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Which? - or, Between Two Women
by Ernest Daudet
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Two mouths later, the Marquis was summoned to Marseilles by a cousin, who was lying at the point of death. He departed immediately, accompanied by Philip. This cousin was the Count de Mirandol. The master of a large fortune which he had accumulated in the colonies, a widower of long standing and the father of but one child, a girl of eighteen, who would inherit all his wealth, he had returned to France, intending to take up his permanent abode there. He had been afflicted for years by a chronic malady, contracted during his long sea voyages, and he returned to his native land with the hope that he should find there relief from his sufferings. But he had scarcely landed at Marseilles when he was attacked by his old malady in an aggravated form. He could live but a few days, and realizing his condition, and desiring to find a protector for his daughter, his thoughts turned to his cousin, the Marquis de Chamondrin. Although he had scarcely seen the Marquis for thirty years, he knew him sufficiently well not to hesitate to entrust his daughter to his cousin's care.

The Marquis did not fail him. He accepted the charge that his relative confided to him, closed the eyes of the dying man, and a few days afterwards he and Philip returned to the chateau, accompanied by a young girl clad in mourning. The stranger was Mademoiselle Antoinette de Mirandol.

Endowed with a refined and singularly expressive face, Antoinette, without possessing any of those charms which imparted such an incomparable splendor to the beauty of Dolores, was very attractive. She was a brunette, rather frail in appearance and small of stature; but there was such a gentle, winning light in her eyes that when she lifted them to yours you were somehow penetrated and held captive by them; in other words, you were compelled to love her.

"I bring you a sister," the Marquis said to Dolores, as he presented Antoinette. "She needs your love and sympathy."

The two girls tenderly embraced each other. Dolores led her guest to the room which they were to share, and lavished comforting words and caresses upon her, and from that moment they loved each other as fondly as if they had been friends all their lives.

Cruelly tried by the loss of her benefactress and by her mental conflicts on the subject of Philip, Dolores forgot her own sorrows and devoted herself entirely to the task of consoling Antoinette. It was not long before the latter became more cheerful. This was the work of Dolores. They talked of their past, and Dolores concealed nothing from her new friend. She confessed, without any false shame or false modesty, that she had entered the house of the Marquis as a beggar. Antoinette, in her turn, spoke of herself. She knew nothing of France. Her childhood had been spent in Louisiana; and she talked enthusiastically of the lovely country she had left. Dolores, to divert her companion's thoughts from grief, made Philip tell her what he knew about Paris Versailles and the court, and the Marquis, not without design probably, did his best to place in the most favorable light those attributes of mind and of heart that made Philip the most attractive of men. Like another Desdemona charmed by the eloquence of Othello, it was while listening to Philip that Antoinette first began to love him.

After a month's sojourn at Chamondrin, she came to the conclusion that Philip was kind, good, irresistible in short; and she was by no means unwilling to become the Marquise de Chamondrin. Nor did she conceal these feelings from Dolores, little suspecting, how she was torturing her friend by these revelations. It was then that the absolute impossibility of a marriage with Philip first became clearly apparent to Dolores. Antoinette's confession was like the flash of lightning which suddenly discloses a yawning precipice to the traveller on a dark and lonely road. She saw the insurmountable barrier between them more distinctly than ever before. Could she compete with Antoinette? Yes; if her love and that of Philip were to be considered. No; if rank, wealth, all the advantages that Antoinette possessed, and which the Marquis required in his son's bride, were to be taken into consideration.

What a terrible night Dolores spent after Antoinette's confession! How she wept! What anguish she endured! The young girls occupied the same room and if one was unconscious of the sufferings of her companion, it was only because Dolores stifled her sobs. She was unwilling to let Antoinette see what she termed "her weakness." She felt neither hatred nor envy towards her friend, for she knew that Antoinette was not to blame. She wept, not from anger or jealousy, but from despair.

Since she had been aware of Philip's affection for her, she had cherished a secret hope in spite of the numerous obstacles that stood in the way of their happiness. Time wrought so many changes! The bride whom the Marquis was seeking for his son had not yet been found. She had comforted herself by reflections like these. Now, these illusions had vanished. The struggle was terrible. One voice whispered: "You love; you are beloved. Fight for your rights, struggle, entreat—second Philip's efforts, work with him for the triumph of your love. Resist his father's will, and, though you may not conquer at once, your labors will eventually be crowned with success." But another voice said: "The Marquis was your benefactor, the Marquise filled your mother's place. Had it not been for them you would have been reared in shame, in ignorance and in depravity. You would never have known parental tenderness, the happiness of a home or the comforts and luxuries that have surrounded you from your childhood. Is it too much to ask that you should silence the pleadings of your heart in order not to destroy their hopes?" The first voice retorted: "Philip will be wretched if you desert him. He will regret you, he will curse you and you will spend your life in tears, blaming yourself for having sacrificed his happiness and yours to exaggerated scruples." But the second voice responded: "Antoinette will console Philip. If he curses you at first, he will bless you later when he learns the cause of your refusal. As for you, though you may weep bitterly, you will be consoled by the thought that you have done your duty." Such were the conflicts through which Dolores passed; but before morning came she had resolved to silence her imagination and the pleadings of her heart. Resigned to her voluntary defeat, she decided not to combat this growing passion on the part of Antoinette, but to encourage it. She believed that Philip would not long remain insensible to the charms of her friend, and in that case she could venture to deceive him and to declare that she did not love him.

Three months passed in this way; then Philip, weary of waiting for the reply that was to decide his fate, but not daring to break his promise and interrogate Dolores directly, concluded to at least make an attempt to obtain through Antoinette the decision that would put an end to his intolerable suspense. Knowing how fondly these young girls loved each other, and how perfect was their mutual confidence, he felt sure that Antoinette would not refuse to intercede for him.

This project once formed, he began operations by endeavoring to ingratiate himself into the good graces of Mademoiselle de Mirandol. Up to this time, he had treated her rather coolly, but he now changed his tactics and showed her many of those little attentions which he had hitherto reserved for his adopted sister. It was just as Antoinette was becoming too much interested in Philip for her own peace of mind that she noticed his change of manner. She misunderstood him. Who would not have been deceived? During their rambles, Philip seemed to take pleasure in walking by her side. Every morning she found beside her plate a bouquet which he had culled. He never went to Avignon or to Nimes without bringing some little souvenir for her. What interpretation could she place upon these frequent marks of interest? Her own love made her credulous. After receiving many such attentions from him, she fancied she comprehended his motive.

"He loves me," she said one evening to Dolores.

The latter thought her bereft of her senses. Could it be possible that Philip had forgotten his former love so soon? Was he deceiving her when he pressed his suit with such ardor? Impossible! How could she suppose it even for a moment? Still Dolores could not even imagine such a possibility without a shudder. After the struggle between her conscience and her heart, she had secretly resolved that Philip should cease to love her, that she would sacrifice herself to Mademoiselle de Mirandol, to whose charms he could not long remain insensible and whom he would eventually marry. Yes; she was ready to see her own misery consummated without a murmur; but to be thus forgotten in a few weeks seemed terrible.

"If this is really so," she thought, "Philip is as unworthy of Antionette as he is of me. But it cannot be. She is mistaken."

Was Antoinette deceiving herself? To set her mind at rest upon this point, Dolores questioned her friend in regard to the acts and words which she had interpreted as proofs of Philip's love for her. Mademoiselle de Mirandol revealed them to her friend; and Dolores was reassured. The attentions that had been bestowed upon the ward of the Marquis de Chamondrin by that gentleman's son did not assume in the eyes of Dolores that importance which had been attributed to them by her more romantic and enthusiastic companion; nevertheless, she was careful not to disturb a conviction that caused Antoinette so much happiness.

The following day, as Mademoiselle de Mirandol was leaving her room, she encountered Philip in the hall.

"I wish to speak with you," he said, rapidly and in low tones as he passed her. "I will wait for you in the park near the Buissieres."

His pleasant voice rung in Antoinette's ears long after he had disappeared, leaving her in a state of mingled ecstasy and confusion. Her cheeks were flushed and her heart throbbed violently. She hurried away to conceal her embarrassment from Dolores, who was following her, and soon went to join Philip at the Buissieres. This was the name they had bestowed upon a hedge of tall bushes to the left of the park, and which enclosed as if by two high thick walls a quiet path where the sun's rays seldom or never found their way. It was to this spot that Antoinette directed her steps, reproaching herself all the while for the readiness with which she obeyed Philip, and looking back every now and then to see if any one was observing her.

She soon arrived at the Buissieres; Philip was awaiting her. On seeing her approach, he came forward to meet her. She noticed that his manner was perfectly composed, that his features betrayed no emotion, and that he was smiling as if to assure her that what he desired to tell her was neither solemn nor frightful in its nature. Antoinette was somewhat disappointed. She had expected to find him pale and nervous, and with his hair disordered like the lovers described in the two or three innocent romances that had chanced to fall into her hands.

"Excuse me, Mademoiselle, for troubling you," began Philip, without the slightest hesitation; "but the service you can render me is of such importance to me, and the happiness of my whole life is so dependent upon it, that I have not scrupled to appeal to your generosity."

"In what way can I serve you?" inquired Mademoiselle de Mirandol, whose emotion had been suddenly calmed by this preamble, so utterly unlike anything she had expected to hear.

"I am in love!" began Philip.

She trembled, her embarrassment returned and her eyes dropped. Philip continued:

"She whom I love is charming, beautiful and good, like yourself. You surely will not contradict me, for it is Dolores whom I love!"

Why Antoinette did not betray her secret, she, herself, could not understand when she afterwards recalled the circumstances of this interview. She did, however, utter a stifled cry which Philip failed to hear. She felt that she turned very pale, but her change of color was not discernible in the shadow. It was with intense disappointment that she listened to Philip's confession. He told her that he had loved Dolores for more than four years, but that she had known it only a few months, and that she hod made no response to his declaration of love. He had waited patiently for her answer, but he could endure this state of cruel uncertainty no longer, and he entreated Mademoiselle de Mirandol to intercede for him, and to persuade Dolores to make known her decision to her adorer. Antoinette promised to fulfil his request. She promised, scarcely knowing what she said, so terrible was the anguish that filled her heart. She desired only one thing—to make her escape that she might be at liberty to weep. How wretched he was! Coming to this rendezvous with a heart full of implicit confidence, she had met, instead of the felicity she expected, the utter ruin of her hopes. This revulsion of feeling proved too much for a young girl who was entirely unaccustomed to violent emotions of any kind. She blamed herself bitterly, reproaching herself for her love as if it had been a crime, and regarded her disappointment as a judgment upon her for having allowed herself to think of Philip so soon, after her father's death.

At last Philip left her, and she could then give vent to her sorrow. Soon jealously took possession of her heart. Incensed at Dolores, who had received her confidence without once telling her that Philip's love had long since been given to her, Antoinette hastened to her rival to reproach her for her duplicity.

"Antoinette, what has happened?" exclaimed Dolores, seeing her friend enter pale and in tears.

"I have discovered my mistake. It is not I who am beloved, it is you; and he has been entreating me to plead his cause and to persuade you to give him an answer that accords with his wishes! What irony could be more bitter than that displayed by fate in making me the advocate to whom Philip has applied for aid in winning you? Ah! how deeply I am wounded! How terrible is my shame and humiliation! You would have spared me this degradation if you had frankly told me that Philip loved you when I first confided my silly fancies to you. Why did you not confess the truth? It was cruel, Dolores, and I believed you my friend, my sister!"

Sobs choked her utterance and she could say no more. Dolores, who had suffered and who was still suffering the most poignant anguish, nevertheless felt the deepest sympathy for her unhappy friend. She approached her, gently wiped away her tears and said:

"It is true that Philip loves me, that he quite recently avowed his love and that I refused to engage myself to him until I had had time for reflection; but it is equally true that after an examination of my heart I cannot consent to look upon him as other than a brother. I shall never be his wife; and if I have postponed the announcement of my decision, it was only because I dislike to pain him by destroying the hopes to which he still seemed to cling."

"What! he loves you and you will not marry him?" cried Antoinette, amazed at such an avowal.

"I shall not marry him," replied Dolores. "And now will you listen to my confession? On seeing you arrive at the chateau, I said to myself: 'Here is one who will be a suitable wife for Philip; and if my refusal renders him unhappy, the love of Antionette will console him!'"

"You thought that!" exclaimed Mademoiselle de Mirandol, throwing her arms around her friend's neck. "And I have so cruelly misjudged you! Dolores, can you ever forgive me?"

A brave smile, accompanied by a kiss, was the response of Dolores; then she added:

"I not only forgive you, but I will do my best to insure your happiness. Philip shall love you."

"Alas!" said Antoinette, "how can he love me when his heart is full of you, when his eyes follow you unceasingly? You are unconsciously a most formidable rival, for Philip will never love me while you are by my side and while he can compare me with you."

"I will go away if necessary."

"What, leave your home! Do you think I would consent to that? Never!" cried Antoinette.

"But I can return to it the very day your happiness is assured. When you are Philip's wife you will go to Paris with him, and I can then return to my place beside the Marquis."

"Dolores! How good you are, and how much I love you!" exclaimed Mademoiselle de Mirandol, clasping her friend in her arms.

The words of Dolores had reassured her, had revived her hopes and dried her tears. When left alone, Dolores, exhausted by the ordeal through which she had just passed, could at first form no plans for the future. She comprehended but one thing—she was still beloved. Philip's faithfulness and the intensity of the love which had just been revealed to her rendered the sacrifice still more difficult. It seemed to her she would never have strength to accomplish it.

"It must be done," she said to herself, finally.

And shaking off her weakness, she went in search of the Marquis. They had a long conversation together. Dolores told him the whole truth. It was through her that the Marquis learned that she was loved by Philip, and that she loved him in return, but, being unwilling to place any obstacle in the way of the plans long since formed with a view to the restoration of the glory of the house of Chamondrin, she had renounced her hopes and yielded her place and her rights to Antoinette. The Marquis had not the courage to refuse the proffered sacrifice, though he fully realized the extent of it. His dearest wishes were about to be realized. While he lamented the fate to which Dolores had condemned herself, he was grateful for a decision that spared him the unpleasantness of a contest with his son, and which insured that son's marriage to a rich heiress. Still, when Dolores told him that she had decided to leave Chamondrin not to return until after Philip's marriage, he refused at first to consent to a separation.

"But it is necessary," replied Dolores. "So long as Philip sees me here, he will not relinquish his hopes. I am certain that he will not consent to renounce me unless he believes there is an impassable barrier between us, unless he believes me dead to the world and to love. Besides, you would surely not require me to live near one whom I wish to forget. I shall spend two years in a convent, and then I will return to you."

M. de Chamondrin, touched by this heroism whose grandeur Dolores, in her simplicity, did not seem to comprehend, pressed her to his heart in a long embrace, covering her face with kisses and murmuring words of tenderness and gratitude in her ears. When they separated, he was not the least moved of the two. Dolores next went in search of Philip. She found him at the Buissieres, the same place where he had entreated Antoinette to intercede for him a few hours before.

He saw her approaching.

"She is coming to pronounce my sentence," he thought.

She was very calm. The sadness imprinted on her face did not mar its serenity.

"Antoinette has spoken to me," she said, firmly, but quietly. "The fear of making you unhappy has until now deterred me from giving you the answer for which you have been waiting; but after the events of this morning, I must speak frankly."

This introduction left Philip no longer in doubt. He uttered a groan, as with bowed head he awaited the remainder of his sentence.

"Courage, Philip," Dolores continued: "Do not add to my sorrow by making me a witness of yours. Since the day you opened your heart that I might read there the feelings that burdened it, I have been carefully examining mine. I wished to find there signs of a love equal to yours; I have sought for them in vain. I love you enough to give you my blood and my happiness, my entire life. I have always loved you thus—loved you with that sisterly devotion that is capable of any sacrifice. But is this the love you feel? Is this the love you would bestow upon me? No; and, as you see, my heart has remained obstinately closed against the passion which I have inspired in you, and it would ever remain closed even if I consented to unite myself with you more closely by the bonds of marriage. If I was weak enough to listen to you and to yield to your wishes, I should only bring misery upon both of us."

"Alas!" murmured Philip, "I cannot understand this."

"How can I forget that for eighteen long years I have regarded you as a brother?" said Dolores, vainly endeavoring to console him. "Moreover, such a marriage would be impossible! Would it not be contrary to the wishes of your father? Would it not detract from the glory of the name you bear?"

"And what do the glory of my name and the wishes of my father matter to me?" exclaimed Philip, impetuously. "Was I brought into the world to be made a victim to such absurd prejudices? For four years I have lived upon this hope. It has been destroyed to-day. What have I to look forward to now? There is nothing to bind me to life, for, if your decision is irrevocable, I shall never be consoled."

"Do not forget those who love you."

"Those who love me! Where are they? I seek for them in vain. Do you mean my father, who has reared me with a view to the gratification of his own selfish ambition? Is it you, Dolores, who seem to take pleasure in my sufferings? My mother, the only human being who would have understood, sustained and consoled me, she is no longer here to plead my cause."

Wild with grief and despair, he was about to continue his reproaches, but Dolores, whose powers of endurance were nearly exhausted, summoned all her courage and said coldly, almost sternly:

"You forget yourself, Philip! You are ungrateful to your father and to me; but even if you doubt our affection, can you say the same of Antoinette?"

"Antoinette!"

"She loves you with the tenderest, most devoted affection. She has said as much to me, and now that you know it, will you still try to convince yourself that there are only unfeeling hearts around you?"

Philip, astonished by this revelation, became suddenly silent. He recollected that he had confided his hopes and fears to Mademoiselle de Mirandol that very morning; and when he thought of the trying position in which he had placed her, and of what she must have suffered, his pity was aroused.

"If her sorrow equals mine, she is, indeed, to be pitied," he said, sadly.

"Why do you not try to assuage your own sorrow by consoling her?" asked Dolores, gently.

These words kindled Philip's anger afresh.

"What power have I to annihilate the memory of that which at once charms and tortures me?" he exclaimed. "Can I tear your image from its shrine in my heart and put that of Antoinette in its place? Do you think that your words will suffice to destroy the hopes I have cherished so long? Undeceive yourself, Dolores. I am deeply disappointed, but I will not give you up. I will compel you to love me, if it be only through the pity which my despair will inspire in your heart."

These frenzied words caused Dolores the most poignant anguish without weakening her determination in the least. She felt that she must destroy the hope to which Philip had just alluded—that this was the only means of compelling him lo accept the love of Antoinette; so she said, gravely:

"I love you too much, Philip, to desire to foster illusions which will certainly never be realized. My decision is irrevocable; and if you still doubt the truth of my words, I will frankly tell you all. I am promised——"

"Promised!" exclaimed Philip, with a menacing gesture for the unknown man who had dared to become his rival. "Promised!" he repeated. "To whom?"

"To God!" responded Dolores, gently. "I have just informed your father of my determination to enter a convent!"

Philip recoiled in horror and astonishment; then covering his face with his hands he fled through the lonely park, repeating again and again the name of her whom he so fondly loved but who would soon be lost to him forever. For some moments, Dolores remained motionless on the spot where she had just renounced her last hope of earthly happiness. Her eyes followed Philip in his frenzied flight, and, when he disappeared, she stretched out her hands with a gesture of mingled longing and despair. But the weakness that had made this courageous soul falter for an instant soon vanished. She lifted her eyes toward Heaven as if imploring strength from on high and then walked slowly in the direction of the chateau. Suddenly, at a turn in the path, she met Coursegol. She had not time to conceal her face and he saw her tears. The memory of the past and the affection that filled his heart emboldened him to question one whom he regarded in some degree, at least, as his own child.

"Why do you weep, my dear Mademoiselle?" he asked, with anxious solicitude.

This question did not wound Dolores; on the contrary it consoled her. She had found some one in whom she could confide. There are hours when the heart longs to pour out its sorrows to another heart that understands and sympathizes with its woes. Coursegol made his appearance at a propitious moment. Dolores regarded him with something very like filial affection; she had loved him devotedly even when she supposed herself the daughter of the Marquis de Chamondrin, and now that she knew her origin she regarded the son of a peasant as equal in every respect to a descendent of the gypsies, so she did not hesitate to open her soul to him. She told him of the conflicts through which she had passed and the suffering they had caused her. She acknowledged the ardent love that had given her courage and strength to sacrifice her own happiness; and she wept before the friend of her childhood as unrestrainedly as she would have wept before her own father.

"I have been expecting this," said Coursegol, sadly. "Poor children, the truth was revealed too soon. You should have been left in ignorance until one of you was married. Then you would not have thought of uniting your destinies. Your mutual friendship would not have been transformed into an unfortunate passion and all this misery would have been avoided."

"It would have been far better," replied Dolores.

"And now what do you intend to do?" inquired Coursegol.

"I shall enter a convent and remain there until Philip marries."

"You in a convent! You, who are so gay, so full of life and health and exuberant spirits, immure yourself in a cloister! Impossible!"

"There is no alternative," said Dolores, repeating to Coursegol what she had already said to the Marquis.

"I see that you must leave this house, but why do you select a cloister for your retreat?"

"Where else could I, alone and unprotected, find a refuge?"

"Do you not know that Coursegol is your friend, and that he is ready to leave everything and follow you? Where do you wish to go? I will accompany you; I will serve and defend you. I have some little property and it is entirely at your disposal."

He made this offer very simply, but in a tone that left no possible doubt of his sincerity. Though she was touched by his devotion, Dolores firmly refused. She explained that his place was at the chateau, and that, as she expected to return there herself after Philip's marriage, a convent would be the safest and most dignified retreat she could enter.

"So be it, then," responded Coursegol; "but should you ever change your plans, remember that my life, my little fortune and my devotion are yours, to use as you see fit."

His emotion, as he spoke, was even greater than hers.

Early in the year 1789 Dolores entered the convent of the Carmelites in Arles, not as a postulant—for she did not wish to devote herself to a religious life—but as a boarder, which placed a barrier between her and Philip for the time being, but left her free to decide upon her future.

Her departure filled Philip with despair. The death of Dolores could not have caused him more intense sorrow. For was she not dead to him? She had carefully concealed the fact that her sojourn at the convent would not be permanent. He supposed she had buried herself there forever. He mourned for her as we weep for those that death wrests from us, destroying their lives and our happiness at a single blow; but the very violence of his grief convinced his father that he was not inconsolable. There are sorrows that kill; but, if they do not kill when they first fall upon us, we recover; and this would be the case with Philip. The certainty that Dolores would never belong to another, that she had refused him only to give herself to God, was of all circumstances the one most likely to console him. The presence of Antoinette—who honestly believed all Dolores had said concerning the state of her heart and the purely sisterly affection she felt for her adopted brother—and the timid, shrinking love of the young girl also aided not a little in assuaging his grief. However ardent your passion may be, you become reconciled to disappointment when the object of your love refuses your affection only to consecrate herself to God, and when she leaves with you as a comforter a companion who is her equal in gentleness and in goodness, if not in energy and nobility of character. Without entering into other details, this sufficiently explains how Philip's passionate grief came to abate in violence.

He wished to leave Chamondrin the very next day after the departure of Dolores, and to return to Versailles where his regiment was still stationed; but his father's entreaties induced him to abandon this project. The Marquis assured him that he could not live abandoned by both Dolores and his son, so Philip remained. This was one advantage gained for the Marquis. The causes previously referred to and Antoinette's charms accomplished the rest. Philip began to regard their marriage without aversion; but he would not consent to abruptly cast off one love for another. Time was needed for the transition. Even as he would have mourned for Dolores dead, he wished to mourn the Dolores he had lost, and to wait until his wounded heart was healed. He gave his father and also Mademoiselle de Mirandol to understand that, while he did not reject the idea of this union which seemed so pleasing to them, he must be allowed to fix the date of it. His will was law with both; the Marquis wisely concealed his impatience; Antoinette displayed great discretion, and matters were moving along smoothly when political events which had become more and more grave in character suddenly complicated the situation.



CHAPTER V.

IN WHICH HISTORY IS MINGLED WITH ROMANCE.

The real awaking of the country, the real beginning of the Revolution dates from the year 1789. What France had endured for half a century every one knows. Every one also knows that, becoming weary of poverty, of the tyranny of the powerful, of the weakness of the king, of the squandering of her treasure and of the intrigues of those in authority, and compelled to find a remedy within herself, the country demanded the convocation of the Etats Generaux. The government at last decided to accede to the entreaties that were heard on every side; and it was during the early part of the year 1789 that France was called upon to elect her representatives; while, from one end of the kingdom to the other, there was a general desire for a great and much needed reform.

The south did not take a less active part in this movement than the rest of the country. Provence and Languedoc were shaken to their centres. In all the region round about the Gardon—at Nimes, in Beaucaire in Arles, in Remoulins—political clubs were formed. The condition of the peasantry, who had previously been condemned to a sort of slavery, suddenly changed. The weak became the strong; the timid became the audacious; the humble became the proud; and from the mouth of an oppressed people issued a voice demanding liberty. This movement had been ripe for some time among the lower classes, but it suddenly burst forth and revealed itself in all its mighty power in the convocation of the Etats Generaux.

In Nimes and the surrounding country, the agitation caused by this great event was increased by the remembrance of the religious warfare that had been waged there between the Protestants and Catholics for more than a century. This enmity blazed out afresh, greatly aggravating the bitterness naturally caused by the elections. Were not these last a mere pretext invented by one sect to conceal their evil designs against the other? Was it only a conflict between the champions of the old and of the new regime, or were these excited men eager to take up arms one against the other, mere fanatics ready to condemn others to martyrdom and to accept it themselves? History has not yet decided this important question; and sectarian passion has not yet allowed an impartial critic to be heard. Still, it is a well-known fact that throughout the province of Languedoc, and notably in Nimes, the political excitement was of the most virulent character. Blood flowed there even sooner than in Paris. The massacres at Nimes preceded the celebrated massacres of September by more than two years; and in Avignon, though this city was as yet French only in its situation and in the language of its inhabitants, the reign of terror was at its height in the mouth of October, 1791.

In 1789, while the elections were in progress, signs of these coming events began to manifest themselves. In Nimes the Catholics and Protestants were bitterly denouncing one another, quarrelling over the local offices, and striving in every possible way to gain the ascendancy. The Marquis de Chamondrin was a Catholic, but he was very tolerant and liberal in his opinions. One of his ancestors, at the imminent risk of exile, had boldly opposed the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The Marquis shared the opinions of his ancestor; despotism found no champion in him. He had read the philosophers of his time, and he was convinced that equality in rights if not in fortunes could be established between men. He recognized the necessity of reform, but he detested violence; and he exerted all his influence to secure moderation, to reconcile opponents and to draw men together. Thus at Nimes, on more than one occasion, he had prevented the effusion of blood. But the passions were so strongly excited in that locality at that time that his efforts as a moderator gained him but one thing, isolation. He drew down upon himself the hatred of those whom he wished to calm; he did not even win the friendship of those whom he desired to protect, and who, unless their peril was extreme, boldly declared that they were able to protect themselves. His popularity, cleverly undermined by his enemies, soon became impaired, and, weary of the dissensions in which he was embroiled in spite of all his efforts, he shut himself up in his chateau, resolving to keep a philosophical watch over events, but to take no part in them.

A few days later, the Etats Generaux assembled at Versailles; but their time was spent in bickerings and in sterile discussions while oppressed and panting France vainly awaited the salutary reforms they were expected to effect. From May, the date of their meeting, to the immortal night of the Fourth of August, when the nation entered upon an era that was to atone for so many disasters, one event succeeded another with bewildering rapidity. The victorious resistance of the Third Estate to the pretensions of the nobility and clergy; the proclamation of the king; the movement of the French Guards; their imprisonment; their deliverance by the people; the intrigues of the Orleans party; the taking of the Bastile; the death of Foulon and of Berthier came one after another to accelerate the progress of the revolutionary movement which was already advancing rapidly.

In 1790, famine was at the gates of Paris and threatened to spread over all France. Armed brigands, taking advantage of the general disorder, began to lay waste the provinces. In many parts of the country, the peasants joined them; in others, they resisted them. These brigands attacked the chateaux, they burned several and pillaged others. Finally, dread of a foreign foe was added to all these fears, and the people accused the nobility of calling a foreign nation to their assistance.

These are some of the many events that served to distract Philip de Chamondrin's mind from his disappointment and delay his marriage to Antoinette de Mirandol. Anxious as the Marquis was to hasten this union, he shared the general apprehension too strongly to urge his son to marry at such a time. The inmates of the chateau were troubled and depressed. Gloomy news from the outer world reached them daily. The king's life was believed to be in danger. A dozen times Philip had almost decided to start for Versailles to die, if need be, in the service of his sovereign; but Coursegol succeeded in convincing him that his presence was a necessity at Chamondrin, and that he could not go away without leaving the Marquis and Antoinette exposed to the gravest peril. Coursegol had several reasons for dissuading his young master from his purpose, the chief of which was that he did not wish to go himself. In case of actual danger, he could be of great service to the Marquis. Thanks to his plebeian origin, to his many acquaintances and to his reputation as a good fellow in Nimes and in Beaucaire, he could mingle with the crowd, converse with the peasantry, question the artisans and discover their temper and plans. In case the chateau was attacked, he would also be able to make many friends for the Marquis and call quite a number of defenders to his aid. Then, too, he could not endure the thought of going so far from Arles while Dolores was there, alone and defenceless, and might need his protection at any moment.

So Philip did not go, but together with his father and Coursegol he began to make arrangements for the defence of the chateau. They augmented their force by the addition of three or four men upon whose fidelity they could implicitly rely. Coursegol was also promised the services of several peasants. The Marquis frequently visited the little town of Remoulins, that lay a few miles from the chateau on the other side of the Gardon, and he still had a few warm friends there, some of whom had desired to send him to the Etats Generaux. They, too, promised to come to his assistance in case of an attack on the castle. If the former masters of Chamondrin had been tyrants this was now forgotten. The large possessions which would have endowed them with feudal rights were theirs no longer. For several years Dolores and the Marquise de Chamondrin had endeavored to obliterate the memory of the past by visiting the poor and the sick around them, and Antoinette de Mirandol had perpetuated the memory of their good deeds by imitating their example.

Hence they had nothing to apprehend from those in their immediate neighborhood; but they had every reason to fear the many lawless bands that were now scouring that region of country, ostensibly attracted there by the fair that was to be held at Beaucaire in the month of July—bands of armed and desperate men, who plundered and pillaged and lived by rapine. The Bohemians, too, who passed the Pont du Gard each spring and autumn, inspired the inmates of the chateau with no slight dread, as it seemed more than likely they would take advantage of the general disorder that prevailed to commit depredations upon any isolated dwellings that tempted their cupidity. Moreover, north of Nimes there were several villages whose fanatical and intensely excited inhabitants were strongly urged by their leaders to make an attack upon the Catholics, who were accused of opposition to the reform movement. It was rumored that these people intended to march upon Nimes, burn the city and put its population to the sword. Was there not good reason to fear that these men, if they succeeded in this undertaking, would take it into their heads to spread death and destruction beyond the walls of Nimes. No apprehension was ridiculous, no prudence was exaggerated at a time when all France trembled.

Such were the causes that had induced the Marquis and his son to prepare for an attack on the castle. In spite of their precautions, they could not conceal these preparations from Antoinette. She courageously assisted them, almost thankful for the perils that menaced their safety, since they detained Philip at the chateau. She loved him even more devotedly than ever, and, if she shuddered sometimes at the thought that a life so precious to her might be endangered at any moment, she comforted herself by thinking she would at least have the consolation of dying with him.

But the Marquis was beset by many scruples. He felt that he did wrong to expose Antoinette to such danger, since she did not yet belong to his family and since he had promised her dying father to protect her and her fortune until the day of her marriage. He finally decided to send her to England, which she would find a safer retreat than the Chateau de Chamondrin. He confided this project to Antoinette, but he had scarcely broached the subject when, the girl interrupted him with these words:

"If you love me, do not separate me from Philip!"

The Marquis could not resist this entreaty. Antoinette remained.

While these events were taking place at the chateau, Dolores, immured in the convent at Arles, was patiently awaiting the termination of the imprisonment she had voluntarily imposed upon herself. After a sojourn of several months in this saintly house, she experienced a great relief. Solitude had calmed her sorrow. She still suffered, she would always suffer, but she gathered from her faith and from noble resolutions bravely accomplished that peace and resignation which a merciful Heaven bestows upon all sad hearts that appeal to it of aid.

Dolores, as we have said before, entered the convent not as a novice, but as a boarder. From the founding of the institution, that is to say, from the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Carmelite nuns of Arles, in obedience to the wishes of their foundress, to whose liberality they owed the building and grounds which they occupied, had offered an asylum to all gentlewomen who, from one cause or another, desired to dwell in the shelter of those sacred walls without obeying the rules of the order. Disconsolate widows, mothers mourning the loss of their children, and orphans affrighted by the world found a peaceful home there and a quiet life which was not unfrequently a step towards the cloister.

When Dolores went to live at the convent, the boarders were seven in number, all older than herself. They accorded a cordial welcome to the young girl, who was soon at ease in their midst. Their life was very simple. They lived in the convent, but not within the cloister. Rising at six in the morning, they attended service in the chapel with the nuns from whom they were separated by a grating. Between the hours of morning and evening service they were at liberty to spend their time in whatever way they chose. They all ate at the same table. Dolores spent her time in working for the needy and for the institution. She made clothing for poor children; she embroidered altar cloths for the chapel; she visited the sick and destitute. Thus her life was peacefully devoted to prayer and good works. She frequently received tidings from the chateau, sometimes through letters written by the Marquis, sometimes through Coursegol, who came to see her every month. She took a lively interest in all that pertained to those whom she had left only to give them a new proof of her affection and devotion. When Coursegol visited her, she invariably spoke of her longing to return to Chamondrin. She hoped that Philip and Antoinette would soon be married, and that she would be able to go back to the loved home in which her happy childhood had been spent. These hopes were never to be realized; that beloved home she was destined never to behold again.

Early in June, Coursegol, in accordance with his usual habit, left the chateau to pass a few days in Arles. He reached the city on the fourteenth, and, after visiting Dolores, left for home on the morning of the sixteenth.

He made the journey on foot. The sky was slightly veiled by fleecy, white clouds that tempered the heat of the sun. The road between Arles and Nimes is charming, and Coursegol walked blithely along, inhaling with delight the fresh morning breeze that came to him laden with the vivifying fragrance of the olive and cypress. As he approached Beaucaire, a pretty village on the bank of the Rhone, he noticed that an unusual animation pervaded the place. Groups of peasants stood here and there, engaged in excited conversation; every face wore an expression of anxiety. He thought at first that these people must be going or returning from some funeral; but he soon noticed that many were armed, some with guns, some with scythes. On reaching the centre of the town, he found the market-place full of soldiers; officers were giving excited orders. It looked as if the town were arming to defend itself.

"What does all this mean?" inquired Coursegol, addressing a little group of townspeople.

"Why, do you not know what has happened?" one man replied, in evident astonishment.

"I have heard nothing. I have just arrived from Arles."

"Nimes has been pillaged. The peasantry from the Cevennes have descended upon the city and massacred three hundred people—laborers, bourgeois, priests and nuns. They are now masters of the place, and it is feared that a detachment of them is coming in this direction. We are making ready to receive them."

"What! Have they advanced beyond Nimes?" inquired Coursegol, appalled by this news.

"Some of them advanced last night as far as the Pont du Gard. There they sacked and burned the Chateau de Chamondrin!"

A ghastly pallor overspread Coursegol's features; he uttered a cry of horror.

"What is the matter?" asked the man who had just apprised him of this terrible calamity.

"My masters!—where are my masters?" cried poor Coursegol.

Then, without waiting for the response which no one could give, he darted off like a madman in the direction of the Pont du Gard.

Although the events that took place in Nimes early in 1790 have never been clearly explained by an impartial historian, we have reason to suppose that the public sentiment prevailing there at the time was unfavorable to the Revolution. The Catholics of the south became indignant when they learned that the Assembly wished to reform the Catholic Church without consulting the Pope. From that day, they were the enemies of the Revolution. Their protests were energetic, and from protests they passed to acts. The Catholics took up arms ostensibly to defend themselves against the Protestants, but chiefly to defend their menaced religion. The Protestants, who were in communication with their religious brethren in Paris and Montauban, were also ready to take the field at any moment. A regiment was quartered in the city. The sympathies of the officers were with the Catholics, who represented the aristocracy in their eyes; the soldiers seemed to favor the Protestants—the patriots. This division brought a new element of discord into the civil war. This condition of affairs lasted several months. A conflict between some of the National Guards—Catholics—and a company of dragoons was the signal for a struggle that had become inevitable. The Protestants of Nimes sided with the dragoons; the Catholics espoused the cause of the National Guards. Several of these last were killed. This happened on the 13th of June. The following day, bands of peasants, summoned to the aid of the Protestants from the country north of Nimes, descended upon the city. They entered it in an orderly manner, as if animated by peaceful intentions; but many of the men were either half-crazed fanatics or wretches who were actuated by a desire for plunder. They ran through the streets, becoming more and more excited until their fury suddenly burst forth and they rushed wildly about the city, carrying death and devastation in their track. There was a Capuchin monastery at Nimes. They invaded this first, slaying the priests at the foot of the altar in the church that still retains the ineffaceable stain of their blood. The assassins then hastened to the monastery of the Carmelites. The monks had fled. They sacked the church, and then plundered a number of private houses. The bandits showed no mercy. They opened a vigorous cannonade upon the tower of Froment where many had taken refuge. In three days three hundred persons perished.

At the news of these massacres a cry of rage and terror rose from the Catholic villages on the banks of the Rhone and the Gardon. The cry was this:

"They are slaughtering our brothers at Nimes!"

The influential men immediately assembled and counselled the frightened and indignant populace to take up arms in their own defence. The tocsin was sounded, and in a few hours several hundred men had assembled near the Pont du Gard, ready to march upon Nimes and punish the wretches who had slain the innocent and defenceless. By unanimous consent the Marquis de Chamondrin was made one of the leaders of this hastily improvised army. He accepted the command with a few eloquent words, urging his men to do their duty, and the army took up its line of march. Some gypsies, who chanced to be near the Pont du Gard at the time, brought up the rear, hoping that the fortunes of war would gain them an entrance into the city of Nimes that they might pillage and steal without restraint.

This manifestation of wrath on the part of the inhabitants of the surrounding country terrified the assassins, and most of them took to flight; but those who lived in Nimes and who were alarmed for their own safety and that of their families resolved to avert the blow that menaced them.

There are traitors in every party, men ready to sell or to be sold; men for whom treason and infamy are pathways to wealth. There were some of these men in the Catholic ranks, and promises of gold induced them to go out and meet the approaching army and assure its leaders that order was re-established at Nimes and that their entrance into the city would only occasion a fresh outbreak. These emissaries accomplished their mission; and that same evening all these men who had left home that morning thirsting for vengeance returned quietly to their firesides.

But, unfortunately, the Marquis de Chamondrin had taken such an active part in this demonstration that he had deeply incensed the assassins; and the more ferocious of them resolved to wreak vengeance upon him by pillaging and burning his chateau. A conspiracy was organized, and the following night about forty men of both parties, or rather the scum and refuse of both, started for Chamondrin. They knew the castle had but a small number of defenders, and that Coursegol, the most formidable of these, was absent at the time. They also knew that the isolated situation of the chateau afforded its inmates little chance of succor, and that, if they could succeed in surprising it, they could accomplish their work of destruction before the inhabitants of Remoulins and the surrounding villages could come to the aid of the Marquis and his household. The plan was decided upon in a few hours; and the disorder that prevailed throughout the country, the inertness of the authorities and the want of harmony among the soldiery, all favored its execution.

About nine o'clock in the evening, the bandits stole quietly out of Nimes. They reached the Pont du Gard a little before midnight and halted there to receive their final instructions before ascending the hill upon the summit of which stood the Chateau de Chamondrin.

Here, they were joined by a dozen or more Bohemians who were encamped near by, the same men who had accompanied the Catholics on their expedition that same morning. They approached the bandits in the hope that a new army was in process of organization for an attack upon the city, and that they might accompany it. When they saw the band proceed in the direction of the chateau, they straggled along in the rear. Like hungry vultures, they seemed to scent a battle from which they might derive some profit.

The household at Chamondrin chanced to be astir late that evening. The Marquis, Philip, Antoinette, the cure of Remoulins and two or three landed proprietors living in the vicinity were in the drawing-room. After such a day of excitement, no one could think of sleep. They were discussing the events that had occurred at Nimes, and deploring the death of the victims. They were anxiously asking if the blood that had been shed would be the last, and were endeavoring to find means to prevent the repetition of such a calamity. When the clock struck the hour of midnight, the cure of Remoulins, an energetic old man named Peretty, rose to return to the village. The other visitors, whose homes lay in the same direction and whose carriages were waiting in the court-yard, followed his example. Suddenly a frightened cry broke the silence of the night. Followed by the others present, Philip rushed to the door. The cry had come from the man who guarded the gate.

"We are attacked!" exclaimed this man on seeing Philip.

At a glance the latter understood the extent and the imminence of their danger. The bright moonlight revealed a terrible sight. The besiegers had found only one opening through which they could effect an entrance into the chateau; but even there a heavy gate composed of strong iron bars opposed their passage. This gate was very high, and the bars were securely fastened to each other, while the top was surmounted by sharp pickets. Still, the bandits were not discouraged. Half-crazed with fury and with wine, they climbed this formidable barrier with the hope of leaping over it. It seemed to bend beneath their weight. The massive bolts trembled, the ponderous hinges creaked, as fifty or more repulsive-looking wretches, the majority of them clad in rags, hurled themselves against the gate, uttering shrieks of baffled rage. One would have supposed them wild beasts trying to break from their cage.

"To arms!" cried Philip.

He ran to the lower hall, which was used as an armory. His father, the visitors and the servants, who were all devoted to the Chamondrin family, followed him, while Antoinette stood watching in alarm this formidable horde of invaders.

The Abbe Peretty advanced towards the intruders.

"What do you desire, my friends?" he asked, calmly.

"Open the gates!" responded the less excited among the crowd.

"We want Chamondrin's head!" exclaimed others.

"Have you any just cause of complaint against the Marquis?" persisted the abbe, striving to calm the furious throng.

"Death to the aristocrats!" the crowd responded with one voice.

One man went so far as to point his gun at the venerable priest, who, without once losing his sang-froid, recrossed the court-yard, keeping his face turned towards the excited band outside, and rejoined his companions, who under the leadership of the Marquis and Philip were just emerging from the hall, armed to the teeth.

"They will not listen to reason," said the Abbe Peretty, calmly!

"Then we will defend ourselves, and woe be unto them!"

As he uttered these words, the Marquis turned to Mademoiselle de Mirandol, around whom the women of the chateau were crowding, half-crazed with terror.

"Go into the house; your place is not here," said he.

"My place is by your side!" replied Antoinette.

"No, my dear Antoinette; it is madness to expose yourself unnecessarily. I know you are courageous, but you can be of far greater service to us by quieting these poor, shrieking creatures."

While this conversation was going on, Philip advanced to the gate. It still resisted the efforts of the assailants, some of whom were endeavoring to climb over the roofs of the pavilions that stood on either side of the entrance to the chateau.

"I command you to retire!" cried Philip.

Angry threats of "Death" resounded afresh.

"Then I hold you responsible for any disasters that may occur!" Philip replied.

At the same moment the impetuous youth raised his gun and fired, wounding one of the men who had climbed the gate and was preparing to leap down into the court-yard. Imprecations broke forth anew and the combat began. Nothing could be heard but a vigorous fusillade, accompanied by the shouts of the besiegers and the besieged. These last were so few in number that they dare not dispatch one of their little company to Remoulins for aid. Besides, they were not sure that the band now assailing them would not be followed by others that would waylay their messenger; but they hoped that their shouts and the sound of the firing would arouse the inhabitants of the sleeping town. The Marquis fought with the desperation of a man who is defending his outraged fireside, and Philip struggled with the energy of despair. He was fighting for his father and for Antoinette. He shuddered when he thought of the horrible fate that awaited the young girl if these brutes, more formidable than any wild beasts, were victorious. Even the Abbe Peretty had armed himself. The servants and the friends of the house conducted themselves like heroes, but, unfortunately, Coursegol was far from Chamondrin, and the defenders of the chateau sadly missed his valiant arm.

The assailants were still crowding against the gate, uttering howls of fury. They were poorly armed. Only a few had guns, the others brandished hatchets and pickaxes, crying:

"Tear down the gate!"

But, when the firing began, they left this dangerous position and retired perhaps twenty feet, where they hid behind the trees, firing at random, sometimes trying to advance, but always driven back with loss. Five or six of them were already stretched upon the grass, but the defenders of the castle were unhurt. The gypsies had retreated to a safe distance, where they stood impatiently awaiting the conclusion of the struggle, ready to fall upon the vanquished as soon as they became unable to defend themselves.

Meanwhile Antoinette, surrounded by four or five women, was upon her knees in the drawing-room, praying fervently, her heart sick with anguish and fear. How ardently she wished herself a man that she might fight by Philip's side! The firing suddenly ceased. Philip entered the room. His face was pale, but stained here and there by smoke and powder; his head was bare; his clothing disordered. Grief and despair were imprinted upon his countenance.

"We must fly!" he exclaimed.

And taking Antoinette by the hand he led her through the long corridor opening into the park. The frightened women followed them. In the park they met the defenders of the chateau, carrying a wounded man in their arms.

Antoinette uttered a cry of consternation.

"Ah! I would have fought until death!" exclaimed Philip, despairingly, "but we were overpowered; the gate was torn down; my father was wounded. He must be saved from the hands of the bandits at any cost, so we were forced to retreat."

Antoinette walked on like one in a frightful dream. If Philip had not supported her she would have fallen again and again. They walked beside the Marquis, who was still conscious, though mortally wounded in the breast. When he saw his son and Antoinette beside him, he looked at them with sorrowful tenderness, and even attempted to smile as if to convince them that he was not suffering.

The little band proceeded with all possible speed to a small summer-house concealed in the pines and shrubbery. Nothing could be more mournful than this little procession of gloomy-visaged men and weeping women, fleeing through the darkness to escape the assassins who were now masters of the castle, destroying everything around them and making night hideous with their ferocious yells. At last they reached the summer-house. The Marquis was deposited upon a hastily improvised bed; the Abbe Peretty, assisted by Philip and Antoinette, attempted to dress his wound; and two men started in the hope of reaching Remoulins by a circuitous route, in order to bring a physician and call upon the inhabitants of the village for aid.

An hour went by; it seemed a century. In the gloomy room where these unfortunates had taken refuge no sound broke the stillness save the moans of the Marquis and the voice of the Abbe Peretty, as he uttered occasional words of consolation and encouragement to assuage the mute anguish of Philip and the despair of the weeping Antoinette. Then all was still again.

Philip's agony was terrible. His father dying; his home in the hands of vandals, who were ruthlessly destroying the loved and cherished objects that had surrounded him from infancy, Antoinette, crushed by the disasters of this most wretched night, this was the terrible picture that rose before him. To this torture was added the despair caused by a sense of his utter powerlessness. Gladly would he have rushed back to the chateau to die there, struggling with his enemies, but he was prevented by the thought of Antoinette, who was now dependent upon him for protection. He was engrossed in these gloomy thoughts when a strange crackling sound attracted his attention, and at the same moment a man, who had ventured out into the park to watch the proceedings of the enemy rushed back, exclaiming:

"They are burning the chateau!"

The tidings of this new misfortune overpowered Philip and almost bereft him of reason. He ran to the door. A tall column of flame and smoke was mounting to the sky; the trees were tinged with a crimson light, and the crackling of the fire could be distinctly heard above the hooting and yelling of the infuriated crowd. His eyes filled with tears, but he was dashing them away preparatory to returning to his father when the Abbe Peretty joined him.

"Courage, my poor boy!" said the good priest.

"I will be brave, sir. I can cheerfully submit to the loss of our possessions, but to the death of my father, I——"

He could not complete the sentence. The abbe, who had lost all hope, was silent for a moment; then he said:

"There is something I must no longer conceal from you. After the chateau is destroyed, I fear these wretches will search the park in order to discover our retreat. I do not fear for myself. I shall remain with the Marquis. They will respect a dying man and a white-haired priest; but you, Philip, must remain here no longer. Make your escape with Mademoiselle de Mirandol without delay."

"I cannot abandon my father," replied Philip. "If our hiding-place is discovered, we will defend ourselves—we will fight until death!"

The priest said no more, and they both returned to the bedside of the Marquis. On seeing them, the latter, addressing his son, inquired:

"The chateau is on fire, is it not?"

Philip's reply seemed to cause the Marquis intense anguish; but, after a moment, he motioned to his son to come nearer; then he said.

"Listen, Philip. You must leave France. This unhappy country is about to enter upon a series of misfortunes which neither you nor I can foresee, and of which you will certainly be a victim if you remain here. You must depart, Philip. Think, my son, you will be the sole heir of the house of Chamondrin."

"You will recover, father."

"No; death is close at hand. It is so near that I cannot deceive myself; so, Philip, I wish you to grant one of my dearest wishes. I wish, before I die, to feel assured that the family of Chamondrin will be perpetuated. Consent to marry Antoinette."

Philip, as we have said before, had already tacitly consented to this marriage. Since he had lost all hope of winning Dolores, the thought of wedding another was no longer revolting to him.

"I am ready to obey you, father," he replied, "but will you allow me to remind you that Mademoiselle de Mirandol is rich and that I have nothing."

The Marquis checked him and, calling Antoinette, said in a voice that was becoming weaker and weaker:

"Antoinette, Philip is poor; his position is gone; the favor of the king will avail him nothing in the future, and the power has passed into the hands of our enemies; nevertheless, will you consent to marry him?"

"If he desires it," exclaimed Mademoiselle de Mirandol, "and never was I so grateful for my wealth!"

Philip pressed the hand of the noble girl, and the face of the Marquis was transfigured with joy in spite of his agony. Then M. de Chamondrin resumed:

"You must leave the country, my children, and marry as soon as circumstances will permit. You must stay in foreign lands until France recovers her reason. Promise to obey me."

They promised in voices choked with sobs.

"Abbe," continued the Marquis, "bless these children!"

Without exchanging another word, Philip and Antoinette, in obedience to the wishes of the dying man, knelt before the priest. The latter, employing the solemn formula which makes bride and bridegroom indissolubly one, asked Mademoiselle de Mirandol if she would accept Philip as her husband, and Philip if he would take Antoinette for his wife, and when they had answered in the affirmative, he added:

"I cannot here, and under such circumstances, unite you by the bonds of marriage; but until the vows you have just exchanged can be consecrated by the church, I, as the witness of this covenant, shall pray God to bless you."

"I am satisfied," said the Marquis, faintly. "Father, grant me absolution."

Antoinette and Philip remained upon their knees. A quarter of an hour later the Marquis expired. Just as he breathed his last, the same man who discovered the firing of the chateau, and who had again returned to the park to watch the movements of the enemy, burst into the room.

"They are searching the park! They are coming this way!" he cried, breathlessly.

The cure, who had been engaged in prayer, rose.

"Fly!" he exclaimed.

"My place is here!" replied Philip.

Antoinette gave him a look of approval.

"In the name of the Father, who has commanded you to love, I order you to fly!"

And, as he spoke, the priest pointed to the door.

"But who will give him burial?" exclaimed Philip.

"I will; go!" replied the abbe.

Antoinette and Philip were compelled to obey.

The priest was left alone with the lifeless body of M. de Chamondrin. He knelt, and, as calmly as if he were in his own presbytery, recited the prayers the church addresses to Heaven for the souls of the dead. The flickering light of a nearly consumed candle dimly illumined the room. The world without was bathed in a flood of clear moonlight. The marauders ran about the park, shouting at the top of their voices, uprooting plants and shrubbery, breaking the statuary and the marble vases, and expending upon inanimate objects the fury they were unable to vent upon the living.

Suddenly, one of them discovered the summer-house. The door was open; he entered. Some of his comrades followed him. A priest with white, flowing locks rose at their entrance, and, pointing to the couch upon which the dead body of the Marquis was reposing, said:

"Death has passed this way! Retire—"

He was not allowed to complete his sentence. A violent blow from an axe felled him to the ground, his skull, fractured. They trampled his body under foot, then one of the assassins applied a burning torch to the floor. The flames rose, licking each portion of the building with their fiery tongues. Then the shameless crowd departed to continue their work of destruction. The sacking of the chateau occupied three hours. The pillagers had not retired when the approach of the National Guard of Remoulins, coming too late to the assistance of the Marquis, was discovered by one of the ruffians, and they fled in every direction to escape the punishment they merited.

When Coursegol, wild with anxiety, reached the chateau on the day that followed this frightful scene, only the walls remained standing. Of the imposing edifice in which he was born there was left only bare and crumbling walls. The farm-house and the summer-house had shared the same fate; and in the park, thickly strewn with prostrate trees and debris, a crowd of gypsies and beggars were searching for valuables spared by the fire. Coursegol could not repress a cry of rage and despair at the sight; but how greatly his sorrow was augmented when he learned that two dead bodies, those of the Marquis and of the Abbe Peretty had been discovered half-consumed in the still smoking ruins.

Were Philip and Antoinette also dead? No one knew.

One person declared that he saw them making their escape. This uncertainty was more horrible to Coursegol than the poignant reality before his eyes. He flung himself down upon the seared turf, and there, gloomy, motionless, a prey to the most frightful despair, he wept bitterly.



CHAPTER VI.

PARIS IN 1792.

On the third of September, 1792, about eleven o'clock in the morning, a tall, stalwart man, with an energetic face and sunburned hands, and accompanied by a young woman, might have been seen approaching the Barriere du Trone. Both were clad in the garb worn by the peasantry of southern France. The young woman wore the costume of a Provencale peasant girl, and carried upon her arm a short, dark cloak, which she used as a protection against the cool night air, but which she did not require now in the heat of the day. The man wore a suit of black fustian, a foxskin cap, blue stockings and heavy shoes. The expression of weariness imprinted upon their features and the dust that covered their garments proved that their journey had been long. As they neared the gateway, the man, who was carrying a heavy valise in his hand, paused to take breath. His companion followed his example, and, as they seated themselves by the roadside, she cast an anxious glance at the city.

"Do you think they will allow us to pass?" she murmured, frightened already at the thought of being subjected to the examination of the soldiers who guarded the gate.

"Are not our passports all right?" demanded her companion. "If we wished to leave Paris it would be quite another matter; but as we merely desire to enter the city, there will be no difficulty. Have no fears, Mademoiselle; they will not detain us long at the gate."

"Coursegol, stop calling me Mademoiselle. Call me your daughter. If you do not acquire the habit of doing so, you will forget some day and then all will be discovered."

"I know my role, and I shall play it to perfection when we are before strangers, but, when we are alone, I cannot forget that I am only your servant."

"Not my servant; but my friend, my father. Have you not always felt for me the same affection and solicitude you would have entertained for your own daughter?"

Coursegol responded only by a look; but this look proved that Dolores had spoken the truth and that the paternal love, of which he had given abundant proofs in the early part of this history, had suffered no diminution.

"If you had only been willing to listen to me," he remarked, after a few moment's silence, "we should have remained in the village where the coach stopped. There we could have awaited a more propitious opportunity to reach our journey's end."

"I was too eager to reach the city. It seems to me that, in approaching Paris, I am nearing Philip and Antoinette. If they are still living, we shall certainly find them in Paris."

"Oh! they are living; I am sure of it; but is it not likely that they have emigrated? In that case, why should we remain in a city that is so full of danger for us?"

"We can lead a quiet and retired life there! No one will know us and we shall have better facilities for obtaining news in Paris than in a village. My heart tells me that we are not far from our friends."

"God grant it, my child," responded Coursegol; "and if, as I hope, Bridoul has not forgotten his friend of former days, we shall soon be safe in his house."

"Are you not sure of his friendship?" inquired Dolores, anxiously.

"Can we place implicit confidence in any one as times are now?" returned Coursegol. "Bridoul was my comrade in the army. He loved me, and he was devoted to Monsieur Philip, our captain. But to-day the remembrance of such a friendship is a crime. It must be forgotten; and fear sometimes renders the bravest hearts cowardly and timorous. Still, I do not believe Bridoul has changed. But we shall soon know. Now, let us go on, my dear daughter, and show no anxiety if they question us at the gate."

"Have no fear, father," replied Dolores, with a smile.

Coursegol picked up his valise, and boldly approached the gate. Dolores followed him, striving to quiet the throbbings of her heart; she was more troubled in mind now than she had been during the whole of the long journey. As they were passing through the gateway, a sentinel stopped them and made them enter a small house occupied by the detachment of the National Guard, which was deputized to watch over the safety of Paris from this point. The post was commanded by a young lieutenant, a mere boy with a beardless face. On seeing a beautiful girl enter, followed by an aged man, he rose, and turning to his soldiers:

"What is the meaning of this?" he inquired.

"I wish to enter the city, lieutenant," volunteered Coursegol, without waiting to be questioned.

"Enter Paris! You have chosen a nice time! There are many people in it who would be only too glad to make their escape. Who is this citoyenne?" added the officer, pointing to Dolores.

"That is my daughter."

"Be seated, citoyenne," said the lieutenant, politely offering Dolores his own chair.

She accepted it, and the examination continued.

"From whence do you come?"

"From Beaucaire."

"Afoot?"

"No, citizen; we left the coach at Montgeron. The driver had no other passengers, and, when he heard of the troubles in Paris, he declared he would wait there until they were over. His coach was loaded with merchandise, and he feared it would be taken from him."

"Does he take patriots for bandits?" exclaimed the officer, angrily. "If I am on guard here when his coach enters the city, he will receive the lesson he deserves. You said you had passports, I think?"

"Here they are!"

The officer took the papers that Coursegol handed him and examined them carefully.

"These papers were drawn up two years ago," said he. "Where have you spent these years?"

"My daughter has been ill and we were obliged to stop at numerous places on the way. We made long sojourns at Dijon and at Montereau; but you will notice, citizen, the passports bear the endorsement of the authorities of those towns."

"So I perceive. Very well, you will be taken before the Commissioners and if your papers prove all right, as I believe they are, you will be allowed to remain in the city."

The young lieutenant turned away to give an order to one of his soldiers; then suddenly he approached Coursegol and said kindly, in a low voice:

"You seem to be worthy people, and I should be very sorry if any misfortune happened to you. Paris is not a safe abode just now. Yesterday they began to put the prisoners to death, and, perhaps, you and your daughter would do well to wait until the fury of the populace is appeased."

"But we belong to the people," replied Coursegol. "We have nothing to fear; moreover, I know a good patriot who will be responsible for us if necessary: Citizen Bridoul, who keeps a wine-shop on the Rue Antoine."

"At the sign of the Bonnet Rouge?" cried the officer.

"The very same," replied Coursegol, boldly, though until now he had been ignorant of the sign which distinguished his friend Bridoul's establishment.

"Bridoul is a true patriot. Thanks to him, you will incur no risk! You will now be conducted to the Commissioners."

"Many thanks for your kindness, lieutenant," said Coursegol.

And taking Dolores' arm in his, he followed the soldier who was to conduct them to the municipal authorities. There, they underwent a fresh examination, and Coursegol responded as before. As people who desired to enter Paris at such a time could hardly be regarded with suspicion, Coursegol and Dolores were walking freely about the streets of the city a few moments later, surprised and alarmed at the sights that met their eyes at every turn. The last witnesses of the grand revolutionary drama are disappearing every day. Age has bowed their heads, blanched their locks and enfeebled their memories. Soon there will remain none of those whose testimony might aid the historian of that stormy time in his search after truth; but among the few who still survive and who in the year 1792 were old enough to see and understand and remember, there are none upon whom the recollection of those terrible days in September is not indelibly imprinted. Since the tenth of August, Paris had been delivered up to frenzy and bloodshed. The arrest of the royal family, the rivalry between the Commune and the Convention, the bitter debates at the clubs and the uprising of the volunteers were more than enough to throw the great city into a state of excitement, disorder and terror. Business was paralyzed; the stores were for the most part closed; the aristocratic portions of the city deserted; emigration had deprived France of thousands of her citizens; the streets were filled with a fierce, ragged crowd; the luxury upon which the artisan depended for a livelihood was proscribed; famine was knocking at the gates; gold had disappeared; places of amusement were broken up; the gardens and the galleries of the Palais-Royal alone remained—the only rendezvous accessible to those who, even while looking forward to death, frantically desired to enjoy the little of life that remained. Such was the aspect of affairs in Paris.

With the last days of August came the news of the capture of Longwy by the Prussians, the siege of Terdun, and the warlike preparations of Russia and Germany. This was more than enough to excite the terror of the Parisians and to arouse their anger against those whom they called aristocrats and whom they accused of complicity with the enemies of the nation.

On the 29th of August, by the order of the Commune, the gates were closed. It was impossible to enter Paris without a passport endorsed by examiners appointed for the purpose. No one was allowed to leave the city on any pretext whatever. The Parisians were virtually prisoners. Every house, every apartment was visited by inspectors. Rich and poor were alike compelled to submit. Every suspicious article was seized, and the man in whose dwelling it was discovered was arrested. The inspectors performed their tasks with unnecessary harshness, ruthlessly destroying any valuable object upon which they could lay their hands. They rapped upon the walls to see if they contained any secret hiding-place; they pierced the mattresses with their swords and poignards. After these visits thousands of citizens were arrested and conducted to the Hotel de Ville, where many were detained for thirty hours without food, awaiting their turn to appear before the members of the Commune. After their examination some were released; others were thrown into the prisons, which were soon crowded to such a degree that there was not room for a single newcomer by the first of September. If room could not be found, room must be made; and the following day, the second of September, twenty-four prisoners, chiefly priests, were led before the mayor, adjudged guilty of treason, crowded into fiacres and taken to the Abbaye, where they were executed immediately on their arrival.

After this, their first taste of blood, the executioners hastened to the Chatelet and to the Conciergerie, where they wrought horrors that the pen refuses to describe, sentencing to death the innocent and the guilty without giving them any opportunity to defend themselves. Night did not appease the fury of the butchers. On the third of September they killed again at the Abbaye, at the Force and at the Bernardins prisons; and on the fourth they continued their work of death at La Salpetriere and Bicetre.

For three days the tocsin sounded. Bands of sans-culottes and tricoteuses, thirsting for blood, traversed the streets, uttering cries of death; and no one seemed to think of checking their sanguinary fury. A prey to a truly remarkable panic, when we consider the relatively small number of assassins, the terrified citizens remained shut up in their houses. The National Assembly seemed powerless to arrest the horrors of these tragical hours; the Commune seemed to favor them.

Of all those days that inspire us with such horror, even now, after the lapse of nearly a century, the darkest was that which witnessed the execution of the Princesse de Lamballe, who perished for no other crime than that of love for the queen. Beheaded, and thrown at first upon a pile of corpses, her body was afterwards despoiled of its clothing and exposed to the view of an infamous mob. One of the bandits dared to separate from this poor body, defiled with mud, and later by the hands of its murderers, the lovely head that had surmounted it; others, dividing it with a brutality that nothing could soften, quarrelled over the bleeding fragments. Then began a frightful massacre. Like wild beasts, bearing these spoils of the head as trophies of victory, the band of assassins rushed down the Rue de Sicile to carry terror to the heart of Paris.

It was nearly noon when Coursegol and Dolores, having passed the Bastile, entered the Rue Saint Antoine to find a dense crowd of men, women and ragged children yelling at one another and singing coarse songs. Some of the National Guard were among the throng; and they were stopped every few moments by the people to shout: "Vive la Nation!" the patriotic cry that lent courage to the hearts of the soldiers of the Republic nobly fighting for the defence of our frontiers, but which had been caught up and was incessantly vociferated by the ruffians who inaugurated the Reign of Terror. All carriages that attempted to pass through this moving crowd were stopped, and their occupants were obliged to prove their patriotism by mingling their acclamations with those of the mob. The audacity and brutality of the sans-culottes knew no bounds. Woe to him who allowed his face to betray his sentiments, even for a moment! Terror, pity, sadness, these were crimes to be cruelly expiated.

Coursegol had hesitated to enter the Rue Saint Antoine. He feared to come in contact with this excited multitude, but the more alarming the great city which she saw for the first time appeared to Dolores, the more anxious she was to find shelter at Bridoul's house. But Bridoul's house was in the Rue Saint Antoine; and, to reach it, it was absolutely necessary to make their way through the crowd, or to wait until it had dispersed. But when would it disperse? Was it not dangerous to remain much longer without an asylum and a protector? This thought terrified Dolores, and, longing to reach her place of destination, she urged Coursegol to proceed.

At first, they advanced without much difficulty, following the throng that seemed to be wending its way in the same direction as themselves; but when they had passed the Palais-Royal, they were obliged to slacken their pace, and soon to stop entirely. The crowd formed an impassable barrier against which they were pressed so closely by those behind that Dolores was nearly suffocated, and Coursegol, to protect her, placed her before him, extending his arms to keep off the excited throng.

In the midst of the tumult which we have attempted to describe, Coursegol was troubled, not so much by the impatience of Dolores as by the doubts that beset him when he thought of Bridoul. He had not seen the latter for three years. He only knew that his comrade, on quitting the army, had purchased a wine merchant's establishment; but, on hearing that his former friend sold his merchandise at the sign of the Bonnet Rouge, he asked himself in alarm if he would not find, instead of a friend, a rabid patriot who would refuse to come to the aid of the ex-servant of a Marquis. These reflections had made him silent and anxious until now; but, finding his progress checked by the crowd, the thought of inquiring the cause of this excitement occurred to him. Addressing a man who was standing a few steps from him, and who, judging from his impassive features, seemed not to share the emotions of which he was a witness, Coursegol inquired:

"What is going on, my friend?"

"What is going on!" replied the stranger, not without bitterness. "They are carrying the head of the Princesse de Lamballe through the streets of Paris!"

Coursegol could not repress a movement of horror and of pity. On several occasions, when he had accompanied Philip to the house of the Duke de Penthieore, he had seen the Princess who had befriended his young master. At the same time, the thought that Dolores might be obliged to witness such a horrible exhibition frightened him, and he resolved to find some way to spare the girl the shameful spectacle that the eager crowd was awaiting. Suddenly Dolores, who had been standing on the same spot for some time, discovered that the soil beneath her feet had become wet and slippery, and, turning to Coursegol, she said:

"I am standing in water."

Coursegol drew back and forced the crowd to give way a trifle, so Dolores could have a little more standing-room. Thanks to his exertions, she could breathe once more; but, chancing to look down upon the ground, she uttered an exclamation of consternation.

"Blood! It is blood!" she exclaimed, in horror.

Coursegol's eyes followed hers. She was not mistaken. She was standing in a pool of blood, and not far off lay a body that the crowd had trampled upon only a few moments before.

"But where are we?" murmured the terrified Coursegol.

The man to whom he had previously spoken drew a little nearer and said:

"You are, perhaps, a hundred paces from the prison where they executed the prisoners scarcely an hour ago."

Then, drawing still nearer, so that no one save Coursegol could hear him, he added:

"Advise that young girl not to cry out again as she did just now. If some of these fanatics had heard her, she would have fared badly!"

At that very moment, the crowd resumed its march. The man disappeared. When Coursegol, agitated by these horrors which were so new to him, turned again to speak to Dolores, he saw that she had fainted in his arms. The poor man glanced despairingly about him. Suddenly his eyes fell upon a sign hanging over a shop on the opposite side of the street. This sign represented a red Phrygian cap upon a white ground, and above it was written in large red letters: "Le Bonnet Rouge." For a quarter of an hour he had been standing directly opposite Bridoul's establishment. He uttered a cry of joy, lifted Dolores in his strong arms, and, in a stentorian voice, exclaimed:

"Make way! Make way, good citizens! My daughter has fainted!"

The Provencale costume worn by Dolores deceived the persons who would otherwise have impeded Coursegol's progress.

"He is from Marseilles," some one cried.

Just at that time the Marseillais were heroes in the eyes of all good patriots. The unusual height of Coursegol strengthened the illusion.

"Yes," remarked another, "he is one of the Marseillais who have come to the aid of the Parisians."

The crowd opened before him. He soon reached the shop over which hung the sign of the "Bonnet Rouge" and entered it. There were but few customers in the large saloon. He placed Dolores in a chair, ran to the counter, seized a glass of water, returned to the girl and bathed her forehead and temples. In a moment she opened her eyes.

"My dear child, are you better?" he asked.

"Yes, yes, my good Coursegol," replied Dolores. Then she added: "Yes, father, but I was terribly frightened."

"The citoyenne was crushed in the crowd!" said a voice behind Coursegol. He turned and saw a woman who was still young. Suddenly he recollected that Bridoul was married.

"Are you not Citoyenne Bridoul?" he asked.

"Certainly, Cornelia Bridoul."

"Where is your husband?"

"Here he is."

Bridoul appeared. He had followed his wife in order to see the young Provencale who had been brought into his shop.

"Do you know me?" inquired Coursegol.

"Can it be Coursegol?"

"Yes; I am your brother-in-law; this young girl is your niece. We have just arrived from Beaucaire. I will explain everything by and by."

Bridoul cast a hasty glance around him. No one was observing them. The few who had been sitting at the table had risen and gone to the door, attracted there by the increasing tumult without.

"Take the young lady into the back room," Bridoul whispered to his wife. "There will be a crowd here in a moment."

The latter made haste to obey. It was time. In another moment Dolores would have been obliged to witness an even more horrible spectacle than that upon which her eyes had rested a short while before. The shop was suddenly taken by storm. Several men with repulsive faces, long hair and cruel eyes, and whose clothing was thickly spattered with blood, entered the saloon, followed by a yelling crowd. People mounted on chairs and tables to obtain a look at them. They were the city executioners. They ordered wine which Bridoul hastened to place before them. One carried in his hand the newly decapitated head of a woman, whose fair hair was twined round his bare arm. Before drinking his wine he placed the head upon the counter. Coursegol closed his eyes to shut out the ghastly sight. He had recognized the features of the Princesse de Lamballe. When the men had finished their wine, one said:

"Now we will have the hair of this citoyenne dressed so that Marie Antoinette will recognize her."

And addressing Bridoul, he added:

"Is there any hair-dresser in this neighborhood?"

"About a hundred paces from here, on the Place de la Bastille," replied Bridoul.

"On! on!" shouted the executioners.

And taking the head of the unfortunate Princess they departed, accompanied by the crowd that had followed them from the prison. A few moments later the saloon was empty. Bridoul hastened into the back room. Coursegol followed him. Fortunately the two women had not seen what had occurred, and, thanks to Cornelia Bridoul's friendly offices, Dolores had regained her composure.

"First of all, are you classed among the suspected characters?" the wine merchant inquired of Coursegol. "Are you trying to escape from your pursuers? Must I conceal you?"

"No," replied Coursegol "We have come to Paris in the hope of finding Monsieur Philip."

"Our old captain?"

"The same," answered Coursegol, at once recounting the events with which the reader is already familiar. When the recital was ended, Bridoul spoke in his turn.

"I am willing to swear that the captain is not in Paris. If he were, he, like all the rest of the nobles, would have been in great danger; and in peril, he would certainly have thought of his old soldier, Bridoul, for he knows he can rely upon my devotion."

"Ah! you have not changed!" cried Coursegol, pressing his friend's hand.

"No, I have not changed. As you knew me so will you find me. But, my good friend, we must be prudent. You did well to come to my house. You and your daughter must remain here. You are relatives of mine; that is understood. Later, we can make other arrangements; but this evening I shall take you to the political club to which I belong. I will introduce you as my brother-in-law, a brave patriot from the south."

"But what the devil shall I do at the club?" inquired Coursegol.

"What shall you do there? Why, you will howl with the wolves; that is the only way to save yourself from being eaten by them!"

But Coursegol demurred.

"M. Bridoul is right," urged Dolores, timidly.

"Niece, you are wise to take your uncle's part," remarked Bridoul; "but you must take care not to call me monsieur. That is more than enough to send you to prison as times are now."

"Is everything a crime then?" cried Coursegol.

"Everything," answered Bridoul, "and the greatest crime of all would be to remain at home while all good patriots are listening to the friends of the people in the political meetings. You will be closely watched, for we are surrounded by spies; and if any act of yours arouses the slightest suspicion we shall all go to sleep on the straw in the Conciergerie or the Abbaye, until we are sent to the block!"

Coursegol uttered a groan.

"Why do you sigh?" asked Bridoul. "All this does not prevent me from doing a service to such as deserve it. On the contrary, I should be rich if the number of thousand louis I possess equalled the number of lives I have saved since the tenth of August!"

"Hush, husband!" said Madame Bridoul, quickly. "What if some one should hear you!"

"Yes, yes, Cornelia, I will be prudent. Here we are all good patriots, worthy sans-culottes, ever ready to cry: 'Vive la Nation!'"

As he spoke Bridoul returned to his shop, for several customers were coming in.

The former dragoon was over forty years of age. He was small of stature, and in no way resembled one's ideal of a brave cavalier. His short limbs, his protruding stomach, his enormous arms and his fat hands gave him, when he was not moving about, the appearance of a penguin in repose. The large head covered with bushy gray hair, that surmounted his short body imparted to him really an almost grotesque look; but so much kindness shone in his eyes, and his voice was so rich and genial that one instantly divined a brave man beneath this unattractive exterior and was irresistibly attracted to him. Twenty-five years of his existence had been spent in the service of the king. He had cheerfully shed his blood and risked his life, and, thanks to the shrewdness he had displayed in his dealings with recruiting officers, he was now the possessor of several thousand francs. This little fortune enabled him to leave the army and to marry. A pretty shop-girl on the Faubourg du Roule, whose beautiful eyes, as he, himself, expressed it, had pierced his heart from end to end, consented, though she was much his junior, to a union of their destinies. In 1789 the newly married couple purchased the stock of a wine-shop, over the door of which, after the 10th of August, they prudently hung the sign of the "Bonnet Rouge."

At heart, Bridoul and his wife were still ardent royalists. They bitterly deplored the imprisonment of Louis XVI. and his family, but they were governed by a feeling which soon became general, and under the empire of which most of the events of this bloody period were accomplished. They were afraid. It would not do for them to be classed with suspected persons, so they did not hesitate to violate their conscience and their heart by openly professing doctrines which they secretly abhorred, but which gave them the reputation of irreproachable patriots. Hence the "Bonnet Rouge" soon became the rendezvous of the Revolutionists of that quarter; and through them Bridoul acquired information with regard to their plans that enabled him to save the lives of many citizens. Fear had made him cautious but not cowardly; and he was fortunate enough to find in his wife a valuable auxiliary whose resolution, courage and coolness were never failing. After this explanation, not one will be surprised at the welcome this worthy couple accorded Dolores and Coursegol. They were ever ready to do good and to succor the distressed.

The evening after her arrival, Dolores was installed in a chamber over the shop. Coursegol occupied a small room adjoining this chamber. They could reach their apartments without passing through the saloon; so Dolores and Coursegol were not compelled to mingle against their will with the crowd of customers that filled the wine-shop during the day. It was decided that they should all take their meals at a common table, which was to be served in the back shop where Bridoul and his wife slept. It was also decided that Dolores should lay aside the Provencale costume which she had worn on her arrival in Paris, and dress like a daughter of the people. Everything that would be likely to attract attention must be scrupulously avoided, for the beauty of Dolores had already awakened too much interest on the part of curious customers.

The following Sunday morning, Dolores, who felt certain that Cornelia Bridoul was a devout Christian, said to her:

"At what hour do you go to church? I would like to accompany you?"

"To church! For what?" asked Cornelia, evidently surprised.

"To hear mass."

"Would you listen to a mass celebrated by a perjured priest?"

And, as Dolores looked at her in astonishment, Cornelia added:

"The sacred offices are now celebrated only by renegade priests, who have forsaken the tenets of the church to render allegiance to the constitution."

But that same evening after supper, as Dolores was about retiring to her chamber, Cornelia, who was sitting with her guest in the room in the rear of the shop, while Bridoul and Coursegol were closing the saloon, said to her:

"This morning you were regretting that you could not attend church. I have been informed that an aged saint, who has found shelter with some worthy people in the neighborhood, will celebrate mass this evening."

"Oh! let us go!" cried Dolores.

"Very well, you shall go; Coursegol will accompany us; Bridoul will remain at home and take care of the house."

A few moments later, Dolores, Cornelia and Coursegol, provided with the pass that all good patriots were obliged to carry if they were in the streets of Paris after ten o'clock at night, stole out of the wine-shop and turned their steps toward the Place Royale. The streets which they traversed, looking back anxiously now and then to make sure that they were not followed, were dark and almost deserted. It was only occasionally that they met little groups of two or three persons, who passed rapidly, as if they distrusted the other passers-by. A policeman stopped our friends. They displayed their passes, and he allowed them to pursue their way without further questions. At last, they reached the Place Royale, and turned into a side street. At a half-open door stood a man clad in a blouse, and wearing a red cap. Cornelia said a few words to him in a low tone.

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