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higher than the lips, and leaves the sides I have help close by, if I please to eyes and forehead dark, threatening, call for it." and uncertain. Altogether, there was All this time the woman was laugha character, it might be of insanity, it ing inwardly, and fumbling under her might be of guilt, in the face, which white robe, as if in search of somewas formidable.

thing. Lucille wished herself at home, but I say he may be an angel, or he there was that in the blood of the

may be a bluebeard, I don't pretend Charrebourgs which never turned away to say which,” she continued, with a from danger, real or imaginary, when perfectly genuine contempt of Lucille's once confronted.

vaunting, “but I have here an amulet “So you are Lucille de Charrebourg?" that never fails in cases like this ; it said the figure, looking at her with that will detect and expel the devil better expression of malice, which is all the than blessed water, vera crux, or body more fearful that it appears causeless. of our Lord, for these things have

“ Yes, madame, that is my name ; sometimes failed, but this can never. will you be so good as to tell me, be- With the aid of this you cannot be deside, the name of the lady who has been ceived. If he be a good man its inkind enough to desire an interview with fluence will be ineffectual against him; me?"

but if, on the other hand, he be pos“ For a name, my dear, suit your- sessed of evil spirits, then test him with self; call me Sycorax, Jezebel, or what it, and you will behold him for a moyou please, and I will answer to it.” ment as he is." “ But what are you?”

“ Let me see it, then." “ There again I give you a carte • Here it is." blanche ; say I am a benevolent fairy; She drew from under the white you don't seem to like that? or your folds of her dress a small spiral bottle, guardian-angel? northat neither! Well, enamelled with some Chinese characa witch if you please, or a ghost, or a ters, and set in a base and capital of fortune-teller—ay, that will do, a for- chased gold, with four little spiral pil. tune-teller-so that is settled.”

lars at the corners connecting the top “Well, madame, if I may not know and bottom and leaving the porcelain either your name or occupation, will visible between. It had, moreover, you be good enough at least to let me a stopper that closed with a spring, business.”

and altogether did not exceed two “Surely, my charming demoiselle ; inches in length, and in thickness was you should have heard it immediately about the size of a swan's quill. It had you not pestered me with so many looked like nothing earthly, but what childish questions. Well, then, about she had described it. For a scent-bottle, this Monsieur Le Prun?"

indeed, it might possibly have been “Well, madame?” said Lucille, not used; but there was something odd a little surprised.

and knowing about this little curiosity, “Well, my dear, I'm not going to something mysterious, and which seemtell you whether this Monsieur Le ed as though it had a tale to tell. In Prun is an angel, for angels they say short, Lucille looked on it with all the have married women; or whether he is interest, and if the truth must be spoa Bluebeard—you have heard the story ken, a good deal of the awe which its of Bluebeard, my little dear—but this pretensions demanded. I say, be he which he may, you must " And what am I to do with this not marry him."

little bauble?" she asked, after she had “And pray who constrains my will?" examined it for some moments cuexclaimed the girl, scornfully, but at riously. the same time inwardly frightened. When you want to make trial of

I do, my pretty pigeon ; if you its efficacy, take it forth, look steadily marry him, you do so forewarned, and in his face, and say, "I expect to reif he don't punish you I will.”. ceive the counterpart of this;' that is

“ How dare you speak in that tone all. If he be a good man, as who can to me?" said Lucille, to whose cheek say, the talisman will leave him as it the insolent threat of the stranger called finds him. But if he be, as some men a momentary flush of red ; you pu. are, the slaves of Satan, you will see, nish me, indeed, if he does not ! I'll were it but for a second, the sufferings not permit you to address me so; be- and passions of hell in his face. Fear

hear your

not to make trial of it, for no harm can they had quite vanished, and that she ensue, you will but know the charac- was left there alone, that she felt someter you have to deal with."

thing akin to terror steal over her, “But this is a valuable bauble, its and hurried from the scene of her price must be considerable, and I have strange interview as from a haunted no money."

spot. A little way up the rising bank “ Well, suppose I make it a present Gabriel was awaiting her return, sorely to you."

disappointed that fortune had in noI should like to have it-but- wiss made her debtor to his valour. but

Long before she reached home the “ But I am too poor to part with sun had gone down, and the long dusky it on such terms, and you too proud shadows had given place to the thin, to take it is that your meaning? cold haze of approaching night. Often Never mind, I can afford to give it, as she glided onward among rocks and and, proud as you are, you can afford bushes she felt an instinctive impulse, to take it. Hide it until the tiine to

something between terror and avertry him comes, and then speak as I sion, prompting her to hurl the little told you."

spiral phial far from her among the wild “Well I will accept it," said Lii- weeds and misty brakes, where, till cille, coldly, but her voice trembled doomsday, it might never be found and her face was pale ; " and this I again. But other feelings, stranger in know, if there be any virtue of any their kind, determined her at least to sort in the toy, it can only prove defer the sacrifice, and so she reached Monsieur Le Prun's goodness. Yes, her chainber with the mysterious gift he is a very kind man, and all the

fast in her tiny grasp. world, I am told, speaks of his excel- Hlere she again examined it, more lence."

minutely than before ; it contained Very probably,” said the stranger, neither fluid nor powder of any sort, " but mark my words, don't marry and svas free from any perfume or odour him; if you do you shall sce me again. whatsoever; and excepting that the

Holloa, devil! are you deaf?" thun- more closely she inspected it, the more dered a sncering voice from a crag at she discovered in its workmanship to the opposite side, “ Come, comc, it's excite her admiration, her careful and time we were moving."

curious investigation was without reThe summons came from a broad, sult. As she carefully folded up the short, swarthy fellow, with black mous- curious souvenir, and secreted it in tache and beard, arrayed in a suit of the safest corner of her safest drawer, dusky red. He had one hand raised she thought over the interview again high above his head beckoning to her, and again, and always with the same and with the other he furiously shook result its respected the female who had the spreading branch of a tree beside bestowed it, namely, that if not actu. him; the prominent whites of his eyes, ally a lady, she had at least the edu. and his grinning teeth, were, even at that cation and the manners of a person distance, seen conspicuous; and so above the working classes. shaggy, furious, and unearthly did he That night Lucille was haunted with seem, that he might well have repre- ugly drea.ns.

Voices were speaking sented some wild huntsman or deinon to her in threats and blasphemies from of the wood. It seemed, indeed, as the little pliial. The mysterious lady though a sort of witches' dance were in white would sit huddled up at the to be held that night in the old park foot of her bed, and the more she of Charrebourg, and that some of the siniled the more terrible became her preternatural company had reached scowl, until at last her countenance the trysting-place before their time. began to dilate, and she slowly ad

The ill-omened woman in white hastily yanced her face closer and closer, gathered up her mantle, without any until, just as her smiling lips reached gesture or word of farewell. With Lucille, she uttered a yell, whether of hurried strides her tall figure glided imprecation or terror she could not off toward the apparition in red, and hear, but which scared her from her both speedily disappeared among the sleep like a peal of thunder. Then a hazy cover at the other side.

great coflin was standing against the The little hollow was now deserted, wall with Monsicur Le Prun in it dead except for Lucille. It was not till and shrouded, and a troop of choris

ters began singing a requiem, when on the green leaves glittering in the early a sudden the furious voice she had sun round her window, quickly dis. heard that evening screamed aloud, pelled the horrors which had possessed “ to what purpose all this hymning, her little room in the hours of silence seeing the corpse is possessed by evil and darkness. It was, notwithstandspirits ;" and then such looks of rage ing, with a sense of fear and dislike and hatred flitted over the livid face in that she opened the drawer where the

he coffin, as nothing but hell could little phial lay, and unrolling all the have inspired. Then again she would paper envelopes in which it was caresee Monsieur Le Prun struggling, his fully folded, beheld it once more in the face all bloody and distorted, with the clear light of day: man in red and the strange lady of the “ Nothing, nothing, but a grotesque talisman, who screamed, laughing with little scent-bottle - why should I be a detestable glee, “Come bride, come, afraid of it?-a poor little pretty toy." the bridegroom waits.” Such horrid So she said, as she folded it up again, dreams as these haunted her all night, and deposited it once more where it so much so that one might almost have had lain all night. But for all that she fancied that an evil influence had felt a mysterious sense of relief when entered her chamber with the little she ran lightly from her chamber into phial. But the songs of gay birds the open air, conscious that the harmpruning their wings, and the rustle of less little « toy” was no longer present.


The next day Monsieur Le Prun by others, had been the main agent returned. His vanity ascribed the in his own ruin. The millionaire and manifest agitation of Lucille's man. parvenu found him invaluable. He ner to feelings very unlike the distrust, was always gay, always in good hualarm, and aversion which, since her

mour; a man of birth and breeding, last night's adventure, had filled her well accepted, in spite of his suspected mind. He came, however, armed with rogueries, in the world of fashion-an votive evidences of his passion, alike adept in all its ways, as well as in the more substantial and more welcome than mysteries of human nature; active, inthe gallant speeches in which he dealt. quisitive, profligate; the very man to He brought her, among other jewels, pick up intelligence when it was need a suit of brilliants which must bave cost ed—to execute a delicate commission, alone some fifteen or twenty thousand or to advise and assist in any profrancs. He seemed to take a delight ject of taste. In addition to all these in overpowering her with the costly gifts and perfections, his fund of good exuberance of his presents. Was there spirits and scandalous anecdote was inin this a latent distrust of his own per- exhaustible, and so Monsieur Le Prun sonal resources, and an anxiety to as- conceived him very cheaply retained tound and enslave by means of his at the expense of allowing him to cheat magnificence-to overwhelm his proud him quietly of a few score crowns at an but dowerless bride with the almost fa- occasional game of picquet. bulous profusion and splendour of his This fashionable sharper and volupwealth ? Perhaps there was, and the tuary was now somewhere about fivevery magnificence which dazzled her and-forty ; but with the assistance of was prompted more by meanness than his dress, which was exquisite, and the generosity.

mysteries of his toilet, which was arThis time he came accompanied by a tistic in a high degree, and above all, gentleman, the Sieur de Blassemare, his gaiety, which never failed him, he who appeared pretty much what he ac- might easily have passed for at least tually was—a sort of general agent, six years younger. adviser, companion, and hanger-on of It was the wish of the benevolent Monthe rich Fermier-General.

sicur Le Prun to set the Visconte quite The Sieur de Blasscmare had his straight in money matters; and as there titres de noblesse, and started in life still remained, like the electric resiwith a fair fortune. This, however, duum in a Leyden vial after the main he had seriously damaged by play, shock has been discharged, some few and he was now obliged to have re- little affairs not quite dissipated in the course to that species of dexterity, to explosion of his fortunes, and which, support his luxuries, which, employed before his re-appearance even in the

his own.

back-ground of society, must be ar- city-1 rare alliance. You un derrate ranged, he employed his agile aid-de- the merits of Mademoiselle de Charrecamp, the Sieur de Blassemare, to bourg. He makes no such presents fish out these claims and settle them. to the Sisters of Charity.”

It was not to be imagined that a “Pardon me, sir, I know her merits young girl, perfectly conscious of her well ; she is indeed a dutiful and dear beauty, with a great deal of vanity and child." an immensity of ambition, coull fail to And the Visconte's eyes filled with be delighted at the magnificent presents moisture, for his heart was softened with which her rich old lover had that by her prosperity, involving, as it did, day loaded her.

She spread them upon the counter- “ And will make one of the hand. pane of her bed, anil when she was somest as she will, no doubt, one of the tired of admiring them, she covered most loving wives in France," said herself with her treasures, hung the Blassemare, gravely. flashing necklace about her neck, and “ And he will make, or I am no clasped her little wrists in the massive prophet, an admirable husband,” rebracelets, stuck a pin here and a brooch sumed the Visconte; “ he has so much there, and covered her fingers with good feeling and so much sparkling jewels; and though she had no “So much money,” suggested Blaslooking-glass larger than a playing-card semare, who was charmed at the Vis. in which to reflect her splendour, she yet coute's little hypocrisy ; "ay, by my could judge in her own mind very satis- faith, that he has; and as to that little factorily of the effect. Then, after bit of scandal, those mysterious reshe had floated about her room, and ports, you know,” he added, with a macurtsicd, and waved her hands to her licious simplicity. heart's content, she again strewed the “Yes, I know," said the Visconte, bed with these delightful, intoxicating shortly. jewels, which flashed actual fascination “All sheer fiction, my dear Visconte," upon her gaze.

continued Blassemure, with a shrug At that moment her gratitude effer. and a smile of disclaimer. vesced, and she almost felt that, pro- “Of course, of course,” said the Vis. vided she were never to behold his face conte, peremptorily. again, she could—not love but like “ It was talked about, you know," Monsieur Le Prun very well; she half persisted his malicious companion, relented, she almost forgave him ; she * about twenty years ago, but it is would have received with good-will, quite discredited now-scouted. You with thanks, and praises, anything and can't think how excellently our good everything he pleased to give ber, ex- friend the Fermier-General is estabcept his company.

lished in society. But I need not tell Meanwhile the old Visconte, some- you, for of course you satisfied yourself; what civilised and modernised by re- the alliance on which I felicitate Le cent restorations, was walking slowly Prun proves it.” to and fro in the little bowling-green, The Visconte made a sort of wincing side by side with Blassemare.

smile and a bow. He saw that Blasse« Yes,” he said, “ with confidence I maure was making a little scene out of give my child into his hands. It is his insincerities for his own private a great trust, Blassemare; but he is entertainment. But there is a sort of gifted with those qualities, which, more conventional hypocrisy which had bethan wealth, conduce to married happi- come habitual to them both. It was

I confide in him a great trust, like a pair of blacklegs cheating one but I feel I risk no sacrifice."

another for practice with their eyes A comic smile, which he could not open. So Blassemare presented his suppress, illuminated the dark features snuff-box, and the Visconte, with equal of Blassemare, and he looked away as if bonhommie, took a pinch, and the game studying the landscape untilit subsided. was kept up pleasantly between them.

“ He is the most disinterested and Meanwhile Lucille, in her chamber, generous of men,” resumed the old gen. the window of which opened upon the tleman.

bowling-green, caught a word or two Ma fui, so he is," rejoined his com- of the conversation we have just sketchpanion; "but Madeinoiselle ile Charre- el. What she heard was just suffi. bourg happened to be precisely the per- cient to awaken the undefined but anxson he needed; birth, beauti, simpli. ious train of ideas which had become


connected with the image of Monsieur “ I don't think you are happy, dear Le Prun. Something seemed all at Lucille, or may be you are offended once to sadden and quench the fire with me," said Julie St. Pierre, turning that blazed in her diamonds; they were her soft blue eyes full upon her handdisenchanted; her heart no longer some companion, and taking her hand danced in their light. With a heavy timidly between her own. sigh she turned to the drawer where They were sitting together on a wild the charmed vial lay; she took it out; bank, shaded by a screen of brushshe weighed it in her hand.

wood, in the park. Lucille had been "After all,” she said, “it is but a silent, abstracted, and, as it seemed, toy. Why should it trouble me? What almost sullen during their walk, and harm can be in it ?”

poor little timid Julie, who cherished She placed it among the golden store for her girlish friend that sort of dethat lay spread upon her coverlet. But votion with which gentler and perhaps it would not assimilate with those orna- better natures are so often inspired by ments; on the contrary, it looked only firmer wills, and more fiery tempers, more quaint and queer, like a suspicious was grieved and perplexed. stranger among them. She hurriedly • Tell me, dear Lucille, are you took it away, more dissatisfied, some. angry with me?" bow, than ever. She inwardly felt that I angry! no, indeed ; and angry there was danger in it, but what could with you, my dear, dear little friend'! it be? what its purpose, significance, I could not be, dear Julie, even were or power? Conjecture failed her. There

I to try.” it lay, harmless and pretty for the pre- And so they kissed heartily again sent, but pregnant with unknown inis- and again. chief, like a painted egg, stolen from “Then,” said Julie, sitting down by a serpent's nest, which time and tem- her, and taking her hand more firmly perature are sure to hatch at last. in hers, and looking with such a loving

The strangest circumstance about interest as nothing could resist in her it was, that she could not make up her face, " you are unhappy. Why don't mind to part with or destroy it. It you tell me what it is that grieves you? exercised over her the fascination of a Í dare say I could give you very wise guilty companionship. She hated but counsel, and, at all events, console could not give it up. And yet, after you. At the convent the pensioners all, what a trifle to fret the spirits even used all to come to me when they were of a girl!

in trouble, and, I assure you, I always It is wonderful how rapidly impres- gave them good advice.” sions of pain or fear, if they be not re- “ But I am not unhappy." newed, lose their influence upon the “ Really?" conduct and even upon the spirits. “No, indeed." The scene in the glen, the image of “ Well, shall I tell you ? I thought the unprepossessing and mysterious py- you were unhappy because you are thoness, and the substance and man- going to be married to my uncle.” ner of the sinister warning she commu- “ Folly, folly, my dear little prude. nicated, were indeed fixed in her me- Your uncle is a very good man, and a mory ineffaceably. But every day that very grand match. I ought to be desaw her marriage approach in security lighted at a prospect so brilliant." and peace, and her preparations pro- Even while Lucille spoke, she felt a ceed without molestation, served to dis- powerful impulse to tell her little comsipate her fears and to obliterate the panion all_her fondness for Dubois, force of that hated scene.

her aversion for Monsieur Le Prun, It was, therefore, only now and then the scene with the strange woman, and that the odd and menacing occurrence her own forebodings; but such a conrecurred to her memory with a depress- fession would have been difficult to reing and startling effect. At such mo- concile with her fixed resolution to let ments, it might be of weakness, the the affair take its course, and at all ha. boding words, “Don't marry him; if zards marry the man whom, it was you do you shall see me again,” smote vain to disguise it from herself, she upon her heart like the voice of a spec. disliked, distrusted, and feared. tre, and she felt that chill, succeeded “I was going to give you comfort by vague and gloomy anxiety, which by my own story. I never told you superstition ascribes to the passing pre- before that I, too, am affianced." scace of a spirit from the grave.

“ Affiancel! and to wliom?" VOL. XXXVI.-NO. CCXIV.

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