery, but that smart dress and these furs. before doing so, assigned a sum of Bah! mon enfant, why try to deceive 100,000 francs to this gentleman, me? Do I not know my Paris? A who was distantly connected with fort bel homme does not make himher, with full power to him to take self guardian to a fort belle fille so it to himself, or give it to my use young and fair as Mademoiselle Julie should he discover me, at his dis- Caumartin without certain consideracretion. 'I ask you,' continued the tions which shall be nameless, like Monsieur, 'to go with me to Mons. himself.” N- 's, because the sum is still in Julie's eyes flashed. “Ah, Gus tave! ah, Monsieur !” she said, outer door, and the old bonne ushered half angrily, half plaintively, “I see in Victor de Mauléon. He halted that my guardian knew you better at the threshold, and his brow conthan I did. Never mind; I will tracted. not reproach. Thou hast the right “So you have already broken to despise me.”,
faith with me, Mademoiselle?" “Pardon! I did not mean to “No, Monsieur, I have not broken offend thee," said Gustave, some- faith," cried Julie, passionately, “I what disconcerted. “But own that told you that I would not seek to thy story is strange; and this guar- find out Monsieur Rameau. I did dian, who knows me better than not seek, but I met him unexpecthou-does he know me at all? tedly. I owed to him an explanaDidst thou speak to him of me?" tion. I invited him here to give
“How could I help it? He says that explanation. Without it, what that this terrible war, in which he would he have thought of me? Now takes an active part, makes his life he may go, and I will never admit uncertain from day to day. He him again without your sanction.” wished to complete the trust be- The Vicomte turned his stern queathed to him by seeing me safe look upon Gustave, who though, as in the love of some worthy man we know, not wanting in personal whoo-she paused for a moment courage, felt cowed by his false posiwith an expression of compressed tion; and his eye fell, quailed before anguish, and then hurried on—"who De Mauléon's gaze. would recognise what was good in “Leave us for a few minutes me,-would never reproach me for alone, Mademoiselle," said the Vi
- for—the past. I then said that comte. “Nay, Julie," he added, in my heart was thine : I could never softened tones, “fear nothing. I, marry any one but thee."
too, owe explanation-friendly ex“Marry me," faltered Gustave- planation—to M. Rameau.” “marry !
With his habitual courtesy toward “And," continued the girl, not women, he extended his hand to heeding his interruption, "he said Julie, and led her from the room. thou wert not the husband he would Then, closing the door, he seated choose for me : that thou wert not, himself, and made a sign to Gustave no, I cannot wound thee by repeat- to do the same. ing what he said unkindly, unjustly. “Monsieur,” said De Mauléon, He bade me think of thee no more. “excuse me if I detain you. A I said again, that is impossible.” very few words will suffice for our
“But," resumed Rameau, with an present interview. I take it for affected laugh, “why think of any- granted that Mademoiselle has told thing so formidable as marriage ? you that she is no child of Madame Thou lovest me, and— ” He Surville's : that her own mother approached again, seeking to embrace bequeathed her to my protection her. She recoiled. “No, Gustave, and guardianship, with a modest no. I have sworn—sworn solemnly fortune which is at my disposal to by the memory of my lost mother, give or withhold. The little I have that I will never sin again. I will seen already of Mademoiselle imnever be to thee other than thy presses me with sincere interest in friend—or thy wife.”
her fate. I look with compassion Before Gustave could reply to on what she may have been in the these words, which took him wholly past; I anticipate with hope what by surprise, there was a ring at the she may be in the future. I do not