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“Yes, it has clever articles, and yet say with the Mousquetaire in I remember how I was absorbed in the mélodrame : 'I am rich I have the eloquent roman which appeared my honour and my sword !"" in it."
“Nonsense! Rochebriant shall be “Ah! by the Signora Cicogna, saved ; meanwhile I hasten to Rawith whom I think you were some
Au revoir, at the Hotel Duwhat smitten last year.”
plessis-seven o'clock. “ Last year - was I? How a Lemercier went, and in less than year can alter a man ! But my two hours sent the Marquis bankdebt to the Prince. What has notes for 600 louis, requesting an
Le Sens Commun' to do with my order for the delivery of the horses horses?"
and carriage. “ I met Rameau at Savarin's the That order written and signed, other evening He was making Alain hastened to acquit himself of himself out a hero and a martyr; his debt of honour, and contemhis coupé had been taken from him plating his probable ruin with a to assist in a barricade in that sense- lighter heart, presented himself at less émeute ten days ago; the coupé the Hotel Duplessis. got smashed, the horses disap- Duplessis made no pretensions to peared. He will buy one of your vie with the magnificent existence horses and coupé. Leave it to me! of Louvier. His house, though I know where to dispose of the agreeably situated and flatteringly other two horses. At what hour styled the Hotel Duplessis, was of do you want the money?"
moderate size, very unostentatiously “Before I go to dinner at the furnished ; nor was it accustomed club."
to receive the brilliant motley “ You shall have it within two crowds which assembled in the hours; but you must not dine at salons of the elder financier. the club to-day. I have a note Before that year, indeed, Duplesfrom Duplessis to invite you to sis had confined such entertaindine with him to-day!”
ments as he gave to quiet men of “Duplessis ! I know so little of business, or a few of the more dehim!”
voted and loyal partisans of the “You should know him better. Imperial dynasty ; but since Valérie He is the only man who can give came to live with him he had you sound advice as to this difficul- extended his hospitalities to wider ty with Louvier, and he will give and livelier circles, including some it the more carefully and zealously celebrities in the world of art and because he has that enmity to letters as well as of fashion. Of Louvier which one rival financier the party assembled that evening at has to another. I dine with him dinner were Isaura, with the Signora too. We shall find an occasion to Venosta, one of the Imperial Minisconsult him quietly; he speaks of ters, the Colonel whom Alain had you most kindly. What a lovely already met at Lemercier's supper, girl his daughter is !"
Députés (ardent Imperialists), and “I daresay. Ah! I wish I had the Duchesse de Tarascon; these, been less absurdly fastidious. I with Alain and Frederic, made up wish I had entered the army as a the party
The conversation was private soldier six months ago; I not particularly gay. Duplessis should have been a corporal by himself, though an exceedingly wellthis time! Still it is not too late. read and able man, had not the When Rochebriant is gone, I can genial accomplishments of a brilliant host. Constitutionally grave he said : “When I last saw M. and habitually taciturn - though Vane I should have judged him to there were moments in which he be too much under the spell of an was roused out of his wonted self into enchantress to remain long without eloquence or wit-he seemed to-day the pale of the circle she draws absorbed in some engrossing train of around her.” thought. The Minister, the Dépu- Isaura turned her face quickly tés, and the Duchesse de Tarascon towards the speaker, and her lips talked politics, and ridiculed the moved, but she said nothing audibly. trumpery émeute of the 14th ; ex- “Can there have been quarrel or ulted in the success of the plébis- misunderstanding ?” thought Alain ; cite; and admitting, with indigna- and after that question his heart tion, the growing strength of Prus- asked itself, “Supposing Isaura were sia, -and with scarcely less indigna- free, her affections disengaged, could tion, but more contempt, censuring he wish to woo and to win her?" the selfish egotism of England in and his heart answered—“Eighteen disregarding the due equilibrium of months ago thou wert nearer to her the European balance of power, — than now. Thou wert removed hinted at the necessity of annexing from her for ever when thou didst Belgium as a set-off against the accept the world as a barrier between results of Sadowa.
you; then, poor as thou wert, thou Alain found himself seated next wouldst have preferred her to riches. to Isaura—to the woman who had Thou wert then sensible only of the so captivated his eye and fancy on ingenuous impulses of youth, but the his first arrival in Paris.
moment thou saidst, 'I am RocheRemembering his last conversa- briant, and having once owned the tion with Graham nearly a year ago, claims of birth and station, I canhe felt some curiosity to ascertain not renounce them for love,' Isaura whether the rich Englishman had became but a dream. Now that proposed to her, and if so, been re- ruin stares thee in the face—now fused or accepted.
that thou must grapple with the The first words that passed be- sternest difficulties of adverse fate tween them were trite enough, but thou Jiast lost the poetry of sentiafter a little pause in the talk, Alain ment which could alone give to said
that dream the colours and the form “I think Mademoiselle and my- of human life.” He could not again self have an acquaintance in com- think of that fair creature as a prize mon-Monsieur Vane, a distin- that he might even dare to covet. guished Englishman. Do you know And as he met her inquiring eyes, if he be in Paris at present? I have and saw her quivering lip, he felt not seen him for many months.” instinctively that Graham was dear
“I believe he is in London ; at to her, and that the tender interest least Colonel Morley met the other with which she inspired himself was day a friend of his who said so." untroubled by one pang of jealousy.
Though Isaura strove to speak in He resumed : a tone of indifference, Alain's ear Yes, the last time I saw the detected a ring of pain in her voice; Englishman he spoke with such and watching her counterance, he respectful homage of one lady, whose was impressed with a saddened hand he would deem it the highest change in its expression. He was reward of ambition to secure, that I touched, and his curiosity was cannot but feel deep compassion for mingled with a gentler interest as him if that ambition has been foiled;
and thus only do I account for his watching, with eyes, the anxious absence from Paris."
tearful sorrow of which none but “You are an intimate friend of her father had noticed, the lowMr Vane's ?."
voiced confidence between Alain "No, indeed, I have not that and the friend, whom till that day honour; our acquaintance is but she had so enthusiastically loved. slight, but it impressed me with Hitherto she had been answering in the idea of a man of vigorous in- monosyllables all attempts of the tellect, frank temper, and perfect great man to draw her into converhonour."
sation ; but now, observing how Isaura's face brightened with the Isaura blushed and looked down, joy we feel when we hear the praise that strange faculty in women, of those we love.
which we men call dissimulation, At this moment, Duplessis, who and which in them is truthfulness had been observing the Italian and to their own nature, enabled her to the young Marquis, for the first time carry off the sharpest anguish she during dinner, broke silence.
had ever experienced, by a sudden “ Mademoiselle," he said, address- burst of levity of spirit. She caught ing Isaura across the table, “I hope up some commonplace the Minister I have not been correctly informed had adapted to what he considered that your literary triumph has in- the poverty of her understanding, duced you to forego the career in with a quickness of satire which which all the best judges concur startled that grave man, and he that your successes would be no less gazed at her astonished. Up to brilliant ; surely one art does not that moment he had secretly adexclude another."
mired her as a girl well brought up Elated by Alain's report of Gra- -as girls fresh from a French conham's words, by the conviction that vent are supposed to be; now, these words applied to herself, and hearing her brilliant rejoinder to his by the thought that her renunciation stupid observation, he said inly: of the stage removed a barrier be- “ Dame! the low birth of a finantween them, Isaura answered, with cier's daughter shows itself.” a sort of enthusiasm
But, being a clever man himself, “I know not, M. Duplessis, if her retort put him on his mettle, one art excludes another; if there and he became, to his own amazebe desire to excel in each. But I ment, brilliant himself. With that have long lost all desire to excel in matchless quickness which belongs the art you refer to, and resigned to Parisians, the guests around him all idea of the career in which it seized the new esprit de convers оп opens.”
which had been evoked between "So M. Vane told me," said the statesman and the childlike girl Alain, in a whisper.
beside him ; and as they caught up “ When?"
the ball, lightly flung among them, “Last year,-on the day that he they thought within themselves how spoke in terms of admiration so much more sparkling the financier's merited of the lady whom M. Du- pretty, lively daughter was than plessis has just had the honour to that dark-eyed young muse, of whom address."
all the journalists of Paris were All this while, Valérie, who was writing in a chorus of welcome and scated at the further end of the applause, and who seemed not to table beside the Minister, who had have a word to say worth listening taken her into dinner, had been to, excepting to the handsome young VOL. CXIV.-NO. DCXCIII.
Marquis, whom, no doubt, she distinction.
Each was thinking wished to fascinate.
only of the prize which the humblest Valérie fairly outshone Isaura in peasant women have in common intellect and in wit; and neither with the most brilliantly accomValérie nor Isaura cared, to the plished of their sex—the heart of value of a bean - straw, about that a man beloved.
On the Continent generally, as we kinsman," said the Duchesse, impetall know, men do not sit drinking uously. “ You talk as if the Emwine together after the ladies retire. peror had an interest apart from So when the signal was given all the nation. I tell you that he has the guests adjourned to the salon; not a corner of his heart—not even and Alain quitted Isaura to gain one reserved for his son and his the ear of the Duchesse de Taras- dynasty-in which the thought of
France does not predominate.' “It is long — at least long for “I do not presume, Madame la Paris life," said the Marquis—"since Duchesse, to question the truth of my first visit to you, in company what you say; but I have no reason with Enguerrand de Vandemar. to suppose that the same thought Much that you then said rested on does not predominate in the heart my mind, disturbing the prejudices of the Bourbon. The Bourbon I took from Bretagne."
would be the first to say to me: 'If “I am proud to hear it, my kins- France needs your sword against man.”
her foes, let it not rest in the scab“ You know that I would have bard.' But would the Bourbon say, taken military service under the “The place of a Rochebriant is Emperor, but for the regulation among the valetaille of the Corsiwhich would have compelled me can's successor'}" to enter the ranks as a private sol- “Alas for poor France !” said dier."
the Duchesse ; "and alas for men “I sympathise with that scruple; like you, my proud cousin, if the but you are aware that the Emperor Corsican's successors or successor himself could not have ventured beto make an exception even in your Henry V.?" interrupted Alain, favour."
with a brightening eye. “Certainly not. I repent me of “Dreamer! No; some descendmy pride ; perhaps I may enlist still ant of the mob-kings who gave in some regiment sent to Algiers.” Bourbons and nobles to the guil
“No; there are other ways in lotine.” which a Rochebriant can serve a While the Duchesse and Alain throne. There will be an office at were thus conversing, Isaura had Court vacant soon, which would seated herself by Valérie, and, unnot misbecome your birth.”
conscious of the offence she had “Pardon me; a soldier serves given, addressed her in those pretty his country—a courtier owns a mas- caressing terms with which youngter; and I cannot take the livery lady friends are wont to compliof the Emperor, though I could ment each other; but Valérie anwear the uniform of France." swered curtly or sarcastically, and
“Your distinction is childish, my turned aside to converse with the Minister. A few minutes more and whispering, “ Duplessis will see us the party began to break up. Le
on your business so
soon as the mercier, however, detained Alain, other guests have gone."
“ Monsieur le Marquis," said buyers. I say nothing against M. Duplessis, when the salon Gandrin, but every man who knows cleared of all but himself and the Paris as I do, knows that M. Louvier two friends, “ Lemercier has con- can put, and has put, a great deal of fided to me the state of your affairs money into M. Gandrin's pocket. in connection with M. Louvier, and The purchaser of your wood does flatters me by thinking my advice not pay more than his deposit, and may be of some service; if so, com- has just left the country insolvent. mand me.”
Your purchaser, M. Collot, was an "I shall most gratefully accept adventurous speculator; he would your advice," answered Alain, " but have bought anything at any price, I fear my condition defies even provided he had time to pay; if his your ability and skill.”
speculations had been lucky he “ Permit me to hope not, and to would have paid. M. Louvier knew, ask a few necessary questions. M. as I knew, that M. Collot was a Louvier has constituted himself gambler, and the chances were that your sole mortgagee ; to what he would not pay. M. Louvier alamount, at what interest, and from lows a year's interest on his hypowhat annual proceeds is the interest thèque to become due-notice there
of duly given to you by his agentHerewith Alain gave details al- now you come under the operation ready furnished to the reader. Du- of the law. Of course, you know plessis listened, and noted down the what the law is ?" replies.
“Not exactly," answered Alain, "I see it all," he said, when feeling frostbitten by the congealAlain had finished. “ M. Louvier ing words of his counsellor; “but had predetermined to possess him. I take it for granted that if I cannot self of your estate : he makes him- pay the interest of a sum borrowed self sole mortgagee at a rate of in- on my property, that property itterest so low, that I tell you fairly, self is forfeited.” at the present value of money, I “No, not quite that the law is doubt if you could find any capital- mild. If the interest which should ist who would accept the transfer of be paid half-yearly remains unpaid the mortgage at the same rate. This at the end of a year, the mortgagee is not like Louvier, unless he had has a right to be impatient, has ho an object to gain, and that object is not ?" your land. The revenue from your “Certainly he has." estate is derived chiefly from wood, “Well then, on fait un comout of which the interest due to mandement tendant à saisie immobiLouvier is to be paid. M. Gandrin, lière, viz. : The mortgagee gives a in a skilfully-guarded letter, encour- notice that the property shall be put ages you to sell the wood from you up for sale. Then it is put up for foresis to a man who offers you sale, and in most cases the mortseveral thousand francs more than gagee buys it in. Here, certainly, it could command from customary no competitors in the mere business