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to all other eyea; but then Cldmence de Voa was indulgent to everyone — to every one but herself

She asked after all the family, and then,

"How is the Sceur Marie?" she asked. "Does Rosalie see her often Y"

"Ma foi," — Louis twirled his pretty, Boft moustaches: he was really handsome, though he looked too well aware of the fact, —" Rosalie may, and she may not, Bee your aunt, the Soeur Marie; but she does not tell me. I have no special liking for religieuses, especially when they are no longer young or pretty; but here we are, Cldmence, and there is your little goddaughter peeping out of window."

They had come up a by-street, which ended on the quay of one of the canals, bordered on this side by a closely planted line of poplar trees. The newly opened leaves trembled in the warm sunshine reflected from the red, high-gabled houses over the water — houses which went straight down to the canal edge, and seemed to bend forward Bo as to get a view of their own full-length reflections in the yellow water. Behind the houses rose the graceful tourelles of the Hotel de Ville, and beyond, rising hi j h above all the rest, was the beffroi. It was just three o'clock, and suddenly the carillon sounded out from the lofty tower, swelling, with sw«et throbs, through the air above them, as if the angels were holding a musical festival in those melodious, unearthly strains.

But Louis was too much used to the carillon to notice it. "There is your goddaughter, Cldmence," he said.

Cldmence started from her rapt listening. It had seemed to her she heard her mother's voice up there among the angels.

Louis Scherer lived in a red steppedgabled house. There was a pointed window in the gable, with an arched hood of grey stone: the window-mullions too were of stone. Below were two similar windows, with a carved spandril between the arches; and at one of these lower windows peeped out a little smiling cherubface — a miniature, Cldmence thought, of Rosalie.

Cldmence kissed both hands to the little maid, and then went in through the open archway below the windows.

There was a patter of little feet, a chirrup of slight treble voices, and then two laughing baby faces peeped from behind a green, half-closed door on the left of the paved entrance.

Cldmence forgot where she was, forgot even the bonne-maman's illness, and eat

down on the door-step, with the two blooming darlings nestling in her arms.

The younger of the two, the little Cldmence, talked glibly in her soft, incoherent gibberish; but little Louis played for a while at being shy, alternately hiding his face in his aunt's black cloak, or else looking up with round, shining blue eyes, and his pink, fat forefinger between his pouting lips.

Louis had passed on into the house to fetch his wife.

"Tiens, tiens!" Rosalie's voice sounded so shrill, that Cldmence put the children off her lap, and jumped up from her low seat.

The sisters kissed each other affectionately, and then they exchanged looks.

"Ma foi," Rosalie said to herself, " Cldmence grows younger-looking every time I see her."

"Rosalie looks troubled;" and Cldmence followed her sister up-stairs, stifling a wish that she would look more sweet and simple. She was still a beautiful blonde; but the Rosalie of Cldmence's youth had been lovelier in her simplicity than the befrizzled, over-dressed lady, whose smile was so forced and rare. In the short minute that followed their greeting Cldmence had seen Loulou shrink away from his mother, and cling to his father's knees.

Madame de Vos's bedroom was at the end of the upstairs gallery. The walls were white, and so were the bed-hangings, with fieir white-tufted fringe. The cushion in the window-seat was covered in white dimity; the window itself was shrouded in white curtains, fringed like the bed-hangings. All this white seemed to bring out in yet stronger relief the deeply tinted pink face of Madame de Vos. She stretched one hand out to greet Cldmence; the other lay still on the coverlet, powerless for evermore.

"Eh bien, my child, thou art come at last, then, to look at what is left of thy grandmother. Ah 1 but, Cldmence, is it not incredible that I, so active, and of so perfect a constitution, should be lying here like a silly old woman, and la mere Borot, that old imbecile, who has at least ten more years than I have, ails nothing? Ma foi, I cannot understand how this is."

Clemence kissed the fretful face, and then seated herself at the bedside.

"Thou canst stay a few minutes, Cldmence," Rosalie nodded, "but not longer. I have much to say to thee."

Madame de Vos looked angry.

"Rosalie, thou art so selfish. Thou hast Louis and the children; leave CUraence to me: I have no one."

She closed her eyes with a weary sigh. Rosalie made an expressive grimace at her sister, and crept out of the room. Cldmence sighed too. At home she and her father lived in such unbroken harmony, this discord seemed doubly jarring. This was only her second visit to Bruges, and when Rosalie had paid short visits to the "Ours d'Or " she had been gay and bright. But her grandmother soon claimed Clemence's attention. Madame de Vos began with her own sufferings, and then went on to the neglect, the vanity, the bad temper of Rosalie.

"And, Clemence, she is also jealous. She will not let thee stay long with me, lest thou shoukbt love me best. It is the same with the little ones: they love the bonne-maman, poor darlings; and so they may not run to the end of the gallery — and I who have done everything for her."

As soon as she could get the words in. Clemence interrupted,—

"Does la tante come to see thee — the Soeur Marie?"

"No; no one remembers me now. I am helpless, and suffering, and forgotten. I had plenty of friends, as thou knowest, when I had a house of my own, and did not spend my money on ungrateful children. The Sceur Marie, why should she come? Rosalie told me that Louis disliked to see her, and so I told my poor Marie to keep away; and, Clemence, it is true that Marie is not an amusing companion."

It was such a new pleasure for the invalid to get so sweet and cheerful a listener, that she would scarcely let Clemence go when she was summoned to supper.

Sounds of angry voices came from the eating-room. Clemence opened the door, and met Louis just coming out. He had his hat in hia hand, and his face was flushed.

"Bon soir, my sister," he said. "You and Rosalie may have all the talk to yourselves."

He passed out, and Cldmence looked at her sister. Rosalie's face was heated and angry. She sat in sullen silence, and gave Clemence her supper without any remark.

"I find bonne-maman better than I thought to find her. The attack does not seem to affect her speech."

Rosalie shrugged her shoulders.

"Thou raayest well say that." She tossed her bcfrizzled head. "Very surely she has been telling tbee fine tales about

me and my doings. Ah! I know," — she disregarded Cldmence's attempt to stop her — " it is always I who do all the wrong. Others may do as they choose; but they are always right with bonne-maman."

Clemence's heart ached: it seemed as if there was no union in this household. A tender, motherly longing to comfort her young sister urged her to speak.

"But how is it, Rosalie V — thou wast always the one she loved best. When people are ill, dearest, they get fractious, and find fault with those they prefer."

Rosalie shook her head.

"It is useless to talk about it, Cldmence. It did not begin with this illness: the bonne-maman is unjust and selfish, and I do not wish to talk about her."

it seemed to Cldmence that it was not easy to talk about anything to Rosalie. She would not speak either of her husband or her children. The only subject in which she seemed interested was a new toilette — a dress and bonnet she had been choosing for the fe~te to be held next week in the Jardin Botanique.

"Thou wilt like it, Cldmence. There will be music, and the officers will all be there." It seemed to Cldmence that Rosalie blushed.

"But I shall not go. The bonnemaman is quite helpless, though she can talk, and I do not think she ought to be left till she is better."

'• As thou wilt." Rosalie's sullen look came back, and it seemed best to leave her to herself.

The fete in the Jardin Botanique begins at two o'clock. There is just time to hurry over the children's meal, and for Rosalie to make a fresh toilette when she comes in from mass.

She is in a flutter of anxiety when she comes down stairs. Clemence has not seen her sister look so bright since her arrival at Bruges.

"Come, LouTou, make haste." Rosalie speaks cheerfully, without the fretful ring to which Clemence has grown accustomed. "We shall be late, if thou dost not hasten." She goes to the window. It seems a matter of course that Clemence should sit between the two children, giving them their dinner.

"Oh! what lovely weather!" — there is all the glee of a child in Rosalie's voice — " and I was so afraid it would be cold."

The door opened, and her husband came in. He was evidently struck by her improved looks.

"Are we not gay in our new bonnet?" be said, to Clemence. "I am just in time, Rosalie, to escort thee to the Jardin Botanique."

"Thanka " — Clemence started *t the changed voice, and she saw the smile fade away — "I have no wish to be troublesome, Louis. I am sure thou couldst find a more amusing companion; and I have to take care of Loulou and little Cldmence."

As it pleases thee; but I suppose we may as well start together."

Louis spoke carelessly: but it seemed to Cle'mence that he was wounded. He stood whistling, with his hands in his pockets, while the children were got ready.

Clemence sighed when they had all gone away. It bad been sad enough to see the disunion between Rosalie and her grandmother; but this was worse. Was Louis really an unkind husband, and was this the secret of the change in Rosalie? But her grandmother's bell rang loudly, and she was soon by the invalid's bed, listening to the reiteration of all her sufferings, the wealth and importance of the family Van Rooms, and the devotion evinced by Madame de Voa to her grandchildren.

"I am glad the day is so floe," said Clemence.

Madame de Vos grunted and turned away with a discontented look on her pink face.

"Thou art glad for Rosalie to play peacock. Ah, Clemence, if thou wert married to Louis, would it be necessary for thee to chatter to all the officers in the town?"

Clemence gave a little start, but she began to talk of something else; she would not believe evil of Rosalie.

Louis came home long before Rosalie did; he brought Loulou with him. Clemence found the little boy in his nursery, crying.

"Papa has sent ine away from him," he sobbed; "and maman has called me a naughty boy, and I am not naughty, my aunt."

Cle'mence always stole some minutes every day from the invalid, to play with the children; but to-day «he stayed in the nursery longer than usual. It was a large room at the top of the house: no fear that noise could reach mother or grandmother. Clemence romped and laughed till she was fairly tired; she loved Loulou dearly, he was Bo caressing and affectionate.

"Thou art a good fairy, my aunt," the child said, as he came down stairs with her to the door of his great-grandmother's room. "It is always bright in the house now thou art here; I am never trUte."

He hugged her so tightly that Cle'mence'g face was hidden in his curls.

At the moment Rosalie appeared at the I other end of the passage; she looked flushed and angry, and she passed on into her room without a word.

When defence went downstairs to supper, she found Louis alone.

"I am not going out this evening," he said. "We need not wait supper for Ro'salie; she has gone to bed."

"What is it?" Cldmence asked herself. "There is a constrained atmosphere in this house. I dare not ask a question, lest I should do mischief or makfl a quarrel. { Are Louis and Rosalie really miserable, or is it only before others that they speak so coldly?"

Marriage was different from what Cle'mence had pictured it; and yet when she thought of her father and mother, she felt that there must be something amiss between Louis and Rosalie.

Next morning, at breakfast-time, Loulou < sat close to his mother.

"The aunt Cle'mence is a good fairy," he said; "if I am crying, she makes me | happy again: she is like sunshine; the room is dark and sad when she goes out of it. Maman, get some sunshine from our aunt Cldmence."

Rosalie was pouring out coffee; her hand shook, and the table-cloth was spoiled.

She turned a crimson face on Loulou, and boxed his ears.

"Go upstairs, naughty chatterbox: see the mischief thou hast done."

Louis Scherer looked up from his newspaper. Generally he ate his breakfast without making a remark of any kind: ! but Loulou was his special darling.

"Thou art unjust," he said to his wife: "it was not Loulou who upset the coffee."

Rosalie's eyes flashed.

"No; of course it is always I who am to blame — I who am wrong with every one."

She got up, and left the breakfast-table. Louis muttered an exclamation, and then he smiled at Cle'mence.

"Will you pour out coffoe, or shall I?" he said.

Cle'mence felt miserable.

"Go after her," she said in a low voice.

Louis raised his eyebrows.

"You are not used to Rosalie: it is necessary to her to be jealous. It is you and the children to-dny; it will be some one else to-morrow. It is better to leave her alone."

"And yet," Cldrnence thought as she sat afterwards in her grandmother's room, "what can this leaving alone come to? Must not each of these little jars weaken love? And how they loved each other once; ah, if I could only gee them happy again!"

She heard a rustling at the door; open ing it gently, she saw little Louis sobbing, curled up on the passage floor.

Cle'mence held out her hand, but the child shrank away.

"What is it, darling?" She went after him, and caught him up in her arms.

"It is thy fault, not mine now." A look of infinite relief came into the little troubled face. "Mamaii says I am naughty to love thee eo much; and now it is thou who lovest me, Aunt Cle'mence ; "but he twined his arms round her neck, "I do love thee best in the world."

Aunt Cle'mence was glad to hide her eyes among his golden curls. She was shocked, frightened even, that Rosalie could thus teach her child evil; and yet, what could she do Y If she spoke to Rosalie, it might perhaps bring open discord between them.

She stood hugging the child in her arms, and Rosalie's door opened.

Cle'mence felt guilty before her sister's frowning face, only for an instant, then she set little Loulou down.

"Run upstairs," she said quietly; "go and play with the little one."

The boy looked from one face to the other, and hesitated.

"Go, Loulou," said Cle'mence; and he bounded upstairs.

"Why dost thou send him away, Cle'mence? When I asked thee to come and nurse our grandmother, it was not that thou mightest rule my children and my house."

Cle'mence opened her bed-room door.

always the pet and the favourite: no one could ever help loving thee. Jealousy should never trouble thee."

Rosalie's eyes flamed with anger.

"Thou art as unjust as Louis is. I am not jealous, I am not vain; but surely when I find every one preferred, when husband and children too desert me, it is time that I should feel it. I am not insensible Cle'mence. Cold, correct people do not know how warm hearts suffer." Tears sprang to her angry eyes, but she wiped them away. "It is useless for one to try to teach another."

Cle'mence put her arm round her sister, and kissed the flushed unwilling cheek.

I did not mean that thou hadst not sorrows, dearest; only thou must not brood over them. Vexations are like eggs; if we leave them to grow cold, they will perish out of existence; but if we nurse them, they will gain strength and life. Why not go and romp with the children now ? — it would do thee good."

Rosalie drew herself proudly away.

"Single women talk of what they cannot understand," she said bitterly. "I suppose I shall get a lecture next on behaviour towards Louis: I am thankful all the same ;" she curtseyed profoundly, and then swept haughtily on to the door; "but, Clemence, when I want advice about my behaviour, I will ask for it."


Monsieur De Vos is pacing slowly up and down the courtyard of the "Ours d'Or," his head droops forward, his hands are clasped behind him; between them he aolds an open letter. He has been walking up and down in perplexed silence for at least ten minutes—silence unbroken except by the vociferations of Cle'mence's

Come in here," she said. Rosalie had canary-bird from his green and gold cage

spoken in a high, constrained voice, and one of the servants was crossing the end of the gallery.

Rosalie followed her sister, but she went on speaking.

"I care not who hears me: I have done no wrong this time. No mother can submit quietly to be robbed of the love of her children."

"Listen to me." Cle'mence spoke firmly. "Rosalie, thou art not happy, and thy vexation makes' thee unjust to all. Children always like new faces; if I were here always, Loulou would not care for me; and it is the same with bonne-daman. Why, Rosalie," Cldmence's eyes were full of tender sweetness — she smiled into the fair sulky face, " thou kuowest thou wast

in one of the arbours.

The silence however, is not solitary. Eulalie stands at her kitchen door. The wind has a keen easterly twang in it, but Eulalie has forgotten her rheumatism; she stands with her left hand clasping her waist, and the fingers of the right hand pressed against her lips, as if to keep in her words.

For, though she has been dumb, her face is full of defiance. She has burst forth once in vehement disapproval, and has been bid to hold her peace; but the remainder of her objections are on her tongue with a sure purpose of being spoken.

The letter between her master's fingers is from Cle'mence; it tells in simple words that Madame de Yos ia better, but that she needs change of air and scene, and that Clemence wishes to bring her grandmother home to the " Ours d'Or."

In big heart Monsieur de Vos feels the truth of his old servant's words, that Madame de Vos has always ill treated Cle"mence, and that there will be strife if she comes back; but Augusta de Vos is too dutiful to permit Eulalie's tongue this licence, and he has told her sternly to mind her own business.

- It is my business," muttered the cook; "but it ought to be yours."

He stops at last in his walk, and comes np to Eulalie.

"They will be here to-morrow," he says: "you had better see that their rooms are ready."

"Monsieur," Eulalie's face looks as wooden as one of the painted figures in the courtyard, " I love you and Mam'selle, but I canuot obey a new mistress; you must then engage a new cook for the 'Ours d'Or.'"

"Eulalie," the master's face is as set as the maid's, "you are good, but you are also imbecile. Do you not know that you could not live away from Mam'selle Cle"nience? do you not know also that any other soup than yours would give me indigestion? There, it is ended; I will not hear another syllable."

Monsieur de Vos probably thinks it best not to trust to his cook's self-control, for he walks quickly up the arched entrance-way, and stands looking out over the little Place.

Cl^mence does not complain in her letter to her father, and yet the tone of it troubles Kim. Like many another silent man, seemingly self-absorbed and indifferent, Auguste de Vos is keenly sensitive to the joys and sorrows of tbose he loves; his sympathy with Cle'mence is so perfect, that he knows already that her visit to Bruges has been unhappy, but he is not going to question her.

"She will tell me what I ought to know," he said. "Cldmence is good; but she has a gift that is rarer among women than goodness — she knows when to speak, and when to be silent."

But when she came, though Clemence was silent, Monsieur do Vos was soon informed of the disunion in the Scherer household.

Madame de Vos had not recovered the nse of her left hand; but she was no longbedridden, and her tongue wagged quite aa freely as ever.

She told her son that she was quite sure

Rosalie's ill-temper and jealousy had driven Cle'mence away from Bruges.

Monsieur de Vos felt indignant; that his good patient child, after all she had suffered, should be ill treated by any one. was hard to bear; but unkindness from Rosalie, for whom Clemence had given up the happiness of her young life, seemed to the tender father the highest pitch of ingratitude.

"And Louis, my mother, how does he behave V"

"I have no quarrel with Louis; he is perhaps, not at home so much as he used to be, but what will you, Auguste? If a woman is jealous and finds fault, you cannot expect a man to be always patient."

"When people love each other so foolishly, that it is necessary to set others aside that just these two may marry, ma mere — it seems to me," — here Monsieur de Vos became conscious of his frowning brows and irate voice, and smoothed himself into a more dutiful aspect, — " it seema to me that such a pair should be more than usually loving and happy. But it is true in this as in other things, ill-gotten goods never prosper."

Madame de Vos put her handkerchief to her small round eyes. She was not crying; but it seemed to her that her son's words were personal, and it behoved her to resent them.

"You forget that I approved of the marriage, Auguste, and it is impossible with my experience that I could mistake. Louis was much more suited to Rosalie than to Cle'mence."

"I agree with you;" and this ended the discussion, but not the anger of Monsieur de Vos.

Meantime at Bruges the sad discord had increased. Till her illness, Madame de V" had taken all housekeeping matters off Rosalie's hands; and now that she had no one even to consult, the young wife found her task too irksome. Her sharp temper made her servants dissatisfied and unwilling, and Louis Scherer complained bitterly of the discomfort of his home.

"If you stayed in-doors, Rosalie, and minded the house and the children, instead of parading like a peacock on the Kauter, chattering to popinjays, one might get & dinner or a supper one could eat."

At this Rosalie flew out in rebellion. "She had been brought up to be waited on. She had never done servants' work, and she was not going to begin."

"And about the Kauter," she said, pas

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