Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

than Montauban." Lonquillez was too much has now thrown her into the arms of another. struck with her words to appear unaffected by There would then be no occasion for this secret them ; she observed his surprise. “ You think interview, which, I confess, I cannot help dreadno harm, I hope,” said she. He assured her he ing; but as you urge the impossibility of your did not.“ Nay, I need not care, for that part, visiting Mons. de Montauban, without betraywho hears me; yet some folks might think it ing emotions, which, you say, would be dangerodd : But we are all friends here, as we may say, ous to the peace of us all, coniured as I am by and neither of you, I know, are tale-bearers, those motives of compassion, which my heart is, otherwise I should not prattle as I Uo; especially, perhaps, but too susceptible of for my own peace, as the last time I saw my lady, when I asked I have at last, not without a feeling like remorse, after her foster-brother, she told me, I must not resolved to meet you on Monday next, at the speak of him now, nor talk of the meetings they house of our old nurse Lasune, whom I shall used to have at my house."

prepare for the purpose, and on whose fidelity I Such were her words: the memory of Lon- can perfectly rely. I hope you will give me crequillez is faithful, and he was interested to re- dit for that remembrance of Savillon, which member.-I drew my breath short, and mutter- your letter, rather unjustly, denies me, when ed vengeance. The good fellow saw my warmth, you find me agreeing to this measure of impruand tried to moderate it. “ It is a matter, sir,” dence, of danger, it may be of guilt, to mitigate said he, “ of such importance, that, if I may the distress which I have been unfortunate presume to advise, nothing should be believed enough to give him.” rashly. If my mistress loves Savillon, if he still answers her fondness, they will surely write to each other. I commonly take charge of the letters for the post; if you can find any proof that way, I feel, at this moment, a sort of determined it cannot lie nor deceive you."

coolness, which the bending up of my mind to I have agreed to his proposal.- How am I the revenge her crimes deserve, has conferred fallen, Segarva, when such artifices are casy to upon me; I have therefore underlined* some me !-But I will not pause on trivial objections passages in this damned scroll, that my friend -the fate of Montauban is set upon this cast, may see the weight of that proof on which I and the lesser moralities must speak unheeded. proceed. Mark the air of prudery that runs

through it, the trick of voluptuous vice to give

pleasure the zest of nicety and reluctance. « It LETTER XLI.

may be of guilt." Mark with what coolness she

invites him to participate it !- Is this the handMontauban to Segarva.

writing of Julia ?-I am awake and see it.

Julia ! my wife! damnation ! It is something to be satisfied of the worst. I have now such proof, Segarva !- Inquiry is at an end, and vengeance is the only business I have left. Before you can answer this—the I have been visiting this Lasune, whose house infamy of your friend cannot be erased, but it is destined for the scene of my wife's interview shall be washed in blood !

with her gallant. I feel the meanness of an inLonquillez has just brought me a letter from quisition, that degrades me into the wretched my wife to Mademoiselle de Roncilles, a bosom spy on an abandoned woman.--I blushed and friend of hers at Paris. He opened it by a very hesitated while I talked to this old doating misimple operation, without hurting its appear- nister of their pleasures. But the moment comes ance. It consisted only of a few hurried lines, when I shall resume myself, when I shall burst desiring her to deliver an enclosed letter to Sa- upon them in the terrors of punishment. villon, and to take charge of his answer.—That Whether they have really imposed on the simletter now lies before me.-Read it, Segarva- plicity of this creature, I know not; but her anthou wilt wish to stab her while thou read'st it swers to some distant questions of mine looked --but Montauban has a dagger too.

not like those of an accomplice of their guilt.« I know not, sir, how to answer the letter Or, rather, it is I who am deceived; the cunmy friend Mademoiselle de Roncilles has just ning of intrigue is the property of the meanest sent me from you. The intimacy of our former among the sex—It matters not: I have proof days I still recal, as one of the happiest periods of without her. my life. The friendship of Julia you are cer- She conducted me into an inner room fitted tainly still entitled to, and might claim, with up with a degree of nicety. On one side stood out the suspicion of impropriety, though fate a bed, with curtains and a bed-cover of clean

• The passages here alluded to are printed in Italics.

cotton. That bed, Segarva but this heart When I look back on that life, how fateful shall down ; I will be calm-at the time while has it been! Is it unjust in Providence to make I looked on it, I could not; the old woman ob- this so often the lot of hearts little able to strug. served my emotion, and asked if I was ill; I gle with misfortune? or is it indeed the posrecovered myself, however, and she suspected session of such hearts that creates their misfor. nothing ; I think she did not-It looked as if the tunes ? Had I not felt as I have done, half the beldame had trimmed it for their use_damn ills I complain of had been nothing, and at this her ! damn her! killing is poor-canst thou not moment I were happy. Yet to have wanted invent me some luxurious vengeance !

such a heart, ill-suited as it is to the rude touch of sublunary things—I think I cannot wish so much. There will come a time, Maria, (might

I forebode without your censure, I should say, Lonquillez has re-sealed, and sent off her let- it may not be distant,) when they shall wound ter to Savillon; he will take care to bring me it no longer ! the answer ; but I know the answer—“On Mon In truth, I am every way weak at present. day next,”—why should I start as I think on it ? My poor father adds much to my distresses: he

Their fate is fixed ! mine perhaps—but I has appeared, for some time past, to be verging will think no more. Farewell.

towards a state, which alone I should think worse than his death. His affection for me is the only

sense now quite alive about him, nay, it too parRouillé is just arrived here; I could have takes of imbecility. He used to embrace me with wished him absent now. He cannot participate ardour ; he now embraces me with tears. my wrongs; they are sacred to more determined Judge, then, if I am able to meet Savillon at souls. Methinks, at this time, I hate his smiles; this time, if I could allow myself to meet him at they suit not the purposes of Montauban. all, Think what I am, and what he is. The

coolness I ought to maintain had been difficult

at best ; at present it is impossible. I can searce LETTER XLII.

think without weeping; and to see that form

Julia to Maria.

I hope, from the conveyance which Lisette Maria ! when this picture was drawn !-I rehas procured for this letter, it may reach you member the time well-my father was at Paris, nearly as soon as that in which I inclosed one and Savillon left my mother and me at Belville. for Savillon. If it comes in time, let it prevent The painter, who was accidentally in our proyour delivering that letter. I have been consi- vince, came thither to give me a few lessons of dering of this interview again, and I feel a sort drawing. Savillon was already a tolerable deof crime in it towards my husband, which I dare signer; but he joined with me in becoming a not venture on. I have trespassed too much scholar to this man. When our master was with against sincerity already, in concealing from us, he used sometimes to guide my hand; when him my former attachment to that unfortunate he was gone, at our practice of his instructions, young man. So strongly indeed did this idea Savillon commonly supplied his place. But Sae strike me, that I was preparing to tell it him villon's hand was not like the other's: I felt this very day, when he returned from riding, something from its touch not the less delightful and found me scarce recovered from the emotion from carrying a sort of fear along with that dewhich a reperusal of Savillon's letter had cau- light: it was like a pulse in the soul ! sed; but his look had a sternness in it, so op- Whither am I wandering? What now are posite to those feelings which should have open- those scenes to me, and why should I wish to ed the bosom of your distracted Julia, that I remember them ? Am I not another's, irreroshrunk back into secrecy, terrified at the reflec- cably another's ?-Savillon knows I am. La tion on my own purpose. Why am I the wife of him not wish to see me : we cannot recal the this man ? but if confidence and tenderness are past, and wherefore, wherefore should we add not mine to give, there is a duty which is not to the evils of the present? mine to refuse. Tell Savillon I cannot see him.

Not in the way he asks—let him come as the friend of Julia de Roubigné. Oh, Maria ! what a picture do these words recal! the friend of

LETTER XLIII. Julia de Roubigné!-in those happy days, when it was not guilt to see, to hear, to think of him

Montauban to Segarva. —when this poor heart was unconscious of its little wanderings, or felt them but as harmless I HAVE missed some link of my intelligence ; dreams, which sweetened the real ills of a life for the day is past, and no answer from San)too early visited by misfortune!

lon is arrived. I thank him, whatever be the

reason ; for he has given me time to receive the things are uncommon, but that Montauban is a instructions of my friend.

fool.md husband-a--perdition seize her! You caution me well as to the certainty of her guilt. You know the proof I have already acquired ; but I will have assurance beyond the possibility of doubt: I will wait their very meet- "Is my friend too leagued against me? Alas! ing before I strike this blow, and my vengeance, my virtue was too feeble before, and needed not like that of Heaven, shall be justified by a re- the addition of Maria's arguments to be over- ! petition of her crimes.

come. Savillon's figure, you say, aided by that I am less easily convinced, or rather I am less languid paleness, which his late illness had given willing to be guided, by your opinion, as to the it, was irresistible.Why is not Julia sick ? secrecy of her punishment. You tell me that there yet, wretched as she is, irretrievably wretched, is but one expiation of a wife's infidelity. I am she breathes, and walks, and speaks, as she did resolved she dies--but that the sacrifice should in her most happy days! be secret. Were I even to upbraid her with her “You entreat me, for pity's sake, to meet him. crime, you say, her tears, her protestations, would — He hinted his design of soon leaving France outplead the conviction of sense itself, and I to return to Martinique.'—Why did he ever should become the dupe of that infamy I am leave France ? Had he remained contented with bound to punish. Is there not something like love and Julia, instead of this stolen, this guilty guilt in this secrecy? Should Montauban shrink, meeting-What do I say? - I live but for Montlike a coward, from the vindication of his ho- auban! nour ?-Should he not burst upon this strumpet “I will think no longer-This one time I and her lover--the picture is beastly. The will silence the monitor within me-Tell him I sword of Montauban !-thou art in the right, it will meet him. On Thursday next, let him be would disgrace it.-Let me read your letter at Lasune's in the evening : it will be dark by again.

six.

“I dare not read what I have written. Fare.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

well."

I am a fool to be so moved-but your letter has given me back myself. “ The disgrace is only published by an open revenge: it can be It will be dark by six !-Yet I will keep my buried with the guilty by a secret one."-I am word, Segarva; they shall meet, that certainty yours, Segarva, and you shall guide me. may precede my vengeance; but, when they

Chance has been kind to me for the means. part, they part to meet no more ! Lonquillez's Once, in Andalusia, I met with a Venetian em- fidelity I know : his soul is not that of a serpiric, of whom, among other chemical curiosi- vant: he shall provide for Savillon. Julia is a ties, I bought a poisonous drug, the efficacy of victim above him-Julia shall be the charge of which he shewed me upon some animals to his master. whom he administered it. The death it gave Farewell! when I write again, it shall not be was easy, and altered not the appearance of the to threaten. thing it killed.

LETTEK XLIV.

I have fetched it from my cabinet, and it

Savillon to Herbert. stands before me. It is contained in a little square phial, marked with some hieroglyphic Arter an interval of torture, I have at last scrawls, which I do not understand. Methinks, received an answer from Madame de Montauwhile I look on it-I could be weak, very weak, ban-Have I lived to write that name !-but it Segarva-But an hour ago, I saw her walk, and is fit that I be calm. speak, and smile-yet these few drops !-I will Her friend has communicated her resolution look on it no more

of allowing me to see her in the house of that I hear the tread of her feet in the apartment good Lasune, whom I have mentioned to you in above. Did she know what passes in my mind! some of our conversations, as the common nurse -the study in which I sit seems the cave of a of both. Were it not madness to look back, and demon!

that, at present, I need the full possession of myself, the idea of Lasune's house would recal such

things— but they are past, never, never to reLonquillez has relieved me again. He has, turn ! this moment, got from her maid the following letter, addressed to her friend Maclemoiselle de Roncilles. What a sex it is ! but I have heard I have recovered, and can go on calmly. I set of their alliances of intrigue. It is not that these out to-morrow morning: Thursday next is the

day she has appointed for our interview. I have he, « till supper-time, and Rouillé's shooting but to dispatch this one great business, and then party will detain him till it is late.”—The condepart from my native country for ever. Every sciousness of my purpose pressed upon my tongue tie that bound me to this world is now broken, while I answered him: I faltered, and could hard except that which accident gave me in your friend- ly speak. .“ You speak faintly,” said Montauship : before I cross the Atlantic, I'would once ban. “You are not ill, I hope,” taking my more see my Herbert ; when I have indulged hand. I told him, truly, that my head ached a myself in that last throb of affection, which our good deal, that it had ached all day, that I meant friendship demands at parting, there remains no- to try if a walk would do it service. “ Perhaps thing for me to do, but to shrink up from all the it may," answered he; and methought he looked feelings of life, and look forward, without emo- steadily, and with a sort of question at me ; or tion, to its close.

rather my own mind interpreted his look in that manner-I believe I blushed.

How I tremble as I look on my watch! Would

I could recal my promise. I feel, at this moment, as if I were on my death. bed, the necessity of a manly composure; that stifled sigh was the last sacrifice of my weakness; I am now thinking what I have to do with the I am somewhat bolder now; but it is not from hours that remain : meet me like a man, and having conquered my fear; something like deshelp me to employ them as I ought. Nothing pair assists me.--It wants but a few minutesshall drag me back to Europe, and therefore I the hand that points them seems to speak as I would shake off every occasion to revisit it. watch it. I come, Savillon, I come!

Though the externals of place and distance are not of much importance to me, yet there is something in large towns that I wish to avoid. As you mention a design of being in Dorsetshire How shall I describe our meeting? I am unsometime soon, may I ask you to make next fit for describing-it cannot be described-I week that time, and meet me at the town of Pool shall be calmer by and by. in that county ? Inconsiderable and unknown as I am, there are circumstances that might mark me out in Picardy; and therefore I shall go by Dieppe to that port of England, where I know I know not how I got to the house. From the I shall, at this season, find an opportunity of moment I quitted my chamber, I was unconscious getting over the Atlantic.

of every thing around me. The first object that I inclose a letter to a merchant in London, struck my eye was Savillon ; I recollec: my nurse relating to some business, in which my uncle was placing me on a chair opposite to where he sat concerned, with the house of which he is a part, she left us—I felt the room turning round der. Be so kind to forward it, and let him know with me—I had fainted, it seems. When I rethat I desire the answer may be committed to covered, I found her supporting me in her arms, your care. As I see by his correspondence, that and holding a phial of salts to my nose. Savilhe is not altogether a man of business, he may lon had my hands in his, gazing on me with a Ferhaps be desirous of meeting with you, to ask countenance of distress and terror. My eye met some questions about the nephew of his old ac-' his, and for some moments, I looked on him, as quaintance. He will wonder, as others will, at I have done in my dreams, unmindful of our so rich a man returning to Martinique. If a situation. The pressure of his hand awakened reason is necessary, invent some one; it is pe- me to recollection. He looked on me more earculiar to misery like mine to be incapable of nestly still, and breathed out the word Julia ! being told.— I shall relapse, if I continue to write. It was all he could utter ; but it spoke such - You will, if it is possible, meet me at Pool; things, Maria!-You cannot understand its force. if not, write to me thither, where I shall find Had you felt it as I did !-I could not, indeed I you. Let your letter wait me at the post-house. could not, help bursting into tears. Farewell.

“My dearest children,” cried the good Lasune, taking our hands which were still folded

together, and squeezing them in her's. The LETTER XLV.

action had something of that tender simplicity in

it, which is not to be resisted. I wept afresh; Julia to Maria.

but my tears were less painful than before.

She fetched a bottle of wine from a cupboard, The hour is almost arrived! My husband and forced me to take a glass of it. She offered has just left me: he came into my room in his another to Savillon. He put it by, with a genriding dress.-" I shall not be at home,” said tle inclination of his head. “You shall drink it, indeed, my dear boy," said she; “it is a long night I leave France for ever 1"-" This night!" time since you tasted any thing in this house." I exclaimed. “ It must be so," said he, with a He gave a deep sigh, and drank it.

determined calmness ; “but before I go, let me She had given us time to recover the power of deposit in your hands this paper. It is a mespeech : but I knew less how to begin speaking morial of that Savillon, who was the friend of than before. My eyes now found something in Julia !"--I opened it: it was a will, bequeathing Savillon's, which they were ashamed to meet his fortune to me. “This must not be,” said I, Lasune left us ; I almost wished her to stay. “ this must not be.—Think not, I conjure you,

Savillon sat down in his former place; he so despairingly of life; live to enjoy that forthrew his eyes on the ground—“ I know not," tune, which is so seldom the reward of merit said he, in a faltering voice,“ how to thank you like thine. I have no title to its disposal.” for the condescension of this interview our for- “ You have the best one,” returned Savillon, mer friendship’--I trembled for what he seemed still preserving his composure; “I never valued about to say.-" I have not forgotten it," said wealth, but as it might render me, in the lan- · I, half interrupting him.--I saw him start from guage of the world, more worthy of thee. To his former posture, as if awaked by the sound of make it thine, was the purpose of my wishing my voice.-" I ask not," continued he, “to be to acquire it; to make it thine is still in my remembered: I am unworthy of your remem- power."_“I cannot receive this, indeed I canbrancemIn a short time, I shall be a voluntary not. Think of the situation in which I stand." exile from France, and breathe out the remains I pressed the paper upon him: he took it at last, of life amidst a race of strangers, who cannot and pausing, as if he thought, for a momentcall forth those affections, that would henceforth “You are right; there may be an impropriety be shut to the world !"-"Speak not thus !" I in your keeping it.-Alas! I have scarce a friend, cried, “ for pity's sake, speak not thus ! Live, to whom I can entrust any thing; yet I may and be happy, happy as your virtues deserve, as find one, who will see it faithfully executed." Julia wishes you?"_" Julia wish me happy !" He was interrupted by Lasune, who entered - Oh! Savillon, you know not the heart that somewhat hurriedly, and told me, Lisette was you wring thus !-- If it has wronged you, you are come to fetch me, and that she had met my husrevenged enough.”—“ Revenged! revenged on band in her way to the house. “We must part Julia ! Heaven is my witness, I entreated this then,” said he,' “ for ever let not a thought meeting, that my parting words might bless of the unfortunate Savillon disturb the happiher !"-He fell on his knees before me—“May ness which Heaven allots to Julia ; she shall that power,” he cried, “who formed this excel- hear of him but once again—when that period lence, reward it! May every blessing this life arrives, it will not offend the happy Montauban, can bestow, be the portion of Julia ! May she be if she drops a tear to the memory of one, whose happy, long after the tongue that asks it is silent love was expiated by his sufferings!” Maria! for ever, and the heart that now throbs with the was it a breach of virtue, if then I threw myself wish, has ceased its throbbing !"-Had you seen on his neck, if then I wept on his bosom? His him, Maria, as he uttered this !-What should look, his last look! I see it still! never shall I I have done?-Weeping, trembling, unconsci- forget it !ous, as it were, of myself, I spoke I know not Merciful God! at whose altar I vowed fidewhat-told him the weakness of my soul, and lity to another ! impute not to me as a crime the lamented the destiny that made me another's. remembrance of Savillon !-thou canst see the This was too much. When I could recollect my- purity of that heart which bleeds at the rememself, I felt that it was too much. I would have brance ! retracted what I had said: I spoke of the duty I owed to Montauban, of the esteem which his virtues deserved.-“I have heard of his worth,” said Savillon;" I needed no proof to be convin

Eleven at night. ced of it; he is the husband of Julia.”—There You know my presentiments of evil; newas something in the tone of these last words, ver did I feel them so strong as at present. I that undid my resolution again.- I told him of tremble to go to bed--the taper that burns by the false intelligence I had received of his mar-' me is dim, and methinks my bed looks like a riage, without which no argument of prudence, grave! no partial influence, could have made me the wife of another. He put his hand to his heart, and threw his eyes wildly to heaven.- I shrunk back at that look of despair, which his counte I was weak enough to call back Lisette. I nance assumed. He took two or three hurried pretended some little business for her ; the poor turns through the room ; then resuming his seat, girl observed that I looked ill, and asked if she and lowering his voice, “It is enough,” said he should sit by me? I had almost said, Yes; but “I am fated to be miserable! but the contagion had courage enough to combat my fears in that of my destiny shall spread no sarther. This instance. She bid me Good-night--there was

« PreviousContinue »