"Yes, Tom's a rough diamond. He don't make any pretenses, and looks upon himself as a rather hard case, but I fancy he's doing kind things in his rough way half the time. Well, as we were talking, he remembered you, and he spoke of you so feelingly and told your story with so much honeslitecoin coingecko phpt sympathy that he awoke my sympathy. Now you know how it has all come about. You see it's all natural enough and simple enough, and probably it's the best thing that could have happened for us both. All you have to do is to get strong and well, and then it won't be any one-sided affair, as you've been too much inclined to think. I can go on and keep my farm and home just as my heart is bent on doing. I want you to understand everything for then your mind will be more satisfied and at rest, and that's half the battle in getting over sickness and trouble like yours."
"No, I suppose she wouldn't. She'd believe in pbitcoin cash max priceeople marrying and doing everything in the ordinary way. But neither I nor this woman is in ordinary circumstances. Do you know of a justice?""Yes, and you know him, too; Justice Harkins."
"Why, certainly. He came from our town and I knew him when he was a boy, although I haven't seen much of him of late years.""Well, shall I go and say to this woman--Alida Armstrong is her name now, I suppose--that you wish to see her again?""Yes, I shall tell her the truth. Then she can decide."Chapter 18 Holcroft Gives His HandAlida was seated by a window with some of the mending in which she assisted, and, as usual, was apart by herself. Watterly entered the large apartment quietly, and at first she did not observe him. He had time to note that she was greatly dejected, and when she saw him she hastily wiped tears from her eyes.
"You are a good deal cast down, Alida," he said, watching her closely."I've reason to be. I don't see any light ahead at all."he could understand that. The absolute, unreasoning faith he oncehad in her had been so rudely shaken by her marriage with Raynal,that now he could only believe just so much as he saw, and he sawthat she shunned him.
He became moody, sad, and disconsolate: and as Josephine shunnedhim, so he avoided all the others, and wandered for hours byhimself, perplexed and miserable. After awhile, he became consciousthat he was under a sort of surveillance. Rose de Beaurepaire, whohad been so kind to him when he was confined to his own room, buthad taken little notice of him since he came down, now resumed hercare of him, and evidently made it her business to keep up hisheart. She used to meet him out walking in a mysterious way, and inshort, be always falling in with him and trying to cheer him up:with tolerable success.Such was the state of affairs when the party was swelled and matterscomplicated by the arrival of one we have lost sight of.Edouard Riviere retarded his cure by an impatient spirit: but he gotwell at last, and his uncle drove him in the cabriolet to his ownquarters. The news of the house had been told him by letter, but,of course, in so vague and general a way that, thinking he knew all,in reality he knew nothing.
Josephine had married Raynal. The marriage was sudden, but no doubtthere was an attachment: he had some reason to believe in suddenattachments. Colonel Dujardin, an old acquaintance, had come backto France wounded, and the good doctor had undertaken his cure: thisincident appeared neither strange nor any way important. Whataffected him most deeply was the death of Raynal, his personalfriend and patron. But when his tyrants, as he called the surgeonand his uncle, gave him leave to go home, all feelings wereoverpowered by his great joy at the prospect of seeing Rose. Hewalked over to Beaurepaire, his arm in a sling, his heart beating.He was coming to receive the reward of all he had done, and all hehad attempted. "I will surprise them," thought he. "I will see herface when I come in at the door: oh, happy hour! this pays for all."He entered the house without announcing himself; he went softly upto the saloon; to his great disappointment he found no one but thebaroness: she received him kindly, but not with the warmth heexpected. She was absorbed in her new grief. He asked timidlyafter her daughters. "Madame Raynal bears up, for the sake ofothers. You will not, however, see her: she keeps her room. Mydaughter Rose is taking a walk, I believe." After some politeinquiries, and sympathy with his accident, the baroness retired toindulge her grief, and Edouard thus liberated ran in search of hisbeloved.
He met her at the gate of the Pleasaunce, but not alone. She waswalking with an officer, a handsome, commanding, haughty, brilliantofficer. She was walking by his side, talking earnestly to him.An arrow of ice shot through young Riviere; and then came a feelingof death at his heart, a new symptom in his young life.The next moment Rose caught sight of him. She flushed all over anduttered a little exclamation, and she bounded towards him like alittle antelope, and put out both her hands at once. He could onlygive her one."Ah!" she cried with an accent of heavenly pity, and took his handwith both hers.
This was like the meridian sun coming suddenly on a cold place. Hewas all happiness.When Josephine heard he was come her eye flashed, and she saidquickly, "I will come down to welcome him--dear Edouard!"The sisters looked at one another. Josephine blushed. Rose smiledand kissed her. She colored higher still, and said, "No, she wasashamed to go down.""Why?""Look at my face.""I see nothing wrong with it, except that it eclipses otherpeople's, and I have long forgiven you that.""Oh, yes, dear Rose: look what a color it has, and a fortnight agoit was pale as ashes.""Never mind; do you expect me to regret that?""Rose, I am a very bad woman.""Are you, dear? then hook this for me.""Yes, love. But I sometimes think you would forgive me if you knewhow hard I pray to be better. Rose, I do try so to be as unhappy asI ought; but I can't, I can't. My cold heart seems as dead tounhappiness as once it was to happiness. Am I a heartless womanafter all?""Not altogether," said Rose dryly. "Fasten my collar, dear, anddon't torment yourself. You have suffered much and nobly. It wasHeaven's will: you bowed to it. It was not Heaven's will that youshould be blighted altogether. Bow in this, too, to Heaven's will:take things as they come, and do cease to try and reconcile feelingsthat are too opposite to live together.""Ah! these are such comfortable words, Rose; but mamma will see thisdreadful color in my cheek, and what can I say to her?""Ten to one it will not be observed; and if it should, I will say itis the excitement of seeing Edouard. Leave all to me."Josephine greeted Edouard most affectionately, drew from him hiswhole history, and petted him and sympathized with him deliciously,and made him the hero of the evening. Camille, who was notnaturally of a jealous temper, bore this very well at first, but atlast he looked so bitter at her neglect of him, that Rose took himaside to soothe him. Edouard, missing the auditor he most valued,and seeing her in secret conference with the brilliant colonel, felta return of the jealous pangs that had seized him at first sight ofthe man; and so they played at cross purposes.At another period of the evening the conversation became moregeneral; and Edouard took a dislike to Colonel Dujardin. A youngman of twenty-eight nearly always looks on a boy of twenty-one withthe air of a superior, and this assumption, not being an ill-naturedone, is apt to be so easy and so undefined that the younger hardlyknows how to resent or to resist it. But Edouard was a little vainas we know; and the Colonel jarred him terribly. His quick haughtyeye jarred him. His regimentals jarred him: they fitted like aglove. His mustache and his manner jarred him, and, worst of all,his cool familiarity with Rose, who seemed to court him rather thanbe courted by him. He put this act of Rose's to the colonel'saccount, according to the custom of lovers, and revenged himself ina small way by telling Josephine in her ear "that the colonelproduced on his mind the effect of an intolerable puppy."Josephine colored up and looked at him with a momentary surprise.
She said quietly, "Military men do give themselves some airs, but heis very amiable at bottom. You must make a better acquaintance withhim, and then he will reveal to you his nobler qualities."--"Oh! Ihave no particular desire," sneered unlucky Edouard. Sweet asJosephine was, this was too much for her: she said nothing; but shequietly turned Edouard over to Aubertin, and joined Rose, and undercover of her had a sweet timid chat with her falsely accused.This occupied the two so entirely that Edouard was neglected. Thishurt his foible, and seemed to be so unkind on the very first day ofhis return that he made his adieus to the baroness, and marched offin dudgeon unobserved.
Rose missed him first, but said nothing.When Josephine saw he was gone, she uttered a little exclamation,and looked at Rose. Rose put on a mien of haughty indifference, butthe water was in her eyes.
Josephine looked sorrowful.When they talked over everything together at night, she reproachedherself. "We behaved ill to poor Edouard: we neglected him.""He is a little cross, ill-tempered fellow," said Rose pettishly."Oh, no! no!""And as vain as a peacock.""Has he not some right to be vain in this house?""Yes,--no. I am very angry with him. I won't hear a word in hisfavor," said Rose pouting: then she gave his defender a kiss. "Yes,dear," said Josephine, answering the kiss, and ignoring the words,"he is a dear; and he is not cross, nor so very vain, poor boy! nowdon't you see what it was?""No.""Yes, you do, you little cunning thing: you are too shrewd not tosee everything.""No, indeed, Josephine; do tell me, don't keep me waiting: I can'tbear that.""Well, then--jealous! A little.""Jealous? Oh, what fun! Of Camille? Ha! ha! Little goose!""And," said Josephine very seriously, "I almost think he would bejealous of any one that occupied your attention. I watched him moreor less all the evening.""All the better. I'll torment my lord.""Heaven forbid you should be so cruel.""Oh! I will not make him unhappy, but I'll tease him a little; it isnot in nature to abstain."This foible detected in her lover, Rose was very gay at the prospectof amusement it afforded her.And I think I have many readers who at this moment are awaitingunmixed enjoyment and hilarity from the same source.I wish them joy of their prospect.Edouard called the next day: he wore a gloomy air. Rose met thiswith a particularly cheerful one; on this, Edouard's face clearedup, and he was himself again; agreeable as this was, Rose felt alittle disappointed. "I am afraid he is not very jealous afterall," thought she.
Josephine left her room this day and mingled once more with thefamily. The bare sight of her was enough for Camille at first, butafter awhile he wanted more. He wanted to be often alone with her;but several causes co-operated to make her shy of giving him manysuch opportunities: first, her natural delicacy, coupled with herhabit of self-denial; then her fear of shocking her mother, andlastly her fear of her own heart, and of Camille, whose power overher she knew. For Camille, when he did get a sweet word alone withher, seemed to forget everything except that she was his betrothed,and that he had come back alive to marry her. He spoke to her ofhis love with an ardor and an urgency that made her thrill withhappiness, but at the same time shrink with a certain fear and self-reproach. Possessed with a feeling no stronger than hers, butsingle, he did not comprehend the tumult, the trouble, the dailycontest in her heart. The wind seemed to him to be always changing,and hot and cold the same hour. Since he did not even see that shewas acting in hourly fear of her mother's eye, he was little likelyto penetrate her more hidden sentiments; and then he had not touchedher key-note,--self-denial.Women are self-denying and uncandid. Men are self-indulgent andoutspoken.
And this is the key to a thousand double misunderstandings; forbelieve me, good women are just as stupid in misunderstanding men ashonest men are in misunderstanding women.To Camille, Josephine's fluctuations, joys, tremors, love, terror,modesty, seemed one grand total, caprice. The component parts of ithe saw not; and her caprice tortured him almost to madness. Toopenitent to give way again to violent passion, he gently fretted.
His health retrograded and his temper began to sour. The eye oftimid love that watched him with maternal anxiety from under itslong lashes saw this with dismay, and Rose, who looked into hersister's bosom, devoted herself once more to soothe him withoutcompromising Josephine's delicacy. Matters were not so bad but whata fine sprightly girl like Rose could cheer up a dejected but manlycolonel; and Rose was generally successful.But then, unfortunately, this led to a fresh mystification.
Riviere's natural jealousy revived, and found constant food in theattention Rose paid Camille, a brilliant colonel living in the housewhile he, poor wretch, lived in lodgings. The false position of allthe parties brought about some singular turns. I give from theirnumber one that forms a link, though a small one, in my narrative.One day Edouard came to tell Rose she was making him unhappy; he hadher alone in the Pleasaunce; she received him with a radiant smile,and they had a charming talk,--a talk all about HIM: what the familyowed him, etc.On this, his late jealousy and sense of injury seemed a thing ofthree years ago, and never to return. So hard it is for the lovingheart to resist its sun.Jacintha came with a message from the colonel: "Would it beagreeable to Mademoiselle Rose to walk with him at the usual hour?""Certainly," said Rose.
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.