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elegant splendour which reigned through the destinies of nobles and nations, the the court, stood a most lovely woman brightest star in the horizon of Verof three or four and twenty. She was sailles, the reigning divinity that swayed clad with regal magnificence, but it was the very thoughts of Louis the fifteenth? eclipsed by the resplendent beauty of the There were moments when she had all wearer. An air of dignity rendered her Europe at her feet. There were crises more tall in appearance than reality; when she might, with her single hand, and her attitude was that of authority, have changed the course of the most not unmingled with anger. Several important events of history. And to gentlemen, evidently of the most exalted whom did that hand belong? To Marie rank, were gathered around, with deep Jeanne. Ah, the coquette! One might submission and respect in their air and have seen that face of hers was enough attitude. They looked at each other in to burn Troy. Some minister to the consternation but ill concealed, while taste of the king had presented before she, her figure lifted to its height, her him the friendless modiste. Her beauty beautiful brow elevated and oversha- effected a conquest, which her wit and dowed, her eyes sparkling with fire, and talent enlarged and confirmed, and the her hand extended with the gesture of poor little Marie Jeanne was the nearest one commanding and not to be dis- favourite of a throne, with all the power obeyed, appeared at once the queen and of a queen of France. mistress of her trembling nobles. Her After the scene which we have tranhaughty bearing well became her station. scribed above, Marie Jeanne, (now the The silence and fear of the circle around Comtesse du Barré,) went into the well became them-her inferiors and chapel to attend mass. her slaves.
were collected, but she was the star on “Madame," said one—it was the which every attention was fixed. Alas! proud Duc de Choiseul—" let me en- there was little piety in her thoughts. treat you to move his majesty in this On this day she had attained the sumaffair. The Duchesse de Grammont is mit of her wishes. She had humbled banished solely on your account, and her enemies, and triumphed over them with one word you can recall her.”
She had seen the greatest “But that word, my lord duke, I men of the court waiting an audience, will never pronounce. As long as the and trembling beneath her frown. The slights of that imperious woman were king had publicly acknowledged her to directed against me in private, I bore be invested with authority almost equal them, because, my lord, I despised her with his own. She had now no rival. too much for hatred; but when she pre- Her path was clear. Her beauty, insumes to mate herself with me in the stead of fading, had grown more lusopen day, it is time her audacity should trous than ever; and in her mind the be checked and punished. It is so. She sunshine of prosperity had awakened is exiled from the court. Let her remain a thousand powers and graces, previously awhile in solitude, and cool her fiery unsuspected even by herself. At this temper.'
moment, (and while conscious that the The duke coloured deeply, and with homage of the assemblage was directed
rather to her than to heaven,) leaning “Madame," began the Duc de Fron- with his back against the wall behind sac, "might I, as your friend, remind the altar, his dark, beautiful eyes fixed you that the Duchesse de Grammont is stedfastly upon her countenance, she one of the most illustrious and powerful beheld the mysterious young prophet of women in the kingdom ?”
the Tuileries, who, five years before, Do you
threaten, sir? The Duc de when she was only a simple milliner's Choiseul, so far from wasting his in- girl in the Rue St. Honoré, had predicted fluence in behalf of others, had better her present remarkable destiny. He reserve it for himself. He will need it, was noble looking, and melancholy as and that before he is aware.
ever, and on perceiving himself recogThe Duc de Choiseul,
except the king, nised, a sudden smile lit his expressive was the first man in France; yet he countenance, and he gracefully waved turned pale at this direct intimation of his finger round his brow, as if asking, his disgrace, which, in fact, took place a “. Are you not queen of France ?" few weeks afterwards.
Astounded and alarmed, she felt her What Cleopatra is this, commanding senses deserting her. She was agitated,
drew several paces.
as if in the presence of a supernatural prepare to bid adieu to the light of being, and only by a strong exertion, heaven and the pleasures of this world.” and after closing her eyes, avoided faint
The comtesse was struck with undeing. At length, she once more looked finable terror. She ordered the instant towards the altar. The stranger had cessation of the police proceedings. For disappeared.
a time, anxiety and wonder overshadowed Singular as it may seem, the comtesse had utterly forgotten the madman of the her days and banished slumber from her Tuileries. His reappearance now brought pillow. But she was the lightest-hearted
creature under heaven, and Versailles the whole scene forcibly to her mind. He had predicted her present elevation favourite of a magnificent monarch
the gayest spot on earth. The beloved of rank, but he had predicted also an extraordinary end. She was lost in young, beautiful, envied, and admiredwonder and fear. In her emotion, she pleasure soon again wove its enchantmentioned it to a confidential friend, schemes of mirth and folly were adopted,
ments around her steps; a thousand with a declaration that she would give and the mysterious prophet was once any money in the world for an interview
more forgotten. with the object of her dread. To this friend it appeared sufficiently singular to be made the subject, unknown to the comtesse, of a report to the lieutenant- either for a male or female politician
It is a very insecure tenure of power, general of police. Any money in the world,” said the latter,“ is a very tempt. and yet have there been favourites, of
the caprice of a voluptuary and a despot! ing reward. We will see if we cannot either sex, so successful in maintaining ferret out this Parisian Daniel !"
their dominion over royal minds, as to The French police, at that time, was by no means an undisciplined instrument lute security, uninterrupted for years.
hold the reins of government with absoof power, and all its blood-hounds were let loose to track out the mysterious couturière of the Rue St. Honoré, was
The little Marie Jeanie, the modest prophet. Their efforts were utterly
now one of those potent rulers, and in fruitless.
the character of the Comtesse du Barré, The comtesse was sitting, a few weeks after, alone in her boudoir, when a foot swayed, to her idlest caprice, the monarch man brought in a letter, sealed with five fluence increased. She forgot the ob
of France. Years sped on, and her in. black seals, and bearing the impress of scurity of her birth and early life, and a death's head. This gloomy document, trod the brilliant salons of Versailles with upon being opened, was found to con
the accustomed confidence of one born tain the following words :
to a throne. Louis the fifteenth was not “MADAME LA COMTESSE-I am per- only fascinated by that wonderful beauty fectly aware that the strict pursuit made which had attracted the commendation after me, in your name, is without your of the pedestrian connoisseurs about the knowledge or sanction. Those sent in Tuileries, but he was equally mastered search of me have spared 'no pains or by the charms of a sweet disposition, and trouble to ascertain my name and abode. a profound yet elegant mind. Idolized My abode! Let all, as they value by the king, she was, of course, the themselves, avoid meeting me there; worshipped sun of all. Courtiers, queens, for when they enter it, it will be never emperors, dukes, sages, and heroes, to quit it more. Who am I? That poets, painters, and philosophers, either can only be known when this life has trembled beneath her frown, or rejoiced been exchanged for another. I charge in her favour ; for it was well known you, madame, to command the lieute. that those beautiful lips dispensed the nant, M. de Sartines, to cease his re- offices of state and the stores of the searches after me; they would be fruit- treasury. The highest and most haughty less, and might only compromise your in that magnificent chateau, of which safety. Remember, I predicted your she reigned the unrivalled mistress, were good fortune; was I not correct? I taught to bend and withdraw from her have also foretold reverses ;
anger : and her relatives and friends, equally correct in them. You will see nay, even the most casual among her me once more ; and should I unfortu- acquaintance, were elevated to rank and nately cross your path a fourth time, riches by her slightest wish.
Not only did the private circles of the dragged him from the bosom of his court feel the influence of this remarkable family, and immured him, perhaps for woman's genius, but its effects extended life, in the dungeons of the Bastile. throughout France and Europe. The From the millions thus insulted, opliberal ministry were, by her, dismissed pressed, and forgotten, at length arose from office. Under her secret enmity, murmurs no longer to be stifted. The the parliaments, which even before the fire of such minds as Voltaire and Mirareign of the fifteenth Louis began to beau began to infuse itself into the mass. raise their voices, were arbitrarily sup. But the gay throng of Versailles, surpressed ; a measure that left in the body rounded by groves, colonnades, streams, of the nation an inflamed hatred of the fountains, and statues, hedged in by the court, which too soon broke into a blaze. sacred divinity of rank, allied with the It is said that the division of Poland, potent powers of Europe, little dreamed that act of national felony, which has of other danger than some saucy riot, or left an eternal stigma upon modern of other consequences than the necessity Europe, might have been prevented, had of shedding some plebeian blood by the she chosen to render the least support bayonets of their own countrymen. Still to the cause of that oppressed country. in that stately and superb chateau were With many virtues, she possessed many heard the sounds of revelry and mirth. faults. Most of the latter were those of Still royalty spread all its pride, and education and accident, while the former beauty wove all its spells, and Louis the were peculiarly her own.
She was am. fifteenth was master of France, and bitious, wasteful, and unthinking ; but Marie Jeanne was the very divinity of she was also generous, faithful, and sin, Louis the fifteenth. cere. Her affectionate nature delighted One night, soothed and delighted by in acts of munificence ; but they led her the uncommon beauty of the sky, the to make such demands upon the treasury comtesse stole from a giddy revel to a as to exhaust the very wealth of the marble balcony, which overlooked the nation, and to expedite those gloomy loveliest of scenes. The long range of and unutterable horrors which, in the the palace was visible in the moonlight, revolution, burst like a furious hurricane a heavy, interminable pile of grandeur. upon devoted France, sweeping the good The sound of the music and the dancers and bad together into a common ruin. came softened from the distant rooms;
At the period to which this little story the cool breath of nature blew in rerefers, the fatal cloud had commenced freshingly, laden with the grateful peronly to gather in the horizon, without fume of grove and garden ; and the casting its black shadow over the sun. moon, full orbed and lustrous, lay shine of the court. Louis the fifteenth couched upon a fleecy cloud, with the was still monarch, and a spirit of Paphian soft radiance so peculiar to the pale face luxury pervaded the royal abode. The of Dian. shrines of morality and religion were The comtesse sighed as she gazed, for deserted for that of pleasure. Every, there is something reproachful in the thing that could dazzle and delight was quiet of nature to one just forth from the blended with every thing that could cor- glare of a revel; but yet her sigh was rupt the heart. Vice, in all her most not one of grief. refined and alluring forms, roamed “ No," she cried; “I am blessed beabroad unabashed; virtue alone was yond my merits. I am the mistress of ridiculed and despised. If a profligate this lordly scene, To me is every wish noble was ruined at cards, his exhausted referred, every knee bent. Ah! how purse was replenished from the treasury. little thought the poor Marie Jeanne, as Did a lascivious abbé awaken against she used to make her toilette before a him the indignation of his flock by new piece of glass, in the seventh story of forms of debauchery, he was elevated to an old house in the Rue St. Honoré, a higher and more lucrative place in the that she would ever be the powerful and church. If a minister advised measures beloved mistress of such a magnificent to control the licentiousness of the abode !" noblesse, and to secure the rights of the Again she sighed. Did imagination people, he was dismissed in disgrace ; deceive her? or was that sigh echoed and if a father or a husband resented the only by the breeze? insult offered by a duke or prince to his She looked around with a nameless daughter or his wife, a lettre de cachet apprehension. A few feet beneath, with folded arms, leaning motionless against a statue, stood the figure of a man. At
CHAPTER v. that moment he turned. The moonlight It will be seen, by reference to the fell full upon his noble, but melancholy mysterious letter received by the comcountenance. With a thrill that froze tesse, after the second visit of the fatal her very heart's blood, she met his eyes. stranger, that he had announced the
He was the prophet. It was the certainty of one more interview, and the threatened visi
possibility of another.
“ You will see “Stay! she cried, “ mysterious me once more,” thus ran the lines; being !" But he was gone; and, where “and, should I unfortunately cross your he had stood, a tall statue of Diana rose, path a fourth time, prepare to bid adieu stern, cold, and stirless, in the moon. to the light of heaven, and the pleasures light.
of this world." Three times she had At this moment a confusion was already beheld him. Was she to meet audible through the château, which, him the fourth ? from its extent, seemed to have some No reader requires details respecting uncommon cause. Nearly fainting with the reign of Louis the sixteenth. The indefinite fears, the comtesse turned to comtesse had sustained the loss of her re-enter from the balcony. She was royal lover without being entirely ruined; met by a noble of the court.
and, possessed of an ample private for. “Duc d'Aiguillon, what has oc- tune, she retired to a beautiful villa near curred ?"
the chateau, and, by her accomplish. “Madame, have you not seen him ?” ments and genius, became once more the
“What, that mysterious and dreadful centre of a circle almost as brilliant, and visitor?"
much more faithful, than those who had “ Visitor? What do you mean? I environed her steps in her days of refer to the king.”
power. “ The king?"
The revolution had w burst forth. “He is dangerously ill !”
The people were up, and frantic for “ Almighty heaven!”
revenge. The lovely daughter of Maria “A sudden malady has almost bereft Theresa, the thoughtless Marie Antoi. him of reason! but he has anxiously nette, was hunted like a beautiful doe by inquired for you"
fierce bloodhounds. Democracy, far ** Lead me to him, ere it be too late!” and wide, raged like a flame. Royalty
“ Madame," said the Duc de Cossé, tottered to its very foundations. The entering, with a solemn expression, “it king and queen were now deserted by is already too late.”
their most trusted friends. The Comte “Do not speak it—do not kill me— d'Artois, the Prince de Condé, the Duc at least he get lives ?”
de Bourbon, the Duc d'Enghien, the “Madame. the king is dead. Louis Prince de Conti, and the time-serving the sixteenth is now the honoured sove- Polignacs, fled to Turin-to Bath-to reign of France."
Germany, or Austria — anywhere from Wild with terror and despair, the France. As the pusillanimous nobles comtesse flew through the gorgeous apart- abandoned their posts, demons, scarcely ments of the palace. Even in traversing clothed in human forms, arose amid the them at this early hour, she perceived that discord, to guide and promote it. The her dream was over. Those who had yes- names of Robespierre, Danton, and terday knelt to her at a respectful dis- Marat, were howled through the storm. tance, now either assailed her with Law was abolished ; religion destroyed ; sarcasm, or addressed her with famili. form derided; treachery and cruelty arity. One so long in power could were rewarded ; fidelity and honour scarcely fail to be hated by many. As punished. The guillotine was erected; she reached her own chambers, she blood began to flow; the prisons were found a messenger from the new king. crowded; the time for escape was gone; He had brought her an order of imme. the king fell on the scaffold—the queen diate banishment. He departed with a -half the court; the rivers of France
Of the throngs who, but a few ran red, and only one universal sound of hours before, had crowded to offer her weeping and wailing arose to heaven. their flatteries, not one now remained. The comtesse kept her little circle in She sat down alone. Marie Jeanne was Paris, and the virtues of her character no longer queen of France.
unfolded themselves nobly in this dark
extremity. Every one seemed her was an interval when she sat in her box
fell back senseless.
That spot, the Place Louis Quinze, full of danger.
trodden to-day by the careless feet Do you wish to live in
of so many happy travellers, was partsecurity ?”
The "Of course, that must be the wish of ly covered with an idle crowd. all."
populace at large, sated with horrors, “Well, then, hear me! The late
had ceased to be attracted by the fami
liar scene of death. In the centre stood king, I mean Louis the fifteenth, in a certain spot, in the chateau of Versailles, struggling and desperate, to the spot.
the guillotine. A female was dragged, concealed a casket, of vast importance.' A deadly paleness overspread the face to drown her shrieks. Of all the count
A long, loud roll of drums was beaten of the comtesse.
less victims, not one had yielded so “I madame, you are in possession of the secret. Louis the fifteenth con
shudderingly to the fatal stroke. By
the hand of force she was thrust down fided this fact only to yourself. The last time this casket was opened, was
upon her knees
“Give me one moment - give me when the king placed in it a large packet,
butyou standing with a taper in your hand,
It fell : the drums beat: a few shouts to afford his majesty a light. That casket contains evidence which will arose, Vive la Republique !
Adieu, beautiful Marie Jeanne. bring the haughtiest nobles in France to the guillotine. You are the only being The reader need scarcely be told that alive who knows where it is hidden. this little sketch refers to an incident We must have it. Madame la Comtesse, said to have actually occurred to one will you oblige us with the desired distinguished, unfortunately, not alone secret?"
for her loveliness. “I do not know who you are, sir," The letter is inserted verbatim. replied the comtesse, loftily; “but, whoever you may be, since your avowed object is to shed more blood, and add others to the already insupportable evils YANKEE WATER PRIVILEGES. of unhappy France, I must expressly refuse to afford the required knowledge.”
How much real comfort every one Madame, beware! I am not to be might enjoy, if he would be contented trifled with."
with the lot in which heaven has cast “Nor, sir, am I; and as this inter- him, and how much trouble would be view is not agreeable to me, I heartily avoided if people would only “ let well wish it concluded."
alone.' À moderate independence, “Madame la Comtesse,”' (these words quietly and honestly procured, is cerwere spoken with undisguised irony, as tainly every way preferable even to imall titles of nobility were abolished,) "I mense possessions achieved by the wear wish you good-day.”
and tear of mind and body so necessary He cast on her a significant look, and to procure them. Yet there are very few withdrew.
individuals, let them be doing ever so Delighted with the consciousness of well in the world, who are not always having performed an heroic action, the straining every nerve to do better ; and comtesse, in the evening, met a circle of this is one of the many causes why powerful friends at the opera. There failures in business so frequently occur
T. S. F.