She hesitated and looked ethereum gas refundsfor a moment at Holcroft with strange intensity.
These two were a happy pair. This wayward, but generous heart neverforgot her offence, and his forgiveness. She gave herself todoes bitcoin investing really work himheart and soul, at the altar, and well she redeemed her vow. Herose high in political life: and paid the penalty of that sort ofambition; his heart was often sore. But by his own hearth satcomfort and ever ready sympathy. Ay, and patient industry to readblue-books, and a ready hand and brain to write diplomatic notes forhim, off which the mind glided as from a ball of ice.In thirty years she never once mentioned the servants to him.
"Oh, let eternal honor crown her name!"It was only a little bit of heel that Dard had left in Prussia.More fortunate than his predecessor (Achilles), he got off with aslight but enduring limp. And so the army lost him.He married Jacintha, and Josephine set them up in Bigot's,(deceased) auberge. Jacintha shone as a landlady, and custom flowedin. For all that, a hankering after Beaurepaire was observable inher. Her favorite stroll was into the Beaurepaire kitchen, and onall fetes and grand occasions she was prominent in gay attire as aretainer of the house. The last specimen of her homely sagacity Ishall have the honor to lay before you is a critique upon herhusband, which she vented six years after marriage."My Dard," said she, "is very good as far as he goes. What he hasfelt himself, that he can feel FOR: nobody better. You come to himwith an empty belly, or a broken head, or all bleeding with a cut,or black and blue, and you shall find a friend. But if it is a soreheart, or trouble, and sorrow, and no hole in your carcass to showfor it, you had better come to ME; for you might as well tell yourgrief to a stone wall as to my man."The baroness took her son Raynal to Paris, and there, with keen eye,selected him a wife. She proved an excellent one. It would havebeen hard if she had not, for the baroness with the severe sagacityof her age and sex, had set aside as naught a score of seemingangels, before she could suit herself with a daughter-in-law. Atfirst the Raynals very properly saw little of the Dujardins; butwhen both had been married some years, the recollection of thatfleeting and nominal connection waxed faint, while the memory ofgreat benefits conferred on both sides remained lively as ever inhearts so great, and there was a warm, a sacred friendship betweenthe two houses--a friendship of the ancient Greeks, not of themodern club-house.Camille and Josephine were blessed almost beyond the lot ofhumanity: none can really appreciate sunshine but those who come outof the cold dark. And so with happiness. For years they couldhardly be said to live like mortals: they basked in bliss. But itwas a near thing; for they but just scraped clear of life-longmisery, and death's cold touch grazed them both as they went.
Yet they had heroic virtues to balance White Lies in the greatJudge's eye.A wholesome lesson, therefore, and a warning may be gathered fromthis story: and I know many novelists who would have preached thatlesson at some length in every other chapter, and interrupted thesacred narrative to do it. But when I read stories so mutilated, Ithink of a circumstance related by Mr. Joseph Miller.Rose was in the house. She had missed them; but she thought theymust be near; for they seldom took long walks early in the day.
Meeting Jacintha on the landing of the great staircase, she askedher where her sister was."Madame Raynal is gone for a walk. She has taken the colonel withher. 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 outwith her now--ha, ha, ha!""Rose!" sighed a distant voice.She looked round, and saw the baroness at some distance in thecorridor, coming slowly towards her, with eyes bent gloomily on theground. Rose composed her features into a settled gravity, and wentto meet her.
"I wish to speak with you," said the baroness; "let us sit down; itis cool here."Rose ran and brought a seat without a back, but well stuffed, andset it against the wall. The old lady sat down and leaned back, andlooked at Rose in silence a good while; then she said,--"There is room for you; sit down, for I want to speak seriously toyou.""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 mostunaccountable thing that ever fell under my notice. Will you dothis 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 chillof vague anxiety strike across her frame.
"Rose," said the old lady, speaking very gently but firmly, andleaning in a peculiar way on her words, while her eye worked like anice gimlet on her daughter's face, "a little while ago, when my poorRaynal--our benefactor--was alive--and I was happy--you all chilledmy happiness by your gloom: the whole house seemed a house ofmourning--tell me now why was this.""Mamma!" said Rose, after a moment's hesitation, "we could hardly begay. Sickness in the house! And if Colonel Raynal was alive, stillhe 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 ather own want of candor. However, she congratulated herself that hermother'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 thisawkward question plump."If so, tell me why is it that ever since that black day when thenews 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 likemagic.""O mamma! is not that fancy?" said Rose, piteously. "Of what do yoususpect me? Can you think I am unfeeling--ungrateful? I should notbe 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 littleskill that one sees a horrible gayety breaking through that thindisguise: you are no true mourners: you are like the mutes or theundertakers 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 theyserve. 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 wouldbe to lower the mother, and give the daughter the pain of refusingit, and the regret, sure to come one day, of having refused it. Iwill discover the meaning of it all by myself." She went away witha gentle sigh; and Rose was cut to the heart by her words; sheresolved, whatever it might cost her and Josephine, to make a cleanbreast this very day. As she was one of those who act promptly, shewent instantly in search of her sister, to gain her consent, ifpossible.
Now, the said Josephine was in the garden walking with Camille, anduttering a wife's tender solicitudes."And must you leave me? must you risk your life again so soon; thelife 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 hinttoo broad for any soldier not to take.""Camille, you are very proud," said Josephine, with an accent ofreproach, and a look of approval.
"I am obliged to be. I am the husband of the proudest woman inFrance.""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 arewe to lower our voices, and turn away our eyes from each other, andbe 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 seriousand merited remonstrance.
"Is this just?" said she. "Think of two months ago: yes, but twomonths ago, you were dying. You doubted my love, because it couldnot overcome my virtue and my gratitude: yet you might have seen itwas destroying my life. Poor Raynal, my husband, my benefactor,died. Then I could do more for you, if not with delicacy, at leastwith honor; but no! words, and looks, and tender offices of lovewere not enough, I must give stronger proof. Dear Camille, I havebeen reared in a strict school: and perhaps none of your sex canknow 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'srespect: to her our hasty marriage would appear monstrous,heartless. You consented to be secretly happy for six months. Onefortnight has passed, and you are discontented again.""Oh, no! do not think so. It is every word true. I am anungrateful villain.""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 beenthat of a man from first to last. Yet I could die for you, with asmile on my lips. But when I think that once I lifted thissacrilegious hand against your life--oh!""Do not be silly, Camille. I love you all the better for loving mewell enough to kill me. What woman would not? I tell you, youfoolish thing, you are a man: monseigneur is one of the lordly sex,that is accustomed to have everything its own way. My love, in aworld that is full of misery, here are two that are condemned to besecretly 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, thatreally 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 birdsbetray us?""The lower windows are open, and I saw Jacintha in one of therooms.""Jacintha? we are in awe of the very servants. Well, if I must notsay 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! mywife! 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 beso 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, myblood runs cold. No, on second thoughts, kiss her again, and youmay 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 saidso."But Josephine was horrified. "What! tell my mother that within amonth of my husband's death?"--"Don't say your husband," put in Camille wincing; "the priest neverconfirmed that union; words spoken before a magistrate do not make amarriage in the sight of Heaven."Josephine cut him short. "Amongst honorable men and women all oathsare alike sacred: and Heaven's eye is in a magistrate's room as in achurch. A daughter of Beaurepaire gave her hand to him, and calledherself his wife. Therefore, she was his wife: and is his widow.She owes him everything; the house you are all living in among therest. 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 amongmankind.""Come into the chapel," said Camille, with a voice that showed hewas hurt.
They entered the chapel, and there they saw something thatthoroughly surprised them: a marble monument to the memory ofRaynal. It leaned at present against the wall below the placeprepared to receive it. The inscription, short, but emphatic, andfull of feeling, told of the battles he had fought in, including thelast fatal skirmish, and his marriage with the heiress ofBeaurepaire; 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 theyboth threw their arms round his neck by one impulse. "Am I wrong tobe proud of him?" said Josephine, triumphantly.
"Well, don't say too much to me," said Camille, looking downconfused. "One tries to be good; but it is very hard--to some ofus--not to you, Josephine; and, after all, it is only the truth thatwe 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 hewas a better man than I am, or ever shall be. Now he is dead, I cansay these things. If I had said them when he was alive, it wouldhave been more to my credit."They all three went back towards the house; and on the way Rose toldthem all that had passed between the baroness and her. When shecame to the actual details of that conversation, to the words, andlooks, and tones, Josephine's uneasiness rose to an overpoweringheight; she even admitted that further concealment would be verydifficult."Better tell her than let her find out," said Rose. "We must tellher 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 makeyour peace with mamma," argued Josephine, "and let us go in and dothis before our courage fails; besides, it is going to rain, and ithas turned cold. Where have all these clouds come from? An hourago 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 herthe monument, and that would please her with poor Camille. "Afterthat," said Rose, "I will begin by telling her all the misery youhave both gone through; and, when she pities you, then I will showher it was all my fault your misery ended in a secret marriage."The confederates sat there in a chilly state, waiting for thebaroness. 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 puttingoff," said she, firmly. For all that, her cheek had but littlecolor left in it, when she left her chair with this resolve.Now as Rose went down the long saloon to carry out their unitedresolve, Jacintha looked in; and, after a hasty glance to see whowas present, she waited till Rose came up to her, and then whipped aletter 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," saidJacintha, 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 personsoon after; on this Rose threw down the letter, and she and thewhole 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 halfsatisfied their curiosity, when Rose happened to catch sight of theletter again, and took it up to carry to the baroness. She now, forthe first time, eyed it attentively, and the consequence was sheuttered an exclamation, and took the first opportunity to beckonAubertin.
He came to her; and she put the letter into his hand.He put up his glasses, and eyed it. "Yes!" whispered he, "it isfrom HIM."Josephine and Camille saw something was going on; they joined theother 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. Josephinenow came towards her with a face of concern, and asked what was thematter.
The reply came from Aubertin. "My poor friends," said he, solemnly,"this is one of those fearful things that you have not seen in yourshort lives, but it has been more than once my lot to witness it.The ships that carry letters from distant countries vary greatly inspeed, and are subject to detaining accidents. Yes, this is thethird time I have seen a letter come written by a hand known to becold. The baroness is a little excited to-day, I don't know fromwhat cause. With your approbation, Madame Raynal, I will read thisletter 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 hopethere is!"Camille, from delicacy, retired to some little distance, and thedoctor read the letter in a low and solemn voice.
"MY DEAR MOTHER,--I hope all are well at Beaurepaire, as I am, or Ihope soon to be. I received a wound in our last skirmish; not avery 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 thisletter is dated the 15th of May. Is it a dream? no! this waswritten since the date of his death.""No, doctor," said Rose, "you deceive yourself.""Why, what was the date of the Moniteur, then?" asked Aubertin, ingreat agitation."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 giveway to hopes that may be delusive. I must see that journaldirectly. I will go to the baroness. I shall excuse her less thanyou would."He was scarcely gone when a cry of horror filled the room, a cry asof madness falling like a thunderbolt on a human mind. It wasJosephine, who up to this had not uttered one word. But now shestood, white as a corpse, in the middle of the room, and wrung herhands. "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 ofMay!--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 thatnone would have known for hers.