Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

“ From all that may be feared,” on my guilty heart. But oh, when I was the whispered answer, “ from lifted up my eyes, as if even I would God and man, father. I have pro- seek pity from heaven, I saw above faned this sacred temple by the thoughts the altar, the mother and the crucified with which I entered it, and I tremble Son; then was my hour, not of darkto think of departing. I came here, ness, but of light and terror ; it was not to meet God. Oh, even on this a vision, father, not a picture-and blessed night, I forgot him. What words were spoken in my heart, beam I to be, if I have brought down hold whom thou dost contemn and his curse ? What am I to be, if in persecute.' Oh, father, I was sinkhis anger he forsake me? Who shall ing, dying—and in that moment, I protect me against myself?"

saw you, and by an impulse, may And she sobbed vehemently. When heaven have sent it, I came to you for her agitation had ceased, the confessor mercy.” resumed

She ceased, and the confessor, too, “ Be composed, poor child, God is remained for some time silent. After, merciful, even to offence like yours- it would seem, deep reflection, he accept your remorse as a proof of his said — favour; but see that you reveal your- “ Daughter, you must be in a state self, that nothing which ought to be of more composure and recollection told, remain unspoken. You came before you can partake the sacrament here, you tell me, not with pious of penance; you shall speak to me as thoughts -not to meet God in prayer. a friend, a father, and I will counsel You came to meet a sinner-one who, you. Hereafter, you may have the I assume is here, or was to be here, privileges of devotion ; you must now in no better frame of mind than your be satisfied with humbler blessings. own ; do you know is any such person Retire, my child, I will speak with now in the church?”

you presently." “ Oh, yes ; but his sin is not great She heard him with terror, not less as mine," she answered, half turning than gratitude. her face round, as if to look behind “ I tremble,” said she, “ to be for her, and then, with a shudder, avert. a moment unprotected. I am observed ing it again ; yes,

he is here I saw and beset. Oh, father, counsel me.” him! I saw him! How! oh, how “ Did you,” said the confessor, shall I escape!”

“ come here alone, quite alone?" There a brief pause_the “ No, father ; I have one faithful confessor remaining silent, as if in servant, she has accompanied me, but thought.

she is feeble. The sense of sin is very “ Hear me, father,” she re-com- timid; and although I have good menced ; “ hear me with patience, for hopes that I would not yield again to my heart is deeply wounded. Never, idle thoughts, I shrink from the fear till now, did i know how dreadful of trial—I cannot bear to be further God is. I entered into his holy hou shaken." to keep my promise to one who had “ Is your attendant near at handconjured that I would meet him-I can you discern her ?" entered, father, with folly and fear in The penitent looked hastily back. my mind-but oh! there is a presence “ She is near, father, I saw her here! there is an influence that fills this moment, her eyes are upon me.” the consecrated space ! and even the “ Rise, iny child, let your compaheart of sin is sensible of it. My first nion attend you—pass instantly through thought was to fly; but I had entered the entrance next but one, on the right eagerly, and as I looked round to to this chair-on the left you will find retire, he was at a pillar near me- a door, which will open at a touch, his face was averted, but I dared not enter, close the door, and do not open pass him; I dropt on my knees, trem- until

you

hear me ask admittance ; let bled, and bowed my head, striving your attendant remain with you.” with myself to pray ; I dared not; I She arose, and, at a sign, was joined could not. Was I not alone in the by her attendant. Together, they whole congregation? Were not all passed rapidly through the doors deraised and pure in their devotion ? signed by the confessor, and with How painfully their hymns of joy sunk beating hearts shut themselves into the

was

[ocr errors]

room where they were to remain for a when it may be useful. No, do not brief space prisoners. The moment interrupt me; I understand all you the penitent arose, Carleton was in can say—and I feel, perhaps, as warmly motion, but he was late ; the portal as you do, but not so madly. I tell through which they passed conducted you,

if

you speak but one word to this directly through a porch to one of the formidable abbé, you will give him great gates of the church. Many per- power over you; I mean, if you speak sons were there, entering and depart- it to him here. He will provoke an ing, when he had reached the inner explosion of temper ; in half-an-hour, door, through which he passed eagerly, you will be in a dungeon ; there toleaving her whom he sought behind, night, and where to-morrow, as your while he rushed forward through the wild poet says. I am sharing in your crowd, first pursuing some receding madness while I remain here. We are groups, and then returning to take observed. Pray, walk a little out of his place on the steps of the gate, and the throng ; let us leave this holy to examine in vain every passing figure. place, even for a few minutes, and you Foiled in his expectations, he was re- may return, if I do not satisfy you turning again to the church, and had that it is useless and unwise to do so." reached the entrance, which he was Stunned and overcome, rather than about to pass, when De Mortagne persuaded, Carleton at length gave arrested him.

way, and continuing their whispered “ A little less passion in your speed, dialogue, the two speakers left the my friend, and a little more compo- church. sure in your looks, would be in better The confessor, on whose seclusion keeping with the time and place; your no penitent dared to intrude, soon left most unserene highness is agitated the confessional, and joined Madeleine —what wild purpose possesses you ?". and her attendant, in the chamber to

“ I am on my way to that dark which he had directed them. The friar's den."

story disclosed to him was of a kind • What!” exclaimed De Mortagne, which the reader may so easily have interrupting him, “to drag the strug- anticipated, that he would not thank gling monster in to.day? Not now us for the details. That Carleton take my word for it-such a thing will should have sought out Madeleine, not do yet; all in good time. Don't until his perseverance was rewarded think of it at present."

by success; that he should have gained “ I am not quite so mad, but I must over her attendant to his interest; have a word with that same confessor.” that billets, serenades, followed, and

« So-is it so? I cry you mercy, all those fond attentions of a worship, you will amend—are you ready to con- which borrowed its devotions, more fess."

from the character of the lover than “ No, by heavens ! but he shall the habits of the times ; all this, the confess."

reader will regard as matter of course. “ Oh, now I understand. You will He can fancy, too, the pretty, but not learn where he has spirited away that very alarming petulance of Madeleine's charming penitent."

chiding with her maid, when a per“ Yes; I shall post myself at his fumed billet was, from time to time, door, and it will go hard with me, but placed in her way, or when her slumI shall have some satisfaction from ber was broken, as Annette stole to him."

her chamber, and wakened her to the “ It will go hard with you, of that serenade. He can fancy how the lady you may be sure—for a stranger, you listened, although she chid ; and howappear to be very little curious as to ever so small a portion of her curtain your lodging amongst us. What ! withdrawn, told that the rich voice of force yourself upon an ecclesiastic, and her obsequious lover was not unheard, call him to account for acts done in or his attentions unregarded. All this, the confessional! To beard the lion the reader has, no doubt, divined in his den would be sobriety, in com- and we think it better to leave it with parison with such a prank. Do you him, we not having the grace or skill not know that we have laws of sacri. by which a twice-told tale would be lege? No, no, keep your passion recommended. Neither shall we enter down, and your courage up for a time into detail as to the tactique of an

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ambitious aunt, to ensure that in this, agitated, than at the sight of that as in other instances, “the course of blessed picture. Oh, it may well be true love never should run smooth.” that he did appear; and that what

Suffice it to say, that she tried a was to others only an image, was the second time the experiment of a sudden Lord himself, and his adorable mother, removal; that Carleton's enterprise to my heart and spirit. In that moment and perseverance were again success- of dismay, you appeared—a murmur of ful; and that she sought to escape his voices arose near me, in it I heard importunities, by lodging herself and

your name; I heard no more, but her fair ward in a quarter of Paris that was enough ; often before I had where they had not previously resided. heard my dear father mention you,

Scarcely had she become settled in and I felt that I could not be wrong in this new abode, before Carleton re- imploring your protection.” appeared, not in his proper form, but “I am known to your father ? Have in a guise scarce less effectual, that of you any doubt or fear to say who he an epistolary form. It is not neces- is ? Do not fear, daughter-if you sary to recite the expressions in which are unwilling that I should know more he strove to awaken interest and com- of you, keep your secret. What has passion in Madeleine's gentle heart. passed to-night shall be forgotten. If Only for a moment to see her-once you have confidence in my desire to do to hear her voice-would be bliss ; you service, and in my discretion, you even to be rejected, would have some will not suffer from it." touch of comfort; and memories would “ I have no fears—my father is the follow it, from which the brief term of Count Dillon O’Moore." life which was to follow would draw a " A friend with whom I have often solace. As the somewhat haughty taken counsel-he is not yet arrived aspect of the young lover rose before in Paris ?" her at the spell of his billets, and “ No, reverend father, but he has seemed to soften into tenderness and directed that I should await him." humility before her influence, the “ I hope to see him and you again. young beauty softened too. Annette Now, I will have the happiness to was permitted to encourage him; to escort you home. A carriage is in appoint a trysting place on the bridge; waiting at the outer gate, can you to name the church where his prayer

walk so far?" might be indulged.

When she had expressed her thankAll this was done, or suffered, ful readiness, the priest threw a cloak rather, in the light-heartedness that around him, over his robes, and conthought no evil. If any thought look- ducted the lady and her attendant, ing beyond the moment, dawned on walking by their side, to the carriage, her mind, it was in the vague form- handed them in, and entered after would her father recognise, or receive them. He

was not

unobserved. the suitor as an acquaintance? But Carleton saw him and his escort-just this was so faint in the remote distance as they reached their carriage, he had of her mental horizon, as to be scarcely reached it also. “ Perhaps," he said, discernible. No grave thought or when first he saw it, “the carriage is purpose was in her mind, no passion her's." Some such suspicion, scarce in her heart-she would speak a word acknowledged, was in his mind, and of compassionate farewell, and acquit he arrived in time to have it verified. herself, by it, of every obligation to The feeling it awoke was

one of her persevering lover. With such

bitterness. feelings she entered the church of St. “ I am her sport,” said he. Germain-the revulsion of thought has chosen a worthier than me. So, and heart which she experienced there, farewell Madeleine, you shall not have revealed to her powers of mental suffer- another opportunity to insult a heart ing, of which she had been wholly you are unworthy of.” unconscious.

Meanwhile, when the coach where “ I had hardly entered the church,” Madeleine and her companions were said she, as she concluded her story, seated, reached its destination, a sur“ when I felt that my sin was griev- prise was prepared for them-no less ous; and if God himself had become than the appearance of Madame La visible, I do not think I could be more Comtesse awaiting them. She had

6 She

letter.

retired to rest at an early hour, and passionately, showing De Burgh tlie was awakened to receive a letter from her brother, of which a special courier " I warn you against your insane was the bearer. This she still held in and unfeminine expedition. If you her hand, and her mind was, as could disregard my warning, I forbid my he collected from her glances at the daughter to accompany you. I am missive, evidently disturbed by it. The hastening to Paris, to relieve you from little embarrassment caused by the un- all further care of her." expected appearance of De Burgh Tears and sobs gushed forth in disgave way before the influence of his ordered abundance, as the lady thought inanners and the remembrances re- of this rude rebuke. “I will retire called by his references to incidents of into a convent,'' said she, in one of the past days, and mysterious hints as to intervals of her clamorous sorrow schemes in which they both still held and the confessor took his leave, with an interest; and when Madeleine re- the usual professions of consideration, tired, Madame La Comtesse detained but without expressing condemnation the confessor, and made him the de- or approval of her world-renouncing pository of the secret that troubled intentions. her. She had attained, as she confi- Madeleine did not experience, that dently believed, the point at which might, the peace of mind which moral. success in her great schemes was cer- ists insist waits upon a good action. tain. The prince had received a minia- Severe as was the struggle in which ture likeness of Madeleine, and vouch- she conquered herself, repose did not safed to express, in the strongest terms, follow it. Stranger still, her very his royal admiration of her beauty. conscience seemed to take up a tone He had declared, too, his fixed deter- of reproof against her, and to become mination to visit aunt and niece, in an accuser on the part of Carleton, the coming week, at Fontainebleau ; How must he feel and think of her ? and, after many disappointments at What must he have suffered ? What Varangeville, and elsewhere, when the desperate act may be have done ? meeting with his royal highness was Poor Madeleine !—her night was not now certain, and the result of it not peaceful-nor her rest salubrious. At doubtful, as, although now above times she sunk into uneasy slumber, such vanities, the Abbé de Burgh, even from sorrow—and started, scared having seen Madeleine, must be aware, from sleep by the fearful visions it when she expected the return that a called up around her. Carleton's cause rational man might make to a disin- lost nothing in Madeleine's heart, by terested friend, who had spent almost the wrong she thought herself guilty a life in endeavouring to render him of having done him, in her transient service-" how was she confounded paroxysm of conscientiousness. by an expression like that?” cried she

[blocks in formation]

ted to look in and listen, who saw events in which the last century termia gay party grouped round an antique nated, had acquired what in later days fire-place, while massive logs of resin- would have been termed an European oils wood sent forth mellow gleams, reputation. If the salons set the tone of that were to the light of the banquet- public opinion throughout France, the hour what the moon is to the clearer

soupers governed the salons, constitut. but more prosaic light of day, would ing as it were an esoteric principle for be strongly disposed to believe the true them. Vanity, perhaps, never manifested enjoyments of the evening about to its presence more amiably than in those commence, when its more garish gai- charming re-unions. Literature, polities had ended.

tics, religion, “the court, the camp, “ What,” said Madame de Valmont, the grove,” all things that be, tendered "can explain your friend's absence ? their contributions to enrich them-no The Vicomte de Mortagne did not subject so abstruse or grave, no sentiuse to be a loiterer."

ment so sacred, as to be exempt from " I apprehend, Madame la Comtese, their jurisdiction. Every man who de Mortagne's early attendance was hoped for success or distinction, felt always choice rather than politeness. that these were the arenæ in which he I would conclude bis absence is com. was to achieve it-his studies, his ob. pulsory."

servations, his reflections, all had re“ Monsieur de Beaumont defends ference to them ; and he acquired inthe absent," said a beautiful Blonde, sensibly the habit of considering every with a smile. " This is indeed a rare thing that engaged his thoughts, with benevolence."

a view to the aspect in which it would “Do you not observe, dear Cecile," be most presentable in the little cotesaid the Countess, “ that he contrives ries, where present celebrity was to be to makes his generosity a compliment attained. As to posthumous renown, to the present.

His explanation of it was a species of limbo for which few de Mortagne's usual homage attests would care to sacrifice a good reception his own sensibility to our attractions. in the circles where bright eyes reigned It has another advantage.

If the influence. They were the Parisian tourtraitor can give no good excuse for his naments of the eighteenth centuryoffence, his advocate has taught us to tournaments where intellectual gladiashow no mercy; thanks, good sir, I tors would often have been betrayed into mean to show none. I wished much vehemence, or confirmed in rancour, for Monsieur de Mortagne, while the but for the power of an ascendancy Rosicrucian was in his mysteries and equally conspicuous, perhaps, in times revelations. A word or a look from of old, but not conspicuous in the same our friend has a chill of his en- salutary results. Under the graceful chantment, that no enthusiasm feigned sway of female influence, the more or felt can resist. He has failed us, odious passions were compelled to but he has not frozen our good spi. hide themselves; the excitement of rits, and he has left us, I hope, an competi was freely indulged, and appetite-here comes the summons." jealousy or ill-will no further tolerated

A door opened at the end of the than as they could add zest to it. salon, and disclosed a smaller chamber “ Come, that is well on both sides" brilliantly lighted. Thither the host- “ Who has been at a reading of the ess and her fair friends were duly mar- new tragedy?"-or, “ Monsieur, will shalled, and the select company took you oblige us by repeating that spirited their places at a supper-table, where epigram"-has often afforded a desithere was little of idle splendour, little rable pause to two impassioned rivals, of ornament that had not some obvious who felt that they were committing use, but where every thing was arran- and exposing themselves, and who, but ged with a simple elegance, and where, for some such happy interposition could without preparation elaborately luxu- not have recoiled from an unseemly rious_luxury was sufficiently consulted contest, and recovered their compofor those who are satisfied that at a sure. Thus was the company a kind small supper-table the second best of orchestra, in which the hostess was thing shall be the good cheer.

found generally to preside with admili is well known that the petits rable taste and discretion.

It was a suupers of Paris, before the disastrous compensation to woman for the law

« AnteriorContinuar »