Page images
PDF
EPUB

164

A SUDDEN THOUGHT.

And then he thought of Adele. What was to be done?

Strange thoughts passed through his mind. He recalled all that had been uttered and sworn on his part, and the passionate pledge of love that had been mutually given and received.

There was much to soften a heart even more depraved by vice. He began to feel for Adele. Nay, it even occurred to him that she had been defended from the temptation as by a miracle; and tenderer thoughts succeeded. Adele filled his mind-Adele filled his heart.

He resolved to marry her.

“She does not know the vile trick I permitted," said he to himself; “she will never know it. I will write to her. Poor, dear Adele! I have wronged her. Yes ; she loves me. I do love her. Oh, how loving to me! how confiding! Did she go to the place appointed? Oh, that I had seen my poor friend before he died! Cursed delay! Heavens! is it possible? Yes, 't is possible. I see it all. Gramont must be the wretch. I know he has been persecuting her; he must have watched her to the place; and there-oh, horrid ! the fiend! He has killed my friend ! . I'll avenge him.... But then, I shall compromise myself. Let that pass; but I'll marry Adele, and then, should the wretch seek me, as he doubtless will, he shall expiate the slaughter of Valremy. I vow it.”

His soliloquy ended, he wrote the following letter to Mlle. Duplessis :

[ocr errors]

.

[blocks in formation]

ven.

“ ADORED OF MY SOUL,–

“ Fatal illness! It has expelled me from hea

It has cost me paradise. But I shall regain it. “ How can you forgive me? Or, rather, how can I forgive it? that heartless illness !

“ I sent my poor friend to announce the desolating fact. Doubtless you went to the appointed place, oh, most faithful of women !

I was not there! “ Your devoted Leonard was not at

your

feet! “ Oh, fiendish illness! My brain is maddened, dearest love. I am distracted. Can I believe that the hated Gramont surprised you with my dear, honourable, faithful friend? Yes; I feel convinced that he did ; and then, oh, how dismal must have been to you that awful moment! Poor frightened dove! without its mate to strike the interloper down. But you were in the hands of honour itself; you were safe ; safe as in the hands of your devoted, faithful Leonard.

“What a catastrophe followed! My poor friend was killed by that wretch Gramont! Yes; it must be that wretch. Oh, pity my desolating affliction, sweet angel Adele! You alone can soothe my anguish.

“Oh, had I been there! I should have rid you of the mean wretch who persecutes you, or have been now in the place of my poor friend who has fallen for me. Yes; next to the possession of you, my angel-my life—death, with the consciousness of your love, would be my only desired paradise.

[blocks in formation]

" And now, once more, let me embrace

you

in spirit; and once more, as at that moment of heaven, let me assure you that I love you entirely, adore you, and yearn for the hour when the ceremonial will make you all mine, and for ever, spouse of my soul and heart.

“ Again I pledge my heart to you for ever. Again, on bended knees, I entreat you to bless me with your consent; confirm my exultation. I yearn for the happy hour : confirm my hope, oh, heart of hearts ! I will rescue you from your vile

persecutor. To-morrow shall see us wedded. Answer quickly, and let us fly to happiness. “ Once more-oh, let me be so for ever!

- Your devoted slave,

6 LEONARD DEVIGNE."

THE JESUIT'S SUSPICIOX.

167

CHAPTER XVII.

THE MESSAGE.

We must now return to Father Maugras, the Jesuit, who heard Count Valremy's dying confession.

Leonard's pretensions to Mlle. Duplessis were known to the Jesuit; hut, from the expressed determination of her father, he doubted not that the pledge given to Gramont would be respected and fulfilled. He knew not all the motives that enforced the father's consent; but his determination was evident.

Nevertheless, he saw reason to fear some desperate step on the part of the reckless youth; particularly as he suspected Adele. A Jesuit's suspicion has, perhaps, but little weight with the reader; at all events, we request him to suspend his acquiescence in that suspicion until the lady shall bear witness to herself—to her own character.

The Jesuit was most anxious to see that danger disappear. He had used his influence with the father in that indirect suggestive manner so peculiar

168

JESUIT CRAFT AND SAGACITY.

to Jesuitism, in order to hasten the nuptials of the betrothed.

It is curious herein to observe the perverse issue of events. Leonard's introduction to this family was a Jesuit concoction, to obviate the peril of the scheme; it was intended as a counter-influence, and a means of keeping him in view until his departure. The result is remarkable ; but if the suggestion of Jesuit-sagacity has, unfortunately, enhanced the danger, Jesuit-craft can perhaps turn this untoward issue to account, and make it the capital of safer speculation. We shall see.

Meanwhile, by the suggestions of Father Percival at Ringwood Hall, Father Maugras and the English Provincial had induced Mr. Devigne to write a serious remonstrance to Leonard on his conduct in general, and his protracted stay at Paris in particular; peremptorily commanding him to leave Paris, and threatening to stop his credit at the bank, in the event of his continued disobedience.

Leonard replied submissively-promised to obey - but forgot the fulfilment. Was it not “quite natural?”

Thus, then, the peril of the Jesuit scheme was at its crisis when Valremy's catastrophe “providentially”—as the Jesuits deemed it-came to the

rescue.

The Jesuits saw at once how useful it might be made, if “ skilfully handled.” The “warning” was certainly a failure ; but there was still in reserve the dead man's message.

« PreviousContinue »