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left the cottage with a friendly adieu to the smil- | particular night. She remembered the darkness ing girl, and without a suspicion that Alix had and gloom of the old trees, the thickness of the any private reasons for her dislike to leave the brushwood, and shuddered as she thought of the village, or that the daily greeting of François the possibility of meeting the Couleuvre-Fée-- the stone-cutter was a matter of more moment to Melusina of Provence-or the Chèvre d'Or, who her than the prettiest compliments of the Bailiff confides the secret resting-place of hidden treasof Beauregard.
ures to the wandering traveler, only to afflict him The next day was market-day at Maillot, a with incurable melancholy if he proved himself town about two leagues distant from the village, unworthy of riches. As the dread of these suwhither, for four years, Alix had been accustomed pernatural creatures increased upon her with the to go once a week with poultry and eggs ; her silence and darkness of night, she hid her head great resource for the rent of her grand-dame's beneath the counterpane, and wisely resolved to hut. It was a matter of rivalry among the young dare all that human beings could do to vex her, women of the neighborhood to be first at market; rather than encounter the tricks and temptations and Alix, who greatly enjoyed supremacy in of those unearthly ones—and then she slept. every thing, had endeavored in this, as in all else, Light to see, however, is nearly allied to courto surpass her companions. This, however, was age to dare; and when Alix arose at early dawn, not very easy, for others could rise betimes as her perturbations and tremblings had vanished, she did herself. A few months before, an acci- and her midnight decision was overturned by the dental discovery of her brother Jean had at length impulse of the morning. She dressed herself, secured for her the envied privilege. Jean, like quickly, but carefully, in her most becoming atother idle lads of his class, was necessarily a tire; and a very fine specimen of the women of the poacher, and, on one of his secret expeditions province she looked noted though they are for the into the forest which lay between Beauregard regal style of their beauty-when equipped in her and Maillot, had chanced to fall upon a path by plaited petticoat; her bright fichu, not pinned tightwhich the distance between the two places was ly down, but crossing the bosom in graceful folds, shortened by at least a third. This discovery he and fastened in a knot at the back; her thick glossy confided to Alix; and ever since, under his guid-bands of black hair contrasting well with the rich ance and escort, she had availed herself of it to glow of her cheek, and with the Madras silk handreach Maillot earlier and with less fatigue than kerchief which covered, without concealing the her companions. She had found the walk very luxuriance of her long hair. Holding in her pleasant when Jean was with her to carry her hand her large market-basket, not unlike in shape basket, and with his boyish sallies to prevent her to a coal-scuttle or a gipsey bonnet, with a majesfrom dwelling on the superstitious terrors with tic rather than a tripping step, Alix began her which tradition had invested the forest ; but now walk; looking more like one of the Roman matthat she must tread its tangled paths alone, she rons from whom tradition tells that her race was hesitated, and was half tempted to relinquish the descended than a poor peasant girl. daring project. Still she felt unwilling to yield the As she reached the turn from the high-road to honor of being first without a struggle. Besides, the wood, she quickened her steps, and resoluteher companions had always given her a repu- ly took the forest path; while, as if determined tation for courage, and although she had a secret to prove to herself that she was not afraid, she conviction that she owed it solely to her young ever and anon gave forth a snatch of song, in a brother's reflected bravery, it is a reputation which voice as clear and shrill as that of the birds twityoung girls prize so bighly, that, rather than for- tering in the branches overhead, to join the comfeit it, they will rush recklessly into real dangers, mon hymn of praise with which the denizens of from which, if they escape, it is by their good for-earth and sky salute the new-born day. tune, and not by their boasted courage. | The morning was unusually sultry and op
Alix could not endure to allow to others that pressive, although the sun was but newly risen. she was afraid. No, no, she must not permit | Alix felt herself overcome with fatigue when that to be said, nor must she expose herself to scarcely half-way through the forest. She was the jeers and laughter of those who would de- so fatigued that she found it necessary to sit light to hear that she was not first at market. I down; but just as she had selected a seat in a She must go by the wood-path, and must go quiet shady nook, which promised to be a pleasearly. And so thinking, she laid her down to ant resting place, she discovered that it abutted rest.
closely on the opening to one of the grottoes that The part of France in which Alix was born tradition had marked out as the former habitation and brought up is full of historical remains, and of hermits or saints whose spirits were still betherefore abounds with traditions, the more mys- lieved to haunt their old dwelling-places. She tical and terrible from the dash of paganism with no sooner became aware of the grotto's vicinity which they are mixed up. Not a forest, ruin, than she rose hastily, and, snatching up her basor grotto, is without some picturesque legend, ket, set off down one of the alleys of the forest, which the young listen to from the lips of the without taking time to consider where she was aged with shuddering delight; and all that Alix going; when forced to pause to recover her had ever heard of the forest of Beauregard, or of breath, she found herself in a spot she had never any other haunted wood in the province, rose seen before, but one so lovely that she looked with disagreeable tenacity to her memory on this around with surprise and admiration.
Vol. IX.-No. 50.-Q
It was a little glade, in form almost an amphi- | then, the twenty-third of June had been always theatre, carpeted with turf as soft and elastic as more or less fatal to the females of her house ; velvet; its bright green enameled with flowers ; ) and as Alix remembered this, she was content to and on each petal, each tiny blade of grass, dew-l be only Alix Leroux, who, though possessed neidrops were sparkling like tears of happiness, in ther of chateaux nor forests, and forced to work welcome to the sun's returning rays. Around hard and attend weekly markets, had no ancesthis little circle, mighty old trees, gnarled and tral doom hanging over her, but could look forrugged, the fathers of the forest, were so regular- ward to a bright future, as the beloved mistress ly arranged as to seem the work of art rather of a certain stone-cutter's comfortable home; of than of nature, and this impression was strength which stone-cutter's existence Monsieur Reboul ened by the avenue-like alley that spread from it was quite unconscious. toward the north. Immediately opposite to this Her thoughts of François, her young warmopening, on the southern side of the amphithe-hearted lover, and of the two strong arms ready atre, rose a rampart of gray rocks, marbled with at a word from her to do unheard-of miracles, golden veins, from whose hoary sides sprang dimpled her cheeks with smiles, and entirely forth the rock-rose or pink cystus, and under banished the uncomfortable cogitations which whose moist shade the blue aster, one of the fair- had preceded them; taking up her basket, she est of earth's stars, flourished luxuriantly. As arose, and, looking around her, began to considAlix's eye fell on the trees, and grass, and flower which path she ought to follow, to find the ers, she set her basket down carefully at the foot most direct road to Maillot. of a fine old oak, and, forgetting fatigue, heat, She was still undecided, when a whole herd of and superstitious terrors, busied herself in gath- deer dashed down the north alley toward her, ering the dew-gemmed flowers, until her apron and broke forcibly through the thick covert bewas quite full.
yond, as if driven forward by intense fear. She Then, seating herself under the oak, she began was startled by the sudden apparition, for a mowith pretty fastidiousness to choose the most ment's consideration convinced her that what had perfect of her treasures to arrange into a bouquet terrified them might terrify her also, and that the for her bosom, and one for her hair. While thus part of the forest from which they had been driven engaged she half-chanted, half-recited her Salve was that which she must cross to reach Maillot. Regina:
Timid as a deer herself, at this thought she
strained her eyes in the direction whence they Hail to the Queen who reigns above, Mother of Clemency and Love!
had come, but could see nothing. She listened ; We, from this wretched world of tears,
all was still again, not a leaf stirred-and yet, Send sighs and groans unto thine ears.
was it fancy, or was it her sense of hearing exOh, thou sweet advocate, bestow
cited by fear to a painful degree of acuteness, One pitying look on us below!
that made her imagine that she heard, at an imThe hymn and toilet were concluded together; mense distance, a muffled sound of wheels and and then, but not till then, Alix remembered that of the tramp of horses' feet? She wrung her there was a market at Maillot, at which she must hands in terror; for, satisfied that no earthly be present, instead of spending the day in such carriage could force its way through the tangled joyous idleness. She sighed and wished she forest paths, she could only suppose that somewere a lady—the young lady of Beauregard, of thing supernatural and terrible was about to blast whose marriage Monsieur Reboul had told her her sight; still, as if fascinated, she gazed in the such fine things—and, as she thought thus, as- direction of the gradually increasing sounds. sociation of ideas awoke the recollection that this Not a wink of her eyes distracted her sight as day was the twenty-third of June, the vigil of she peered through the intervening branches. St. John; a season said to be very fatal to the Presently, a huge body, preceded by something females of the house of Beauregard. She shud- which caught and reflected the straggling rays dered as the terrors of that tradition recurred to of sunshine that penetrated between the trees, her memory, and wished she were not alone in was seen crushing through the brushwood. the haunted forest on so unlucky a day. Many Nearer and nearer it came with a curiously and strange were the superstitions she had heard | undulating movement, and accompanied by the regarding St. John's Eve, and many the observ- same strange, dull, inexplicable sound, until, as ances of which she had been the terrified wit-it paused at a few hundred paces from her place ness; but that which had always affected her of concealment, she perceived, to her intense imagination the most was the ancient belief that relief, that the object of her terror was nothing any one who has courage to hold a lonely vigil in more than an earthly vehicle of wood and iron, a church on St. John's Eve, beholds passing in in the form of one of the unwieldy coaches of the procession all those who are fated to die within day, drawn by a team of strong Flanders horses; the year. It was with this superstition that the and that the strange muffled sound which had legend of Beauregard was associated; for it was accompanied it, arose solely from the elasticity .said that in old times a certain lady of the family of the turf over which it rolled having deadened had, for reasons of her own- bad reasons of the noise of the wheels and the horses' hoofs. course-held such a vigil, had seen her own The relief from supernatural terrors, however, spirit among the doomed, and had indeed died rendered Alix only the more exposed to earthly that year. Tradition further averred, that since fears; and, when a second glance at the carriage showed her that the glistening objects which had | The sight of his familiar face dissipated her caught her eye at a distance were the polished gloomy suspicions, and she speedily persuaded barrels of mousquetons, or heavy carbines, car- herself that instead of a grave to hide some dreadried by two men who occupied the driving seat, ful deed, they were digging for some of the conshe slipped from her hiding-place behind the large cealed treasures which every body knew were oak tree, and carefully ensconced herself among buried in the forest. Monsieur Reboul had the thick bushes that overshadowed the rocks. often told her that he had heard of them from
Scarcely had she done this, before one of the his grandmother, so it was natural enough he armed men got down from the box, and walked should be ready to seek them. How she would round the circular glade, scanning it with a curi- | torment him with the secret thus strangely acous and penetrating glance. For a moment, he quired! paused before the old oak, as if attracted by some From her merry speculations she was roused flowers Alix had dropped ; but, another quick at length by the reappearance of the tall man, searching look seeming to satisfy him, he re-carrying in his arms something wrapped in a turned to the carriage and stood by the door, as horseman's cloak, and followed by another and if in conference with some one inside.
younger figure, bearing, like himself, all the out"Thank Heaven!" thought Alix, “ he sees ward signs belonging to the highest class of the that the carriage can not pass further in this nobility, though on his features was stamped an direction; I shall not, therefore, be kept here expression of cruelty and harshness. long;" and her curiosity as to what was next to “Going to bury a treasure rather than seek be done gaining predominance over her fears, she one," thought Alix. : “Very well, Monsieur Reagain peered eagerly between the branches. A boul, I have you still !” gentleman got out of the carriage, and examined The tall man, meanwhile, had placed his burthe little glade as carefully as his servant had done. den on the ground. Removing the cloak that
What a handsome man!” thought Alix. covered it, he now displayed to Alix's astonished “What a grand dress he has; all silk and vel- | eyes a young and very lovely lady. For a movet!” She fixed an admiring glance on the tall, ment, the fair creature stood motionless where noble-looking figure that stood for a moment, she was placed, as if dazzled by the sudden light; silent and still, in the centre of the amphitheatre. but it was for a moment only, and then she flung
"It will do, Pierre,” he said at length, as he herself on the ground at the feet of the elder turned on his steps : “begin your work.". man, beseeching him to have mercy upon her, to
Pierre bowed, and, without speaking, pointed remember that she was young, and that life, any to a little plot of ground, of peculiarly bright life, was dear to her! green, with a dark ring round it—a fairy-ring, in The man moved not a muscle, uttered not a short, so named in all countries—which lay al- word save these—“ I have sworn it." most directly opposite to Alix's hiding-place. The girl-for she looked little more than six
“ Yes," was the brief answer. “Call Joseph teen-pressed her hands on her bosom, as if to to help; we are at least an hour too late.” still the suffocating beating of her heart, and was
The strong rigidity of the speaker's counte- silent. Such silence ! Such anguish! Alix nance caused Alix to tremble, although she did trembled as if she herself were under the sennot know why, unless it were in her dread of tence of that cold, cruel man. But now the falling into his hands as a spy of his secret grave was finished; for grave it seemed to be, actions, whatever they might be ; for he was evi- and one, too, destined to inclose that living, dently not a man to be trifled with.
panting, beautiful creature. The old man laid Pierre went back to the carriage, from which his hand upon her arm and drew her forcibly to the other man had already descended, and to the edge of the gaping hole. gether they took, from the hind boot, a couple of With sudden strength she wrenched herself pickaxes and spades, with which they speedily from his grasp; and, with a wild and thrilling began to cut away the turf of the green-ring, for shriek, rushed to the young man, clung to him, a space of some six or eight feet in length, and as kissed his hands, his feet, raised her wild, tearmany in breadth.
less eyes to his, and implored for mercy, with She could distinctly see Pierre's face, and per- such an agony of terror in her hoarse, broken ceived that it was not one she had ever seen be- voice, that the young man's powerful frame fore. That of Joseph was concealed from her, as shook as if struck by ague. Involuntarily, unconhe worked with his back toward her; but there sciously he clasped her in his arms. What he was something about his dress and appearance might have said or done, God knows, had the which seemed familiar to her, and which was old man allowed him time ; but already he was very different from that of Pierre. But what upon them, and snatched the girl from his emstrange kind of hole was that they were digging? brace. The young man turned away with a look
“Holy Mother of mercy, it is a grave !" so terrible that Alix never recalled it, never
As this idea occurred to her, her blood ran spoke of it afterward, without an invocation to cold; but the sudden thought underwent as sud- Heaven. den a change, when, the second man turning his "Kill me first !” shrieked the poor girl, as her face toward her, she recognized, to her amaze- executioner dragged her a second time to that. ment, the countenance of her admirer, the old living grave. “Not alive, not alive! Oh my bailiff.
father, not alive!"
"I have no child, you no father!" was the , iræ, dies illa !” as they gently bore the corpse stern reply. The young man hid his face in his from the place of its savage sepulture, to holy hands, and Alix saw them thrust their victim ground. For several days the body was exposed into the grave; but she saw no more, for, with in an open coffin in the little village church of a cry almost as startling as that which the mur- Beauregard, and every effort was made to track dered lady had uttered, she fled from her conceal the perpetrators of the dreadful deed. But in ment back to the village. Panting, she rushed vain ; no trace of them could be found. An inon without pause, without hesitation, through nate dread of some personal misfortune sealed unknown paths; her short quick cries for “Help! | Alix's lips with respect to her recognition of the help! help!” showing the one idea that pos- | bailiff, and all inquiries as to the passing of a sessed her; but she met no one until she stopped carriage such as she had described, between Mailexhausted and breathless at the first house in the lot and Novelle, were made unsuccessfully. village, that of the curé.
The dress of the young lady was carefully ex~ Come, come at once ; they will have killed amined, in hopes of the discovery of her name her !” she exclaimed.
by means of ciphers or initials on her linen; but “ What is the matter, my poor girl ?” he asked there were none. The satin robe, the jewels she in amazement, as, pushing back his spectacles, had worn on her neck and arms, and the delicate he raised his head from his breviary.
flowers twined in her hair, gave evidence that she Oh come, sir! I will tell you as we go. had been carried away from some gay fête. From Where is François ! He would help me! Oh, the ring on her marriage finger they augured she what shall I do, what shall I do? Come, do was a wife ; but there all conjecture ended. come!”
After her burial in holy ground her gold ring and There was no mistaking the look of agitation other ornaments were hung up in the church, in in her face : the curé yielded to her entreaties the hope that some day a claimant might arise and followed her. As they quitted the house, who could unravel the strange mystery ; and they met some laborers with spades in their close by them was suspended an ex voto offering hands, going to their daily work.
by Alix, in gratitude for her own escape. - Make these men come with us,” Alix said, 1 The story was never cleared up. Monsieur 6 and bring their spades !"
Reboul was never seen again, and Alix had so The curé did so, and in an incredibly short lost her boasted courage that she never afterward space of time the little party reached the green dared to take a solitary walk, especially near the ring. The spot was vacant now, as formerly— fatal green ring in the forest. Perhaps it was carriage, horses, servants, executioners, and vic- this dread of being alone, or perhaps the mystetim, all had disappeared as if by magic; and, in rious disappearance of Monsieur Reboul, which the quiet sylvan solitude, not a trace save the tempted her soon afterward to follow the advice newly-turned soil was perceptible of the tragedy of her neighbors, and become the wife of Franenacted there so lately. But Alix staid not to çois, the stone-cutter. The marriage was a happy glance around her; going directly up to the one, and a time came when the remembrance of fatal spot, she gasped out, “ Dig, dig!"
that fatal eve of St. John was recalled more as a No one knew why the order was given, nor strange legend to be told to her children and what they were expected to find ; but her eager- grandchildren than as a fearful drama in which ness had extended itself to the whole party, and she had herself taken part. they at once set to work, while she herself, In the revolutionary struggles which followed, prostrate on the ground, tried to aid them by the ornaments of the murdered girl were, with tearing up the sods with her hands. At length other relics of the old régime, lost or removed the turf was removed, and a universal cry of from the little village church. Yet the story horror was heard when the body of the unhappy lingers there still, and, like many another strange girl was discovered.
story, it is a true one. "Take her out; she is not dead! Monsieur le Curé, save her ; tell us how to save her !”.
PICTURE OF A GREEK GIRL. The laborers gently raised the body, and placed SHE is a baggy damsel with a quaint, sly face, it in Alix's arms, as she still sat on the ground. and her principal occupation is that of a maid They chafed the cold hands, loosened the rich of all work. dress—the poor girl's only shroud—but she gave But she is dressed to-day; it is St. Somebody's no sign of life.
| feast, and every body is idling away their time in “ Water, water !" cried Alix.
consequence. It was St. Whatshisname's day No fountain was near, but the rough men the day before yesterday, and it will be St. gathered the dead leaves strewed around, and Whoist's day the day after to-morrow. Though sprinkled the pale face with the dew they still our balloon-clad young acquaintance is idling, it is held. For a second they all hoped; the eyelids with a busy idleness; for she has been occupied quivered slightly, and a faint pulsation of the ever since eight o'clock this morning in carrying heart was clearly perceptible.
about fruit, jellies, and sweetmeats, with strong But that was all They had come too late. raw spirits in gilded glasses, and little cups of
The curé bent over the dead, and repeated the unstrained coffee. A very singular and amusing solemn “De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine," picture she makes, as she stands bolt upright, and then all joined in the hymn of death, “ Dies tray in hand, before her father's guests. She is pretty. Yes, there is no doubt of that; but she , but she has a little ally (a chit of a girl about has done almost every thing possible to disfigure seven years old, and looking forty, that you meet herself. Though certainly not seventeen, with in the houses of all the islanders), who is on the the rich, clear complexion of the Greeks, she is look-out all day. No one ever enters a Greek rouged up to the very eyes. Where she is not house but the neighborhood knows it. All down rouges, she is whitened. Her eyebrows are the street, and in the next, and every where, painted, and she has even found means to intro- those little girls are watching and flitting about duce some black abomination under her eyelids to on cunning errands as stealthily and swift as make the eyes look larger. Her hair would be cats. Her father and mother will tell you that almost a marvel if left to itself; but she has her own cousins never saw her alone or spoke a twisted it, and plaited it, woven gold coins into dozen consecutive words to her; but I rather fanit, and tied it up with dirty handkerchiefs, and cy she has some acquaintance of her own; and gummed and honeyed it, till every tress has grown she is generally on terms of rather startling distorted and angry. Her ears are in themselves friendship with the young man servant, who as sly and coquettish a pair of ears as need be; forms almost part of the family in all Greek and they peep out beneath her tortured locks as if houses. On summer nights too, when good they would rather like to have a game at bo-peep people should be asleep, you will see closelythan otherwise: but they are literally torn half hooded figures flitting about noiselessly, like an inch longer than they should be by an enorm- black ghosts. They are Greek girls. What ous pair of Mosaic ear-rings bought of a peddler. they are about nobody knows. Perhaps, looking Her hands might have been nice once, for they for the moon, which will not rise for some hours. are still small; but they are as tough as horn and At every dark corner of a wall, also, you will as red as chaps can make them, with sheer hard see young gentlemen sitting in the deep shadow work, scrubbing and washing about the house. All with wonderful perseverance. If you go very Greek women, I think, have been mere housewives near and they do not see you, you may hear them since the time of Andromache. Her figure is, if singing songs, but low as the humming of a bee: possible, more generally baggy than her trowsers. so low, that they do not disturb even the timid It bulges out in the most extraordinary bumps owl who sits cooing amid the ruins of the last and fullness. A short jacket—as much too small fire over the way. The Greek girl knows an for her as the brigand attire of the stage-does amazing quantity of songs, and all of the same not make this general plumpness less remarkable; kind. They are about equal in point of compoand she has a superfluity of clothes, which re- sition to the worst of our street ballads : full of minds one of the late King Christophe's idea of the same coarse wit and low trickery. They are full dress. Numerous, however, as are the arti-sung to dreary, monotonous airs ; and always cles of wearing apparel she has put on, they all through the nose. Never had the national songs terminate with the trowsers, which are looped up of a people so little charm or distinctive characjust below the knee. The rest of the leg and ter. You seek the strong, sweet language of the feet are bare, and hard, and plump, and purple, heart in vain among them. They have neither and chapped almost beyond belief, even in the fine grace nor fancy. piercing cold of a Greek February.
With all this, the Greek girl is pious. She Her mind is a mere blank. Her idea of life is would not break any of the severe fasts of her love-making, cleaning the house, serving coffee, church, even for money, though they condemn and rouging herself on festival days. She can her to dry bread and olives for six weeks at a not read or write, or play the piano; but she can time: nor would she neglect going to church on sing and dance. She can talk too, though never certain days upon any account. She has a faith before company, No diplomatist can touch her in ceremonies, and in charms, relics, and saints, in intrigue or invention. Not even Captain Ab-almost touching ; but there her belief ends. She solute's groom could tell a falsehood with more would not trust the word of her own father or the composure. She does not know what it is to archbishop. She can not suppose it possible that speak the truth; and, to use a Greek saying, she any one would speak the truth, unless he was is literally kneaded up with tricks. The Greek obliged ; and she judges correctly, according to girl has no heart, no affections. She is a mere her own experience. She herself would promlump of flesh and calculation. Her marriage is ise, and take an unmixed delight in deceiving her quite an affair of buying and selling. It is ar- own mother on a question about a pin's head; ranged by her friends. They offer to give a house but she would scrupulously avoid doing any thing (that is indispensable), and so much to whoever she had promised; and the only way even to prewill take her off their hands. By-and-by, some- vent her accepting a husband, would be to make body comes to do so; the priests are called, there her say she would have him beforehand. From is a quaint strange ceremony, and he is bound, by that moment her fertile wits would toil night and fine, to perform his promise. This fine is usually day to find means of escape. And find them she ten per cent. on the fortune which was offered would, to change her mind the day after she was him with the lady.
free. I have said she can talk, but she can only talk! She has one hope dearer than all the rest. It of and to her neighbors; and she spends her is that she may one day wear Frank clothes, and evenings chiefly in sitting singing in the door- see the Greeks at Constantinople. This is no way, and watching them. This she does herself; exaggeration; the wrongs of the rayah have