Imagens das páginas
[blocks in formation]



vague monotony; such sense in her once mourning spirit of satisfied content in lieu of its former aching void—that her devotion was perfect and undivided to the being who had given these

sensations birth.
Car on revient toujours

And, strange as it may seem, Lord Haverdale
A ses premiers amours !

was equally sincere-perhaps it was the only oc-
casion of his life when he ever had been really so.

A fancy like his former one for Ayesha, beautiful In a secluded apartment of her old mansion as she was even when he deserted her, could in the Faubourg St. Germain sat Madame de only be brief. There was nothing in her wild, Meranie, anxious and in expectation. Her hazel uncultivated spirit that could enthral him when eyes, lustrous ever, but still more radiant the fatal demon Custom interposed its chilling now, were cast vacantly towards the logs that finger, and Beauty palled upon his gaze. But mouldered to whiteness on the hearth; but at the world of Madame de Meranie was the same every unusual sound, or passing carriage-wheel, world as his; her intellectual resources were a those beautiful orbs wandered restlessly towards fund that never failed—a mine never exhausted; the door, opposite which she sat.

her very age was more agreeable to a man in Her mind was filled with tumultuous hopes whom the senses had long been satiated than a

present; mingled, however, largely with second girlhood would have been in her, if with strange recollections of the past. Her thoughts, magic wand she could have waived back twenty too, were of Jerningham Hall

, and its former years of time! Link by link she had woven for Lord Haverdale, whom she then the chain around him; step by step her image expected hourly, had announced to her the name had entered into his heart; and now by her of his companion, and the sound was fraught alone was Lord Haverdale loved; to her alone with everything that was most pleasing to her were his accents never cold. heart. The old Hall had been her happy retreat Need we say that it was of him she thought from the first Revolution ; it was there she had as she sat with her head declining on her white met Lord Haverdale, the lover of her later, yet hand, listening thoughtfully! Need we say how brighter years. In her the ages of life's span she sprung to her feet like a startled deer when had been reversed. Girlhood, linked to the im- the door opened suddenly and he entered unbecility of her miserable husband, had been her announced! He flung aside his travelling cloak, old age; womanhood, spent in the light of and she flew to his embrace. The marble counteLord Haverdale's love, now seemed her youth; nance of the haughty peer seemed flushed in an and she was warmed' by its effulgence like a instant with her fondness, and even illumined landscape by the sun

mid-day. So much with something of her beauty, as it bent among that she had never dreamed of had been called those unfaded chesnut curls to kiss her cheek. into existence by this affection; so many halcyon Why this disguise and haste, chêri?" she feelings that made life glorious instead of a said at last, after a long pause of happiness, in

of the




shich lope and fear, and a thousand deep fiery, fond of adventure, but too little worldly( notions, had struggled for utterance.

wise to attempt to snatch away the laurels that “I heard of danger and defeat on the might accrue from success. Packed up snugly road,” he replied, hurriedly; "the attempt at in a postchaise, supplied with money, passports,

and every facility, he was whirled away by four “ Has failed !” she said.

horses towards Grenoble; and the unaccustomed And we are compromised ?"

novelty and excitement touched a newer chord “Au contraire !” she replied ; “better plans of delight in his senses at every turn. are ripening; the government is at fault, What a contrast with his plodding life in the and "

lodging at Westminster! What a pity Revel “Didier! where is he?”

was not there to join him! What paragraphs At large !-at Grenoble; sowing seed in a for Greville's newspaper when the event had dericher land for a surer harvest. The Duke of clared itself: "Anecdotes of the late Revolution, Orleans was lere ihis very evening!"

by a Spectator;" “ Sketches of Scenes in the “ Then all is well ?” said Lord Haverdale. French Outbreak, by an Eye- witness;”

“ Very well,” she answered; “but you are “ Tales of thrilling interest for the Court weary, Milord-famished. While you partake Echo!'” And then he thought of the Baof refreshment I will tell you all.”

roness, and how no chapters of the Novel had She touched a small silver alarum. A Swiss been prepared for the next number, and the plea entered, covered the table with an ample supper to her readers of serious indisposition on the part of cold meats, fruit, and wine; and they were of the author, who was flying along then and alone again.

there in such spirits and health. It was all He took a few grapes and bread, and a long, capiia Marie, too he had not forgotten her. deep draught of the rich Burgundy; and then, His firsı act upon arriving late in the evening at by the mellow fire-light, they sat, land-in-hand his destination, was to dispatch a packet to her together, happily, as if they were children once with a small suin of money, and a hundred promore; as if he were any one but Lord Haver- mises of kisses and kindness upon his speedy dale, and she not thirty-eight!

return. Well for thee, cold gamester, that woman's After hasty refreshment of the inward man, a love depends not upon the deserts of him upon hot bath, and the assumption of a bourgeois diswhom it is lavished! Well for thee, Lord guise, Jerningham sauntered through the city Haverdale, that feminine affection is, like sterner to the rendezvous he had been instructed to Justice, blind !

| seek. It was not, however, within the walls, With the conversational tact peculiar to a but in the insignificant village of Buisserate, beFrenchwoman, she detailed to him the events vond Grenoble, that the “ venue" had been laid that had lately occurred; the defeat of the out for the final meeting of the confederates. En. break at Lyons; the escape of Didier; their tering the estaminet, for it was little better, he position for the present; their hopes for the gave the needful pass-word, and was led through future: and when Edward Jerningham was the domino and billiard-players to an old dilaspoken of and introduced, his reception by pidated apartment, that was already crowded Madame de Meranie was so studiously kind with conspirators in a dress siinilar to his own. that Lord Ilaverdale's heart even was warmed His “ pass” seemed to possess peculiar recominto a more generous consideration of his youth- mendations, for he was conducted up the room ful protege, though he betrayed it not. But to a small knot of men, whose manner and bear. time revived long years afterwards the sentiment ing, by some inexplicable influence, marked engendered in that very hour; so strangely them to be leaders in the cause. One of these, do apparent trifles affect our fate in this world! a tall, pale man, with silver hair, and placid

Imien, iinmediately welcomed him in the English

style, by extending his hand. Jerningham felt CHAP. XXVII.

at once that he was in the presence of the master

spirit; never before had he seen such tranquil THE EVE OF THE STRUGGLE.

superiority stamped upon a human countenance -a mental fire that age had failed to quell--an

innate nobility, that the meanness of bis garb 66 Allons! enfans de la Patrie

only served to heighten.
Le jour de gloire est arrivé !”.

Before, however, any further communication than a hasty inquiry after Lord Haverdale could

take place between them, a cry arose from vaThe part that our hero was to play in further- rious parts of the room to hear Paul Didier. ance of the schemes of Lord Haverdale, was The old man pressed Jerningham's hand hur. soon explained during the interview that ensued riedly, mounted a temporary forum that had in the presence of Madame de Meranie. Though been erected for the occasion, and, order having the wily peer wished to be represented in the been restored, he proceeded, during a breathstruggle, he dared not appear there in person, less silence, to unfold his plans for the future. his name was too well known, his fame too no- He commenced with a rapid review of the listorious as an intriguant. Young Jerningham tory of their country since the revolution of '89 was the very agent for his purpose--fearless, In calm and convincing periods he touched upon

every salient poin t, and showed every error into A man in the costume of the royal guard was which the friend s of liberty had fallen. Alter-, conversing with a female, whose figure was nating with each interest to which he alluden, alınost concealed by the shadow of a projecting his voice rose to the trumpet's power, and then buttress. At first

, the words that passed between died away to the low, clear whisper of a babe. them were half muttered and indistinct, but still With that mighty magic, Eloquence, he bowed the sound of one of the voices at least was not his hearers before him as with a celestial will; unknown to him, and he crouched nearer and his words thrilled them to enthusiasm, plunged nearer, until within a foot or two of the them into despair, fired them to revenge, as he speakers. chose to touch the string. He spoke of the long “ Not here !” said the female interlocutor, in tyranny they had undergone, the oppression of a tone of surprise. each and of all; talent unrewarded, benefits for- “ Not yet, at all events," replied the guard. got, honesty despised, infamy in high places, of a po'chay came yesterday from Paris, but it wur misery among the low; and then with bitter con- a young feller instead o' the old lord.” tempt and biting sarcasm hurled his indignant Are you well assured there was no second anathemas at the degraded priesthood. "The traveller?” inquired the female voice in some excitement of his hearers rose to delirium ; they confusion. stamped, rared, ground their teeth with ire; “ That's sartain," he answered ; " for the while warmed from his former calmness, the youngun jumped down the steps in such a orator's

eyes flashed back the fire of theirs ; his plaguy 'urry that he very nigh knocked me vehement gestures assisted his words, and winged through the winder o’ the chay; and I see them home to their hearts.

clearly there war'nt nothing else there when he The motives of the insurrection and the me- wur gone ’xcep a flask o’ brandy and a pipe.” thod of its accomplishment then became the Foiled again!" she exclaimed. subjects of his discourse, and he explained them “Yes, he aint a bird as is caught every day," lucidly and in detail. The part to be taken by was the reply. “I thought when I done the each conspirator was defined with accuracy, and trick at Lyons, and peached on the conspiraytors, accepted with an oath. He concluded with an we should ’ave nabbed him; but he wur up to exciting harangue, calling upon his confederates trap, and slipped the noose. to rally round the cause. He reminded them Didier's brow grew furrowed and his cheek once more of their many wrongs: he painted in more pale at these latter words, that revealed to glowing colours the "liberty for which they him who was the traitorous speaker. His hand struggled, adding every illustration, classical and played uneasily with a knife that was hidden heroic, that could arouse their spirits, from the under his dress, but with a violent effort he ancient glories of Marathon and Thermopylæ to controlled his indignation, and stood motionless the more recent lustre of their last hero, Napo- as the grave. leon the Great.

For this, then," continued the woman, “I “ Frenchmen !” he exclaimed at last, “let not have withheld the blow that it might fall with the holy cause of the people perish, their sacred more deadly aim; for this, to be foiled at last. star wane in the firmament; let not liberty be dis- Oh, curses! while I played with the bird, it has graced! Let us save France from the feudalism slipped from the meshes. Curses! but no, he that oppressed her amid olden ignorance and is here concealed; my intelligence is sure; I wrong. Arise for your country's independence ; cannot doubt it; he is unseen in the calm, but unfold the tricolor': it is heaven that will fight he will be fluttering in the storm. Oh! if I the battle, for the cause of the people is the thought he had escaped my vengeance, would I cause of God!”

not change my ranks even now! What are kings Heated like the rest almost to intoxication by to me, that I should love them-accursed kites ! the eloquence to which he had listened, Jerning- nobles ! and all their brood—I loathe themham wandered back to Grenoble ; not, however, spit at them !" to slumber, but to wait in sleepless and feverish The woman stepped forward a pace or two; excitement the events of the coming day. the dim light of the dawn fell upon her coun.

tenance, in every feature of which rioted pas

sionate anger with a fury that threatened inCHAP. XXVIII.


Suddenly a heavy tramp of soldiery was heard; the speakers and the listener shrank again from

observation beneath the overhanging wall. Still Freedom, still, thy banner torn but flying, Heavily accoutred, their bayonets glistening Streams like a thunder-cloud against the wind ! with a cold weird light in the rays of morning,


they passed by, rank and file, the officers bringing

up the rear. It was a portion of the garrison of As Paul Didier, arriving at Grenoble after the Grenoble, dispatched to St. Vallier, Vienne, and meeting just described, passed the western gate Lyons, to line the route taken by the daughter of the agitated city, the sound of a familiar name of the King of Naples, who was about to give fell upon his ear, and with the quick instinct of her hand at the altar to the ill-fated Duke de one playing a desperate game, he paused to Berri. The departure of these troops was the listen,

signal for the insurrection.


“ Aye, aye, pass on to welcome the bride to hussars, who trampled them down amid the the arms of her sleek lover !” exclaimed the bloody mire, of reaching the gate that was their woman when their footsteps had died away. only escape from the fatal city. Rendered power. “ Does he think love can last ? Does she believe less by the pressure of the multitude, Paul in the truth of man? Fools. Hark!”

Didier was borne away with the rest. He knew A low gathering sound, like the ebb of a wave that all was over. Close to the portal a soldier over a pebbled beach ; louder like its swell as it dashed towards him to prevent his escape; it rises again into a mountain of crested water ; was the guard to whose conversation he had thundering soon thereafter like the fall of the been an unseen listener. To any other his broken mighty billow as in foam, and whitest anger, it fortunes might have suffered bin to yield. But wreaks its violence upon the shore, came upon the sight of the traitor inflamed once more his their ears step by step the hum, the clamour, drooping spirit. He lifted his sword with both the roar of the arising multitude.

| hands; its descent buried it deep in the skull The guard hurried to his post. The woman of the villain, and bespattering her dress with leaned, cold and impassive, beside the buttress. scattered brains and blood, Shingle the murPaul Didier disappeared !

derer fell dead at the feet of Ayesha, while Paul Then came the peal of the city bells, the dull Didier fled to the forest of St. Martin d'Heres. boom of the first cannon, the startled cries of the soldiery, the shouts of the revolutionists for freedom. Still stood the woman pale and motionless.

Chap. XXIX. The tumultuous uproar that soon followed,

THE CONCLUSION. gave sufficient evidence that the struggle had become general. The discharges of inusketry With the conclusion of the Insurrection, Ed. grew gradually measured and incessant. People ward Jerningham's part as a mere looker-on hurriedly closed their shutters and barricaded was at an end, and having satisfied himself of their doors, and occasionally a female shriek | the decisive character of the defeat, he quitted cleft the prevailing noise with a shriller horror. Grenoble. There was no obstacle to bis de

Unmoved stood the female figure in an atti-parture. His position had been merely that of tude of watching.

an English gentleman, travelling for amusement. Before long war began to show its ghastly He had not interfered in the struggle. His reality in the wounded and slain. A single interview with Paul Didier at Buisserate had soldier would hurry by, leading a blood-stained escaped notice, and he received in consequence comrade from the action-a citizen hastening every attention from the authorities that could homeward with the burden on his shoulder of a facilitate his journey back to Paris. gashed child or murdered brother. The tide of Upon arriving at the Capitol, he hastened to the battle, though it had become universal, Madame de Meranie's hotel in the Faubourg St. swayed towards the gate, where stood the woman Germain. It was her evening of reception, and in attitude like a tiger crouching for its prey. the salons were full of company, and brilliantly She knew that the vanquished would retire by | lighted. While he changed his dress, a mesthat path to gain the shelter of the forest. Nearer senger notifying his arrival was despatched to and nearer came the combatants; the ring of Lord Haverdale, and when he entered the eleswords and clank of horsemen drew.close, cries gant apartments, his graceful hostess whispered of the victorious, shrieks of the retiring ridden hiin aside that, upon the arrival of Milord, they under foot. They entered the very street; a would join him in an ante-room, which she inshower of bullets swept it from the soldiery; the dicated. insurrectionists were in retreat bearing to the The universal topic of conversation among the city portal. The cause was lost. Bravely still assembled guests was the Insurrection, intellithe conspirators fought, for defeat was certain gence of which had reached Paris by special death, and their courage was that of despair. I courier an hour or two before Jerningham arOn, on, another charge for Liberty; another rived. Animated discussions upon the event effort for Freedom's sake to turn the fortunes of took place, as fresh visitors came flocking from the day. At the head of the retreating ranks theatres, balls, and late dinner parties. Pole was Paul Didier, pale with the fear that all was ticians looked grave, Napoleonists excited, the lost, but still contesting every foot of ground votary of the Bourbon indignant and solemn : that was yielded, encouraging his comrades by while, in the midst of the agitation, some fine the war-cry of their party to rally round their lady declared that an hour and a-half was quite standard, and struggle on. Again the sharp enough for any subject; voted it a bore from crack of the musquetry, again the undaunted that moment, and proposed a cotillon to relieve shout of the survivors. But lo! it grows feebler the monotony. Madame de Meranie welcomed and fainter, as one after another sinks never to the proposal as a means of escape. With the rise again. There is a momentary wavering volatility of their national disposition, the among the revolutionists; they fall from their guests aecepted the plaisanterie, laughed, and ranks-sink into confusion; their heart, their acquiesced. Music, with its voluptuous mea. spirit is broken; huddled together in a beaten sures, drowned the memory of crushed Am. mass they think only of retreat, of defending | bition, and the denouement of another 01 themselves from the sabres of the mounted Life's tragedies was forgotten in a dance!

« AnteriorContinuar »