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required Henri to reflect upon her proposi. I least one-half. There was, besides, a pro: tion, found her, if that were possible, still fusion of golden candlesticks, of gilded more determined and resolute in her will. furniture, of Venetian mirrors reflecting the On the evening of the third day she took lights of a hundred wax tapers, which made her cloak, and leaving the castle by her the circular room like a concentration of oratory, which communicated with the lights and splendour. And the timid and chapel by a narrow passage, she leaned melancholy Henri was metamorphosed into upon the arm of one of her esquires, and a graceful, accomplished, and confident walked to the sea-side. When she reached gentleman, who glided over the rich carpets, a large rock, she ordered the attendant to and offered his hand to the duchess to conwait her return, and entered the lower. duct her to an arm-chair, near a table richly Henri was at the gate, standing on a sort prepared with an equipage of the costliest of terrace, which served as a foundation china, enamelled with vermillion-coloured for the staircase; but he was dressed in figures of flowers. The drinking goblets such a manner that Rita did not at first re were of crystal, so thin and pellucid that the cognise him, and she stood surprised and junction of the lips was almost felt through motionless. He was almost entirely en them. It was Henri himself; only, instead veloped in a monk's habit, and his cowl, of his monastic habit, which he had assumed drawn over his head, nearly concealed his to conceal his dress, he was attired in a coat features.
of blue velvet, embroidered with gold, and Rita, Rita, it is I," exclaimed he, in his in a waistcoat of cloth of silver.
It was gentle tones. He had scarcely pronounced Henri, glittering in the rays of the rose diathe first syllable of her name ere the duch- monds, which flushed through the elaborate ess, recognising her lover, had flung herself lace-work of his ruffles, which blazed upon into his arms.
his garters, on the buckles of his red-heeled “ But, Henri, why assume this melancholy shoes, and on the hilt of his sword. It was costume ?"
Henri, who wore with perfect ease, and as 66 Was it not that I was doomed to wear if he had been accustomed to it, the costume before I knew you, my Rita ? I wished to of a nobleman, adorned with the orders of clothe myself in it for a first, a last, and an Malta and St. Louis, and over which waved only time, in order to make for you a more gracefully, with every motion, the large total, ample, and unreserved sacrifice. Are shoulder-knots of white satin studded with you offended with me ?"
silver, the distinctive emblem that the wear“No, no!—but come,” said Rita, running er was ranked in the military household of up the staircase,
the royal Bourbons of France. Henri gentiy held her back. “ Listen, But the countenance of Henri bore no he whispered, while he pressed her lips to longer that soft expression of sadness and his own. “I have a fancy to be alone in suffering which had such a touching charm my apartment above to receive you, and to for Rita's heart. His features were now do the honours of my hermitage fitly: I smiling and animated; his glances, which wish once more to long for your coming, the duchess had never yet encountered in to hear the welcome sound of your footsteps, their full force, and which had been always and the rustling of your dress. Will you hitherto downcast and veiled by his long eye. permit me ?"
lashes, were now replete with gaiety and ex“ Yes, yes; but let me tell you,” inter- ultation; and the cloud of white and perfumed rupted Rita, with joyous precipitation, so powder which was thickly sprinkled over eager was she to confide her cherished and his waving tresses, doubled the expressive darling project to her lover--" let me tell power of his black and deeply piercing you, Henri, I am come to offer you my eyes. hand-my hand-with an immense fortune "Am I asleep or awake ?" said the duch. and a title—such a glittering, dazzling title ess, trembling, and overcome by a feeling of as German electors might envy!-it is all apprehension and grief, which she could not for you; and-myself with it!--and O, how conceal. gladly do I surrender it all to one, who
Madame the duchess shall have every“ Angelic creature !" said Henri, kissing thing explained to her," was the respectful, her bright and marble brow, "you shall response of Henri, assuming the exquisite tell me all above." And so saying, he dis- politeness of the day, which only allowed a, appeared in the recesses of the tower. A lady to be addressed in the third person. minute afterwards Rita stood at the door of Rita threw herself into a chair, exclaimhis room, which no darkness could preventing, “Explain yourself; in the name of her finding. She flung it open, and uttered heaven, sir, explain the meaning of all a scream of astonishment, and almost of this!" terror.
"In the first place," rejoined he, “will Her surprise was very natural, for no one madame the duchess allow me to inquire could have recognised the obscure and whether she has ever heard speak of the wretched chamber of the tower of Koatven. Comte de Vaudrez ?" Its damp walls, blackened by time, were “Frequently, sir, when I was in the habit covered with magnificent draperies of pur- of going to Versailles." ple velvet, whose ample folds seemed to di Then madame the duchess will learn, minish the proportions of the apartment at perhaps, with some astonishment, that it is
the Comte de Vaudrez who has now the and in which the days pass undisturbed, bonour of addressing her.”
and the nights are tranquil and refreshing. “You, šir, you! Henri! but then-good With these returned the original pious disa heaven - but the Comte de Vaudrez, I was positions of her soul, which had been suptold, was in the navy, and served in Ameri. pressed rather than extinguished, and wbich ca-is it possible ? For pity's sake, Henri, would never have been disturbed, but for solve me this mystery!"
the artful insinuations and dexterous sophis" It is very true, madame, that I did serve try of the leaders of that wretched philosoin America, under the orders of Admiral de phy, by the principles of which the peace of Guiche; but after two years' cruising, I re- Europe was wrecked for so long a period. turned to France—where I have been now To a susceptible heart, and an ardent temfor nearly two months."
perament, a correct understanding of religi
ous matters is more especially necessaryHappy in her husband, her station, and in and in this the duchess cordially concurred; the numerous blessings which flow from the when she reflected upon the danger to which proper and judicious administration of a her youth would have been exposed, had Iarge fortune, the Duchess Rita recovered the Comte de Vaudrez been other than a that peace of mind which arises from a gentleman and a man of honour. conscientious discharge of the duties of life,