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and after she had paid her compliments you are too polite to continue a conver. to the last lingerer, she returned to her sation on a subject painful to me. You fire-place, when she found the old are too gallant, (in the ancient acceptagentleman tranquilly seated in an arm- tion of the term,” she added, throwing chair, with the pertinacity of a fly, which a slight accent of irony on the word,) you are compelled to crush to get rid of. “ not to admit that you have no right to The finger of the clock marked two question me, and that it would be unhours after midnight.
seemly in me to justify myself. I hope “ Madame," said the count, at the you have that good opinion of my charinstant the lady rose, as if with the in- acter to conceive the supreme contempt tention that her guest should take the I feel for money. I do not know whehint that she wished his absence. “I ther your nephew be rich or poor; if I am Octave de Champs' imcle.”
have admitted, or continue to receive Madame Firmiani hastily resumed her him here, I looked upon him as worthy seat, and was evidently agitated. But, of being ranged among my friends, who in spite of his perspicacity, the sagacious all look with respect upon each other, as philosopher could not define the char- they know I do not push my philosophy acter of her paleness, whether it arose so far as to permit the visit of those I do from embarrassment, or delight. There not esteem. Perhaps I am deficient in are pleasures whose thoughts we scarcely christian charity ; but my guardian dare entertain without an involuntary angel has inspired me hitherto with a blush ; delicious emotions which the profound disdain for malicious and mispurest heart would veil in its recesses, chievous tattling.” and with which a stranger should not The melody of her voice was slightly intermeddle. The more delicate and affected during the concluding sentence sensitive the heart of a woman, the of her reply, and the last words were more she would desire to hide the tran. uttered with the satirical calmness with sports of her soul. There are many which Celimene rallies the misanthrope women, incomprehensible in their en- in Moliere's play. chanting caprices, who delight to hear “ Madame," continued the count, on the lips of all the world that cherish. with tremulous tones, “I am an old ed name which at other times they man, and I look upon myself as Octave's would desire to bury in the precious father; I therefore ask your pardon, sanctuary of their heart of hearts. M. beforehand, for the sole question I shall de Rouxellay did not interpret altogether take the liberty of proposing to you. I in this manner the emotion of Madame pledge you the word of an honourable Firmiani ; but the old man was distrust. man that your answer shall lie here," ful by nature.
he added, placing his hand upon his “ Well, sir?" rejoined Madame heart with an emphatically religious gesFirmiani, fixing upon him one of those ture," do you love Octave? has clear and lucid glances by which we scandal any grounds for that report." men are always baffled, because their “ Sir,” answered Madame Firmiani, scrutiny is too searching, and our re. " I should answer any other person with spect for a woman prevents our return. one single look ; but to you, and being it too sternly.
cause you are the father of Monsieur de * Well, madame?" repeated the Champs, I will inquire of you, what count, “ are you aware of what they you would think of a woman who anhave taken the pains to come and tell swered-yesto such a question? TO me in the distant corner of the province acknowledge our love to him we worship, in which I reside? That my nephew when he loves us, even when we are loves you, and has squandered his for. certain that we are loved by him; believe tune upon you! The unfortunate is me, sir, even this costs an effort, al. now shivering in a garret, while I see though it is a reward, and a rapture. you surrounded with gold and silk. You But to any other person- " will excuse my rustic frankness, for it She did not finish her sentence, but may be of advantage to your character rose from her seat, saluted her visiter, that you should know the calumnies," and disappeared.
" Stop, sir," said Madame Firmiani, " Ahi muttered the old man to interrupting the gentleman by a com- himself, “ what a woman ! she is either manding gesture, “ I am apprised of a sly one, or an angel !" every thing you would teach me; and Next morning, at eight o'clock, the
old gentleman ascended the staircase of a kiss. “ She is a charming creature," an humble-looking dwelling in the re- resumed he. “ You can have the king's mote and obscure street, where his approbation, and your uncle's permisnephew dwelt. If any one was ever sur. sion, if you wish. As for the sanction prised, it was the young professor at the of the church, you thought that useless, sight of his uncle. The key was in the I fancy. The ceremony is too costly, of lock, and his lamp was still burning; he course! But tell me, now, did you ruin had been up all night.
yourself for her ?” " Mr. Farceur,” said M. de Valesnes, “Yes, sir." (seating himself in the only spare chair “ Ah! the wicked one! I could have in the room,) “ how long has it been wagered it was so," the custom for nephews to play tricks « Uncle," said Octave, with a sadupon uncles, whose heirs they are, more dened, yet enraptured countenance, especially when these uncles have ten “you mistake me. Madame Firmiani thousand dollars per annum ? Do you deserves your esteem, and is worthy the know that these relatives, once upon a adoration of all who behold her." time, used to be respected. Let us see; “ Youth is always the same," said M. have you any thing to reproach me ? de Valesnes. “But go on; have your Have I neglected my business of uncle ? own way ; cram me with the old story, Have I ever insisted upon your paying if you please. Only, remember that I me an unreasonable degree of deference? did not graduate in the school of gallanHave I ever refused you money? Have try for the first time, yesterday.” I ever shut the door in your face, under " My good uncle," replied Octave, the pretext that you only came to see “here is a letter which will acquaint you how long I was likely to live? Have I with every thing. When you have read not always demeaned myself as the most it, I will go on with my narrative, and you accommodating and least exacting uncle will begin to understand a woman whose that there is in France ? not to say parallel has never yet trod the earth.” Europe, for that would be too ambitious. “ I have forgot my spectacles," obYou wrote to me or not, according to served the old man ; “so do you read it.” your convenience; and I lived on satis Octave commenced thus :-" My fied of your affection, and managed one best beloved !-". of the prettiest estates in the province “ This woman is yours, then ?" for you. It is true, that I wished you “ Most assuredly, uncle.” to enter into possession as late as pos “And you have had no quarrel ?”' sible ; but that is no crime, and a very " Quarrel !" repeated the young man excusable frailty in an old man! And with surprise, “why, we have not yet all this time, you sell your estate, lodge been married three months !” like a footman, and have no longer any “Well,” inquired his uncle, “Why equipage, or retinue !"
do you dine every day for a shilling?" "My dear uncle,"
• Let me go on with the letter, and " I am not talking about uncles, but you will learn." about nephews! I have a right to be in " That is true; go on." your confidence, so begin your con Octave resumed the letter, and it was fession immediately and fully: it is the not without the most agitated feelings . easiest way, as I know by experience that he read certain sentences of it. Have you gambled ? Have you been “ MY BEST BELOVED AND DARLING taken in at the stock exchange? Come HUSBAND—You asked me why I was now, say to me: • Uncle, I am a melancholy? Has then a shadow passed wretched, ruined man'-and we will from my soul upon my countenance; or kiss and be friends. But, if you tell me have you only fancied it ? Why should it one bigger lie than I used to tell at your not be so ? For our hearts beat so in age, I will sell my property, put you out unison together. But I cannot lie, or upon a weekly pension, and resume all conceal my emotions. Is it not a mismy bad habits of youth—if I can." fortune? One of the conditions of a wo" My dear uncle—"
man who is loved, is to be always ca"Ah! I saw your Madame Firmiani ressing and cheerful. I might, perhaps, last night.”
succeed in deceiving you ; but I would So saying, M. de Valesnes imitated not do so, even though it should prethe manners of a young man, and kissed serve or enhance the bliss which you the tip of his fingers as if he was blowing cause me, which I enjoy so rapturously,
and by which my heart and soul are in- once my only happiness. From the bot. toxicated. Dearest, how much gratitude tom of my soul there rises a still small there is in my love! Therefore I would voice which I cannot silence, and which love you always, and boundlessly. Yes, I calls incessantly. Oh! how I have wept would desire to be always proud of you. to think that my conscience was stronger A woman's glory is centred altogether than my love. You might commit a in her lover. Esteem, consideration, and crime, and I would shelter you from hu. honour, all belong to him who has ob- man justice in my bosom, if I could, but tained every thing else of her. Well, my devotion could go no farther. Love then, my dearest has been a delinquent in a woman's soul, my darling, is comin one thing ; yes, your last confidence posed of the most unbounded confidence, has tarnished all my former exultation united with an indefinable necessity of and joy. Since that moment, I feel venerating and worshipping the object humiliated on your account ; you whom to which it belongs. I have never I looked upon as the most faultless of thought of love but as a sacred flame, men, as you are the most loving and by which the noblest sentiments were tender. I know I ought to have the refined; a fire which separated, purified, most implicit confidence in your young and developed them all. I have but heart, to make you such an avowal; and one word more to add. Come to me you know not how much it costs me. poor and destitute ; and then my love What ! your father acquired his fortune for you will be doubted, if such a thing unjustly and by fraud ? and you know it were possible ; if you dissent, renounce and yet retain it? And you told me this me altogether. If I never see you more, tale, worthy of a debased pettifogger, in my course is decided. But understand a room full of the silent and conscious me; I do not desire you to make restiwitnesses of our love ! And all this time tution on account of my advising it. you call yourself a gentleman and a no- Consult your conscience rather. This ble! You are the master of my heart mere act of justice should not be looked and hand! and you are twenty-two years upon as a sacrifice offered to love. I am old! How many dreadful inconsisten. your wife; and it is not so important to cies! I have sought for excuses to jus- please and to pacify me, as to inspire tify you. I attributed your indifference me with a profound esteem for you. But to the thoughtlessness of careless youth. if I am mistaken—if I have misunderI know there is much of infantile open- stood your father's conduct—and even ness in you. Perhaps you have not yet if you should think you have the least thought seriously of what fortune and claim to your fortune, (and, oh ! how I honour consist of! Oh, what a pang long to persuade myself that you are your light laugh occasioned me! But re- blameless,) decide by listening to the acflect that there now exists a ruined family cents of your own conscience; and act by always in tears; that there are, proba- your own impulse. A man who loves bly, young women who curse you every sincerely, as you love me, has too great day; or an old man, who repeats to him. a respect for the holy confidence reposed self— I should not be without bread in him by his wife, to be dishonourable.
had not M. de Champ's father been a I begin to blame myself for all that I · dishonest man!' My Octave, there is no have written. One word, perhaps, would
power on earth with authority to change be enough! My instinctive scrupulosity the plain and simple language of probity. may have carried me too far. Then Call your conscience to witness, and ask scold me, not too severely, but a little. it by what name it would designate the Have you not, dearest, the authority ? action to which you owe your gold. I You only ought to perceive your faults. will not tell you all the thoughts which Now, adored master, can you say that oppress my heart; they can be reduced your scholar is ignorant of subtle disto one, and it is this, I cannot esteem tinctions ?”. a person who sullies himself, knowingly, “What say you now, uncle?" asked for money, however large may be the Octave, while his eyes were swimming amount. A hundred cents cheated at with tears. cards, or ten times a hundred thousand “But there is some more writing. dollars acquired by legal injustice, are Continue, and read all." equally dishonourable to a man. I will “Oh! the rest is nothing but what and must tell you all! I consider myself lovers write, and which lovers only should stained by those caresses which were read.''
"Good," said M. de Valesnes, “ very should have known that I love you well good, my child. I have had a good deal enough to pay all your honourable debts, of intercourse with the sex; and I would which a gentleman may contract. I will have you know that I have loved in my be revenged of you.” time. Et ego in Arcadia. But I can “I know the vengeance you have in not understand what drove you to give store for me, but let me enrich myself lessons in the mathematics."
by my own industry. At this moment “My dear uncle, I am your nephew. I am so happy, that my only care is Is not this enough to tell you that I had how to subsist. You understand that encroached a little upon the capital which if I give lessons, it is to avoid being a my father left me. When I had finished burden to any one. If you could but that letter, an entire revolution took realise the pleasure with which I made place in me. It is not possible to de- the restitution! After much trouble, scribe the state of mind I was in. When I succeeded in discovering the ruined and I drove my cabriolet, a voice whispered impoverished family, destitute of everyto me: is that horse yours ?' When thing. They lived at St. Germain's, in I dined, it repeated : ‘is not that dinner a dilapidated cottage, where the old a stolen meal ?' I was ashamed of my father had a little lottery-office ; his two self; and the younger my probity was, daughters took care of the household, the more was it ardent and earnest. I and kept the accounts; the mother was flew to Madame Firmiani; and oh! dear bedridden. The daughters were exuncle, what a day of heartfelt pleasure, quisitely beautiful; but they had learned of that transport of soul which millions the bitter lesson, what little value the could not purchase! We calculated world attaches to beauty when without together the amount I owed to the un- fortune or portion. What a picture I known, but suffering family. Contrary witnessed ! but if I entered as an accomto the opinion of Madame Firmiani, Í plice in guilt, I retired an honest man. condemned myself to pay three per cent. My adventure is a true drama! To have interest since my father's death. But come upon them like Providence; to my entire fortune did not suffice to defray have realized one of those vague and halfthe sum. Then, we were both of us formed wishes-Oh! that ten thousand loving enough, she to offer, and I to francs a-year would fall down from accept, her savings. What an hour of heaven !'--that wish which we form with
a bitter smile; language fails to describe * What!” exclaimed the uncle, “ be the scene that ensued. My rigoro us. sides her other virtues, is this adorable justice appeared unjust even to the parcreature an economist also !"
ties that profited by it. If there is a “Do not laugh at us, uncle," said paradise, my father ought to be suthe young man. “Her position compels premely happy in it. As for me, I am her to exercise much caution and ma- loved as never mortal was. Madame nagement. Her husband left her, some Firmiani has given me more than hapyears ago, for Greece, where he died piness; she has endowed me with an three years back. Until this day, it exquisite delicacy of thought and feelhas been impracticable to obtain legal ing, in which, perhaps, I was deficient. proof of his decease, and to get posses. Therefore, I call her my dear conscience;. sion of the will which he must have one of those names of love, which remade in favour of his wife, which was spond to certain secret harmonies of either destroyed, or lost by his Albanian the soul. Honesty is the best policy ; servants. Not knowing whether she and I expect to get rich speedily by my may not be called upon to account with own exertions. I am now employed ill-natured heirs-at-law, she is obliged upon a problem in mechanics ; if I sucto observe a most rigid economy. Should ceed, I shall gain millions by the applithe necessity happen, she wishes to cation of it.” . leave her wealth in the same manner as At this moment, notwithstanding the Chateaubriand relinquished the ministry. distance from the pavement to the garret Therefore. I want to gain a fortune of M. Octave de Champs, both uncle which should be mine, the work of mine and nephew distinctly heard the rumbling own hands, to endow my wife with, of a carriage, which stopped at the gate. should things turn out unfavourably." “ It is her,” said the young man; “I
“And you never informed me of this; know it by the sound of her horses' feet, and never applied to me? Nephew, you which I have studied.”
other has was, and the result ons are there suddenly
and by which my heart and soul are in- once my only happiness. From
-the upright judge, the decies! I have sought fc
convict. One side of the picture tify you. I attribute
3 as ennobling to our nature as the
other is humiliating. to the thoughtlessne I know there is m
Infants generally give promise of an ness in you. Pe
clayed until intelligence which later youth does not thought serious a regret for the fulfil. Is not this an evidence that there honour consi ug more sins. is something wrong in our methods of your light la and great acquirements
early education? Though, perhaps, it flect that t} books, admired, but rarely may be that the stories told of suckling always ip use. It is the lesser ac
precocity are not true, and that our nts, the lighter talents, that, mother, like Wordsworth's heaven, “lies hecimoes, are in constant de about us in our infancy."
The same truth in the hands of a fool 0, give more pleasure and worla har
and a man of sense, becomes two very singular that Pope should, in his
different things. The glass which relotions, be the most diffuse of poets,
veals to a philosopher the system of the in his original compositions the most
universe, only serves a child to cut nie
fingers with. How many weak men have An ear for music and an ear for rhythm
been the victims of a wise maxim! are scareely ever found united. Pope,
In times of national disorder, great Burns, Byron, Scott, Coleridge, Crabbe,
men rise to the summit of affairs as and Lessing, had no ear for music.
certainly as the large lumps come to the Let the suspecting always be sus
top when you shake a sugar-bowl. pected.
The loss of resolute habits is like the Rochefoucauld and Mandeville thought
loss of his spectacles to a near-sighted that they were describing man, when. in man; it implies a loss of the power to fact, they were depicting their own recover them. selfish characters. They looked down Self-conceit is a standing pool, wb into the well where truth lies hid, but exhibits other men to our eye, not only mistook the reflection of their own below us, but completely inverted.