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upon the day of the festival of Mary Magdalen, he lay dead, and blue, and with distorted countenance, in the dressing-room of a young and beautiful woman-upon the ground, amidst pasteboard boxes, and tiny shoes, and velvet robes, and such-like feminine frivolities.
None ever knew that upon that night, an old and trusty domestic of the lady thrust the corpse into a sack, placed it upon an ass, and upon arriving at the brink of a neighbouring precipice, hurled it down into the rugged ravine below.
Heavy was the sum with which that lady endowed a convent, that masses might be said for the soul of a departed and unshriven, but nameless, sinner.
Father Gregorio, the favourite confessor of the fashionable dames of Girgenti, vanished about the same time. He pined out the rest of his life in the subterranean dungeons of a couvent of Carthusians, where the interest of the Marquis of Arena had procured him a lodging. Simul. taneously with the good father's removal from his duties, the confessional in which it was his wont to receive and absolve his fair penitents, disappeared from the church of the Magdalen.
Never did the marquis refer to the events of that festival-day. In society, as in his house, he treated his wife with invariable kindness and consideration ; at times, indeed, with a tenderness scarcely natural to him. But he never again entered the apartments where Giulio Balzetti had breathed his last.
TREASURE NOT THE COSTLY GE M.
BY J. E. CARPENTER, ESQ.
TREASURE not the costly gem,
Treasure not the thing that's rarest ;
Gain no lustre from the fairest!
All earth's humbler creature's treasure ;
Riches change not care to pleasure !
Malice sometimes lurks 'mid praising;
Truth can better aid the raising!
Holds a draught that's cold and bitter,-
Gall displease--but still be fitter!
“ He bowed and offered me the arm which was still free; the girl hung listlessly and heavily on the other. She stretched forth her neck with a natural movement of curiosity to see to whom he could be speaking. Her gaze met mine. She started backwards, and uttered a shrill and piercing cry, while I, grown by this time more composed, murmured mournfully, as I fell sobbing upon her bosom,
“«What dost thou here, and at this hour ? Is this a fitting place for thee, sweet Paquerette ? Oh, Paquerette de Fontenay!
“She strained me to her bosom in a trembling, passionate embrace, while her scalding tears fell in a shower on my neck, and she exclaimed eagerly,
« • Tell him not, Georgette; as thou lovest me, tell him not. I charge thee breathe not a word of to-night. Forgive me, dear Georgette. Alas! if thou lovest as I love, there would be no need for the utterance of that request.
“She uttered these few broken phrases in such piteous accents, and with such supplication in her look, that my heart melted at the sight of her distress, and now once more, as was ever the case, instead of giving way to reproach, I found myself much more occupied in soothing her agony, than with any scruples about the danger or impropriety of the step I had taken.
" It was some time, however, before she had sufficiently recovered from the surprise and agitation into which this unexpected meeting had thrown her, and I verily began to grow alarmed, such was her despair. She went home with me and stayed at my lodging that night, and I undertook to clear up whatever might appear strange or reprehensible in this proceeding in the eyes of Françoise, thus getting deeper and deeper into deception and artifice for her sake.
" I kept sedulously aloof from Françoise for some time after this adventure, for I dreaded her close questioning concerning my meeting with Paquerette on the evening of the fête, and above all things I dreaded any interview with Louis, and went to him no more. I was beginning to wonder, however, at the length of time which was elapsing without my hearing any thing of the little family at the loge, when one evening I was somewhat surprised by a visit from Melanie.
“. I am come to carry you home with me, Georgette,' said she, adjusting the ribbons of her bonnet in perfect order round her face. You know not what has chanced since we saw you last. I would leave you to guess, only that I should fear that another would forestal me in my infor
reached my mother's, and one loves to be the first teller of
mation ere we
such news. Only think, Georgette.
Only think, Georgette. Are you not surprised? Is not this a strange world we live in? Who would have thought it? But smooth water runs deep, and one never knows how very, very weak-sighted people can see. Well-but I must be brief, for I thou art dying for my news, but fear not, 'tis so strange that 'tis well worth waiting for—what think'st thou—Why scarcely have I breath to tell thee-little Paquerette has been wooed and won, since thou camest last to see us!
“She paused with the feeling so familiar to all professed newsvendors, in order to see the effect which this announcement would have upon me, but when she found that I was silent from astonishment and dismay, she continued, taking up the thread of her discourse with even more volubility than before. It is to bid
We are all to be assembled, the betrothed bride and the betrothed bridegroom, a pale fair-faced youth, exactly like Jenny Walder as the page in the ballet of Fridolin,' long fair hair and pink cheeks, and all that, and the bridegroom's cousin, an officer in the Garde Imperiale, a very handsome, tall militaire, with dark curled moustaches and frizzled whiskers. gallant youth, attentive to all, and knowing what is due to any elegant accomplished female with whom he may chance to fall in company.
“She cast one look of complacency at the mirror over my mantelpiece, and breathing upon the palms of her hands, smoothed down the bandeaux of her hair, and resumed, even better pleased with herself than before.
Paquerette would have hastened hither herself, to have told thee, her kindest friend, all these particulars, but my mother will not let her stir abroad, for she has some vague half-formed suspicion that there is deception somehow or somewhere, just as if it was a thing quite impossible that love should spring up thus in silence, and almost unknown even of its object.' And she again looked at the mirror, and passed her finger and thumb over her jetty eyebrows ; ' but poor mamma is so very ignorant of all these things. But come, be quick, or supper will be over ere we have returned. It is a romantic tale, this same love of Paquerette, but thou wilt hear it soon enough. Who would have thought that yonder lily-faced girl should have engrossed so warm and true a love? But come, I pray, let us not loiter here, Paquerette will be so anxious to apprise thee of all that has befallen her.'
My perplexities seemed to increase with each step ; I dared not breathe a word of the share which I had hitherto taken in the encouragement and concealment of this very love, for I knew not what had been her account to Françoise of the birth and progress of her attachment, and I felt that by a single misplaced word I might cause a doubt or suspicion of the maiden's truth to arise in the mind of one whom I felt had not deserved this want of confidence on my part.
“ I felt embarrassed, as I entered the little loge where the family was assembled. I had so long been accustomed to use precaution and con. cealment in my communications between the lovers, that the secret had become mine own, and I seemed to myself as guilty as if I had been one of the principal. I was greatly relieved, however, by the freedom with which Françoise, attired in all her best, came forward to meet me. She kissed ine on either cheek, and led me forward to where Paquerette was seated at the board by the side of her lover. She introduced me with many a warm expression of friendship to the latter, and as my eye sought in vain to meet the averted gaze of Louis Girardot I felt my soul die away within me at the duplicity of the part I was compelled to play. There was a stranger seated with the little group. His back was towards me as I entered, but by the costume, the dark blue coat and white facings of the Imperial Guard which he wore, I guessed that it must be the cousin of whom Melanie had spoken. He rose as I advanced to offer me the seat he had been occupying, and as he raised his eyes to my face, you can judge of the feeling of dismay with which I recognised in an instant the young officer who had so kindly protected Paquerette and myself on that memorable evening in the Champs Elysées. There was a droll expression in the smile with which he greeted me, but I succeeded so well in commanding the emotion I felt, that I felt convinced that he ever remained in doubt whether he himself was not deceived. It was he who undertook rather eagerly, I thought, to explain the circumstances which had led to the abrupt adoption of the young painter in the family. Of course, the account given was far from the truth, a story of long and ardent love, from seeing her in her daily walks to and from the Conservatoire, and of dread lest his suit should be rejected by reason of his poverty; this would still have been the case, he added, had he not had the good fortune to greet his cousin, who had returned from battle, full of honour, decorated by the emperor's own hands, and on the high road to wealth and glory. This altered the case completely, and, therefore, he had now lost no time in making himself known with this same cousin's assistance, for, when the sex was in the case, there were none who possessed such facility in the smoothing of difficulties like the Imperial Guard.
“ All this was spoken hurriedly, and with glances full of meaning, which I could not fail to understand, and remained a mute listener to his discourse. I gave one single glance towards Paquerette. An irrepressible feeling of sadness stole over me, her lip was pale and quivering, and her cheeks crimson, while her downcast eye bespoke the shame she felt at being thus forced into this deception. The embarrassment of Louis betrayed itself not less perceptibly, but in a different manner, by a hurry and flutter of spirits, and by a boisterous gaiety, so evidently forced, that it was painful to behold.' He, too, in imitation of his cousin, conversed in a loud tone, and with vehement gesture ; nevertheless, he would shrink with involuntary disgust at the rude soldier-like oaths which, from time to time, would escape from among the propos joyeux, or the dainty compliments of his cousin, and yet did he seem to devour with greedy ears all the long tale of the young officer's adventures, from the feeling of restraint he had experienced on his entering the army to the enthusiasm which had seized him on the march to his first combatof the delight, the excitement, the glory of a soldier's life-the varied march-the gay garrison town--the love, the admiration of the women the envy of the men. I knew well enough, by the sparkling eye and heightened colour of Louis, that his mind was busy comparing this life with his own. Poverty and bitterness, obscurity and solitude, had been his portion, while his cousin had risen to fame and distinction, had tasted of all that life is worth, and known the value of each moment. He had been piping away his hours in his solitary mansarde, wasting in vain efforts his youthful energies, and impairing his strength by toil and privation, in the hopeless dream of success at some future day; while the soldier had jumped at a bound to the goal which he had been striving so laboriously and with such patience to gain. I fear that Paquerette could read what was passing in his mind, as well as myself ; for his countenance, at that time, could not deceive, and when, after gazing at him for some time, she raised her eyes to bid me good night, it was with a movement so slow and languid, that it seemed as if they were heavy with unshed tears.
“ It was but a short,—alas ! a very short time after this interview, that the disappointment and misery which I had from the very first dreaded for Paquerette, burst with violence upon her stricken soul. Louis still loved ; ay, and loved even with a more glowing fervour, for he seldom left her side ; but the romance, the secret of her love, which to a sensitive mind like Paquerette's, must have constituted its greatest charm, was gone for ever. The mystery which had bound their hearts was broken. Much of this feeling was evidently shared by Louis himself. His attention, if not his heart, was no longer solely engrossed by the love which had till so lately been all in all. Much of the enthusiasm, too, which he had before lavished on his art, was now expended in admiration of his cousin's bold independence and love of enterprise. He would sometimes sit for hours, forgetful of all
, while he leaned upon his easel, and suffered the pencil to drop from his hand, as with flashing eyes and heightened colour he would listen to the strange adventures, the hairbreadth
escapes, and desperate chances which had befallen the young lieutenant during his campaign. These stories, not perhaps always told with the strictest regard to truth, were always followed by many a Vive l'Empereur! and many a hope that the war would break out again ere long,
many an expression of contempt and pity for any young man who could sit and mope at his own hearth, or sigh away his days for love of a pretty face, when the road to fame and distinction lay open to all ; and then he would twirl the ribbon at his button-hole with the prettiest coxcombical air imaginable. During these narrations, I observed that Paquerette would fix her large melancholy eyes, with an indefinable expression, almost of compassion, upon Louis, and then would turn them slowly away, and resume her work with an ardour I had never before witnessed in her. I knew not what was passing in her mind, for she told her thoughts to no one ; but I could see that she was working herself with feverish energy to some high resolves, which she did not communicate even to me."
HERE the bouquetière paused. She was evidently struggling with some strange emotion, to which the memory of these scenes had given rise. Some minutes elapsed ere she spoke again, and then, looking up, while the tear which stood in her eye contrasted sweetly with the half arch smile which played around her mouth, and the cheerful tones of her voice were mixed with a shade of sadness, she said :
“ Now do I feel that I have come to the part of my story, which, to tell you a truth, so grieves me to relate, that I scarce know how to proceed. How I wish that I had not begun it! Come, will you have pity on me, and spare me the rest ?"
She had used her most bewitching tone, and the sweet smile of her youth, which is yet celebrated for its extraordinary expression and beauty; but we were hardened by curiosity against all her blandishments, and resisted most vigorously this attempt on her part to cheat us of what we