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whether you care to talk to me, well-expressed but sorrowful line or remain away from your friend,
of poetry. " RAYMOND.” I left for Paris that evening, The third was
having replied to both letters, and an anonymous
borne with me the anonymous production. It contained only a verse of Gresset
I got to Paris on Sunday morn"Et rose elle a vécu ce que vivent les ing, the second Sunday since Diane
had been given to M. de Maupert L'espace d'un matin."
by her parents, and had given her Taken all together, the letters heart to me. had produced an uncomfortable Though resolved to be true to and depressing feeling. I began my promise to the Marquis, yet I to fear that the silence which the could not resist going to the church Marquis had enjoined on me, and I knew Diane usually frequented, which, for Diane's sake, I was so on the chance of catching a glimpse anxious to preserve, was about to of her; but instead of her dear gracebe broken, and this distressed me. ful little person, I saw her mother
Then I wondered how this could kneeling near the high altar, with be. The Chantalis knew nothing Monsieur de Maupert at her side, except the broad fact that we and I heard the banns of marriage loved, and were not allowed to between Diane de Breteuille and love in peace ; but even if Diane le Comte de Maupert proclaimed had told them more than I had, from the pulpit for the " second their family ties would have suffi- time." ciently ensured their discretion. They have lost no time, I The Count de Maupert had no thought,
more Sunday doubt been told all by both Diane must bring matters to a crisis. and her father, as these two high. But my heart sank within me, minded natures would not have and I ran out of the church. borne for a moment. the idea of Once in the street it struck me being disloyal to friend or foe; that it was curious Diane should but surely the Count would not, not have accompanied her mother nor could, improve his position by to the parish church; but a moshowing up the girl he wished to ment's reflection made me undermarry. Again the argument was stand that in these days of trial good, and even stronger as applied the poor girl would naturally to Diane's mother.
avoid, if possible, a church from How, then, could this matter of the pulpit of which words were the roses have been talked about? given out to the congregation that
“I have it !” I exclaimed all at portended so much to herself and once. • The porters at the Hotel me. Breteuille must have spread the Involuntarily, though instinctreport. What a fool I was to ask ively, I directed my steps to St for these flowers, instead of wait- Thomas d'Aquin, near the Rue ing till they were sent to me! My du Bac, and arrived in time to see God! what have I done?"
an angel rise from her prayers at Yes, Raymond is right. I shall the high altar where she had heard return to Paris without delay. mass, and asked the Almighty The rose shall live more than the himself to lay upon us both His space of a morning, I thought, as merciful hands, and b.ing us out I commented to myself on this of our trouble, and come and kneel
at our Lady's altar to beg her gen- her reliance that I would not do tle intercession in our behalf. anything her father might have
To see this graceful little thing cause to reproach me with. kneel; to watch her pretty little When she had left the church, hands cover her beautiful face; to I went to the chair she had knelt note the lithesome figure bend in on, and I prayed as I never had humble devotional attitude before prayed before, as never a man of the mother of the Most Holy, and twenty-five has deemed it necesoffer her a child's simple prayer, sary to pray before. When I left that, provided it were the will of St Thomas d'Aquin, I felt a better, her divine Son, she, who was a calmer, and a more contented never implored in 'vain, might man than I had for years. bring to her relief her wonderfully Of course, in the afternoon my powerful intercession, and obtain first preoccupation to see from Him the grace of allowing Raymond de Chantalis. I found this great misery to pass away; him at the club, and as he was to behold this inexpressibly touch- not going to Chantilly races, we ing spectacle, and to feel that the determined to have a walk tochild in her simplicity, the girl in gether. her beauty, and the woman in her After his usual bantering recalm steady resolve were mine, marks had been administered, he and mine alone, produced so great said that on the Saturday after I an impression that I had to support left, Diane's father had been to myself against the nearest column see him, and seemed apparently in least I should faint, so moved was great dudgeon about some roses I by the scene before me, so stir- which his daughter had sent me. red by the inward feeling it pro- " What about that?" had said duced, and so proud in the know. Raymond. ledge of my triumph even in that "A great deal,” had replied the hour of helplessness.
Marquis. She moved, and her head being "Well," had answered Rayraised, a ray of sun through one mond, “ if you cannot allow your of the latticed windows came down daughter to fulfil a proinise pubupon her golden-brown hair, as if licly made to a man you did not in answer to her prayer. It lit refuse to meet at dinner at my up that beautiful head with all house, you cannot expect her to the glory of its brightness ; and look at her promise as lightly as as she made a sign to her gove you do. The girl has her father's erness by her side that it was love of truth and his notions of time to go, I felt that her prayer the obligations of politeness; and had been answered, together with I wonder at the father being so a craving to kneel at the spot blind as to his own merits reflected where she had knelt, and to ask in his daughter." what she had asked.
“Capital ! " I said ; "what did I hid behind the column. No the old Marquis reply ?" power on earth could have made “ He replied that the present me reveal myself at that moment. Imperial régime had upset every It was not so much the promise I notion of propriety, decorvm, and had made, as the fear of insulting right in France; that the old nothat beautiful trust which the girl bility of France was not a jot betwas evincing, both in the efficacy ter than the Imperialists—nay, of her appeals to Heaven, and in rather worse, for they were imita
tors only, whereas the others were and that should matters come to a originators of evil manners and crisis, the result of which would notions; that all seemed topsy- be painful to him, as I now felt turvy; that apparently parents absolutely certain it would prove, could no longer judge what was both Diane and myself would find best for their children, but that an unexpected ally in the father, children were to adopt la mode whom we both had treated with so Anglaise, because, forsooth, it hap- much confidence, and whose tardy pened to please them; that young remorse at being the originator men went about making love to of our troubles would soften into young ladies, and turning their silly a ready instrument for restoring heads, even before the age at which peace. the idea of marriage could take "Go on," I said to Raymond ; definite shape.''
" all this is very interesting." " That is somewhat a cool state- “Of course it is," he answered ; ment,” I said, “considering that “but I was not going to write all before the young lady in question this, as you may well imagine. I had even known the young man never waste words on paper, or alluded to, the father had broached sentiments either, for the matter to her the marriage question.” of that.”
"So I thought,” said Raymond ; “Do go on," I said impatiently. " but it amused me to let the old " There is not much more to gentleman have his say."
add," he replied. What took “Well, what else did he say?" place afterwards is better known
" He said this : that De Mau- to yourself than to any one else ; pert was an old college friend, a but the idea that you have blabbed country neighbour, and a man of about the roses has powerfully irreproachable conduct; that he moved the old gentleman; and had known him more or less in- though his indignation is softening timately all his life; that he had a little, yet it was so great that he watched his social advancement hurried matters as as you with fraternal pride, and that, given were gone, and caused the banns the world to choose from, he would between his daughter and his find no one for whom he enter- friend to be published at once.” tained so much regard, so real an “ Have you seen Diane, and esteem, and so great a considera- does she think me capable of boasttion; that under these circum- ing publicly of her kind thought stances he had broached to him of myself? the subject of a closer alliance be- “ Do not put on that tragic tween his house and the Count. air," he said. That M. de Maupert had at first " Lovers are perfectly insufferobjected that he was too old for so able,” added Raymond.
" The young a person; but on this being most intelligent men become absoaltogether pooh-poohed, he had, like lute fools : either their voice and you, been struck with the wonder- manner become tragical, or their ful beauty of Mademoiselle Diane, mirth in its exaggeration steps into and being struck, had struck his the regions of comedy. bargain with Diane's father."
“No, Monsieur l'ami," imitating I was much interested in these my voice, ; “ Diane did not think details, for it clearly showed that you capable of boasting of her M. de Maupert at least was not kind thought of you. She never the principal culprit in this affair ; thought of you at all. She had
no doubt that you were a gentle- no power on earth will make her man, and would act as one; but say Yes when she is asked the she was annoyed at her attentions usual question at the marriage to you becoming the object of ceremony. public remark. How do you ex- " When is that ceremony to take plain the circumstances ? "
place?" I asked. “ Easily." And I told him about “I believe," said Raymond, my getting the roses from the “ that it is fixed for to-morrow porter.
week—I mean the civil marriage" That explains everything," he and that the religious ceremony said, "and I will let the Marquis will take place on the following know."
“ But tell me," I said, “i what is is Has the trousseau been orthe meaning of this anonymous dered ?” I asked, with a painful message?” I pulled it out of my bone gnawing at my throat and pocket and gave it to him to read. wellnigh strangling me.
“It means, no doubt, what it “Certainly, and Diane has taken says," laughed Raymond.
an extraordinary interest in it: so Why should it be sent to me?” much so, in fact, that her mother “My dear boy, you are simply declares the girl to have no other impossible. How am I to tell you idea in her head than to gather towhy an anonymous letter is sent gether, if not the richest, at least you?
If I could tell you the the most beautiful corbeille de reason of such letter, the name of mariage ever seen." the writer, and his address in It struck me all of a sudden, town, I suppose the latter would and the idea thrust the bone back no longer be an anonymous pro- in a most efficacious manner, that duction. For goodness' sake be she was taking an interest in her more reasonable."
trousseau on my account, and I There was no use in asking him forth with determined to order my any more questions; and it is use- own wedding-coat and presents for less to recall all he said during my bride. this walk about Diane and her Raymond added brightness to behaviour in these trying circum- this thought, by remarking slyly, stances.
“One of Diane's peculiarities is that One thing, however, struck me. she has absolutely and decidedly Raymond, who is not a man to refused to have any initials emexaggerate or to idealise, was loud broidered on her things, and all in his praise of Diane.
are to be marked with her name, “I could never have believed,” Diane, only." he once said, that she would have “She knows," I exclaimed to grown into so beautiful a girl; Raymond, " that that is the only and if your mutual love has done name I care for." this, I can but encourage love in “Va te promener," said Rayfuture."
mond; “I am sick of you and of Another time during our walk Diane, and as I am near home, I he asked, in a kind of half-dreamy will leave you, unless you have way—
settled with Madame de Chantalis ós Where the deuce has she got to disturb my peaceful evening by that decision of character which more love-talk." she exhibits? Would you believe He said all this so goodit, she told my wife last night that naturedly that I could not take offence, but I wished him good- she delivered her commands,- Be bye, thanking him for the valuable there. information he had communicated I required no more. I would to me.
She had bidden me: it was Four days went by, and owing henceforth a duty. Perhaps she to some unusual pressure of work, might want help; no one but myI had seen nobody, nor heard from self should give it to her ; perhaps any one, when towards evening a she wished me to witness her unlittle note was handed to me. It willingness, her powerlessness, her contained these words :
sacrifice to duty. Did I not know “ Monday next, eleven o'clock, it? No; I could not go. May be at the Mairie of the VII. Arron- she wanted me to have the chance dissement. Be there.-D."
of forbidding the banns. I would To describe my feelings on re- rise in my chair on the following ceiving this is to attempt the im- Sunday, and throw my glove, to possible. I had believed in a be picked up by the Senator crisis, but in one which would Count. take place before any necessáty Perhaps she wished me to prove had arisen to go so far as the myself her champion on the day Mayor's presence.
of her sacrifice. Yes; I would. I had fancied that at the last I took a sheet of paper, pinned moment either Diane's parents upon it the little blue favour would have had pity on their which I had so long treasured, daughter's misery; that the Count and wrote these words :would have respected her undis- - Tłe blue is as bright as it was guised loathing to this arranged when I received it. Please return marriage ; that Diane herself it if a storm is impending. I would have thrown herself at her want to protect my property." father's feet and implored his By nine in the morning it was mercy; or would have begged the returned with these words :Count to spare her young years
“ Il faut combattre à nous deux and relieve her misery; but ap- maintenant." parently all these considerations I fully understood the message, were absurd, indeed they never and returned an answer by post, had been thought of.
fully directed to Diane, and writMonday next, eleven o'clock, at ten in the boldest characters :the Mayoralty. Be there.” Diane herself, in her own handwriting, “ MY DARLING,—Rely upon me. though she merely initialed the I shall be by your side on Monday, note and did not sign it—Diane, and we shall win the day.” my Diane, invited me to be present at her wedding with my rival. She answered it by a messenger, a
I read again. There was no valet of her own father's, saying --mistake. Lest I should forget the exact district of Paris where the “Wait till I give the signal : girl lived who constituted my life, do not precipitate things. My my hope, my soul, my faith, my signal will surprise so many that creed, my everything, she had it will be unmistakable ; but it may marked it down. There it was writ- strain all the courage I possess, ten_Seventh District, at eleven and at that supreine moment I may o'clock—and in letters as clear and be unable to do more. I thereas distinct as if they were printed, fore look to your strong arm, your