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plan of the campaign which she would fol- | too deeply embued with family pride, too low if matters should come to a pass as securely anchored in old prejudices, ever disastrous as she feared. She would not to consent to enrich himself or his family consent that her son should espouse M'lle by an ignoble alliance. Since he clings to de La Seigliére with no other dowry than his parchment-well, we will try to find her youth, beauty, and loveliness, and was some country squire of the neighborhood already casting about for some means of for Helen, and I hope yet to see the good disengaging, with respect to Helen and her Marquis finish his days under the roof of father, the promise and the hand of Raoul. a son-in-law." Such, for some weeks, was the unavowed Thus reasoned Madame de Vaubert, subject of her secret meditations.
taking things in their worst aspect. Still While Madame de Vaubert was plunged she was far from having let go
prey. in these reflections, the Marquis, seated by She knew Helen perfectly, and had studied the other corner of the fire-side, and silent, Bernard. If she had no suspicion of what like the baroness, was anxiously cogitating was passing in the heart of Helen-Helen upon the best manner of commencing the had none herself—she had read the heart battle which he was about to offer, and how of the young man; she was much farther he should contrive to disengage, with re- advanced in the secret of his trouble than spect to Raoul and his mother, the prom- he himself was. She thought that someise and hand of Helen.
thing might be done to forward her pur“The poor Marquis!” said she to her pose by bringing them in contact; she felt self, casting towards him, from time to that there was yet something, some incitime, a furtive look," If he is obliged to dent, some chance, some occasion, which come to this, what a terrible blow it will might avail her. But what? and how ? be for him! I know it; he consoles him- These were the questions which she knew self with the thought, that, come what not how to answer, and she was almost inmay, his daughter is to be the baroness of dignant with herself that she could not. Vaubert. Poor man! He loves me; I That
baroness !” said the Marknow it. It is twenty years nearly since quis, occasionally, in his turn, throwing a our intimacy was, in some sort, consecra- stealthy and timid glance towards his sited by the betrothal of our children. lent companion ; "she little thinks of the Dear friend ! How shall I find courage blow which I am going to strike her! She to afflict so tender and devoted a heart, and is, on the whole, an amiable and faithful to tear from him his last illusions? Í ex- heart, a sincere and loyal soul. I am conpect nothing but furious strife and bitter vinced that in all this affair she has sought recrimination. In his passion he will not only my happiness. I would swear that, fail to charge me withi having courted his for herself, she has no other ambition than fortune, and turned mỹ back upon him in to see Raoul united to Helen. Whenever his adversity. But I will be resolute; 1 it should take place she would be eager to will bring him to comprehend that it would receive us in her humble manor, and would be madness for two paupers to marry; in- esteem herself happy in sharing with us her human to condemn his family and mine to modest competence. That her son should the gnawing cares of eternal mediocrity. espouse a La Seigliere would be enough for He will be appeased; we will sigh together her pride and her felicity. Dear affectionover our common misfortune, and mingle ate soul! It would have been much more our tears and our regrets. And then will pleasing to me to have been enabled to recome the grief of Helen, and the protesta- alize so charming a dream, and to have tions of Bernard. Alas! the two dear spent my remaining days in her society. children adore each other. God made But when she learns that this hope, which them for one another. But we will make has been so long cherished, must be rethem listen to reason. In the course of nounced, she will break out into furious six months they will recover from the reproaches, alas ! and merited, perhaps. shock. Raoul will marry the daughter of Nevertheless, in good conscience, would it some wealthy upstart, who will be glad be wise or reasonable to expose our chilthus to ennoble his blood and furbish up dren to the rigors of poverty, and to bind his escutcheon. As to the Marquis, he is ourselves together by an iron bond which,
sooner or later, would wound us, and ex- don't feel it a particular humiliation to
age at the
you say-" fortune."
“ That nature has strange freaks, and Thus reasoned the Marquis, but the that this boy ought to have been born a truth is, he was like a man in tight boots, gentleman.”' and would have felt just as much at ease in “ The little Bernard ?" said Madame da a thorn bush as in his cushioned chair. He Vaubert, emphasizing the second word with feared Madame de Vaubert as a revolution. / considerable stress. He was conscious of bis own bad faith, and “You might as well say, par Dieu, the at the thought of the storm which he was great Bernard,” replied the Marquis, just bringing upon him, his heart seemed to as emphatically thrusting his hands into die in his breast. At length, however, with his breeches pockets. desperate resolution, grasping his courage “You are getting beside yourself, Maras it were, with both hands, he commenced quis,” briefly rejoined the baroness, as she the action in a hap-hazard kind of a way, resumed her serious and pensive attitude. letting off here and there at considerable Encouraged by this good success, like intervals, a few random shots.
those prudent soldiers who, after having “Don't you think, Madame la baronne,” | discharged their muskets, conceal themhe suddenly broke out like a man little selves behind a tree for security while they habituated to such skirmishes,
are loading again, the Marquis remained think that Bernard is really a remarkable coy, and there was again a long silence, boy? The young man' pleases me. Quick disturbed only by the chirpings of a cricket as powder, prompt as his sword, head-concealed about the hearth, and the crackstrong perhaps, and a little excitable, but ling of the wasting coals. frank and open hearted. I think he is of the Madame la baronne," suddenly resumpure metal. He is not exactly handsome, ed the Marquis,“ does it not seem to you to be sure ; but then, I like these strongly that I have been ungrateful towards the marked and masculine countenances. What good M. Stamply? I must confess that, an eye! and what a forehead! And then upon this point, my conscience is not quite such a nose! How indicative of royalty ! at ease. It appears to me clearly that I should like to know where the fellow got that excellent man restored me nothing, it. Did you observe what a delicate and / but that he gave me all outright. If it is charming mouth he had under that brown so, is it not one of the finest instances of moustache. God pardon me, it is the devotedness and generosity which history mouth of a Marquis. He knows enough; will ever have to record upon its tablets? he carries with him undoubted evidence of That old Stamply, Madame, was a noble his mental superiority. A little rough, soul, and we owe something to his memoperhaps, rather awkward, but he is fast ry. wearing away these objections in our soci- Too deeply buried in her own selfish preety. So gold becomes refined in the cru- occupations even to trouble herself with a cible. That he is a hero is unquestion thought as to the purpose and drift of M. able ; no doubt of that. He is of that de La Seigliére's discourse, the baroness sort of timber which the Emperor used for shrugged her shoulders, and made no reply. dukes, princes, and marshals. I can see The Marquis began to despair of hitting him yet mounted on Roland. What cool the joint, when he very opportunely recallness ? what courage ! what intrepidity! ed to mind the lesson of M. Des TourEh? Madame la baronne, there is no con- nelles. He reached his hand towards a cealing the fact; I like the boy, and I lackered stand, took from it a newspaper,
and while apparently running over its descendants of the sans-culottes ; liberalcolumns :
ism will achieve what ninety-three begun. “Madame la baronne,” asked he care- The question with us is whether we will lessly, “ have you kept the run of the pa- suffer ourselves to be overwhelmed in the pers lately?”
general catastrophe, or whether we will seek “What is the use, pray?" she replied safety by embracing the very ideas which with a slight show of impatience. “How threaten to engulph us.” can you suppose such nonsense interests “Really Marquis," said the baroness,
“you seem to be in earnest, as if you
be“By the sword of my father! Madame,' lieved all this. An imaginary conflagracried the Marquis, letting fall the news- tion has got possession of your brain, and paper, you speak very much at your you see nothing all the while but your own
Nonsense, I agree it is. Nonsense house on fire.» you may call it, if you please ; but ventre- “Madame la baronne,” cried the Marsaint-gris, I am inclined to think that this quis, “I am not selfish, and I can say nonsense interests you and me more than boldly that personal interest was never my you appear to be aware of."
controlling motive. Whether my house “Why see, Marquis, how things are burns or not is of little consequence. My going,” rejoined the baroness in a manner preservation or prosperity is not the question that indicated that she was tired of the con- at issue ; it is the safety of us all, of the versation. “His Majesty enjoys the most entire noblesse. What matter, in truth, perfect health ; our princes hunt, and the if the name of La Seigliere shall become court is gay; the people are happy, and extinct, and soon be buried in silence and the rabble have enough to eat. What is obscurity? But Madame, what is of vast there in all this that need cause alarm ?” importance is that the noblesse of France
“Twenty years ago, we talked just so," shall not perish." said the Marquis, opening his snuff-box, “ I have a little curiosity to know how and delicately thrusting in his thumb and you purpose to help it,” replied Madame fore-finger. “ The rabble had enough to de Vaubert, a hundred leagues from suseat, our princes hunted, they danced at pecting whither the Marquis was tending, court, and his Majesty was marvelously and scarcely able to suppress her mirth at well. But all this did not prevent the old thus seeing so frivolous a person incontithrone of France one fine morning from nently dealing with questions so difficult cracking, crumbling, and drawing us with and dangerous. it in its fall, and burying us, dead or alive, “It is a grave question, Madame, which under its ruins. Things are going on now I have succeeded in raising, but which I as they were then ; we are upon a volcano.” fear I shall not be able so successfully to
“ You are mad, Marquis,” said Ma- resolve,” promptly returned M. de La dame de Vaubert, who, entirely occupied Seigliere, who, feeling that he was fairly with her own concerns, and besides not under way, now began to advance with a thinking much of the fitness of a political more confident step. “Nevertheless, if discussion at so late an hour, did not deem I might be permitted to advance an idea or it her duty to take up and refute the opin- two upon so important a subject, I should ions of the old gentleman.
say that it is not by isolating themselves in “I repeat it, Madame la baronne, we their castles that the nobility can recover are upon a volcano. The revolution is not that preponderance which it once had in dead; it is a half extinguished fire, which the affairs of the country; perhaps I should yet lurks beneath the ashes, and you will add—between you and me—that our old see it some day break forth, and consume families have too long restricted themselves the remains of the monarchy. It is a vast to alliances with each other, that for want cave, where are gathered a crowd of worth of renovation, the old patrician blood has less vagabonds, who call themselves repre- run out, and that in order to recover its sentatives of the people. It is a mine dug force, its warmth and life, which seem albeneath the throne, filled with powder, most to have left it, it must mingle itself and just ready to blow it to the four winds with the younger, warmer,
and more vigorof heaven. The liberals are the legitimate ous blood of the people, and the bour
geoisie. In short, Madame la baronne, I to respect us in proportion as they learn to
of her old friend as not to doubt his sinceriHere Madame de Vaubert, who from ty, was besides too much occupied with herthe commencement of this brief discourse self to suspect that, just at that time, there had been gradually turning towards the could exist in this lower world any other speaker, leaned her elbow upon the arm self than herself, or any other interest than of the chair in which she was sitting, her interest. Without even thinking to and appeared to listen with curious atten- inquire whence came such new and incontion.
gruous notions, Madame de Vaubert saw “Would you know, Madame la ba- at a glance one thing, and one only—that ronne," continued M. de la Seigliére, re- M. de La Seigliére had half opened a door joiced at the evidence that he was now by which Raoul might escape from his enmaster of his auditory," would you know gagement if it should be thought best. what the celebrated Des Tournelles, one of “Marquis,” cried she, with a liveliness the most comprehensive and enlightened full of urbanity, “Your observations are minds of the present epoch, said to me not very sensible, and although I have never long since ?
Monsieur le Marquis,' said doubted your excellent judgment, although that great jurist to me, these are serious I have always suspected that underneath times; we must adopt the people that they this outward appearance of frivolity there may adopt us; we must descend to them was a serious and reflective mind, still, I that they may ascend to us. It is at the must confess that I am as much surprised present time with the noblesse as with the as charmed to find you entertaining an orprecious metals; they want solidifying ; der of ideas so elevated and judicious. I they want a grain of alloy.' A thought make you my compliments." so profound that it at first almost bewilder- The Marquis raised his head, and looked
i but after a thorough consideration at the baroness with the air of a man who of the matter, I am satisfied that there is had just received in his face a handful of truth at the bottom,—a cruel truth I agree. roses, instead of a charge of grape, as he But it were far better for us, at the ex- had expected. Too selfish, also, on his pense of some concession, thus to make part, to care for any thing apart from himsure of a prosperous future, than to lie self, far from thinking to account for this down and be buried in the shroud of a past unexpected acquiescence of the baroness, which will never return. Yes ! ventre- he thought only to enjoy it. saint-gris !” cried he, suddenly rising from “ It is very much so with all of us,” rehis seat and striding across the room, plied the Marquis good humoredly, stro" they have for a long time represented us, king his chin with charming simplicity. to the view of the country, as an incorrigi- “Because something of grace and elegance ble caste, rejecting from among us all that have fallen to our lot, pedants and schoolis not part and parcel of us, infatuated masters console themselves for their inferiwith our titles, learning nothing, and forget-ority in point of manners and appearance, ting nothing, filled with pride and inso- by charging us with a lack of intellect. lence, and deadly hostile to all equality. When we shall deign to mingle with them, The time has come to put an end to these we will prove that we are equally superior base calumnies, these foolish accusations. to them on other fields, and that we can We must mingle in the crowd; open to handle speech and thought as once we them our doors, and let our enemies learn handled the sword and the lance.”
“Marquis,” resumed Madame de Vau- | Counts, and their Marquises ; there is bert, who endeavored to give to the con- Eylau, Wagram, and Moscow. These tiversation the turn which it had taken at tles are quite as good as others. For the first,“ to return to the subject which you rest, Madame la baronne, I can pardon were just now considering, it is indeed your scruples and appreciate your relucquite certain that there is an end of the tance, and as for myself, if I have delayed noblesse, if, instead of forming new alli- to open myself to you on this point, it was ances, they continue, as you have most out of consideration for your feelings, and truly remarked, to isolate themselves in a sincere desire to do nothing which should their estates, and hedge themselves about subject me to the possibility of losing the by their pride of birth. The edifice is tot- friendship of so estimable a person." tering, and will soon fall, if we are not “This is very strange;' thought the skillful enough to convert the battering baroness, who began to be a little alarmed. rams which are shaking it, into buttresses “Where is the Marquis coming to? Confor its support. In other words, to drop sideration for my feelings !” cried she, with the somewhat crude figure, in order to pre- amazement. “Do you take me for the serve ourselves we must inoculate." baroness of Flounces? Have you ever
“Exactly, par Dieu ! well said !” cried known me to refuse to acknowledge, in the M. de La Seigliére, more and more pleased people, whatever is great, noble, or geneat not encountering the opposition which rous ?' Have I ever disparaged the bourhe had so much dreaded. “Madame la geoisie? And am I not well aware that baronne, you are decidedly admirable! the sentiments, manners, and virtues of You understand yourself upon all points; the golden age have taken refuge amongst nothing surprises you; nothing astonishes, the new nobility ?” nothing alarms you. You have the keen “Oh! ah !" muttered the Marquis to eye of the eagle; and can look the sun in himself, to whom the drift of the baroness the face without being dazzled. The poor was a little doubtful, “this is not quite baroness !” added he mentally, rubbing his clear; there is a snake under the stone." hands; “She is cutting her own throat, “As to your anxiety about losing my with all her sagacity.”
friendship, seriously, Marquis, did you
fear “The good Marquis !” thought Mad- it?” added Madame de Vaubert. “You ame de Vaubert on her part, "I see the must think as poorly of my heart as you trouble, but he is carelessly playing in- do of my head. You know very well, my to my hands. He has just set the trap in friend, that I am not selfish. How many which, if I have occasion, I may by and by times have I not been on the point of retake him. Marquis,” cried she, “I leasing you from your word, at the thought have held these opinions for a long while ; that in exchange for the wealth which your but I have been afraid to avow them, lest, daughter would bring, my son could return in so doing, I should wound your suscepti- only a great name—the heaviest of all bilities, and alienate from me your good burthens !" wishes."
“Aha!” thought the Marquis, “Is this “ Indeed !"
returned the Marquis, crafty baroness, foreseeing my ruin, seeking "what an opinion you have of your old to disengage the hand of her son ? Can't friend! moreover, besides that in view of be; it is too bold a part. Madame la our holy cause there is no trial which I baronne,” cried he, turning to the baroness, cannot cheerfully undergo, I am bound to “ that is precisely the case with me. I declare to you that, for my part, I should have oftentimes accused myself of standfeel no repugnance to setting the example ing in the way of M. de Vaubert's adin venturing the first into the only way of vancement. I have frequently asked mysafety which lies open to us. I have always self, with a sentiment of fear, if my set the example. I was the first to emi-daughter would not be an obstacle in the grate. But times change, and I am no way of the progress of that noble young Marquis de Carabas—not' I. I mean to keep up with the age. The people have “Aha!” thought the baroness, who now won their spurs and conquered their titles saw .appear, by little and little, through the of nobility. They have their Dukes, their mist, the outline of the shore towards