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of a faded grandeur which harmonized bet- ingenuousness, the whole of her short hister with her. I can see her now, as she tory, and the explanation of her anomalous stood there with a strange foreign grace, an position. Her name was Florelle de l'Heris, indescribable patrician delicacy mingled with a name once powerful enough among the extreme youthfulness and naïveté, like an nobles of the Midi, and the old woman, old picture in costume, like one of Rapha- Madame Cazot, was her father's foster-sister. el's child-angels in face-poor little Florelle! Of her family, beggared in common with the
« • You would stay till the storm is over, best aristocracy of France, none were now monsieur ? you are welcome to shelter if left; they had dwindled and fallen away, you will,' she said, coming forward to me till of the once great house of L'Heris this timidly yet frankly. • Cazot tells me you child remained alone its sole representative: are a stranger, and our mountain-storms are her mother had died in her infancy, and her dangerous if you have no guide.'
father, either too idle, or too broken“I did not know who Cazot was, but I hearted to care to retrieve his fortunes, presumed her to be the old woman, who lived the life of a hermit among these ruins seemed to be portress, mistress, domestic, where I now found his daughter, educating cameriste, and all else in her single person, her himself till his death, which occurred but I thanked her for her permitted shelter, when she was only twelve years old, leaving and accepted her invitation to remain till the her to poverty and obscurity, and such proweather had cleared, as you can imagine. tection and companionship as her old nurse When you have lost your way any asylum is Cazot could afford her. Such was the story grateful, especially when it is offered by such Florelle de l'Heris told me as I sat there a châtelaine as this of mine, however deso- that evening waiting till the clouds should late and tumble-down the château. They clear and the mists roll off enough to let me made me welcome, she and the old peasant- go to St. Sauveur—a story told simply and woman, with that simple, unstrained, and pathetically, and which Cazot, sitting knitunostentatious hospitality which is, after all, ting in a corner, added to by a hundred the true essence of good breeding of which gesticulations, expletives, appeals to the your parvenu knows nothing, when he keeps Virgin, and prolix addenda, glad, I dare say, you waiting, and shows you that you are of any new confidant, and disposed to recome at an inapropos moment, in his fussy gard me with gratitude for my sincere fear lest every thing should not be comme il praises of her fried trout a story which faut to do due credit to him. Old Cazot set seemed to me to suit the delicate beauty of before me some simple refreshment, a gril- the flower I had found in the wilderness, and lade de châtaignes, some maize and milk, read more like a chapter of some versified and a dish of trout just caught in the Gave novelette, like • Lucille,' than a bonâ fide below, while I looked at my châtelaine, mar- page out of the book of one's actual life, esvelling how that young delicate creature pecially in a life like mine, of essentially could come to be shut up with an old peas- material pleasures and emphatically substanant on a remote hill-side. I did my best to tial and palpable ambitions-a life, if any draw her out and learn her history; she was man's ever was, of the world worldly,' as shy at first of a complete stranger, as was your detestations, the parsons, say when but natural, but the sight of my sketch- their bishop slights or their patron forgets book and moist-color-box brought us that them, and they are rampant against the rapport which fraternity of taste always world and the hollowness thereof for not produces. I spoke of Gavarnie, of the recognizing their superior sanctity and profbeauty of the Pyrenees of Tourmalet, and fering them preferment. But there are odd the Lac Bleu, and, warming with enthusiasm stories in real life !~strange, pathetic ones for her birthplace, the girl forgot that I was too-stranger, often, than those that found a foreign tourist, unknown to her, and in the plot and underplot of a novel or the debted to her for an hour's shelter, and be- basis of a poem ; but when such men as I fore my impromptu supper was over I had come across them they startle us, they look drawn from her, by a few questions which , bizarre and unlike all the other leaves of the she was too much of a child and had too book that glitter with worldly aphorisms, little to conceal not to answer with a child's philosophical maxims, and pungent ego
tisms, and we would fain cut them out; they • Visitors! Is it likely we should have any, have the ring of that Arcadia whose golden m'sieu ? Those that would suit me would gates shut on us when we outgrew boyhood, be bad company for Ma'amselle Florelle, and and in which, en revanche, we have sworn those that should seek her never do. I recever since to disbelieve-keeping our word ollect the time, m'sieu, when the highest in sometimes, perhaps to our own hindrance all the departments were glad to come to Heaven knows !
the bidding of a De l'Heris ; but generaI stayed as long as I could that even- tions have gone since then, and lands and ing, till the weather had cleared up so long, gold gone too, and, if you cannot feast and the sun was shining again so indisputa- them, what care people for you? That is bly, that I had no longer any excuse to lin- true in the Pyrenees, m'sieu, as well as in ger in the dark-tapestried room, with the the rest of the world. I have not lived chestnuts sputtering among the wood-ashes, eighty years without finding out that. If and Madame Cazot's needles clinking one my child yonder were the heiress of the continual refrain, and the soft gazelle eyes De l’Heris, there would be plenty to court of my young châtelaine glancing from my and seek her ; but she lives in these poor, sketches to me with that mixture of shyness broken-down ruins with me, an old peasantand fearlessness, innocence and candor, woman, to care for her as best I can, and which gave so great a charm to her manner. not a soul takes heed of her save the holy She was a new study to me, both for my women at the convent, where, maybe, she palette and my mind--a pretty fresh toy to will seek refuge at last!' amuse me while I should stay in the Midi. “She let me out at the gate where I had I was not going to leave without making thundered for admittance two hours before, sure of a permission to return. I wanted to and, giving her my thanks for her hospitalhave that face among my pastels, and when ity,-money she would not take, I wished I had thanked her for her shelter and her her good-day, and rode down the bridlewelcome, I told her my name, and asked path to St. Sauveur, and onwards to Luz, her leave to come again where I had been thinking at intervals of that fair young life so kindly received.
that had but just sprung up, and was al“Come again, monsieur ? Certainly, if ready destined to wither away its bloom in you care to come. But you will find it a a convent. Any destiny would be better to long way from Luz, I fear,” she said naively, proffer to her than that. She interested me looking up at me with her large, clear, fawn- already by her childlike loveliness and her like eyes-eyes so cloudless and untroubled strange solitude of position, and I thought then—as she let me take her hand, and bade she would while away some of the long me adieu et bonsoir.
summer hours during my stay in the Midi “I re-assured her on that score, you can when I was tired of chamois and palette, fancy, and left her standing in the deep- and my lazy dolce under the beech-wood embrasured window, a great stag-hound at shades. At any rate, she was newer and her feet, and the setting sun, all the brighter more charming than the belles of Eaux for its past eclipse, bathing her in light, Bonnes. and shedding an auréole on her Greek-like “The next morning, I remembered her brow, with its fair silken hair. I can always permission and my promise, and I rode out see her in memory as I saw her then, poor through the town again, up the mountainchild !-Faugh! How hot the night is ! road, to the Nid de l'Aigle. You would Can't we get more air anyhow ?
have done the same with nothing more to "• If you come again up here, m'sieu, you do than I had to do then in the Pyrenean will be the first visitor the Nid de l'Aigle valley, glad of any thing that gave me an has seen for four years,' said old Cazot, as amusement and a pursuit. I never wholly she showed me out through the dusky- appreciate far niente, I think; perhaps I have vaulted passage. She was a cheerful, garru- lived too entirely in the world—and a world lous old woman, strong in her devotion to ultra-cold and courtly, toomto retain much the De l'Heris of the bygone past; stronger patience for the meditative life, the life of even yet in her love for their single orphan trees and woods, sermons in stones, and representative of the beggared present. monologues in mountains. I am a restless, ambitious man: I must have a pursuit, be it through her father and the nuns, but it was of a great aim or a small, or I grow weary, a semi-religious and peculiar education, of and my time hangs heavily on hand. Al- which the chief literature had been the legready having found Florelle de l'Heris endary and sacred poetry of France and among these hills, reconciled me more to my Spain, the chief amusement copying the ilpro tempo banishment from society, excite- luminated missals lent her by the nuns, or ment, and pleasure, and I thanked my good joining in the choral services of the confortune for having lighted upon her. The vent; an education that taught her nothing pretty little hermit of the Nid de l'Aigle, of the world from which she was shut out, destined to the convent walls, would possibly and encouraged all that was self-devoted, help to amuse the time I had arranged to visionary, and fervid in her nature, leaving pass among her native mountains. She was her at seventeen as unconscious of evil as very lovely, and I always care more for the the youngest child. I despair of making physical than the intellectual charms of any you imagine what Florelle de l'Heris then woman. I do not share your visionary re-was. Had I never met her, I should have quirements on their mental score; I ask but believed in her as little as yourself, and material beauty, and am content with it. would have discredited the existence of so
“I rode up to the Nid de l'Aigle: by a poetic a creation out of the world of fiction ; clearer light it stood on a spot of great pic- her ethereal delicacy, her sunny gayety when turesqueness, and before the fury of the any thing amused her, her intense sensitiverevolutionary peasantry in '92 had destroyed ness, pained in a moment by a harsh word, what was the then habitable and stately pleased as soon by a kind one, her innocence château, must have been a place of consid- of all the blots and cruelties, artifices, and erable extent and beauty, and in the feudal evils of that world beyond her Nid de times, fenced in by the natural ramparts of l’Aigle, made a character strangely new to its shelving rocks, no doubt all but impreg- me, and strangely winning, but which to you nable. There were but a few ruins now that I despair of portraying: I could not have held together and had a roof over them- imagined it. Had I never seen her, and had the part where Madame Cazot and the last of I met with it in the pages of a novel, I the De l'Heris lived; it was perfectly soli- should have put it aside as a graceful but tary; there was nothing to be heard round impossible conception of romance. it but the foaming of the river, the music of “I went up that day to the Nid de l'Aigle, the sheep-bells from the flocks that fed in and Florelle received me with pleasure ; the clefts and on the slopes of grass-land, perhaps Madame Cazot had instilled into and the shout of some shepherd-boy from her some scepticism tható a grand seigneur,' the path below, but it was as beautiful a spot as the woman was pleased to term me, as any in the Pyrenees, with its overhang- would trouble himself to ride up the mouning beech-woods, its wilderness of wild tains from Luz merely to repeat his thanks flowers, its rocks covered with that soft gray for an hour's shelter and a supper of roasted moss whose tint defies one to repeat it in oil chestnuts. She was a simple-minded, goodor water colors, and its larches and beeches hearted old woman, who had lived all her drooping over into the waters of the Gave. life among the rocks and rivers of the In such a home, with no companions save Hautes-Pyrenées, her longest excursion a her father, old Cazot, and her great stag- market-day to Luz or Bagnères. She looked hound, and, occasionally, the quiet recluses on her young mistress and charge as a child, of St. Marie Purificatrice, with every thing -in truth Florelle was but little more,-and to feed her native poetry and susceptibility, thought my visit paid simply from gratitude nothing to teach her any thing of the actual and courtesy, never dreaming of attributing and ordinary world, it were inevitable that it to 'cette beauté héréditaire des L'Heris, the character of Florelle de l'Heris should which she was proud of boasting was an intake its coloring from the scenes around alienable heirloom to the family. her, and that she should grow up singularly “I often repeated my visits ; so often, childlike, imaginative, and innocent of all that in a week or so the old ruined château that in any other life she would unavoidably grew a natural resort in the long summer have known. Well educated she was, days, and Florelle watched for my coming from the deep-arched window where I had till they are as proud of their master's herseen her'first, or from under the boughs of aldry as though it were their own, discerned the great copper beech that grew before the that I was of the same rank as her adored gate, and looked for me as regularly as house of De l'Heris—if indeed she admitted though I were to spend my lifetime in the any equal to them and with all the cheery valley of Luz. Poor child! I never told familiarity of a Frenchwoman treated me her my title, but taught her to call me by with punctilious deference, being as thormy Christian name. It used to sound very oughly imbued with respect and adoration pretty when she said it, with her long South- for the aristocracy as any of those who died ern pronunciation-prettier than it ever for the white lilies in the Place de la Révosounds now from the lips of Beatrice Acqua lution. And Florelle-Florelle watched for d'Oro yonder, in her softest moments, when me, and counted her hours by those I spent she plays at sentiment. She had great nat- with her. You are sure I had not read and ural talent for art, hitherto uncultivated, of played with women's hearts so long-women, course, save by such instructions as one of too, with a thousand veils and evasions and the women at the convent, skilful at illu- artifices, of which she was in pure ignorance minating, had occasionally given her. I even of the existence—without having this amused myself with teaching her to trans- heart, young, unworn, and unoccupied, unfer to paper and canvas the scenery she loved der my power at once, plastic to mould as so passionately. I spent many hours train-wax, ready to receive any impressions at my ing this talent of hers that was of very un- hands, and moulded easily to my will. Flousual calibre, and with due culture might relle had read no love stories to help her to have ranked her with Elizabeth Sirani or translate this new life to which I awoke her, Rosa Bonheur. Sitting with her in the old or to put her on her guard against it. I room, or under the beech-trees, or by the went there often, every day at last, teaching side of the torrents that tore down the rocks my pupil the art which she was only too into the Gave, it pleased me to draw out her glad and too eager to learn, stirring her vivid unsullied thoughts, to spread her mind out imagination with descriptions of that bril. before me like a book-a pure book enough, liant outside world, of whose pleasures, gayGod knows, with not even a stain of the eties, and pursuits she was as ignorant as world upon it to make her eyes glisten and any little gentian flower on the rocks; keepglow and dilate, to fill them with tears or ing her spell-bound with glimpses of its life, laughter at my will, to wake up her young which looked to her like fairyland, bizarre life from its unconscious, untroubled childish bal masqué though it be to us; and pleasrepose to a new happiness, a new pain, which ing myself with awakening new thoughts, she felt but could not translate, which new impressions, new emotions, which swept dawned in her face for me, but never spoke over her telltale face like the lights and in its true language to her, ignorant then of shades over meadow-land as the sun fades its very name-it amused me. Bah! our on and off it. She was a new study, a new amusements are cruel sentiments, and costly amusement to me, after the women of our too!
world, and I beguiled my time with her, not " It was at that time I took the head in thoughtlessly, as I might have done, not too pastels which
have seen, and she wrote hastily, as I should have done ten years beunder it, in playfulness, 'La Châtelaine sans fore, but pleased with my new amusement, Château,' asking me, in innocent admiration and more charmed with Florelle than I at of its loveliness, if she was indeed like that? first knew, though I confess I soon wished -This night is awfully oppressive. Is that to make her love me, and soon tried my best water in that carafe? Is it iced ? Push it to make her do so—an easy task when one to me, Thank you."
has had some practice in the rose-hued atmosphere of the boudoir, among the most
difficile and the most brilliant coquettes of THE PAGE THAT WAS FOLDED DOWN. Europe, and succeeded with most of them! “I was always welcome at the Nid de Florelle de l'Heris, with a nature singularly l'Aigle. Old Cazot, with the instinct of ser- loving, and a mind singularly imaginative, vants who have lived with people of birth with no rival for me even in her fancy, soon
lavished on me all the love of which her im- knowledge of all their legends, superstitions, passioned and poetic character was capable. histories, and associated memories, gathered She did not know it, but I did. She loved from the oral lore of the peasantry, the crame, poor child !-love more pure, unselfish, dle songs of Madame Cazot, and the stories and fond than I ever won before, than I shall of the old chronicles of the South. Heavens ! ever win again.
what a wealth of imagination, talent, genius, “ Basta! why need you have lighted on lay in her if I had not destroyed it! that crayon head, and make me rake
this “ At length the time drew near when my story? I loathe looking at the past. What so-called sojourn at the Baths must end, and good ever comes of it? A wise man lives I must return to Constantinople. One day only in his present. •La vita è appunto una Florelle and I were out sketching, as usual ; memoria, una speranza un punto,' writes the she sat under one of the great beeches, within fool of a poet, as though the bygone memo- a few feet of one of the cascades that fell into ries and the unrealized hopes were worth a the Gave du Pau, and I lay on the grass by straw. It is that very present instant' that her, looking into those clear gazelle eyes he despises that is available, and in which, that met mine so brightly and trustfully, when we are in our senses, we absorb our- watching the progress of her brush, and selves, knowing that that alone will yield a throwing twigs and stones into the spray of fruit worth having. What are the fruits of the torrent. I can remember the place as the others ? only Dead Sea apples that crum- though it were yesterday, the splash of the ble into ash. I knew that Florelle loved foam over the rocks, the tinkle of the sheepme; that I, and I alone, filled both her im- bells from the hills, the scent of the wild agination and her heart. I would not pre- flowers growing round, the glowing golden cipitately startle her into any avowal of it. light that spread over the woodlands, touchI liked to see it dawn in her face and gleam ing even the distant crest of Mont Aigu and in her eyes, guilelessly and unconsciously. the Pic du Midi. Strange how some scenes It was a new pleasure to me, a new charm will stamp themselves on the camera of the in that book of woman's love of which I brain never to be effaced, let one try all that had thought I knew every phase, and had one may. exhausted every reading. I taught Florelle “ There, that morning, I, for the first time to love me, but I would not give her a name since we had met, spoke of leaving Luz, and to my teaching till she found it herself. I of going back to that life which I had so returned it? Oh, yes, I loved her, selfishly, often amused her by describing. Happy in as most people, men or women, do love, let her present, ignorant of how soon the scenes them say what they will ; very selfishly, per- so familiar and dear to her would tire and haps-a love that was beneath her-a love pall on me, and infinitely too much of a for which, had she seen into my heart, she child to have looked beyond, or speculated might have disdained and hated me, if her upon any thing which I had not spoken of soft nature could have been moved to so to her, it had not presented itself to her that fierce a thing as hate--a love that sought its this sort of life could not go on forever ; that own gratification, and thought nothing of her even she would not reconcile me long to the welfare-a love not worthy of her, as I some- banishment from my own world, and that in times felt then, as I believe now.
the nature of things we must either become “ I had been about six weeks in the Pyr- more to each other than we were now, or part enees since the day I lost myself en route as strangers, whom chance had thrown tofrom Gavarnie ; most of the days I had spent gether for a little time. She loved me; but, three or four hours, often more, at the Nid as I say, so innocently and uncalculatingly, de l'Aigle, giving my painting lessons to Flo- that she never knew it till I spoke of leaving relle, or being ciceroned by her among the her; then she grew very pale, her eyes filled beech-wooded and mountain passes near her with tears, and shunned mine for the first home. The dreariest fens and flats might time, and, as an anatomist watches the quiver have gathered interest from such a guide, of pain in his victim, so I watched the sufand the glorious beauties of the Midi, well fering of mine. It was her first taste of the sulted to her, gained additional poetry from bitterness of life, and while I inflicted the her impassioned love for them, and her fond pain I smiled at it, pleased in my egotism to