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was never asked whether she wil- ter." He embraced her over and lingly accepted my courtship. She over again, and sent her over to showed me plainly that it was not her mother, who had been speechone of her choice; but she was less all the while, and was sobbing so well brought up, so resolutely as if she would never cease. obedient to the will of her parents, « Mon enfant," said the Marquis that she did not oblige me to ask to me, “ we are not accustomed to a question which I somehow feared scenes like this in our country; might receive the answer it has but to novel scenes, novel measures publicly got this day, and which must be adopted. What are your perhaps on that very account I wishes now !" did not put to her.
“Sir, I have not asked Made“ Under these circumstances, it moiselle Diane in so many words remains for me as a man of years, to marry me,” I said, attempting whose honourable intentions were a smile; “ but I think our hearts above all suspicion, to release you have spoken. That generous Count from any obligation under which has left us free, and obeying the you might feel yourself towards custom of France, I respectfully me, and to beg that if my name be ask your permission to woo and ever mentioned in your family, it win the hand of the girl I love." may not be with loathing and dis- “ I shall reply,” said the Martaste, but with pity and respect. quis," as they do in EnglandAdieu."
What does my daughter say?" "Noble man!” I exclaimed, and For an answer, Diane, who had in my impetuosity I was about to heard the conversation, left her wring him by the hands in a trans- mother, and running up to me, port of generous admiration, when cried « Oui, oui,” in so childish he looked at me with a haughti- a manner, that the Marquis reness that thrilled as well as checked markedany forward movement iny
“I think this time there is no part, and said
fear of the ceremony being inter" I have not the honour of your fered with, or of the Mayor stopacquaintance, and it is fortunate ping proceedings. Go, both of you, for you, inasmuch as had I that and ask the blessing of Madame la privilege I would certainly make Marquise." use of it."
She was too much moved to say Stung to the quick, I said, ad- anything ; but acquiesced silently dressing the Marquis, Pray, sir, in all her husband's wishes and inform this gentleman that I am those of her daughter. at his service, seeing that his visit It was evident that Diane's gento my rooms on an errand which tleness came from her mother, and concerned himself only, was an her spirit from her father. acquaintance thrust upon me which “We cannot remain here for I never desired."
ever," at last remarked the Mar“ As you please," replied the quis. “ Let us go home, and as Count, and left the room, bowing my girl came here as a fiancée, she to us all in turn, and receiving our must not return otherwise. Take own bows in answer.
her arm and lead her to the car“ Come to my arms, my child,” riage." said the old Marquis, “and receive I did so, through a line of friends my apology for having ignored the who had stayed behind 10 hear the real character of my own daugh- dènouement or end of this affair,
maybe to carry gossip abroad, tled to have a walk in her own some perhaps to grieve or rejoice garden as soon as we arrived. for and with us; and such is the “I am so tired,” she said once. power of success, that when they "I feel as if I had lived a whole saw Diane and myself walking life since yesterday; and it is only down the steps of the Maierie, hap- right, is it not, mother, that I piness and smiles beaming on our should rest a little in my garden countenances, they raised a loud with Henry, and that he should “l'ive les nouveaux mariés!" for- try to make up to me for his getful that we were not yet man unkindness in never coming to and wife.
see us ?!! The crowd outside, which, always It was very foolish of us, but great on these occasions, had as- this made us all cry. sumed large proportions, on hear- Perhaps it was that were ing that a hitch, as Bob once all suffering still from overstrained called it, had occurred, cheered emotions, and that we sought relief Diane over and over again, and in tears; but how different were she became quite suffused with our several sentiments ! blushes, as, in their enthusiasm, a Diane , was wrapped in one idea, rain of flowers was showered upon that of making up for lost time. her, and a host of complimentary I was engrossed by the dread that epithets were bestowed upon her. the scene in which she had just At the door of the carriage, played so heroic a
part would just as I was showing Diane into prove too much for her health, it, Raymond de Chantalis shook and the tone of her voice pointme warmly by the hand, and said, ed to a similar fear existing in in a loud voice, “My congratula- herself. Her parents-kind, hontions, nephew, but do not do it est, good people—were variously again,” which raised loud laughter moved. at my expense.
When we reached the house, the Adalbert de Moncalpin squeezed servants, who were all on the qui himself near the carriage, and called vive for our return, received us in out to me, “Vainard!" a slang ex- respectful silence, not knowing expression meaning, “lucky fellow." actly what cue their master would In the crowd, Rivelalongue waved give them, and determined in their his handkerchief at me, and sent French fidelity to watch his moveme a line written on a piece of ments before they manifested any newspaper, to the effect that expressions of feeling on their own “Alexander had destroyed the behalf; but the Marquis, who walls of Thebes, but Phryne had knew them well, addressed them rebuilt them."
thus as we entered the hallThe whole thing was absurd, “My friends, here is the husbecause Phryne was an hetaira, band of the Queen: and loyalty to and she was not allowed to build the Sovereign is the rule of my up the walls of Thebes with money house." obtained by her beauty ; but it was A loud cheer resounded ; and it so complimentary to my beautiful seemed to me as if this cheer was bride elect, that I could only laugh all Diane required to make her at Rivelalongue's mythological re- perfectly happy. miniscences.
She was really exquisitely loveWe said little to each other only at this moment. the way to the house, but we set- her hand to her veil, which with a
She put up slight graceful movement she threw Whereupon Diane, flushing red off ; and as she did so, some pin with honest pride, and pointing to which tied up her head-dress got her own little blue bow so graceentangled in the veil, and the lux- fully sewn on to her dress, said to uriant beauty of her dark golden her father-hair displayed itself as it fell in " See, I have one too." profusion down her shoulders.
"What children you are !" reHer eyes sparkled with delight; marked her father. and taking my arm, and enclos- “Your children,” answered Diing it in both her own, she said ane. with childish näiveté, " Has not It is not for me to recount all the Queen well chosen ?" whereon that took place in the garden. there was another, and another Those who have known what love and yet another cheer, during is-what happiness it brings in which Mademoiselle Garoux came the height of its power—will best down to witness this strange scene. understand the joy, the bliss, the
The poor woman had been so blessing of that first uninterrupted feeling, so touchingly loyal to us, hour of our betrothal. that we both greeted her with an Those who have yet to learn are affectionate embrace; and when so much to be envied, that it is her timid eyes discovered that useless to let them into the secrets Diane's parents were not wroth of that sublimest of human my. with us, or disposed to cherk the teries, lest it should take away impetuosity of our movements, she from their happiness when the could only exclaim-
hour has sounded for their initia** Mon
ieu, mais c'est la fête tion ; but that any one can ever des Innocents,” which made us all boast of being so loved by so laugh—the first real sign of forget- pure, so gentle, so lovely a being fulness of the past which had as as Diane de Breteuille, is what yet shined on us.
I may be excused if I consider The next disposition we evinced impossible. to forget and forgive all round was We went through the events the appetite we brought to the of the past four weeks-our fears, breakfast that a minute before no our hopes, our difficulties, our one would have touched, but which resolves, and our trials. We renow we were all anxious to do jus- hearsed our nicest moments. We tice to.
hailed the worst as claims for It was not an occasion for toasts, happy compensation in the future, and I had tact enough in my hap- and our lips sealed the VOWS piness to refrain even from drink- our hearts had long
offered up ing Diane's health.
to each other. That health was the principal Time flew, and we were still at subject of conversation, and we the beginning of our conversation, hurried the meal so as to hasten when Diane was hailed by her the moment when we could at last mother, and I was asked to go into be together.
the Marquis's study. During the repast, however, the As we parted with a promise Marquis's eye fell upon the blue that I should return to dinner in favour which I wore, and he asked the evening, Diane said — me the meaning of it.
" How is it that we love each "It is my first and last token of other?” love," I said.
“I cannot tell," I laughingly answered. “I only asked you are born to you, they shall be to be my friend in need, and brought up in their mother's reyou proved that I was in need of a ligion. little wife."
" Which is also mine," I replied. “ Then you have settled that I “Thirdly, I know not what shall be your wise?"
your means are; but half of them I looked alarmed.
must be settled on Diane, and the She smiled, and exclaimed, “Ask whole on her children, if you have me the question, for at present any." you have only asked the consent or I will instruct my man of of my parents.
business accordingly. "Diane, darling, will you be my “ Fourthly, you must fight M. wife?"
de Maupert." “I will," and suiting the action “It is contrary to our English to the words, she kissed me once ideas," I said ; but there is no more, and was off laughing, as she condition that you may put to me flew into the house.
to obtain Diane's hand, that I am “My dear friend," observed the not ready to subscribe to." Marquis to me, as I was seated in orThat is well; and lastly, you his study a few minutes later, “I will come to the Chateau de Bretwill not go back upon the past ; euille with us, when we go there but I must say you English have a next week. You will take a house way of ingratiating yourself with in the village near us, and make young ladies which is not our that house your domicile for the way. I cannot blame you, how- purposes required by law. You ever, for in other respects I own I will visit Diane whenever you like, cannot find fault with the conduct in the same way as you might you have pursued since my un- here, now that you are her recogfortunale decision in a matter in nised suitor; and you will be which apparently, and to my sur-married this day month, without prise, I find that Diane's parents ceremony, in the village church." had no concern.
“May I have a friend at the I smiled.
ceremony ?? “ You may smile," he went on; "You are entitled to one." "but though no doubt in this case “He is an Englishman, Lord matters may and will turn out for Stockville, and I wish him to be the best, still I have seldom known my best man." the wishes of parents set aside “Another Englishman!” cried with impunity."
the Marquis, with
smile. “But, Monsieur," I began. " Thank goodness, I have not
“Never mind the past, my boy. another daughter!' I know all you are going to say; “You could not have another but I have called you in to speak like Diane." of the future, and not of the past. “ Dieu merci,” replied the old You know my conditions ?” Marquis; “ and now that all is
“I know that you wish us to settled between us, we expect you live with you."
at dinner at seven. ". That is a first and absolute When I got home, I found two condition of my consent.”
gentlemen waiting for me; and as “I am too happy to subscribe I entered they bowed very politely, to it."
but equally stiffly, and informed “In the next place; if children me, almost in the same breath, that
they were deputed by le Comte de “Accept the expression of my Maupert to offer me an apology. high consideration.
Remembering suddenly (I was “ COMTE DE MAUPERT.” too full of Diane to think of any. thing but her sweet self) that one It did not take me long to deof the conditions of my marriage spatch three notes—one a formal was to fight this Count, I ex- acknowledgment of the above, and claimed in rather an imperious the other two requesting Rivelamanner that I had not yet had longue and another to call on the time to select two friends, but Count's friends next morning and that I would see about it at once, arrange how best I could kill or and address them to these gentle- be killed. men.
I had no fear whatever. My “ Monsieur," said the elder of alacrity was such that all next the two, "we shall always be glad day I even looked forward to the to see your friends on any errand duel as a sealing in blood the love of honour which you may choose I had won, anticipating with hope to select them for ; but our purpose that the blood about to be spilt in doing ourselves the honour of for Diane's sake would be mine. calling on you is to deliver to you It happened as I had thought. this letter, to which we are in- We went to a side alley in the structed at the same time to re- Bois de Boulogne at a very early quest an answer."
hour next morning. We bowed, This was the letter :
measured swords, bowed again;
crossed swords, bowed third " MONSIEUR,
The extremely time, and then fenced. But I painful event of this morning was so excited that I laid myself had so powerfully absorbed me open to many a thrust which, had at the time, that I permitted my- I had to deal with a less gentlemanself an act which, I acknowledge, like adversary, might have proved was not becoming our relative deadly, and I was called to order. positions.
At the very next lunge the Count's “You had every right to remind sword pierced through my wrist in me of my injudicious visit to your a parry to the chest, and the blood rooms, and my memory ought not spurting out was the signal of the to have failed me in regard to it. end. But stronger even than that rea- “ Bien pauvre compensation !" son is the fact which I should have exclaimed the Count, as he came recollected—that the Marquis de near to ascertain the extent of the Breteuille would never sanction damage. The doctor having asthe marriage of his daughter with sured him he expected no evil one who was no gentleman. results, and finding that I had not
“I request therefore, that you even lost consciousness—though, will obliterate from your memory of course, I must have looked the utterances of
ill—the Count bowed to pride, and direct the gentlemen me and retired. Honour who take this apology to you to satisfied. any of your friends whom you may My wound healed rapidly. At select to be your seconds.
twenty-five how all does right itself “I hold myself in readiness where quickiy! In less than three days and when you please, but I plead I was back at the Hotel Breteuille for urgency
having fulfilled the last and most