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tolerably severe trial, is quite enough to give us a clear insight into his character. That done, and the particular episode in his life which we have selected for the subject of our narrative being concluded, we can leave him. He is a made man. We can trust him with the rest of his life. For we have seen enough of him to know that he will use it well, and that she who shares it-she whom he has promised to love and cherish while she lives-will have cause to bless the day on which her lot was cast in with one who can protect her in danger, comfort her and feel for her in trouble, and be her true and faithful husband-always.
And now a parting word concerning the other characters introduced in the course of this narrative, for I hope it is not presumption of the vilest sort to imagine that the reader may feel some faint desire to know their fate.
That parting which Trelane had anticipated with so much dread between Madame d'Elmar and her niece never took place, after all—or rather, it did take place, but in a different manner. They parted, indeed, but it was not Madeleine who went away from her aunt. The poor lady, whose life had been one of so much suffering and trial, borne with a heavenly constancy and sweetness, departed, herself, on a journey which no man may put off when the time for it arrives, and to a land whither only her niece's love could follow her.
During the time of that sojourn at Versailles which Trelane and his wife were to make before starting for India, there came one afternoon, towards dusk, a message from the house in the Rue Pompadour, to say that Madame d'Elmar, who had been for some days suffering more than usual, had suddenly become much worse, and that she wished without delay to see her niece and her niece's husband. They had left her but a few hours before, but instantly returning, found her greatly changed, and showing by unmistakable signs that the life was ebbing fast away from her. Doctor Leboeuf was there already, but while he administered such restoratives as seemed best to the poor lady, he shook his head, and plainly intimated that the resources of his skill were at an end.
Madeleine knelt by her dear aunt's bed in an agony of grief and self-reproach. On garments white as hers, a small speck shows for more than it really is, and now her conscience stung her bitterly for ever having entertained a thought of leaving that poor solitary lady. "Leave that," she thought, as she touched the wasted hand that lay outside the bedclothes. And, in truth, to look on that emaciated form was almost more than she could bear. The very garment in which the dying lady was clad looked empty, so reduced, so almost annihilated, was what it covered. The bed-clothes were scarcely body lay. The folds of her
raised where her
sleeve failed to indicate that there was an arm beneath it.
At last, after they had stood watching by the bed for some considerable time, the silence, only broken by the stifled sobbing of Madeleine and poor constant Victorine, the dying lady seemed for the first time to become conscious of their presence. Her eyes, partly opened, lit upon her niece, and such an expression of peace, and love, and joy came upon the lady's face, as seemed to belong to nothing of this earth, and to indicate a kind of happiness of which we know but glimpses here. The very soul seemed melting away with the delight of what was coming.
And it did so melt away, its flame giving no flicker as it expired, and no one present knowing when it was that the look of living ecstasy was changed for the calmer happiness of death.
And so it fell out that early in her married life Madeleine came to be in great need of all the comfort and help that her husband could give her.
It was not long after the departure of Trelane and his wife for India, that Alexis d'Elmar, who had never been the same man since that attack -the preliminary symptoms of which have been already described-was seized with such illness as, after a duration of but a few weeks, proved fatal to him. He seemed, however, to have been convinced before his death of the injustice of his opposition to Madeleine's marriage, for a will was found by which
he bequeathed to her the exact sum of money which had been forfeited to him on the day when, in the little English church far away, she became the wife of Henry Trelane.
As for Lieutenant Tronchet, his career may soon be disposed of. It was not a very glorious one. On the occasion of a visit paid by this officer to Baden in search of change and relaxation, he made the acquaintance of a lady, a native of a certain island renowned for its verdure, possessed of a heart of the most susceptible description, and of a small revenue of three hundred pounds a year. This good lady, no longer in her first youth, fell a victim to the fascinations of the gallant lieutenant, and the two were united to their mutual satisfaction. Monsieur Tronchet sold out of the army on the strength of the three hundred a year, and finding the German watering-place a residence greatly to his taste, remained where he was, and occupied himself in endeavouring to increase his wife's property by a diligent attendance at the roulettetable-a proceeding, however, which seems to have been attended with but indifferent success, as the ex-lieutenant has lately been seen by credible witnesses hovering, in a very thread-bare condition, about the tables at Baden, and has even been known to ask a total stranger for the loan of a five-franc piece in order that he might try his luck once more.
Doctor Leboeuf and his faithful attendant Jacques
Morlot made their appearance a few pages back in a scene which may serve to give some idea of their mode of life for many a long year afterwards. As we saw them on that occasion, so they might have been seen over and over again in after years. Let our last impression of them be in that wonderful old room, half study, half laboratory, where the doctor has passed so much of his life in useful labour. To the last those labours went on. The doctor always sought to move with the times, and when he could no longer see to read the different works on medical subjects which from time to time issued from the Paris press, they were read to him by Monsieur Morlot, who dealt with them as with Major Trelane's letter, interspersing them with comments of his own. If ever there was a good and wise doctor, Jean Leboeuf was the man; and if ever there was a faithful and attached domestic, he was to be found in the person of Jacques Morlot.
London: SMITH, ELDER and Co., Little Green Arbour Court, Old Bailey, E. C.