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Lazarre
by Mary Hartwell Catherwood
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The peasants of this country, men in shirts and drawers of coarse linen, and women with braided hair hanging down under linen veils, stopped their carts as soon as a post-carriage rushed into sight, and bent almost to the earth. At post-houses the servants abased themselves to take me by the heel. In no other country was the spirit of man so broken. Poles of high birth are called the Frenchmen of the north, and we saw fair men and women in sumptuous polonaises and long robes who appeared luxurious in their traveling carriages. But stillness and solitude brooded on the land. From Cracow to Warsaw wide reaches of forest darkened the level. Any open circle was belted around the horizon with woods, pines, firs, beech, birch, and small oaks. Few cattle fed on the pastures, and stunted crops of grain ripened in the melancholy light.

From Cracow to Warsaw is a distance of one hundred and thirty leagues, if the postilion lied not, yet on that road we met but two carriages and not more than a dozen carts. Scattering wooden villages, each a line of hovels, appeared at long intervals.

Post-houses were kept by Jews, who fed us in the rooms where their families lived. Milk and eggs they had none to offer us; and their beds were piles of straw on the ground, seldom clean, never untenanted by fleas.

Beggars ran beside us on the wretched roads as neglected as themselves. Where our horses did not labor through sand, the marshy ground was paved with sticks and boughs, or the surface was built up with trunks of trees laid crosswise.

In spacious, ill-paved Warsaw, through which the great Vistula flows, we rested two days. I knelt with confused thoughts, trying to pray in the Gothic cathedral. We walked past it into the old town, of high houses and narrow streets, like a part of Paris.

In Lithuania the roads were paths winding through forests full of stumps and roots. The carriage hardly squeezed along, and eight little horses attached to it in the Polish way had much ado to draw us. The postilions were young boys in coarse linen, hardy as cattle, who rode bare-back league upon league.

Old bridges cracked and sagged when we crossed them. And here the forests rose scorched and black in spots, because the peasants, bound to pay their lords turpentine, fired pines and caught the heated ooze.

Within the proper boundary of Russia our way was no better. There we saw queer projections of boards around trees to keep bears from climbing after the hunters.

The Lithuanian peasants had few wants. Their carts were put together without nails. Their bridles and traces were made of bark. They had no tools but hatchets. A sheepskin coat and round felt cap kept a man warm in cold weather. His shoes were made of bark, and his home of logs with penthouse roof.

In houses where travelers slept the candles were laths of deal, about five feet long, stuck into crevices of the wall or hung over tables. Our hosts carried them about, dropping unheeded sparks upon the straw beds.

In Grodno, a town of falling houses and ruined palaces, we rested again before turning directly north.

There my heart began to sink. We had spent four weeks on a comfortless road, working always toward the goal. It was nearly won. A speech of my friend the marquis struck itself out sharply in the northern light.

"You are not the only Pretender, my dear boy. Don't go to Mittau expecting to be hailed as a novelty. At least two peasants have started up claiming to be the prince who did not die in the Temple, and have been cast down again, complaining of the treatment of their dear sister! The Count d'Artois says he would rather saw wood for a living than be king after the English fashion. I would rather be the worthless old fellow I am than be king after the Mittau fashion; especially when his Majesty, Louis XVIII, sees you coming!"



IX

Purposely we entered Mittau about sunset, which was nearer ten o'clock than nine in that northern land; coming through wheat lands to where a network of streams forms the river Aa. In this broad lap of the province of Courland sat Mittau. Yelgava it was called by the people among whom we last posted, and they pronounced the word as if naming something as great as Paris.

It was already July, St. John's day being two weeks gone; yet the echoes of its markets and feastings lingered. The word "Johanni" smote even an ear deaf to the language. It was like a dissolving fair.

"You are too late for Johanni," said the German who kept the house for travelers, speaking the kind of French we heard in Poland. "Perhap it is just as well for you. This Johanni has nearly ruined me!"

Yet he showed a disposition to hire my singular servant from me at a good wage, walking around and around Skenedonk, who bore the scrutiny like a pine tree.

The Oneida enjoyed his travels. It was easy for him to conform to the thoughts and habits of Europe. We had not talked about the venture into Russia. He simply followed me where I went without asking questions, proving himself faithful friend and liberal minded gentleman.

We supped privately, and I dressed with care. Horses were put in for our last short post of a few streets. We had suffered such wretched quarters on the way that the German guest-house spread itself commodiously. Yet its walls were the flimsiest slabs. I heard some animal scratching and whining in the next chamber. On the post-road, however, we had not always a wall betwixt ourselves and the dogs.

The palace in Mittau stood conspicuous upon an island in the river. As we approached, it looked not unlike a copy of Versailles. The pile was by no means brilliant with lights, as the court of a king might glitter, finding reflection upon the stream. We drove with a clatter upon the paving, and a sentinel challenged us.

I had thought of how I should obtain access to this secluded royal family, and Skenedonk was ready with the queen's jewel-case in his hands. Not on any account was he to let it go out of them until I took it and applied the key; but gaining audience with Madame d'Angouleme, he was to tell her that the bearer of that casket had traveled far to see her, and waited outside.

Under guard the Oneida had the great doors shut behind him. The wisdom of my plan looked less conspicuous as time went by. The palace loomed silent, without any cheer of courtiers. The horses shook their straps, and the postilion hung lazily by one leg, his figure distinct against the low horizon still lighted by after-glow. Some Mittau noises came across the Aa, the rumble of wheels, and a barking of dogs.

When apprehension began to pinch my heart of losing my servant and my whole fortune in the abode of honest royal people, and I felt myself but a poor outcast come to seek a princess for my sister, a guard stood by the carriage, touching his cap, and asked me to follow him.

We ascended the broad steps. He gave the password to a sentinel there, and held wide one leaf of the door. He took a candle; and otherwise dark corridors and ante-chambers, somber with heavy Russian furnishings, rugs hung against the walls, barbaric brazen vessels and curious vases, passed like a half-seen vision.

Then the guard delivered me to a gentleman in a blue coat, with a red collar, who belonged to the period of the Marquis du Plessy without being adorned by his whiteness and lace. The gentleman staring at me, strangely polite and full of suspicion, conducted me into a well-lighted room where Skenedonk waited by the farther door, holding the jewel-case as tenaciously as he would a scalp.

I entered the farther door. It closed behind me.

A girl stood in the center of this inner room, looking at me. I remember none of its fittings, except that there was abundant light, showing her clear blue eyes and fair hair, the transparency of her skin, and her high expression. She was all in black, except a floating muslin cape or fichu, making a beholder despise the finery of the Empire.

We must have examined each other even sternly, though I felt a sudden giving way and heaving in my breast. She was so high, so sincere! If I had been unfit to meet the eyes of that princess I must have shriveled before her.

From side to side her figure swayed, and another young girl, the only attendant in the room, stretched out both arms to catch her.

We put her on a couch, and she sat gasping, supported by the lady in waiting. Then the tears ran down her face, and I kissed the transparent hands, my own flesh and blood, I believed that hour as I believe to this.

"O Louis—Louis!"

The wonder of her knowledge and acceptance of me, without a claim being put forward, was around me like a cloud.

"You were so like my father as you stood there—I could see him again as he parted from us! What miracle has restored you? How did you find your way here? You are surely Louis?"

I sat down beside her, keeping one hand between mine.

"Madame, I believe as you believe, that I am Louis Charles, the dauphin of France. And I have come to you first, as my own flesh and blood, who must have more knowledge and recollection of things past than I myself can have. I have not long been waked out of the tranced life I formerly lived."

"I have wept more tears for the little brother—broken in intellect and exiled farther than we—than for my father and mother. They were at peace. But you, poor child, what hope was there for you? Was the person who had you in his charge kind to you? He must have been. You have grown to be such a man as I would have you!"

"Everybody has been kind to me, my sister."

"Could they look in that face and be unkind? All the thousand questions I have to ask must be deferred until the king sees you. I cannot wait for him to see you! Mademoiselle de Choisy, send a message at once to the king!"

The lady in waiting withdrew to the door, and the royal duchess quivered with eager anticipation.

"We have had pretended dauphins, to add insult to exile. You may not take the king unaware as you took me! He will have proofs as plain as his Latin verse. But you will find his Majesty all that a father could be to us, Louis! I think there never was a man so unselfish!—except, indeed, my husband, whom you cannot see until he returns."

Again I kissed my sister's hand. We gazed at each other, our different breeding still making strangeness between us, across which I yearned; and she examined me.

Many a time since I have reproached myself for not improving those moments with the most candid and right-minded princess in Europe, by forestalling my enemies. I should have told her of my weakness instead of sunning my strength in the love of her. I should have made her see my actual position, and the natural antagonism of the king, who would not so readily see a strong personal resemblance when that was not emphasized by some mental stress, as she and three very different men had seen it.

Instead of making cause with her, however, I said over and over—"Marie-Therese! Marie-Therese!"—like a homesick boy come again to some familiar presence. "You are the only one of my family I have seen since waking; except Louis Philippe."

"Don't speak of that man, Louis! I detest the house of Orleans as a Christian should detest only sin! His father doomed ours to death!"

"But he is not to blame for what his father did."

"What do you mean by waking?"

"Coming to my senses."

"All that we shall hear about when the king sees you."

"I knew your picture on the snuffbox."

"What snuffbox?"

"The one in the queen's jewel-case."

"Where did you find that jewel-case?"

"Do you remember the Marquis du Plessy?"

"Yes. A lukewarm loyalist, if loyalist at all in these times."

"My best friend."

"I will say for him that he was not among the first emigres. If the first emigres had stayed at home and helped their king, they might have prevented the Terror."

"The Marquis du Plessy stayed after the Tuileries was sacked. He found the queen's jewel-case, and saved it from confiscation to the state."

"Where did he find it? Did you recognize the faces?"

"Oh, instantly!"

The door opened, deferring any story, for that noble usher who had brought me to the presence of Marie-Therese stood there, ready to conduct us to the king.

My sister rose and I led her by the hand, she going confidently to return the dauphin to his family, and the dauphin going like a fool. Seeing Skenedonk standing by the door, I must stop and fit the key to the lock of the queen's casket, and throw the lid back to show her proofs given me by one who believed in me in spite of himself. The snuffbox and two bags of coin were gone, I saw with consternation, but the princess recognized so many things that she missed nothing, controlling herself as her touch moved from trinket to trinket that her mother had worn.

"Bring this before the king," she said. And we took it with us, the noble in blue coat and red collar carrying it.

"His Majesty," Marie-Therese told me as we passed along a corridor, "tries to preserve the etiquette of a court in our exile. But we are paupers, Louis. And mocking our poverty, Bonaparte makes overtures to him to sell the right of the Bourbons to the throne of France!"

She had not yet adjusted her mind to the fact that Louis XVIII was no longer the one to be treated with by Bonaparte or any other potentate, and the pretender leading her smiled like the boy of twenty that he was.

"Napoleon can have no peace while a Bourbon in the line of succession lives."

"Oh, remember the Duke d'Enghien!" she whispered.

Then the door of a lofty but narrow cabinet, lighted with many candles, was opened, and I saw at the farther end a portly gentleman seated in an arm-chair.

A few gentlemen and two ladies in waiting, besides Mademoiselle de Choisy, attended.

Louis XVIII rose from his seat as my sister made a deep obeisance to him, and took her hand and kissed it. At once, moved by some singular maternal impulse, perhaps, for she was half a dozen years my senior, as a mother would whimsically decorate her child, Marie-Therese took the half circlet of gems from the casket, reached up, and set it on my head.

For an instant I was crowned in Mittau, with my mother's tiara.

I saw the king's features turn to granite, and a dark red stain show on his jaws like coloring on stone. The most benevolent men, and by all his traits he was one of the most benevolent, have their pitiless moments. He must have been prepared to combat a pretender before I entered the room. But outraged majesty would now take its full vengeance on me for the unconsidered act of the child he loved.

"First two peasants, Hervagault and Bruneau, neither of whom had the audacity to steal into the confidence of the tenderest princess in Europe with the tokens she must recognize, or to penetrate into the presence," spoke the king: "and now an escaped convict from Ste. Pelagie, a dandy from the Empire!"

I was only twenty, and he stung me.

"Your royal highness," I said, speaking as I believed within my rights, "my sister tries to put a good front on my intrusion into Mittau."

I took the coronet from my head and gave it again to the hand which had crowned me. Marie-Therese let it fall, and it rocked near the feet of the king.

"Your sister, monsieur! What right have you to call Madame d'Angouleme your sister!"

"The same right, monsieur, that you have to call her your niece."

The features of the princess became pinched and sharpened under the softness of her fair hair.

"Sire, if this is not my brother, who is he?"

Louis XVIII may have been tender to her every other moment of his life, but he was hard then, and looked beyond her toward the door, making a sign with his hand.

That strange sympathy which works in me for my opponent, put his outraged dignity before me rather than my own wrong. Deeper, more sickening than death, the first faintness of self-distrust came over me. What if my half-memories were unfounded hallucinations? What if my friend Louis Philippe had made a tool of me, to annoy this older Bourbon branch that detested him? What if Bellenger's recognition, and the Marquis du Plessy's, and Marie-Therese's, went for nothing? What if some other, and not this angry man, had sent the money to America—

The door opened again. We turned our heads, and I grew hot at the cruelty which put that idiot before my sister's eyes. He ran on all fours, his gaunt wrists exposed, until Bellenger, advancing behind, took him by the arm and made him stand erect. It was this poor creature I had heard scratching on the other side of the inn wall.

How long Bellenger had been beforehand with me in Mittau I could not guess. But when I saw the scoundrel who had laid me in Ste. Pelagie, and doubtless dropped me in the Seine, ready to do me more mischief, smug and smooth shaven, and fine in the red-collared blue coat which seemed to be the prescribed uniform of that court, all my confidence returned. I was Louis of France. I could laugh at anything he had to say.

Behind him entered a priest, who advanced up the room, and made obeisance to the king, as Bellenger did.

Madame d'Angouleme looked once at the idiot, and hid her eyes: the king protecting her. I said to myself,

"It will soon be against my breast, not yours, that she hides her face, my excellent uncle of Provence!"

Yet he was as sincere a man as ever said to witnesses,

"We shall now hear the truth."

The few courtiers, enduring with hardiness a sight which they perhaps had seen before though Madame d'Angouleme had not, made a rustle among themselves as if echoing,

"Yes, now we shall hear the truth!"

The king again kissed my sister's hand, and placed her in a seat beside his arm-chair, which he resumed.

"Monsieur the Abbe Edgeworth," he said, "having stood on the scaffold with our martyred sovereign, as priest and comforter, is eminently the one to conduct an examination like this, which touches matters of conscience. We leave it in his hands."

Abbe Edgeworth, fine and sweet of presence, stood by the king, facing Bellenger and the idiot. That poor creature, astonished by his environment, gazed at the high room corners, or smiled experimentally at the courtiers, stretching his cracked lips over darkened fangs.

"You are admitted here, Bellenger," said the priest, "to answer his Majesty's questions in the presence of witnesses."

"I thank his Majesty," said Bellenger.

The abbe began as if the idiot attracted his notice for the first time.

"Who is the unfortunate child you hold with your right hand?"

"The dauphin of France, monsieur the abbe," spoke out Bellenger, his left hand on his hip.

"What! Take care what you say! How do you know that the dauphin of France is yet among the living?"

Bellenger's countenance changed, and he took his hand off his hip and let it hang down.

"I received the prince, monsieur, from those who took him out of the Temple prison."

"And you never exchanged him for another person, or allowed him to be separated from you?"

Bellenger swore with ghastly lips—"Never, on my hopes of salvation, monsieur the abbe!"

"Admitting that somebody gave you this child to keep—by the way, how old is he?"

"About twenty years, monsieur."

"What right had you to assume he was the dauphin?"

"I had received a yearly pension, monsieur, from his Majesty himself, for the maintenance of the prince."

"You received the yearly pension through my hand, acting as his Majesty's almoner, His Majesty was ever too bountiful to the unfortunate. He has many dependents. Where have you lived with your charge?"

"We lived in America, sometimes in the woods; and sometimes in towns."

"Has he ever shown hopeful signs of recovering his reason?"

"Never, monsieur the abbe."

Having touched thus lightly on the case of the idiot, Abbe Edgeworth turned to me.

The king's face retained its granite hardness. But Bellenger's passed from shade to shade of baffled confidence; recovering only when the priest said,

"Now look at this young man. Have you ever seen him before?"

"Yes, monsieur, I have; both in the American woods, and in Paris."

"What was he doing in the American woods?"

"Living on the bounty of one Count de Chaumont, a friend of Bonaparte's."

"Who is he?"

"A French half-breed, brought up among the Indians."

"What name does he bear?"

"He is called Lazarre."

"But why is a French half-breed named Lazarre attempting to force himself on the exiled court here in Mittau?"

"People have told him that he resembles the Bourbons, monsieur."

"Was he encouraged in this idea by the friend of Bonaparte whom you mentioned?"

"I think not, monsieur the abbe. But I heard a Frenchman tell him he was like the martyred king, and since that hour he has presumed to consider himself the dauphin."

"Who was this Frenchman?"

"The Duke of Orleans, Louis Philippe de Bourbon, monsieur the abbe."

There was an expressive movement among the courtiers.

"Was Louis Philippe instrumental in sending him to France?"

"He was. He procured shipping for the pretender."

"When the pretender reached Paris, what did he do?"

"He attempted robbery, and was taken in the act and thrown into Ste. Pelagie. I saw him arrested."

"What were you doing in Paris?"

"I was following and watching this dangerous pretender, monsieur the abbe."

"Did you leave America when he did?"

"The evening before, monsieur. And we outsailed him."

"Did you leave Paris when he did?"

"Three days later, monsieur. But we passed him while he rested."

"Why do you call such an insignificant person a dangerous pretender?"

"He is not insignificant, monsieur: as you will say, when you hear what he did in Paris."

"He was thrown into the prison of Ste. Pelagie, you told me."

"But he escaped, by choking a sacristan so that the poor man will long bear the marks on his throat. And the first thing I knew he was high in favor with the Marquis du Plessy, and Bonaparte spoke to him; and the police laughed at complaints lodged against him."

"Who lodged complaints against him?"

"I did, monsieur."

"But he was too powerful for you to touch?"

"He was well protected, monsieur the abbe. He flaunted. While the poor prince and myself suffered inconvenience and fared hard—"

"The poor prince, you say?"

"We never had a fitting allowance, monsieur," Bellenger declared aggressively. "Yet with little or no means I tried to bring this pretender to justice and defend his Majesty's throne."

"Pensioners are not often so outspoken in their dissatisfaction," remarked the priest.

I laughed as I thought of the shifts to which Bellenger must have been put. Abbe Edgeworth with merciless dryness inquired,

"How were you able to post to Mittau?"

"I borrowed money of a friend in Paris, monsieur, trusting that his Majesty will requite me for my services."

"But why was it necessary for you to post to Mittau, where this pretender would certainly meet exposure?"

"Because I discovered that he carried with him a casket of the martyred queen's jewels, stolen from the Marquis du Plessy."

"How did the Marquis du Plessy obtain possession of the queen's jewels?"

"That I do not know."

"But the jewels are the lawful property of Madame d'Angouleme. He must have known they would be seized."

"I thought it necessary to bring my evidence against him, monsieur."

"There was little danger of his imposing himself upon the court. Yet you are rather to be commended than censured, Bellenger. Did this pretender know you were in Paris?"

"He saw me there."

"Many times?"

"At least twice, monsieur the abbe."

"Did he avoid you?"

"I avoided him. I took pains to keep him from knowing how I watched him."

"You say he flaunted. When he left Paris for Mittau was the fact generally reported?"

"No, monsieur."

"You learned it yourself?"

"Yes, monsieur."

"But he must have known you would pursue him."

"He left with great secrecy, monsieur the abbe." It was given out that he was merely going to the country."

"What made you suspect he was coming to Mittau?"

"He hired a strong post-chaise and made many preparations."

"But didn't his friend the Marquis du Plessy discover the robbery? Why didn't he follow and take the thief?"

"Dead men don't follow, monsieur the abbe. The Marquis du Plessy had a duel on his hands, and was killed the day after this Lazarre left Paris."

Of all Bellenger's absurd fabrications this story was the most ridiculous. I laughed again. Madame d'Angouleme took her hands from her face and our eyes met one instant, but the idiot whined like a dog. She shuddered, and covered her sight.

The priest turned from Bellenger to me with a fair-minded expression, and inquired,

"What have you to say?"

I had a great deal to say, though the only hearer I expected to convince was my sister. If she believed in me I did not care whether the others believed or not. I was going to begin with Lake George, the mountain, and the fog, and Bellenger's fear of me, and his rage when Louis Philippe told him the larger portion of the money sent from Europe was given to me.

Facing Marie-Therese, therefore, instead of the Abbe Edgeworth, I spoke her name. She looked up once more. And instead of being in Mittau, I was suddenly on a balcony at Versailles!

The night landscape, chill and dim, stretched beyond a multitude of roaring mouths, coarse lips, flaming eyes, illuminated by torches, the heads ornamented with a three-colored thing stuck into the caps. My hand stretched out for support, and met the tight clip of my mother's fingers. I knew that she was towering between Marie-Therese and me a fearless palpitating statue. The devilish roaring mob shot above itself a forced, admiring, piercing cry—"Long live the queen!" Then all became the humming of bees—the vibration of a string—nothing!



X

Blackness surrounded the post-carriage in which I woke, and it seemed to stand in a tunnel that was afire at one end. Two huge trees, branches and all, were burning on a big hearth, stones glowing under them; and figures with long beards, in black robes, passed betwixt me and the fire, stirring a cauldron. If ever witches' brewing was seen, it looked like that.

The last eclipse of mind had come upon me without any rending and tearing in the head, and facts returned clearly and directly. I saw the black robed figures were Jews cooking supper at a large fireplace, and we had driven upon the brick floor of a post-house which had a door nearly the size of a gable. At that end spread a ghostly film of open land, forest and sky. I lay stretched upon cushions as well as the vehicle would permit, and was aware by a shadow which came between me and the Jews that Skenedonk stood at the step.

"What are you about?" I spoke with a rush of chagrin, sitting up. "Are we on the road to Paris?"

"Yes," he answered.

"You have made a mistake, Skenedonk!"

"No mistake," he maintained. "Wait until I bring you some supper. After supper we can talk."

"Bring the supper at once then, for I am going to talk now."

"Are you quite awake?"

"Quite awake. How long did it last this time?"

"Two days."

"We are not two days' journey out of Mittau?"

"Yes."

"Well, when you have horses put in to-morrow morning, turn them back to Mittau."

Skenedonk went to the gigantic hearth, and one of the Jews ladled him out a bowlful of the cauldron stew, which he brought to me.

The stuff was not offensive and I was hungry. He brought another bowlful for himself, and we ate as we had often done in the woods. The fire shone on his bald pate and gave out the liquid lights of his fawn eyes.

"I have made a fool of myself in Mittau, Skenedonk."

"Why do you want to go back?"

"Because I am not going to be thrown out of the palace without a hearing."

"What is the use?" said Skenedonk. "The old fat chief will not let you stay. He doesn't want to hear you talk. He wants to be king himself."

"Did you see me sprawling on the floor like the idiot?"

"Not like the idiot. Your face was down."

"Did you see the duchess?"

"Yes."

"What did she do?"

"Nothing. She leaned on the women and they took her away."

"Tell me all you saw."

"When you went in to hold council, I watched, and saw a priest and Bellenger and the boy that God had touched, all go in after you. So I knew the council would be bad for you, Lazarre, and I stood by the door with my knife in my hand. When the talk had gone on awhile I heard something like the dropping of a buck on the ground, and sprang in, and the men drew their swords and the women screamed. The priest pointed at you and said, 'God has smitten the pretender!' Then they all went out of the room except the priest, and we opened your collar. I told him you had fallen like that before, and the stroke passed off in sleep. He said your carriage waited, and if I valued your safety I would put you in it and take you out of Russia. He called servants to help me carry you. I thought about your jewels; but some drums began to beat, and I thought about your life!"

"But, Skenedonk, didn't my sister—the lady I led by the hand, you remember—speak to me again, or look at me, or try to revive me?"

"No. She went away with the women carrying her."

"She believed in me—at first! Before I said a word she knew me! She wouldn't leave me merely because her uncle and a priest thought me an impostor! She is the tenderest creature on earth, Skenedonk—she is more like a saint than a woman!"

"Some saints on the altar are blind and deaf," observed the Oneida. "I think she was sick."

"I have nearly killed her! And I have been tumbled out of Mittau as a pretender!"

"You are here. Get some men to fight, and we will go back."

"What a stroke—to lose my senses at the moment I needed them most!"

"You kept your scalp."

"And not much else. No! If you refuse to follow me, and wait here at this post-house, I am going back to Mittau!"

"I go where you go," said Skenedonk. "But best go to sleep now."

This I was not able to do until long tossing on the thorns of chagrin wore me out. I was ashamed like a prodigal, baffled, and hurt to the bruising of my soul. A young man's chastened confidence in himself is hard to bear, but the loss of what was given as a heritage at birth is an injustice not to be endured.

The throne of France was never my goal, to be reached through blood and revolution. Perhaps the democratic notions in my father's breast have found wider scope in mine. I wanted to influence men, and felt even at that time that I could do it; but being king was less to my mind than being acknowledged dauphin, and brother, and named with my real name.

I took my fists in my hands and swore to force recognition, if I battered a lifetime on Mittau.

At daylight our post-horses were put to the chaise and I gave the postilion orders myself. The little fellow bowed himself nearly double, and said that troops were moving behind us to join the allied forces against Napoleon.

At once the prospect of being snared among armies and cut off from all return to Paris, appalled me as a greater present calamity than being cast out of Mittau. Mittau could wait for another expedition.

"Very well," I said. "Take the road to France."

We met August rains. We were bogged. A bridge broke under us. We dodged Austrian troops. It seemed even then a fated thing that a Frenchman should retreat ignominiously from Russia.

There is a devilish antagonism of inanimate and senseless things, begun by discord in ourselves, which works unreasonable torture. Our return was an abominable journal which I will not recount, and going with it was a mortifying facility for drawing opposing forces.

However, I knew my friend the marquis expected me to return defeated. He gave me my opportunity as a child is indulged with a dangerous plaything, to teach it caution.

He would be in his chateau of Plessy, cutting off two days' posting to Paris. And after the first sharp pangs of chagrin and shame at losing the fortune he had placed in my hands, I looked forward with impatience to our meeting.

"We have nothing, Skenedonk!" I exclaimed the first time there was occasion for money on the road. "How have you been able to post? The money and the jewel-case are gone."

"We have two bags of money and the snuffbox," said the Oneida. "I hid them in the post-carriage."

"But I had the key of the jewel-case."

"You are a good sleeper," responded Skenedonk.

I blessed him heartily for his forethought, and he said if he had known I was a fool he would not have told me we carried the jewel-case into Russia.

I dared not let myself think of Madame de Ferrier. The plan of buying back her estates, which I had nurtured in the bottom of my heart, was now more remote than America.

One bag of coin was spent in Paris, but three remained there with Doctor Chantry. We had money, though the more valuable treasure stayed in Mittau.

In the sloping hills and green vines of Champagne we were no longer harassed dodging troops, and slept the last night of our posting at Epernay. Taking the road early next morning, I began to watch for Plessy too soon, without forecasting that I was not to set foot within its walls.

We came within the marquis' boundaries upon a little goose girl, knitting beside her flock. Her bright hair was bound with a woolen cap. Delicious grass, and the shadow of an oak, under which she stood, were not to be resisted, so I sent the carriage on. She looked open-mouthed after Skenedonk, and bobbed her dutiful, frightened courtesy at me.

The marquis' peasants were by no means under the influence of the Empire, as I knew from observing the lad whom he had sought among the drowned in the mortuary chapel of the Hotel Dieu, and who was afterwards found in a remote wine shop seeing sights. The goose girl dared not speak to me unless I required it of her, and the unusual notice was an honor she would have avoided.

"What do you do here?" I inquired.

Her little heart palpitated in the answer—"Oh, guard the geese."

"Do they give you trouble?"

"Not much, except that wicked gander." She pointed out with her knitting-needle a sleek white fellow, who flirted his tail and turned an eye, quavering as if he said—"La, la, la!"

"What does he do?"

"He would be at the vines and the corn, monsieur."

"Bad gander!"

"I switch him," she informed me, like a magistrate.

"But that would only make him run."

"Also I have a string in my pocket, and I tie him by the leg to a tree."

"Serves him right. Is the Marquis du Plessy at the chateau?"

Her face grew shaded, as a cloud chases sunlight before it across a meadow. "Do you mean the new marquis, the old marquis' cousin, monsieur? He went away directly after the burial."

"What burial?"'

"The old marquis' burial. That was before St. John's day."

"Be careful what you say, my child!"

"Didn't you know he was dead, monsieur?"

"I have been on a journey. Was his death sudden?"

"He was killed in a duel in Paris."

I sat down on the grass with my head in my hands. Bellenger had told the truth.

One scant month the Marquis du Plessy fostered me like a son. To this hour my slow heart aches for the companionship of the lightest, most delicate spirit I ever encountered in man.

Once I lifted my head and insisted,

"It can't be true!"

"Monsieur," the goose girl asserted solemnly, "it is true. The blessed St. Alpin, my patron, forget me if I tell you a lie."

Around the shadowed spot where I sat I heard trees whispering on the hills, and a cart rumbling along the hardened dust of the road.

"Monsieur," spoke the goose girl out of her good heart, "if you want to go to his chapel I will show you the path."

She tied a string around the leg of the wicked gander and attached him to the tree, shaking a wand at him in warning. He nipped her sleeve, and hissed, and hopped, his wives remonstrating softly; but his guardian left him bound and carried her knitting down a valley to a stream, across the bridge, and near an opening in the bushes at the foot of a hill.

"Go all to the right, monsieur," she said, "and you will come to the chapel where the Du Plessys are buried."

I gave her the largest coin in my pocket, and she flew back as well as the spirit of childhood could fly in wooden shoes. All the geese, formed in a line, waddled to meet her, perhaps bearing a memorial of wrongs from their husband.

The climb was steep, rounding a darkened ferny shoulder of lush forest, yet promising more and more a top of sunlight. At the summit was a carriage road which ascended by some easier plane. Keeping all to the right as the goose girl directed, I found a chapel like a shrine.

It was locked. Through the latticed door I could see an altar, whereunder the last Du Plessy who had come to rest there, doubtless lay with his kin.

I sat down on one of the benches under the trees. The ache within me went deep. But all that sunny hillcrest seemed brightened by the marquis. It was cheerful as his smile. "Let us have a glass of wine and enjoy the sun," he said in the breeze flowing around his chapel. "And do you hear that little citizen of the tree trunks, Lazarre?"

The perfume of the woods rose invisibly to a cloudless sky. My last tryst with my friend was an hour in paradise's antechamber.

The light quick stepping of horses and their rattling harness brought Madame de Ferrier's carriage quickly around the curve fronting the chapel. Her presence was the one touch which the place lacked, and I forgot grief, shame, impatience at being found out in my trouble, and stood at her step with my hat in my hand.

She said—"O Lazarre!"—and Paul beat on Ernestine's knee, echoing—"O Zar!" and my comfort was absolute as release from pain, because she had come to visit her old friend the marquis.

I helped her down and stood with her at the latticed door.

"How bright it is here!" said Eagle.

"It is very bright. I came up the hill from a dark place."

"Did the news of his death meet you on the post-road?"

"It met me at the foot of this hill. The goose girl told me."

"Oh, you have been hurt!" she said, looking at me. "Your face is all seamed. Don't tell me about Mittau to-day. Paul and I are taking possession of the estates!"

"Napoleon has given them back to you!"

"Yes, he has! I begged the De Chaumonts to let me come alone! By hard posting we reached Mont-Louis last night. You are the only person in France to whom I would give that vacant seat in the carriage to-day."

I cared no longer for my own loss, as I am afraid has been too much my way all through life; or whether I was a prince or not. Like paradise after death, as so many of our best days come, this perfect day was given me by the marquis himself. Eagle's summer dress touched me. Paul and Ernestine sat facing us, and Paul ate cherries from a little basket, and had his fingers wiped, beating the cushion with his heels in excess of impatience to begin again.

We paused at a turn of the height before descending, where fields could be seen stretching to the horizon, woods fair and clean as parks, without the wildness of the American forest, and vineyards of bushy vines that bore the small black grapes. Eagle showed me the far boundaries of Paul's estates. Then we drove where holly spread its prickly foliage near the ground, where springs from cliffs trickled across delicious lanes.

Hoary stone farmhouses, built four-square like a fortress, each having a stately archway, saluted us as we passed by. The patron and his wife came out, and laborers, pulling their caps, dropped down from high-yoked horses.

But when the long single street of stone cottages which formed the village opened its arms, I could see her breast swelling and her gray eyes sweeping all with comprehensive rush.

An elderly man, shaking some salad in a wire basket, dropped it at his feet, and bowed and bowed, sweeping his cap to the ground. Some women who were washing around a roofed pool left their paddles, and ran, wiping suds from their arms; and houses discharged their inmates, babies in children's arms, wives, old men, the simplicity of their lives and the openness of their labor manifest. They surrounded the carriage. Eagle stood Paul upon his feet that they might worship him, and his mouth corners curled upward, his blue-eyed fearless look traveled from face to face, while her gloved hand was kissed, and God was praised that she had come back.

"O Jean!" she cried, "is your mother alive?" and "Marguerite! have you a son so tall?"

An old creature bent double, walked out on four feet, two of them being sticks, lifted her voice, and blessed Eagle and the child a quarter of an hour. Paul's mother listened reverently, and sent him in Ernestine's arms for the warped human being to look upon at close range with her failing sight. He stared at her unafraid, and experimentally put his finger on her knotted cheek; at which all the women broke into chorus as I have heard blackbirds rejoice.

"I have not seen them for so long!" Madame de Ferrier said, wiping her eyes. "We have all forgotten our behavior!"

An inverted pine tree hung over the inn door, and dinner was laid for us in its best room, where host and hostess served the marquise and the young marquis almost on their knees.

When we passed out at the other end of the village, Eagle showed me a square-towered church.

"The De Ferriers are buried there—excepting my father. I shall put a tablet in the wall for Cousin Philippe. Few Protestants in France had their rights and privileges protected as ours were by the throne. I mention this fact, sire, that you may lay it up in your mind! We have been good subjects, well worth our salt in time of war."

Best of all was coming to the chateau when the sun was about an hour high. The stone pillars of the gateway let us upon a terraced lawn, where a fountain played, keeping bent plumes of water in the air. The lofty chateau of white stone had a broad front, with wings. Eagle bade me note the two dove-cotes or pigeon towers, distinctly separate structures, one flanking each wing, and demonstrating the antiquity of the house. For only nobles in medieval days were accorded the privilege of keeping doves.

Should there be such another evening for me when I come to paradise, if God in His mercy brings me there, I shall be grateful, but hardly with such fresh-hearted joy. Night descends with special benediction on remote ancient homes like Mont-Louis. We walked until sunset in the park, by lake, and bridged stream, and hollied path; Ernestine carrying Paul or letting him pat behind, driving her by her long cap ribbons while he explored his mother's playground. But when the birds began to nest, and dewfall could be felt, he was taken to his supper and his bed, giving his mother a generous kiss, and me a smile of his upcurled mouth corners. His forehead was white and broad, and his blue eyes were set well apart.



I can yet see the child looking over Ernestine's shoulder. She carried him up stairs of oak worn hollow like stone, a mighty hand-wrought balustrade rising with them from hall to roof.

We had our supper in a paneled room where the lights were reflected as on mirrors of polished oak, and the man who served us had served Madame de Ferrier's father and grandfather. The gentle old provincial went about his duty as a religious rite.

There was a pleached walk like that in the marquis' Paris garden, of branches flattened and plaited to form an arbor supported by tree columns; which led to a summer-house of stone smothered in ivy. We walked back and forth under this thick roof of verdure. Eagle's cap of brown hair was roughened over her radiant face, and the open throat of her gown showed pulses beating in her neck. Her lifted chin almost touched my arm as I told her all the Mittau story, at her request.

"Poor Madame d'Angouleme! The cautious priest and the king should not have taken you from me like that! She knew you as I knew you; and a woman's knowing is better than a man's proofs. She will have times of doubting their policy. She will remember the expression of your mouth, your shrugs, and gestures—the little traits of the child Louis, that reappear in the man."

"I wish I had never gone to Mittau to give her a moment's distress."

"Is she very beautiful?"

"She is like a lily made flesh. She has her strong dislikes, and one of them is Louis Philippe—"

"Naturally," said Eagle.

"But she seemed sacred to me. Perhaps a woman brings that hallowedness out of martyrdom."

"God be with the royal lady! And you, sire!"

"And you!—may you be always with me, Eagle!"

"This journey to Mittau changes nothing. You were wilful. You would go to the island in Lake George: you would go to Mittau."

"Both times you sent me."

"Both times I brought you home! Let us not be sorrowful to-night."

"Sorrowful! I am so happy it seems impossible that I come from Mittau, and this day the Marquis du Plessy died to me! I wish the sun had been tied to the trees, as the goose girl tied her gander."

"But I want another day," said Eagle. "I want all the days that are my due at home."

We ascended the steps of the stone pavilion, and sat down in an arch like a balcony over the sunken garden. Pears and apricots, their branches flattened against the wall, showed ruddy garnered sunlight through the dusk. The tangled enclosure sloped down to the stream, from which a fairy wisp of mist wavered over flower bed and tree. Dew and herbs and the fragrance of late roses sent up a divine breath, invisibly submerging us, like a tide rising out of the night.

Madame de Ferrier's individual traits were surprised in this nearness, as they never had been when I saw her at a distance in alien surroundings. A swift ripple, involuntary and glad, coursed down her body; she shuddered for joy half a minute or so.

Two feet away, I worshiped her smiling eyes and their curved ivory lids, her rounded head with its abundant cap of hair, her chin, her shoulders, her bust, the hands in her lap, the very sweep of her scant gown about her feet.

The flash of extreme happiness passing, she said gravely,

"But that was a strange thing—that you should fall unconscious!"

"Not so strange," I said; and told her how many times before the eclipse—under the edge of which my boyhood was passed—had completely shadowed me. At the account of Ste. Pelagie she leaned toward me, her hands clenched on her breast. When we came to the Hotel Dieu she leaned back pallid against the stone.

"Dear Marquis du Plessy!" she whispered, as his name entered the story.

When it was ended she drew some deep breaths in the silence.

"Sire, you must be very careful. That Bellenger is an evil man."

"But a weak one."

"There may be a strength of court policy behind him."

"The policy of the court at Mittau is evidently a policy of denial."

"Your sister believed in you."

"Yes, she believed in me."

"I don't understand," said Madame de Ferrier, leaning forward on her arms, "why Bellenger had you in London, and another boy on the mountain."

"Perhaps we shall never understand it."

"I don't understand why he makes it his business to follow you."

"Let us not trouble ourselves about Bellenger."

"But are you safe in France since the Marquis du Plessy's death?"

"I am safe to-night, at least."

"Yes, far safer than you would be in Paris."

"And Skenedonk is my guard."

"I have sent a messenger to Plessy for him," Madame de Ferrier said. "He will be here in the morning."

I thanked her for remembering him in the excitement of her home coming. We heard a far sweet call through a cleft of the hills, and Eagle turned her head.

"That must be the shepherd of Les Rochers. He has missed a lamb. Les Rochers is the most distant of our farms, but its night noises can be heard through an opening in the forest. Paul will soon be listening for all these sounds! We must drive to Les Rochers to-morrow. It was there that Cousin Philippe died."

I could not say how opportunely Cousin Philippe had died. The violation of her childhood by such a marriage rose up that instant a wordless tragedy.

"Sire, we are not observing etiquette in Mont-Louis as they observe it at Mittau. I have been talking very familiarly to my king. I will keep silent. You speak."

"Madame, you have forbidden me to speak!"

She gave me a startled look, and said,

"Did you know Jerome Bonaparte has come back? He left his wife in America. She cannot be received in France, because she has committed the crime of marrying a prince. She is to be divorced for political reasons."

"Jerome Bonaparte is a hound!" I spoke hotly.

"And his wife a venturesome woman—to marry even a temporary prince."

"I like her sort, madame!"

"Do you, sire?"

"Yes, I like a woman who can love!"

"And ruin?"

"How could you ruin me?"

"The Saint-Michels brought me up," said Eagle. "They taught me what is lawful and unlawful. I will never do an unlawful thing, to the disgrace and shame of my house. A woman should build her house, not tear it down."

"What is unlawful?"

"It is unlawful for me to encourage the suit of my sovereign."

"Am I ever likely to be anything but what they call in Mittau a pretender, Eagle?"

"That we do not know. You shall keep yourself free from entanglements."

"I am free from them—God knows I am free enough!—the lonesomest, most unfriended savage that ever set out to conquer his own."

"You were born to greatness. Great things will come to you."

"If you loved me I could make them come!"

"Sire, it isn't healthy to sit in the night air. We must go out of the dew."

"Oh, who would be healthy! Come to that, who would be such a royal beggar as I am?"

"Remember," she said gravely, "that your claim was in a manner recognized by one of the most cautious, one of the least ardent royalists, in France."

The recognition she knew nothing about came to my lips, and I told her the whole story of the jewels. The snuffbox was in my pocket. Sophie Saint-Michel had often described it to her.

She sat and looked at me, contemplating the stupendous loss.

"The marquis advised me not to take them into Russia," I acknowledged.

"There is no robbery so terrible as the robbery committed by those who think they are doing right."

"I am one of the losing Bourbons."

"Can anything be hidden in that closet in the queen's dressing-room wall?" mused Eagle. "I believe I could find it in the dark, Sophie told me so often where the secret spring may be touched. When the De Chaumonts took me to the Tuileries I wanted to search for it. But all the state apartments are now on the second floor, and Madame Bonaparte has her own rooms below. Evidently she knows nothing of the secrets of the place. The queen kept her most beautiful robes in that closet. It has no visible door. The wall opens. And we have heard that a door was made through the back of it to let upon a spiral staircase of stone, and through this the royal family made their escape to Varennes, when they were arrested and brought back."

We fell into silence at mention of the unsuccessful flight which could have changed history; and she rose and said—"Good-night, sire."

Next morning there was such a delicious world to live in that breathing was a pleasure. Dew gauze spread far and wide over the radiant domain. Sounds from cattle, and stables, and the voices of servants drifted on the air. Doves wheeled around their towers, and around the chateau standing like a white cliff.

I walked under the green canopy watching the sun mount and waiting for Madame de Ferrier. When she did appear the old man who had served her father followed with a tray. I could only say—"Good-morning, madame," not daring to add—"I have scarcely slept for thinking of you."

"We will have our coffee out here," she told me.

It was placed on the broad stone seat under the arch of the pavilion where we sat the night before; bread, unsalted butter from the farms, the coffee, the cream, the loaf sugar. Madame de Ferrier herself opened a door in the end of the wall and plunged into the dew of the garden. Her old servant exclaimed. She caught her hair in briers and laughed, tucking it up from falling, and brought off two great roses, each the head and the strength of a stem, to lay beside our plates. The breath of roses to this hour sends through my veins the joy of that.

Then the old servant gathered wall fruit for us, and she sent some in his hand to Paul. Through a festooned arch of the pavilion giving upon the terraces, we saw a bird dart down to the fountain, tilt and drink, tilt and drink again, and flash away. Immediately the multitudinous rejoicing of a skylark dropped from upper air. When men would send thanks to the very gate of heaven their envoy should be a skylark.

Eagle was like a little girl as she listened.

"This is the first day of September, sire."

"Is it? I thought it was the first day of creation."

"I mention the date that you may not forget it. Because I am going to give you something to-day."

My heart leaped like a conqueror's.

Her skin was as fresh as the roses, looking marvelous to touch. The shock of imminent discovery went through me. For how can a man consider a woman forever as a picture? A picture she was, in the short-waisted gown of the Empire, of that white stuff Napoleon praised because it was manufactured in France. It showed the line of her throat, being parted half way down the bosom by a ruff which encircled her neck and stood high behind it. The transparent sleeves clung to her arms, and the slight outline of her figure looked long in its close casing.

The gown tail curled around her slippered foot damp from the plunge in the garden. She gave it a little kick, and rippled again suddenly throughout her length.

Then her face went grave, like a child's when it is surprised in wickedness.

"But our fathers and mothers would have us forget their suffering in the festival of coming home, wouldn't they, Lazarre?"

"Surely, Eagle."

"Then why are you looking at me with reproach?"

"I'm not."

"Perhaps you don't like my dress?"

I told her it was the first time I had ever noticed anything she wore, and I liked it.

"I used to wear my mother's clothes. Ernestine and I made them over. But this is new; for the new day, and the new life here."

"And the day," I reminded her, "is the first of September."

She laughed, and opened her left hand, showing me two squat keys so small that both had lain concealed under two of her finger tips.

"I am going to give you a key, sire."

"Will it unlock a woman's mind?"

"It will open a padlocked book. Last night I found a little blank-leaved book, with wooden covers. It was fastened by a padlock, and these keys were tied to it. You may have one key: I will keep the other."

"The key to a padlocked book with nothing in it."

Her eyes tantalized me.

"I am going to put something in it. Sophie Saint-Michel said I had a gift for putting down my thoughts. If the gift appeared to Sophie when I was a child, it must grow in me by use. Every day I shall put some of my life into the book. And when I die I will bequeath it to you!"

"Take back the key, madame. I have no desire to look into your coffin."

She extended her hand.

"Then our good and kind friend Count de Chaumont shall have it."

"He shall not!"

I held to her hand and kept my key.

She slipped away from me. The laughter of the child yet rose through the dignity of the woman.

"When may I read this book, Eagle?"

"Never, of my free will, sire. How could I set down all I thought about you, for instance, if the certainty was hanging over me that you would read my candid opinions and punish me for them!"

"Then of what use is the key?"

"You would rather have it than give it to another, wouldn't you?"

"Decidedly."

"Well, you will have the key to my thoughts!"

"And if the book ever falls into my hands—"

"I will see that it doesn't!"

"I will say, years from now—"

"Twenty?"

"Twenty? O Eagle!"

"Ten."

"Months? That's too long!"

"No, ten years, sire."

"Not ten years, Eagle. Say eight."

"No, nine."

"Seven. If the book falls into my hands at the end of seven years, may I open it?"

"I may safely promise you that," she laughed. "The book will never fall into your hands."

I took from my pocket the gold snuffbox with the portraits on the lid, and placed my key carefully therein. Eagle leaned forward to look at them. She took the box in her hand, and gazed with long reverence, drooping her head.

Young as I was, and unskilled in the ways of women, that key worked magic comfort. She had given me a link to hold us together. The inconsistent, contradictory being, old one instant with the wisdom of the Saint-Michels, rippling full of unrestrained life the next, denying me all hope, yet indefinitely tantalizing, was adorable beyond words. I closed my eyes: the blinding sunshine struck them through the ivied arch.

Turning my head as I opened them, I saw an old man come out on the terrace.

He tried to search in every direction, his gray head and faded eyes moving anxiously. Madame de Ferrier was still. I heard her lay the snuffbox on the stone seat. I knew, though I could not let myself watch her, that she stood up against the wall, a woman of stone, her lips chiseled apart.

"Eagle—Eagle!" the old man cried from the terrace.

She whispered—"Yes, Cousin Philippe!"



XI

Swiftly as she passed between the tree columns, more swiftly her youth and vitality died in that walk of a few yards.

We had been girl and boy together a brief half hour, heedless and gay. When she reached the arbor end, our chapter of youth was ended.

I saw her bloodless face as she stepped upon the terrace.

The man stretched his arms to her. As if the blight of her spirit fell upon him, the light died out of his face and he dropped his arms at his sides.

He was a courtly gentleman, cadaverous and shabby as he stood, all the breeding of past generations appearing in him.

"Eagle?" he said. The tone of piteous apology went through me like a sword.

She took his hands and herself drew them around her neck. He kissed her on both cheeks.

"O Cousin Philippe!"

"I have frightened you, child! I meant to send a message first—but I wanted to see you—I wanted to come home!"

"Cousin Philippe, who wrote that letter?"

"The notary, child. I made him do it."

"It was cruel!" She gave way, and brokenly sobbed, leaning helpless against him.

The old marquis smoothed her head, and puckered his forehead under the sunlight, casting his eyes around like a culprit.

"It was desperate. But I could do nothing else! You see it has succeeded. While I lay in hiding, the sight of the child, and your youth, has softened Bonaparte. That was my intention, Eagle!"

"The peasants should have told me you were living!"

"They didn't know I came back. Many of them think I died in America. The family at Les Rochers have been very faithful; and the notary has held his tongue. We must reward them, Eagle. I have been hidden very closely. I am tired of such long hiding!"

He looked toward the chateau and lifted his voice sharply—

"Where's the baby? I haven't seen the baby!"

With gracious courtesy, restraining an impulse to plunge up the steps, he gave her his arm; and she swayed against it as they entered.

When I could see them no more, I rose, and put my snuffbox in my breast. The key rattled in it.

A savage need of hiding when so wounded, worked first through the disorder that let me see none of the amenities of leave-taking, self-command, conduct.

I was beyond the gates, bare-headed, walking with long strides, when an old mill caught my eye, and I turned towards it, as we turn to trifles to relieve us from unendurable tension. The water dripped over the wheel, and long green beard trailed from its chin down the sluice. In this quieting company Skenedonk spied me as he rattled past with the post-carriage; and considering my behavior at other times, he was not enough surprised to waste any good words of Oneida.

He stopped the carriage and I got in. He pointed ahead toward a curtain of trees which screened the chateau.

"Paris," I answered.

"Paris," he repeated to the postilion, and we turned about. I looked from hill to stream, from the fruited brambles of blackberry to reaches of noble forest, realizing that I should never see those lands again, or the neighboring crest where my friend the marquis slept.

We posted the distance to Paris in two days.

What the country was like or what towns we passed I could not this hour declare with any certainty. At first making effort and groping numbly in my mind, but the second day grasping determination, I formed my plans, and talked them over with Skenedonk. We would sail for America on the first convenient ship; waiting in Paris only long enough to prepare for the post journey to a port. Charges must at once be settled with Doctor Chantry, who would willingly stay in Paris while the De Chaumonts remained there.

Beyond the voyage I did not look. The first faint tugging of my foster country began to pull me as it has pulled many a broken wretch out of the conditions of the older world.

Paris was horrible, with a lonesomeness no one could have foreseen in its crowded streets. A taste of war was in the air. Troops passed to review. Our post-carriage met the dashing coaches of gay young men I knew, who stared at me without recognition. Marquis du Plessy no longer made way for me and displayed me at his side.

I drove to his hotel in the Faubourg St. Germain for my possessions. It was closed: the distant relative who inherited after him being an heir with no Parisian tastes. The care-taker, however, that gentle old valet like a woman, who had dressed me in my first Parisian finery, let us in, and waited upon us with food I sent him out to buy. He gave me a letter from my friend, which he had held to deliver on my return, in case any accident befell the marquis. He was tremulous in his mourning, and all his ardent care of me was service rendered to the dead.

I sat in the garden, with the letter spread upon the table where we had dined. Its brevity was gay. The writer would have gone under the knife with a jest. He did not burden me with any kind of counsel. We had touched. We might touch again. It was as if a soul sailed by, waving its hat.

"My Dear Boy:—

"I wanted you, but it was best you should not stay and behold the depravity of your elders. It is about a woman.

"May you come to a better throne than the unsteady one of France.

"Your friend and servant, Etienne du Plessy.

"Garlic is the spice of life, my boy!"

I asked no questions about the affair in which he had been engaged. If he had wanted me to know he would have told me.

The garden was more than I could endure. I lay down early and slept late, as soon as I awoke in the morning beginning preparation for leaving France. Yet two days passed, for we were obliged to exchange our worn post-carriage for another after waiting for repairs. The old valet packed my belongings; though I wondered what I was going to do with them in America. The outfit of a young man of fashion overdressed a refugee of diminished fortune.

For no sooner was I on the street than a sense of being unmistakably watched grew upon me. I scarcely caught anybody in the act. A succession of vanishing people passed me from one to another. A working man in his blouse eyed me; and disappeared. In the afternoon it was a soldier who turned up near my elbow, and in the evening he was succeeded by an equally interested old woman. I might not have remembered these people with distrust if Skenedonk had not told me he was trailed by changing figures, and he thought it was time to get behind trees.

Bellenger might have returned to Paris, and set Napoleon's spies on the least befriended Bourbon of all; or the police upon a man escaped from Ste. Pelagie after choking a sacristan.

The Indian and I were not skilled in disguises as our watchers were. Our safety lay in getting out of Paris. Skenedonk undertook to stow our belongings in the post-chaise at the last minute. I went to De Chaumont's hotel to bring the money from Doctor Chantry and to take leave without appearing to do so.

Mademoiselle de Chaumont seized me as I entered. Her carriage stood in the court. Miss Chantry was waiting in it while Annabel's maid fastened her glove.

"O Lazarre!" the poppet cried, her heartiness going through me like wine. "Are you back? And how you are changed! They must have abused you in Russia. We heard you went to Russia. But since dear Marquis du Plessy died we never hear the truth about anything."

I acknowledged that I had been to Russia.

"Why did you go there? Tell your dearest Annabel. She won't tell."

"To see a lady."

Annabel shook her fretwork of misty hair.

"That's treason to me. Is she beautiful?"

"Very."

"Kind?"

"Perfectly."

"Well, you're not. By the way, why are you looking so wan if she is beautiful and kind?"

"I didn't say she was beautiful and kind for me, did I?"

"No, of course not. She has jilted you, the wretch. Your dearest Annabel will console you, Lazarre!" She clasped my arm with both hands. "Madame de Ferrier's husband is alive!"

"What consolation is there in that?"

"A great deal for me. She has her estates back, and he was only hiding until she got them. I know the funniest thing!"

Annabel hooked her finger and led me to a small study or cabinet at the end of the drawing-room.

A profusion of the most beautiful stuffs was arranged there for display.

"Look!" the witch exclaimed, pinching my wrist in her rapture. "India muslin embroidered in silver lama, Turkish velvet, ball dresses for a bride, ribbons of all colors, white blond, Brussels point, Cashmere shawls, veils in English point, reticules, gloves, fans, essences, a bridal purse of gold links—and worse than all,—except this string of perfect pearls—his portrait on a medallion of ivory, painted by Isabey!"

"What is this collection?"

"A corbeille!"

"What's a corbeille?"

Annabel crossed her hands in desperation. "Oh, haven't you been in Paris long enough to know what a corbeille is? It's the collection of gifts a bridegroom makes for his bride. He puts his taste, his sentiment, his"—she waved her fingers in the air—"as well as his money, into it. A corbeille shows what a man is. He must have been collecting it ever since he came to France. I feel proud of him. I want to pat him on his dear old back!"

Not having him there to pat she patted me.

"You are going to be married?"

"Who said I was going to be married?"

"Isn't this your corbeille?"

Annabel lifted herself to my ear.

"It was Madame de Ferrier's!"

"What!"

"I'm sure of it!"

"Who bought it?"

"Count de Chaumont, of course."

"Was Madame de Ferrier going to marry him?"

"Who wouldn't marry a man with such a corbeille?"

"Was she?"

"Don't grind your teeth at your dearest Annabel. She hadn't seen it, but it must have decided her. I am sure he intended to marry Madame de Ferrier, and he does most things he undertakes to do. That inconsiderate wretch of a Marquis de Ferrier—to spoil such a corbeille as this! But Lazarre!" She patted her gloved hands. "Here's the consolation:—my father will be obliged to turn his corbeille into my trousseau when I am married!"

"What's a trousseau?"

"Goose! It's a bride's wardrobe, I knew he had something in this cabinet, but he never left the key in the door until to-day. He was so completely upset when the De Ferriers came into Paris!"

"Are they in Paris?"

"Yes, at their own hotel. The old marquis has posted here to thank the emperor! The emperor is away with the troops, so he is determined at least to thank the empress at the assembly to-night."

"Will Madame de Ferrier go to the Tuileries?"

"Assuredly. Fancy how furious my father must be!"

"May I enter?" said the humblest of voices outside the door.

We heard a shuffling step.

Annabel made a face and clenched her hands. The sprite was so harmless I laughed at her mischief. She brought in Doctor Chantry as she had brought me, to behold the corbeille; covering her father's folly with transparent fabrications, which anybody but the literal Briton must have seen through. He scarcely greeted me at all, folding his hands, pale and crushed, the sharp tip of his nose standing up more than ever like a porcelain candle-extinguisher, while I was anxious to have him aside, to get my money and take my leave.

"See this beautiful corbeille, Doctor Chantry! Doesn't it surprise you Lazarre should have such taste? We are going this morning to the mayor of the arrondissement. Nothing is so easy as civil marriage under the Empire! Of course the religious sacrament in the church of the Capuchins follows, and celebrating that five minutes before midnight, will make all Paris talk! Go with us to the mayor, Doctor Chantry!"

"No," he answered, "no!"

"My father joins us there. We have kept Miss Chantry waiting too long. She will be tired of sitting in the carriage."

Chattering with every breath Annabel entrained us both to the court, my poor master hobbling after her a victim, and staring at me with hatred when I tried to get a word in undertone.

I put Annabel into the coach, and Miss Chantry made frigid room for me.

"Hasten yourself, Lazarre," said Mademoiselle de Chaumont.

I looked back at the poor man who was being played with, and she cried out laughing—

"Did you go to Russia a Parisian to come back a bear?"

I entered her coach, intending to take my leave as soon as I had seen Count de Chaumont. Annabel chattered all the way about civil marriage, and directed Miss Chantry to wait for us while we went in to the mayor. I was perhaps too indifferent to the trick. The usually sharp governess, undecided and piqued, sat still.

The count was not in the mayor's office. A civil marriage was going forward, and a strange bridal party looked at us.

"Now, Lazarre," the strategist confided, "your dearest Annabel is going to cover herself with Parisian disgrace. You don't know how maddening it is to have every step dogged by a woman who never was, never could have been—and manifestly never will be—young! Wasn't that a divine flash about the corbeille and the mayor? Miss Chantry will wait outside half a day. As I said, she will be very tired of sitting in the carriage. This is what you must do; smuggle me out another way; call another carriage, and take me for a drive and wicked dinner. I don't care what the consequences are, if you don't!"

I said I certainly didn't, and that I was ready to throw myself in the Seine if that would amuse her; and she commended my improvement in manners. We had a drive, with a sympathetic coachman; and a wicked dinner in a suburb, which would have been quite harmless on American ground. The child was as full of spirits as she had been the night she mounted the cabin chimney. But I realized that more of my gold pieces were slipping away, and I had not seen Doctor Chantry.

"We were going to the mayor's," she maintained, when reproached. "My father would have joined us if he had been there. He would certainly have joined us if he had seen me alone with you. Nothing is so easy as civil marriage under the Empire. Of course the religious sacrament follows, when people want it, and if it is celebrated in the church of the Capuchins—or any other church—five minutes before midnight, it will make all Paris talk! Every word I said was true!"

"But Doctor Chantry believed something entirely different."

"You can't do anything for the English," said Annabel. "Next week he will say haw-haw."

Doctor Chantry could not be found when we returned to her father's hotel. She gave me her fingers to kiss in good-bye, and told me I was less doleful.

"We thought you were the Marquis du Plessy's son, Lazarre. I always have believed that story the Holland woman told in the cabin, about your rank being superior to mine. Don't be cut up about Madame de Ferrier! You may have to go to Russia again for her, but you'll get her!"

The witch shook the mist of hair at the sides of her pretty aquiline face, blew a kiss at me, and ran up the staircase and out of my life. After waiting long for Doctor Chantry I hurried to Skenedonk and sent him with instructions to find my master and conclude our affair before coming back.

The Indian silently entered the Du Plessy hotel after dusk, crestfallen and suspicious. He brought nothing but a letter, left in Doctor Chantry's room; and no other trace remained of Doctor Chantry.

"What has he done with himself, Skenedonk?" I exclaimed.

The Oneida begged me to read that we might trail him.

It was a long and very tiresome letter written in my master's spider tracks, containing long and tiresome enumerations of his services. He presented a large bill for his guardianship on the voyage and across France. He said I was not only a Rich Man through his Influence, but I had proved myself an ungrateful one, and had robbed him of his only Sentiment after a disappointed Existence. My Impudence was equaled only by my astonishing Success, and he chose not to contemplate me as the Husband of Beauty and Lofty Station, whose Shoes he in his Modesty and Worth, felt unworthy to unlatch. Therefore he withdrew that very day from Paris, and would embrace the Opportunity of going into pensive Retirement and rural Contemplation, in his native Kingdom; where his Sister would join him when she could do so with Dignity and Propriety.

I glanced from line to line smiling, but the postscript brought me to my feet.

"The Deposit which you left with me I shall carry with me, as no more than my Due for lifting low Savagery to high Gentility, and beg to subscribe my Thanks for at least this small Tribute of Gratitude."

"Doctor Chantry is gone with the money!"

Skenedonk bounded up grasping the knife which he always carried in a sheath hanging from his belt.

"Which way did the old woman go?"

"Stop," I said.

The Indian half crouched for counsel.

"I'll be a prince! Let him have it."

"Let him rob you?"

"We're quits, now. I've paid him for the lancet stab I gave him."

"But you haven't a whole bagful of coin left."

"We brought nothing into France, and it seems certain we shall take nothing but experience out of it. And I'm young, Skenedonk. He isn't."

The Oneida grunted. He was angrier than I had ever seen him.

"We ought to have knocked the old woman on the head at Saratoga," he responded.

Annabel's trick had swept away my little fortune. With recklessness which repeated loss engenders I proposed we scatter the remaining coin in the street, but Skenedonk prudently said we would divide and conceal it in our clothes. I gave the kind valet a handful to keep his heart warm; and our anxieties about our valuables were much lightened.

Then we consulted about our imminent start, and I told my servant it would be better to send the post-chaise across the Seine. He agreed with me. And for me to come to it as if by accident the moment we were ready to join each other on the road. He agreed to that. All of our belongings would be put into it by the valet and himself, and when we met we would make a circuit and go by the way of St. Denis.

"We will meet," I told him, "at eleven o'clock in front of the Tuileries."

Skenedonk looked at me without moving a muscle.

"I want to see the palace of the Tuileries before I leave France."

He still gazed at me.

"At any risk, I am going to the Tuileries to-night!"

My Iroquois grunted. A glow spread all over his copper face and head. If I had told him I was going to an enemy's central camp fire to shake a club in the face of the biggest chief, he could not have thought more of my daring or less of my common sense.

"You will never come out."

"If I don't, Skenedonk, go without me."

He passed small heroics unnoticed.

"Why do you do it?"

I couldn't tell him. Neither could I leave Paris without doing it. I assured him many carriages would be there, near the entrance, which was called, I believed, the pavilion of Flora; and by showing boldness we might start from that spot as well as from any other. He abetted the reckless devil in me, and the outcome was that I crossed the Seine bridge by myself about ten o'clock; remembering my escape from Ste. Pelagie; remembering I should never see the gargoyles on Notre Dame any more, or the golden dome of the Invalides, or hear the night hum of Paris, whether I succeeded or not. For if I succeeded I should be away toward the coast by morning; and if I did not succeed, I should be somewhere under arrest.

I can see the boy in white court dress, with no hint of the traveler about him, who stepped jauntily out of a carriage and added himself to groups entering the Tuileries. The white court dress was armor which he put on to serve him in the dangerous attempt to look once more on a woman's face. He mounted with a strut toward the guardians of the imperial court, not knowing how he might be challenged; and fortune was with him.

"Lazarre!" exclaimed Count de Chaumont, hurrying behind to take my elbow. "I want you to help me!"

Remembering with sudden remorse Annabel's escape and our wicked dinner, I halted eager to do him service. He was perhaps used to Annabel's escapes, for a very different annoyance puckered his forehead as he drew me aside within the entrance.

"Have you heard the Marquis de Ferrier is alive?"

I told him I had heard it.

"Damned old fox! He lay in hiding until the estates were recovered. Then out he creeps to enjoy them!"

I pressed the count's hand. We were one in disapproval.

"It's a shame!" said the count.

It was a shame, I said.

"And now he's posted into Paris to make a fool of himself."

"How?"

"Have you seen Madame de Ferrier?"

"No, I have not seen her."

"I believe we are in time to intercept him. You have a clever head, boy. Use it. How shall we get this old fellow out of the Tuileries without letting him speak to the emperor?"

"Easily, I should think, since Napoleon isn't here."

"Yes, he is. He dashed into Paris a little while ago, and may leave to-night. But he is here."

"Why shouldn't the Marquis de Ferrier speak to Napoleon?"

"Because he is going to make an ass of himself before the court, and what's worse, he'll make a laughing-stock of me."

"How can he do that?"

"He is determined to thank the emperor for restoring his estates. He might thank the empress, and she wouldn't know what he was talking about. But the emperor knows everything. I have used all the arguments I dared to use against it, but he is a pig for stubbornness. For my sake, for Madame de Ferrier's sake, Lazarre, help me to get him harmlessly out of the Tuileries, without making a public scandal about the restitution of the land!"

"What scandal can there be, monsieur? And why shouldn't he thank Napoleon for giving him back his estates after the fortunes of revolution and war?"

"Because the emperor didn't do it. I bought them!"

"You!"

"Yes, I bought them. Come to that, they are my property!"

"Madame de Ferrier doesn't know this?"

"Certainly not. I meant to settle them on her. Saints and angels, boy, anybody could see what my intentions were!"

"Then she is as poor as she was in America?"

"Poorer. She has the Marquis de Ferrier!"

We two who loved her, youth and man, rich and powerful, or poor and fugitive, felt the passionate need of protecting her.

"She wouldn't accept them if she knew it."

"Neither would the marquis," said De Chaumont. "The Marquis de Ferrier might live on the estates his lifetime without any interference. But if he will see the emperor, and I can't prevent it any other way, I shall have to tell him!"

"Yes, you will have to tell him!"

I thought of Eagle in the village, and the old woman who blessed her a quarter of an hour, and Paul standing on the seat to be worshiped. How could I go to America and leave her? And what could I do for her when a rich man like De Chaumont was powerless?

"Can't you see Napoleon," I suggested, "and ask him to give the marquis a moment's private audience, and accept his thanks?"

"No!" groaned De Chaumont. "He wouldn't do it. I couldn't put myself in such a position!"

"If Napoleon came in so hurriedly he may not show himself in the state apartments to-night."

"But he is accessible, wherever he is. He doesn't deny himself to the meanest soldier. Why should he refuse to see a noble of the class he is always conciliating when he can?"

"Introduce me to the Marquis de Ferrier," I finally said, "and let me see if I can talk against time while you get your emperor out of his way."

I thought desperately of revealing to the old royalist what I believed myself to be, what Eagle and he believed me to be, and commanding him, as his rightful prince, to content himself with less effusive and less public gratitude to an usurper. He would live in the country, shrinking so naturally from the court that a self-imposed appearance there need never be repeated.

I believe this would have succeeded. A half hour more of time might have saved years of comfort to Eagle—for De Chaumont was generous—and have changed the outcome of my own life. But in scant fifteen minutes our fate was decided.

De Chaumont and I had moved with our heads together, from corridor to antechamber, from antechamber to curtained salon of the lower floor. The private apartments of the Bonaparte family were thrown open, and in the mahogany furnished room, all hung with yellow satin, I noticed a Swiss clock which pointed its minute finger to a quarter before eleven. I made no hurry. My errand was not accomplished. Skenedonk would wait for me, and even dare a search if he became suspicious.

The count, knowing what Madame de Ferrier considered me, perhaps knew my plan. He turned back at once assenting.

The Marquis and Marquise de Ferrier were that instant going up the grand staircase, and would be announced. Eagle turned her face above me, the long line of her throat uplifted, and went courageous and smiling on her way. The marquis had adapted himself to the court requirements of the Empire. Noble gentleman of another period, he stalked a piteous masquerader where he had once been at home.

Count de Chaumont grasped my arm and we hurried up the stairs after them. The end of a great and deep room was visible, and I had a glimpse, between heads and shoulders, of a woman standing in the light of many lusters. She parted her lips to smile, closing them quickly, but having shown little dark teeth. She was of exquisite shape, her face and arms and bosom having a clean fair polish like the delicate whiteness of a magnolia, as I have since seen that flower in bloom. She wore a small diadem in her hair, and her short-waisted robe trailed far back among her ladies. I knew without being told that this was the empress of the French.

De Chaumont's hand was on my arm, but another hand touched my shoulder. I looked behind me. This time it was not an old woman, or a laborer in a blouse, or a soldier; but I knew my pursuer in his white court dress. Officer of the law, writ in the lines of his face, to my eyes appeared all over him.

"Monsieur Veeleeum!"

As soon as he said that I understood it was the refugee from Ste. Pelagie that he wanted.

"Certainly," I answered. "Don't make a disturbance."

"You will take my arm and come with me, Monsieur Veeleeum."

"I will do nothing of the kind until my errand is finished," I answered desperately.

De Chaumont looked sharply at the man, but his own salvation required him to lay hold on the marquis. As he did so, Eagle's face and my face encountered in a panel of mirror, two flashes of pallor; and I took my last look.

"You will come with me now," said the gendarme at my ear.

She saw him, and understood his errand.

There was no chance. De Chaumont wheeled ready to introduce me to the marquis. I was not permitted to speak to him. But Eagle took my right arm and moved down the corridor with me.

Decently and at once the disguised gendarme fell behind where he could watch every muscle without alarming Madame de Ferrier. She appeared not to see him. I have no doubt he praised himself for his delicacy and her unconsciousness of my arrest.

"You must not think you can run away from me," she said.

"I was coming back," I answered, making talk.

My captor's person heaved behind me, signifying that he silently laughed. He kept within touch.

"Do you know the Tuileries well?" inquired Eagle.

"No. I have never been in the palace before."

"Nor I, in the state apartments."

We turned from the corridor into a suite in these upper rooms, the gendarme humoring Madame de Ferrier, and making himself one in the crowd around us. De Chaumont and the Marquis de Ferrier gave chase. I saw them following, as well as they could.

"This used to be the queen's dressing-room," said Eagle. We entered the last one in the suite.

"Are you sure?"

"Quite sure."

"This is the room you told me you would like to examine?"

"The very one. I don't believe the Empire has made any changes in it. These painted figures look just as Sophie described them."

Eagle traced lightly with her finger one of the shepherdesses dancing on the panel; and crossed to the opposite side of the room. People who passed the door found nothing to interest them, and turned away, but the gendarme stayed beside us. Eagle glanced at him as if resenting his intrusion, and asked me to bring her a candle and hold it near a mark on the tracery. The gendarme himself, apologetic but firm, stepped to the sconce and took the candle. I do not know how the thing was done, or why the old spring and long unused hinges did not stick, but his back was toward us—she pushed me against the panel and it let me in.

And I held her and drew her after me, and the thing closed. The wall had swallowed us.

We stood on firm footing as if suspended in eternity. No sound from the swarming palace, not even possible noise made by the gendarme, reached us. It was like being earless, until she spoke in the hollow.

"Here's the door on the staircase, but it will not open!"

I groped over every inch of it with swift haste in the blackness.

"Hurry—hurry!" she breathed. "He may touch the spring himself—it moves instantly!"

"Does this open with a spring, too?"

"I don't know. Sophie didn't know!"

"Are you sure there is any door here?"

"She told me there was."

"This is like a door, but it will not move."

It sprang inward against us, a rush of air and a hollow murmur as of wind along the river, following it.

"Go—be quick!" said Madame de Ferrier.

"But how will you get out?"

"I shall get out when you are gone."

"O, Eagle, forgive me!" (Yet I would have dragged her in with me again!)

"I am in no danger. You are in danger. Goodbye, my liege."

Cautiously she pushed me through the door, begging me to feel for every step. I stood upon the top one, and held to her as I had held to her in passing through the other wall.

I thought of the heavy days before her and the blank before me. I could not let go her wrists. We were fools to waste our youth. I could work for her in America. My vitals were being torn from me. I should go to the devil without her. I don't know what I said. But I knew the brute love which had risen like a lion in me would never conquer the woman who kissed me in the darkness and held me at bay.

"O Louis—O Lazarre! Think of Paul and Cousin Philippe! You shall be your best for your little mother! I will come to you sometime!"

Then she held the door between us, and I went down around and around the spiral of stone.



BOOK III

ARRIVING



I

Even when a year had passed I said of my escape from the Tuileries: "It was a dream. How could it have happened?" For the adventures of my wandering fell from me like a garment, leaving the one changeless passion.

Skenedonk and I met on the ship a New England minister, who looked upon and considered us from day to day. I used to sit in the stern, the miles stretching me as a rack stretches flesh and tendons. The minister regarded me as prostrated by the spider bite of that wicked Paris; out of which he learned I had come, by talking to my Oneida.

The Indian and I were a queer pair that interested him, and when he discovered that I bore the name of Eleazar Williams his friendship was sealed to us. Eunice Williams of Deerfield, the grandmother of Thomas Williams, was a traditional brand never snatched from the burning, in the minister's town of Longmeadow, where nearly every inhabitant was descended from or espoused to a Williams. Though he himself was born Storrs, his wife was born Williams; and I could have lain at his feet and cried, so open was the heart of this good man to a wanderer rebounding from a family that disowned the pretender. He was my welcome back to America. The breath of eastern pines, and the resinous sweetness of western plains I had not yet seen, but which drew me so that I could scarcely wait to land, came to me with that man. Before the voyage ended I had told him my whole history as far as I knew it, except the story of Madame de Ferrier; and the beginning of it was by no means new to him. The New England Williamses kept a prayerful eye on that branch descending through the Iroquois. This transplanted Briton, returning from his one memorable visit to the England of his forefathers, despised my Bourbon claims, and even the French contraction of my name.

"What are you going to do now, Eleazar?" he inquired.

Hugging my old dream to myself, feeling my heart leap toward that western empire which must fascinate a young man as long as there remain any western lands to possess, I told him I intended to educate our Iroquois as soon as I could prepare myself to do it, and settle them where they could grow into a greater nation.

The man of God kindled in the face. He was a dark-eyed, square-browed, serious man, with black hair falling below his white band. His mouth had a sweet benign expression, even when he quizzed me about my dauphinhood. A New England pastor was a flame that burned for the enlightenment of the nations. From that hour it was settled that I should be his pupil, and go with him to Longmeadow to finish my education.

When we landed he helped me to sell my Babylonish clothes, except the white court dress, to which I clung with tenacity displeasing to him, and garb myself in more befitting raiment. By Skenedonk's hand I sent some of the remaining gold coins to my mother Marianne and the chief, when he rejoined the tribe and went to pass the winter at St. Regis. And by no means did I forget to tell him to bring me letters from De Chaumont's manor in the spring, if any arrived there for me.

How near to heaven the New England village seemed, with Mount Tom on the horizon glorious as Mount Zion, the mighty sweep of meadow land, the Connecticut river flowing in great peace, the broad street of elms like some gigantic cathedral nave, and in its very midst a shrine—the meetinghouse, double-decked with fan-topped windows.

Religion and education were the mainsprings of its life. Pastor Storrs worked in his study nearly nine hours a day, and spent the remaining hours in what he called visitation of his flock.

This being lifted out of Paris and plunged into Longmeadow was the pouring of white hot metal into chill moulds. It cast me. With a seething and a roar of loosened forces, the boy passed to the man.

Nearly every night during all those years of changing, for even faithfulness has its tides, I put the snuffbox under my pillow, and Madame de Ferrier's key spoke to my ear. I would say to myself: "The one I love gave me this key. Did I ever sit beside her on a ledge of stone overlooking a sunken garden?—so near that I might have touched her! Does she ever think of the dauphin Louis? Where is she? Does she know that Lazarre has become Eleazar Williams?"

The pastor's house was fronted with huge white fluted pillars of wood, upholding a porch roof which shaded the second floor windows. The doors in that house had a short-waisted effect with little panels above and long panels below. I had a chamber so clean and small that I called it in my mind the Monk's Cell, nearly filled with the high posted bed, the austere table and chairs. The whitewashed walls were bare of pictures, except a painted portrait of Stephen Williams, pastor of Longmeadow from 1718 to 1783. Daily his laughing eyes watched me as if he found my pretensions a great joke. He had a long nose, and a high forehead. His black hair crinkled, and a merry crease drew its half circle from one cheek around under his chin to the other.

Longmeadow did not receive me without much question and debate. There were Williamses in every direction; disguised, perhaps, for that generation, under the names of Cooley, Stebbins, Colter, Ely, Hole, and so on. A stately Sarah Williams, as Mrs. Storrs, sat at the head of the pastor's table. Her disapproval was a force, though it never manifested itself except in withdrawal. If Mrs. Storrs had drawn back from me while I lived under her roof, I should have felt an outcast indeed. The subtle refinement of those Longmeadow women was like the hinted sweetness of arbutus flower. Breeding passed from generation to generation. They had not mixed their blood with the blood of any outsiders; and their forbears were English yeomen.

I threw myself into books as I had done during my first months at De Chaumont's, before I grew to think of Madame de Ferrier. One of those seven years I spent at Dartmouth. But the greater part of my knowledge I owe to Pastor Storrs. Greek and Hebrew he gave me to add to the languages I was beginning to own; and he unlocked all his accumulations of learning. It was a monk's life that I lived; austere and without incident, but bracing as the air of the hills. The whole system was monastic, though abomination alighted on that word in Longmeadow. I took the discipline into my blood. It will go down to those after me.

There a man had to walk with God whether he wanted to or not.

Living was inexpensive, each item being gaged by careful housekeeping. It was a sin to gorge the body, and godly conversation was better than abundance. Yet the pastor's tea-table arises with a halo around it. The rye and Indian bread, the doughnuts fragrant as flowers, the sparing tea, the prim mats which saved the cloth, the wire screen covering sponge cake—how sacred they seem!

The autumn that I came to Longmeadow, Napoleon Bonaparte was beaten on the sea by the English, but won the battle of Austerlitz, defeating the Russian coalition and changing the map of Europe.

I felt sometimes a puppet while this man played his great part. It was no comfort that others of my house were nothing to France. Though I did not see Louis Philippe again, he wandered in America two or three years, and went back to privacy.

During my early novitiate at Longmeadow, Aaron Burr's conspiracy went to pieces, dragging down with it that pleasant gentleman, Harmon Blennerhassett, startling men like Jackson, who had best befriended him unawares. But this in nowise affected my own plans of empire. The solidarity of a nation of Indians on a remote tract could be no menace to the general government.

Skenedonk came and went, and I made journeys to my people with him. But there was never any letter waiting at De Chaumont's for me. After some years indeed, the count having returned to Castorland, to occupy his new manor at Le Rayville, the mansion I had known was torn down and the stone converted to other uses. Skenedonk brought me word early that Mademoiselle de Chaumont had been married to an officer of the Empire, and would remain in France.

The door between my past and me was sealed. Madame de Ferrier stood on the other side of it, and no news from her penetrated its dense barrier. I tried to write letters to her. But nothing that I could write was fit to send, and I knew not whether she was yet at Mont-Louis. Forever she was holding the door against me.

Skenedonk, coming and going at his caprice, stayed a month in every year at Longmeadow, where the townspeople, having had a surfeit of aboriginal names, called him John. He raised no objection, for that with half a dozen other Christian titles had been bestowed on him in baptism; and he entered the godly list of Williamses as John Williams.

The first summer I spent in Longmeadow there was an eclipse of the sun about the middle of June. I remember lying on open land, my book on its face beside me, and watching it through my eyelashes; until the weird and awful twilight of a blotted sun in mid-heaven sent birds and beasts to shelter as from wrath. When there was but a hairy shining around the orbed blackness, and stars trembled out and trembled back, as if they said: "We are here. The old order will return," and the earth held its breath at threat of eternal darkness, the one I loved seemed to approach in the long shadows. It was a sign that out of the worst comes the best. But it was a terror to the unprepared; and Pastor Storrs preached about it the following Sunday.

The missionary spirit of Longmeadow stirred among the Williamses, and many of them brought what they called their mites to Pastor Storrs for my education. If I were made a king no revenue could be half so sweet as that. The village was richer than many a stonier New England place, but men were struggling then all over the wide states and territories for material existence.

The pension no longer came from Europe. It ceased when I returned from France. Its former payment was considered apocryphal by Longmeadow, whose very maids—too white, with a pink spot in each cheek—smiled with reserved amusement at a student who thought it possible he could ever be a king. I spoke to nobody but Pastor Storrs about my own convictions. But local newspapers, with their omniscient grip on what is in the air, bandied the subject back and forth.

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