Meantime, Jacintha, sleeping tranquilly, suddenly felt her throatgriped, and heard a loud vbitcoin usd candlestickoice ring in her ear; then she was lifted,and wrenched, and dropped. She found herself lying clear of thesteps in the moonlight; her head was where her feet had been, andher candle out.
A month ago that word was almost indifferent to Josephine, or rathershe uttered it with a sort of mild complacency. Now she started atit, and it struck chill upon her. She did not reply, however, andthe carriage rolled on.eth price next week"He seemed to be dragging himself along." This was the first wordJosephine had spoken for some time. "Oh, did he?" replied Rosecarelessly; "well, let him. Here we are, at home.""I am glad of it," said Josephine, "very glad."On reaching Beaurepaire she wanted to go up-stairs at once and puton her gray gown. But the day was so delightful that Rose beggedher to stroll in the Pleasaunce for half an hour and watch for theirmother's return. She consented in an absent way, and presentlybegan to walk very fast, unconscious of her companion. Rose laid ahand upon her playfully to moderate her, and found her skin burning.
"Why, what is the matter?" said she, anxiously."Nothing, nothing," was the sharp reply."There's a fretful tone; and how excited you look, and feel too.Well, I thought you were unnaturally calm after such an event.""I only saw his back," said Josephine. "Did not you see him?""See who? Oh, that tiresome officer. Why, how much more are we tohear about him? I don't believe there WAS one."At this moment a cocked hat came in sight, bobbing up and down abovethe palings that divided the park from the road. Josephine pointedto it without a word.Rose got a little cross at being practically confuted, and saidcoldly, "Come, let us go in; the only cocked hat we can see is onthe way to Paris."Josephine assented eagerly. But she had not taken two steps towardsthe house ere she altered her mind, and said she felt faint, shewanted air; no, she should stay out a little longer. "Look, Rose,"said she, in a strangely excited way, "what a shame! They put allmanner of rubbish into this dear old tree: I will have it all turnedout." And she looked with feigned interest into the tree: but hereyes seemed turned inward.
Rose gave a cry of surprise. "He is waving his hat to me! What onearth does that mean?""Perhaps he takes you for me," said Josephine."Who is it? What do you mean?""IT IS HE! I knew his figure at a glance." And she blushed andtrembled with joy; she darted behind the tree and peered round athim unseen: turning round a moment she found Rose at her back paleand stern. She looked at her, and said with terrible simplicity,"Ah, Rose, I forgot.""Are you mad, Josephine? Into the house this moment; if it IS he, Iwill receive him and send him about his business."But Josephine stood fascinated, and pale as ashes; for now thecocked hat stopped, and a pale face with eyes whose eager fire shoneeven at that distance, rose above the palings. Josephine crouchedbehind Rose, and gasped out, "Something terrible is coming,terrible! terrible!""Say something hateful," said Rose, trembling in her turn, but onlywith anger. "The heartless selfish traitor! He never notices youtill you are married to the noblest of mankind; and then he comeshere directly to ruin your peace. No; I have altered my mind. Heshall not see you, of course; but YOU shall hear HIM. I'll soonmake you know the wretch and loathe him as I do. There, now he hasturned the corner; hide in the oak while he is out of sight. Hide,quick, quick." Josephine obeyed mechanically; and presently,through that very aperture whence her sister had smiled on her lovershe hissed out, in a tone of which one would not have thought hercapable, "Be wise, be shrewd; find out who is the woman that hasseduced him from me, and has brought two wretches to this. I tellyou it is some wicked woman's doing. He loved me once.""Not so loud!--one word: you are a wife. Swear to me you will notlet him see you, come what may.""Oh! never! never!" cried Josephine with terror. "I would ratherdie. When you have heard what he has to say, then tell him I amdead. No, tell him I adore my husband, and went to Egypt this daywith him. Ah! would to God I had!""Sh! sh!""Sh!"Camille was at the little gate.As Jacintha was retiring Edouard called to her to stop a minute.
Then, turning to Rose, he begged her very ceremoniously toreconsider that determination."What determination?""To sacrifice me to this Colonel Dujardin." Still politely, only alittle grimly.Rose opened her eyes. "Are you mad?" inquired she with quiethauteur."Neither mad nor a fool," was the reply. "I love you too well toshare your regard with any one, upon any terms; least of all uponthese, that there is to be a man in the world at whose beck and callyou are to be, and at whose orders you are to break off an interviewwith me. Perdition!""Dear Edouard, what folly! Can you suspect me of discourtesy, aswell as of--I know not what. Colonel Dujardin will join us, that isall, and we shall take a little walk with him.""Not I. I decline the intrusion; you are engaged with me, and Ihave things to say to you that are not fit for that puppy to hear.
So choose between me and him, and choose forever."Rose colored. "I should be very sorry to choose either of youforever; but for this afternoon I choose you.""Oh, thank you--my whole life shall prove my gratitude for thispreference."Rose beckoned Jacintha, and sent her with an excuse to ColonelDujardin. She then turned with an air of mock submission toEdouard. "I am at monsieur's ORDERS."Then this unhappy novice, being naturally good-natured, thanked heragain and again for her condescension in setting his heart at rest.He proposed a walk, since his interference had lost her one. Sheyielded a cold assent. This vexed him, but he took it for grantedit would wear off before the end of the walk. Edouard's heartbounded, but he loved her too sincerely to be happy unless he couldsee her happy too; the malicious thing saw this, or perhaps knew itby instinct, and by means of this good feeling of his she revengedherself for his tyranny. She tortured him as only a woman cantorture, and as even she can torture only a worthy man, and one wholoves her. In the course of that short walk this inexperiencedgirl, strong in the instincts and inborn arts of her sex, drove pinsand needles, needles and pins, of all sorts and sizes, through herlover's heart.
She was everything by turns, except kind, and nothing for longtogether. She was peevish, she was ostentatiously patient andsubmissive, she was inattentive to her companion and seeminglywrapped up in contemplation of absent things and persons, thecolonel to wit; she was dogged, repulsive, and cold; and she neverwas herself a single moment. They returned to the gate of thePleasaunce. "Well, mademoiselle," said Riviere very sadly, "thatinterloper might as well have been with us.""Of course he might, and you would have lost nothing by permittingme to be courteous to a guest and an invalid. If you had not playedthe tyrant, and taken the matter into your own hands, I should havefound means to soothe your jeal--I mean your vanity; but youpreferred to have your own way. Well, you have had it.""Yes, mademoiselle, you have given me a lesson; you have shown mehow idle it is to attempt to force a young lady's inclinations inanything."He bade her good-day, and went away sorrowful.She cut Camille dead for the rest of the day.Next morning, early, Edouard called expressly to see her."Mademoiselle Rose," said he, humbly, "I called to apologize for theungentlemanly tone of my remonstrances yesterday.""Fiddle-dee," said Rose. "Don't do it again; that is the bestapology.""I am not likely to offend so again," said he sadly. "I am goingaway. I am sorry to say I am promoted; my new post is ten leagues.
HE WILL HAVE IT ALL HIS OWN WAY NOW. But perhaps it is best. WereI to stay here, I foresee you would soon lose whatever friendlyfeeling you have for me.""Am I so changeable? I am not considered so," remonstrated Rose,gently.Riviere explained; "I am not vain," said he, with that self-knowledge which is so general an attribute of human beings; "no manless so, nor am I jealous; but I respect myself, and I could neverbe content to share your time and your regard with Colonel Dujardin,nor with a much better man. See now; he has made me arrogant. WasI ever so before?""No! no! no! and I forgive you now, my poor Edouard.""He has made you cold as ice to me.""No! that was my own wickedness and spitefulness.""Wickedness, spitefulness! they are not in your nature. It is allthat wretch's doing."Rose sighed, but she said nothing; for she saw that to excuseCamille would only make the jealous one more bitter against him."Will you deign to write to me at my new post? once a month? inanswer to my letters?""Yes, dear. But you will ride over sometimes to see us.""Oh, yes; but for some little time I shall not be able. The dutiesof a new post.""Perhaps in a month--a fortnight?""Sooner perhaps; the moment I hear that man is out of the house."Edouard went away, dogged and sad; Rose shut herself up in herroom and had a good cry. In the afternoon Josephine came andremonstrated with her. "You have not walked with him at all to-day.""No; you must pet him yourself for once. I hate the sight of him;it has made mischief between Edouard and me, my being so attentiveto him. Edouard is jealous, and I cannot wonder. After all, whatright have I to mystify him who honors me with his affection?"Then, being pressed with questions by Josephine, she related to herall that had passed between Edouard and her, word for word."Poor Camille!" sighed Josephine the just.
"Oh, dear, yes! poor Camille! who has the power to make us allmiserable, and who does it, and will go on doing it until he ishappy himself.""Ah! would to Heaven I could make him as happy as he deserves tobe.""You could easily make him much happier than that. And why not doit?""O Rose," said Josephine, shocked, "how can you advise me so?"She then asked her if she thought it possible that Camille could beignorant of her heart."Josephine," replied Rose, angrily, "these men are absurd: theybelieve only what they see. I have done what I can for you andCamille, but it is useless. Would you have him believe you lovehim, you must yourself be kind to him; and it would be a charitableaction: you would make four unhappy people happy, or, at least, putthem on the road; NOW they are off the road, and, by what I haveseen to-day, I think, if we go on so much longer, it will be toolate to try to return. Come, Josephine, for my sake! Let me go andtell him you will consent--to all our happinesses. There, the crimeis mine." And she ran off in spite of Josephine's faint andhypocritical entreaties. She returns the next minute looking allaghast. "It is too late," said she. "He is going away. I am surehe is, for he is packing up his things to go. I spied through theold place and saw him. He was sighing like a furnace as he strappedhis portmanteau. I hate him, of course, but I was sorry for him. Icould not help being. He sighed so all the time, piteously."Josephine turned pale, and lifted her hands in surprise and dismay.
"Depend on it, Josephine, we are wrong," said Rose, firmly: "thesewretches will not stand our nonsense above a certain time: they arenot such fools. We are mismanaging: one gone, the other going; bothlosing faith in us."Josephine's color returned to her cheek, and then mounted high.Presently she smiled, a smile full of conscious power and furtivecomplacency, and said quietly, "He will not go."Rose was pleased, but not surprised, to hear her sister speak soconfidently, for she knew her power over Camille. "That is right,"said she, "go to him, and say two honest words: 'I bid you stay.'""O Rose! no!""Poltroon! You know he would go down on his knees, and staydirectly.""No: I should blush all my life before you and him. I COULD not. Ishould let him go sooner, almost. Oh, no! I will never ask a manto stay who wishes to leave me. But just you go to him, and sayMadame Raynal is going to take a little walk: will he do her thehonor to be her companion? Not a word more, if you love me.""I'll go. Hypocrite!"Josephine received Camille with a bright smile. She seemed inunusually good spirits, and overflowing with kindness and innocentaffection. On this his high gloomy brow relaxed, and all hisprospects brightened as by magic. Then she communicated to him anumber of little plans for next week and the week after. Among therest he was to go with her and Rose to Frejus. "Such a sweet place:
I want to show it you. You will come?"He hesitated a single moment: a moment of intense anxiety to thesmiling Josephine."Yes! he would come: it was a great temptation, he saw so little ofher.""Well, you will see more of me now.""Shall I see you every day--alone, I mean?""Oh, yes, if you wish it," replied Josephine, in an off-hand,indifferent way.He seized her hand and devoured it with kisses. "Foolish thing!"murmured she, looking down on him with ineffable tenderness."Should I not be always with you if I consulted my inclination?--letme go.""No! consult your inclination a little longer.""Must I?""Yes; that shall be your punishment.""For what? What have I done?" asked she with an air of greatinnocence."You have made me happy, me who adore you," was the evasive reply.Josephine came in from her walk with a high color and beaming eyes,and screamed, "Run, Rose!"On this concise, and to us not very clear instruction, Rose slippedup the secret stair. She saw Camille come in and gravely unpack hislittle portmanteau, and dispose his things in the drawers withsoldier-like neatness, and hum an agreeable march. She came andtold Josephine.
"Ah!" said Josephine with a little sigh of pleasure, and a gentletriumph in her eyes.She had not only got her desire, but had arrived at it her way,--woman's way, round about.
This adroit benevolence led to more than she bargained for. She andCamille were now together every day: and their hearts, being underrestraint in public, melted together all the more in their stoleninterviews.At the third delicious interview the modest Camille begged Josephineto be his wife directly.
Have you noticed those half tame deer that come up to you in a parkso lovingly, with great tender eyes, and, being now almost withinreach, stop short, and with bodies fixed like statues on pedestals,crane out their graceful necks for sugar, or bread, or a chestnut,or a pocket-handkerchief? Do but offer to put your hand upon them,away they bound that moment twenty yards, and then stand quitestill, and look at your hand and you, with great inquiring,suspicious, tender eyes.So Josephine started at Camille's audacious proposal. "Nevermention such a thing to me again: or--or, I will not walk with youany more:" then she thrilled with pleasure at the obnoxious idea,"she Camille's wife!" and colored all over--with rage, Camillethought. He promised submissively not to renew the topic: no morehe did till next day. Josephine had spent nearly the whole intervalin thinking of it; so she was prepared to put him down by calmreasons. She proceeded to do so, gently, but firmly.
Lo and behold! what does he do, but meets her with just as manyreasons, and just as calm ones: and urges them gently, but firmly.Heaven had been very kind to them: why should they be unkind tothemselves? They had had a great escape: why not accept thehappiness, as, being persons of honor, they had accepted the misery?with many other arguments, differing in other things, but agreeingin this, that they were all sober, grave, and full of common-sense.Finding him not defenceless on the score of reason, she shifted herground and appealed to his delicacy. On this he appealed to herlove, and then calm reason was jostled off the field, and passionand sentiment battled in her place.
In these contests day by day renewed, Camille had many advantages.Rose, though she did not like him, had now declared on his side.
She refused to show him the least attention. This threw him onJosephine: and when Josephine begged her to help reduce Camille toreason, her answer would be,--"Hypocrite!" with a kiss: or else she would say, with a half comicpetulance, "No! no! I am on his side. Give him his own way, or hewill make us all four miserable."Thus Josephine's ally went over to the enemy.And then this coy young lady's very power of resistance began togive way. She had now battled for months against her own heart:
first for her mother; then, in a far more terrible conflict forRaynal, for honor and purity; and of late she had been battling,still against her own heart, for delicacy, for etiquette, thingsvery dear to her, but not so great, holy, and sustaining as honorand charity that were her very household gods: and so, just when themotives of resistance were lowered, the length of the resistancebegan to wear her out.For nothing is so hard to her sex as a long steady struggle. Inmatters physical, this is the thing the muscles of the fair cannotstand; in matters intellectual and moral, the long strain it is thatbeats them dead.
Do not look for a Bacona, a Newtona, a Handella, a Victoria Huga.Some American ladies tell us education has stopped the growth ofthese.No! mesdames. These are not in nature.They can bubble letters in ten minutes that you could no moredeliver to order in ten days than a river can play like a fountain.
They can sparkle gems of stories: they can flash little diamonds ofpoems. The entire sex has never produced one opera nor one epicthat mankind could tolerate: and why? these come by long, high-strung labor. But, weak as they are in the long run of everythingbut the affections (and there giants), they are all overpoweringwhile their gallop lasts. Fragilla shall dance any two of you flaton the floor before four o'clock, and then dance on till the peep ofday.Only you trundle off to your business as usual, and could danceagain the next night, and so on through countless ages.
She who danced you into nothing is in bed, a human jelly tipped withheadache.What did Josephine say to Rose one day? "I am tired of saying 'No!
no! no! no! no!' forever and ever to him I love."But this was not all. She was not free from self-reproach.Camille's faith in her had stood firm. Hers in him had not. Shehad wronged him, first by believing him false, then by marryinganother. One day she asked his pardon for this. He replied that hehad forgiven that; but would she be good enough to make him forgetit?