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DARK ALLUSIONS.

aunt would have seen nothing to excite suspicion. A more decided expression of features, a greater steadiness of eye, a more vivid glance, a firmer and fuller tone of voice, a more glowing expression of sentiment; these results would have gratified ; and she would never have imagined the scenes wherein his eye, his glance, his voice, his sentiment, put forth all their fascinations. Copying his master, the unfortunate youth studied to become perfect in all the arts of seduction—a splendid deception.

In reply to his letter, given in a former chapter, Count Valremy wrote as follows:

“ MY PROMISING PUPIL,

“From your dismal letter, I concluded that you are ripe for another piece of innocent recreation. Let me have the interesting details as soon as you have performed the exploit.

“I read your lamentations with considerable interest, my friend. I also felt duly compunctious for having, on one or two occasions (not more, you know), seconded your ambitious projects. All your other achievements are your own; you deserve all their merit. Then, wherefore do you by implication reflect your meritorious guilt on me? Shall I freshen your memory respecting remembrance the beautiful ; and, above all, enter into the details of the affair at Versailles ? Think of these exploits, my friend, and your gloom will vanish; but I doubt not you have already added

and call to your

VALREMY'S OPINIONS.

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another to the list. I burn with impatience for the details, which, as a matter of course, you will be proud to describe.

“ You are very much like myself, my dear friend. You are

• vicious' on principle, more than by propensity. So, perhaps, you'll turn saint before you die; that is, you'll change the object of ambition. Had you been a mere brute of sensualism, it would have taken you years to acquire the skill you have attained in four or five months. But, in point of fact, you came into the world fashioned for a seducer, only needing opportunity to fulfil your destiny. You would make an excellent Jesuit; but, as long as I live, that shall never be : I would rather have you as you are, hoping that you will be the means, like myself, in the hands of Providence, to thwart the nefarious designs of that execrable confraternity.

“So you have been thrown under the wing of the pious Duplessis. I am very glad of it; for I know you too well not to perceive what is in the fates. Go forth and prosper. I shall be much obliged to you. You'll have it all your own way.

“ Doubtless you would like to know your man; you 'll unravel the lady yourself. I have never seen her.

Duplessis is the tool of the Jesuits; in fact, I believe he is a Jesuit, and a very clever one into the bargain; for he manages to spend a vast deal of their money in pious purposes they know not of, and they think him a pious man for his services, which have

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106

WORDS METAPHORICAL.

been valuable ; that is, he has brought them in some good round sums, by way of legacies, from dying Christians. He acts as a sort of commissioner for the reverend fathers : little as I shall pity the rogues, I hope they 'll find out the rogue Duplessis ere long. Cunning as these Jesuits are, how often are they caught in their own traps. If they were straightforward and honest, how much more secure would they be. I know them well, having had a vast deal to do with them, as I shall tell you some day.

“ Duplessis is as bad in certain matters as you or I, only he is a despicable, mean wretch; but he likes to talk divinity, that is his reputation;" so always give him an opportunity to preach, drop in a neat compliment now and then, and you'll be his son well-beloved.'

" In conclusion, hoping that I need not explain how metaphorically I understand those last words relating to paternity, and eager to hear the details, believe me,

Always yours,

« VALREMY."

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HOW VICE IS FOSTERED.

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CHAPTER VIII.

THE SUCCESSFUL LOVER.

The character which the preceding letter gives to Leonard Devigne is likely to prejudice the reader against him; even should henow seem to have honourable intentions, the dark insinuations of Count Valremy must excite suspicion.

On the other hand, it was a strong temptation to the vain youth: it was a stumbling-block; a cunningly-devised pitfall. How many are thus confirmed in the career of vice by the direct approbation of the vicious; by the indirect approval or admiration of the sober; and, must it not be added, the frivolous smiles of the fair?

The reader must draw his own conclusions from the following letter :

LEONARD DevIGNE TO COUNT VALREMY. “MY DEAR COUNT,

“Amongst your numerous endowments, you must certainly possess the gift of prophecy. Winter has

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fled. Spring is come again. My gloom has vanished. Joy abounds. I am a happy man.

It is achieved.

My intentions were most honourable ; they are most honourable: we have only to pray that thus they may continue. This is virtuous, my dear Count; and though you may blame me, the testimony of my conscience is a safer guide in this matter.

“O, bliss, incomprehensibly entrancing! Scheme most admirably conceived, artistically executed, and supremely successful !

“ I will state the case:

“ I meet a lady of incomparable beauty; but let me describe her charms:- Imagine the most perfect oval that mind can conceive; let that be the face of my idol, ere nature, beneficent nature, complacently set to the work of embellishment. Let that face be animated by eyes of celestial blue-shaped like an almond—with drooping lids, whose pendent lashes, fringe the melting orbs into shade. Her beautiful nose straight, and yet slightly prominent (your sign of undefined desire); her upper lip short and slightly curved (your sign of that pleasant craft which mystifies a father and outwits a mother); her under lip full and parted from its lovely mate above (your sign of gentle sensibility); let both be the ripest cherries, in colour; as restless as a wave, in expression ; like virtue, in repose; like vice, in excitement. Gently place her round smooth chin

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