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see the power I had over her. It was cruel, and touching her long fair hair that glistened I grant it, but in confessing it I only con- in the sunshine as she smiled me her adieus. fess to what nine out of ten men have felt My words had opened a fresh delirious life to though they may conceal or deny it. her that morning, and translated, for the
6. You will miss me, Florelle ?' I asked first time, all the newly dawned emotions her. She looked at me reproachfully, wist that had lately stirred in her heart, while fully, piteously, the sort of a look I have she knew not their name. Poor little Floseen in the eyes of a dying deer; too bewil- relle ! dered by this sudden mention of my depart- “I soon lost sight of her through a sharp ure to answer in words. No answer was turn of the bridle-path round the rocks, and needed with eyes so eloquent as hers, but I went on my way thinking of my new love, repeated it again. I knew I gave pain, but of how completely I held the threads of her I knew, too, I should soon console her. Her fate in my hands, and how entirely it lay in lips quivered, and the tears gathered in her my power to touch the chords of her young eyes; she had not known enough of sorrow heart into acute pain or into as acute pleasto have learnt to dissemble it. I asked her ure—with one word of mine, of hov utterly if she loved me so much that she was unwill- I could mould her character, her life, her ing to bid me farewell. For the first time fate, whether for happiness or misery at my her eyes sank beneath mine, and a hot, pain- will. I loved her well enough, if only for ful color flushed over her face. Poor child! her unusual beauty, to feel triumph at my if ever I have been loved by any woman I entire power, and to feel a tinge of her own was loved by her. Then I woke her heart poetry and tenderness of feeling stirring in from its innocent, peaceful rest, with words me as I went on under the green, drooping, that spoke a language utterly new to her. I fanlike boughs of the pines, thinking of Flosketched to her a life of love with me that relle de l'Heris. made her cheeks glow and her lips quiver, “M'sieu! permettre-moi vous parle un and her eyes grow dark. She was lovelier p'tit mot?' in those moments than art could ever at- “Madame Cazot's patois made me look tempt to picture! She loved me, and I made up, almost startled for the moment, though her tell me so over and over again. She put there was nothing astonishing in her appearher fate unhesitatingly into my hands, and ance there, in her accustomed spot under the rejoiced in the love I vowed her, little un- shade of a mountain-ash and a great boulder derstanding how selfishly I sought her, little of rock, occupied at her usual task, washing thinking, in her ignorance of the passions linen in the Gave, as it foamed and rushed and evils of the world, that while she re-over its stones. She raised herself from her joiced in the fondness I lavished on her, and work and looked up at me, shading her eyes worshipped me as though I were some supe- from the light-a sunburnt, wrinkled, hardy rior unerring godlike being, she was to me old woman, with her scarlet capulet, her blue only a new toy, only a pursuit of the hour, cloth jacket, and her brown woollen pettia plaything, too, of which I foresaw I should coat, so strange a contrast to the figure I tire! Isn't it Benjamin Constant who says, had lately left under the gateway of the Nid • Malheureux l'homme qui dans le com- de l'Aigle, that it was difficult to believe mencement d'un amour prévoit avec une them even of the same sex or country. précision cruelle l'heure où il en sera lassé ?' M'sieu, permettre-moi vous parle un p'tit
“ As it happened, I had made that morn- mot.' ing an appointment in Luz with some men “She spoke with extreme deference, as I knew, who happened to be passing through she always did, but so earnestly, that I it, and had stopped there that day to go up looked at her in surprise, and stopped to the Pic du Midi the next, so that I could hear what it might be she had to say. She spend only an hour or two with Florelle. I was but a peasant-woman, but she had a took her to her home, parted with her for certain dignity of manner for all that, a few hours, and went down the path. I re- caught, no doubt, from her long service member how she stood looking after me with, and her pride in, the De l'Heris. under the heavy gray stone-work of the gate- "M'sieu, I have no right, perhaps, to adway, the tendrils of the ivy hanging down dress you ; you are a grand seigneur, and I but a poor peasant-woman. Nevertheless, well, I know; at the same time, you are I must speak. I have a charge to which I deucedly impertinent, and I am not accusshall have to answer in the other world to tomed to interference. Have the goodness God and to my master. M'sieu, pardon me to let me pass, if you please.' what I say, but you love Ma'amselle Florelle?' “But she would not move. She folded
“ I stared at the woman, astonished at her arms across her chest, quivering from her interference and annoyed at her pre- head to foot with passion, her deep-set eyes sumption, and motioned her aside with my flashing like coals under her bushy eyestick. To old Cazot I was scarcely going to brows. speak of my love for Florelle, comme vous 6. M'sieu, I understand you well enough. concevez. But she placed herself in the path The house of the L'Heris is fallen, ruined, - narrow path on which two people could and beggared, and you deem dishonor may not have stood without one or other going approach it unrebuked and unrevenged. into the Gave, and stopped me resolutely Listen to me, m'sieu ; I am but a woman, it and respectfully, shading her eyes from the is true, and old, but I swore by Heaven and sun, and looking steadily at my face. our Lady to the Sieur de l'Heris, when he
“ • M'sieu, a little while ago, in the gate-lay dying yonder, years ago, that I would way yonder, when you parted with Ma'am- serve the child he left, as my forefathers had selle Florelle, I was coming out behind you served his in peace and war for centuries, to bring my linen to the river, and I saw you and keep and guard her as best I might take her in your arms and kiss her many dearer than my own heart's blood. Listen times, and whisper to her that you would to me. Before this love of yours shall breathe come again “ce soir !” Then, m'sieu, I another word into her ear to scorch and sully knew that you must love my little lady, or, it; before your lips shall ever meet hers at least, must have made her love you. I again ; before you say again to a De l'Heris, have thought her living always with her poor and powerless, what you would never but a beautiful child still ; but you have have dared to say to a De l'Heris rich and found her a beautiful woman, and loved her, powerful, I will defend her as the eagles by or taught her love, m’sieu. Pardon me if I the Nid de l'Aigle defend their young. You wrong your honor, but my master left her shall only reach her across my dead body!' in my charge, and I am an ignorant old “ She spoke with the vehemence and paspeasant, ill fitted for such a trust; but is sionate gesticulation of a Southern in her this love of yours such as the Sieur de patois, it is true, and with rude eloquence, l'Heris, were he now on earth, would put his but there was an odd timbre of pathos in hand in your own and thank you for, or is her voice, harsh though it was, and a certain it such that he would wash out its insult in wild dignity about her through the very your blood or his p'
earnestness and passion that inspired her. “Her words amazed me for a moment, I told her she was mad, and would have put first at the presumption of an interference of her out of my path, but, planting herself which I had never dreamt, next at the iron before me, she laid hold of my arm so firmly firmness with which this old woman, nothing that I could not have pushed forwards with daunted, spoke, as though the blood of a out violence, which I would not have used race of kings ran in her veins. I laughed a to a woman, and a woman, moreover, as old little at the absurdity of this cross-question- as she was. ing from her to me, and not choosing to " Listen to one word more, m'sieu. I bandy words with her, bade her move aside; know not what title you may bear in your but her eyes blazed like fire ; she stood firm own country, but I saw a coronet upon your as the earth itself.
handkerchief the other day, and I can tell "M'sieu, answer me! You love Ma’am- you are a grand seigneur-you have the air selle Florelle-you have asked her in mar- of it, the manner. M'sieu, you can have riage?'
many women to love you ; cannot you spare " I smiled involuntarily.
this one? You must have many pleasures, “My good woman, men of my class don't pursuits, enjoyments in your world, can you marry every pretty face they meet; we are not leave me this single treasure? Think, not so fond of the institution. You mean m'sieu! If Ma'amselle Florelle loves you now, she will love you only the dearer as avenge it, with whom my conscience would years go on; and you, you will tire of her, not let me dispute it, than it would have weary of her, want change, fresh beauty, done from the lips of any man. I called a new excitement--you must know that you coward, by an old peasant-woman! absurd will, or why should you shrink from the idea enough, wasn't it? It is a more absurd bondage of marriage you will weary of one still that I could not listen to her unher; you will neglect her first and desert moved, that her words touched me-how or her afterwards; what will be the child's life why I could not have told-stirred up in me then ? Think! You have done her cruel something of weakness, unselfishness, or harm enough now with your wooing words, chivalrousness-I know not what exactlywhy will you do her more ? What is your that prompted me for once to give up my love beside hers ? If you have heart or con- own egotistical evanescent passions and act science you cannot dare to contrast them to- to Florelle de 'lHeris as though all the males gether; she would give up every thing for of her house were on earth to make me redyou, and you would give up nothing ! M'sieu, der account of my acts ; not that for them I Florelle de l'Heris is not like the women of should have been likely to care much. At your world; she is innocent pf evil as the old Cazot's words I shrank for once from my holy saints; those who meet her should own motives and my own desires, shrank guard her from the knowledge, and not lead from classing Florelle de l'Heris with the her to it. Were the Sieur de l'Heris living Aspasias of my world, from bringing her now, were her house powerful as I have down to their level and their life. known them, would you have dared or " • You will have pity on her, m'sieu, and dreamt of seeking her as you do now? go ?? asked old Cazot, more softly, as she M'sieu, he who wrongs trust, betrays hos- looked in my face. pitality, and takes advantage of that very “I did not answer her, but put her aside purity, guilelessness, and want of due pro- out of my way, went down the mountain-path tection which should be the best and strong- to where my horse was left cropping the grass est appeal to every man of chivalry and on the level ground beneath a plane-tree, honor-he, whoever he be, the De l'Heris and rode at a gallop into Luz without look. would have held, as what he is, a coward ! ing back at the gray-turreted ruins of the Will you not now have pity upon the child, Nid de l'Aigle. and let her go?'
“ And I left Luz that night without seeing “I have seldom been moved in, never Florelle de l'Heris again—a tardy kindness been swayed from, any pursuit or any pur--one, perhaps, as cruel as the cruelty from pose, whether of love, or pleasure, or ambi- which old Cazot had protected her. Don't tion ; but something in old Cazot's words you think I was a fool, indeed, for once in stirred me strangely, more strangely still my life to listen to an old woman's prating? from the daring and singularity of the Call me so if you like, I shall not dispute speaker. Her intense love for her young it; we hardly know when we are fools, and charge gave her pathos, eloquence, and even when wise men! Well! I have not been a certain rude majesty, as she spoke; her much given to such weaknesses. bronzed wrinkled features worked with emo- “I left Luz, sending a letter to Florelle, tions she could not repress, and hot tears in which I bade her farewell, and entreated fell over her hard cheeks. I felt that what her to forget meếan entreaty which, while she said was true ; that as surely as the night I made it, I felt would not be obeyed—one follows the day would weariness of it succeed which, in the selfishness of my heart, I dare to my love for Florelle, that to the hopital say, I hoped might not be. I went back to
I ity I had so readily received I had, in truth, my old diplomatic and social life, to my ousgiven but an ill return, and that I had delib- tomary pursuits, amusements, and ambitions, erately taken advantage of the very ignorance turning over the leaf of my life that conof the world and faith in me which should tained my sojourn in the Pyrenees, as you have most appealed to my honor. I knew turn over the page of a romance to which that what she said was true, and this epithet you will never recur. I went back to Con
coward' hit me harder from the lips of a stantinople, and stayed there till April, when woman, on whom her sex would not let me I went to London and spent the season. I
led the same life, occupied myself with my woods, if I paid old Cazot's exacted penalty of old ambitions, and enjoyed my old pleas- marriage! I loved Florelle more deeply than ures; but I could not forget Florelle as I had done twelve months before. •L'abwholly as I wished and tried to do. I had sence allument les grandes passions et éteignot usually been troubled with such memo- nent les petites,' they say. It had been the
if unwelcome, I could generally thrust reverse with me. them aside ; but Florelle I did not forget; “I rode up the bridle-path and passed the more I saw of other women the sweeter through the old gateway. There was an and brighter seemed by contrast her sensi- unusual stillness about the place; nothing tive, delicate nature, unsullied by the world, but the roar of the torrent near, and the and unstained by artifice and falsehood. songs of the birds in the branches speaking The longer time went on, the more I re- in the summer air. My impatience to see gretted having given her up-perhaps on no Florelle, or to hear her, grew ungovernable. better principle than that on which a child The door stood open. I groped my way cares most for the toy he cannot have; per- through the passage and pushed open the haps because, away from her, I realized that door of the old room. Under the oriel winI had lost the purest and the strongest love dow, where I had seen her first, lay on a I had ever won. In the whirl of my custom- little couch Florelle de l'Heris. I saw her ary life I often thought of my poor little again—but how ! My God! to the day of Châtelaine sans Château-wondered how she my death I shall never forget her face as I had received my letter, and how far the iron saw it then; it was turned from me, and had burnt into her young heart-wondered her fair hair streamed over her pillows, but if she had joined the Sisters of Sainte Marie as the sunlight fell upon it, I knew well Purificatrice, or still led her solitary life enough what was written there. Old Cazot, among the rocks and beech-woods of Nid sitting by the bed with her head on her de l'Aigle. I often thought of her, little as arms, looked up, and came towards me, forcthe life I led was conducive to regretful or ing me back. romantic thoughts. At length, my desire to "You are come at last, to see her die. see her again grew ungovernable. I had Look on your work-look well at it—and never been in the habit of refusing myself then go; with my curse upon you !' what I wished; a man is a fool who does, if “I shook off her grasp, and forcing my his wishes are in any degree attainable. way towards the window, threw myself down And at the end of the season I went over by Florelle's bed; till then I never knew how to Paris, and down again once more into the well I loved her. My voice awoke her from Midi. I reached Luz, lying in the warm her sleep, and, with a wild cry of joy, she golden Pyrenean light as I had left it, and started up, weak as she was, and threw her took once more the old familiar road up the arms round my neck, clinging to me with hills to the Nid de l'Aigle. There had been her little hands, and crying to me delirino outward change from the year that had ously not to leave her while she lived-to flown by; there drooped the fanlike branches stay with her till death should take her ; of the pines; there rushed the Gave over where had I been so long ? why had I come its rocky bed; there came the silvery sheep- so late ? So late!-those piteous words ! bell chimes down the mountain-sides; there, As I held her in my arms, unconscious from over hill and wood, streamed the mellow the shock, and saw the pitiless marks that glories of the Southern sunlight. There is disease, the most hopeless and the most something unutterably painful in the sight cruel, had made on the face that I had left of any place after one's lengthened absence, fair, bright, and full of life as any child's, I wearing the same smile, lying in the same felt the full bitterness of that piteous resunlight. Bulwer is right, .In nature's proach, “Why had I come so late ?' heart there beats no throb for man.' I rode “What need to tell you more? Florelle on, picturing the flush of gladness that de l'Heris was dying, and I had killed her. would dawn in Florelle's face at the sight of The child that I had loved so selfishly had me, thinking that Mme. Cazot should not loved me with all the concentrated tenderpart me from her again, even, I thought, as ness of her isolated and impassioned naI saw the old gray turrets above the beech-Iture : the letter I wrote bidding her fare
well had given her her death-blow. They folded a page out of his life's history written told me that from the day she received that in characters so painful to him. Such skel. letter every thing lost its interest for her. etons dwell in the hearts of most; hands She would sit for hours looking down the need be tender that disentomb them and road to Luz, as though watching wearily for drag out to daylight ashes so mournful and
so grievous, guarded so tenaciously, hidden one who never came or kneeling before the so jealously. Each of us is tender over his pictures I had left as before some altar, pray- own, but who does not think his brother's ing to Heaven to take care of me, and bless fit subject for jest, for gibe, for mocking me, and let her see me once again before danse de mort ? she died. Consumption had killed her
Cavendish raised himself with a laugh, mother in her youth ; during the chill win but his lips looked white as death as be
drank down a draught of the Hermitage. ter at the Nid de l'Aigle the hereditary dis
“Well! what say you : is the maxim ease settled upon her. When I found her right, y-a-t-il femmes et femmes ? Caramshe was dying fast. All the medical aid, ba! why need you have pitched upon that all the alleviations, luxuries, resources, that portfolio ? — There are the lights in the money could procure, to ward off the death Acqua d'Oro’s palace; we must go, my good I would have given twenty years of my life fellow, or we shall get into disgrace.” to avert, I lavished on her, but they were
We went, and Beatrice Acqua d'Oro talked useless; for my consolation they told me Bois de Sandal remarked to me what a bril
very ardent Italian to him, and the Comtesse that, used a few months earlier, they would liant and successful man Lord Cavendish have saved her! She lingered three weeks, was, but how unimpressionable as cold fading away like a flower gathered before and as glittering as ice. Nothing had ever its fullest bloom. Each day was torture to made bim feel, she was quite certain, pretty me. I knew enough of the disease to know complimentary nonsense though he often from the first there was no hope for her or Comtesse have said, I wonder, had I told
talked. What would the Marchesa and the Those long, terrible night-hours, when them of La Châtelaine sans Château, and she lay with her head upon my shoulder, and that little grave under the Pyrenean beechher little hot, thin hands in mine, while I woods ? So much does the world know of listened, uncertain whether every breath was any of us! In the lives of all men are not the last, or whether life was not already doubled-down pages written on in secret, fled! By Heaven! I cannot think of them folded out of sight, forgotten as they make yet! One of those long summer nights their fellows, only glanced at by themselves
other entries in the diary, never read by Florelle died; happy with me, loving and in some midnight hour of solitude. forgiving me to the last; speaking to the Basta! they are painful reading, care last of that reunion in which, poor child, she amici. Don't you find them so ? Let us in her innocent faith believed and hoped, ac- leave the skeletons in the closet, the pictures cording to the promise of her creed !-died in the portfolio, the doubled-down pages in with her hands clasped round my neck, and the locked diary, and go to Beatrice Acqua her eyes looking up to mine, till the last ray of What is Madame Bois de Sandal
, née Dash
d'Oro's, where the lights are burning gaily. light was quenched in them—died while the wood, singing in the music-room ? mornlng dawn rose in the east and cast a golden radiance on her face, the herald of The tender grace of a day that is dead a day to which she never woke !"
Will never come back to me!
That is the burden of many songs sung in There was a dead silence between us ; the this world, for some dead flowers strew most Arno splashed against the wall below, mur- paths, and grass grows over myriad graves, muring its eternal song beneath its bridge, and many leaves are folded down in many while the dark heavy clouds drifted ove the lives, I fear. And—retrospection is very sky with a sullen roll of thunder. Caven- idle, my good fellow, and regret is as bad as dish lay back in his chair, the deep shadow the tic, and flirting is deucedly pleasant ; tbe of the balcony pillar hiding his face from white Hermitage we drank to-night is gone, me, and his voice quivered painfully as he of wine every whit as good ? Shall we waste
we know, but are there no other bottles left spoke the last words of his story. He was our time sighing after spilt lees ? Surely silent for many minutes, and so was I, re- not. Je suis philosophe, moi. Et vous, gretting that my careless question had un- monsieur ?