Part 6 out of 6
At these words the child uttered a cry of terror, rushed back to the
nurse, pressed against her, and regarded his father with frightened eyes.
The nurse took him by the arm, and earned him off in great haste.
M. de Camors did not weep. A frightful contraction distorted the corners
of his mouth, and exaggerated the thinness of his cheeks. He had two or
three shudderings as if seized with sudden fever. He slowly passed his
hand over his forehead, sighed profoundly, and departed.
Madame de Campvallon knew nothing of this sad scene, but she saw its
consequences; and she herself felt them bitterly. The character of M. de
Camors, already so changed, became after this unrecognizable. He showed
her no longer even the cold politeness he had manifested for her up to
that period. He exhibited a strange antipathy toward her. He fled from
her. She perceived he avoided even touching her hand.
They saw each other rarely now. The health of Camors did not admit of
his taking regular meals. These two desolate existences offered then,
in the midst of the almost royal state which surrounded them, a spectacle
In this magnificent park--across these beautiful gardens, with great
vases of marble--under long arcades of verdure peopled with more statues-
both wandered separately, like two sad shadows, meeting sometimes but
One day, near the end of September, Camors did not descend from his
apartment. Daniel told the Marquise he had given orders to let no one
"Not even me?" she said. He bent his head mournfully. She insisted.
"Madame, I should lose my place!"
The Count persisted in this mania of absolute seclusion. She was
compelled from this moment to content herself with the news she obtained
from his servant. M. de Camors was not bedridden. He passed his time in
a sad reverie, lying on his divan. He got up at intervals, wrote a few
lines, then lay down again. His weakness appeared great, though he did
not complain of any suffering.
After two or three weeks, the Marquise read in the features of Daniel a
more marked disquietude than usual. He supplicated her to call in the
country physician who had once before seen him. It was so decided.
The unfortunate woman, when the physician was shown into the Count's
apartment, leaned against the door listening in agony. She thought she
heard the voice of Camors loudly raised, then the noise ceased.
The doctor, when departing, simply said to her: "Madame, his sad case
appears to me serious--but not hopeless. I did not wish to press him
to-day, but he allows me to return tomorrow."
In the night which followed, at two o'clock, Madame de Campvallon heard
some one calling her, and recognized the voice of Daniel. She rose
immediately, threw a mantle around her, and admitted him.
"Madame," he said, "Monsieur le Comte asks for you," and burst into
"Mon Dieu! what is the matter?"
"Come, Madame--you must hasten!"
She accompanied him immediately. From the moment she put her foot in the
chamber, she could not deceive herself--Death was there. Crushed by
sorrow, this existence, so full, so proud, so powerful, was about to
terminate. The head of Camors, turned on the pillow, seemed already to
have assumed a death-like immobility. His beautiful features, sharpened
by suffering, took the rigid outline of sculpture; his eye alone yet
lived and looked at her.
She approached him hastily and wished to seize the hand resting on the
He withdrew it. She gave a despairing groan. He continued to look
fixedly at her. She thought he was trying to speak, but could not; but
his eyes spoke. They addressed to her some request, at the same time
with an imperious though supplicating expression, which she doubtless
understood; for she said aloud, with an accent full of sadness and
"I promise it to you."
He appeared to make a painful effort, and his look indicated a large
sealed letter lying on the bed. She took it, and read on the envelope-
"To my son."
"I promise you," she said, again, falling on her knees, and moistening
the sheet with her tears.
He extended his hand toward her. "Thanks!" was all he said. Her tears
flowed faster. She set her lips on this hand already cold. When she
raised her head, she saw at the same instant the eyes of Camors slightly
moist, rolling wildly--then extinguished! She uttered a cry, threw
herself on the bed, and kissed madly those eyes still open--yet void of
Thus ended Camors, who was a great sinner, but nevertheless a MAN!
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
A man never should kneel unless sure of rising a conqueror
One of those pious persons who always think evil