Part 5 out of 8
Josephine quaked. Camille was devoured with secret rage: he lashed
the horse and away they went.
It was a silent party. The doctor seemed in a reverie. The others
did not know what to think, much less to say. Aubertin sat by
Camille's side; so the latter could hold no secret communication
with either lady.
Now it was not the doctor's habit to rise at this time of the
morning: yet there he was, going with them to Frejus uninvited.
Josephine was in agony; had their intention transpired through some
imprudence of Camille?
Camille was terribly uneasy. He concluded the secret had transpired
through female indiscretion. Then they all tortured themselves as
to the old man's intention. But what seemed most likely was, that
he was with them to prevent a clandestine marriage by his bare
presence, without making a scene and shocking Josephine's pride: and
if so, was he there by his own impulse? No, it was rather to be
feared that all this was done by order of the baroness. There was a
finesse about it that smacked of a feminine origin, and the baroness
was very capable of adopting such a means as this, to spare her own
pride and her favorite daughter's. "The clandestine" is not all
sugar. A more miserable party never went along, even to a wedding.
After waiting a long time for the doctor to declare himself, they
turned desperate, and began to chatter all manner of trifles. This
had a good effect: it roused Aubertin from his reverie, and
presently he gave them the following piece of information: "I told
you the other day that a nephew of mine was just dead; a nephew I
had not seen for many years. Well, my friends, I received last
night a hasty summons to his funeral."
"No, at Paris. The invitation was so pressing, that I was obliged
to go. The letter informed me, however, that a diligence passes
through Frejus, at eleven o'clock, for Paris. I heard you say you
were going to Frejus; so I packed up a few changes of linen, and my
MS., my work on entomology, which at my last visit to the capital
all the publishers were mad enough to refuse: here it is. Apropos,
has Jacintha put my bag into the carriage?"
On this a fierce foot-search, and the bag was found. Meantime,
Josephine leaned back in her seat with a sigh of thankfulness. She
was more intent on not being found out than on being married. But
Camille, who was more intent on being married than on not being
found out, was asking himself, with fury, how on earth they should
get rid of Aubertin in time.
Well, of course, under such circumstances as these the diligence did
not come to its time, nor till long after; and all the while, they
were waiting for it they were failing their rendezvous with the
mayor, and making their rendezvous with the curate impossible. But,
above all, there was the risk of one or other of those friends
coming up and blurting all out, taking for granted that the doctor
must be in their confidence, or why bring him.
At last, at half-past eleven o'clock, to their great relief, up came
the diligence. The doctor prepared to take his place in the
interior, when the conductor politely informed him that the vehicle
stopped there a quarter of an hour.
"In that case I will not abandon my friends," said the doctor,
One of his friends gnashed his teeth at this mark of affection. But
Josephine smiled sweetly.
At last he was gone; but it wanted ten minutes only to twelve.
Josephine inquired amiably, whether it would not be as well to
postpone matters to another day--meaning forever. "My ARDOR is
chilled," said she, and showed symptoms of crying at what she had
Camille replied by half dragging them to the mayor. That worthy
received them with profound, though somewhat demure respect, and
invited them to a table sumptuously served. The ladies, out of
politeness, were about to assent, but Camille begged permission to
postpone that part until after the ceremony.
At last, to their astonishment, they were married. Then, with a
promise to return and dine with the mayor, they went to the cure.
Lo and behold! he was gone to visit a sick person. "He had waited a
long time for them," said the servant.
Josephine was much disconcerted, and showed a disposition to cry
again. The servant, a good-natured girl, nosed a wedding, and
offered to run and bring his reverence in a minute.
Presently there came an old silvery-haired man, who addressed them
all as his children. He took them to the church, and blessed their
union; and for the first time Josephine felt as if Heaven consented.
They took a gentle farewell of him, and went back to the mayor's to
dine; and at this stage of the business Rose and Josephine at last
effected a downright simultaneous cry, apropos of nothing that was
This refreshed them mightily, and they glowed at the mayor's table
like roses washed with dew.
But oh! how glad at heart they all were to find themselves in the
carriage once more going home to Beaurepaire.
Rose and Josephine sat intertwined on the back seat; Camille, the
reins in his right hand, nearly turned his back on the horse, and
leaned back over to them and purred to Rose and his wife with
ineffable triumph and tenderness.
The lovers were in Elysium, and Rose was not a little proud of her
good management in ending all their troubles. Their mother received
them back with great, and as they fancied, with singular, affection.
She was beginning to be anxious about them, she said. Then her
kindness gave these happy souls a pang it never gave them before.
Since the above events scarce a fortnight had elapsed; but such a
change! Camille sunburnt and healthy, and full of animation and
confidence; Josephine beaming with suppressed happiness, and more
beautiful than Rose could ever remember to have seen her. For a
soft halo of love and happiness shone around her head; a new and
indefinable attraction bloomed on her face. She was a wife. Her
eye, that used to glance furtively on Camille, now dwelt demurely on
him; dwelt with a sort of gentle wonder and admiration as well as
affection, and, when he came or passed very near her, a keen
observer might have seen her thrill.
She kept a good deal out of her mother's way; for she felt within
that her face must be too happy. She feared to shock her mother's
grief with her radiance. She was ashamed of feeling unmixed heaven.
But the flood of secret bliss she floated in bore all misgivings
away. The pair were forever stealing away together for hours, and
on these occasions Rose used to keep out of her mother's sight,
until they should return. So then the new-married couple could
wander hand in hand through the thick woods of Beaurepaire, whose
fresh green leaves were now just out, and hear the distant cuckoo,
and sit on mossy banks, and pour love into one another's eyes, and
plan ages of happiness, and murmur their deep passion and their
bliss almost more than mortal; could do all this and more, without
shocking propriety. These sweet duets passed for trios: for on
their return Rose would be out looking for them, or would go and
meet them at some distance, and all three would go up together to
the baroness, as from a joint excursion. And when they went up to
their bedrooms, Josephine would throw her arms round her sister's
neck, and sigh, "It is not happiness, it is beatitude!"
Meantime, the baroness mourned for Raynal. Her grief showed no
decrease. Rose even fancied at times she wore a gloomy and
discontented look as well; but on reflection she attributed that to
her own fancy, or to the contrast that had now sprung up in her
sister's beaming complacency.
Rose, when she found herself left day after day alone for hours, was
sad and thought of Edouard. And this feeling gained on her day by
At last, one afternoon, she locked herself in her own room, and,
after a long contest with her pride, which, if not indomitable, was
next door to it, she sat down to write him a little letter. Now, in
this letter, in the place devoted by men to their after-thoughts, by
women to their pretended after-thoughts; i. e., to what they have
been thinking of all through the letter, she dropped a careless hint
that all the party missed him very much, "even the obnoxious
colonel, who, by-the-by, has transferred his services elsewhere. I
have forgiven him that, because he has said civil things about you."
Rose was reading her letter over again, to make sure that all the
principal expressions were indistinct, and that the composition
generally, except the postscript, resembled a Delphic oracle, when
there was a hasty footstep, and a tap at her door, and in came
"He is come, mademoiselle," cried she, and nodded her head like a
mandarin, only more knowingly; then she added, "So you may burn
that." For her quick eye had glanced at the table.
"Who is come?" inquired Rose, eagerly.
"Why, your one?"
"My one?" asked the young lady, reddening, "my what?"
"The little one--Edouard--Monsieur Riviere."
"Oh, Monsieur Riviere," said Rose, acting nonchalance. "Why could
you not say so? you use such phrases, who can conjecture what you
mean? I will come to Monsieur Riviere directly; mamma will be so
Jacintha gone, Rose tore up the letter and locked up the pieces,
then ran to the glass. Etc.
Edouard had been so profoundly miserable he could stand it no
longer; in spite of his determination not to visit Beaurepaire while
it contained a rival, he rode over to see whether he had not
tormented himself idly: above all, to see the beloved face.
Jacintha put him into the salle a manger. "By that you will see her
alone," said the knowing Jacintha. He sat down, hat and whip in
hand, and wondered how he should be received--if at all.
In glides Rose all sprightliness and good-humor, and puts out her
hand to him; the which he kisses.
"How could I keep away so long?" asked he vaguely, and self-
"How indeed, and we missing you so all the time!"
"Have YOU missed me?" was the eager inquiry.
"Oh, no!" was the cheerful reply; "but all the rest have."
Presently the malicious thing gave a sudden start.
"Oh! such a piece of news; you remember Colonel Dujardin, the
"Transferred his attentions. Fancy!"
"To Josephine and mamma. But such are the military. He only wanted
to get rid of you: this done (through your want of spirit), he
scorns the rich prize; so now I scorn HIM. Will you come for a
"We will go and look for my deserter. I say, tell me now; cannot I
write to the commander-in-chief about this? a soldier has no right
to be a deserter, has he? tell me, you are a public man, and know
everything except my heart."
"Is it not too bad to tease me to-day?"
"Yes! but please! I have had few amusements of late. I find it so
dull without you to tease."
Formal permission to tease being conceded, she went that instant on
the opposite tack, and began to tell him how she had missed him, and
how sorry she had been anything should have occurred to vex their
kind good friend. In short, Edouard spent a delightful day, for
Rose took him one way to meet Josephine, who, she knew, was coming
another. At night the last embers of jealousy got quenched, for
Josephine was a wife now, and had already begun to tell Camille all
her little innocent secrets; and she told him all about Edouard and
Rose, and gave him his orders; so he treated Rose with great respect
before Edouard; but paid her no marked attention; also he was
affable to Riviere, who, having ceased to suspect, began to like
In the course of the evening, the colonel also informed the baroness
that he expected every day an order to join the army of the Rhine.
Edouard pricked his ears.
The baroness said no more than politeness dictated. She did not
press him to stay, but treated his departure as a matter of course.
Riviere rode home late in the evening in high spirits.
The next day Rose varied her late deportment; she sang snatches of
melody, going about the house; it was for all the world like a bird
chirping. In the middle of one chirp Jacintha interfered. "Hush,
mademoiselle, your mamma! she is at the bottom of the corridor."
"What was I thinking of?" said Rose.
"Oh! I dare say you know, mademoiselle," replied the privileged
A letter of good news came from Aubertin. That summons to his
nephew's funeral was an era in his harmless life.
The said nephew was a rich man and an oddity; one of those who love
to surprise folk. Moreover, he had no children, and detected his
nephews and nieces being unnaturally civil to him. "Waiting to cut
me up," was his generous reading of them. So with this he made a
will, and there defied, as far as in him lay, the laws of nature;
for he set his wealth a-flowing backwards instead of forwards; he
handed his property up to an ancestor, instead of down to posterity.
All this the doctor's pen set down with some humor, and in the calm
spirit with which a genuine philosopher receives prosperity as well
as adversity. Yet one natural regret escaped him; that all this
wealth, since it was to come, had not come a year or two sooner.
All at Beaurepaire knew what their dear old friend meant.
His other news to them was that they might expect him any moment.
So here was another cause of rejoicing.
"I am so glad," said Josephine. "Now, perhaps, he will be able to
publish his poor dear entomology, that the booksellers were all so
unkind, so unfeeling about."
I linger on the brink of painful scenes to observe that a sweet and
loving friendship, such as this was between the good doctor and
three persons of another sex, is one of the best treasures of the
human heart. Poverty had strengthened it; yet now wealth could not
weaken it. With no tie of blood it yet was filial, sisterly,
brotherly, national, chivalrous; happy, unalloyed sentiment, free
from ups and downs, from heats and chills, from rivalry, from
caprice; and, indeed, from all mortal accidents but one--and why say
one? methinks death itself does but suspend these gentle, rare,
unselfish amities a moment, then waft them upward to their abiding
It was a fair morning in June: the sky was a bright, deep, lovely,
speckless blue: the flowers and bushes poured perfume, and sprinkled
song upon the balmy air. On such a day, so calm, so warm, so
bright, so scented, so tuneful, to live and to be young is to be
happy. With gentle hand it wipes all other days out of the memory;
it smiles, it smells, it sings, and clouds and rain and biting wind
seem as far off and impossible as grief and trouble.
Camille and Josephine had stolen out, and strolled lazily up and
down close under the house, drinking the sweet air, fragrant with
perfume and melody; the blue sky, and love.
Rose was in the house. She had missed them; but she thought they
must be near; for they seldom took long walks early in the day.
Meeting Jacintha on the landing of the great staircase, she asked
her where her sister was.
"Madame Raynal is gone for a walk. She has taken the colonel with
her. You know she always takes the colonel out with her now."
"That will do. You can finish your work."
Jacintha went into Camille's room.
Rose, who had looked as grave as a judge while Jacintha was present,
bubbled into laughter. She even repeated Jacintha's words aloud,
and chuckled over them. "You know she always takes the colonel out
with her now--ha, ha, ha!"
"Rose!" sighed a distant voice.
She looked round, and saw the baroness at some distance in the
corridor, coming slowly towards her, with eyes bent gloomily on the
ground. Rose composed her features into a settled gravity, and went
to meet her.
"I wish to speak with you," said the baroness; "let us sit down; it
is cool here."
Rose ran and brought a seat without a back, but well stuffed, and
set it against the wall. The old lady sat down and leaned back, and
looked at Rose in silence a good while; then she said,--
"There is room for you; sit down, for I want to speak seriously to
"Yes, mamma; what is it?"
"Turn a little round, and let me see your face."
Rose complied; and began to feel a little uneasy.
"Perhaps you can guess what I am going to say to you?"
"I have no idea."
"Well, I am going to put a question to you."
"With all my heart, dear mamma."
"I invite you to explain to me the most singular, the most
unaccountable thing that ever fell under my notice. Will you do
this for your mother?"
"O mamma! of course I will do anything to please you that I can;
but, indeed, I don't know what you mean."
"I am going to tell you."
The old lady paused. The young one, naturally enough, felt a chill
of vague anxiety strike across her frame.
"Rose," said the old lady, speaking very gently but firmly, and
leaning in a peculiar way on her words, while her eye worked like an
ice gimlet on her daughter's face, "a little while ago, when my poor
Raynal--our benefactor--was alive--and I was happy--you all chilled
my happiness by your gloom: the whole house seemed a house of
mourning--tell me now why was this."
"Mamma!" said Rose, after a moment's hesitation, "we could hardly be
gay. Sickness in the house! And if Colonel Raynal was alive, still
he was absent, and in danger."
"Oh! then it was out of regard for him we were all dispirited?"
"Why, I suppose so," said Rose, stoutly; but then colored high at
her own want of candor. However, she congratulated herself that her
mother's suspicion was confined to past events.
Her self-congratulation on that score was short; for the baroness,
after eying her grimly for a second or two in silence, put her this
awkward question plump.
"If so, tell me why is it that ever since that black day when the
news of his DEATH reached us, the whole house has gone into black,
and has gone out of mourning?"
"Mamma," stammered Rose, "what DO you mean?"
"Even poor Camille, who was so pale and wan, has recovered like
"O mamma! is not that fancy?" said Rose, piteously. "Of what do you
suspect me? Can you think I am unfeeling--ungrateful? I should not
be YOUR daughter."
"No, no," said the baroness, "to do you justice, you attempt sorrow;
as you put on black. But, my poor child, you do it with so little
skill that one sees a horrible gayety breaking through that thin
disguise: you are no true mourners: you are like the mutes or the
undertakers at a funeral, forced grief on the surface of your faces,
and frightful complacency below."
"Tra la! lal! la! la! Tra la! la! Tra la! la!" carolled Jacintha,
in the colonel's room hard by.
The ladies looked at one another: Rose in great confusion.
"Tra la! la! la! Tra lal! lal! la! la! la!"
"Jacintha!" screamed Rose angrily.
"Hush! not a word," said the baroness. "Why remonstrate with HER?
Servants are but chameleons: they take the color of those they
serve. Do not cry. I wanted your confidence, not your tears, love.
There, I will not twice in one day ask you for your heart: it would
be to lower the mother, and give the daughter the pain of refusing
it, and the regret, sure to come one day, of having refused it. I
will discover the meaning of it all by myself." She went away with
a gentle sigh; and Rose was cut to the heart by her words; she
resolved, whatever it might cost her and Josephine, to make a clean
breast this very day. As she was one of those who act promptly, she
went instantly in search of her sister, to gain her consent, if
Now, the said Josephine was in the garden walking with Camille, and
uttering a wife's tender solicitudes.
"And must you leave me? must you risk your life again so soon; the
life on which mine depends?"
"My dear, that letter I received from headquarters two days ago,
that inquiry whether my wound was cured. A hint, Josephine--a hint
too broad for any soldier not to take."
"Camille, you are very proud," said Josephine, with an accent of
reproach, and a look of approval.
"I am obliged to be. I am the husband of the proudest woman in
"Hush! not so loud: there is Dard on the grass."
"Dard!" muttered the soldier with a word of meaning. "Josephine,"
said he after a pause, and a little peevishly, "how much longer are
we to lower our voices, and turn away our eyes from each other, and
be ashamed of our happiness?"
"Five months longer, is it not?" answered Josephine quietly.
"Five months longer!"
Josephine was hurt at this, and for once was betrayed into a serious
and merited remonstrance.
"Is this just?" said she. "Think of two months ago: yes, but two
months ago, you were dying. You doubted my love, because it could
not overcome my virtue and my gratitude: yet you might have seen it
was destroying my life. Poor Raynal, my husband, my benefactor,
died. Then I could do more for you, if not with delicacy, at least
with honor; but no! words, and looks, and tender offices of love
were not enough, I must give stronger proof. Dear Camille, I have
been reared in a strict school: and perhaps none of your sex can
know what it cost me to go to Frejus that day with him I love."
"My own Josephine!"
"I made but one condition: that you would not rob me of my mother's
respect: to her our hasty marriage would appear monstrous,
heartless. You consented to be secretly happy for six months. One
fortnight has passed, and you are discontented again."
"Oh, no! do not think so. It is every word true. I am an
"How dare you say so? and to me! No! but you are a man."
"So I have been told; but my conduct to you, sweet one, has not been
that of a man from first to last. Yet I could die for you, with a
smile on my lips. But when I think that once I lifted this
sacrilegious hand against your life--oh!"
"Do not be silly, Camille. I love you all the better for loving me
well enough to kill me. What woman would not? I tell you, you
foolish thing, you are a man: monseigneur is one of the lordly sex,
that is accustomed to have everything its own way. My love, in a
world that is full of misery, here are two that are condemned to be
secretly happy a few months longer: a hard fate for one of your sex,
it seems: but it is so much sweeter than the usual lot of mine, that
really I cannot share your misery," and she smiled joyously.
"Then share my happiness, my dear wife."
"I do; only mine is deep, not loud."
"Why, Dard is gone, and we are out of doors; will the little birds
"The lower windows are open, and I saw Jacintha in one of the
"Jacintha? we are in awe of the very servants. Well, if I must not
say it loud I will say it often," and putting his mouth to her ear,
he poured a burning whisper of love into it--"My love! my angel! my
wife! my wife! my wife!"
She turned her swimming eyes on him.
"My husband!" she whispered in return.
Rose came out, and found them billing and cooing. "You MUST not be
so happy, you two," said she authoritatively.
"How can we help it?" asked Camille.
"You must and shall help it, somehow," retorted this little tyrant.
"Mamma suspects. She has given me such a cross-examination, my
blood runs cold. No, on second thoughts, kiss her again, and you
may both be as happy as you like; for I am going to tell mamma all,
and no power on earth shall hinder me."
"Rose," said Camille, "you are a sensible girl; and I always said
But Josephine was horrified. "What! tell my mother that within a
month of my husband's death?"--
"Don't say your husband," put in Camille wincing; "the priest never
confirmed that union; words spoken before a magistrate do not make a
marriage in the sight of Heaven."
Josephine cut him short. "Amongst honorable men and women all oaths
are alike sacred: and Heaven's eye is in a magistrate's room as in a
church. A daughter of Beaurepaire gave her hand to him, and called
herself his wife. Therefore, she was his wife: and is his widow.
She owes him everything; the house you are all living in among the
rest. She ought to be proud of her brief connection with that pure,
heroic spirit, and, when she is so little noble as to disown him,
then say that gratitude and justice have no longer a place among
"Come into the chapel," said Camille, with a voice that showed he
They entered the chapel, and there they saw something that
thoroughly surprised them: a marble monument to the memory of
Raynal. It leaned at present against the wall below the place
prepared to receive it. The inscription, short, but emphatic, and
full of feeling, told of the battles he had fought in, including the
last fatal skirmish, and his marriage with the heiress of
Beaurepaire; and, in a few soldier-like words, the uprightness,
simplicity, and generosity of his character.
They were so touched by this unexpected trait in Camille that they
both threw their arms round his neck by one impulse. "Am I wrong to
be proud of him?" said Josephine, triumphantly.
"Well, don't say too much to me," said Camille, looking down
confused. "One tries to be good; but it is very hard--to some of
us--not to you, Josephine; and, after all, it is only the truth that
we have written on that stone. Poor Raynal! he was my old comrade;
he saved me from death, and not a soldier's death--drowning; and he
was a better man than I am, or ever shall be. Now he is dead, I can
say these things. If I had said them when he was alive, it would
have been more to my credit."
They all three went back towards the house; and on the way Rose told
them all that had passed between the baroness and her. When she
came to the actual details of that conversation, to the words, and
looks, and tones, Josephine's uneasiness rose to an overpowering
height; she even admitted that further concealment would be very
"Better tell her than let her find out," said Rose. "We must tell
her some day."
At last, after a long and agitated discussion, Josephine consented;
but Rose must be the one to tell. "So then, you at least will make
your peace with mamma," argued Josephine, "and let us go in and do
this before our courage fails; besides, it is going to rain, and it
has turned cold. Where have all these clouds come from? An hour
ago there was not one in the sky."
They went, with hesitating steps and guilty looks, to the saloon.
Their mother was not there. Here was a reprieve.
Rose had an idea. She would take her to the chapel, and show her
the monument, and that would please her with poor Camille. "After
that," said Rose, "I will begin by telling her all the misery you
have both gone through; and, when she pities you, then I will show
her it was all my fault your misery ended in a secret marriage."
The confederates sat there in a chilly state, waiting for the
baroness. At last, as she did not come, Rose got up to go to her.
"When the mind is made up, it is no use being cowardly, and putting
off," said she, firmly. For all that, her cheek had but little
color left in it, when she left her chair with this resolve.
Now as Rose went down the long saloon to carry out their united
resolve, Jacintha looked in; and, after a hasty glance to see who
was present, she waited till Rose came up to her, and then whipped a
letter from under her apron and gave it her.
"For my mistress," said she, with an air of mystery.
"Why not take it to her, then?" inquired Rose.
"I thought you might like to see it first, mademoiselle," said
Jacintha, with quiet meaning.
"Is it from the dear doctor?" asked Josephine.
"La, no, mademoiselle, don't you know the doctor is come home? Why,
he has been in the house near an hour. He is with my lady."
The doctor proved Jacintha correct by entering the room in person
soon after; on this Rose threw down the letter, and she and the
whole party were instantly occupied in greeting him.
When the ladies had embraced him and Camille shaken hands with him,
they plied him with a thousand questions. Indeed, he had not half
satisfied their curiosity, when Rose happened to catch sight of the
letter again, and took it up to carry to the baroness. She now, for
the first time, eyed it attentively, and the consequence was she
uttered an exclamation, and took the first opportunity to beckon
He came to her; and she put the letter into his hand.
He put up his glasses, and eyed it. "Yes!" whispered he, "it is
Josephine and Camille saw something was going on; they joined the
other two, with curiosity in their faces.
Rose put her hand on a small table near her, and leaned a moment.
She turned half sick at a letter coming from the dead. Josephine
now came towards her with a face of concern, and asked what was the
The reply came from Aubertin. "My poor friends," said he, solemnly,
"this is one of those fearful things that you have not seen in your
short lives, but it has been more than once my lot to witness it.
The ships that carry letters from distant countries vary greatly in
speed, and are subject to detaining accidents. Yes, this is the
third time I have seen a letter come written by a hand known to be
cold. The baroness is a little excited to-day, I don't know from
what cause. With your approbation, Madame Raynal, I will read this
letter before I let her see it."
"Read it, if you please."
"Shall I read it out?"
"Certainly. There may be some wish expressed in it; oh, I hope
Camille, from delicacy, retired to some little distance, and the
doctor read the letter in a low and solemn voice.
"MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or I
hope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not a
very severe one; but it put an end to my writing for some time."
"Poor fellow! it was his death wound. Why, when was this written?--
why," and the doctor paused, and seemed stupefied: "why, my dears,
has my memory gone, or"--and again he looked eagerly at the letter--
"what was the date of the battle in which he was killed? for this
letter is dated the 15th of May. Is it a dream? no! this was
written since the date of his death."
"No, doctor," said Rose, "you deceive yourself."
"Why, what was the date of the Moniteur, then?" asked Aubertin, in
"Considerably later than this," said Camille.
"I don't think so; the journal! where is it?"
"My mother has it locked up. I'll run."
"No, Rose; no one but me. Now, Josephine, do not you go and give
way to hopes that may be delusive. I must see that journal
directly. I will go to the baroness. I shall excuse her less than
He was scarcely gone when a cry of horror filled the room, a cry as
of madness falling like a thunderbolt on a human mind. It was
Josephine, who up to this had not uttered one word. But now she
stood, white as a corpse, in the middle of the room, and wrung her
hands. "What have I done? What shall I do? It was the 3d of May.
I see it before me in letters of fire; the 3d of May! the 3d of
May!--and he writes the 15th."
"No! no!" cried Camille wildly. "It was long, long after time 3d."
"It was the 3d of May," repeated Josephine in a hoarse voice that
none would have known for hers.
Camille ran to her with words of comfort and hope; he did not share
her fears. He remembered about when the Moniteur came, though not
the very day. He threw his arm lovingly round her as if to protect
her against these shadowy terrors. Her dilating eyes seemed fixed
on something distant in space or time, at some horrible thing coming
slowly towards her. She did not see Camille approach her, but the
moment she felt him she turned upon him swiftly.
"Do you love me?" still in the hoarse voice that had so little in it
of Josephine. "I mean, does one grain of respect or virtue mingle
in your love for me?"
"What words are these, my wife?"
"Then leave Raynal's house upon the instant. You wonder I can be so
cruel? I wonder too; and that I can see my duty so clear in one
short moment. But I have lived twenty years since that letter came.
Oh! my brain has whirled through a thousand agonies. And I have
come back a thousand times to the same thing; you and I must see
each other's face no more."
"Oh!" cried Rose, "is there no way but this?"
"Take care," she screamed, wildly, to her and Camille, "I am on the
verge of madness; is it for you two to thrust me over the precipice?
Come, now, if you are a man of honor, if you have a spark of
gratitude towards the poor woman who has given you all except her
fair name--that she will take to the grave in spite of you all--
promise that you will leave Raynal's house this minute if he is
alive, and let me die in honor as I have lived."
"No, no!" cried Camille, terror-stricken; "it cannot be. Heaven is
merciful, and Heaven sees how happy we are. Be calm! these are idle
fears; be calm! I say. For if it is so I will obey you. I will
stay; I will go; I will die; I will live; I will obey you."
"Swear this to me by the thing you hold most sacred," she almost
"I swear by my love for you," was his touching reply.
Ere they had recovered a miserable composure after this passionate
outburst, all the more terrible as coming from a creature so tender
as Josephine, agitated voices were heard at the door, and the
baroness tottered in, followed by the doctor, who was trying in vain
to put some bounds to her emotion and her hopes.
"Oh, my children! my children!" cried she, trembling violently.
"Here, Rose, my hands shake so; take this key, open the cabinet,
there is the Moniteur. What is the date?"
The journal was found, and rapidly examined. The date was the 20th
"There!" cried Camille. "I told you!"
The baroness uttered a feeble moan. Her hopes died as suddenly as
they had been born, and she sank drooping into a chair, with a
Camille stole a joyful look at Josephine. She was in the same
attitude looking straight before her as at a coming horror.
Presently Rose uttered a faint cry, "The battle was BEFORE."
"To be sure," cried the doctor. "You forget, it is not the date of
the paper we want, but of the battle it records. For Heaven's sake,
when was the battle?"
"The 3d of May," said Josephine, in a voice that seemed to come from
Rose's hands that held the journal fell like a dead weight upon her
knees, journal and all. She whispered, "It was the 3d of May."
"Ah!" cried the baroness, starting up, "he may yet be alive. He
must be alive. Heaven is merciful! Heaven would not take my son
from me, a poor old woman who has not long to live. There was a
letter; where is the letter?"
"Are we mad, not to read the letter?" said the doctor. "I had it;
it has dropped from my old fingers when I went for the journal."
A short examination of the room showed the letter lying crumpled up
near the door. Camille gave it to the baroness. She tried to read
it, but could not.
"I am old," said she; "my hand shakes and my eyes are troubled.
This young gentleman will read it to us. His eyes are not dim and
troubled. Something tells me that when I hear this letter, I shall
find out whether my son lives. Why do you not read it to me,
Camille?" cried she, almost fiercely.
Camille, thus pressed, obeyed mechanically, and began to read
Raynal's letter aloud, scarce knowing what he did, but urged and
driven by the baroness.
"MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or I
hope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not a
very severe one, but it put an end to my writing for some time."
"Go on, dear Camille! go on."
"The page ends there, madame,"
The paper was thin, and Camille, whose hand trembled, had some
difficulty in detaching the leaves from one another. He succeeded,
however, at last, and went on reading and writhing.
"By the way, you must address your next letter to me as Colonel
Raynal. I was promoted just before this last affair, but had not
time to tell you; and my wound stopped my writing till now."
"There, there!" cried the baroness. "He was Colonel Raynal, and
Colonel Raynal was not killed."
The doctor implored her not to interrupt.
"Go on, Camille. Why do you hesitate? what is the matter? Do for
pity's sake go on, sir."
Camille cast a look of agony around, and put his hand to his brow,
on which large drops of cold perspiration, like a death dew, were
gathering; but driven to the stake on all sides, he gasped on rather
than read, for his eye had gone down the page.
"A namesake of mine, Commandant Raynal,"--
"has not been--so fortunate. He"--
"Go on! go on!"
The wretched man could now scarcely utter Raynal's words; they came
from him in a choking groan.
"he was killed, poor fellow! while heading a gallant charge upon the
He ground the letter convulsively in his hand, then it fell all
crumpled on the floor.
"Bless you, Camille!" cried the baroness, "bless you! bless you! I
have a son still."
She stooped with difficulty, took up the letter, and, kissing it
again and again, fell on her knees, and thanked Heaven aloud before
them all. Then she rose and went hastily out, and her voice was
heard crying very loud, "Jacintha! Jacintha!"
The doctor followed in considerable anxiety for the effects of this
violent joy on so aged a person. Three remained behind, panting and
pale like those to whom dead Lazarus burst the tomb, and came forth
in a moment, at a word. Then Camille half kneeled, half fell, at
Josephine's feet, and, in a voice choked with sobs, bade her dispose
She turned her head away. "Do not speak to me; do not look at me;
if we look at one another, we are lost. Go! die at your post, and I
He bowed his head, and kissed her dress, then rose calm as despair,
and white as death, and, with his knees knocking under him, tottered
away like a corpse set moving.
He disappeared from the house.
The baroness soon came back, triumphant and gay.
"I have sent her to bid them ring the bells in the village. The
poor shall be feasted; all shall share our joy: my son was dead, and
lives. Oh, joy! joy! joy!"
"Mother!" shrieked Josephine.
"Mad woman that I am, I am too boisterous. Help me, Rose! she is
going to faint; her lips are white."
Dr. Aubertin and Rose brought a chair. They forced Josephine into
it. She was not the least faint; yet her body obeyed their hands
just like a dead body. The baroness melted into tears; tears
streamed from Rose's eyes. Josephine's were dry and stony, and
fixed on coming horror. The baroness looked at her with anxiety.
"Thoughtless old woman! It was too sudden; it is too much for my
dear child; too much for me," and she kneeled, and laid her aged
head on her daughter's bosom, saying feebly through her tears, "too
much joy, too much joy!"
Josephine took no notice of her. She sat like one turned to stone
looking far away over her mother's head with rigid eyes fixed on the
air and on coming horrors.
Rose felt her arm seized. It was Aubertin. He too was pale now,
though not before. He spoke in a terrible whisper to Rose, his eye
fixed on the woman of stone that sat there.
"IS THIS JOY?"
Rose, by a mighty effort, raised her eyes and confronted his full.
"What else should it be?" said she.
And with these words this Spartan girl was her sister's champion
once more against all comers, friend or foe.
Dr. Aubertin received one day a note from a publishing bookseller,
to inquire whether he still thought of giving the world his valuable
work on insects. The doctor was amazed. "My valuable work! Why,
Rose, they all refused it, and this person in particular recoiled
from it as if my insects could sting on paper."
The above led to a correspondence, in which the convert to insects
explained that the work must be published at the author's expense,
the publisher contenting himself with the profits. The author,
thirsting for the public, consented. Then the publisher wrote again
to say that the immortal treatise must be spiced; a little politics
flung in: "Nothing goes down, else." The author answered in some
heat that he would not dilute things everlasting with the fleeting
topics of the day, nor defile science with politics. On this his
Mentor smoothed him down, despising him secretly for not seeing that
a book is a matter of trade and nothing else. It ended in Aubertin
going to Paris to hatch his Phoenix. He had not been there a week,
when a small deputation called on him, and informed him he had been
elected honorary member of a certain scientific society. The
compliment was followed by others, till at last certain ladies, with
the pliancy of their sex, find out they had always secretly cared
for butterflies. Then the naturalist smelt a rat, or, in other
words, began to scent that entomology, a form of idiocy in a poor
man, is a graceful decoration of the intellect in a rich one.
Philosopher without bile, he saw through this, and let it amuse, not
shock him. His own species, a singularly interesting one in my
opinion, had another trait in reserve for him.
He took a world of trouble to find out the circumstances of his
nephew's nephews and nieces: then he made arrangements for
distributing a large part of his legacy among them. His intentions
and the proportions of his generosity transpired.
Hitherto they had been silent, but now they all fell-to and abused
him: each looking only to the amount of his individual share, not at
the sum total the doctor was giving way to an ungrateful lot.
The donor was greatly amused, and noted down the incident and some
of the remarks in his commonplace book, under the general head of
"Bestiarium;" and the particular head of "Homo."
Paris with its seductions netted the good doctor, and held him two
or three months; would have detained him longer, but for alarming
accounts the baroness sent of Josephine's health. These determined
him to return to Beaurepaire; and, must I own it, the announcement
was no longer hailed at Beaurepaire with universal joy as
Josephine Raynal, late Dujardin, is by this time no stranger to my
intelligent reader. I wish him to bring his knowledge of her
character and her sensibility to my aid. Imagine, as the weary
hours and days and weeks roll over her head, what this loving woman
feels for her lover whom she has dismissed; what this grateful wife
feels for the benefactor she has unwittingly wronged; but will never
wrong with her eyes open; what this lady pure as snow, and proud as
fire, feels at the seeming frailty into which a cruel combination of
circumstances has entrapped her.
Put down the book a moment: shut your eyes: and imagine this strange
and complicated form of human suffering.
Her mental sufferings were terrible; and for some time Rose feared
for her reason. At last her agonies subsided into a listlessness
and apathy little less alarming. She seemed a creature descending
inch by inch into the tomb. Indeed, I fully believe she would have
died of despair: but one of nature's greatest forces stepped into
the arena and fought on the side of life. She was affected with
certain bilious symptoms that added to Rose's uneasiness, but
Jacintha assured her it was nothing, and would retire and leave the
sufferer better. Jacintha, indeed, seemed now to take a particular
interest in Josephine, and was always about her with looks of pity
"Good creature!" thought Rose, "she sees my sister is unhappy: and
that makes her more attentive and devoted to her than ever."
One day these three were together in Josephine's room. Josephine
was mechanically combing her long hair, when all of a sudden she
stretched out her hand and cried, "Rose!"
Rose ran to her, and coming behind her saw in the glass that her
lips were colorless. She screamed to Jacintha, and between them
they supported Josephine to the bed. She had hardly touched it when
she fainted dead away. "Mamma! mamma!" cried Rose in her terror.
"Hush!" cried Jacintha roughly, "hold your tongue: it is only a
faint. Help me loosen her: don't make any noise, whatever." They
loosened her stays, and applied the usual remedies, but it was some
time before she came-to. At last the color came back to her lips,
then to her cheek, and the light to her eye. She smiled feebly on
Jacintha and Rose, and asked if she had not been insensible.
"Yes, love, and frightened us--a little--not much--oh, dear! oh,
"Don't be alarmed, sweet one, I am better. And I will never do it
again, since it frightens you." Then Josephine said to her sister
in a low voice, and in the Italian language, "I hoped it was death,
my sister; but he comes not to the wretched."
"If you hoped that," replied Rose in the same language, "you do not
love your poor sister who so loves you."
While the Italian was going on, Jacintha's dark eyes glanced
suspiciously on each speaker in turn. But her suspicions were all
wide of the mark.
"Now may I go and tell mamma?" asked Rose.
"No, mademoiselle, you shall not," said Jacintha. "Madame Raynal,
do take my side, and forbid her."
"Why, what is it to you?" said Rose, haughtily.
"If it was not something to me, should I thwart my dear young lady?"
"No. And you shall have your own way, if you will but condescend to
give me a reason."
This to some of us might appear reasonable, but not to Jacintha: it
even hurt her feelings.
"Mademoiselle Rose," she said, "when you were little and used to ask
me for anything, did I ever say to you, 'Give me a REASON first'?"
"There! she is right," said Josephine. "We should not make terms
with tried friends. Come, we will pay her devotion this compliment.
It is such a small favor. For my part I feel obliged to her for
Josephine's health improved steadily from that day. Her hollow
cheeks recovered their plump smoothness, and her beauty its bloom,
and her person grew more noble and statue-like than ever, and within
she felt a sense of indomitable vitality. Her appetite had for some
time been excessively feeble and uncertain, and her food tasteless;
but of late, by what she conceived to be a reaction such as is
common after youth has shaken off a long sickness, her appetite had
been not only healthy but eager. The baroness observed this, and it
relieved her of a large portion of her anxiety. One day at dinner
her maternal heart was so pleased with Josephine's performance that
she took it as a personal favor, "Well done, Josephine," said she;
"that gives your mother pleasure to see you eat again. Soup and
bouillon: and now twice you have been to Rose for some of that pate,
which does you so much credit, Jacintha."
Josephine colored high at this compliment.
"It is true," said she, "I eat like a pig;" and, with a furtive
glance at the said pate, she laid down her knife and fork, and ate
no more of anything. The baroness had now a droll misgiving.
"The doctor will be angry with me," said she: "he will find her as
well as ever."
"Madame," said Jacintha hastily, "when does the doctor come, if I
may make so bold, that I may get his room ready, you know?"
"Well thought of, Jacintha. He comes the day after to-morrow, in
At night when the young ladies went up to bed, what did they find
but a little cloth laid on a little table in Josephine's room, and
the remains of the pate she had liked. Rose burst out laughing.
"Look at that dear duck of a goose, Jacintha! Our mother's flattery
sank deep: she thinks we can eat her pates at all hours of the day
and night. Shall I send it away?"
"No," said Josephine, "that would hurt her culinary pride, and
perhaps her affection: only cover it up, dear, for just now I am not
in the humor: it rather turns me."
It was covered up. The sisters retired to rest. In the morning
Rose lifted the cover and found the plate cleared, polished. She
The large tapestried chamber, once occupied by Camille Dujardin, was
now turned into a sitting-room, and it was a favorite on account of
the beautiful view from the windows.
One day Josephine sat there alone with some work in her hand; but
the needle often stopped, and the fair head drooped. She heaved a
deep sigh. To her surprise it was echoed by a sigh that, like her
own, seemed to come from a heart full of sighs.
She turned hastily round and saw Jacintha.
Now Josephine had all a woman's eye for reading faces, and she was
instantly struck by a certain gravity in Jacintha's gaze, and a
flutter which the young woman was suppressing with tolerable but not
Disguising the uneasiness this discovery gave her, she looked her
visitor full in the face, and said mildly, but a little coldly,
Jacintha lowered her eyes and muttered slowly,--
"The doctor--comes--to-day," then raised her eyes all in a moment to
take Josephine off her guard; but the calm face was impenetrable.
So then Jacintha added, "to our misfortune," throwing in still more
"To our misfortune? A dear old friend--like him?"
Jacintha explained. "That old man makes me shake. You are never
safe with him. So long as his head is in the clouds, you might take
his shoes off, and on he'd walk and never know it; but every now and
then he comes out of the clouds all in one moment, without a word of
warning, and when he does his eye is on everything, like a bird's.
Then he is so old: he has seen a heap. Take my word for it, the old
are more knowing than the young, let them be as sharp as you like:
the old have seen everything. WE have only heard talk of the most
part, with here and there a glimpse. To know life to the bottom you
must live it out, from the soup to the dessert; and that is what the
doctor has done, and now he is coming here. And Mademoiselle Rose
will go telling him everything; and if she tells him half what she
has seen, your secret will be no secret to that old man."
"My secret!" gasped Josephine, turning pale.
"Don't look so, madame: don't be frightened at poor Jacintha.
Sooner or later you MUST trust somebody besides Mademoiselle Rose."
Josephine looked at her with inquiring, frightened eyes.
Jacintha drew nearer to her.
"Mademoiselle,--I beg pardon, madame,--I carried you in my arms when
I was a child. When I was a girl you toddled at my side, and held
my gown, and lisped my name, and used to put your little arms round
my neck, and kissed me, you would; and if ever I had the least pain
or sickness your dear little face would turn as sorrowful, and all
the pretty color leave it for Jacintha; and now you are in trouble,
in sore trouble, yet you turn away from me, you dare not trust me,
that would be cut in pieces ere I would betray you. Ah,
mademoiselle, you are wrong. The poor can feel: they have all seen
trouble, and a servant is the best of friends where she has the
heart to love her mistress; and do not I love you? Pray do not turn
from her who has carried you in her arms, and laid you to sleep upon
her bosom, many's and many's the time."
Josephine panted audibly. She held out her hand eloquently to
Jacintha, but she turned her head away and trembled.
Jacintha cast a hasty glance round the room. Then she trembled too
at what she was going to say, and the effect it might have on the
young lady. As for Josephine, terrible as the conversation had
become, she made no attempt to evade it: she remained perfectly
passive. It was the best way to learn how far Jacintha had
penetrated her secret, if at all.
Jacintha looked fearfully round and whispered in Josephine's ear,
"When the news of Colonel Raynal's death came, you wept, but the
color came back to your cheek. When the news of his life came, you
turned to stone. Ah! my poor young lady, there has been more
between you and THAT MAN than should be. Ever since one day you all
went to Frejus together, you were a changed woman. I have seen you
look at him as--as a wife looks at her man. I have seen HIM"--
"Hush, Jacintha! Do not tell me what you have seen: oh! do not
remind me of joys I pray God to help me forget. He was my husband,
then!--oh, cruel Jacintha, to remind me of what I have been, of what
I am! Ah me! ah me! ah me!"
"Your husband!" cried Jacintha in utter amazement.
Then Josephine drooped her head on this faithful creature's
shoulder, and told her with many sobs the story I have told you.
She told it very briefly, for it was to a woman who, though little
educated, was full of feeling and shrewdness, and needed but the
bare facts: she could add the rest from her own heart and
experience: could tell the storm of feelings through which these two
unhappy lovers must have passed. Her frequent sighs of pity and
sympathy drew Josephine on to pour out all her griefs. When the
tale was ended she gave a sigh of relief.
"It might have been worse: I thought it was worse the more fool I.
I deserve to have my head cut off." This was Jacintha's only
comment at that time.
It was Josephine's turn to be amazed. "It could have been worse?"
said she. "How? tell me," added she bitterly. "It would be a
consolation to me, could I see that."
Jacintha colored and evaded this question, and begged her to go on,
to keep nothing back from her. Josephine assured her she had
revealed all. Jacintha looked at her a moment in silence.
"It is then as I half suspected. You do not know all that is before
you. You do not see why I am afraid of that old man."
"No, not of him in particular."
"Nor why I want to keep Mademoiselle Rose from prattling to him?"
"No. I assure you Rose is to be trusted; she is wise--wiser than I
"You are neither of you wise. You neither of you know anything. My
poor young mistress, you are but a child still. You have a deep
water to wade through," said Jacintha, so solemnly that Josephine
trembled. "A deep water, and do not see it even. You have told me
what is past, now I must tell you what is coming. Heaven help me!
But is it possible you have no misgiving? Tell the truth, now."
"Alas! I am full of them; at your words, at your manner, they fly
around me in crowds."
"Have you no ONE?"
"Then turn your head from me a bit, my sweet young lady; I am an
honest woman, though I am not so innocent as you, and I am forced
against my will to speak my mind plainer than I am used to."
Then followed a conversation, to detail which might anticipate our
story; suffice it to say, that Rose, coming into the room rather
suddenly, found her sister weeping on Jacintha's bosom, and Jacintha
crying and sobbing over her.
She stood and stared in utter amazement.
Dr. Aubertin, on his arrival, was agreeably surprised at Madame
Raynal's appearance. He inquired after her appetite.
"Oh, as to her appetite," cried the baroness, "that is immense."
"It was," explained Josephine, "just when I began to get better, but
now it is as much as usual." This answer had been arranged
beforehand by Jacintha. She added, "The fact is, we wanted to see
you, doctor, and my ridiculous ailments were a good excuse for
tearing you from Paris."--"And now we have succeeded," said Rose,
"let us throw off the mask, and talk of other things; above all, of
Paris, and your eclat."
"For all that," persisted the baroness, "she was ill, when I first
wrote, and very ill too."
"Madame Raynal," said the doctor solemnly, "your conduct has been
irregular; once ill, and your illness announced to your medical
adviser, etiquette forbade you to get well but by his prescriptions.
Since, then, you have shown yourself unfit to conduct a malady, it
becomes my painful duty to forbid you henceforth ever to be ill at
all, without my permission first obtained in writing."
This badinage was greatly relished by Rose, but not at all by the
baroness, who was as humorless as a swan.
He stayed a month at Beaurepaire, then off to Paris again: and being
now a rich man, and not too old to enjoy innocent pleasures, he got
a habit of running backwards and forwards between the two places,
spending a month or so at each alternately. So the days rolled on.
Josephine fell into a state that almost defies description; her
heart was full of deadly wounds, yet it seemed, by some mysterious,
half-healing balm, to throb and ache, but bleed no more. Beams of
strange, unreasonable complacency would shoot across her; the next
moment reflection would come, she would droop her head, and sigh
piteously. Then all would merge in a wild terror of detection. She
seemed on the borders of a river of bliss, new, divine, and
inexhaustible: and on the other bank mocking malignant fiends dared
her to enter that heavenly stream. The past to her was full of
regrets; the future full of terrors, and empty of hope. Yet she did
not, could not succumb. Instead of the listlessness and languor of
a few months back, she had now more energy than ever; at times it
mounted to irritation. An activity possessed her: it broke out in
many feminine ways. Among the rest she was seized with what we men
call a cacoethes of the needle: "a raging desire" for work. Her
fingers itched for work. She was at it all day. As devotees retire
to pray, so she to stitch. On a wet day she would often slip into
the kitchen, and ply the needle beside Jacintha: on a dry day she
would hide in the old oak-tree, and sit like a mouse, and ply the
tools of her craft, and make things of no mortal use to man or
woman; and she tried little fringes of muslin upon her white hand,
and held it up in front of her, and smiled, and then moaned. It was
winter, and Rose used sometimes to bring her out a thick shawl, as
she sat in the old oak-tree stitching, but Josephine nearly always
declined it. SHE WAS NEARLY IMPERVIOUS TO COLD.
Then, her purse being better filled than formerly, she visited the
poor more than ever, and above all the young couples; and took a
warm interest in their household matters, and gave them muslin
articles of her own making, and sometimes sniffed the soup in a
young housewife's pot, and took a fancy to it, and, if invited to
taste it, paid her the compliment of eating a good plateful of it,
and said it was much better soup than the chateau produced, and,
what is stranger, thought so: and, whenever some peevish little brat
set up a yell in its cradle and the father naturally enough shook
his fist at the destroyer of his peace, Madame Raynal's lovely face
filled with concern not for the sufferer but the pest, and she flew
to it and rocked it and coaxed it and consoled it, till the young
housewife smiled and stopped its mouth by other means. And, besides
the five-franc pieces she gave the infants to hold, these visits of
Madame Raynal were always followed by one from Jacintha with a
basket of provisions on her stalwart arm, and honest Sir John
Burgoyne peeping out at the corner. Kind and beneficent as she was,
her temper deteriorated considerably, for it came down from angelic
to human. Rose and Jacintha were struck with the change, assented
to everything she said, and encouraged her in everything it pleased
her caprice to do. Meantime the baroness lived on her son Raynal's
letters (they came regularly twice a month). Rose too had a
correspondence, a constant source of delight to her. Edouard
Riviere was posted at a distance, and could not visit her; but their
love advanced rapidly. Every day he wrote down for his Rose the
acts of the day, and twice a week sent the budget to his sweetheart,
and told her at the same time every feeling of his heart. She was
less fortunate than he; she had to carry a heavy secret; but still
she found plenty to tell him, and tender feelings too to vent on him
in her own arch, shy, fitful way. Letters can enchain hearts; it
was by letters that these two found themselves imperceptibly
betrothed. Their union was looked forward to as certain, and not
very distant. Rose was fairly in love.
One day, Dr. Aubertin, coming back from Paris to Beaurepaire rather
suddenly, found nobody at home but the baroness. Josephine and Rose
were gone to Frejus; had been there more than a week. She was
ailing again; so as Frejus had agreed with her once, Rose thought it
might again. "She would send for them back directly."
"No," said the doctor, "why do that? I will go over there and see
them." Accordingly, a day or two after this, he hired a carriage,
and went off early in the morning to Frejus. In so small a place he
expected to find the young ladies at once; but, to his surprise, no
one knew them nor had heard of them. He was at a nonplus, and just
about to return home and laugh at himself and the baroness for this
wild-goose chase, when he fell in with a face he knew, one Mivart, a
surgeon, a young man of some talent, who had made his acquaintance
in Paris. Mivart accosted him with great respect; and, after the
first compliments, informed him that he had been settled some months
in this little town, and was doing a fair stroke of business.
"Killing some, and letting nature cure others, eh?" said the doctor;
then, having had his joke, he told Mivart what had brought him to
"Are they pretty women, your friends? I think I know all the pretty
women about," said Mivart with levity. "They are not pretty,"
replied Aubertin. Mivart's interest in them faded visibly out of
his countenance. "But they are beautiful. The elder might pass for
Venus, and the younger for Hebe."
"I know them then!" cried he; "they are patients of mine."
The doctor colored. "Ah, indeed!"
"In the absence of your greater skill," said Mivart, politely; "it
is Madame Aubertin and her sister you are looking for, is it not?"
Aubertin groaned. "I am rather too old to be looking for a Madame
Aubertin," said he; "no; it is Madame Raynal, and Mademoiselle de
Mivart became confidential. "Madame Aubertin and her sister," said
he, "are so lovely they make me ill to look at them: the deepest
blue eyes you ever saw, both of them; high foreheads; teeth like
ivory mixed with pearl; such aristocratic feet and hands; and their
arms--oh!" and by way of general summary the young surgeon kissed
the tips of his fingers, and was silent; language succumbed under
the theme. The doctor smiled coldly.
Mivart added, "If you had come an hour sooner, you might have seen
Mademoiselle Rose; she was in the town."
"Mademoiselle Rose? who is that?"
"Why, Madame Aubertin's sister."
At this Dr. Aubertin looked first very puzzled, then very grave.
"Hum!" said he, after a little reflection, "where do these paragons
"They lodge at a small farm; it belongs to a widow; her name is
Roth." They parted. Dr. Aubertin walked slowly towards his
carriage, his hands behind him, his eyes on the ground. He bade the
driver inquire where the Widow Roth lived, and learned it was about
half a league out of the town. He drove to the farmhouse; when the
carriage drove up, a young lady looked out of the window on the
first floor. It was Rose de Beaurepaire. She caught the doctor's
eye, and he hers. She came down and welcomed him with a great
appearance of cordiality, and asked him, with a smile, how he found
"From your medical attendant," said the doctor, dryly.
Rose looked keenly in his face.
"He said he was in attendance on two paragons of beauty, blue eyes,
white teeth and arms."
"And you found us out by that?" inquired Rose, looking still more
keenly at him.
"Hardly; but it was my last chance of finding you, so I came. Where
is Madame Raynal?"
"Come into this room, dear friend. I will go and find her."
Full twenty minutes was the doctor kept waiting, and then in came
Rose, gayly crying, "I have hunted her high and low, and where do
you think my lady was? sitting out in the garden--come."
Sure enough, they found Josephine in the garden, seated on a low
chair. She smiled when the doctor came up to her, and asked after
her mother. There was an air of languor about her; her color was
clear, delicate, and beautiful.
"You have been unwell, my child."
"A little, dear friend; you know me; always ailing, and tormenting
those I love."
"Well! but, Josephine, you know this place and this sweet air always
set you up. Look at her now, doctor; did you ever see her look
better? See what a color. I never saw her look more lovely."
"I never saw her look SO lovely; but I have seen her look better.
Your pulse. A little languid?"
"Yes, I am a little."
"Do you stay at Beaurepaire?" inquired Rose; "if so, we will come
"On the contrary, you will stay here another fortnight," said the
"Prescribe some of your nice tonics for me, doctor," said Josephine,
"No! I can't do that; you are in the hands of another practitioner."
"What does that matter? You were at Paris."
"It is not the etiquette in our profession to interfere with another
"Oh, dear! I am so sorry," began Josephine.
"I see nothing here that my good friend Mivart is not competent to
deal with," said the doctor, coldly.
Then followed some general conversation, at the end of which the
doctor once more laid his commands on them to stay another fortnight
where they were, and bade them good-by.
He was no sooner gone than Rose went to the door of the kitchen, and
called out, "Madame Jouvenel! Madame Jouvenel! you may come into
the garden again."
The doctor drove away; but, instead of going straight to Beaurepaire,
he ordered the driver to return to the town. He then walked to
In about a quarter of an hour he came out of it, looking singularly
grave, sad, and stern.
Edouard Riviere contrived one Saturday to work off all arrears of
business, and start for Beaurepaire. He had received a very kind
letter from Rose, and his longing to see her overpowered him. On
the road his eyes often glittered, and his cheek flushed with
expectation. At last he got there. His heart beat: for four months
he had not seen her. He ran up into the drawing-room, and there
found the baroness alone; she welcomed him cordially, but soon let
him know Rose and her sister were at Frejus. His heart sank.
Frejus was a long way off. But this was not all. Rose's last
letter was dated from Beaurepaire, yet it must have been written at
Frejus. He went to Jacintha, and demanded an explanation of this.
The ready Jacintha said it looked as if she meant to be home
directly; and added, with cool cunning, "That is a hint for me to
get their rooms ready."
"This letter must have come here enclosed in another," said Edouard,
"Like enough," replied Jacintha, with an appearance of sovereign
Edouard looked at her, and said, grimly, "I will go to Frejus."
"So I would," said Jacintha, faltering a little, but not
perceptibly; "you might meet them on the road, if so be they come
the same road; there are two roads, you know."
Edouard hesitated; but he ended by sending Dard to the town on his
own horse, with orders to leave him at the inn, and borrow a fresh
horse. "I shall just have time," said he. He rode to Frejus, and
inquired at the inns and post-office for Mademoiselle de
Beaurepaire. They did not know her; then he inquired for Madame
Raynal. No such name known. He rode by the seaside upon the chance
of their seeing him. He paraded on horseback throughout the place,
in hopes every moment that a window would open, and a fair face
shine at it, and call him. At last his time was up, and he was
obliged to ride back, sick at heart, to Beaurepaire. He told the
baroness, with some natural irritation, what had happened. She was
as much surprised as he was.
"I write to Madame Raynal at the post-office, Frejus," said she.
"And Madame Raynal gets your letters?"
"Of course she does, since she answers them; you cannot have
inquired at the post."
"Why, it was the first place I inquired at, and neither Mademoiselle
de Beaurepaire nor Madame Raynal were known there."
Jacintha, who could have given the clew, seemed so puzzled herself,
that they did not even apply to her. Edouard took a sorrowful leave
of the baroness, and set out on his journey home.
Oh! how sad and weary that ride seemed now by what it had been
coming. His disappointment was deep and irritating; and ere he had
ridden half way a torturer fastened on his heart. That torture is
suspicion; a vague and shadowy, but gigantic phantom that oppresses
and rends the mind more terribly than certainty. In this state of
vague, sickening suspicion, he remained some days: then came an
affectionate letter from Rose, who had actually returned home. In
this she expressed her regret and disappointment at having missed
him; blamed herself for misleading him, but explained that their
stay at Frejus had been prolonged from day to day far beyond her
expectation. "The stupidity of the post-office was more than she
could account for," said she. But, what went farthest to console
Edouard, was, that after this contretemps she never ceased to invite
him to come to Beaurepaire. Now, before this, though she said many
kind and pretty things in her letters, she had never invited him to
visit the chateau; he had noticed this. "Sweet soul," thought he,
"she really is vexed. I must be a brute to think any more about it.
So this wound was skinned over.
At last, what he called his lucky star ordained that he should be
transferred to the very post his Commandant Raynal had once
occupied. He sought and obtained permission to fix his quarters in
the little village near Beaurepaire, and though this plan could not
be carried out for three months, yet the prospect of it was joyful
all that time--joyful to both lovers. Rose needed this consolation,
for she was very unhappy: her beloved sister, since their return
from Frejus, had gone back. The flush of health was faded, and so
was her late energy. She fell into deep depression and languor,
broken occasionally by fits of nervous irritation.
She would sit for hours together at one window languishing and
fretting. Can the female reader guess which way that window looked?
Now, Edouard was a favorite of Josephine's; so Rose hoped he would
help to distract her attention from those sorrows which a lapse of
years alone could cure.
On every account, then, his visit was looked forward to with hope
He came. He was received with open arms. He took up his quarters
at his old lodgings, but spent his evenings and every leisure hour
at the chateau.
He was very much in love, and showed it. He adhered to Rose like a
leech, and followed her about like a little dog.
This would have made her very happy if there had been nothing great
to distract her attention and her heart; but she had Josephine,
whose deep depression and fits of irritation and terror filled her
with anxiety; and so Edouard was in the way now and then. On these
occasions he was too vain to see what she was too polite to show him
But on this she became vexed at his obtuseness.
"Does he think I can be always at his beck and call?" thought she.
"She is always after her sister," said he.
He was just beginning to be jealous of Josephine when the following
Rose and the doctor were discussing Josephine. Edouard pretended to
be reading a book, but he listened to every word.
Dr. Aubertin gave it as his opinion that Madame Raynal did not make
"Oh! if I thought that!" cried Rose.
"Well, then, it is so, I assure you."
"Doctor," said Rose, "do you remember, one day you said healthy
blood could be drawn from robust veins and poured into a sick
"It is a well-known fact," said Aubertin.
"I don't believe it," said Rose, dryly.
"Then you place a very narrow limit to science," said the doctor,
"Did you ever see it done?" asked Rose, slyly.
"I have not only seen it done, but have done it myself."
"Then do it for us. There's my arm; take blood from that for dear
Josephine!" and she thrust a white arm out under his eye with such a
bold movement and such a look of fire and love as never beamed from
A keen, cold pang shot through the human heart of Edouard Riviere.
The doctor started and gazed at her with admiration: then he hung
his head. "I could not do it. I love you both too well to drain
either of life's current."
Rose veiled her fire, and began to coax. "Once a week; just once a
week, dear, dear doctor; you know I should never miss it. I am so
full of that health, which Heaven denies to her I love."
"Let us try milder measures first," said the doctor. "I have most
faith in time."
"What if I were to take her to Frejus? hitherto, the sea has always
done wonders for her."
"Frejus, by all means," said Edouard, mingling suddenly in the
conversation; "and this time I will go with you, and then I shall
find out where you lodged before, and how the boobies came to say
they did not know you."
Rose bit her lip. She could not help seeing then how much dear
Edouard was in her way and Josephine's. Their best friends are in
the way of all who have secrets. Presently the doctor went to his
study. Then Edouard let fall a mock soliloquy. "I wonder," said
he, dropping out his words one by one, "whether any one will ever
love me well enough to give a drop of their blood for me."
"If you were in sickness and sorrow, who knows?" said Rose, coloring
"I would soon be in sickness and sorrow if I thought that."
"Don't jest with such matters, monsieur."
"I am serious. I wish I was as ill as Madame Raynal is, to be loved
as she is."
"You must resemble her in some other things to be loved as she is.
"You have often made me feel that of late, dear Rose."
This touched her. But she fought down the kindly feeling. "I am
glad of it," said she, out of perverseness. She added after a
while, "Edouard, you are naturally jealous."
"Not the least in the world, Rose, I assure you. I have many
faults, but jealous I am not."
"Oh, yes, you are, and suspicious, too; there is something in your
character that alarms me for our happiness."
"Well, if you come to that, there are things in YOUR conduct I could
"There! I said so. You have not confidence in me."
"Pray don't say that, dear Rose. I have every confidence in you;
only please don't ask me to divest myself of my senses and my
"I don't ask you to do that or anything else for me; good-by, for
"Where are you going now? tic! tic! I never can get a word in peace
"I am not going to commit murder. I'm only going up-stairs to my
"Poor Madame Raynal, she makes it very hard for me not to dislike
"Dislike my Josephine?" and Rose bristled visibly.
"She is an angel, but I should hate an angel if it came forever
between you and me."
"Excuse me, she was here long before you. It is you that came
between her and me."
"I came because I was told I should be welcome," said Edouard
bitterly, and equivocating a little; he added, "and I dare say I
shall go when I am told I am one too many."
"Bad heart! who says you are one too many in the house? But you are
too exigent, monsieur; you assume the husband, and you tease me. It
is selfish; can you not see I am anxious and worried? you ought to
be kind to me, and soothe me; that is what I look for from you, and,
instead of that, I declare you are getting to be quite a worry."
"I should not be if you loved me as I love you. I give YOU no
rival. Shall I tell you the cause of all this? you have secrets."
"Is it me you ask? am I trusted with them? Secrets are a bond that
not even love can overcome. It is to talk secrets you run away from
me to Madame Raynal. Where did you lodge at Frejus, Mademoiselle
"In a grotto, dry at low water, Monsieur the Inquisitive."
"That is enough: since you will not tell me, I will find it out
before I am a week older."
This alarmed Rose terribly, and drove her to extremities. She
decided to quarrel.
"Sir," said she, "I thank you for playing the tyrant a little
prematurely; it has put me on my guard. Let us part; you and I are
not suited to each other, Edouard Riviere."
He took this more humbly than she expected. "Part!" said he, in
consternation; "that is a terrible word to pass between you and me.
Forgive me! I suppose I am jealous."
"You are; you are actually jealous of my sister. Well, I tell you
plainly I love you, but I love my sister better. I never could love
any man as I do her; it is ridiculous to expect such a thing."
"And do you think I could bear to play second fiddle to her all my
"I don't ask you. Go and play first trumpet to some other lady."
"You speak your wishes so plainly now, I have nothing to do but to
He kissed her hand and went away disconsolately.
Rose, instead of going to Josephine, her determination to do which
had mainly caused the quarrel, sat sadly down, and leaned her head
on her hand. "I am cruel. I am ungrateful. He has gone away
broken-hearted. And what shall I do without him?--little fool! I
love him better than he loves me. He will never forgive me. I have
wounded his vanity; and they are vainer than we are. If we meet at
dinner I will be so kind to him, he will forget it all. No! Edouard
will not come to dinner. He is not a spaniel that you can beat, and
then whistle back again. Something tells me I have lost him, and if
I have, what shall I do? I will write him a note. I will ask him
to forgive me."
She sat down at the table, and took a sheet of notepaper and began
to write a few conciliatory words. She was so occupied in making
these kind enough, and not too kind, that a light step approached
her unobserved. She looked up and there was Edouard. She whipped
the paper off the table.
A look of suspicion and misery crossed Edouard's face.
Rose caught it, and said, "Well, am I to be affronted any more?"
"No, Rose. I came back to beg you to forget what passed just now,"
Rose's eye flashed; his return showed her her power. She abused it
"How can I forget it if you come reminding me?"
"Dear Rose, now don't be so unkind, so cruel--I have not come back
to tease you, sweet one. I come to know what I can do to please
you; to make you love me again?" and he was about to kneel
graciously on one knee.
"I'll tell you. Don't come near me for a month."
Edouard started up, white as ashes with mortification and wounded
"This is how you treat me for humbling myself, when it is you that
ought to ask forgiveness."
"Why should I ask what I don't care about?"
"What DO you care about?--except that sister of yours? You have no
heart. And on this cold-blooded creature I have wasted a love an
empress might have been proud of inspiring. I pray Heaven some man
may sport with your affections, you heartless creature, as you have
played with mine, and make you suffer what I suffer now!"
And with a burst of inarticulate grief and rage he flung out of the
Rose sank trembling on the sofa a little while: then with a mighty
effort rose and went to comfort her sister.
Edouard came no more to Beaurepaire.
There is an old French proverb, and a wise one, "Rien n'est certain
que l'imprevu;" it means you can make sure of nothing but this, that
matters will not turn as you feel sure they will. And, even for
this reason, you, who are thinking of suicide because trade is
declining, speculation failing, bankruptcy impending, or your life
going to be blighted forever by unrequited love--DON'T DO IT.
Whether you are English, American, French, or German, listen to a
man that knows what is what, and DON'T DO IT. I tell you none of
those horrors, when they really come, will affect you as you fancy
they will. The joys we expect are not a quarter so bright, nor the
troubles half so dark as we think they will be. Bankruptcy coming
is one thing, come is quite another: and no heart or life was ever
really blighted at twenty years of age. The love-sick girls that
are picked out of the canal alive, all, without exception, marry
another man, have brats, and get to screech with laughter when they
think of sweetheart No. 1, generally a blockhead, or else a
blackguard, whom they were fools enough to wet their clothes for,
let alone kill their souls. This happens INVARIABLY. The love-sick
girls that are picked out of the canal dead have fled from a year's
misery to eternal pain, from grief that time never failed to cure,
to anguish incurable. In this world "Rien n'est certain que
Edouard and Rose were tender lovers, at a distance. How much
happier and more loving they thought they should be beneath the same
roof. They came together: their prominent faults of character
rubbed: the secret that was in the house did its work: and
altogether, they quarrelled. L'imprevu.
Dard had been saying to Jacintha for ever so long, "When granny
dies, I will marry you."
Granny died. Dard took possession of her little property. Up came
a glittering official, and turned him out; he was not her heir.
Perrin, the notary, was. He had bought the inheritance of her two
sons, long since dead.
Dard had not only looked on the cottage and cow, as his, but had
spoken of them as such for years. The disappointment and the irony
of comrades ate into him.
"I will leave this cursed place," said he.
Josephine instantly sent for him to Beaurepaire. He came, and was
factotum with the novelty of a fixed salary. Jacintha accommodated
him with a new little odd job or two. She set him to dance on the
oak floors with a brush fastened to his right foot; and, after a
rehearsal or two, she made him wait at table. Didn't he bang the
things about: and when he brought a lady a dish, and she did not
instantly attend, he gave her elbow a poke to attract attention:
then she squeaked; and he grinned at her double absurdity in minding
a touch, and not minding the real business of the table.
But his wrongs rankled in him. He vented antique phrases such as,
"I want a change;" "This village is the last place the Almighty
Then he was attacked with a moral disease: affected the company of
soldiers. He spent his weekly salary carousing with the military, a
class of men so brilliant that they are not expected to pay for
their share of the drink; they contribute the anecdotes and the
familiar appeals to Heaven: and is not that enough?
Present at many recitals, the heroes of which lost nothing by being
their own historians, Dard imbibed a taste for military adventure.
His very talk, which used to be so homely, began now to be tinselled
with big swelling words of vanity imported from the army. I need
hardly say these bombastical phrases did not elevate his general
dialect: they lay fearfully distinct upon the surface, "like lumps
of marl upon a barren soil, encumbering the ground they could not
Jacintha took leave to remind him of an incident connected with
"Do you remember how you were down upon your luck when you did but
cut your foot? Why, that is nothing in the army. They never go out
to fight but some come back with arms off, and some with legs off
and some with heads; and the rest don't come back at all: and how
would you like that?"
This intrusion of statistics into warfare at first cooled Dard's
impatience for the field. But presently the fighting half of his
heart received an ally in one Sergeant La Croix (not a bad name for
a military aspirant). This sergeant was at the village waiting to
march with the new recruits to the Rhine. Sergeant La Croix was a
man who, by force of eloquence, could make soldiering appear the
most delightful as well as glorious of human pursuits. His tongue
fired the inexperienced soul with a love of arms, as do the drums
and trumpets and tramp of soldiers, and their bayonets glittering in
the sun. He would have been worth his weight in fustian here, where
we recruit by that and jargon; he was superfluous in France, where
they recruited by force: but he was ornamental: and he set Dard and
one or two more on fire. Indeed, so absorbing was his sense of
military glory, that there was no room left in him for that mere
verbal honor civilians call veracity.
To speak plainly, the sergeant was a fluent, fertile, interesting,
sonorous, prompt, audacious liar: and such was his success, that
Dard and one or two more became mere human fiction pipes--of
comparatively small diameter--irrigating a rural district with false
views of military life, derived from that inexhaustible reservoir,
At last the long-threatened conscription was levied: every person
fit to bear arms, and not coming under the allowed exceptions, drew
a number: and at a certain hour the numbers corresponding to these
were deposited in an urn, and one-third of them were drawn in
presence of the authorities. Those men whose numbers were drawn had
to go for soldiers. Jacintha awaited the result in great anxiety.
She could not sit at home for it; so she went down the road to meet
Dard, who had promised to come and tell her the result as soon as
known. At last she saw him approaching in a disconsolate way. "O
Dard! speak! are we undone? are you a dead man?" cried she. "Have
they made a soldier of you?"
"No such luck: I shall die a man of all work," grunted Dard.
"And you are sorry? you unnatural little monster! you have no
feeling for me, then."
"Oh, yes, I have; but glory is No. 1 with me now."
"How loud the bantams crow! You leave glory to fools that be six
"General Bonaparte isn't much higher than I am, and glory sits upon
his brow. Why shouldn't glory sit upon my brow?"
"Because it would weigh you down, and smother you, you little fool."
She added, "And think of me, that couldn't bear you to be killed at
any price, glory or no glory."
Then, to appease her fears, Dard showed her his number, 99; and
assured her he had seen the last number in the functionary's hand
before he came away, and it was sixty something.
This ocular demonstration satisfied Jacintha; and she ordered Dard
to help her draw the water.
"All right," said he, "there is no immortal glory to be picked up
to-day, so I'll go in for odd jobs."
While they were at this job a voice was heard hallooing. Dard
looked up, and there was a rigid military figure, with a tremendous
mustache, peering about. Dard was overjoyed. It was his friend,
his boon-companion. "Come here, old fellow," cried he, "ain't I