Obrazy na stronie


made your acquaintance last night, been known to you, as I met a moand, if I remember well, Made- ment ago a loyal messenger from a moiselle de Breteuille made her trusted friend." entrée dans le monde yesterday " Who," I continued snarlingly, for the first time."

" would shake the foundations of This piqued me, for I certainly her projected marriage to a heap was not in the humour to stand of ruins, were her pride to be inlecturing, but I said nothing. sulted by the knowledge that her

“I thought, monsieur,” he con- future trustful husband had comtinued, “ that I had come here to mitted the singular blunder, for a ask a favour of a gentleman and a man of your experience, to pay me friend of my fiancée's relatives—no the visit which you will permit me more. If


have another title, I not to return.” must make my bow and retire.” " Un rival !” hissed the Count.

I got up frantic, and looking at • Even there you are wrong, for the man from top to toe as he I know nothing of Mademoiselle stood up in response to my move- Diane's sentiments towards me; ment, I said-

and as an Englishman again, I " You have appealed to me as an would try and find that out before English gentleman and a man of I could call myself by such honour. Being the latter yourself, honourable appellation. you no doubt will understand me; This was, I thought, a capital but not being an Englishman, our home-thrust; but the Count appacodes may slightly differ. As an rently had weighed matters in the Englishman, I distinctly refuse to meanwhile, and gauged correctly learn from a stranger what, being that for the present, at least, there a friend, as you justly surmise, of was no secret understanding beMademoiselle de Breteuille's rela- tween Diane and myself—a point, tives, I have not yet learnt regard- no doubt, he had exclusively been ing that young person's position anxious to ascertain ; satisfied aptowards you."

parently with this knowledge, he He gave me an ugly look, which made me a stiff bow, remarking only urged me on.

that he regretted having disturbed “ Pray, believe I do not doubt me, while he quite understood that your word in any one particular; national differences of perception but until officially announced to fully accounted for my not seeing me, I ignore your engagement matters in the light he had hoped altogether."

I would look at them. “ And


decline my request ?” He took his departure, and I "I do, on the ground which I was left to my reflections, which, have stated, and on a still higher it need not be remarked, were of a ground-viz., that the little I have confused and at first not altogether seen of the lady in question has pleasant character, been enough to prove to me that The above reported conversations she is the soul of loyalty, and can sufficiently indicate their nature, be absolutely trusted to do nothing and I need not, therefore, dilate derogatory either to herself or to more upon them here; but their the position in which you tell me purport presently grew brighter, she is now placed as regards your- and bright above everything rose self."

the knowledge that Diane trusted “That position," said the Count, me, as evinced by her letter ; that with a faint smile, “must have against the mischief which the



governess's visit to my rooms might and for her not to meet this evencause both Mademoiselle Garoux ing; but as I never betray a secret and her lovely charge, I held in when I do not know it, I am quite my hands so sure a card, that I content that you should come and knew the Count would not venture divert me, since the radiant exto betray his secret; and lastly, pression of your gratitude at being that out of the Count's visit, which asked to dine with me and Rayat first looked uncommonly like mond may, unless otherwise exdepriving me, honourable plained, have been after all intendgrounds, of the happiness of meet- ed for me, and I have positively ing Diane again, I had come out a declined old Maupert's desire to free man to act as I pleased, and deprive me of your company. as a faithful lover who had not What have you done to that committed his mistress. Anger worthy nephew in posse, that he soon made way to satisfaction, should wish you out of the way? fear to hope, on a calm review of or what is more to the point, all the morning's proceedings. where earth have you seen

Feeling, however, that air was him? Where did you meet? But the one thing most likely to soothe these questions are too numerous my fevered head, I went out, only for a butterfly like you to sit to return at five o'clock to another down and answer.

Your only epistle, which gave me a start, as chance decidedly of satisfying me this time it was in the hand of the is by coming to-night, devoting Comtesse de Chantalis.

yourself to me, and asking Diane “To put me off !” was my first something about the weather by exclamation. The brutal Count way of polite and distant regard has done his work, I thought, and for a silent fiancée, whose attrachere, with an official notification tion is too busy to dine with her of his betrothal, comes the end of at MARIE DE BRETEUILLE's, all my hopes. I was in despair,

COMTESSE DE CHANTALIS." and for some minutes dared not open the note.

I made a bound to the bell, and I did so, however, in the end, another to the writing-desk. and this is what it contained.

There was no heading, and the " DEAR COUNTESS," I wrote, note appeared written in a hurry; “Nothing in the world will debut then Madame de Chantalis did prive me of my dinner with you everything in a hurry, and all she this evening; and though Madedid was characteristic.

moiselle Diane is about to enter

those holy bonds which you and “Why could you not tell me Raymond make me thirst for, since yesterday the cause of your anima- they appear so delightful as repretion ? I know all. Diane has sented by your two selves, you told me.

Fortunate mortal! Be must recollect I cannot refuse sides, if she had not, I would have to so beautiful a niece a share of known. I have eyes, and saw you the admiration I have for her last night; but beware! the young aunt. person has wings, and has jumped “Receive my humble and rethis morning, not into the arms of spectful homage, and expect me her 'future,' but into those of Hy- at seven.” men. If your torch is burning at that altar, it may be well for you “At last !" I exclaimed, when I had done, “ things are mending. summons, as Bob was a friend But what a day I have had !" not given to letter-writing, and

I noticed that the bell had not seldom impelled to telegraph unbeen answered, and rang again. less really obliged to by important

The servant appeared with a considerations. telegram. “I beg pardon of mon- I drafted a reply equally lasieur," he said, “but when mon- conicsiur rang, the concierge called me to give me this telegram, which, “Will Thursday do ?-HARRY." being addressed to Monsieur Faire, he is not sure may not be intended -and took it to the office, when, for you."

by a piece of luck which I took to “Give it, and have this note be providential, I caught a glimpse taken at once.” A telegram ! where of Diane with her mother as they could it come from? I looked at drove past me in their victoria, and the address to see if there was a saw the dear little thing smile as postmark, forgetting that it was she acknowledged my hurried bow. not a letter. Then I doubted That smile made me forget at whether it was for me, and whether once all the horrors of the day, and I was right to open it. But at consoled me for the course of true last I imagined that “ Faire" was love running so unusually roughly. a sufficiently French rendering for It did more : it showed me that I Vere to justify my reading its con- was in her thoughts, and that, tents, so I opened it and read- despite her altered position, I was

still worthy of one of those joyous "Come over at once. Bob, expressions of her countenance, LONDON.”

which gave me strength while they

made me almost mad. Hang Bob ! I thought; though I With increased delight I looked had misgivings that I would have forward to the evening of this eventually to obey Bob's curt eventful day.



When the waving surface of the sun is sinking low on the horizon, green oat-fields begins to assume and clouds of dust along the higha golden tint, when the swelling road announce the approach of heads of Indian corn hang heavy the returning cattle, a drum is on their stalks, and the sweating heard in the village street, and a peasant prepares for the last act voice proclaims aloud that “toof his hard summer labour, then morrow the oats are to be fetched also do the goodwives in the vil- home." lage begin to talk of matters Like wildfire this

has which have been lying dormant spread throughout the village, the till now.

cry is taken up and repeated from Well-informed people may have mouth to mouth with various inhinted before that such and such tonations of hope, curiosity, ana youth had been seen more than ticipation or triumph—"to-moronce stepping in at the gate of the row the oats will be fetched !" red or green house in the long A stranger, no doubt, fails to village street, and more than one perceive anything particularly gossip had been ready to identify thrilling about this intelligence, the speckled carnations adorning having no reason to suppose the the hat of some youthful Kon- bringing in of oats to be in any rad or Thomas as having been way more interesting than the cartgrown in the garden of a certain ing of potatoes or wheat; and to Anna or Maria ; but after all, the majority of landowners, the these had been but mere conjec- thought of to-morrow's work is tures, for nothing positive could chiefly connected with dry prosaic be known as yet, and ill-natured details, such as repairing the harpeople were apt to console them- ness and oiling the cart-wheels; selves with the reflection that St but there are others in the village Katherine's Day was a long way on whom the announcement has off, and that there is many a slip had an electrifying effect, and for 'twixt cup and lip.

whom the words are synonymous But now the great day which with love and wedding-bells. will dispel all doubt, and put an Five or six of the young village end to surmise, is approaching, swains, or maybe as many as eight --that day which will destroy so or ten, spend that evening in a many illusions and fulfil so few; state of pleasurable bustle and for now the sun has given the excitement; busying themselves last touch to the ripening grain, in cleaning and decking out the and soon the golden sheaves are cart which is to fetch the oats tolying piled together on the clean- morrow, furbishing up the best shorn stubble-fields, only waiting harness, grooming the work-horses to be carted away.

till their coats are made to shine Then one evening when the like satin, and plaiting up their manes with gaudy-coloured rib- giving rise to manifold remarks bons.

1 For portions of the matter contained in this article, I am indebted to the accounts of a Saxon village pastor, who has made of his people the study of a lifetime.

and commentaries, and not one of Early next morning the sound them but leaves disappointment of harness · bells and the loud and heartburnings in its rear. cracking of whips causes all curi- This custom of the maiden helpous folk to rush to their doors; ing the young. man to bring in his and as every one is curious, the oats, and thereby signifying her whole population is soon assembled willingness to become his wife, is in the street, to gaze at the sight prevalent only in a certain disof young Thomas, all attired in trict in the north of Transylvania his bravest clothes, and wearing called the Haferland, the land of a monstrous nosegay in his cap, oats, a broad expanse of country riding postilion on the left-hand covered at harvest-time by a bilhorse, and cracking his whip with lowy sea of golden grain, the ostentatious triumph—while be- whole fortune of the landowners. hind, in the gaily decorated cart, In other parts of the country, is seated a blushing maiden, who various other bridal customs are lowers her eyes in confusion at prevalent, as for instance in Nepseeing herself the object of general pendorf, a large village in the attention,--at least this is what neighbourhood of Hermanstadt, she is supposed to do, for every inhabited partly by Saxons, partly well - brought - up maiden ought by Austrians, or Ländlers, as they surely to blush and hang her call themselves. This latter race head in graceful embarrassment is of more recent introduction in when she first appears in the char- the country than the Saxons (who acter of a bride ; and although no count seven centuries since their formal proposal has taken place, emigration), having only come hither yet by consenting to assist the in the time of Maria-Theresa, who young man to bring in his oats, had summoned them to the counshe has virtually confessed her try in order to replenish some of willingness to become his wife. the Saxon colonies in danger of

Her appearance on this occa- becoming extinct. If it is strange sion will doubtless cause much to note how rigidly the Saxons envy and disappointment among have kept themselves from mingher less fortunate companions, who ling with the surrounding Magyar peep out furtively through the and Roumanian races, it is yet chinks of the wooden shutters, at more curious to see how these two this sight of a triumph they had German races have existed side hoped for themselves.

by side for over a hundred years “ So it is the red-haired Susan- without amalgamating,—and this na, after all, and not the miller's for no antagonistic reason, for they Agnes, as every one made sure,” live together in perfect harmony, the gossips are saying. " And attending the same church, and who has young Martin got on his conforming to the same regulacart, I wonder ? May I never tions, but each preserving its own spin flax again, if it is not verily identical customs and costume. the black-haired Lisi who was all The Saxons and Ländlers have but promised to small-pox Peter each their different parts of the of the red house,”—and so on, and church assigned to them ; no Saxon so on, in endless variety, as the woman would ever think of doncarts go by in procession, each one ning the fur cap of a Ländler

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