"But I don't know where to go," she replied, looking at him with huorca finance solananted, hollow eyes. "I feel as if I were going to be sick. Please don't turn me into the streets. I'd rather go back to the cell--"
"How indeed, and we missing you so all the time!""Have YOU missed me?" was the eager inquiry.bitcoin difficulty hashrate chart"Oh, no!" was the cheerful reply; "but all the rest have."Presently the malicious thing gave a sudden start.
"Oh! such a piece of news; you remember Colonel Dujardin, theobnoxious colonel?"No answer."Transferred his attentions. Fancy!""Who to?""To Josephine and mamma. But such are the military. He only wantedto get rid of you: this done (through your want of spirit), hescorns the rich prize; so now I scorn HIM. Will you come for awalk?""Oh, yes!""We will go and look for my deserter. I say, tell me now; cannot Iwrite to the commander-in-chief about this? a soldier has no rightto be a deserter, has he? tell me, you are a public man, and knoweverything except my heart.""Is it not too bad to tease me to-day?""Yes! but please! I have had few amusements of late. I find it sodull without you to tease."Formal permission to tease being conceded, she went that instant onthe opposite tack, and began to tell him how she had missed him, andhow sorry she had been anything should have occurred to vex theirkind good friend. In short, Edouard spent a delightful day, forRose took him one way to meet Josephine, who, she knew, was cominganother. At night the last embers of jealousy got quenched, forJosephine was a wife now, and had already begun to tell Camille allher little innocent secrets; and she told him all about Edouard andRose, and gave him his orders; so he treated Rose with great respectbefore Edouard; but paid her no marked attention; also he wasaffable to Riviere, who, having ceased to suspect, began to likehim.In the course of the evening, the colonel also informed the baronessthat he expected every day an order to join the army of the Rhine.Edouard pricked his ears.The baroness said no more than politeness dictated. She did notpress him to stay, but treated his departure as a matter of course.
Riviere rode home late in the evening in high spirits.The next day Rose varied her late deportment; she sang snatches ofmelody, going about the house; it was for all the world like a birdchirping. In the middle of one chirp Jacintha interfered. "Hush,mademoiselle, your mamma! she is at the bottom of the corridor.""What was I thinking of?" said Rose.excuse the susceptibility of a professional man, who is honored withthe esteem of his clients; and favor me with your wishes.""All right," said Raynal heartily. "Well, then--I want mademoiselleand her family to stay here while I go to Egypt with the FirstConsul. Mademoiselle makes difficulties; it offends her delicacy.""Comedy!" said the notary contemptuously.
"Though her mother's life depends on her staying here.""Comedy!" said Perrin. Raynal frowned."Her pride (begging her pardon) is greater than her affection.""Farce!""I have pitched upon you to reconcile the two.""Then you have pitched upon the wrong man," said Perrin bluntly. Headded obsequiously, "I am too much your friend. She has beentalking you over, no doubt; but you have a friend, an Ulysses, whois deaf to the siren's voice. I will be no party to such atransaction. I will not co-operate to humbug my friend and rob himof his rights."If Josephine was inferior to the notary in petty sharpness, she washis superior in the higher kinds of sagacity; and particularly ininstinctive perception of character. Her eye flashed with delightat the line Perrin was now taking with Raynal. The latter speedilyjustified her expectations: he just told Perrin to be off, and sendhim a more accommodating notary."A more accommodating notary!" screamed Perrin, stung to madness bythis reproach. "There is not a more accommodating notary in Europe.Ungrateful man! is this the return for all my zeal, my integrity, myunselfishness? Is there another agent in the world who would havelet such a bargain as Beaurepaire fall into your hands? It servesme right for deviating from the rules of business. Send me anotheragent--oh!"The honest soldier was confused. The lawyer's eloquence overpoweredhim. He felt guilty. Josephine saw his simplicity, and made a cutwith a woman's two-edged sword. "Sir," said she coolly, "do you notsee it is an affair of money? This is his way of saying, Pay mehandsomely for so unusual a commission.""And I'll pay him double," cried Raynal, catching the idea; "don'tbe alarmed, I'll pay you for it.""And my zeal, my devotion?""Put 'em in figures.""And my prob--?""Add it up.""And my integ--?""Add them together: and don't bother me.""I see! I see! my poor soldier. You are no match for a woman'stongue.""Nor, for a notary's. Go to h---, and send in your bill!" roaredthe soldier in a fury. "Well, will you go?" and he marched at him.
The notary scuttled out, with something between a snarl and a squeak.Josephine hid her face in her hands.
"What is the matter with you?" inquired Raynal. "Not crying again,surely!""Me! I never cry--hardly. I hid my face because I could not helplaughing. You frightened me, sir," said she: then very demurely, "Iwas afraid you were going to beat him.""No, no; a good soldier never leathers a civilian if he can possiblyhelp it; it looks so bad; and before a lady!""Oh, I would have forgiven you, monsieur," said Josephine benignly,and something like a little sun danced in her eye."Now, mademoiselle, since my referee has proved a pig, it is yourturn. Choose you a mutual friend."Josephine hesitated. "Ours is so young. You know him very well.You are doubtless the commandant of whom I once heard him speak withsuch admiration: his name is Riviere, Edouard Riviere.""Know him? he is my best officer, out and out." And without amoment's hesitation he took Edouard's present address, and acceptedthat youthful Daniel as their referee; then looked at his watch andmarched off to his public duties with sabre clanking at his heels.The notary went home gnashing his teeth. His sweet revenge wasturned to wormwood this day. Raynal's parting commissions rang inhis ear; in his bitter mood the want of logical sequence in the twoorders disgusted him.
So he inverted them.He sent in a thundering bill the very next morning, but postponedthe other commission till his dying day.As for Josephine, she came into the drawing-room beaming with loveand happiness, and after kissing both her mother and Rose withgentle violence, she let them know the strange turn things hadtaken.And she whispered to Rose, "Only think, YOUR Edouard to be OURreferee!"Rose blushed and bent over her work; and wondered how Edouard woulddischarge so grave an office.
The matter approached a climax; for, as the reader is aware, Edouardwas hourly expected at Beaurepaire.He did not come; but it was not his fault. On receiving Rose'sletter he declined to stay another hour at his uncle's.
He flung himself on his horse; and, before he was well settled onthe stirrups, the animal shied violently at a wheelbarrow some foolhad left there; and threw Edouard on the stones of the courtyard.He jumped up in a moment and laughed at Marthe's terror; meantime afarm-servant caught the nag and brought him back to his work.
But when Edouard went to put his hand on the saddle, he found itwould not obey him. "Wait a minute," said he; "my arm is benumbed.""Let me see!" said the farmer, and examined the limb himself;"benumbed? yes; and no wonder. Jacques, get on the brute and ridefor the surgeon.""Are you mad, uncle?" cried Edouard. "I can't spare my horse, and Iwant no surgeon; it will be well directly.""It will be worse before it is better.""I don't know what you mean, uncle; it is only numbed, ah! it hurtswhen I rub it.""It is worse than numbed, boy; it is broken.""Broken? nonsense:" and he looked at it in piteous bewilderment:"how can it be broken? it does not hurt except when I touch it.""It WILL hurt: I know all about it. I broke mine fifteen years ago:fell off a haystack.""Oh, how unfortunate I am!" cried Edouard, piteously. "But I willgo to Beaurepaire all the same. I can have the thing mended there,as well as here.""You will go to bed," said the old man, quietly; "that is whereYOU'LL go.""I'll go to blazes sooner," yelled the young one.The old man made a signal to his myrmidons, whom Marthe's cries hadbrought around, and four stout fellows took hold of Edouard by thelegs and the left shoulder and carried him up-stairs raging andkicking; and deposited him on a bed.Presently he began to feel faint, and so more reasonable. They cuthis coat off, and put him in a loose wrapper, and after considerabledelay the surgeon came, and set his arm skilfully, and behold thisardent spirit caged. He chafed and fretted sadly. Fortitude wasnot his forte.It was two days after his accident. He was lying on his back,environed by slops and cursing his evil fate, and fretting his soulout of its fleshly prison, when suddenly he heard a cheerfultrombone saying three words to Marthe, then came a clink-clank, andMarthe ushered into the sickroom the Commandant Raynal. The sickman raised himself in bed, with great surprise and joy.
"O commandant! this is kind to come and see your poor officer inpurgatory.""Ah," cried Raynal, "you see I know what it is. I have been chaineddown by the arm, and the leg, and all: it is deadly tiresome.""Tiresome! it is--it is--oh, dear commandant, Heaven bless you forcoming!""Ta! ta! ta! I am come on my own business.""All the better. I have nothing to do; that is what kills me. I'meating my own heart.""Cannibal! Well, my lad, since you are in that humor, cheer up, forI bring you a job, and a tough one; it has puzzled me.""What is it, commandant? What is it?""Well, do you know a house and a family called Beaurepaire?""Do I know Beaurepaire?"And the pale youth turned very red; and stared with awe at thiswizard of a commandant. He thought he was going to be called overthe coals for frequenting a disaffected family. "Well," saidRaynal, "I have been and bought this Beaurepaire."Edouard uttered a loud exclamation. "It was YOU bought it! shenever told me that.""Yes," said Raynal, "I am the culprit; and we have fixed on you toundo my work without hurting their pride too much, poor souls; butlet us begin with the facts."Then Raynal told him my story after his fashion. Of course I shallnot go and print his version; you might like his concise way betterthan my verbose; and I'm not here to hold up any man's coat-tails.Short as he made it, Edouard's eyes were moist more than once; andat the end he caught Raynal's hand and kissed it. Then he askedtime to reflect; "for," said he, "I must try and be just.""I'll give you an hour," said Raynal, with an air of grandmunificence. The only treasure he valued was time.
In less than an hour Edouard had solved the knot, to his entiresatisfaction; he even gave the commandant particular instructionsfor carrying out his sovereign decree. Raynal received these ordersfrom his subordinate with that simplicity which formed part of hisamazing character, and rode home relieved of all responsibility inthe matter.COMMANDANT RAYNAL TO MADEMOISELLE DE BEAUREPAIRE.
Mademoiselle,--Before I could find time to write to our referee,news came in that he had just broken his arm;--"Oh! oh, dear! our poor Edouard!"And if poor Edouard had seen the pale faces, and heard the falteringaccents, it would have reconciled him to his broken arm almost.This hand-grenade the commandant had dropped so coolly among them,it was a long while ere they could recover from it enough to readthe rest of the letter,--so I rode over to him, and found him on his back, fretting for wantof something to do. I told him the whole story. He undertook thebusiness. I have received his instructions, and next week shall beat his quarters to clear off his arrears of business, and makeacquaintance with all your family, if they permit.
RAYNAL.As the latter part of this letter seemed to require a reply, thebaroness wrote a polite note, and Jacintha sent Dard to leave it forthe commandant at Riviere's lodgings. But first they all sat downand wrote kind and pitying and soothing letters to Edouard. Need Isay these letters fell upon him like balm?They all inquired carelessly in their postscripts what he haddecided as their referee. He replied mysteriously that they wouldknow that in a week or two. Meantime, all he thought it prudent totell them was that he had endeavored to be just to both parties."Little solemn puppy," said Rose, and was racked with curiosity.
Next week Raynal called on the baroness. She received him alone.They talked about Madame Raynal. The next day he dined with thewhole party, and the commandant's manners were the opposite of whatthe baroness had inculcated. But she had a strong prejudice in hisfavor. Had her feelings been the other way his brusquerie wouldhave shocked her. It amused her. If people's hearts are with you,THAT for their heads!
He came every day for a week, chatted with the baroness, walked withthe young ladies; and when after work he came over in the evening,Rose used to cross-examine him, and out came such descriptions ofbattles and sieges, such heroism and such simplicity mixed, as madethe evening pass delightfully. On these occasions the young ladiesfixed their glowing eyes on him, and drank in his character as wellas his narrative, in which were fewer "I's" than in anything of thesort you ever read or heard.At length Rose contrived to draw him aside, and, hiding hercuriosity under feigned nonchalance, asked him what the referee haddecided. He told her that was a secret for the present.
"Well, but," said Rose, "not from me. Edouard and I have nosecrets.""Come, that's good," said Raynal. "Why, you are the very one hewarned me against the most; said you were as curious as Mother Eve,and as sharp as her needle.""Then he is a little scurrilous traitor," cried Rose, turning veryred. "So that is how he talks of me behind my back, and calls me anangel to my face; I'll pay him for this. Do tell me, commandant;never mind what HE says.""What! disobey orders?""Orders? to you from that boy!""Oh!" said Raynal, "for that matter, we soldiers are used to commandone moment, and obey the next."In a word, this military pedant was impracticable, and Rose gave himup in disgust, and began to call up a sulky look when the other twosang his praises. For the old lady pronounced him charming, andJosephine said he was a man of crystal; never said a word he did notmean, and she wished she was like him. But the baroness thoughtthis was going a little too far."No, thank you," said she hastily; "he is a man, a thorough man. Hewould make an intolerable woman. A fine life if one had a parcel ofwomen about, all blurting out their real minds every moment, andnever smoothing matters.""Mamma, what a horrid picture!" chuckled Rose.
She then proposed that at his next visit they should all three makean earnest appeal to him to let them know what Edouard had decided.But Josephine begged to be excused, feared it would be hardlydelicate; and said languidly that for her part she felt they were ingood hands, and prescribed patience. The baroness acquiesced, andpoor Rose and her curiosity were baffled on every side.At last, one fine day, her torments were relieved without anyfurther exertion on her part. Jacintha bounced into the drawing-room with a notice that the commandant wanted to speak to Josephinea minute out in the Pleasaunce."How droll he is," said Rose; "fancy sending in for a young ladylike that. Don't go, Josephine; how, he would stare.""My dear, I no more dare disobey him than if I was one of hissoldiers." And she laid down her work, and rose quietly to do whatshe was bid.
"Well," said Rose, superciliously, "go to your commanding officer.And, O Josephine, if you are worth anything at all, do get out ofhim what that Edouard has settled."Josephine kissed her, and promised to try. After the firstsalutation, there was a certain hesitation about Raynal whichJosephine had never seen a trace of in him before; so, to put him athis ease, and at the same time keep her promise to Rose, she askedtimidly if their mutual friend had been able to suggest anything.
"What! don't you know that I have been acting all along upon hisinstructions?" answered Raynal."No, indeed! and you have not told us what he advised.""Told you? why, of course not; they were secret instructions. Ihave obeyed one set, and now I come to the other; and there is thedifficulty, being a kind of warfare I know nothing about.""It must be savage warfare, then," suggested the lady politely.
"Not a bit of it. Now, who would have thought I was such a coward?"Josephine was mystified; however, she made a shrewd guess. "Do youfear a repulse from any one of us? Then, I suppose, you meditatesome extravagant act of generosity.""Not I.""Of delicacy, then.""Just the reverse. Confound the young dog! why is he not here tohelp me?""But, after all," suggested Josephine, "you have only to carry outhis instructions.""That is true! that is true! but when a fellow is a coward, apoltroon, and all that sort of thing."This repeated assertion of cowardice on the part of the livingDamascus blade that stood bolt-upright before her, struck Josephineas so funny that she laughed merrily, and bade him fancy it was onlya fort he was attacking instead of the terrible Josephine; whom nonebut heroes feared, she assured him.This encouragement, uttered in jest, was taken in earnest. Thesoldier thanked her, and rallied visibly at the comparison. "Allright," said he, "as you say, it is only a fort--so--mademoiselle!""Monsieur!""Hum! will you lend me your hand for a moment?""My hand! what for? there," and she put it out an inch a minute. Hetook it, and inspected it closely.