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the letter he had just received as in sal, in intimate proximity with two or anywise concerned her to know. three other volumes of ihat gay kind
“See you and Marguerite to the pre- which even the Visconte de Charreparations ; let everything, at least, be bourg would have blushed and trembled neat. He knows, as all the world to have seen in the hands of his child. does, that I am miserably poor ; and
It resembled thus the heterogeneousfurwe can't make this place look less beg. niture of his own mind, with an incongarly than it is; but we must make gruous ingredient of superinduced relithe best of it. What can one do with gion; but, on the whole, unpresentable a pension of eight hundred francs- and unclean. He took up the wellbah!"
thumbed Vulgate, in which, of late The latter part of this speech was years, he had read a good deal, but muttered in bitter abstraction.
somehow, it did not interest him at “ The pension is too small, sir.” that moment. He threw it back again,
He looked at her with something and suffered his fancy to run riot like a sneer.
among schemes more exciting and, “ It is too small, sir, and ought to alas ! less guiltless. His daughter's be increased."
words had touched an evil chord in his “Who says so ?"
heart-she had unwittingly uncaged Marguerite has often said so, sir, the devil that lurked within him; and and I believe it. If you will petition this guardian angel from the pit was the king he will give you something playing, in truth, very ugly pranks worthy of your rank."
with his ambitious imagination. “ You are a pair of wiseheads, tru- Lucille called old Marguerite to her ly. It cost the exertions of powerful bed-room, and there made the astonishfriends, while I still had some, to get ing disclosure of the promised visit ; that pittance; were I to move in the but the old woman, though hersell matter now, it more like to lead to
very fussy in consequence, perceived its curtailment than extension.”
no corresponding excitement in her “ Yes, but the king admires beauty, young mistress; on the contrary, she and I am beautiful,” she said, with a was sad and abstracted. blush that was at once the prettiest, “ Do you remember," said Lucille, the boldest, and yet the purest thing after a long pause, “ the story of the imaginable ; "and I will present your fair demoiselle of Alsace you used to petition myself."
tell me long ago ? How true her lover Her father looked at her for a mo- was, and how bravely he fought through ment with a gaze of inquiring wonder, all the dangers of witchcraft and war which changed into a faint, abstracted to find her out again and wed her, smile; but he rose abruptly from his although he was a noble knight, and seat with a sort of shrug, as if it were she, as he believed, but a peasant's chill, and, muttering his favourite ex- daughter. Marguerite, it is a pretty orcism, “Apage sathanas !" walked story. I wonder if gentlemen are as with a flurried step up and down the true of heart now?" room. His face was flushed, and there “Ay, my dear, why not? love is was something in its expression which love always; just the same as it was of forbid her hazarding another word. old is it now, and will be while the
It was not until nearly half an hour had elapsed that the Visconte suddenly And with this comforting assurance exclaimed, as if not a second had in. their conference ended. terposed
The very next day came the visit of “Well, Lucille, it is not quite impos. Monsieur le Prun and his niece. The sible ; but you need not mention it to Fermier-General was old and ugly, there Marguerite."
is no denying it; he had a shrewd, peHe then signed to her to leave him, netrating eye, moreover, and in the intending, according to his wont, to lines of his mouth were certain unmis. find occupation for his solitary hours takeable indications of habitual comin the resources of his library. This mand. When his face was in repose, library was contained in an old chest ; indeed, its character was on the whole consisted of some score of shabby vo- forbidding. But in repose it seldom lumes of all sizes, and was, in truth, a was, for he smiled and grimaced with queer mixture. It comprised, among an industry that was amazing. other tomes, a Latin Bible and a mis. His niece was a pretty little fair.
haired girl of sixteen, with something form at the cottage door to declare sad and even funeste in her counte- himself, and, with the Visconte's sancnance. The fragile timidity of the lit- tion, press his suit. Every morning tle blonde contrasted well with the fire broke with hope, every night brought and energy that animated the hand. disappointment with its chill and some features of her new acquaintance. darkness, till hope expired, and feelings Julie St. Pierre, for that was her name, of bitterness, wounded pride, and passeemed just as unconscious of Lu- sionate resentment succeeded. What cille's deficient toilet as she was her- galled her proud heart most was the self, and the two girls became, in the fear that she had betrayed her fondness space of an hour's ramble among the to him. To be forsaken was hard brakes and bushes of the park, as in- enough to bear, but to the desolation timate as if they had spent all their of such a loss the sting of humiliation days together. Monsieur le Prun, superadded was terrible. meanwhile, conversed affably with the One day the rumble of coach-wheels Visconte, whom he seemed to take a was heard upon the narrow, broken road pleasure in treating with a deference which wound by the Visconte's cottage. which secretly flattered alike his pride A magnificent equipage, glittering with and his vanity. He told him, moreover, gold and gorgeous colours, drawn by that the contract for the purchase of the four noble horses worthy of CinderCharrebourg estate was already com- ella's state-coach, came rolling and pleted, and pleased himself with pro- rocking along the track. The heart jecting certain alterations in the Vis- of Lucille beat fast under her little conte's humble residence, which would bodice as she beheld its approach. The certainly have made it a far more im- powdered servants were of course to posing piece of architecture than it
the carriage-door, and Du Bois ever had been. All his plans, how- himself, attired in the robes of a prince, ever, were accompanied with so many was to spring from within and throw submissions to the Visconte's superior himself passionately at her feet. In taste, and so many solicitations of short, she felt that the denouement of “ perinission," and so many delicate the fairy tale was at hand. admissions of an ownership, which both The coach stopped the door openparties knew to be imaginary, that the ed, and Monsieur Le Prun descended, visiter appeared in the attitude rather and handed his little niece to the of one suing for than conferring a fa- ground ; Lucille wished him and Du vour. Add to all this that the Fermier- Bois both in the galleys. General had the good taste to leave his He was more richly dressed than equipage at the park gate, and trudged usual, more ceremonious, and if poson foot beside his little niece, who, in sible more gracious. He saluted Lurustic fashion, was mounted on a don- cille, and after a word or two of com. key, to make his visit. No wonder, mon-place courtesy, joined the old then, that when the Crcesus and his lit- Visconte, and they shortly entered tle niece took their departure, they left the old gentleman's chamber of auupon the mind of the old Visconte an dience together, and there remained impression which (although, for the for more than an hour. At the end of sake of consistency, he was still obliged of that time they emerged together, to affect his airs of hauteur) was in the both a little excited as it seemed. The highest degree favourable.
Fermier-General was flushed like a The acquaintance thus commenced scarlet withered apple, and his black was not suffered to languish. Scarce eyes glowed and flashed with an un. a day passed without either a visit or a usual agitation. The Visconte too was billet, and thus some five or six weeks also flushed, and he carried his head a passed.
little back, with an unwonted air of Lucille and her new companion be- reserve and importance. came more and more intimate; but The adieux were made with some lite there was one secret recorded in the tle flurry, and the equipage swept innermost tablet of her heart which she away, leaving the spot where its magwas too proud to disclose even to her nificence had just been displayed as gentle friend. For a day-days-a bleak and blank as the space on which week-a fortnight after her interview the pageant of a phantasmagoria has with Du Bois, she lived in hope that been for a moment reflected. every hour might present his handsome The old servant of all work was charm.
ed with this souvenir of her better vey through me the gratitude with days. Monsieur Le Prun had risen which you accept them. immensely in her regard in consequence Lucille was silent and pale; within of the display she had just gloated her a war and chaos of emotions were upon. In the estimation of the de- struggling, like the tumult of the ocean. voted Marguerite he was more than a “I felicitate you, my child,” said Midas. His very eye seemed to gild the Visconte, kissing her throbbing everything it fell upon as naturally as the forehead; "in you the fortunes of your sun radiates his yellow splendour. The family will be restored—come with blue velvet liveries, the gold-studded harness, the embossed and emblazoned She accompanied him into the cotcoach, the stately beasts with their tage; she was walking, as it were, in tails tied up in great bows of broad blue a wonderful dream; but amidst the ribbons, with silver fringe, like an confusion of her senses, her perplexity Arcadian beauty's chevelure, the re- and irresolution, there was a dull sense verential solemnity of the gorgeous
of pain at her heart, there was a shalacqueys, the tout ensemble, in short, dowy figure constantly before her ; was overpowering and delightful. its presence agitated and reproached
“Well, child,” said the Visconte, her, but she had little leisure to listen after he and Lucille had stood for a to the pleadings of a returning tenderwhile in silence watching the retiring ness, even had they been likely to preequipage, taking her hand in his at the vail with her ambitious heart. Her same time, and leading her with a state- father rapidly sketched such a letter of ly gravity along the narrow walk which complimentary acceptance as he conenvironed the cottage, “Monsieur Le ceived suitable to the occasion and the Prun, it must be admitted, has excel- parties. lent taste; par bleu, his team would do “Read that,” he said, placing it behonour to the royal stables. What a
fore Lucille. Well, that I think will superb equipage! Happy the woman
What say you, child ?" whom fortune will elect to share the “Yes, sir,” she replied with an efsplendour of which all that we have fort; “it is true; he does me indeed just seen is but as a sparkle from great honour; and—and I accept him; the furnace-fortunate she whom and now, sir, I would wish to go and Monsieur Le Prun will make his be for a while alone." wife.”
“Do so,” said her father, again He spoke with so much emotion, di. kissing her, for he felt a sort of grati. rected a look of such triumphant signi- tude toward her as the prime cause of ficance upon his daughter, and pressed all these comforts and luxuries, whose her hand so hard, that on a sudden a long despaired of return he now beheld stupendous conviction, at once horrible
in immediate and certain prospect. and dazzling, burst upon her.
Not heeding this unwonted exuberance - Monsieur- ! for the love of God of tenderness, she hurried to her little do you mean-do you mean ?" bedroom, and sate down upon the side she said, and broke off abruptly. of her bed.
“Yes, my dear Lucille," he returned At first she wept passionately, but with elation, “I do mean to tell you her girlish volatility soon dried these that you—you are that fortunate per- tears. The magnificent equipage of son. It is true you can bring him no Monsieur Le Prun swept before her wealth, but he already possesses more
imagination. Her curious and dazof that than he knows how to apply. zled fancy then took flight in specuYou can, however, bring him what lations as to the details of all the, as few other women possess, an ancient yet, undescribed splendours in reserve. lineage, an exquisite beauty, and the Then she thought of herself married, simplicity of an education in which the and mistress of all this great fortune, seeds of finesse and dissipation have and her heart beat thick, and she not been sown; in short, the very attri- laughed aloud, and clapped her hands butes and qualifications which he most in an ecstacy of almost childish exultaesteems—which he has long sought, tion. and which in conversation he has found Next day she received a long visit irresistible in you. Monsieur Le Prun from Monsieur Le Prun, as her has entreated me to lay his proposals accepted lover. Spite of all his at your feet, and you of course con- splendour, he had never looked in her
eyes half so old, and ugly, and sinister as now. The marriage, which was sometimes so delightfully full of promise to her vanity and ambition, in his presence most perversely lost all its enchantment, and terrified her, like some great but unascertained danger. It was, however, too late now to recede; and even were she free to do so, it is more than probable that she could not have endured the sacri. fice involved in retracting her consent.
The Visconte's little household kept early hours. He himself went to bed almost with the sun; and on the night after this decisive visit - for such Monsieur Le Prun's first appearance and acceptation in the character ofan affianced bridegroom undoubtedly was
Lucille was lying awake, the prey of a thousand agitating thoughts, when, on a sudden, rising upon the still night air, came a little melody-alas! too well known—a gay and tender song, chanted sweetly. Had the voice of Fate called her, she could not have started more suddenly upright in her bed, with eyes straining, and parted lips-one hand pushing back the rich clusters of hair, and collecting the sound at her ear, and the other extended toward the distant songster, and softly marking the time of the air. She listened till the song
away, and covering her face with her hands, she threw herself down upon the pillow, and sobbing desolately, murmured" too late!-loo late!”
IV.-THE STRANGE LADY IN WHITE.
The visits of the happy Fermier-Ge- A gay party from Paris, with ora neral occurred, of course, daily, and ders of admission from the creditors, increased in duration. Meanwhile that day visited the park. In a re, preparations went forward. The Vis- mote and bosky hollow they had seated conte, supplied from some mysterious themselves upon the turf, and, amid source, appeared to have an untold songs and laughter, were enjoying a amount of cash. He made repeated cold repast. Far away these sounds of excursions to the capital, which for mirth were borne on the clear air twenty years he had not so much as to Lucille. Alas! when should she seen; and handsome dresses, orna. laugh as gaily as those ladies, who, ments, &c., for Lucille, were accom- with their young companions, were panied by no less important improve making merry ? --when again should ments upon his own wardrobe, as well music speak as of old with her heart, as various accessions to the comforts of and bear in its chords no tone of retheir little dwelling-so numerous, in- proach and despair ? This gay party deed, as speedily to effect an almost broke up into groups, and began mercomplete transformation in its charac- rily to rainble towards the great gate, ter and pretensions.
where, of course, their carriages were Thus the time wore on, in a state awaiting them. of excitement, which, though chequer- Attracted mournfully by their mirth, ed with many fears, was on the whole Lucille rambled onward as they repleasurable.
treated. It was evening, and the sunAbout ten days had passed since beams slanter! pleasantly among the the peculiar and delicate relation we trees and bushes, throwing long, soft have described was established between shadows over the sward, and convertLucille and Monsieur Le Prun. Ur- ing into gold every little tuft, and gent business bad called him away to weed, and knob that broke the irrethe city, and kept him closely con- gular sweep of the ground. fined there, so that, for the first time She had reached a part of the park since his declaration, his daily visit with which she was not so familiar. was omitted upon this occasion. Had Here several gentle hollows were conthe good Fermier-General known but verging toward the stream, and trees all, he need not have offered so many and wild brushwood in fresh abundapologies, nor laboured so hard to ance clothed their sides, and spread console his lady-love for his involun. upward along the plain in rich and tary absence.
The truth, then, is, as shaggy exuberance. the reader no doubt suspects, Lucille From among them, with a stick in was charmed at finding herself, even his hand, and running lightly in the for a day, once more her own absolute direction of her father's cottage, Ga. mistress,
briel suddenly emerged.
On seeing her at the end of the ir- Poor Gabriel blushed and faltered regular vista, which he had just en
more than ever at this passage. tered, however, he slackened his pace, 66. Tell mademoiselle,' she said, “I and doffing his hat, he approached have something that concerns her nearher.
ly to tell her. Let her know that I am “A message, Gabriel ?" she in- waiting here; but I cannot stay long.' quired.
And so she beckoned me away impa. “ Yes, if mademoiselle pleases,” tiently, and I, expecting to find you said he, blushing all over, like the set- near the house, was running, when ma. ting sun. “I was running to the demoiselle saw me." Visconte's house to tell mademoiselle.” “ It is very strange; stay, Gabriel, I • Well, Gabriel, and what is it?" will go and speak to her, it is only a
Why, mademoiselle, a strange la- step." dy in the glen desired me to tell Ma- T'he fact was that Lucille's curiosity damoiselle de Charrebourg that she (as might have been the case with a great wished to see her."
many of her sex in a similar situation) “ But did she say why she desired was too strong for her, and her pride it, and what she wished to speak to me was forced to bend to its importunity. about?"
“Go you before,” she said to Ga“No, mademoiselle.”
briel, who long remembered that even" Then tell her that Mademoiselle ing walk in attendance upon Lucille, de Charrebourg, knowing neither her as a scene so enchanting and delightname nor her business, declines obey- ful as to be rather a mythic episode ing her summons," she said, haughtily. than an incident in his life; “ and Gabriel bowed low, and was about to Gabriel,” she added, as they entered retire on his errand, when she added the cold shadow of the thick evergreens,
“It was very dull of you, Gabriel, and felt, she knew not why, a superstinot to ask her what she wanted of me." tious dread creep over her, “ do you
“Madame, without your permission, wait within call, but so as not to overI dare not,” he replied, with a deeper hear our conversation ; you understand blush, and a tone at once so ardent and so humble, that Lucille could not for. They had now emerged from the bear a smile of the prettiest good na
dark cover into the glen, and looking ture.”
downward toward the little stream, “ In truth, Gabriel, you are a du- at a short distance from them, the tiful boy. But how did you happen figure of the mysterious lady was to meet her ?"
plainly discernible. She was sitting “I was returning, mademoiselle,
with her back toward them upon a from the other side of the stream, and fragment of rock, under the bough of just when I got into the glen, on an old gnarled oak. Her dress was a turning round the corner of the grey sort of loose white robe, it might be of stone, I saw her standing close to me flannel, such as invalids in hospitals behind the bushes.”
wear, and a red cloak had slipt from “And I suppose you were fright- her shoulders, and covered the ground ened ?" she said, archly.
at her feet. Thus solitary and myste“No, mademoiselle, indeed; though rious, she suggested the image of a she was strangely dressed and very priestess cowering over the blood of a pale, but she spoke to me kindly. She victim in search of omens. asked me my name, and then she looked Lucille approached her with some in my face very hard, as a fortune-tel. trepidation, and to avoid coming upon ler does, and she told me many strange her wholly by surprise she made a little things, mademoiselle, about myself; detour, and thus had an opportunity some of them I knew, and some of them of seeing the features of the stranger, I never heard before."
as well as of permitting her to become “I suppose she is a fortune-teller ; aware of her approach. and how did she come to ask for me?" Her appearance, upon a nearer ap
“She inquired if the Visconte de proach, was not such as to reassure Lu. Charrebourg still lived on the estate, cille. She was tall, deadly pale, and and then she said, 'Has he not a beau. marked with the small-pox. She had tiful daughter called Lucille?' and I, particularly black eye-brows, and amademoiselle, made bold to answer, waited the young lady's approach with • Oh yes, madame, yes, in truth."" that ominous smile which ascends no