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Tmtislaled fro>a the French, hi/ A 

ristide ""'atreault. 

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B. Q. a I 



In translating this work, of one of the most popular 
writers of the day, my aim has been chieHy to bring 
before the readers a class of novel which is not usually 
translated into English. Heretofore, with few exceptions* 
the translators of French novels seem to have chosen 
only the works of fiction of such authors as Zola and 
his disciples, which, I am happy to state, are being rele- 
gated into the obscurity from which they should never 
have issued. There was in their favor only the attraction 
of novelty ; but the good sense of the public soon re- 
jected those pornographic writings. The only reason 
that can be assigned for their existence is the boast 
which some of those writers openly made, to plunge so 
far into obscenity that none would dare to follow them. 
In the minds of a great many people a French novel is 
something highly " spiced ;" and it has led to the remark 
I have often been met with, that in French literature of 
this kind — novel-writing — there is nothing but immo- 
rality, to put it in a mild form, depicted. The reader 
who will peruse this work in the hope of finding such 
condirnents will be sadly mistaken, 


M. Adolphe d'Ennery, the author of this work, iH a 
dramatic writer of fame, and his dramas are played in 
the great theatres of France by great artists. When 
asked to write a novel, he refused at first, pleading 
incompetency ; but he was prevailed upon at last, and 
the result has been "A Martyr," a chef-d'oeuvre. With 
his acknowledged dramatic talents, it is no wonder that 
the work should abound with stirring scenes of the 
greatest effect ; and from the first page to the last the 
reader is kept in a state of thrilling excitement. And 
throughout the entire work, not one word — not one 
thought — but is calculated to depict the nobler feelings 
and instincts of human nature, written in elevated and 
flowery language. 

The only thing I am conscious of is, that I have been 
unable to do full justice to the work, and that my version 
will be deficient in force. A^ extenuating circumstance, 
I plead inexperience (this being the first translation of 
the kind I have ever attempted), and I hope the reader 
will be indulgent enough to forgive me in favor of my 
good intentions. At first the translation was not meant 
to be published, having been done as a pastime ; but I 
was induced to have it printed by some literary friends, 
who, I am afraid, were partial to its merits. Be that as 
it may, it is in your hands now, and I claim a welcome 
for it, if not for my sake, for the sake of ' the author. 

My sincere thanks are due to Mr. Charles Dedrickson 
of the editorial staff of the Toronto Mail, for his valu* 


able hints, and corrections of idioms. His thorough 
knowledge of French enabled him to grasp the exact 
meaning of the author, and to give the coiTesponding 
meaning in the English language, with which he is no 
less familiar. 

With the hope of having done something to help you, 
dear reader, to while away an hour in ii.^ellectual enjoy- 
ment, and at the same time to confirm you in the idea 
that there is still some good left in human nature, I leave 
my work to your kind appreciation, being comforted 
with the precept that, "il sera pardonne beaticoup d 
celui qui a beaucoup peclU" 




HE story wliich we are coinmoncing will soon develop itself 
on the Parisian ocoun, so full of storms and toiup'jats ; but 
to know its orif^in thu reader wilt have to go hundreds, even 
thousands, nf leagues away. 
Let us procoed first to Italy, to Naples. A noisy mob crowded 
the sidewalks, and in that crowd could bo seen a marvellous crea- 
ture walking by herself, disdaining to answer the provocations of 
the merchants and the more interested ones of the young men. She 
was twenty years old at the most, although she looked oMer. Her 
costume was very moileat, even poor : a linen dress and a net of 
imitati<m lace. But under the linen, almost transparent with wear, 
the body of a goddess moulded itself. It was supple, nervous, of 
almost provocating perfection, which owed ncjthing of its delicacy 
to the use of the corset. And througiA the broken meshes of the 
net, her rich black hair fell upon her neck and forehead, throwing 
a shadow on the tlame of her eyes. She was well known on Toledo 
street, where she was then, looking with envy in the windows of 
the jewellers and merchants ; and every minute she was familiarly 
saluted with, ' Good-day, Gorgon ! * This popularity left her in- 
ditlerent. She hardly ever answered the greetings she received. 
She had turned into the street leading to the royal c istle of Capo- 
dimonte, at the gates of the city. But she soon left the main street 
and took to the little lanes which form a sort of spider's web at the 
foot of the hill. She stopped in front of the shop of a melon mer- 
chant, and looked around to see if anybody had observed her. The 
lane was deserted. She took three or four coppers, wliich consti- 
tjjted her whole fortune, out of her pocket, and bought one of these 
water-melons in which, as they say in Naples, there is both drink- 
ing and washing water. With this acquisition she turned into a 
small lane and entered an old house which seemed to stand up 
only by a miracle. Arrived at the second story, she pushed a door 
pen. Gorgon was at home. Thi? apartment consisted of a room 
with a small closet or railier a bed-recess, and was at the same 

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time the parlor, the dining-room, the bed-room, and the kitchen. 
The whole was quite in accord with the occupant. In the midst of 
sordid poverty, besides two or three broken chairs, on a pallet 
whose only mattress was never shaken and whose sheets were never 
washed, were to be seen flashing tinsels, white and rose-colored 
satin shoes, gilded lace, short petticoats all tuuibled up, garlands 
of artilicial flowers, all faded. In short, all the parapliernalia of a 
ballet girl. One thing only contrasted with the general etiect of 
that mean furniture and those scattered rags. It was a wooden 
table laden with papers, briefs, pens and ink. If all the rest be- 
longed to her, this table certainly did not. To get acquainted with 
its owner, the reader must follow Gorgon, who opened the door of 
the recess with her knee. 

' Peppo ! ' she said. 

A stifled grunt was the answer. The young girl remained on the 
threshold of the room. She could hardly go in, anyway, for a dirty 
mattress spread on the floor, covered the whole of this den. She 
crossed her arms, and with indignation, roused the lazy fellow. 

' Peppo ! ' she repeated, ' get up. It is already ten o'clock.' 

* Eh ? What ? What's the matter ? ' asked Peppo, ' is the house 
on fire ] ' 

* I wish it was, and that it would burn you until the day of judg- 
ment,' said Gorgon. 'Is it not a shame? Ten o'clock ; and you 
should be at your office at nine ! ' 

* Bah ! ' said Peppo, rubbing his eyes, * I do enough for the money 
I receive. Sixty francs per month ! The salary will not ruin tlie 

* Sixty francs per month is not much money, but it is enough to 
exist upon,' said the young girl with a nervous laugh, *and if you 
should lose that situation, what would become of us ? ' 

' You would return to dancing. The ballet corps of San Carlo 
will always he glad to have you.' 

' Yes, but I will i;ot have it.' 

Duriug this time Peppo was getting up. He was dressing, unmind- 
ful of tlie youug girl's presence. Evidently these two splendid 
beings did not embarrass each other. We said these two splendid 
beinys. Peppo was, in fact, as handsome as Gorgon was beautiful. 
Being brother and sister they were very much like each other, mo- 
rally and physically. 

* So, theti,' said I'eppo, * it is decided, you quit the theatre ? Per 
Baccho ! What stupidity ! A beautiful girl like you ! You have 
too much virtue, my dear ! ' 

Gorgim shrugged her shoulders. 

' It is not virtue,' she said disdainfully. ' Only, all that rabble of 
the theatres disgusts me. If I am to make a fortune with my beauty, 
it must be by (jther means. Otherwise 1 prefer my poverty. 


As the reader can jadv,'e by their conversation, Peppo and Gorgon, 
were not over scriipulous. It must be said, to their credit, that they 
were born and had been raised in the most deph)rahle conditions. 
Their mother, a ballet girl, had not kept that purity of manners 
which is usually observed by the women of her class in Italy. She 
had had all kinds of adventures, and her grtatest })rotit had boon 
the birth of a son and a daughter, at an interval of five years' time. 
She called her son Peppo, which means Joseph, simply bocausn he 
was born on the day of the fejxst of that saint. As to her daughter's 
name, there was more pot-try in its origin. The greatest success of 
the dancer had been the creation of a ballet called ' Medusa.' As 
everybody knows, Medusa is one of the three fabulous (Jorgons. It 
was under this mythological costume that the dnucer made the ccm- 
quest of a gallant captain. She was only paying a debt of ijratitude 
to love when she gave to the beautiful girl we have just presented 
to the reader the name of the character she had tilled a year before 
her birth. When she died Peppo was ten years old, and Gorgon 
five. Instead of calling public charity to their assistance, the little 
bohemians set their wits to work to glean a living on tlie streets, 
like birds fallen from their nests. At fifteen years of age Gori^'on 
made a debut at S;in Carlo, the finest ami the largest of theatres 
after La Scala. Born on the boards, so to speak, tlie maiden know 
a little of dancing from seeing and imitating others. Hut as she 
had never made any serious studies, she never advanced beyond 
the rank ot a ballet girl, and it was due to her beatity that she ever 
reached that title. The vanity, or rather the just pride, of this 
ambitious girl was not to be kept down in such a mean situation of 
life. If she were to fall she wanted to do it gloriously and get 
wealthy on the start. The occasion did not present itself at San 
Carlo, and she preferred to quit the theatre rather than submit to 
the humiliating familiarities of her companions. It was eighteen 
months since Gorgon had taken that resolution, and as she was 
not earning anything, Peppo had to utilize the few talents he pos- 
sessed to eke out a precarious living for both. The greatest of these 
talents was calligraphy. During his leistire time he had perfected 
himself in that art, and he could do nothing better than draw from 
it the resource.' he and his sister needed so badly. 

In Italy municipal servants are poorly paid, and there are almost 
always vacant situations in the civil service. Peppo took one of 
these situations, because he could get nothing better, and became 
clerk of the records. 

He finished his toilet that morning and commenced his breakt'.iMt, 
eating a large slice of the melon. While eating, he was listening to 
her complaints. The promenade she had taken in front of the 
lii'illiant stores of Toledo street, had awakened in her mind a covet- 
ousness always ready to burst. Her misery appeared nuna unen- 


durable because fortune seemed to directly defy her. Between her 
and the millions heaped up in the windows under the most alluring 
forms of modern luxury, there was only the thickness of a trans- 
parent i,'la93, and sho would say to herself that her bea\ity and her 
ambition would bo, when she liked, two diamonds hard enough to 
cut the glass and allow her to lay hands on all the treasures which 
actually tempted her uselessly. Once that resolution taken, she 
was sure of success. She was sayinsf all this to her brother with a 
great V(»lubility of language, expressive gestures, and with an auda- 
cious rebelliim of voice and looks. These projects did not scandalize 
Peppo ; still he made a few oV)jection3, for the sake of appearances. 
She stopped him. 

' Do not play such a comedy,' she said, brusquely. ' However, 
listen. If it annoys you that I should undertake to make our for- 
tune, I give you eight days to do it in.' 

Peppo did not return an answer. With a miserable pittance of 
sixty francs per mouth, what could he do in eight days' time ? He 
merely shrugged his shoulders atid opened the door, intending to go 
to his oHice. On the landing he ran against a little old man who 
had the strangest aspect one could imagine. 

* Ah ! ' ho s lid, ' t)ur neighbor, the Duke de San Lucca. Come 
in, your excellency. Perhaps Gorgon has a slice of melon left for 

And he went away, leaving the old man there. In spite of his 
miserable aspect and ragged clothes, the man Peppo had just 
left was a nobleman, and actually a duke. He was even a duke 
of very illustrioug ancestry. The family to which he belonged 
claimed to be descended from St. Luke, the evangelist. Be that 
as it may, his excellency, the Duke de San Lucca had filled 
the highest positions in the gift of the court oi the Two Sici- 
lies. When Garibaldi entered Naples, on the 7th of Septem- 
ber, 18G(), the duke was d ling service in the king's household, 
and he followed that sovereign in his flight. On the 13th of 
February, 1801, when Gaete was surrendered, the duke was the 
last to leave the citadel. The fall of the Bourbons was a fatal blow 
to the old gentleman in every respect. The courtier of the old 
r^jime could have, like one of his nephews, trimmed his sail to the 
new breeze, but he was stubboru and brave, and he would not cap- 
itulate with his conscience. On the contrary, he clothed himself in 
his ruin as the ancient philosophers in their tattered robes. * Re- 
volution has made me a beggar,' he declared. 'Then be>.'gar I am, 
and beggar 1 shall remain.' And to affirm his resolution, he looked 
for the most miserable lodging that could be foOnd in Naples. 
Chance brought him to the door of a half-demolished house, at the 
foot of the suburb of Capodimonte. He rented on the second story 
a room, the possession of which he had to fight for against the com- 

1. ICARTYR. 18 

bined efTortg of the «un, the rain, and the wind. Then he sold a 
golden snuff-box, which he had found in a pocket of his coat, and 
with the proceeds he bought a splendid brass plate, which he nailed 
on the door. On this plate the engraver had inscribed the two fol- 
lowing lines, very short, but very significant : 

His Excellency the Duke db San Lucca, 

Ndt satisfied with thus exposing his new profession, the old man 
practised it with ostentation. The first day he appeared on the 
public place, soliciting alms, he had elegant clothes, almost new. 
The pedestrians took great delight in this gratuitous recreation, and 
in a few minutes the duke had gathered twenty sous. When he had 
that sum, M. de San Lucca made a graceful bow. declared that his 
'■•' 's w<»rk was done and that he would be at the same place on the 
next day. The next day he was there, and also the following days. 
When he possessed one franc, which was all ho wanted, he returned 
to his miserable room. Curiosity, however, had given way to in- 
difference, and sometimes he had to V>eg for manv hours before he 
could gather his pittiuice. After a time his clothes became nothing 
but rags, and looked more like a harlequin's dress than any other 
known raiment. His poor excellency led this life for seventeen 
years. We termed him an old man on the day when for the first 
time the duke asked for charity. Seventeen years later, he was no 
more an old man ; he was Methusalah in person. He was only 
eighty years old, but he looked double that age. His little body 
was dried up and shrivelled. During the last years of his mendicity, 
the poor old man had experienced some very hard times. He be- 
came sick and he could not collect his daily receipts. Several times 
he would have died of hunger and fever, if Providence had not 
brought to the room next to his the two young and beautiful children 
we are already acquainted with. Gorgon and her brother loved this 
old man, and had, so to speak, adopted him. However poor they 
were, they were always ready to share their miserable dinner with his 
ruined excellency. They had shown him respect and what was 
still better they had given him affection. That was the reason why, 
without blinding himself as to tlie morality of his young protectors, 
the duke had for them a paternal affection. Such was the charac- 
ter who entered Gorgon's room on the day our tale commences. 
At the first glance, the duke perceived that some grave discussion 
had just taken place between his neighbors, and he interrogated 
Gorgon. The pretty girl did not hesitate in the least to acquaint 
him with her revolts and her projects, JVl. de San Lucca was of an 
age not to be astonished at anything. So he showed no surprise 
whatever on hearing the confession thus made to him. 


* Eh ! eh ! Gorgonetta mia,' he said patting her cheek with his 
bony lingers. ' We have enoiv^'h of this eating of mad cow !' 

' Even if there were cow flesh ! ' answered the marveUous creature 
witli luunor, ' I would not care if i^ wei"e mad or not. But what 
is to be done, your excellency ? It is hard, when one has teeth 
like a iiiousa, to have ncthing to put between them.' 

* Corpo (Ji Baccho ! ' the i^eiitUMnau swore, gallantly, ' in fact, your 
teeth are sharp enough to crunch diamonds. But it is a sin, all 
ilie.same, to think that those l)eautiful eyes, that splendid hair, 
and that line figure shall become the prey of some cad of this petty 
King oi Savoy, who has thrown the snow of his shoes on the flames 
of our old Vesuvius ! You deserve a better fate than that, goddess 
that you are ! ' 

(iorgon shrugged her shoulders and said : 
' What can I do ? ' 

However, alio had appreciated the compliment, which had soothed 
her a little. 

' It Would ve very amusing,' thought the duke aloud. 

* What]' Gorgon asked. * 
' Notliing. An idea which had entered my head. 

The old man stopped, with a queer smile. 

* Well, tell mo your idea.' 

The duke did not hesitate long. Hovever, he gave her only half 
of his idea. 

* Do you see,' he said, ' there is a thing which frightens me for 
you in the battle you are about to engage in.' 

* What ? ' 

* The point you start from is too low. The way to the summit 
of fortune will be long. You have nothing to throw in the balance ; 
no name, no family.' 

' They call me Gorgon ! ' said the beautiful girl with pride, 

' Undoubtedly ! A surname I less than nothing ! you are the 
daughter of a whim and of a fancy, that's all. Have you been even 
baptized ? ' 

' My mother used to burn tapex's before the madonna every even- 
ing of first representation. She would not have let me live like a 

' Very well, but that is not a very great treat to off'er to your 
lover who is to be. You must win your stripes in the gay world 
one by one : and you will wear out your youth before you reach 
the golden epaulets.' 

* I know it well,' answered Gorgon, biting her lips with rage. 
* But, once more, how could I help it ]' 

' If,* answered the duke, ' you had a great situation to sacrifice, 
you would enter into the career of gallantry at the first onset, like 
those sons of a family who obtained the rank of colonel while still 

• A MARTYR. 15 

young, before this confounded revolution. Ah ! Diavolo ! if you 
only had a great name to call your beautiful face by ! ' 

* Yes, but 1 have not,' quietly answered the young girl. ' Why 
speak of things which cannot exist I ' 

'How do you know]' asked the duke, fixing his piercing eyes 
on Gorgon. 

* Wliat do you mean, your excellency ? I do not understand 

The old man got up and stood before his companion, almost as 
gallantly as when he was a courtier of the king, and with one arm 
around his tattered hat, 

' Gorgon,' ho said, bowing deeply, ' I am only a beggar like you, 
and 1 am over eighty years old, but I am Marquis de Corriolo, 
Count de Castello, and Duke de Han Lucca. Would it please you 
to be countess, duchess and marchioness ? Would it pleiiso you 
to be my wife ? ' 

Gorgon had thought at first, because of the solemn attitude of 
her host, that he was joking, but she understood by his accent that 
he wab in earnest. Almost stunned, with the blood rushing to her 
head, she got up in her turn. 

' Your excellency,' she said, with her voice altered, ' You would 
not laugh at a poor girl who has never done you any harm. So, I 
think you are speaking in earnest. But 1 am not the woman to 
take what you offer without knowing why. Tell me why you want 
to make me a duchess, and I shall then decide whether I ought to 
accept or refuse.' 

There was an immense pride in this demand of a nameless girl 
who was valuing her co-operation in an obscure bargain. The duke 
at first would not answer her question, except by non-committal. 

* Plague of your pride,' he said, smiling. ' You are beautiful, 
Gorgonetta, as no woman has ever been. You have been generous 
and uood to the ruined old beggar. And you are astonished that 
the old beggar should reward, with the only thing he possesses, that 
is to say his name, the beauty and kindness with which you have 
made his last days happy ! ' 

' You have no other reason to offer ? * 
' No other.' 

* Then I refuse,' she said, proudly. 

The spectacle was very curious. On the one hand the astonished 
duke wa9 trying to guess the motive of Gorgon's refusal, and on the 
other she could not understand the reason of so unexpected an 
ofler. These old friends, so sincerely devoted to each other, were 
now like two adversaries. M. de San Lucca was the first to regain 
his coolness. He took the young girl's hand and kissed it rever- 
ently. Then he sat down and invited her to follow his example. 

' "Tell me,' he said, lightly, * why you refuse n proposal ? ' 

* Tell me first why you make it ? ' 


' Well, then, aino© you wish it, know, then, Gorgon, that this 
marritii^e would be the hjgical and natural consequence of the life I 
have led for the past twenty years. Like all old nipn, I have be- 
come very indifferent to me'i ;ind things. 1 would not do anymore 
harm to a revolutionist than to a fly. But there are 8onie who are 
not included in this inditiereiioe, and on whom I should like to 
play af^ood joke before I die. 'Iheseare my own parents, who wear 
my name, and who, having enjoyed the benefits and favors of the 
dethroned family, have sacrificed gratitude to their ambition and their 
cupidity. J blush to see at the court of the new king a duke and a 
duchess do San Lucca, grand-children of the brother I have lest. I 
am asliamed of their cowardice .and baseness. My greatest pleasure 
would be to humiliate them as they have humiliated me. This in- 
tention has guided my life thus far. I have displayed my misery 
to the world, and 1 have shown a noble dukn de h'an Luccii, begging 
in the streets, at the door of the palace of his relatives, who have 
become traitors. To-day I find the means of dding even more, and 
I improve the occasion. There is, I have already told you, a duchess 
of my name at the new court of Italy. \Vt;ll, I wish that an- 
otlier duclnss, bearing my naiue also, should go and scandalize that 
name, and cover it with another kind of nlianie. In the theatres, 
at the Corso, everywhere the crowd sees, judges and peer-s, I wish 
to ste two duchesses de San Lucca face to face, and the people hesi- 
tating which of the two is the more unworthy of tlie title, the one who 
makes a trade of her beauty or the one who traffics with the fideli- 
ty of lur ancestors. Go, Gorgon, take boldly the name that I 
oft'er you, with which to enter on that new life. Make it the step- 
ping-stone of your fortune. You cai not S(nl it enough, to my defire, 
since 1 hold it as the most contemptible of all Italy ! ' 

The duke underwent a change while ei»t.'aking these words. At 
first he had conceived this project <jf niarriage as if actuated by his 
fondness for joking. But little by little the light comedy had 
turned to heavy drama, and the noble old parent had assumed the 
tone and manners of a hero of tfjigedy. Ho almost rose to the sub- 
lime of the art in his imprecations against the parents whom he 
desjiised. Only his anger overreached its object and made the 
proud girl understand too well the indignity of the role slie was 
asked to assume. A less ntjble woman would have accepted the 
bargain, (jorgon, who was proud even in her weaknesses and her 
vices, still refused. 

* Seek another to accomplish your project,' she said, boldly. ' I 
am not the tool you are in need of.' 

'But—' . 

* If I were wearing your name.* she said, with intense feeling, * do 
you know what I would do with it ? I would use it to elevate, not 
to lower myself. I would perhaps strike with it, but I would not 


trail it in the muri. Keep your name for youiself, your excellency ; 
since that is the use you want me to make of it, it would no longer 
be worthy of mc. The lost woman which I shall become will de- 
strve some exc\isp, being only Gorgon. She will onlv return where 
she came from. She will be what her mother was. 'But if she were 
the Duchess de San Lucca, she would be infamous and worthless ; 
nay, she would be sacrilegious ! ' 

Her vehemeijce subdued the old man. In spite of himself he 
compared his own conduct with that of this adventuress, the 
daughter of an adventuress, whose every word struck him, a (hike, 
the son of a duke, and he understood that even in the most de- 
praved souls tliere are sometimes found sublime princples. The 
girl who stood before him was going to plunge without a blush ii to 
an infamous life, and still one word was enouLjh to arouse generous 
sentiments in her heart. As Ciorgf)n, she would wallow without re- 
morse in the mire, \' suddenly become duchess de San Lucca, 
she would conquer tb world instead of serving it. In his admira- 
tion, he felt asliamea, and he humbled himself. 

'Gcgou,' he said, softly, 'Gorgon, you have just accomplished 
a miracle, and I thank you. You have cmsed mo to return to my 
senses and made me understand, in a single moment, the error of 
my whole life.' 

Then he folded the young girl in his arms and kissed her as if she 
had been his daughter. He left her and went to his own room, 
where he threw himself on his miserable bed, his mind deeply en- 
grossed, and his body aching. 

Let us leave him, a prey to the bitter regrets of his Ri)litiide, 
making the painful examination of his conscience, to which he had 
condemned himself at this late hour of his life, and let us return to 
Gorgon. Already the flame which had been flashing for a moment 
in that magnificent statue was extinguished. One would have said 
that nothing unexpected had crossed her projects of corruption. On 
the contrary, she returned to them with avidity, her soul serene 
and tranquil. As she did not expect that during the eight days she 
had accorded to her brother, Peppo wou'd realize the fortune she 
coveted, she was getting ready for the fray. 

Her mcjdest wardrobe was spread over the mattress. It was 
chiefly with the remains of her old costumes thit Gorgon tried to 
make a dress which would be pretty neaily worthy of her beauty. 
She made a bundle of what ould not be utilized and took it to a 
second-hand dealer, who agreed to give her twenty francs. It was 
certainly very little, but she had not possessed such a sum for a 
long time, and the contact of the gold piece caused her a shiver. 
She had been in only a few minutes when Peppo arrived in his 

* Why ! already ? ' cried the young girl. * The bell has not struck 


three yet. Ah ! catli^u, you sht'uld not rob the government in such 
a shameful way. ' 

The chief of the bureau of rvjcords did not answer. He merely 
pushed the door and locked it, as if afraid that somebody wo. Id 
come in : 

* What's the matter ?' asked Gorgon, astonished at this unusual 
display of precaution, ' One would think you are afraid of robbers.' 

*Peihaps,' simply answered Peppo, who was very palo, deposit- 
ing on the table a pocket-book filled with papers. 

' Ah ! poreri ! I would pity them. What could they take here ? 
However ! here ! Peppo ! look I Hero are twenty francs I brought 
here a minute .ago.' 

'And I,' said the young man in a subdued tone, piilti'ig his hand 
on his pocket-book, ' I bring you twenty millions in my turn,' 

' Twenty millions ! ' 

Gorgon repeated these two words in a shriek. All her covet- 
ousness and her appetites for pleasure and luxuries came to her 
lips. She wanted to tell Peppo all she was going to have. Some- 
thing like the bark of a dog in pursuit of its prey died in her throat. 

' Twenty millions ! twenty millions ! ' she repeated again and 
again, shuddering. * Show them to me, let me see them. I want 
to know what twenty millions are like ! ' 

* Shut up !' said Peppo, seizing her abruptly by the arm, to pre- 
vent her falling into hysterics. * Do you want to bring all the 
people in the street up here ? ' 

' Show them to me,' she said in a lower tone. * Are the twenty 
millions in that pocket-book ? ' 

She tore the bundle open, taking the papers which it contained 
and scattering them about. 

' Where is the money ] ' she said, in a strangled voice. 

As she found only old pajiers, almost illegible, or files of judicial 
documents, she took friglit and thought her brother was making 
fun of her. 

* Ah ! ' she said grinding her teeth, ' Have a care I If you have 
deceived me, I think 1 shall kill you !' 

She fell exhausted on a chair. Peppo availed himself of her 
momentary weakness and drew near to her. 

* Listen,' he said, in a low voice almost in her ear. ' The twenty 
millions are there, but like gold, they are buried deep under the 
earth. They are there, only we must dig deeply to take them. 

Gorgon shook herself as if awakening from a dream. 
' Come,' she said. ' I do not understand. Explain yourself.' 
The young man commenced a long recital, lengthened involun- 
tarily by Gorgon asking a thousand questions and making him repeat 
the same things twenty times over. 


Three moiitha before the day when our readers have aeen Peppo 
gettin^f up so lazily in his djn, an important communication had 
been addruaaed to the cliiof of the bureau of municipal roconls, at 
Naples. The chief of the bureau, tliat is to say I'eppo luiiiaulf, had 
received the communication, and had atteudod to it. It was to the 
following etFect : 

A business man of Paris had written to the municipJil authorities 
at Naples, to acquaint them with the fact that he had been called on 
to liquidate the estate of a wealthy banker who had died recently. 
This banker, whoao name was Giacomo Palmori, had left a will in 
which ho had eatibliahed his origin very clearly, and by which he 
also disposed of his inimense wealth. Giacomo Palmeri bi-longed to 
a poor Neapolitan f.imily, and at twenty years of ago he was the 
only representative of the family with a younger brother, whose 
name was Antonio Palmeri. Tired of eking out a minerable exist- 
ence, Giacomo and Antonio resfdved to expatriate themselves and 
tempt fortune in far-otf countries. At first they decided to conquer 
the golden tlceca together, but they soon dissolved partnership. 
They could not agree on the choice of the country wlu>re they wore 
most likely to win their fortune. Giacomo wanted to remain in 
Europe, while Antonio contended for going to Asia or America, he 
did not exactly care which. To settle the dispute they resolved to 
cast lota, and to this etiect they put in a liat a number of small 
pieces of paper, on each one of which was written the name of a 
city or country. After these preparations the drawing of the lot- 
tery commenced. Antonio put his l:and in the hat fur his brother 
and took out the word France. Giacomo *did the same thing for 
Antonio, and brought out the words British Indit. 

Giacomo Palmeri had gone to Paris where heamasacd an immense 
fortune in the banking busiiieaa, and lie had given himself up so 
entirely to questions of tinanco, that nothing else could interest or 
seduce him. He had never liad enough leisure to marry, so that, 
used up by incessant labors and by the excitement incidental to the 
Bourse and the Bank, he ft U sick one fine day and never got better. 
By his will he left his whole fortune to this brother, and in the "-ase 
of his death, to his widow and orphans. 

Such were the circumstances under which an otlioial letter has 
been received by the municipal authorities of Naples. Although 
he saw nothing but an increase of labor in this adventure, Peppo 
took a lively interest in the study of this document of the Parisian 
business man. Having acknowledged the receipt of the epistle, he 
wrote directly to the Italian consul at Calcutta asking him to send 
him ail the information and documents he could gather on the sub- 
ject. Having written a letter to the consul, signed with his own 
name, by power from the mayor, he thouj^ht no more of the mat- 

20 i.^'marttr. 

These events had taken place three months before we commenced 
our tale, and since then nothing had transpired to recall their re- 
membrance to Peppo's rnind, except a letter from the agent in Paris 
asking him how far the researches had been successful, f^eppo had 
written that tlie answer ot the consul would bo transmitted as soon 
as received. Such was the tale, or rather the story, which Peppo 
narrated to his sister. From time to time Gorgon would interrupt 
him with a violent harshness of language. 

' But the twenty millions ! ' she would ask. * Where are the 
twenty millions you have promised me ? ' 

Peppo did not allow himself to be diverted from the logic of 
his narrative. He continued it as if he were making an official re- 
port. One would have thought that he delighted in exciting the 
anxious curiosity of the young girl. 

' The twenty millions ! ' he said at last, tired of playing with the 
fever and anguish of Gorgon. * Have patience I we are getting to 
them ! ' 

Peppo had good reasons to ask his sister to have patience ; here 
was nearly exhausted. 

' Go <»n ! go on ! ' she said. 

'Well,' continued the young man, * the answer of the Italian 
consul at Calcutta arrived this morning, and it contained the papers 
that you see there.' 

' VVhat do these papers say V 

* First you must know that the functions of the Italian consulate 
at Calcutta are exercised by an English trader, as is the case in 
nearly all the countries in which we are represented.' 

' Then these papers that you have brought are written in Eng- 
lish ? ' 

* No, in the present case the documents and the letter are written 
in good Italian. The signature of the consul alone betrays an 
English hand.' 

' But these documents, this letter, what do they say ? Have you 
sworn to make me die ? ' 

* Have patience ! I tell you. The letter says that Antonio Pal- 
nieii and his wife indeed lived in Calcutta together, and that they 
were married in the offices of the consulate. They had also two 
children, .^nnibal and Claudia, whose births have been duly regis- 
tered. The letter adds that the poor devils are no more in this 

' Who ! Antonio and his wife ? ' 

' Antonio, his wife and their two children ! The four of them 
died within a few hours' time from an epidemic of cholera.' 
' Thai's horrible ! ' 

* Not at all ! that'* charming! ' 

* How ? ' 

▲ MARTYR. 21 

* This enormoui enrelope which I have brought from the office, 
and which has been sent directly to my addres, as you see, this 
envelope, I say, contains : 

' Ist. The certificate of marriage of Antonio Palmori with Nissa 
Alessandri ; 2nd, The certificate of the birth of Annibal Palmeri, 
and that of Claudia Palmeri ; 3rd, The certificate of death of the 
father and mother ; 4th, The certificate of death of each of the two 
children. In all seven documents absolutely regular, and as authen- 
tic as they can be.' 

* Then the twenty millions will be given to the state, since the 
natural heirs are dead ? ' 

'Certainly, unless we stop them on their way.' 
Gorgon looked at her brother, asking herself if he had not become 

' Explain what you mean,' she muttered. 

* It is the simplest thing in the world, like all ideas of genius. 
You shall see. Let us suppose that the children of Antonio Pal- 
meri and Niasa Alexandri are not dead, and that, consequently, the 
certificate of their decease are not among the deeds that are there ; 
let us suppose that they come tf) the bureau of records and claim 
these deeds which prove their identity and the decease of their 
father and mothev, let us suppose that, armed with those deeds, 
they insist upon their right to be put in possession of the estate of 
Giacomo Palmeri, what would happen ? ' 

' It would happen that they would get the twenty millions ; 
there is no doubt of that. Unluckily for them, the children of 
Antonio Palmeri are dead ! ' 

* However, let us further suppose that I, Peppo, am Annibal Pal- 
meri, and that you, Gorgon, are Claudia Palmeri, my sister. Who 
can contradict us, after all ? ' 

* All Naples know who we are ! ' 

'All Naples, yes'J but all Paris, no ! And at Paris, where the 
estate is to be transferred to the heirs, nobody knows, or even has 
any doubts of our existence. ' 

* Come ! let us see ! ' said Gorgon, trying to put a little order in 
the chaos in which this project had thrown her mind, ' If I under- 
stand you rightly, your plan is to substitute oilrselves for the 
children of Palmeri, and to inherit in their place ? * 

* Yea, simply.' 

* But that's a robbery ? ' 

* Oh ! ' said the municipal employ6, disdainfully, * it is a robbery, 
if you wish to call it so. It injures nobody, for in case the heirs of 
Giacomo cannot be found, the state will inherit in their place. And 
you know very well that to rcb the state is to rob nobody.' 

Gorgon's moral principles were not serious enough to rectify what 
was so dishonest and subversive in this allegation of her brother. 


On the contrary. This taken for granted, Peppo's reasoning did 
not tickle }ior conscience at all. It was a strange anomaly on her 
part. A few niitiutes before, the prond girl had been indigiiant at 
the proposition of the Duke do San Liiccii ; the action ho wanted her 
to commit was not in itaolf a crime, it was only low. And so«>ner 
than b J gnilty of that basonuss, she had refnsed, sho, the niiujcless 
cliild, one of the noblest ducal crowns of Italy, \N hilst now she did 
not think that itwas a criminal action in tlu) highest di'^roe, to steal a 
fortinio which did not belong to her. Wo have said it was a strange 
anomaly, and still, underHtanding the character of the woman, it 
was easily explained. Only one poiut was obscure in (iorgon's 
mind, or rather oidy one fear made her doubtful of the successful 
issue of this gigantic project. 

* Come now,' said her brother, * I can see by your faw, that you 
are not yet satiatied.' 

' No. 1 have a misgiving yet. Let us suppose that we have 
dime all you have said. We have taken all the pa[iers of the Palm jri ; 
we have gone to PVance ; then the gentleman who has the care of 
the estate will perhaps say : *' The papers, very well. These are 
the necessary papers. But it is not proven that they belong to 
you. You might have found them, or perhaps st( len Ihem." And 
then there would be an enijuiry, and instead of inheriting twenty 
millions, we should be put, Peppo and Oorgon as heretofore, for a 
few years in a prison.' 

Peppo had a benevolent smile. 

'Artless child!' he said, 'you have not enough confidence in 
your brother.' 

' Then you do not believe in the danger which I have just pointed 

* Very little. But still as that danger exists, I have managed so 
as to set if aside.' 

* How did you do that ? ' 

* Look ! What do you call these two pieces of paper ? ' 

* These are passports. That is to say blanks which would be pass- 
ports if they were filled in and if they bore the sii^nature ot the 
prefect. But they are worthless, since they are neither filled nor 

* Well,' modestly answered Peppo, ' in a minute I can give them 
all the virtues which they lack. Follow me in the little work 1 am 
going to undertake.' 

And sitting down at the table, Peppo, the clever calligrapher, 
commenced to manufacture passports in which their descripticm 
was given very accurately, under the names of -Annibal and Claudia 
Palmeri. When he had only the signature of the prefect to afKx 
at the foot of the two forged passports, the municipal employe 
took out of his pocket a ministerial paper on which was the signature 


A MAllTYU. 28 

he wanted for a model. With prodii^ious ability Peppo copied the 
name and the tlourish nt the prefect. 

' There ! ' siiid ho to liia Hister, What do you think of this ? ' 

' Oh ! ' cried the young girl, ' it is Rplendid ! ' 

And in fact, in comparing the tw.) signatures, it was impossible 
to tell the forgiid from the true one. 

* And now,' askid (Jorgon, * wliat shall we do ? ' 

' We will take, with these two pa33i)orts, all the pai)t'rs which 
have l>eeu sent from Calcutta, excepting, however, the certilicates 
of our diceaso, which will make a bonfire in honor of our new 
fortune. Give me a match.' 

A minute later, a pinch of ashes was all that remained of the 
comi)romi8ing documents. 

' And then, then ? * insisted (iorgon. 

'Then I 1 shall write to the French business man, in my own 
handwriting, and in my capacity as chi«!f of tlie bureau of records, 
to actjuaint him with the early arrival in Paris of M. Annibal and 
Mile. Claudia Palmeri, provided with all the documents establish- 
ing their identity. 

' And we leave ? ' 

' In eight days, if you wish ! and then the twenty millions and 
the name of the Palmeri will be ours.' 

In spite of the magical horizons thrown open before her by the 
project, (iorgon was still hesitating. The last words of her brother 
caused her to pout disdainfully. 

' Oh ! ' she said, ' the millions of the Palmeri, well and good ! 
But their name ! ' 

' It is not to your taste ! Faith, I am satisfied with it. Every- 
body cannot have the name and the title of the Duke de San 
Lucca ! ' 

' How do you know ? ' abruptly said the young girl. 

Peppo looked at his sister with curiosity. 

' Well,' said Gorgon, ' what's the matter ? Is there anything 
very astonishing in what I am telling you I Do you think a woman 
like me is not worthy of a ducal crown / ' 

' Oh ! ' he said gallantly.' you deserve the crown of an empress. 
The only difficulty in the way is to find the duke or the emperor 
who will consent to offer it to you.' 

* That's what the DuLe de San Lucca has done, no later than two 
hours ago. ' 

' Oh ! the worthy man ! and I hope you jumped at his oflFer.' 

' No, I have refused ! ' 

' Yoii have refused ! Then you are more foolish than I thought 
you were ! ' 

And saying these words, he was almost threatening his sister witl\ 
his fist. Jiut all at once he became calmer. 


'In fact,' he said, * it is as well that you have refused. With 
the twenty millions we are going to have, a title more or less does 
not make much difference. Decidedly everything is for the best 
in the best of all possible worlds.' 

' I have refused,' said Gorijon, 'but I have changed my mind, 
and I am going to tell the Duke de San Lucca that I accept his 
offer of marriage.' 

' You have changed your mind again ? And why this tomfoolery ? ' 

' You ehall know. Listen.' 

In her turn the beautiful girl narrated to Peppo the interview 
she had had with the duke, and why she had repulsed his proposal. 

' But now,' she continued, ' these reasons do not exist ; the title 
I declined, because I would not drag it in the mire, I now desire 
that I may give it more lustre than it ever had.' 

Peppo was thinking. 

* Provided,' he said, ' that our old comrade does not change his 
mind in his turn.' 

Gorgon had a smile of superb confidence. 

' Cdine with me,' she said ' and you will see.' 

They crossed the landing and after having uselessly knocked, 
entered the room of their neighbor. M. de San Lucca was lying 
on his pallet, with his eyes wide open. 

' There is a queer look about him,' said Peppo in a low voice. 
* I have seen people on the point of death, and they looked like 

Gorgon put her hand softly on the shoulders of the old man, 

'Ah ! it is you, little one,' he said painfully, ' I am very glad to 
see you, and also your brother.' 

He made an effort, and raised himself up, leaning on his arm. 

' I was telling you a minute ago,' he said, ' that my days were 
numbered. Now I feel that they have been turned into hours. If 
you had accepted my offer, Gorgon, you would soon be a widow.' 

' Your excellency,' said the young woman,, without tr5'ing to give 
her old friend false hopes, Mhave come to ask you now for what I 
refused ; if I have come to ask you to make me your wife, what will 
you say ? ' 

The duke looked at her interrogatively. She continued. 

* A great secret has just been revealed to me,' she said, sitting 
down on the bed. * I have a family, and I am wealthy, enormously 
wealthy. If yoti consent to give me your name, there shall be as 
y(ni said, two duchesses de San Lucca, and I swear to you that 
nobody will hesitate in deciding which of the two does more honor 
to this great name and to the title which follow;^ it.' 

The old man looked at her attentively. 

' I have neither the strength nor the desire to interrogate you, 
Gorgon,' he sajd, * The San Luccaa of olden times never withdrew 


what they have once said or offered. You shall be my wife since 
you call upon me to redeem my promise. Only we must hurry up. 
Magistrates have the right, I believe, to celebrate marriages in 
extremis, outside of ordinary rules. Let Peppo go to a magistrate 
and tell him that a dying man requires his services. Go, Popp >, go.' 

The young man started rapidly. Gorgon, who had remained 
alone with the old friend of King Francis II., wanted to txplain the 
reasons which had made her accept his proposition after she had 
refused it once. 

*No,' said the duke. Do not wear out uselessly the few drops 
of oil still remaining in the lamp. I want to know nothing. When 
one is at the point of death, things that are human become perfectly 

Than there was a solemn silence, broken only by the breathing of 
the dying mm. Peppo came back at last, bringing with him a 
magistrate and a priest. Four witnesses picked up in the streets 
accompanied them. The ceremony was performed in the pre- 
scribed forms. On the certificate of his marriage, the duke was 
able to affix his signature. When it was Gorg(m's turn to sign, 
she boldly wrote : Claudia Palmeri. 

The magistrate asked her if she had any legal documents estab- 
lishing her civil status, and she showed him the very deeds sent 
by the consul from Calcutta. The noble genealogical parchments 
of the Duke de San Lucca and the plebeian deeds of the new Claudia 
Palmeri were then put together and handed to the young bride. 

A few minutes a^fter M. de San Lucca died with his hcud resting 
on the arm of the courageous young girl, who was not frightened 
by the spectacle of death. As long as he could see, he kept his 
eyes fixed on her beautiful face where pity and gratitude were 
depicted. It was a splendid farewell to life, and her radiant 
beauty cheered his soul when the last shadows of death fell on his 
eyes wide open. 

According to her brother's instructions, Gorgon spread the news 
around the neighborhood that she intended to return to the 
theatrical career ; money had been needed to pay the expenses of 
the funeral of the duke de San Lucca, and there was more wanted 
to undertake the trip to France. Without entering into details, 
let me say that Peppo's cleverness soon remedied that. He 
forged a cheque and the 1,000 francs required >\ere at their dis- 

The hour of starting at length arrived. As the train commenced 
to move, Gorgon opened the window and looked on N.iples for the 
last time. 

' The cradle has been beautiful,' she said, in a low voice, with 
more emotion than she thought herself susceptible of. ' Farewell ! 
Naples ! ' 


' Good morning, Fortune I ' cried Peppo, «nRpping him lingers. 
At these words Gorgon became herself again. 

* We have twiutj' millions, and I am a duchess,' she said. ' The 
world is mine ! ' 

Now let us transport ourselves to Poudichery, the capital of 
the French possessions in India. As we retraced the events of three 
yeais before the beginning of our tale in Naples, so we will go back 
about two years in Poudichery. Only this time we shall not take 
our readers to the slums of the society. On the contrary, we will 
tind our heroes in the hi.^^hest ran-;s and amongst the most eminent. 
Entering the palace of the governor of the colony, we will go 
through the business oflices, to pa^s into the apartuients reaorved 
for the family of the Count de Moray, the governor-general, and 
let us enter the room of a young girl about lifteen years old, Mile. 
Paulette de Moray, the daughter of the governor-general. The 
child is lying in an arm-chair, c'ad in a morning robe of white 
muslin. Uut tlie whiteness of her clothing and of tlio > angings of 
her virginal chamber are nothing in ccniparison v/ith the pnlenesa 
of her face. Only a few days before. Mile, de Moray was o)i the 
point of death. To-dny Dr. Roblin hopes she is siived. Her long 
illness ha? left startling traces, but there is nov no immediate 
danger to be feared, and for the lirst time in many weeks, the 
count and the countess remain with their daughter without having to 
assume an air of tranquillity. Happiness is beaming in their looks, 
and their eyes meet in burning thanks to (iod. 

The governor-general, the Count Roger de Moray, is a man in 
the piime of life, lie has hardly turned forty and dou^^ not look 
that, age. His wife is tliiity-two, and would look much younger if 
in realitj' her f^^atuies did ni>t hear tlie traces of the anxiety and 
anguish »!ic has been subjected to duriiig her daughter's sickness. 
Near M. and Mine, de Moray, there is a womf.n familiarly called 
Aunt Basilique. tShe is the eldest tister of the Count de Moray. 
Aunt B;iRili(iue would never many, so as to be at liberty to follow 
her brother to tlio distant countries to which he may be called by 
the noble profession he h\.i* embractd. Aunt 13;;sili(iue is fo;ty-tivo 
years old and looks more. Her delicate nature has resisted only by 
a miracle the fatigut s of her voluntMry exile. As we entered the 
room of Mile, ue Moray, the di;ct';r v,;..-* coining out of it. Whilst 
he Ptated that the sick cliild had entered the period of convalea- 
cni ce, ho also dv-clared that great care must l.o taken to prevent a 

' Very Boo:i,' the countess h.»d eaid, 'we will ask for leave of 
absence, and wo will go to Europe for six months. The native air 
will ('o more good to our d-iughtfr than all your science, however 
precious it may have Ijeen \intii now.' 

• Take gocjd care not to do that ! ' cried Dr. Roblin. ' Nothing is 
more fatal to persons who have caught our Indian fevers than to 



leave the country before they are entirely cured. They take with 
them the germs of the disease which becomes incurable. It is in 
the place itself where it was caught that it must bo lost.' 

' Then we are condemned ti) remain here ? ' 

' For six months at least. Perhaps a year. ' 

And M, Roblin withdrew. Since the bei^'inning of his daughter's 
sickness the count had naturally somewhat neglected his official 
functions, relyin..', aiid with reason, on the devotedness of his em- 
ployes. He had been more especially seconded by his deputy, M. 
Gaston de Valli^res. a charming young man whom he had admitted 
into the intimacy of his family. But now that his mind was more 
easy, he would take occasion to attend the ceremony of tlie cele- 
bration of the feast of agriculture, which happens f»nce a year. M. 
de Moray gave orders to have an escort ready to follow him, and 
left with Maltar, hia dohachi, that is to say his steward, his factotum. 
Maltar had all the best qualities of the Indian servants, and by a 
happy chance he had none of their fauUs. Much devoted to hia 
masters, ho fairly adored the countess and her daughter. When 
the governor-general arrived with his escort, the /^te was at its 
height, and to show his respect for the ancient religi'jn of the 
Indian population, M. de Moray remained exposed to the heat of 
the burning sun all through the ceremony. Maltar told him it 
W(.n.ld be imprudent t(i remain any longer, and lie himself gave the 
order, almost in spite (tf the count, to return to the city. Arrived 
at Pondichery M. de Moray found his daughter still better than 
when he had left her. The evening was spent in pleasant conver- 
sation, and they retired early f'>r fear the child winikl get tired ; and 
he himself was worn out with fatigue. He was feeling a sensation 
of intense cold, and at times it seemed to him as if tongues of lire 
were burning through his veins. He was restlc^s and agitated all 
night. A sort *)f ceaseless delirium tilled his brain. Next morning 
when Maltar, the dohachi entered his master's room, he was torritied. 
M. de Moray's face was aglow, and he spoke in a low and irritable 
voice. He was complaining of sufferings Avhich he could not ex- 
plain. The Hindoo servant could not mistake the symptoms of the 
disease. He had seen so many Euiopeans attacked by the terrible 
Indian fover that ho could not do\ibt. Very recently, perhaps 
three months before, he had been the tiist to notice the same pre- 
cursory signs on the daughter which ho now observed on the father. 
Notwithstanding the assurance of the count, Maltar ran to the 
doctor'sjand accpiainted him with what he had seen. M. Ilublin hast- 
ened to the palace, juid one look convinced him that if the count was 
not yet attacked by the disease, he would infallibly catch it before 
long. The doctor called on the countess who hurried up to receive 
him, thinking he had come earlier than usual merely to see her 


' You are up very early,' she aaid to the doctor, smiling. ' Well, 
to reward your zoal, I will give you good news of Panlette. The 
dear child has slept more soundly than she has done for a longtime, 
and even at this moment she is still asleep.' 

' 1 have not come to speak to you of Miss Paulette,' answered 
the doctor, gravely. 

* Of whom, then V cried the coimtess, turning pale. 

Seeing the emotion exhibited by Mme. de Moray, even before 
she knew anything, the doctor hesitated. Ho was going to inflict a 
terril)le blow. However, there was not a minute to be lost. The 
good man resolved to cut to the quick. 

' I have come to speak of M. de Moray,' he answered. 

'Of my husband.' 

* Yes, the count is unwell this morning.' 

* Has he sent for you ] ' 

' No, but Maltar was anxious about his health, and came for me.' 

* What is the matter ? ' 

* Nothing seiioua as yet.' 

'Oh, (jod be blessed!' cried the countess, 'you have cruelly 
frightened me, doctor.' 

'Less than 1 should have,' said Mr. Roblin, shaking his head, 
sadly, ' since you change so rapidly from anxiety to tranquillity. It 
i.s true M. de Moray's sickness has not declared itself, yet, but ' 

' But what ? In heaven's name tell me all ! ' 

* But the symptoms are such that it is impossible to mistake 
their import ; any moment the disease may declare itself and be 
almost beyond cure,' 

' And that disease J ' 

' Is the same from whijh your daughter has just escaped.' 

Mme. de Moray raised a cry of anguish. 

' Ah I ' she cried. ' That fever ! That horrible fever which kills 
the strongest ! ' 

' Alas ! the strongest are the ones it kills, because it is fed from 
the forces it breaks. By what has happened in the case of your 
daughter, you have seen that the children escape its deadly effects. 
But men in the prime of their age and vigorous, like M. de Moray 

' Those are condemned, are they not ? Is not that what you 
mean ? ' 

The doctor did not answer. 

* Ah ! ' she cried, wringing her hands in despair, and falling on a 
chair, ' all is lost. I understand you too well ! ' 

A sob came up to her throat and nearly choked her. The doctor 
could have quieted her anxiety, by telling her of the hopes he en- 
tertained, because he thought an immediate departure from the 
colony would cure the count, but he wanted to frighten the 


unhappy woman so that she would not raise any objections to the 
grave obstacles which were in the way. The doctor had foreseen 
these obstacles. We will acquaint the reader with them in a few 

'Listen,' he said, after the first burst of her natural despair. 
' No. Perhaps all is not lost. 

The countess did not dare to question him. But wivh intense 
anxiety she was trying to read on the face of her friend the chances 
of salvation he might allude to. 

' So long as the fever has not deveh^ped itself, there is hope. But 
to obtain that result you must take your husband far away from the 
dangerous climateric influences surrounding him.' 

' That ia to say ? ' 

* He must leave the colony.' 
' When ? ' 

* This very day. The mail steamer leaves this morninij. If M. 
de Moray does not leave to-day, he will have to wait for the next 
steamer, that is to say fifteen long days, fifteen mortal days, to 
speak more correctly.' 

' Leave, you say ? But where will he go ! ' 

'To France?' 

'But M. de Moray will never give his consent.' 

* We will do without it. We will force his will by putting him to 
sleep. Alas ! dear madam, the plan which I propose is very bold, 
and both of us will be assuming a very weighty responsibility. If 
you are willing to take your share of it, I shall gladly accept mine.' 

* I will (If) anything to save my husband.' 

* Well, M. de Moray is in a state of excitement which causes him 
to drink vory uheii ; 1 can throw into his glass an opiate whic'.i will 
make him sleep soundly. This opiate, renewed with pruder -e, will 
keep him for a few days in such a state of m« rital weakness that he 
will not know the place he will be in, nur will he be astonished at 
not finding himself here any longer.' 

' So, you want to send my husband on board the steamer 1 ' 

* Unknown to himself, yes.' 

'Very well.' said the countess. 'Do just a% you say, doctor. 
As f<»r me, an hour will be sufficient to notify M. tie Vallie.f.^, my 
husband's deputy, to take charge of the administration, and to 
awaken Paulette.' 

' M. de Moray's life is condemned, if he remains in Pondiohdry,' 
the doctor said, unfeelingly, ' but Miss Paulette's life is as surely 
sacrificed, if she goes away.' 

The countess looked at the doctor with amazement. What she 
understood him to say seemed so horrible to her, that nhe could 
not believe it. 

' Come, now,' she said with the look of a maniac, ' I did not hear 
you properly. You say that my husband must go ? ' 


' In three-quart«ri of an hour, now, beoaus* time unfortunately 
flies rapidly ! ' 

• And yon say that my daughter must remain t ' 
'Yes, for several months yet.' 

• Very well, and what am I to do ? I cannot let my husband 
go without me, since he is already in danger of death. And I can- 
not leave my daughter, because she is also in danger of death. You 
see very well that your plan is not feasible. 

Time was pressing. To obtain a solution at once, the doctor 
took upon himself a heavier responsibility than he had yet as- 

' I answer for the life of Miss Paulette,' he said, * whatever may 

' Even if I desert her ! Even if I break her heart by leaving her 
to the care of mercenary hands ! Even should she doubt my ten- 
derness and my love, in the state of prostration she is in ! ' 

During the painful conflict, a new character had entered the 
room. Having been notified of the doctor's arrival. Aunt Basilique 
had come down to enquire into the cause of this unusual visit ; 
although she arrived at the end of their conversation, she had heard 
enough to understand the terrible questions which were being agi- 
tated. In the generosity of her heart, she at once resolved to 
sacrifice herself. As Mine, de Moray was rebelling against the 
thought of leaving her daughter to the care of mercenary hands. 
Aunt Basilique advanced. 

• Laura,' she eaid with authority, ' You can leave without anxiety 
with the one whose chances of life depend on your care and your 
love. I, the sister of your husband, shall remain with your 
daughter. ' 

'Ah, aunty!' cried the coimtess, turning round and throwing 
herself into the arms which were opened to receive her, ' you also 
wish that I should leave my daughter.' 

' What I wish is this : in the doubt in which your heart is 
struggling, you must go where duty calls you, and you must listen 
only to your duty,' 

And taking the direction of the events, the devoted woman ad- 
dressed herself first to M. Roblin. 

' Doctor,' she said, * attend to my brother, and make the terrible 
experiment which your science and your wisdom suggest.' 

While speaking, Aunt Basilique had rung the bell, and a servant 
Boon appeared 

'Call M. de Valliferes,' she said. 'He must come at once.' 
Then turning to Mme. de Moray. 

' Laura,' she said softly, ' you have only one short half hour to 
prepare yourself and see your child. But, if you take my advice 
you will not disturb her sleep ; as you have not even time to invent 


a pretence for yoir departure, and the emotions caused by such a 
farewell might be fatal to her.' 

' You want ine to ^o away without seeini,' my daughter, without 
kissing her ! I>ut that is downright cruelty. You must under- 
stand that what you ask is impossible ! ' 

* Come, then, to her for an instant, since you must see her, but 
once again, do not tell her yuu are going ; do not awaken her ! ' 

' Hut some day she will have to bo told ' 

' When you shall have gone with your husband, I will prepare 
your dau;'htor, by dpgrers, to the idea of this necessary separation. 
She will know the wliole truth only when she is strouf^ enough to 
bear its revelation.' 

The counsels of Aunt Basilique were wise and Mme. de Moray 
had to heed them. Whilst her maid was preparing the toilet 
articles necessary for such a long voyage, the countess supported 
by her sister-in-law entered Paulefcle'.s room. Tlie cliaste young 
girl was sleeping, and her re.^t was quiet and deep enough to allow 
Mme. de Moray, who was smothering her sobs, logo near her couch 
without disturbing her. The poor woman would have given numy 
years of her life to bo allowed tf» pour out all her love in a single 
kiss. Hut sho readily understood that Paulette would certainly 
awake at this usual caress, and she merely kissed the sheet which 
wrapped her sleeping child, the while bathing it with her nilent 
tear.s. Aunt Baaili((ue shortened this j^ainful scene as much as 
possible, as she was afraid the courage and prudence of the poor 
mother, who had been so heroical until then. w(j\ild fail at the last 

' Come,' she said, in a low voice. 

And she dnigged her awa}'. It was only when she was far from 
her daughter's room that she burst into a j)assion of despair. The 
crisis was short, however. The countess was a woman with a stout 
ht'art and the aacred duty which was imposed upon her required 
all her attention. 

The captain consented to delay the steamer for a short time, and 
half an hour after, M, de Moray was on board with his wife and 

• ••■•• 

'Then, dc»ctor,' asked M. de Valli^res, on returning from the 
steamer, ' your opini )n*is that ' 

' M. de Moray would have died withiji a month if he had remained 

' While now ? ' 

* Ho has some chance of escaping the disease.' 
' Much ? ' 

' I would not say that, but certainly his prospects are improved.' 

* May God hear you ! I am so attached to M. de Moray. ' 


' And Mias Paulette is bo charming ! ' added the doctor. 
Tho young man blushed. 

* What do you mean ? ' he asked. 
The f''';ctor smiled good-humoredly. 

' Nothing,' lio said. * Nothing but what is quite natural and 
proper. Miss Paulette is a charming young lady and you are a 
charming young man. Everything brings you together : age, 
fort\ine, social position. What more is needed to explain the 
natiire of your sentiments towards her ? ' 

* What ! doctor, you have found out ' 

■ There was no need to be a sorcerer to guess that. Your anxiety, 
your emotion during that painful sickness of three months have 
told me your secret. I'pon my word, I believe that if the governor- 
general had remained in Pondichery another year, you would have 
had a particular favor to ask him.' 

* It is true,' said the young man, dolefully. * While now that he 
is gone ' 

* Well, now that he is gone you will have to speak to Miss Pau- 
lette herself. Do you complain, and will it be so painful to hear a 
pretty and sweet girl like her tell you that your sentiments do not 
displease her. ' 

' What do you say ? ' cried the young man, with excitement. 
* Do you really think I can hope 1 ' 

' Hush ! ' said the doctor, ' we have arrived at Government 
house, and I must go and see if my patient has awakened.' 

Aunt Basilique went to meet him. 

* Well,' she asked, • how did you manage the embarking ? ' 
' Very well ! ' 

' And my brother ? ' 

* He was put on board under the best possible conditions. Have 
confidence. But is there anything new here ? ' 

' Nothing yet. I preferred awaiting your return before revealing 
anything to Paulette. However carefully I might do it ; an acci- 
dent may happen. ' 

* Miss Paulette is awakened ? ' 

' Yes, she was astonished at not seeing her mother by her bed- 
side as usual. I evaded her anxiety.' 

' I shall go and prepare her to hear the truth. Ah ! tell me is 
she up 1 ' 

* She is resting in an arm-chair.' 

* Then M. de Vallieres can come with us. Allow me to call him.' 
'What for]' 

* In a difficult situation, many will do more than one,' answered 
the doctor evasively. 

A few moments later. Aunt Basilique, the deputy-governor, and 
the doctor entered the large room which had been assigned to 


Paillette. She was astonished to see M. de Vallieres so early, 
although she had received him almost as intimately as a relative 
durinj? the course of her long illness, but it alwiiys had been at a 
later hour and in the presence of her father and mother. In spite 
of the pleasure she felt at seeing him, a premonition of trouble 
tilled her heart. 

' M. tiaaton ! ' she said, rising a little, What chance has 
brought you here ? ' 

' It is not M. Gaston who pays you his respects,' answered the 
young man, trying to smile, ' it is the governor-general cul interim 
wl o is now before you.' 

* The governor-general ad interim? Where, then, is my father / 
Where is my mother / ' she said, with increasing anxiety, addressing 
Aunt Basilique. 

The latter assumed a look of uncDncern. 

' Oh ! your mother,' she said, ' you will not see her to-day.' 

' Not to-day ? ' 

' Neither to-morrow, perhaps ! ' 

' Where is she ? Where are they both ? ' 

The doctor intervened in his turn. 

'Miss Paulette,' he said, 'I am the guilty one, and you must 
blame me. Do yon see, your dear father neglected his duties while 
you were sick, and much of his business fell behind hands. For 
example, do you remember the projected excursion in the district 
of Bahour ? ' 

* Yes, I recollect. Well ? ' 

* Well, the excursion had been postponed on your account. 
Grave interests were at stake. Then, as you are about three- 
fourths cured, 1 have given the signal of departure. The governor- 
general started this morning.* 

' Without bidding me good-bye 1 Oh ! ' 

' It was to avoid the emotion of a farewell that 1 stood guard at 
the door when he wanted to come and kiss you this morning, with 
the countess.' 

' My mother ! Has my mother gone also ? ' 

' Certainly, I have just told you so.' 

The good doctor had not said it, and he knew it well. But when 
one has bad news to impart, he does the best he can. The young 
girl was well enough now to have recovered all the lucidity of her 
mind. She understood that the doctor was not telling the truth. 

' Nayre,' she called abruptly. 

One of the two Indian girls who were in the room, rose and came 
to her. 

'Nayre,' said Paulette, trying to speak calmly, 'do you know 
where my mother is 1 ' 

The little Indian girl, who was the favorite servant of Mile, de 
Moray, had not been instructed as to what to tell. 


* The countess has gone,' she answered. ' Gone to France with 
M. de Moray.* 

* Gone ! Both gone ! Gone to France ! ' cried Pnulette, rising 
suddenly from the chair, where she was resting. * Tliat is not pos- 
sible ! ' 

They tried to make her sit down, but she repulsed the friends 
who were surronnditif,' her. 

* No,' sho Hiiid, ' leave me alone ; I want to see.' 

Mmo. do Moray's roon was adjoining hor dau;;jhtoi'.s. Paulette 
went there, nlono, refusing all help. 

' I want to Hee,' she repoaU-d, ' I want to see ! *. 

She opened the door and tlie disorder she observed in 'the room 
confirmed the terrible news she had juRt received. 

' Ah ! ' she cried with anguish. * Gone ! they are really gone I 
Thoy have abandoned me I ' 

IJer strength failed her. She nearly fell down. Aunt !'• isiliqne 
was rushing to h<'r holp, when the doctor arrest oil hur, and it was 
M. de Vallibivs wh > caught the poor child in his arms and laid her 
on the divan. 

' Now,' said the good doctor, * the dear cliild must know every- 
thing, :»nd M. de Valli^res will undertake th.' t.isk. He «m11 lind 
language more persuasive and more consoling than we cuM em- 
ph)y to tell her all.' 

And the young man commenced the recital of the events we have 
just narrated. 

• ■ •••• *■■••• 

During this time the steamer which bore M. and Mme. de Moray 
was sailing at full spaed towards France. Peppo and Gordon, 
starting from Naples, were also ijoin.; there, and from the tneeting of 
these four persons will spring all tiie evils, all the sufferings of the 
poor Martyr, who makes the subject of this story. 

End or the Prologub. 


.-,. ,. 'E have promised our reader to take him to Paris, let us 
VmA fiilfil tliia promise, and make him acquainted with a new 
fiC> character, Admiral Firmin de la Marche. 

Two years at,'o, that is to say at the time this story 
was being enacted, the u(imiral was, unquestionably, the greatest 
figiiioof the French navy, where types of honor and bravery were, 
however, to be found very often. He was seventy-eight years old, 
and his career had been filled with brilliant actions. Since his 
youth, since his boyhood, rather, each one of his years has been 
marked by some repounding feat of arms, in warring against men 
and against the elenienta. Mmo. Firmin de la Marche was a few 
years younger; than' her^ husband; she was still beautiful and her 
crown of white hair inspired veneratiim in all those who approached 
her. She belonged to a very ancient family, and had many rela- 
tions in the old and proud nobility of France. Better known per- 
sonally than the admiral himself, having resided in Paris almost 
cnntinuouely, Mme. de la Marche was acknowledged the leader of the 
religious and benevolent people of the gay city. The most striking 
feature of her character, in the midst of the brilliant existence she 
had led, was the constant 'sadness noticed in her face. Whatever 
effort she made to hide to the world the deep melancholy which was 
affecting her, no one could help observing with astonishment the 
spells of prostration to which she abandoned herself, often uncon- 
sciously. M.?and Mme. de la Marche had but one child, named 
Laura, whom they had given to the Count de Moray, It was not 
without sorrow that Mme. de la Marche had consented to the union 
which separated her from Laura, who was then only eighteen years 
old. The admiral had had occasion to appreciate the brilliant and 
solid qualities of M. de Moray, and took his demand into serious 
consideration, when, as he was on the point of leaving to assume 
the post of Governor of Senegal, he had asked the hand of Laura. 
This union, which presented very important advantages, had to be 
accepted or rejected at once. As M. de Moray was just as accept- 
able to the daughter as to her parents, he soon possessed the trea- 
sure he coveted. A few days after his marriage he left with his 
young bride for the colonies. She followed him everywhere, and 
during one of these long and perilous exiles, she was delivered of 
Psulett*, the dear girl w« have leen so ill in Pondioh6ry. By good 


luck M. de la Marche had a very large fortune, as also had the Count 
de Moray. With the intention of helping his son-in-law to do honor 
to the high positions he occupied whirih require heavy expenses to be 
kept lip with becoming display, the admiral had given a very large 
dowry to Laura. Ho had curtailed his own alh)wanco on this occa- 
sion, so that Laura could bring to her Inisband a little more than six 
hundred thousand francs, which was nearly as much as he possessed 
himself. He that as it may, the marriage of Laura must have had 
a great deal to do with the usual sadness of Mme. de la Mnrche. 
The almost continual estrangement of these two women so closely 
united by a deep love for each other, explained the gloomy sadness 
of the mother, one might even say of the grandmother, for although 
Mme. do la Marche had seen lier grand-daughter but very seldom, 
still she loved her with excessive tenderness. Paulette had been 
brought over to France only once or twice since her birth. Her 
last sojourn had been the longest ; she had lived for one year in an 
old mansion of the family, on de Varennes street, which M. do 
Moray would never sell, though he rented part of it, and used the 
remainder for his own family, whenever he was absent on leave for 
a few months from his post of duty. 

One day the admiral had entered the room of Mme. de la Marche. 
'My dear Noemie,' he said, 'I have just received a despatch. 
Guess who it comes from ? ' 

* Since you ask me that question, it is because it comes from 
Laura, is it not ? ' 

' You find out everything. And where does it come from ? ' 

' Naturally from Pondich^ry. But, my God ! you make me 
anxious. Has anything happened ? Paulette was sick at the last 
letter we received. Is it ? ' 

' Don't be uneasy. The despatch is not fnmi Pondichery. How- 
ever, it was sent by your daughter. As to Paulette, she is better. 
But, here, I am very clumsy in my explanation. 1 should have 
handed you the despatch at once.' 

Mme. de la Marche seized on the telegrain, which was from Aden, 
and read thus : 

• We have left Pondichdry suddenly, through a serious illness 
threatening Roger. All imminent danger is over to-day. Paulette, 
who is convalescent, has remained in Pondichery with Aunt 
Basilique. Shall arrive in Marseilles on 20th June. Will be very 
happy to see you again. 

' Laura.' 

It is not necessary to add that Mme. de la Marche resolved to go 
to Marseilles on the 19th. The admiral had thought of going also, 
but the exigencies of the service kept him in Paris at the last nio- 


ment. Su (^'.me. de la Marche found herself aluno on the wharf 
when the governor- general of PondichAry and his wife disembarked 
from the niagniticent steamer. Laura threw herself in her mother's 
arms, and remained a few moments on her breast, her eyes 
bathed with sweet tears, which made her forget the bitterness of 
those she had shed since her departure from the Indian coast. At 
last Alme. do la Marche disengaged herself and greeted her son-in- 
law, who was waiting, he also much agitated, leaning on Maltar's 
arm. The good and noble woman was much pained by tiie sight of 
M. do Moray. She could not recognize the man she iiad known so 
strong and vigorous. It was not that ho had grown very old since 
his last trip to France. It was not either that he had lost anything 
of his real beauty. On the contrary, perhaps his sufferings had im- 
proved his appearance by refining him, as it were. The brutal 
fever which had struck him down, and which was still lasting, with- 
out, happily, the danger of the pernicious effects it would have had 
in India, this brutal fever, wo say, gave to his wh'?le being a strange 
aspect. Jts flame was shining in the count's looks with burning 
glinnner. The complexion of his face, which had become very dull, 
would have excited the envy of a Creole woman. It was the beauty 
of a sick man, to be sure, but it was very striking. Mme. de la 
Marche was much impressed, and felt pity and sadness. 
' My po(;r child,' she said, ' how you must have suffered ! ' 
However, they proceeded to the hotel, where rooms had been 
set apart for them. While Maltar, the faithful Indian, helped hia 
master to go to bed and take a little rest, Mme. de Moray and her 
mother remained alone. 

' My father ! speak to nie of my father ! ' said Laura, almost on 
her knees at her mother's feet, ' is he always full of health, strong, 
and great, in mind as well as body / ' 

* Yes, always,' answered Mme. de la Marche. ' I need not tell 
you with what impatience he ''<, awaiting our return to Paris. But 
it is not of him we must speak, it is of Paulette, your daughter, our 

New tears rushed to the eyes of the Countess de Moray. 

* Paulette ! ' she said, * you must imagine, my dear mother, what 
was my despair at leaving her. How is it that 1 did not become in- 
sane when I was forced to go away suddenly without even kissing 
her ? Doubtless God wished to keep me for the cruel combat in 
which I had to tight for the life of my husband, with the cabin of a 
ship for a battlefield, during a voyage which I shall never forget, I 
assure you.' 

' You left India without kissing your daughter ! ' cried Mme. de 
la Marche. 

' 1 had to ; our departure was decided on, and accomplished in 
less than an hour, Roger's life being at stake. In an hour I would 


not have had the time to prepare my daughter to the horrible ne- 
ceaaity of our separation. She would hive insisted on cominfj wiMi 
us, and in the state of weakness she was in, it would have been a 
crime to consent to such a thing. And Goi only knows if I wonld 
have had the stren<ith to resist her entreaties to the «nd.' 

* And yon do not know, naturally, how she bore the discovery of 
your departure, wlien she was tuld of it ?' 

' We found despatches at all the stadous where the steamer shop- 
ped, at Colombo, Aden, Suez. Even here, befi)re we landed, the 
pilot boat met the stuamer and brought us a new despatch.' 

And what did these despatches c >ntain / ' 

'Good and consoling tidings, such as this : " Great sorrow but 
^reat couraj^e ; the convalescence follows its regular course ; I am 
happy to learn that my fatlier is out of all danger." ' 

* You were able to telegraph yourself to give Paulette news of her 
father ? ' 

' Yes, at Colombo and at Eden.' 

' .And this good news, which was expected with such impatience, 
you were able to send. Roger felt better when you started.' 

' I was only feigning hope. For two weeks, I thought my hus- 
band would die.' 

Mnje. de la Marche looked at her daughter with compassion. 
How she must have suffered. During this conversation, M. de 
Moray had taken an hoar's rest. On awakening, he asked for his 
wife, who entered her room wiih his mother. 

' Well,' he said, smiling, and rising with a painful effort, * now 
that I am strong and well, we will decide on the time of our depar- 
ture for Paris. ' 

'Oh ! ' answered Laura, ' that is too quick. You know what I 
have told you, lioger 'i ' 

* What was it ? ' 

' The promise I made to good Dr. Roblin before our departure. 
These were his last words : " Let your first care be, on landing, to 
send Dr. Chasserant these few lines I have written in haste, which 
will acquaint him with the situation. Chassurant knows the nature 
of M. de Moray's illness, because he made a long sojourn in India, 
at Chandernagor, before he went to Marseilles, and he can speak 
with authority on such matters, and whatever he may command you 
must obey." 1 gave Dr. lioblin the promise he asked. I gave it 
in ycur name as well as in my own, and we sliall keep it together.' 

' Then you Ixave notified M. Chasserant ? ' asked M. de Moray, 
annoyed by the delay, but still grateful to his wife for the tender- 
ness she exhibited towards him. 

' And he replied thad he would be here within an hour. Th« 
hour is almost over, and probably he is here now.' 

(Maltar had entered, bringing a card on a salver.) 


' It is the doctor/ said the coimteaa, after looking at thd card. 
' Tell him to come in, Maltar. ' 

Mme. de la Marche looked at tlie Indian, while he was going on 
his errand. His face of rod-hrown hue, winch had intelligence and 
cunning depicted on his features, astonished her. Maltar cauio back 
with the doctor, f nd on a sign of approbation from the coantess, 
who \inder8t<,od his desire to be present at the consultation, he re- 
mained in the room. After having examined hi.s patient with 
careful attention, and interrogated him at h'ngth, M. Chasaerant 
wrot-rJ a detailed prescription, in which was indicated the treatment 
to bo followed, and which he declared necessary. 

' f thank you, doctor,' said M. de Moray, 'and when will you 
allow me to start ? ' 

' «tart ? VVhere to ? ' 

'To Paris.' 

* Oh ! we d(j not agree.' 

' How is that ] ' said the count, visibly annoyed. 

' You are not in a fit condition to defy the climate of the north 
of France.' 

' The north— the north ! ' 

' Pardon m*^. Paris is altogether the north. It is even the north 
pole for a man like you, ust-d to the Indian climate. In any cir- 
cumstance it is dangerous for those who have lived in the c donies 
where yon have passed most of your life, not to remain a long 
while on the shores of the Mediterranean; it w<mld be ptill more 
dangerous for you, who have ju-^t escaped the fever. So, in the 
present case, I do not advise, I commund, and I intrust the execu- 
tion of my orders to the alFection of all those who surround jou, 
and chiefly to Mme. de Moray. ' 

The coinit was sorely disappointed. 

' ^md how long will I be exiled / ' he asked. 

' 1 cannot tell you exactly. A month or two, perhaps.' 

' Perhaps six,' said M. do Moray, with impatience. 

' No, because in that case you would have to remain all next 
winter in the south, which would certainly be wiser. Anyway, we 
will aoc then.' 

' NVell, since there is no help for it, let ns remain in Marseilles.' 

'Not so. Marseilles would hardly be better than Paris. 'I'lie 
ciimate is too severe. Tiie mistral would try you too much.' 

' Then, where do you send me \ ' 

' Wherever you may like to go. There are plenty (»f good places. 
Hy^rea, Nice, Manton, or what would be still better, Cannes. 
Now, I am thinking of a point where few people go as yet, but 
which, however, is visited by people of the best society. And you 
will find there very comfortable quarters, which are not to be de- 
spised, if you are to remain there a certain time. ' 


' And that place ? ' 

' Is the Cape of Antibes. ' 

' Antibes, do you say I Bat Antibes is not a city prepared for the 
accommodation of strangers. ' 

' 1 do not mean Antibes itself, but the Cape of Antibos. You 
will find there very nice villas. Perhaps you may rent one. How- 
ever, I would advise you to stop at tlie hotel. It is an immense 
palace where you will find all the modern conveniences and com- 
forts. ' 

* Do you think we will find room there ? ' asked the countess. 

' You certainly will at this season of the year. If you had arrived 
one month earlier the case would have been different. But at the 
end of the season the great aflluence of people has necessarily dim- 

* So much the better. When shall we go, doctor ? ' 

* As soon as possible, since M. de Moray is able to undertake 
the voyage. ' 

' Then we shall go to-morrow. ' 

The consultation was ended, and the doctor went away. The 
next day, M. and Mme. de Moray took the ten o'clock express to 
Antibes itself. From there a carriage took them to the Hotel of 
the Cape, distant about one league from the station. The travellers 
found everything such as the doctor had described, and they were 
very glad to have obeyed him blindly. 

Laura and Roger had not come alone to the cape. Mme. de 
la Marche, after hesitating a little, had decided to accompany them. 
It was painful for her to remain away from her husband, even for 
one month, but she could not leave her children so quickly, after 
their long and painful separation. 

The exigencies of our tale have obliged us to delay the attention 
of our readers longer than we had expected en mere questions of 
health. But we had to explain the reasons which forced the 
heroes of this drama, either in Italy or India, to start for France at 
a given hour. That's what we have done. We had also to explain 
the motives which prevented M. and Mme. de Moray from coming 
directly to Paris, and forced them to remain for two months on the 
Mediterranean coast. Knowing that they were to remain some 
time at the hotel, the count and his wife, as also Mme. de la Marche, 
made themselves as comfortable as possible. They occupied splen- 
did rooms on the first floor, and from their windows the view 
was beautiful. In the gardens which surrounded the hotel, and 
in the field which extended as far as the sea, the orange and 
lemon trees intermingled their flowers and their perfumes, whilst 
the palm trees, like fans artistically cut, waved gracefully in the 
breezes from the sea. All this marvellous prospect was animated 
by the occupants of the hotel. Women and children increased 


the attraction of the scene by the music of their lauyhter and the 
charm of their beauty and their elegance. In the eveningall theguests 
were united at the dinner table, and after dinner they all found them- 
selves in the elegant drawing-rooms, sparkling with lights, full 
of flowers, and resounding with music. Concerts and balls suc- 
ceeded each other in the animation of pleasure, and were almost 
princely in their display, the society residing at the cape being 
recruited from all the aristocracies in the world, — aristocracies 
of birth, of art, of fortune, and of beauty. Everybody spoke 
French, but this charming French spiced by a foreign accent. 

We are of those who believe in Providence more than in chance. 
So we will hold Providence responsible for the meetings which 
awaited M. and Mme. de Moray at the cape. 

At the public table, on the very first days of their arrival, they 
found themselves seated beside a woman whose elegance, perhaps a 
little too luxurious, and whose beauty attracted the attention of 
everybody. This woman was accompanied by a man, who at first 
Laura and Roger thought her husband, but on enquiry M. de 
Moray found out that they were Italians, brother and sister ; that 
the man was called Annibal Palmeri, and the woman was a young 
and wealthy widow, the Duchess de San Lucca. 

Our readers, who have seen Gorgon and Peppo leave Naples in 
such a pitiful e(|uipment, will perhaps not be sorry to know how 
they find them to-day at the Cape of Antibes, surrounded with all 
the prestige which folktws a great name and an immense fortune. 
It was about one year since the two Bohemians had left Naples for 
France. They had about five hundred francs left out of the thou- 
sand they had procured, God knows how, on the day they started. 
They stopped at a small hotel, next door to the house occupied by 
the judiciary administrator, M. Renouard. An hour after their 
arrival, they called on him, and made themselves known. 

The reader will remember that the chief of the record oftice of 
Naples had officially notified the business n)an of Paris of the early 
arrival in that city of the children of Antonio Palmeri, nephew an<l 
niece of the deceased. Peppo and Gorgon spoke French well 
enough to be understood in that language (one can learn a little of 
everything in the streets of Naples), and they soon came to an 
agreement with M. Renouard, who made no difficulty in putting 
them in possession of the estate, all their papers being regular, and 
their identity established beyond question by the famous passports 
fcjrged by Peppo. To put them in possession of the estate, we have 
said ; this expression has to be rectified because the will of the 
testator declared Annibal the only heir of the whole fortune. 

' What does that mean I ' asked Gorgon. 

' The chief of the record office at Naples, a very worthy man, 
who enjoys an excellent reputation,' added Peppo, si)eaking thus 

42 A maetyr: 

impudently of himself in those eulogistic terms, ' the chief of the 
record office has told us that you had asked him to give him certain 

' Oa the surviving heirs of the late Palmeri : that is quite cor- 
rect,' answered M. Kenouard, ' but it is also quite correct that the 
testator, who had amassed that immense fortune by dint of hard 
work, did not want it divided, lessened, and finilly reduced to thci 
proportions of an ordinary fortune.' 

' Ten millions is nice,' observed the Neapolitan. 

* Yes,' said M. Renouard, laufjhing, ' but twenty millions, is 
more than nice, it is very nice — and M. Giacomo Palmeri, who 
gloried in this fortune, which was the work of his life, did not wish 
it to be mutilated by dividing it in halves. So that he decided that 
the twenty millions would belong exclusively to his brother 
Antonio, if he were still alive, or to his nephew Annibal, in case 
your father had ceased to live, and finally to his niece Claudia, in 
case you were dead . ' 

' Then, from what you have said, Antonio Palmeri, our father, 
being dead, the whole fortune belongs to me alone,' cried Annibal 

' To you alone ; on condition, adds the testator, that you will 
give a handsome wedding portion to your sister. ' 

' Everything is for the best,' said Claudia, smiling calmly. 

And as Peppo looked at her with surprise. 

* We shall agree very well together,' she said, 'the tie of 

fraternity which binds us is more powerful than all the wills in the 

' A tliousand times more powerful,' hastily answered Peppo, who 
had unciurstood that the word : fraternity, accented as it had been 
by Gorgon, meant complicity. 

' Between us two, there is only one will,' said Claudia. 
• ' Onlj' one,' assented Peppo. 

'And that will is mine,' thought Gorgon, 

Peppo luunbly bowed his head, and both left the office. Success 
being assvired, Peppo proposed to his sister to rent tine rooms, but 
she opposed his project. 

' No,' she said ; ' no lodgings. We do not exactly know what our 
situation will be. The first thing wanted is a wardrobe which will 
give us an aristocratic air. We will move from this inn, which re- 
calls to my mind the locanda of the suburb of Capodimonte, to the 
Grand-Hotel. I am told that all strangers of distinction stop there. 
So our place is there.' 

Once installed at Gorgon's desire, they started in search of the 
famous wardrobe they needed. With money one can do many 
things in Paris in twenty-four hours. Our adventurer? did not 
spare money, and the result was simply immense. They could be 



seen the next evening in one of the boxes of the Varieties, for 
which they had paid twenty-five pounds to a theatrical agent, to see 
Mmo. Jddic in a new play. 

Women, it has often been said, have a prodigious facility of 
adaptation. In any situation they may be thrown by chance, they 
seem to be in their place. Intuition in their case takes the place 
of tdiication, at least if seen at a distance. So the curiosity of the 
theatre-goers was at a loss to exactly define tlie new star which was 
just appearing on the Parisian horizon. 

' A woman of the demi-monde? No. It is not possible,' said a 
few. ' We would know her.' 

' A great 'ady ! Impossible ! ' said others. ' There are, how- 
ever elegant that splendid woman is, errors of orthography in her 
dress. She wears too much jewellery for the theatre ! ' 

' Don't you see she is a stranger,' said others. 

' Stranger, yes ; but that does not tell ui her si>cial condition.' 

Gorgon felt she was the objective point of all the glasses leveled 
towards the box she occupied with Peppo, but she boldly sup- 
ported the ordeal. Her superior intelligence made her almost under- 
stand the nature of the conversation going on below. Tlie disdainful 
gestures of the men and their smiles convinced her that their ob- 
servations were not of a flattering nature. Her vanity was oflleuded, 
.and at times she had a foolish desire to cry out to all those people 
who were staring at her. 

' I am not the one you take me for, apes that you are ! I am the 
Duchess de San Lucca, the greatest and the richest heiress of 
Italy ! ' 

.\nd truly, so sincere was her pride that in speaking thus, she 
thought she was speaking the truth. In forty-eight hours she 
had forgotten that her name was Gorgon, and that but a few 
months before she was a ballet girl at the theatre San Carlo, in 
Naples. On the other hand Peppo understood nothing. He 
seemed to be intoxicated by the pleasure of exciting so much 
curiosity. He leaned forward on the fr-nt of the box, so that 
he could be seen to better advantage. Gorgon forced him to re- 
tire in the shade, and even went away on his account, before 
the spectacle was over. A second attempt, made under similar 
circumstances, did not succeed better than the first (Jorgou was 
intelligent, we have often said. She soon found she had made a 
mistake, and resolved to follow another road. 

'Three more evenings like this one,' she said to her brother, 
' and we will become impossible m Paris. I am quite willing thrit 
we should enjoy ouiselves, but we must do it with less noise. If 
you are willing, as I am, to gain a high place in society, we must 
manage with more cleverness.' 


This conversation took place on the very day M. Renoiiard gave 
to the pretended Annibal and Claudia Palmeri the titles «and bonds 
of all sorts, which constituted a fortune almost princely. Intoxi- 
cated by this triuin[)h due to his ability, the Neapolitan formed the 
project of dazzlin<( and conquering Paris. He put on the airs and 
assumed the attitude of the gladiator who defies the gaping crowd. 
Gorgon shrugged her shoulders. 

' 1 have been thinking a go(jd deal these last few days,' she said, 
'and I begin to see my way clear. We are acting like clowns, that's 
all. With all our millions we will reach nothing, tinless we can get 
hold of some family who will take charge of us. The question is 
to find that family.' 

' There are plenty of people in Paris who will be only too glad 
to pilot us,' said Peppo, striking his pockets full of gold. 

' Yes,' answered his sister with contempt, ' they will pilot us 
like the guides, who will show you all that can be seen for five 
francs, but they will not introduce us in any of the drawing 
rooms where the admission is free. They are not the people wo 
want. We must find genuine representatives of the true no- 

'Well,' said the young man, philosophically, ' you can manage 
those things according to your own ideas. Provided I have a 
good house and a good table, pretty women, and fast horses, I 
am perfectly happy.' 

Gorgon looked at him with contempt. The baseness of his 
character humiliated her. 

* And he calls himself my brother ! ' she said. 

* Well,' said the Neapolitan, ' we have had the same mother, 
I think.' 

'The same mother, yes, but perhaps that is all,' muttered the 
pretty girl, caring but little about the oftensive doubt she was 
casting on the memory of the ex-dancer, who had died in a hos- 
pital one winter's night. 

Be that as it may they suddenly modified their manner of living. 
They bought a house near the plain Montceau, in the name of the 
Duchess de San Lucca, and they moved into it as soon as a fashion- 
able upholsterer had furnished it. As the new millionaires had given 
him full powers, and he happened to have good taste, their instal- 
lation was all that could be desired. From the stables, filled with 
fine horses, and the cellars, full of good wine, to the drawing rooms, 
provided with furniture of the old style and the gallery, hung 
with masterpieces, everything was perfect. 

'The cage is pretty,' said Gorgon to her. brother. . 'Now the 
birds must learn to sing. ' 

And masters of all kinds were called in to give lessons to these 
strangers, who confessed without shame their desire to learn the 


niannors of the Pariaian aristocracy. Peppo did not like the school- 
ing he had to submit to, but he resigned hiniself to it, thus acknow- 
ledging the superiority of his sister. In the evening he would fre- 
quent the public places until the hour he could go into one of those 
low clubs whose doors are always wide open to those who have 
plenty of money. In those doubtful clubs where he was received 
with open anus, Annibal Palmeri had made the acquaintance of a 
few gentlemen attracted there by the love of gambling. One night, 
after coming out of the club, Annibal had entered a restaurant in 
the company of the Martjuis de Roquevaire. The manjuis, who was 
about thirty years old, belonged to one of the best families of the 
St. (Jermain suburb. Being very sceptical, he was not particular 
about his social relations, so long as those relations were only casual 
meetings, at the theatres, at the club, or even in the huuduirs of 
gallantry. Put he was merciless ^ hen there was any attempt to 
force open the doors of true sociei , by the upstarts who from all 
quarters of the world are continually alighting in Paris. Peppo, 
taking advantage of their familiarity, confessed himself to the 
mar(iuis, and told him of the difficulties his sister and he himself 
foinid in gaining an entree int) society. 

' And my sister is the wido>v of the Duk de San Lucca I ' he 

The mar([uis was frank. 

' j\Iy dear sir,' he said, since you want to know the truth, I will 
tell it to you. You understand that people like the duchess and 
yourself do not pass unnoticed. The name you bear, the fortune 
you have inherited from old Palmeri, and chiefly the beauty of your 
sister have drawn enough attention to you during the past month 
to cause eiKjuiries to be nuide. You are well known, and certainly 
you are very honorable ; but then, such as you are, you were wrong 
in trying to enter too suddenly into our world. You would have 
succeeded better by taking a circuitous path.' 

' But how ] ' 

' F(jr example, by niixing with the high cosmopolitan society 
which is not so exacting as ours, and where we recruit every now 
and then.' 

' And where will we find that high cosmopolitan society ? ' 

' Oh I almost everywhere, chietly in bathing places. In summer 
at Dieppe or TrouviUe ; in winter at Nice or some other point on 
the Mediterranean coast. If you take my advice, my dear sir, you 
will spend the remainder of the season at Monaco.' 

Next day, at breakfast, Peppo told his sister the conversation he 
had had the night before with M. de Roquevaire. Gorgon was 
thoughtful for a moment. 

' The advice is good,' she said, ' and we must follow it. By the 
way where does your marquis live ? ' 


' I don't know. Why do you ask ? ' 

' Because.' 

And without farther explanation the duchess wrote a few lines 

' Here,' she said, ' jjivo this to your friend, in the gambling hell 
where you meet him.' 

One s! ould have hoard the tone with which she pronounced those 
two words : yuiir friend ! A friend ! this ^reat lord one could 
meet only in disteputable society, and whose address was not 
known ! In truth, was it worth while to play such a terrible game 
not to bo further advanced after a strujjgle of six months' dura- 
tion ! 

Peppo did not understand the heart-broken irony of the remark. 

' My friend ! \ny friend !' he said, * not so much !\s all that. The 
u;arquis is a very good fellow, and he is even the only one who has 
given us good advice, because this is good advice, is it not ? ' 

'Excellent! ' 

' And what do you write to my friend ? ' 

* I ask him to come and see mo.' 

'Ah I bah ! look here ! Would you ? ' 

Gorgon looked at him with contempt. 

'Here,' she said, 'you will never be anything but sx facchino ! 
If I wanted the marquis for a husband, or even for a lover, would 
I write to him 1 ' 

' Come, calm yourself ! I was only joking. It appears we mast 
not tritio with the virtue of the Duchess de San Licca ! ' 

' With her virtue,' cynically answered Gorgon, ' as much as you 
like. With her pride, never ! Remember this once for all.' 

The letter which Annibal Palmeri gave the same evening to his 
friend was very short. Three or four lines only, by which the 
Duchess de San Lucca asked the Marquis de Roquevaire to be so 
kind as to call on her the next day, at five o'clock. At the hour 
appointed the marquis called on the duchess, puzzled as to what 
she had to communicate to him. 

' Here I am, duchess,' he said, as he entered, ' to your orders.' 

' We will see directly,' answered Gorgon, motioning him to sit 

And she approached the question squarely. Hit brother had 
told her the conversation they had at the restaurant and had re- 
peated the advice he had received. 

' M. Palmeri has been very indiscreet,' said the marquis embar- 
rassed. ' There are certain things which are said between men, 
and which must not be repeated to a woman.' • 

* Do not regret my brother's treachery,' said the beautiful Claudia 
plainly. * It has given me the proof that in you 1 have a , ' 

* An admirer,' said M. de Roquevaire, not knowing what the 


ducheaa wanted, and placing himself voluntarily on the ground of 
commonplace gallantry. 

The duchess bit her lips. 

' I was going to say a friend,' she replied, * but since you did not 
see fit to use that word, 1 shall simply say a protector,' 

' Oh ! ' answered M. de lloquevaire, ' the word is tof) humble not 
to be full of pride. Come, tell me what I can do for you, and 
whatever it may be I shall do it with pleasure.' 

' You can be very useful to me. I have decided to pass the win- 
ter in the south.' 

' Well, you are right,' frankly said the marquis. * It is really a 
pleasure to counsel a woman who listens to advice. Whore will 
you go ? ' 

' To Monaco, since it is your opinion,' 

'Well, I was wrong. Go through Monac^). Do not remain 
there. Try the stations of the coast-line, one after the other. When 
you have found the psychological sojourn, if you will allow the ex- 
pression, pitch your tent.' 

' But by what signs shall I recognize that pshychological so- 
journ / ' 

'Oh, I leave that to your acuteness,* said the young man, laugh- 

' I shall do the beat I can. Oh ! will you do me another favor. 
You are surely acquainted with some of the most influential mem- 
bers of this foreign colony through which you advise me to pass be- 
fore entering into your world, which is rigorously sealed, and into 
which I have the ambition to enter, (mly becauso the door is closed . 
There, at least, could you introduce me ? ' 

The marquis was looking ah the beautiful young woman, and he 
could not help feeling & -secret sympathy with her ambition. The 
bea\ity of the duchess, dazzling as it was, was only an accessory to 
the real admiration she inspired him vvith. 

' You are a real woman ! ' he said, kissing her hand. 

' And I want to bec<mie a real duchess,' she replied, withdrawing 
her hand, where the kiss lingered too long. 

' The devil take me if I don't help you,' cried the young man, 
smiling, ' so you will have the letters. You will have to do the 
rest, remembering that every road, as the proverb says, leads to 

' No, not to Rome,' said the duchess, as he was taking leave. 
'To Paris,' 

The plan so quickly conceived was as rapidly executed. A few 
days after, the duchess left Paris for the south with her brother, 
and within a month she had visited all the principal stations of the 
coast. However, she pleased herself nowhere. At Manton, there 
were too many invalids, Nice was too windy, Cannes too wet ; 


Hyfcres and St. Rapliael did not please lier for other causes. One 
day chance brought her to the Cape of Antibes, and, as she found 
tlie country delightful, she at once resolved to live there. 

At the cape, as everywhere else, the letters of tlie niar(iui3 had 
produced 'leir eHect. As they were addressed to a Uussian prince, 
to the son if a lord, and to agrand ccjusin of Queen Isabella of Hour- 
bon, the beautiful Neapolitan soon found herself the reigninij 
leader of a small court, which soon augmented, as oven the moat 
elegant women of the colony sought the acciuaintance of a duchess 
BO young, so beautiful, and so wealthy. Soon Gorgon had no other 
occupation than to limit the ever increasing number of her admirers. 
In her turn she showed herself hard to please. 

During the few winter months she passed at the hotel of the cape, 
where she lived in the rooms occupied the year before by a royal 
princess of England, she saw before and around her all the most 
aristocratic idlers of Ein-ope. And still there was a shadow over- 
hanging this magnificent tableau. There was no French society 
there. All those peoi)lo who had come to the cape for a few days 
did not belong to the 8t)ciety in which she had resolved to enter at 
any cost. It is because the French peoj)le, those at least she wanted 
to con(iiier, have not the cosmopolitan habits of other nations. 

Time was passing away and the season was drawing to an end. 
The Duchess de San Lucca, totally discouraged, was thinking of 
going away. She had already announced her intention to her 
brother, who was thrown into despair at the thought of leaving. 
Annibal found himself, at the cape, the happiest of men. Carried 
into the orbit of his sister, like a faithful satellite, he had shared 
her pleasures and her successes. He had also had a few good fortunes 
of which he was veiy proud. 

' Where will we find a better place than this one ? ' he asked. ' A 
splendid country ! beautiful women ! What more do you want, my 
dear ? ' 

Gorgnn did not deign to answer, except to tell him that since he 
amused himself so much, he had better take advantage of it during 
the few remaining days. 

' We shall go in three days,' she had said, in a tone which did not 
admit of a reply. 

This conversation had taken place on the very day of the arrival 
at the hotel of the Count and Countess de Moiay and of Mme. de 
la Marche. The noise made in the rooms next to hers, which were 
being prepared for them, attracted her attention, and she instructed 
her maid to en(juire who these travellers were. M. de Moray's 
name did not afford her any information. The count, having passed 
the greater part of his life in the ccdonies, was a stranger to her. It 
was not so when she learned that Mme. de Moray was the daughter 
of Mme. de la Marche, and that the latter had come with the 

A MARTY n. 49 

count and coiintesa. The fame of the adiniral's wife was such that 
no one could possibly ignore it. We have already said so, the name 
she bore was universally known, and the duchess had heard it oftep. 

Tli«! beautiful Neapolitan was startled by the n(>ws brou;^dit by 
the maid. Was it at the very m(»ment that she was ^oing to i,'ivo 
up the tij-'ht, that heaven put su^.li a yreat cl'aiice of victory within 
her reacli ? The Admiral Firmin de la Marche ! The Count and 
Countess de Moray ! What did she care now for a (pieen's relative, 
for lords, or for princes of the Caucasus or of Traiusylvania / She 
would have given the whole of them en Woe to bo certain of making 
a casual ac([uaintance witli those French peoi)le, who occupied 
such a large place in the history and honor (jf their country. She 
felt a great emotion in going down to dinner that evening, lint 
the travellers dined in their own room, and it was a bitter disap- 

If the iidiabitants of the Hotel of the Cape dined together in 
full dress, they always breakfasted in morning costume, at different 
tables. They had the advantage of having more independence to 
settle the ocoupatiou of the day. Hreakfast, however, was al- 
ways over at one o'clock, and it was usual, on leaving the dining- 
rooms, to go into the large garden which siirrounded the hotel. 
They used even to ride and drive around the country surrounding 
the hotel, and those who did not feel inolined to go, looked on at 
the i)reparations for the departure froui the verandah \ lere they 
remained some time, deriving pleasure from the amusement of the 
others. Usually the duchess was the first to give the signal to all 
the promenaders, and she was always accompanied by a hirge es- 
cort, noisy and full of merriment. The day after we have seen her 
so disappointed at not meeting the strangers at dinner, she broke 
her daily habiis, to the great astonishment of all. 

' Amuse yourst Ives without me,' she answered her companions. 
' I am a little tired and I will take a rest.' 

Annibal ottered to remain with her, but she declined his pro- 
posal in a disdainful tone. A little vexed at the reception accorded to 
his amiable attention, Palmeri did not insist and merely answered : 

• Just as you wish, my dear ! ' 

Instead of going to her room after the dei)arture of the excur- 
sionists, (jorgon remained a moment in the garden, walking through 
the deserted alleys. She was thinking. Her thoughts were not of 
a very agreeable nature, if we are to judge of them by her actions. 
She was striking the gravel of the walk with the end of her um- 
brella as if in anger. It was because she felt ashamed at her in- 
ability. To her own eyes she appeared miserable. To have so many 
trumps in her hand, and not to have scored a triumph ! It was 


Even the attempt she had decided to make, on the advice of M. 
de Roquovrtiro, did nttt reach a soil where the roots of the wealth 
and nobility slie had just ac(|iiired could expand frt-ely. And what 
annoyed her more tlian anything was the discovery that she was not 
proof aL;ainst her own discourayemonts. She had arrived at a 
crisis, she well know, when obstacles, instead of giving more energy 
kill whatever may be left. The incidents of the previous day had 
nnnorvod her. So her good Immor, her pleasures, her joys de- 
ponded on tlio whim of a few travellers, whether they sat at the 
same table with her or not. Truly, it was enough to cause one to 
be angry with one's self. She was walking, as we have said, an- 
xious and thinking only of her own troubles, when turning into a 
side avenue she almost ran against somebody coming in the oppo- 
site direction and who had barely time to step aside to allow her to 
pasH. The unexpected motion recalled her attention, and hi-r as- 
tonished look, like that of a person who is suddenly awakened 
from a deep slumber, vested on the living obstacle which had nearly 
caused her to stumble. It was a man whoso sight produced in her 
an emotion she had never experienced before. That noble face on 
which honor and rectitude were clearly depicted, where the author- 
ity of Command dwelt in spite of the appearances of suiFerings 
which it l)ore, that face struck her more deeply than any other she 
had ever seen. Who was that man ? She did not know. Nobody 
had named or indicated him to her — and still she rec(jgnized him. 
He was, she would have wagered her life, the gentleman who had ar- 
rived the day before;' a man who was great by his own achievements, 
and perhaps greater by the ties which united him to the family of 
an illustrious soldier. It was the Count de Moray ; it was the son- 
in-law of the Admiral Firmin de la Marche. 

Their eyes nut, attracted by a sort of magnetism. The searching 
look of Roger de Moray tixed itself on the half wild stare of the 
Duchess de San Lucca. The stoppage caused by their meeting 
lasted but an instant, but that instant was enough to embarrass and 
even cause them both some emotion. The Count do Moray, at first 
motionless for a few seconds, stood aside to give more room to the 
fair promenador, and slowly raised his hat. it was not the common- 
place and courteous bow which every well-bred man owes to a woman 
whom he mo'^ts face to face. It was the unccmscious and almost 
religious feeling which causes one to uncover his head when he sees 
a work of art, or when he passes before a temple. The duchess 
regaining her composure smiled, inclined herself slightly and passed 
on. A few stops further, at the curve of the path, she turned 
around. M. de Moray was still standing in th6 same place, in the 
same innnobility, as if transformed into a statue, looking at her and 
not even thinking of following her. Their eyes met for the last 
time. But then their glances were no more those of two strangers 


who had aatotiished each other a few minutes before, thuy were tlie 
glances of two companions who meet after a long absence. An 
instantaneous compact of alliance had just been concluded between 
them. When they were separated by clumps of palm-tn-es, Gorgon 
rey:aiiied her coolness and became again the duchess slie h;id ceased 
to be for a moment. She soon found herself in front of the hotel, 
and aat down in the shade of the verandah, very thoughtful. She 
was then almost alone, having before her the finest panorama in the 
world, which she was contemj)lHting inattentively. 

An old lady whose features, bonnet and dress denoted her na- 
tionality at first sight, was seated beside her. This ladv, called Lady 
Helton, who was the widow of a superior otHccr in the navy, 
tried to relieve her own idleness by engaging with the iluchess in a 
common-place conversation, which wo must acknowledge she was 
not in the humor of keeping u;>. Just at the moment the beauti- 
ful Neapolitan intended to go to hir room to escape the prattle 
which conflicted with her unappeased emotion, without affording 
any distraction, two unknown women came and sat down at a short 
distance on the same terrace. 

' Ah ! ' cried Lady Helton, looking at these two women through 
her eye-glass, ' in truth, it is she. Oh ! I am very h »ppy ! In- 
deed ! 

And rising hastily she went and shook hands with the elder of 
the two. 

' Oh ! dearMme. de laMarche,' she said with a pronounced Eng- 
lish accent, ' how happy I am to see you ! ' 

Mme. de laMarche, for it was she, accompanied by her daughter, 
at once recognized Lady Helton, whom she had met very often in 
Paris, and e8()ecially at the brilliant receptions of the English em- 
bassy. Graciously acknowledging her welcome, she introduced 
Mme. de Moray to Lady Helton. 

* I am so happy to meet you here,' said Mme. de la Marche, with 
her habitual sad smile, which suited so well the d;;^nity of her 
features. * I was afraid that the sojourn at the cape woald be a 
little lonely for my daughter and her husband. I shall beg of you 
to introduce them to your relations.' 

* Oh ! ' said Lady Helton, * I will make you acc^uainted at once 
with a charming woman who will make your stay here more agree- 
able than I could do it myself.' 

Without waiting an answer to her proposition, the widow of the 
British sailor turned round. Two or three chairs only separated 
the little group from Gorgon. 

' My dear duchess,' said Lady Helt<m, ' allow me to present to 
you the wife of one of the most illustrious of French sailors, Mme. 
Firmin de la Marche, and her daughter, Mme. de Moray, the wife of 
the governor-general of Pondichdry. ' 

Then addressing herself to her new companion. 


' Mme. the Duchess de San Lucca,' she said, ' one of the greatest 
names of Italy.' 

The three women bowed to each other graciously. The duchess 
was the youngest of the three. Moreover she was almost at home 
in this hotel which she had inhabited for several m:>nth3, and of 
wliich sVie had almost made a palace ; so she got up and went to 
Mine, de la Marche. In that moment she felt a yreat joy. It was 
in the hope of this meetinu that she had given up her daily prome- 
nade. Chance had gratihtd her wish. 

The interview was cordial in every way. Very happy at this good 
fortune, which on the first day introduced a charming relation to 
her daughter and her son-in-law, Mme. Firmin de la Marche de- 
parted from the usual austerity of her manner ; as to Mme. de 
Morciy, while she was forced to render homage to the beauty and 
grace of the duchess, she did not feel attracted towards her with the 
same force which imj^elled her mother. It was a feeling she could 
not explai" and which she tried to resist, becavise she found it un- 
just. The beautiful Neapolitiin, with the ease and grace oi the most 
accomi)li.shed woman, mrde the new ccMiiers acquainted with the 
charms of the country where they had met for the tirst time. 

' Look, Mme. de Moray,' slie said, showing her a large yreen nest 
rising in the midst of the gulf, ' that is the island of Ste. Marguerite. 
How beautiful it is I It is my favorite promenade. Every week 
a little steamer comes for me. We will go some day, taking our pro- 
visions with us, and we will breakfast under the pines.' 

As she was saying these words, a man appeared on the terrace. 

' Ah ! ' said INIine. de la Marche, ' here is a companion who will 
accept your invitation with great pleasure. Allow me to introduce 
M. <le Aloray. 

Then turning towards her son-in-law. 

'Mme. de San Lucca, Roger,' she continued. 'The duchess, my 
dear child, is, it appears, the queen of the Cape of Antibes. Do not 
fail to pay her your respects. Ah ! I also introduce you to Lady 

M. de Moray had left the countess and her mother, after dinner, 
with the intention of goiujj; as far as the beach, and he had pro- 
mised to return in half an hour. It was during this short promenade 
that the unexpected meeting we have described above had taken 
place. In returning to the hotel he was still much pre-occupied 
with the vision which had appeared to him. He was so much ab- 
sorbed in his thoughts that in coming near his wife and Mme. de 
la Marche, he had not noticed that those ladies were not alone. It 
was only at the moment he was presented to tlia duchess that ho 
recognized her. A violent emoii(m shook him to the bottom of his 
heart. But happily it was not noticed. He bowed without saying 
a word. We have just said that his emotion was not noticed, the 


reader will readily guess that we except Gorgon. The trouble of 
the count could not remain unnoticed by her, who was the direct 
cause of it. She herself felt for a moment the physical fever to which 
she had been subjected a quarter of an hour before. But, better 
prepared than the count f(»r this interview, she controlled herself 
more easily, and she extended her hand to him in a most natural 
way, without betraying any embarrassment. However, neither the 
count nor the duchess said they had already met in the garden 
walk hidden from view by the clumps of palm-trees. It was a secret 
which they kept, and which created a tie of complicity between 
them. M. de Moray was grateful to Mme. de San Lucca for her 
silence. He found in it a sort of mysterious appeal for another 
meeting, which thereafter would not be provoked by chance. All 
the natural forces of his being, hardly escaped yet from the mortal 
Indian fever, were allured by that w(»man, unknown to him less 
than an hour before. He was contemplating her voluptuous beauty 
from which were flashing out towards him currents of magnetic at- 
tractions. He admired her and she provoked in him a mad desire. 

The conversation had become general and the time passed very 
rapidly. The large clock of the hotel struck four. The countess 

' We must go up to our room for a little while,' she said. ' Are 
you coming, Roger ? ' 

'No,' answered M. de Moray. 'The weather is so beautiful. I 
shall rejoin you in a moment.' 

Mme. Firmin de la Marche and her daughter retired, accom- 
patiied by Lady Helton. M. de Moray remained alone with the 
Duchess de San Lucca. Both were silent, but not embarrassed. It 
was a silence made of unspoken demands and answers. Gorgon was 
the first to break it. 

' Why did you stay ? ' she simply asked in her rich voice. 

' How could I go / ' answeied M. de Moray, making designs on 
the sand with his walking-stick, so as to avoid looking at her too 
directly. ' Yes, how could I go without first thanking you / ' 

' Thanking me ! ' said the duchess with astonislunent. ' For 
what] Because I have told you that the little cluster of white 
houses, up there, on the mountain, is called Grasse, or because [ 
have told you that there would be a ball this evening in the recep- 
tion rooms of the hotel ? ' 

' No ; you are well aware that it is not for that.' 

He raised his head and let his eyes speak at the same time as 
his lips. 

• I have to thank you,' he said with a languid slowness, ' for 
being so beaiitiful, and for doubling by your radiant beauty the 
splendor of the nature which surrounds us.' 


Gorgon did not interrupt him. It was her turn to be silent, to 
lower her eyes, and to breathe with difficulty, her fair bosom heav- 
ing under the gauze which barely covered it. M. de Moray con- 

' Look,' he said, extending his arm, ' look at those mountains, 
those forests, those seas, and those glaciers. The grandest things 
Cirod has created are there, under our eyes. But all those splendors 
were slumbering in an eternal quietness but a few minutes ago, be- 
fore I saw you. Now, it seems to me that all these things, — the 
dazzling snows, the blue waves, the pines and the green oaks, the 
porphyry rocks, are full of life and sing to you a hymn of adoration, 
saying : " It is you who are the most beautiful, and we admire you ! " 
And I, the unknown of yesterday, the weak and feeble man ; I, who 
feel so little beside those immensities, but whose heart conceives the 
purity of the snow, the storms of the waves, and the burning 
winds of the mbnutaine which bond the heads of the oaks, I thank 
you in my turn for being the sovereign beauty which fills my eyes 
and intoxicates luy soul ! ' 

In love talk it is the voice which very often gives to the words 
their charm and persuasion. Coming from anybody else, and 
spoken with the accent of a poet with long hair, this anthem of 
passion would have made the Duchess de San Lucca smile. But 
Gorgon was moved by a delicious feeling, thanks to the deep into- 
nation of the voice she was hearing for the first time, and which 
vibrated with increasing intensity, as each word fell from his lips. 
She never gave a thought to the character she had assumed. She 
never asked herself what a true Duchess de San Lucca would do, if 
a man she did not know an hour before had offended her in such a 
manner, or had oflered such homage. She abandoned herself 
wholly to the ravishing emotion she had never experienced before, 
having never loved, and all her reason was lost in a delicious weak- 

Anything else they might have said would have only lessened 
the effect, shared by both, of these hasty avowals. They felt this 
to be so, and separated On rising Gorgon offered her hand to 
her new friend, without speaking. M. de Moray took it and 
pressed it for a moment in his own. This was, so to speak, the 
betrothal of their love. After this they retired, feeling that the 
hour just passed would be decisive in their lives. Neither knew 
what engagement they had contracted towards each other. But 
they were well aware that such flames cannot be stirred up without 
provoking, some day, terrible confliigrations. 

While the duchess had retired to her room to take a little rest, 
Roger descended into the garden. He was not ifi a state to appear 
before his wift without betraying himself, and took another walk 
to quiet his nerves. Mme. de Moray was at her window, looking 


on the beauties of nature, which had awakened such passion in the 
80»il of her husband. She saw the count walking down the path, 
and she joyfully called her mother to her side. 

' Look at Roger, mother,' she said. ' Who could believe he is 
tlie same man 1 have seen only a week ago struggling in 
agony ? God has performed an unhoped-for miracle in restoring 
him to health.' 

• Yes,' answered Mme. do la Marche, ' God has done it all. But 
it was by means of your tenderness that IJe accomplished the 
prodigy. Dear child, the love of yo'ir husband will reward you 
amply for the life you have saved ! ' 

' I depend upon it,' said the countess, ' Roger owes me that love 
if it were only to reward the sacrifice I made in leaving my daugh- 

A little later the exciirsionists returned to the hotel, and .\nnibal 
l*almeri went up il6 his sister's room. 

' Well,' he said, * were you lonesome, little sister / ' 

' No,' she said, * reassure yourself.' 

As the dinner hour was at hand she began to dress. Was it 
merely the result of chance, or was it by means of a clever negoti- 
ation between Annibal Palmeri, acting under the orders of his 
sister, and the waiters, we are not in a position to say, but one 
thing is certain : two hours after, at the dinner table, Mme. de la 
Marche, her daughter, and her son-in-law were near neighbors of 
the Duchess de San Lucca. 

The latter, after making imperious recommendations to her 
brother, had presented him to her new friends. At table M. de 
Moray and Annibal were seated side by side. The ice having been 
broken by a formal introduction, the two men chatted a long time 
over the dinner table. M. de Moray was even gay in his conver- 
sation, and for the first time in many months, that is to say since 
the day that Paulette had caught the terrible Lidian fever, a smile 
lit his face. The countess noticed the transformation and she was 
sincerely happy, and in the gratitude she felt towards her compan- 
ions, she tried to combat an instinctive sentiment, which prompted 
her to repulse their advances. In fact, a mysterious intuition was 
telling her to mistrust, for the sake of her happiness, the beauty, 
and the artifices of this Italian who was possessed of such irresisti- 
ble powers of 8educti(m. During the dinner and in the evening she, 
by powerful efforts, restrained herself, thinking it would be unjust 
to repulse without any serious motive, offers of intimacy by which 
the mental welfare of the being to whom she had consecrated a life 
of devotedness and love would be strengthened. She had noticed 
the impression the Duchess de San Lucca had produced on the mind 
of her husband, and she was fri^jhtened at the beginning of the in- 
terview which had taken place during the day on the terrace. Hut; 


later she wa=j reassured when she saw her husband walkinfj alone in 
the garden, and returning to her more loving than he had been for 
a long time. 

The reader will remember that M. de Moray sincerely recipro- 
cated the saintly and pure love of his wife. He admired Laura, 
and he loved her. So, in spite of the fever which was burTiing his 
veins on that day, and which was to return in future every tinie the 
duchess would come near him, he felt himself protected against 
Completely falling by the powerful roots of a constant and undivid- 
ed attacluuent of eighteen years. The few days which followed 
brought to tlie Count de Moray the same emotions, even keener, if 
possible. But wo repeat it, however provoking were the advances 
of the countess, he tirmly fought against them. After the surprise 
of the first interview, he was more reserved in his relations with 
her. He managed so as to avoid meeting her alone, taking care to 
always place between himself and Claudia, as a shield, the presence 
of his wife. This conduct on his part inspired the Neapolitan with 
sentiments of revolt. She did not understand how the C(Mint, ex- 
periencing beside her certain emotions, the particular nature of 
which could not remain unknown to him, entrenched himself in 
such an austere reserve. She felt wounded in her womanly pride, 
and perhaps still more in the sincerity of a passion in wliich, thanks 
to her early education and principles, she found nothing reprehensi- 
ble. Once this rebellion awakened, she resolved to spare nothing 
to triumph over v/hat she termed the stupid silliness of an honest 
man. Only she understood that she would gain nothing by openly 
attacking that fortress of virtue, and she thought of misleading the 
vigilance of her adversary in love. The plan was well conceived, 
and was destined to obtain an entire success, as the reader will see. 
For the time being, Annibal, who was not an idiot, amused himself 
at this comedy. Gorgon did not put herself out on account of Peppo, 
and the more she resigned herself to momentary prudence with 
others, the greater anger she displayed when alone with her brother. 

' Per Baccho ! ' said the Italian, one evening that liis sister and 
himself were alone in their room and (Maudia appeared still more 
nervous than usual, 'do you know that I never saw you in such a 
state / You must be madly in love, my dear ! ' 

* In love,' answered Gorgon, looking daggers at him, 'perhaps so ! 
It is (juite possible ! But at least there is one ^hing I am quite sure 
of, and that is, T hate them ! ' 

' \N'ho / ' asked Annibal, stupefied. 

' All of them ! Even the one whom you say T love, and who 
hides himself like a frightened child behind the. petticoats of his 
wife, after having shown me, on the first day we met, the purpled 
horizons of a foolish passion. Yes, I hate hira. 1 hate him for his 
cowardice after his boldness, and I cannot forgive the oflfence of his 

A MARTYll, 57 

willing coldness after having forgiven his thoughtless outhuslasm. 
But one I hate more than him, is that woman to whom I am sacri- 
ficed, and who seems to defy me from the height of her legitimate 
rights ! Here ! I have often told you that I abhorred all these great 
lords whose family pride closes their doors to me ; well, I detest 
her more than all the others, this great lady who closes to me the 
heart of that man, and who, to prevent me from entering it, has 
only to erect the phantom of her twenty years of marriage ! ' 

Palmeri had listened to this outburst with amazement. To tell 
the truth, he found his sister insatiable. Zounds ! there were 
enough other men ! However, as he had a solid affection for ( Jorgon, 
he took pity on her. 

* Come,' he said, with the tone of one speaking to an angry child, 
' do you want me to help you 1 ' 

' Eh ! what can you do for me,' she said, shrugging her shoul- 

' More than you think ! Have patience, little sister ! With time, 
one may do a great many things.' 

' Time ! ' cried Gorgon. ' Have I time ? Did they not tell us of 
their early departure ? In fifteen days they will be in Paris, and 
once there, good-bye ! we will not even see them ! ' 

' Once there,' said the Neapolitan, in a tone of modest triumph, 
' do you know what I have prepared to please you, I whom you seem 
to despise, and who only think of helping you ? ' 

' What is it ? ' asked Gorgon, with avidity. 

' Well, once there, we will all live together, the Count and the 
Countess de Moray, the old admiral and his noble wife, and, lastly, 
we two, Annibal Palmeri and her excellency the Duchess de San 
Lucca. What do you think of that, little sister / ' 

Gorgon thought this was a stupid joke of Peppo's. Her only an- 
swer was a look of anger. However, Annibal insisted. 

'Why, don't you believe me i We will all live to^ijother like a 
troup of little patriarchs, unless you refuse to join us.' 

' Then that story is true ? ' asked Gorgon, with anxiety, shaking 
his arm. 

' What a grip,' said Palmeri, disengaging himself. ' If ever you 
take hold of your lover in that manner, he will not leave you in a 
hurry. Well, yes, that is true ! How many times must I repeat 

' Then, explain yourself.' 

' It is very simple,' answered Annibal, lighting a cigar, * you 
know that I am on the most intimate terms with this excellent 
Count de Moray. ' 

' Yes.' 

' As he has not to avoid me the same reasons which make him run 
away from you, and that I am, so to speak, something of yourself, 


he is quite crazy after me. Of course I pretended to think his 
friendship very sincere, b\it it was only make-believe on my part.' 
•Go on ! Go on ! ' she interrupted, impatiently. 

* Then, we promenade together a <.'ood part of the day, and while 
walkintr, we chat. In the course of these con versnt ions th'' count 
has spoken to me of a thousand and one thin<j;8, and among!»t others 
of the ftiar heentertains of reinainin'jr ilefmitely in Paris, on Mccount of 
his health. It appeiirs that it would he very dangerous for him to 
return to India. So he will stay in Paris ft)r a 1 aig time, perhaps 
for ever, and he will occupy an old residence belonging to his fa ily 
on de Varennes street.' 

' 1 have heard spej.k of that house, by Mmo. de Moray in 

* Well, as it appears this mansion is very large, the admiral 
Fiiniin de la Marche and his venerable wife will occupy the ground 
flitor of one of the winys, while the count and his wife will lodge 
in the first story of the same wing. So there remains another wing 
and the main body of the house.' 

'And then?' 

' Then I a.sked the count who lived in this second and more im- 
portant part of the old house, and he told me that it was vacant, 
the legation of Rouiuania having just moved out of it. I forgot 
to tell you that, this was paid in the presence of the old lady, 
whose nuijestic b 'aring always intimidates me. At the news of 
the removal of the legation, news which liad only arrived that 
very morning, and which she had not heard of, the austere dow- 
ayer expressed her regret, telling her sonin law than it was a 
serious matter, as the rent was very high, and a new lodger ditii- 
cult to find.' 

'Then, then ? ' repeated Gorgon, while her brother was relight- 
ing his cigar, which had gone out. 

' Hold on I There — that's it — . Then I don't know what prompt- 
ed me to invent an adventure exactly similar, except that it is 
the contrary, and to say that the proprietor of the house we live 
in had givtn na notice.' 

' Why did you say that ? ' 

' I don't know. A whim. And ju^t see how woU I was inspired. 
Mnie. de la Marche then said ; " Well, M. Paliieri, here is a good 
opportunity to satisfy everybody. If our old suburb does not seem 
too gloomy for the Duchess de San Lucca, rent the apartments 
rendered v.icant by the departure ot the legation, and let us live 
like uood neighbors in Paris as we do at the Cape of Antibes. ' 

' She made that proposition ?' said Gorgon, who could not believe 
her own ears." ' 

' As I am telling you.' 

' An I wh-.t did the count say?' asked the beautiful Claudia. 


' What could ho say, except confirm his mother-in-law's proposal ? 
Just think of it, lover and proprietor at the same time. The h ast 
tiling he could do was toofl'er me a lease of three, six, or nine years, 
at the respecfivo wishes of all j)artie8, and that's jtint what he has 
done and with eagerness I would have you believe.' 

Althou'^'h apeakinjj in a playful mood, Palmeri wat? in earnest. 
Hirt sistt r did not doubt it now, but she was troubled. She could 
never find a better CDmbinatittn for the .success of her projects. The 
intimacy which would certainly V)e established between them, 
thanks to tluir near neighborhood, would throw Avide open the 
portals of that world, which t^o pride of the upstart made her de- 
sirous of entering. And on the other hand it seemed impossible 
to her that, through this f;imiliarity, IvI. de Moray would not come 
out of his stoical and absurd reserve. Only one thing caused her 
some anxiety, and that was the consent of Mme. de INI'jray to the 
execution of this project. 

' .And she 1 ' asked Gorgon, abruptly. 


*Mme. de Moray, what did she say i ' 

*At first she could not say anything, because she was not pre- 
sent. But as I was telling Mme. de la Marche that 1 would ppeak 
to yo\i about the project, the count declared that he would refer the 
matter to his wite, who is part owner of the mansion with him, and 
that in any cnse he w(mld not take such a determination without 
consulting her.' 

' Bat did you not tell me he had accepted at first ? ' 

' Indeed he did ! and with enthusiasm. But after refleciion he 
asked me not to say a word about the matter until he had spoken 
to the countess.' 

* And you have stupidly obeyed him ? ' 

' For the following reason. Suppose that Mme. de Moray would 
not dare to encounter the neighborhood of a woman so dangerous 
to the rest of her husb.ind, which would only be very legitimate, 
what w.ts the use of causing you the annoyance of a deception ?' 

' You thought, then, that I would accept 1 ' 


'Well, you were right,' said Gorgon, resolutely. 'Not only do I 
accept, but this project must succeed, audit will, even if we have 
to put such a price on the location as will vanquish all difficulties.' 

' It is useless to do that.' 

' Why ! ' 

'The count took me apart this evening, while you were dancing, 
and he told me that the countess is willing to accept us as tenants, 
provided, however, that it is our intention to become such.' 

' Yes, it is our intention,' said Gorgon with a wicked smile, ' end 
on this, as it is two o'ch)ck in the morning, go to bed. I will think 
of this before going to sleep. ' 


Thoy shook liands and separated. The beautiful Chiudia was a 
lonji time in getting to sleep, and she had ono)igh leisure to think 
of this new combination and to deduce all the consecjuencea which 
might arise out of it. Next morning, after breakfast, as everybody 
was on the terrace of the hotel as usual, the duchess went straight 
to Mme. de Moray. 

'Countess,* she said, * my brother has told me last night of a 
project to which you have given your consent. Before taking a de- 
termination myself, I should like to know if the project has re- 
ceived your assent without reserve.' 

Wo have said very often that with all her faults and her vices, 
Gorgon had an eminent (luality, bravery. She wouhl have scorned 
to wage war against Mme, de Moray without tirat warning her. 
The countess would have had only one word to say, like this, for 
instance : ' I yield to the will or to the desire of my husband,' and 
it is probable that Gorgon would have been satisti( I with such a 
victory without going any further. But Mme. de Moray did not 
make that answer. She looked at the duchess frankly, and said : 

' Why should I not wish you to come and live beside us, almost 
with us 1 What would I have to fear from your presence / ' 

To Mme. de Moray's mind, this question signified exactly this : 

* I have discovered that my husband has not remained insensible 
to the power of your beauty. But I confide the rest and the joy of 
my life to your friendship and your honor. Can I depend on them 1 ' 

To Gorgon's mind, on the contrary, this question : ' What would 
I have to fear ? ' meant a challenge. She understood that the 
countess looked on her as an unworthy adversary, over whom she 
would easily triumph. And it was in that spirit that she accepted 
the challenge. Aa the countess was tendering her hand when they 
separated she shook it in a way which meant a declaration of 
war. Fifteen days after, they all left the Cape of Antibes together 
on the same day, and a few days later, the Duchess de San Lucca 
and her brother were installed in the house on de Varennes street. 


It was with a sentiment of triumphant pride that Gorgon left her 
residence on the plaine Montceau to go and dwell in the ancient habi- 
tation of the Count de Moray. The relations created at the cape 
being given, and the conditions on which her installation had been 
accepted, this removal was equivalent to taking possession. Now, 
she was sure of conquering that world which had so persistently re- 


mained closed to her. The doors of the highest Parisian society 
would be thrown wide open on her passage, when she would ad- 
vance, leaning on the arm of Mme. de la Marche, that most power- 
ful impersonation of honor. She was sure, also, of overcoming the 
resistance which his sense of duty interposed between the love of 
M. de Moray and herself ; the day woidd come when his elevated 
conjugal honesty, which had mastered his passion after the sur- 
prise of their first meeting, would succumb. 

In the midst of all these agitations Annibal Palmeri lived in a 
sort of philosophical serenity which was exasperating to his sister. 
In .spite of his early and vicious surroundini^s, to which ho owed 
some vulgarity of tone and manners, this Uf^zurone, transplanted to 
Parisian soil, had got a hold on Admiral de )a Marche. Even his 
artless familiarity had privileges of language which would not have 
been tolerated in others. The adventurer was never disrespectful, 
however, and at times he felt for the noble sailor a very sincere 
admiration, which he acknowledged. He even spoke of the sailor's 
career with almost poetic exaggeration. One day after breakfast, at 
whicli he and his sister were guests, as it happened very often, he 
expressed himself with enthusiasm. 

' Yes, Admiral,' he cried, with his Italian animation, accom- 
panied with extravagant ^'Stures, * 1 have always had a great ad- 
miration for your noble calling. Per BaccJio ! To have an entire 
fleet under your orders. To command men and tight the ele- 
ments. It is splendid.' 

M. de la Marche smiled, but with a feeling of sadness. 

' Bah ! my dear M. Palmeri, like every other medal, the sailor's 
medal has a reverse.' 

* You sav that ! ' 

' I say that and I also believe in it. Do you see, whatever may 
be the devotedness one bears to his country, there are hours of dis- 
couragement when he asks himself if the glory he has won is not 
paid for too dearly.' 

This was said in the presence of all our personages. Mme. de la 
Marche alone had retired to her room, wearied, probably, by the 
noise that surrounded her, and which troubled her accustomed 
melancholy. Mme. de Moray was chatting with her husband and 
the Duchess de San Lucca, of indifierent things probably, for she 
heard the remark of the Admiral. She was astonished at an asser- 
tion giving such a flat denial to the whole life of her illustrious 
father, and she turned around to interrogate him. 

' You want to know,' she asked, ' if your glory has not been paid 
for too dearly. What do you mean by that ? ' 

'Alas! my poor Laura,' said the admiral, 'however brilliant it 
may be, the exile of the sailor on board his vessel is nevertheless a 
real exile, with all the sorrows comprised in that word,' 


' I do not understand at all,' said Palmeri, artlessly. 

* I will toll you, my child,* said IVI. de la Mirchu, still address- 
ing his dauj^htur, ' althou^^h you have lived far aw.iy from us since 
your marriage, you ciunot have forj^otteii that you have seen, when 
still a young girl, the comuioucement of the sad melancholy of your 
mother ] ' 

Tlie c )unto33 nodded afhrmativoly. M. do Moray intervened. 

' I have often remarked the great sadness you speak of, Admiral. 
But the deep respect I have for you and for the muther of my wife 
always prevented me from enquiring about it. What is wmtiug to 
the happiness of Mine, de la Marche ? H is she not a glorious hus- 
band ? a daughter whom she adi^res i ' 

* And who adores her,' iuterruuted Mme. de M )ray. 

Gorgon herself was attracted by this convorsa ion, and she en- 
quired in her turn with a sort of involuntary I)itternes3. 

' His she not evtiry thing that is wanting in so many others, a 
name which catinot be assailed, a situation above allsinpioion ? ' 

' And cliietiy,' co;itinued Mine, de Moray, *a r'jputation for be- 
nevolence and virtue sufficient to protect her against the basest jea- 

'AH that is true,' answered the admiral, and he continued, with 
a thoughtful accent, as if making a revitnv of his past life, and al- 
most speaking to himself, ' what a light-hearted young girl she was, 
in days gone by, when a simple lieutenant, I asked her father for 
her hand , and later, Avhat a cheerful young bride during the first 
years of our married life ! After the short cruises I used to make 
then, she was so hap[)y at each of my returns, that the announce- 
ment of anew departure found me strong to support it. During the 
first years, I made only short expeditions. One day I had to take 
the command of a frigate which was sent to Madagascar, where, as 
everybody knows, our iiiterests are not yet well defined. The 
mission which was confided to me was difficidt of accom[)lishment, 
and I riiturned only after three yea'S. I had left a consolation to 
the wife I was abandoning to serve my country. I had left you to 
your mother, my beloved Laura ! Auil still, when I returned, the 
half widowhood which the sailor's wife undergoes had done its 
work of sadness and mourning. Tlie length of our separation and 
the anxieties it had brought to her heart had been the cause of a 
dangerous illness. It was a cruel surprise for me to find her so dif- 
ferent from what she was on the eve of my departure. Time and a 
firm will have arrested the progress of this moral ruin which was 
wrecking my happiness. But the efiects already produced at the 
time of luy arriviil still exist , and when everything seems to unite 
to ensure to the companion of my life the serenity of heart, which 
her virtues entitle her to, I must witness, powerless to avert it, the 
sadnesa which you have all remarked,' 


On these words the admiral broke down. Everybody felt thftt a 
deep sorrow had attickud the threat love he boro to his wif.i, a love 
miule of tliirty-tive years of devotediieas and venurition. i'hey all 
respDotod his emotion and very soon retired. .A.nnihal, in Hhaluni? 
haiuU witli the admir;il, excnaod himself for having luvolnntarily 
awakened such sail memories. 

'They wore not asleep,' anawered the adnnral, tryini^ to smile, 
* they were only silent. Perhipa I am obliijed to you for having 
given me the oocasiim to spoukof them. My heart will be comforted 
for flouje time, 1 hope.' 

Mine, de Moray had always been sfruok by the troubled state of 
her mother'ri mind, bu^ she had ncjvor dared to ask for an e.xpla- 
nation which was not offered, and it was the first time her father 
had spoken so freely in her prusenco about her mother. At the 
onsot of the cotiveraation she had lioped that it would throw some 
li^rlit on the causes of the austere severity which had saddened her 
youth, but she .soon found out that the a<lmiral did not know any 
more than herself. The admiral attributed the illness of Mme. de 
la Marche to the sadness of long separations, but this reason did 
not satisfy her. 

'There is certainly,' slie thought, ' somethinr; my father does not 
know, and it is a secret my mother keeps to herself alone. Why 
has not she more confidence in me i Why does she n;)t reveal the 
mystery which woiglis on her life ? It seems to me that my tender- 
ness is deep ouoU'ih to bring to her suffering he;irt the consolations 
it yearns for. Well, let us have patience. Perhaps an occasion 
will present itself wlu-n I shall be able to restore to her the rest she 
has lost. God knows I would willingly give m} life for her,' 

The occasion, as the reader will see, was so>n to present itself. 
Since her arrival in Paris, Mme. de Moray lived in un^at intimacy 
with her mother ; she had made herself as indispensable in her life 
as she could, trying to alleviate the weight of her occupations. She 
was her secretary for the numerous charities which solicited her 
patriin;ige. It was the Ciinntess who opei»ed the letters of Mme. de 
la Marclie, and who answered, without even consulting her, except 
in important cases, the demands which were addressed to her. 

On the day, after the conversation wo have just narrated, she 
went to her work as was her new habit, and took the letters arrived 
by the morning m lil. At the third envelope she opened, a violent 
eiu(jtion seized her. Laura read thit letter sevt^ral times, trying to 
think that she had not nndiTstood its meaning, and hoping that in 
weii^hing its terms she would succeed in chan:,'ing its import. But 
whatever she trieil, its clearness and brutality left no room to 
equivocation. Although it is somewhat lengthy, we will reproduce 
it in its integrity. The letter read thus : 


' To Mine. Fitmin de hi Marche, — 

' A mail wliose name is unknown to you, but who has undoubted 
rij^jhts to your benevolenc*', wiaims a moments' interview. That man 
is myself. Ami that nanu you do not know is mine. I call myself 
Kobert liurol. Hut in spiio of this vulgar name, I am the son of a 
baron. The son of M. du Oorpsdieu. This little phrase of itself 
must tell you many things. I think that you will not desire much 
to see such a man as 1 am coming into your house to revive the 
associations which the name of M. de Corpsdiou will jertainly re- 
call to your memory. So be kind enough to come and see me. No. 
20, Court of the JJrugoun, in a liouse of mean appearance where I 
lodge, in the last room of the last story. The Ccnirt of the Dragoon 
is only a few steps from de Varennes street. Yes, decidetlly, I 
think that you would rather come and see me than receive nie in 
your mansion, where, perhaps, it would bo diftictilt to explain my 
presence to the Admiral de la Marche. Be that as it may, one day 
or other, whether you come to me, or I go to you, there is one 
thing you may be certain of : it is that your reputation of virtue 
and your honor depends upon the reception you will extend to this 
letter from your most humble and most obedient, 

* Robert Bur:el.' 

The letter was evidently an attempt to blackmail her mother ; it 
was odious ; it was infamous ; there was nothing serious in it, and 
Bilence and contempt would be the best answer to it. Such was 
the first thought of Mme. de Moray ; but when she had recovered 
from her astonishment, she commenced to reflect on its contents. 
There was only one thing to do ; tear up the impure sheet, throw 
it into the fire, and pay no attention to it. But however resolved 
Laura might have been to carry this into effect, as she was about to 
tear the letter she changed her mind. Since Providence had per- 
mitted, her to open this cursed envelope, it was because Providence 
had chosen her to find out the mystery of this infamy, and to hide 
the secret of it from her mother. Yes, she would go herself to this 
rendez-vous ; she would see this Robert Biirel ; she would ask him 
the explanation of his threats ; she would crush him under the 
weight of her indignation ; she would force him to blush, to trem- 
ble, perhaps. 

This resolution once taken, she was not long in executing her pro- 
ject. Without speaking to anybody, without even calling her maid, 
she hastily dressed herself and went out. The street of the Dra- 
goon is only a few steps from de Varennes street. A few minutes 
after, Laura arrived there, and entered into the Court of the Dra- 
goon itself. She went straight before her until she reached the 
number indicated. The house, older and darker than the others. 


had six stories. She started to climb the stairs without stopping, 
sullbcated to some extent l)y the rapidity of her ascension, but still 
more so by the foul smells emanating; from every hole and corner. 
More than once she nearly fainted. However, in spite (.f her n-pul- 
sion, she went up until she reached the last story, where she found 
a lo\i(r papsaj^e with doors openin<^ right and left ; slie fcjllowed this 
passage to the last door. Before entering her courage failed her for 
a moment. Her heart was beating as if it was going to break. She 
thought she had been foolish to come, and chiefly to come alone ; 
that a trap was set behind those rotten boards. * if 1 should rim 
away ? ' she said to herself. JJut she was ashamed of her instinctive 
terror. What could she fear / And even admitting that there was a 
hidden danger, was it not her duty to face it in place of her mother ? 
Tlie key was in the door. She did not open, but knocked. A voice 
answered : 

' Come in ! ' 

One last hesitation ; one last effort of her will. Abruptly, the 
courageous woman turned the key, pushed the door open, and en- 
tered. She found herself in a small room, furnished only with a 
broken chair, an iron bedstead, whose mattress had not been shaken 
nor the clothes washed for a long time, and a rough table. Light 
was obtained from a sky-light cut through the ceiling. Laura at 
lirst could distinguish nothing, bxit her eyes becoming accustomed 
to the obscurity, she soon noticed a man standing in front of her. 
He had evidently just got up, for his hair was in disorder ; he was 
looking at her with astonishment. After the first moment of em- 
barrassment on the part of both of them, the young man opened 
the conversation. 

* To whom have 1 the honor to speak ? ' he said, contemplating 
with curiosity the noble woman who was bringing into this miser- 
able room the perfume of her virtue, and the radiant brilliancy of 
her beauty. 

Laura did not answer directly. 

' M. Robert Burel ? ' she said in her turn. 

' It is myself,' said the young man. ' Take the trouble to sit 
down, madam.' 

And he advanced the only chair which was in the room. She 
would have preferred to refuse it, but since she had come, she 
thought it was better not to wound his feelings, so she sat down. 
She was very much astonished. The man standing before her did 
not answer to the idea she had formed of him. In spite of his 
worn-out clothes, and the paleness of his face, which was certainly 
due to the misery and anguish of poverty, the wretch had the appear- 
ance and manners of a man of the world. His voice was sorrowful 
and full of bitterness. But his language was correct, and his in- 
tonation naturally distinguished. 


' So, then, you are truly Robert Burel ? ' asked Laura again, not 
noticing', in her trouble and her astoniahment, that she had already 
asked the qut'stion. 

'I have had the honor to tell you so a moment ago,' said the 
young man, smiling. ' But you, madam, have not told me who you 
are. ' 

And yielding to an old habit of courtesy, he continued with less 

' But I know, in return, who you are not. Your ai;o and your 
beauty cannot belong lo the person to a person I was ex- 

* You mean Mme. do hi Marche,' Laura said with emijhasis. 

■ Her.self,' answered the young man, bowing coldly. ' So, how- 
ever flattering your visit may be, I am obliged to repeat my que?, 
lion for the third time : To whom have I the honor to speak, and 
how is it that JNInie. de la March-j has seen lit to send you in her 
])lac3. It is to her interest not to mix a stranger in the subjects I 
intended to discuns with her.' 

' Mme. de la Marche does not know of this visit, and I h^ipe she 
will never see the letter you have written, and which 1 have opened. 
1 am the Countess de Moray, the daughter of Mini;, de la Mirche.' 

'Then,' said the young man astonished, 'you are my sister.' 

On hearing these words : ' You are my sister ! ' Laura thought 
the man was crazy. But instead of being frightened she felt a 
great joy. Everything was explained ncjw. Tlie man who had 
written t'.iat thre ttening, almost <lisgraceful letter, was a poor 
wretch dev^oid of reascm. However, she wanted to know how far 
his insanity extended, and she .spike to him softly, and humoring 
his whim. 

' Ah ! ' she said, ' 1 am your sister. 1 did not know. Now, 
Monsieur Burel, will you ex[»lain to me how it happens that 1 am 
your sister. Lnagine tliat my father and mother have forgotten to 
tell me that i had a brother ! ' 

Robert lof)ked at her with astonishment, although he was a man 
not to be sur[)ri.sed at lillle things. At first he thought Mme. de 
Moray was mocking him, and spoke with irony. But he soon dis- 
covered the trutl* in noticing a tender pity in her eyes. 

'Ah ! ' he said in his turn, ' y<)U believe that I am a lunatic, or 
that I am drunk. You are mistaken. It is a long time since there been enough wine in this room to nuike me tipsy, and I have 
not sull'ered enough yet to shatter my reason. Believe me, madam, 
I have told you the truth, and I am truly your brother.' 

Laura felt, tliat the unfortunate man, if he was crazy, sp ike in 
earnest, and believed what he asserted. But hia pretension was 
so absurd that she did not think it was necessary to hear any more. 
She rose to go, saying : 


* If you really believe what you are saying, sir, it is not to me, it 
is not even to my mother that you must apeak. Address yourself to 
Admiral do la Marchf, that is to say, your father. Me will answer 

She thought to end the adventiiro with those words. At least, 
she was contidiu'^ the honor of her mother to a nuin whose situa- 
tion and authority would promptly deal with this groundless pre- 

* I beg your pardon,' said Robert, motioning her by a gesture to 
sit down again. * I see that you do not understand clearly, and in 
your interest as well as in the interest of your mother, I beg of you 
not to be too hasty, I have told you that I was your brother, but 
I did not say that I had the honor to be the son of the admiral ; 
and p: rhaps you will think, now that yon are better actjuainted 
with the situation, that it is useless to tell him of the ties which 
bind us to each other, o\itside of his knowledge.' 

Only then Mnie. de Moray understood the full moaning of the 
pretensions of the man. He called himself the son of Mme. de la 
JNIache, and not that of her husband, a son conceived in sluime and 
in crime. Her blood rushed to her face, and she felt a choking 
sensation in her throat. 

' Ah ! ' she cried, as soon as she could speak ; ' you accuse my 
mother, that is to say, a saint : she whose name is synominous with 
honor and virtue ; the worthy companion of the most respected 
man the world knows ! It is a cowardly and infamous act ! You are 
not a lunatic, sir, you are a bandit ! ' 

Robert Burel had listened to her insults without interruption. 
In spite of himself, he admired the great love, and the deep venera- 
tion of the daughter defending her mother. However, he was not 
a man to be dominated by such sentiments, and he continued : 

' I am sorry that you have opened the letter I sent to your 
mother. If slie had come, instead of you, thi^ painful scene would 
i!ot have taken place. Trust me, give me back the letter you have 
intercepted. I shall put it under a new envelope, addressed to 
Mme. de la Marche. JShe will read it and she will come, and you 
may be sure that she v/ill not rebel as you think you have a right 
to do in her name.' 

For a moment Mme. de Moray felt inclined to follow this advice. 
Not that she believed that her mother was guilty, but because the 
thoiiglit that with one word the nol)le woman would justify herself. 
Hut she also thought that this accusation, although baseless and 
plauderouB, would wound her deeply, and since she was engaged in 
it, it WHS better that she should go on to the end. She looked at 
Burel. The man was about thirty years old, althon;:h excesses of 
all kinds, poverty and the deceptions of life made him look much 
older. Although marked with the stigma of misery and vice, one 


could easily distinguish the degenerated offspring of a pure race. 
Laura even thought she could see a distant resemblance to the 
handsome face of her mother. She was startled. 

* Come,' she said then, * I want to know what you have to say. 
Tell me all.' 

Robert looked at her in his turn, hesitating to engage in a contest 
with a sister, whom he did not know fifteen minutes before, whilst, 
if it had been Mme. de la Marche, he would have had only to men- 
tion his name, or rather the name which was in his letter, and 
which was his father's. 

* You wish itr he asked. 
' I wish it. ' 

* Very well. Blame only yourself if the secret I am going to re- 
veal makes you suffer in your respect for her who is truly my 
mother as she is yours.' 

Laura was startled. In spite of herself, the firmness of the young 
man's voice shook her faith. 

' My story is very simple,' commenced Robert, 'and whatever 
prejudice you may have against me, you will very soon acknowledge 
that J deserve your pity more than your hatred. 1 am truly the 
son of M. de Corpadieu and of Mme. de la Marche, and if you want 
proofs, I shall place under your eyes letters from your mother which 
attest it. 

And he gave her the letters. In these Mme. de la Marche re- 
vealed with a heart-rending sincerity, the painful secret of her 
life. The first, dated July 25th, without any indication of the year, 
read thus: 

'To M. de Corpsdieu, — 

* An evil ! a terrible evil ! It wanted that to force me to write, 
to induce mo to be the first to break tlie silence I had claimed and 
obtained from you. Suppose, invent the most v;errible punishment 
(iod could reserve for the guilty wife. You understand, do you 
not ? It is almost two years since my husband is away, thousands 
of leagues from France, and in seven months I will be a mother ! 

* I write to-day because I do not know if I will have the strength 
to do so in a few days. Still I must recommend to your care the 
child I cannot keep. You will be notified by the doctor. Be in 
waiting in the forest where we used to meet ; you will receive the 
child and take him away.' 

• ••••.•••*• f 

The last letter was dated seven months later. 

J 2th February. 

' It will be this night. I am already suffering. The doctor will 
take this letter to you. Wait at the place appoint-ed. This letter 
will probably be the last souvenir you will have from me, for per- 
haps God will have the kindness to call me to him ! ' 


Wlien sho had finished, big tears escaped from Miiio. do Moray's 

* Oh ! my mother ! ' she muttered, 'I understand now the reason 
why your features always bear the stamp of sorrow! It is the re- 
morse which follows you ! ' 
However, she raised her head. 

' It is true,' she said in broken accents; ' Mme. de la Marche has 
forgotten her duty, and a son was born to her from her guilty love 
with M. de Corpsdieu, but where are the proofs thai you are really 
that son. How am I to know that you have not stolen this terrible 
secret and that you make an infamous use of it without being the 
one you pretend to be V 

' Wait a minute,' answered the young man, who had regained all 
his coolness after the embarrassment of the first moment. ' Let me 
go on with my story. The child was brought by the doctor to M. 
de Corpsdieu who was waiting at a small door of your mother's 
park. Before delivering his light burden, the doctor hesitated a 
little. " I have nothing to fear from you," he said. *' The life of 
this child will be sacred to you / " A word and a gesture re-assurred 
him. M. de Corpsdieu then started in the night. Towards noon 
he arrived at a small farm which belonged to him, distant about 
twelve leagues. He had heard, by chance, that the farmer's wife 
had just been confined. M. de Corpsdieu pretended to have found 
the child on the highway. He made his declaration to the mayor 
of the commune, and gave the child the name of Robert. Here is 
a legal copy of this declaration. See, father and mother unknown. 
The name of Burel belongs to ray adopted parents. 1 have always 
borne it without having any right to it. 

* A few weeks after M. de la Marche arrived in France, and found 
his wife in such a poor state of health, bodily and mentally, that he 
made her quit, in less than an hour, the wild country she had lived 
in during the past three years. M. de Corpsdieu, also very un- 
happy, tried to forget, and for that purpose he commenced to travel. 
When I was old enough he took me with him, and to-day there are 
very few countries in the world I have not visited. However, the 
health of M. de Corpsdieu was greatly impaired by the fatigues he 
had undergone, and one day, conscious of his approaching end, he 
thought he would tell me of the ties which united us. In truth, 
this revelation did not astonish me, for 1 expected it every day. 

' Still, in telling me the history of his life, M. de Corpsdieu had 
made a reserve : he had obstinately refused to divulge the name of 
my mother. As I was pressing him to let me know it, more out of 
curiosity than out of love for the woman who had given me birth 
in adultery, and who, after all, had placed a little late the duties 
of a wife above the duties of a mother, M. de Corpsdieu answered : 
"Do not insist any more, Robert, I shall not tell you that name. 

( (( 


The secret of the woman who has loved me, even if it was only 
one hour, innst die with me ! " 

'And still,' said Mine, de Moray, with bitterness, ' yon know 
that name, and to-day you want to make it an instrument of threats 
and of ' 

She hesitated. Robert laughed, 

* Why do you stop ?' ho asked. ' An instrument of blackmail. 
Very well ; 1 will not dispute about words. But before y<»u i^ive 
way to surprise and accuse me let me finish.' 

' Sliortly after this conversation M. de Corpsdieu died, leavini^ n)e 
all his fortune by his will. To the will was annexed a letter in 
which my fatlier accused himself of having allowed my |.a^aiona to 
take too much empire over me, aud lastly, he expressed the fear, 
that in case of rum and reverses, I would not have enous|h strength 
to fight against adverse fortune. 

* " On the day you find yourself ruined," he said, at the end of his 
letter, " go and see the notary who has given you this letter, and if 
he thinks your ])osition sufficiently desperate, he will hand you a 
little box. In tliis box you will find the name of your mother, and 
convincing proofs that you are truly her son. Perhaps she will be 
able to help you, in her turn, iu your hour of distress. It is a 
liberty which I have not the paitiful cour.aga to spare her at the 
moment death is on me, and when I fear for you the dangers of 
wealth too easily acquired." 

'You see;' qni«ily said Robert, addressing Mme. de Moray, 
' that I make an open confession, as I had intended making it to 
Mme. de la Marche, without disguising what I am or what I am 
not, worth. One thing is certain, the predictions of my father were 
realized to the letter. I sqiiandered a part of my fortune, I managed 
the remainder very badly, and I tried to recoup myself at the 
gaming table until, about six months a-^o, I found myself totally 
ruined. Since that time, I tried everything, and succeeded in 
nothing. In despair, I intended to shoot myself with this pistol, 
which is the last remnant of my j)a3t splendor, and which I would 
not have sold for my last piece of bread, when I remembered the 
letti r anmxed to the will of my father. " But I am forgetting 
that I have a mother ! " I cried, and I went to the notary's. Faith- 
ful to the missitm he had received from my father, he gave me the 
box which M. de Corpsdieu nad entrusted to his care, and which 
he supposed contained a reserve of money prudently put aside. 
In the box I found the letters of your mother, of my mother I can 
say now, which I have just shown you. They are signed only with 
(me initial letter, but the note annexed to them bears the following 
words : 

'"The letters herewith annexed have been written by Muie. 
Firmin de la Marche. The child therein mentioned, born from her, 


and belonging to me, bears the name of Robert Burel. At the 
moment I am wiitini^ these lines, knowinc^ that I am near my end, 
I swear on my eternal salvation tliey contain the wliole truth, and 
that Robert Burel is truly my son, and the son of Mine, de la 
Marche. Signed, Baron pe CoursDiEr." 

' I must confess that I was amazjd on reading this declaration. 
I did not know Mme, de la Marche any more tha;i I ktiow hor to- 
day. I have never seen her. But she has such a high reputation 
for ht>nor and virtue that I had to read the ii(hrmat,ions of my 
father several times before I could believe theuj. Now that the 
secret of my birth was known to me, I was almost as much embar- 
r<iS3ed as before. Whit was the use of my nioth''r'.s name to me 
since she was n<.t free and could not come to my helj) efficaciously ?' 
' You never had a mother, and now that you disc(jvered one, you 
did not feel your heart inundated with joy ?' cried Laura. 'In 
your place I would have seen my motht-r within an hour. I 3h<iuld 
have placed myself mysteriously in her passage, and 1 would have 
elevated n)y heart towards God with feelings of thanks and grati- 
tude ! ' 

Robert Burel looked at her with an air of deep stupefaction. 
Evidently he had not understood at first. But he soon recovered 
his composure. 

* Ah ! yes,' he said. *I see what you mean ; elevated sentiment, 
is it not ? My mother ! I have a mother ! S ived ! I am saved I 
Well, no, I Confess it, I did not think of that at all when I learui 
my mother's name ! And, if we are so ditfi-rcnt from each other 
with regard to filial love, it is because both of us have, in the same 
jifcrdon, you, an angelic mother, worthy of all your tenderness, and 
I, a guilty mother, unnatural, and who deserves, if not hatred, at 
least indifierence on my part.' 

' Then a mother might not be loved,' cried Laura, with an accent 
of rev(rlt. 

' Would you love your mother,' cried Robert, brutally, 'if you 
had never known her, and if she had abandoned you completely ? 
For it is true ! I have been aWandi^ned by her. I nui;ht have been 
thrown into some ori>han asylum, condemned to misery, to sufier- 
ing, and slie would have known nothing of it. The pauper to 
whom she gives alms in the street might have been mo, and sho 
might have refused me help, not knowing who I was.' 

' You complain because she has abandoned you,' cried Laura. 
' But just think of thi.", she was married ! What could she do ? ' 

' She should not have brought me into the world.' coolly answer- 
ed Robert, 'and when she had done so, she should have hud tht; 
courage to sutler the Cfinsequences of her fault, insteail of throwing 
her responsibility on the innocent. But wliy this discussion be- 
tween us ? You will not persuade me any more than 1 shall convince 


you. Each of us is in his role, and wo are both ri(,'ht, acjording to 
the standpoint in which we are respectively placed.' 

* Very well,' said Laura, ' but you have an objective view in 
demanding an interview from Mme. de la Marche. Let me know 
what you expect from her, and if it be possible, I will try and sat- 
isfy you.' 

* Whether it be possible or not,' coolly answered Robert, ' it will 
have to bo done. So I will let you know what I would have said 
to Mme. de la Marche. I have imprudently wasted my life ; I have 
no resources , I am deserted by all those whom I have obliged, or 
who have simply been my companions of pleasure ; I have only one 
ambition, one dream, to leave this country, where I hate every 
thing and every person, and go into a new world to start life anew. 
But I will Mot make such an attempt exhausted and vanquished on 
the start for want of resources. I will not wear out the few years 
of manhood and the spark of energy still left in me, in conquering 
degree by degree the elements of the fortune for which I am going 
to fight. I want arms and ammunition before I engage in the 
struj/gle for life.' 

*I understand, said Mme. de Moray, who saw with joy a means 
of avoiding the living peril threatening the honor of her mother. 
' You want money ? ' 

There was, howeve.*, an involuntary accent of contempt in her 
exclamation. Robert Burel noticed it, and smiled. 

' Money ! ' he said, ' yes, money ! Did not your mother give you 
money when you were married ? And still how many things did you 
get which I had not : consideration, a family, the love of all those 
surrounding you. To all this your mother has added the benefit of 
a dowry. By what right would she refuse one to me, who has re- 
ceived nothing of all this of which you are so largely possessed ? ' 

' Further discussion is useless,' said Laura, with pride. * We are 
making a bargain now. What are your exigencies ] ' 

Robert hesitated a little. 

' What dowry did you receive when you were married ? ' he 

' I could not say exactly ; eight hundred thousand francs, I be- 
lieve. ' 

'Well,' said the young man, slowly, and weighing his words, 
'my exigencies, to borrow your own term, will not be extravagant. 
Let your mother give me the eighth part only of what she has 
given you, and I will never trouble her again.' 

Tins figure startled Mme. de Moray. 

* One hundred thousand francs ! ' she cried. ' Where do you sup- 
pose I could get that sum ? ' 

' I do not ask it from you, but from your mother.' 
' Do you think that she could dispose of such a large sum 
any more than I can, even if I told her of your demand i ' 


* This is not a demand, it is a bargain. My departure and my 
silence depend on that sum.' 

* But once more what you ask is impossible. Women, as you 
are well aware, do not dispose of their fortune. ' 

* It is the duty of Mme. de la Marche to do impossiblities. In 
giving me birth she has contracted a debt towards me, and if she 
attempts to forfeit it, I will reveal it to the whole world.' 

* You would not do that ! ' cried Mme. de Moray, * you would 
not betray your mother's secret ! ' 

* Upon my life, I swear that I would do it,' answered Robert, with 
quiet firmness. 

The unhappy young woman felt as if strangled by a will and 
force that nothing could conquer. 

* I would willingly give you millions if I could ! ' she muttered. 
* I will try to find the sum you are asking. I will — I will ' 

' You, or your mother ; it is immaterial.' 

' Oh ! it will be I,' said Laura, trembling. ' Can you suppose I 
would have the courage to reveal to my mother that I possess her 
secret. Once more, it will be I. I will look, I will try ; I have 
jewels ; I will sell them, I will pawn them.' 

* There is another means. If you do not want to speak of this 
to your mother, tell your husband. M. de Moray is very wealthy, 
I am told. He will give you the money. ' 

Laura rebelled at the proposition. 

' Tell my husband,' she cried. ' What kind of a conscience have 
you to admit that even to my husband, chiefly to my husband, I 
would reveal this secret. I would rather die than cause him to lose 
the respect he bears to the old age of my beloved mother. Yes, 
die ! a hundred times ! ' 

' As you will,' said Robert, with carelessness. ' Take whatever 
means you see fit, provided you succeed. When will you give me 
this money ? I give you forty -eight hours.' 

' But it is impossible ! ' 

* It is your business to make it possible. The day after to-mor- 
row, at the same time, I shall await you here.' 

* Here ! ' protested Laura. * No, not here. I could not resign my- 
self to re-enter this room, where I have learned such frightful 

' Another place is the same to me. . Where then ? ' 
' Well, I do not exactly know. Why not at the church of Saint- 
Gerniain-des-Pr(?3, where I usually go? ' 

* Very well, the day after to-morrow, at the same hour. It is un- 
derstood. ' 

' Yes, but ' 



' When I shall have given you the money, if I succeed in getting 
it, how can I tell that the same danger will not exist.' 

* If I gave you my word, you would not believe in it. I can only 
oflFer one thing. In exchange for the bank-notes you will remit me, 
T will give you the letters of your mother and the declaration of my 
father. I assure you that in making this bargain I have not ex- 
ceeded my just rights. But if, after you havn given me that sum, 
I attempt to do the same thing again. 1 would hx^k upon myself as 
a mean scoundrel, and I swear to you I am not one. Look at me 
full in the face, and judge if you are to believe me ? ' 

Granting his demand, Laura looked in his eyes, and however 
painful their interview had been, she could not help but feel a 
softer emotion. Under the stigma of excesses of all kinds could be 
seen a noble and handsome face. Laura had already noticed the 
resemblance between Robert and her mother. She was still more 
struck by it in this solemn moment. Whf> knows what the man 
would ' ve become if he had not been condemned by his birth to 
a life ot adventures. There were certainly strong extenuating cir- 
cumstances in his favor. 

' Yes,' she said, ' I believe you, and I will attempt the impos- 
sible to help you to start life anew ; and I sincerely wish that you 
will find happiness.' 

Her voice trembled in saying these last words. Robert noticed 

* Here ! ' he said in a more anxious tone, * I am really very glad 
that you have seen my letter and that you have come. It seems to 
me that I call you sister more willingly than I would have said 

He extended her his hand. Laura took it without hesitation. 

' The day after to-morrow, four o'clock, at St. Germain-des- 
Prds,' she said. 

*The day after to-morrow.' 

Laura went away much troubled, so much so that she was nearly 
run over by a carriage. In leas than five minutes after, she was in 
her room. She forbade entrance to everybody and recalled to her 
mind the events of the pait few months. Certainly she had known, 
in less than a year, many sorrows. Her heart had been struck in 
its tendorest place as a mother and as a wife. She had nearly lost at 
one blow, the two beings to whom she had consecrated her whole 
life, her daughter, her belov-td Paulette, and Roger, her husband. 
And when she had endured these cruel trials, fhe thought they were 
the extreme limit of suffering, but the unexpected wound alie had 
received that day was more horrible than all the others. Her 
mother, her venerated mother, had been sacrificed oti the altar she 
had erected to her in her he.irt ! Be it said to her praise, so L;re;it was 
the affection she felt towards that mother, even guilty, that it did 


not shake either her love or her respect. She pitied her, that's all. 
Tr()uV)le(l as she was, she could not appear before her family with- 
out l»etrayiiig herself, so she excused herself and did not come 
dtnvii to dinner, and she soon felt so ill she went to bed, iisk- 
ing not to be disturbed in her sleep. The reader can easily guess 
the nature of such a slumber ; a vigil, torpid and full of threaten- 
ing dreams ! 

The next day she got up very early, however. She had a strug- 
gle to engage in, a territ)le struggle, to tiud one hundred thousand 
francs in forty-eight hours ; and nearly twonfy had already gone 
by. She went out and took a carriage which brought her to one of 
tlie greatest jewellers of Paris, M. Smith. All her jewels had been 
bought in his stores, her wedditig ornaments, and the presents 
made by her husband on different occasions. M. Smith had also 
reset some expensive family diamonds given to her by her mother. 
By a happy chance, althoiigh it was hardly ten o'clock, M. Smith 
had arrived. Mme. de Moray asked to speak to him in private, she followed him into his ofhce. Ttiere she made him ac- 
quainted, with much embarrassment, with the object < f her visit. 
For some reason she would not give, she wanted a considerable sum 
of money, unknown to her hus^ and. She must have one buutlrtd 
thousand francs, this very day. She had brought him in payment 
her Hnest jewels. Would he be kind enough to replace the real 
stones by imitations, so that the substitution could not not be sus- 
pected 1 Very much astonished at this demand, M. Smith answered 
that the jewels rei>resented certainly a greater value than the sum 
she wanted. But he was not in a position to give it at such a short 
notice. He had just bought for cash a large amount of goods, 
and he did not like to borrow. He would bo able to accommodate 
her in four or five days. However, if Mme. de Moray found her- 
self in a very pressing need of money, he might . Laura did not 

dare to insist. 

' No,' she said, ' in four days. Only will you bo kind enough to 
give me a word stating that the sum will bo at my disposal at that 
date. It will be sufhcient, I think.' 

The jeweller gave her what she asked, and, more reassured, she 
entered the housi in time for breakfast. It seemed to the poor 
woman as if God was seconding her etforts to save her mother. On 
that day and during the beginning of the next she f<.'lt relatively 
better, and her parents, her husband, the Duchess de San Lucca 
and Annibal Palmeri, who were now living in close intimacy were 
very j^lad to see that her indisposition had not been serious. In 
the afternoon she went out to make her usual visits ; as the count 
was asking her why she did not drive, she said she wanted to walk, 
and she started on foot. At four o'chick she entered the church. 
In the darkness of the nave, she at first could see nothing. But 


very soon her eyes became used to the dim light provided by a few 
candles, and she noticed a man leaning against a pillar near the 
entrance. She went up to him. It was Robert. 

*I was beginning to think you were not coming,' he said in alow 
tone, 'and I was preparing to go to your mansion.' 

' You would not have done that,' she answered, trembling at the 

' But I would,' he said with his usual carelessness, and speaking 
loudtT than the solemnity of the holy place allowed. 

Laura placed her hand upon his arm to remind him that he should 
lower his voice. 

* Well,' he s:iid, heeding her mute observation, ' you ha^e the 
money ? ' 

' No, I have not, but ' 

* You have not ! ' repeated the young man, ' and still, you pro- 
mised. Ah ! you have done wrong to deceive me. But it will be 
of no use, 1 can a sure you. What I have not done two diiys ago, 
I shall do to-morrow, or rather this evening. Before an hour, I 
will have seen your mother. ' 

' 1 beg of you,' said the unhappy woman, ' not to speak so loud. 
I have not deceived you, and here is the i)roof.' 

Then taking from her pocket the note given her by the jeweller, 
she proved conclusively the reality of the efforts she had made, 

' You can see,' she added with anxiety, ' that I am not deceiving 
you. M. Smith decliires that I have entrusted him with a certain 
number of jewels on which he will give me the sum of one hundred 
thousand francs. Tiiat was yesterday morning. The date is written 
above the signature. Then in three days I shall have the money. 
In truth it is not too much to ask from you ! ' 

In the midst of her supplications, she was despairing, because he 
was hesitating ; at List he made a sign of assent. 

'Very well,' he said, ' in three days. But it is the very last 
delay. Here, in three days, at the same hour. If you are not here 
then, I shall go to your niother's and whatever may happen, I will 
give to whoever is entitled to them the letters which prove her dis- 
honor ! ' 

* Ah ! ' said Laura, * the ransom you exact for my mother's fault 
is cruel, and you know too well what means to employ to obtain the 
payment of it. But I am in your hands, and there is no use in 
repeating these words because nothing can touch your heart.' 

She went away rapidly, and Robert in his turn, left the church a 
few moments after. When she was home, Mme. de Moray felt 
calmer. She had, in spite of all, once more averted the dangers 
threatening the honor of her mother, and, chiefly, the reet and 
happiness of her father. In acting as she did, it seems to her that 
she was paying to her beloved parents the debt of gratitude she had 


contrac*;ed towards them since her birth, and which was made of 
dovotedneas and love. At the family grttherinj,' on that evening, her 
mind was calmer and her heart softer than it had been during the 
last few days. The serenity of the whole family was a proof of that, 
and Laura gave the example of a gaiety which astonished them all. 
As Mine, de la Marche was enquiring, with a sad smile, the only 
one which at times flitted across her features, what made her so 
happy, she felt that she must divert the astonishment wliich her 
bearing might provoke. 

• Oh ! dear mother !' she said, ' just think ! I have received this 
morning, as you are aware, a letter from my daughter, a letter so 
sweet and tender. In the same letter Aunt Basilique has written a 
few words, saying that, although still very weak, my beloved Pau- 
lette is progressing towards a cure. In three or four months at the 
most, now, I am certain, I "will see my daughter again.' 


A few intimate friends had dined on that evening with Mme. de 
la Marche. Amongst them were the Duchess de San Lucca and her 
brother. At eleven o'clock, after tea, everybody retired. The 
reader will remember that the duchess occupied the first story of 
the mansion, which she had fitted up in gorgeous style. Usually 
she would retire alone and bid good-night to her brother on the 
landing. Annibal used to go out to spend the night in some gam- 
bling hell, or in one of his familiar boudoirs. On that evening as 
he was oftering to shake hands, as was his wont, she stopped him. 

* No,' she said, 'come up with me.' 

' But somebody is waiting for me.' 

' I'hey will wait, that's all. Come up, I tell you, I must speak to 

In this household of adventurers, the sister was the reigning 
power. Her brother submitted and went up. The duchess rapidly 
undressed herself, put on a rich dressing gown covered with lace, 
and sent her maid away, telling her to bid M. Palmeri, who was 
waiting in the next room, to come in. 

' Sit down there,' said Gorgon abruptly to Peppo, when they were 

And she showed him an arm-chair near the chimney. She re- 
mained standing or walked to and fro, as she used to do when she 
was much agitated. 

' Oh ! oh ! ' said Peppo sneering. ' ' It appears there is something 
up this evening. Little sister is like a lioness in her cage. And a 

78 A mar'ith. 

pretty cage it is, too,' lio continued lookinj? around liiiu ; ' you have 
nirdt! f his old den bciuitiful. It is splendid hero, and one can wait, 
without wciuineHS, the end of tlit; d.iys ho h;i8 to live.' 

' You are niif5taken,' abruptly siiid (joryoti, stopping in front of 
him. ' Ah heauijfid as it may bo, it is nevertheless a cage, and the 
lionc'-s will leavn it to-morrow.' 

' JCh ! ' cried I*ep)»o. ' What are you saying ? ' 

* I am saying what I mean,' sh(! said harshly, ro-commcricing her 
walk which she had interupted for a naoment. * It is to tell you of 
my resolution, that I have asked you to come up with mo this even- 
ing. Yen,' she cnntiinied, ahjuidoning herself to the enervating 
influences she had been trying to conceal all the evening, so as not 
to make a show (jf herself. ' I have enough of this fight. I give it 
np, anil 1 have resolved to go.' 

' Come, come, you are getting cruzy ! ' 

* I would become so if I continued this stupid slruugle any longer. 
I have had enough of it. I tell yon , and I declare myself vanquished. 

The young man put his hands to "his head with a gesture of comic 

' Santa Madonna,' he said. * I'll be hanged if I understand. Ex- 
plain yourself.' 

' J^isten, since you want to know my reasons. And perhaps it 
will soothe my nerves to tell them. You know why we left our 
house on de Villiers street, and why we came to live here.' 

' Undoubtedly, since I conceived the idea and furnished the 
means ; yon were in despair at the Capo of Antibes, because you had 
not siicceeded in getting intimate with some j., Parisian family. 
To satisfy your whim, because I swear to you that, 1 care not for 
these noble relations, I have managed our entrance into this den 
of nobility. On the day I revealed lay clever combination, you 
wildly embraced me; is it not the same thinjt now ? ' 

' The reason of the joy which 1 manifested then was the one you 
advance. But you must remember there was another.' 

* Ah ! yes, 1 remember,' said the JSeapolitan, laughing. 'You 
had some sort of a fancy for the handsome governor-general of Pon- 

' Say that I was njad after him. Say that I loved him with paa- 
sion the very minute I saw him. 1 never loved like that before, 
although I had received declaiations of love, in the streets of 
Naples, from the proudest and noblest, without feeling my heart 
beat any faster, without pleasure and without trouble. Say that 
my love for M. de Moray has increased ever since ; that to-day it 
possesses my whole being ; tliat it is the master of all my thout;hts 
and my actions. And whatever you may say, tell yourself that 
you are as much beneath the truth as the crawling worm is be- 
neath the shining star ! ' 


* Per Udcchu ! ' criod the young man with enthusiasm, ' yon aro 
(juite a hterary cliaracter, sori'.Ua tnia, one can see that yon frequent 
the theatre on Tuesdays. Reminiscences of Victor Hugo. Noth- 
ing else / ' 

' Do not laugh ! you cad ! do not joke ! You see very well that 
I am not playing a comedy, from the tone in which I speak. I 
have there,* and she struck her breast, *a true passion. And ho 
that loves truly is wnrth all the poets in the world ! ' 

' 1 beg your pardon, Mnie. the duchess, I will not laugh any 
more. Then ycm want to go because you love M. de Moray ; 
aiid he is insensible to your Hame, the impertinent fellow ! ' 

' You are stupid ! ' cried Gorgon. 'The passion 1 have for M. 
de ]\[oray is reciprocated by him. The same fever burns both 
of us ! ' 

There was an accent of gratified ambition in this exclamation. 
The pride of the beautiful girl, if not her love, must have been 
largely gratified to make her speak thus. 

' Then I understand less and less,' confessed Peppo, with hu- 
mility. 'You are loved and you love; that is perfect happiness. 
For, without prying into your secrets, my chaste sister ! 1 do not 
suppose you love in a platonic way / ' 

'I, no ! ' boldly answered (iorgon. * But he ! ' 

* You don't say so ? ' 

' It is even so, 1 assure you. And if you do not believe me, it 
is because you do not know as well as I do the idiots we call 
honest people. You do not know, either, the imperious sentiment 
which tlioy call honor ! ' 

' But I beg your pardon,' answered the adventurer, simply. * I 
have heard a good deal about it.' 

Gorgon shrugged her shoulders. 

' Whether you know this splendid sentiment or not, one thing is 
certain, these people are the heroes and victims of it. M. de Moray 
loves me. He confessed his love to me on the first day we met, in 
a moment of surprise and abandonment. But since that day he 
has sealed his lips, and he would be smcithered sooner than open 
them if a word of love was to fall from his heart.' 

' Hum ! such a virtue is too beautiful to be sincere. I would be 
tempted to believe that he does not love you any more.' 

* To convince me of that he must conceal the trouble in his eyes 
whun he looks at me, the emotion in his voice when he speaks to 
mc, the trembling of liis nerves when he is obliged to touch my 
hand when we meet or when we leave each other. Oh ! I assure 
you, he loves me ; or, if you prefer another word, he finds me 
beautiful and he desires me. But duty, but the respect he has for 
that woman whom I hate, because she is his wife and has a right to 
love and be loved, lastly, this absurd honor, which 1 told you about, 


all these thinf^a combined, build a wall between us which I am not 
powerful enough to demolish. This niwht I have played my last card, 
and I have lost. Whilst you were all conversing together, I said a 
few words to Roger privately ; I have thrown my love to him in a 
cry of distresp. He was before me, burnt himself by a 
flame wliich I guessed, which I saw, and which I felt in some sort. 
His eyes fell on mine, and they seemed to ask for mercy. He said 
nothing, however. " But why do not you answer at least one word ? '' 
I cried, tormented by his silence. For one moment I thought I had 
subdued his brutish obstinacy ; hia lips opened but closed again, 
locked by his inflexible will.' 

' And then?' asked Peppo, carried away by the violence of his 

' Then, he bowed deeply, respectfully, and walked away. And 
while I was trying to i^et over my emotion, I heard him, who had 
joined his wife and Mme. de la Marche, rejoice with them at the 
good news they had received that very day from Pondichery. His 
voice was still trembling, and I am sure that his emotion has been 
caused by my words. But these abhorred women could not under- 
stand that, and thev unduubtedly imagined that his emotion from paternal love. Happily that odious evening was nearing 
its end. We retired, and 1 have been able to tell you of my anger 
and of my powerlessness.' 

Having uttered these words, Gorgon fell exhausted into an arm- 
chair lieside her brother. In truth, she was to be pitied. The pas- 
sion she felt was culpable, even criminal. But it was sincere, and 
on that account Gorgon deserved some pity. Annibal, who until 
then had answered in a chaffing tone, was dominated by the invin- 
cible force of true sentiment. 

' Poor little sister ! ' he said, taking the hand of his accomplice, 
' I assure you that I am very sorry. Come, do you want me to help 
you ] ' 

*And what can you do? ' she asked disconsolately. 

* If r made you marry the man you love,' asked Palmeri, 'what 
would _you say? ' 

The beautiful girl looked at her brother with a ferocity which 
would have made any other tremble. 

' Ah ! ' she said, * you are joking yet. Have a care, Peppo ; it is 
a dangerous game, which I do not advise you to play.' 

' Look at me,' said the Neapolitan quietly. 'Do I look like a 
man who is joking ? Ungrateful girl that you are ! ' 

In spite of all there was an accent of brotherly friendship in this 
reproach. Gorgon understood it and excused herself. 

' Pardo me,' she said. * But I am truly so unhappy ! And what 
^ w tell me is so impossible ! ' 

' Why, impossible ? ' 


' Because he is already married.' 

* What odds ? His wife may disappear.' 

' Kill her ! You would do that ! In it indeed true that you would 
do that ft)r me ? ' 

Certainly at that moment, Gorgon would have put without re- 
mor-se a dagger into her brother's hand. But the serene tranquil- 
lity of Peppo appeased her suddenly. 

' Ah ! ' she said with bitterness, ' we are mad. Neitlier you nor 
I, whatever little scruples we may have, would think of doing such 
a thing.' 

'But I don't think 'f that,' quickly answered Annibal. * Diavolo! 
Kill people ! No ! No ! We could not do that, eapecia'ly when there 
are other means at hand to gain the end in view.' 

(jiorgon saw that her brother had a well defined project. And, 
however absurd it might be in its impossibility, she wanted to 
know it. 

' Come ! Speak ! ' she said. 'What is your plan? * 

* The only practical one — a divorce ! ' 
' A divorce i' 

'Yes ! You know that we are not in Italy here ; we inliabit a 
country where divorce flourishes. Indeed, it is said that one-half 
of France is in the act of obtaining a divorce from the other half,' 
he added, laughing. 

' T' i divorce ! that's true !' answered Gorgon. 'That's one 

But after thinking. 

' That is even more absurd than anything we have thought of jis 
yet,' she said. 'For a divorce, two tilings are wanted. A*^ Hrst a 
determined cause, and then the consent of him who could i'l./ko 
such a cause before the justice. And unhappily nothing of the kind 
exists in our case. The Countess de Moray, that woman whom I 
detest so deeply, is ab(jve all reproach. I am forced to acknowledge 
that ! And her husband has no other cause of hatred against her 
than the love he feels for me, if hn should consent to listen to the 
voice of his own love. It is a dream, 1 tell you. A dream which 
cannot be realized ! ' 

' Well, if I could give you proof to the contrary, what would you 
give me ] ' 

'Oh! heavens! Anything you may wish I The fortune of a 
Rotschild, if you could steal it like the other I ' 

' Per Baccho ! not so loud ! ' said Paliueri, looking around him 
with fright. ' One can never tell but there is some eaves- 
dropper ! ' 

He opened all the doors, and made sure that nobody had heard 
the imprudent remark of his sister. 

' Nobody,' he said, returning. * We are lucky. But I pray you, 


my dear, no more of these imprudences ! You make me tremMe ! 

The fortune of a Rotschild, y()U say ] No, little sister, mine is 

sufficient, lint some day I will ask yon, if I succeed in 

this undertaking ' 

' What i Fix your price. It is accepted in advance I ' 

' I cannot tell you now. I do not know myself. But whatever 

it may be, you swear? ' 

* 1 swear ! ' she said ' <m (iorgon'd faith ! Now tell me the mad 
hope you have in the possibility of a divorce.' 

* Well, my dear, nothing is simpler,' commenced the Neapolitan. 
' Mme. de Moray, that wc^man whose virtue you acknowledge with 
such disinter, stedness, Mme. de Moray has a lover.' 

' A lover ! ' 

' As 1 am telling you.' 

' You are mad ! Unhappily she is the purest, the most innocent, 
and the most irreproachable of women. Mme. de Moray loves her 
husband and has no lover, and 1 am sure of that.' 
' And [ affirm the contrary.' 

' If it were so, however!' muttered Gorgon. ' With her calm- 
ness, with her serenity, with her appearance of crushing virtue. 
Ah ! if it were so, I think 1 would admire that woman, because, in 
truth, it would be splendid.' 

' My dear, ' philosophically answered Peppo, * I have heard some- 
body who know say that when honest women become rogues, tliey 
are more so than others.' 

' Have you got proofs i ' asked Gorgon, anxiously. 
' Do you think 1 would speak of such a thing if I did not have 
proofs ? ' 

Proofs ! Although her brother had promised them, the splendid 
girl, carried away by passion, could not believe it. Indeed, it 
would be too much to expect ; she did not yet know what advan- 
tat^d she would derive from the dipcover}'. But to satisfy her jea- 
lousy and her hatrid, the certitude that the golden statue, which 
crushed her with her lyii'g chastity, had ftet (»f clay, was sufficient. 
And as Annibal was observing on her face the many impressio, s 
caused by his words, she urged him. 

' Why don't you speak,' she said, with passion. ' Don't you see 
I am boiling ? So you say that the Countess de Moray has a 
lover / ' 

* When I say she has a lover, 1 do not exactly mean that.' 
Gorgon trembled at this, but she was soon reassured. Her bro- 
ther continued : 

* I should have said she has had a lover And the love story 
actually carried on is an old intrigue nearing its end.' 

' Explain yourself clearly,' insisted the young woman, with im- 


' You will understand. It is as clear as crystal. Four days a<^o 
I was walking the street abo\it half-past three, not knowing exactly 
where to go, when a woman, who was walking very fast, JDstled nio 
on her way. My attention was arrested for a few secern la, and al- 
though 1 saw only her l>ack, I thought I knew her. I followed her 
and soon discovered that tliis elegant lady was jNInie. de Moray.' 

' Where was she going ? ' 

' That's the question I asked myself ; and she nmst have been 
much jireoccupied to have thus JDstled me without perceiving it. 
Where was sh«^ going, and what was the cause of her ineocctipation / 
Such was the double mystery I resolved to clear. There was only 
one way to obtain that result ; it was to foll')W the good lady, and 
I did so very cleverly, so as not to awaken her suspicions, if by 
chance she would turn around. In a very short time she turned into 
Dragoon street. 

* What is that street ? ' asked Gorgon. 

' A street of mean appearance which your excellency has certainly 
not crossed in your (piality of noble duchess, and which wcmld not be 
out of place in the suburbs wheie we lived when we were in Naples. 
But it is not the street, it is the court ono must see. This court is 
a sort of city where W(»rkingnien dwell. Mine, de Moray walked up 
to the dirtiest of these ugly houses. A thought cauie to my mind, 
and I called myself an idiot. There was only oi/e cause which could 
bring the noble countess to such a plac<'. It was for charity's sake. 
Very certainly the daughter of the admiral was paying a benevolent 
visit to some of the paupert; who l)esiege her dooi' day and .light. 1 
was moved, upon my word, aid 1 reproached myself for liaving cast 
suspicions on a virtue which did not disd;iin to carry her oHeiings 
to the poor in their own homes. !So, as a i)nnishment, I resolved 
to wait until she would come out again. " When she will appear," 
I said to myself, " 1 will go to her, tell her that I have followed her, 
and I will give her a few pounds to increase the budget of her 
charities." ' 

'So, you aie charitable V askevl Gorgon, ironically. 

* Why not ?' quietly said the Neipolit an. ' ' As o[iportunity ofTers. 
Ar.d you must admit that the occa8i<jn was tc-mpting, since it would 
attract the good graces of a woman who after all has not much love 
for us. So I waited. I have told yoii it v, as h.ilf-past three when 
I commenced my duty as sentry ; at six o'elork 1 was s'ill on duty.' 

' Stupid ft)ol ! ' you had not noticed the countess coming out, or 
she had gone by some other way.' 

' That's just what I thought myself ; however I stayed there 
with patience, and was rewirdod with success, for at a quarter past 
six Mme. de Moray appeared.' 

' And what did you say to her, then 1 ' 


' Nothing. I had changed my plan. Certainly this charitable 
lady was not on an errand to a pauper. One does not remain three 
hours in a hovel for the purpose o^ leaving alms. So there must be 
something else. As soon as I saw her, I felt sure that I was not 
mistaken. The eyes of the countess were red and heavy, and she 
evidently had shed many tears in the course of her long visit. I 
started after her, saw that she was nearly killed by a carriage, which, 
in her troubled state of mind, she had not noticed, and finally 1 
saw hur enter this house.' 

' When did you say it happened ] ' asked Gorgon. 

* Four days ago.' 

* But, if i am not mistaken, that was the day the countess was 
unwell, and did not come down to dinner.' 

* Exactly, and it was prudent on her part to do so, because her 
state of mind would have excited the curiosity of all those honest 

' Why did you not tell me of your discovery ? ' 

* \ou know that I like to tell you of these things when I am sure 
of success. 1 have my self-pride, zounds ! You can easily guess 
that I resolved to find out the mystery at once, and that I com- 
menced to spy the countess in earnest. The very next morning 
Mine, de Moray, with a satchel in her hand, took a carriage and 
went to Smith's, the jeweller you know of V 

' What 1 to buy jewels / In the morning ? ' 

* It was rather the contrary, as you will see in a moment. From 
my own carriage, in which I was hidden, I saw her come out ot the 
store empty handed ; she re-entered the carriage and went back to 
the house. She looked well pleased on coming out of the store and 
I concluded that she had fully succeeded in whatever she had un- 
dertaken. But then I was somewhat mistaken, as you will see. 
She did not go out again on that day. The next day, in the after- 
noon, that is to say this very day, she started out again and I fol- 
lowed her, like a silly detective, expecting to see her return to the 
Court of the Dragon. She did not lead me there, however, and as 
the clock struck four, we were entering, one following the other, 
about twenty steps apart, the church of St Germain-des-Pres. Do 
you know St. Germain-des-Pr(5s ? D is a very tine church.' 

' What odds is that to me ? ' 

' Or to me ! But what is very interesting on account of the ob- 
ject I had in view is that it is always so gloomy in that fine church 
that one can see nothing on first entering it. Thanks to this dark- 
ness 1 was enabled to reach a pillar, against which a young man 
was leaning, and where the countess joined him,. after a moment's 

' A young man ? And this young man is her lover ? And you 
heard what they said ? ' 


' Without losing one word, thanks chiefly to the animation and 
bad humor of the fellow, who was not at all particular, never dream- 
ing for a moment that some one quite near him was listening to 
everything ho said. I hoard enmigh to form an idea of the <;onver- 
sation which must have taken place two days before in the house of 
the Ct»urt of the Dragoon, This young man has in his possession 
love letters which establish beyond doubt, it seems, the disho!!or of 
the noble family which has taken us by tlie hand, and as he apfiears 
to be in rather poor circumstances, he has conceived the idea of 
making money out of that correspondence, and heaak^d the countess 
the pretty sum of a hundred thousand francs for her epistles. 
Twenty-five thousand francs apiece. You see that it is nut for 

' One hundred thousand francs ! And Mme. de Moray has given 
them ] ' 

' No, Only, as she had promised to give them, this handsome 
young man, for I am forced to say that he looks very well, in spite 
of the misery he must have endured, this handsome young man, I 
say, became very angry, and uttered, in a low voice, I know not 
what terrible threats, which threw the lady into a great state of 
terror. ' 

' But that fellow is a scoundrel ! ' said Gorgon, in spite of her- 

' Certainly, but a scoundrel to whom you will owe some grati- 
tude. So, he was swearing and making a scene in the church, and 
1 don't know how it would have ended, if the countess had not suc- 
ceeded in calming him V'y showing him a declaration of Smith, the 
jeweller, attesting that Mme. de Moray had placed jewels in his 
possession, which were to be sold, and on which he would give her 
at a certain date, which is the day after to-morrow, a sum of one 
hundred thousand francs. In consequence, the countess was ask- 
ing for a delay of forty-eight hours, promising to return to the same 
place to give him the money. After much trouble, she gained that 
point and went away.' 

* How she must hate that man now, after having loved him so 
much ! ' thouglit Gorgon aloud. 

' Well, 1 think you are mistaken, Certainly, Mme. de Moray 
has nothing to thank her lover for, and still I have noticed in her 
voice, as if in spite of herself, intonatiijus of .sympathy, almost of 

' It is strange,' said the beautiful girl pensively. 'But we women 
are so singular in our fancies, that, after all, it might be possible.' 

' Well, little sister,' asked Amnibal on rising to retire, ' what do 
you think of my story ? ' 

* I think, ' said Gorgon, starting up, * I think that if it is a true 
story, before three months are over, I shall have traded my crown 


of duchess for the crown of a countess, and that in my turn I shall 
be Mme. de Moray.' 

This conversation, which we have shortened, lasted a i'ond part 
of the night. It was after two o'clock in the morning when the ad- 
venturer left his sister, not before reminding her that whatever she 
might do, slui had promised him to grant the tirst favor he would 
ask her. Gorgon had tried to find out what would be the price 
claimed by her brother in exchange for the information he had just 
given her, but he had obstinately refused to answer, saying that the 
project he was meditating was neither ripe nor authciently detined 
in his own mind. 

Left alone at last, Gorgon went to bed and tried to sleep. But 
the unexpected revebition, made to lier so abruptly, <»cc\ipied her 
mind and did r.ot allow lier to sleep until morning. This woman, 
who less than any other had the right to be severe, was shocked at 
the thought that Mine, de Moray had failed in her duty to her hus- 

' That's what they are, then, those great ladies of the fashionable 
world ! ' she thought, ' They lie, they deceive, like all the rest, and 
still they have not the excuse that a woman such as I am could 

However, there is between women, even when they <are jealous of 
each other, a sort of freemasonry. And there was in the he.irt of 
Gorgon, a native pride which made her look with repulsion at the 
use of a secret accusation, however justified it seemed to her. 

' Eh ! what odds ! ' she said aloud, sitting up on the bed where 
she was tossing, a prey to all the hesitations of her love and her con- 
science. ' What do 1 cire if it be good or bad 1 1 know only one 
thing, that I love even to dying, and that everything must give way 
to my love. I shall attempt then to satisfy my passion, everything 
I shall be able to do without injuring that unfortunate wretch. But 
if 1 fail, and if I have no other means, I shall ruin her, without re- 
moise. So much the worse for her ; let her guard and defend her- 

Fatigue at last put an end to this feverish vigil, and at the hour 
at which those who have to work for their daily bread rise, Gorgon 
went to sleep. She never awoke until noon. It took her a few 
mom(>nts to recall all the emotions which had agitated her through 
the night. 

* Oh ! ' she thought all at once, ' this is the day I shall fight a de- 
cisive battle.' 

Recovering all her coolness, as a duellist on the morning of an 
engagement, she called for a light breakfast which she ate in bed, 
after which she got up and proceeded to put-on a morning dress 
which showed her to the best advantage. She then examined her- 
self for a long time in a large mirror. She had a sense of pride at 


fiudini? herself so beautiful. The fatigues of the night just past 
gave to her eyes a fl iine still more intense than usual, and a duller 
milky paleness to lier C(»mplexii)n. She well deserved her old name 
of G(>r(j(in, that dar.ghter (.f the goddes.sCeto, whose look alone kill- 
ed men, or, according to Pindar, petrified and changed then into 
r.>cks. 8hb was indiid the dangerous creature whose love was to 
reverse the laws of iiature, and wh<i, scorned by ch mce, would put 
a heart of stone into the breast of him who refused to love her. 
Now that the moment of the struggle was appr^ 'aching, she felt 
c dm and resolute, and gave the order to go ami beg of M. de 
Moray to come and see her. She had to speak to him. 

The count hesitated at first and was tempted not to go. It would 
I'li the first time he would Jind himself aloiio with her since their in Paris, for he had avoided tuitil then all the occiisions of 
a meeting', the perils of which he knew too well. However, he an- 
swered that he would go directly. It was one of tw(» things. 
Either the interview asked by Mme. de San Lucca would be occu- 
])ied in speaking of indifJerent subjects, and that it would be ridi- 
culous on his part to refuse to go ; or else, its hidden efl'ect was to 
attempt a new effort against the loyal rig(n' of his resolution, and in 
this case it was better to put an end to it at once. The cri.sis would 
l)e dangerous and the struggle painful, because he would have to 
light against himself as much as against a Avoman strangely fascin- 
atnig. But he felt strong enough to come triumphantly out of the 
ordeal in the noble stubbornness of his duty. So he catne. On 
seeing him the duchess bade him sit down. They were alone. For 
a moment they were .-ilent. Both felt their hearts beating as if 
about to break. The adventuress was not a woman to risk tht> at- 
tack on the chances of a common-place conversation ; so she went to 
the assault with superb bravery. 

' You must think,' she said, * that if I have asked you to come 
and see me, it is to put an end to a situation which is as galling to 
me and to my pride, as it is painful to your patience. We cannot, 
you and I, indefinitely remain near each other like timid children. 
What has passed between us has been a huuiiliatlng accident for 
both, and I do not wish, any more than you do, to be exi)o8"d to it 
a second time. Our fate must be decided; we must separate for- 

However resolute he was to keep his faith io his wife, M. <\-:' 
M >ray was startled at the alternative offered to him. This woman 
who intoxicated him, who had become the very essence ot the secret 
agitation which enervated all his faculties in delicioiis suffering; she 
was contemplating going away. He had not thought of thai event- 
uality. For a moment it seemed to him as if the earth was whirling 
around him; the blo^d rushed to his head; his hands becime icy 
cold. However, he got over this momentai-y weakness, and recov- 
ering his powerful will, he merely answered thus: 


* Your departure, Madam, which you announce, will give me 
much pain. Mnie. de Moray also will feel much regret ; and it is 
in her name, as well aa in my own, that I give you the assurance 
of our sorrow.' 

He had spoken slowly, ccilly, lingering on purpose on the words : 
' Mmo. do Moray.' He then rose to retire. The duchess shrugged 
her slioulders disdainfully. 

' Wait a minute,' she said. * I am only commencing what I have 
to tell you.' 

The count sat down again. In spite of the firmness of his resolu- 
tion, he was happy to be condemned to stay longer. Since she was 
going away and he would see her no more, why not drink deeply of 
the boiling spring of love ! The diichess was speaking with an in- 
voluntary disorder of language. Evidently she was sustaining a 
severe struggle with herself. There were words coming to her lips 
she did not wish to say, at least not yet. 

' Do not speak of VIme. de Moray,' she said ; ' do not make me 
think of that woman who detests me because she knows that I love 
yon and that 1 hate her ! ' 

' Because you know she loves me ! ' stoic illy interrupted the 

The Neapolitan almost cried out : ' You are lying ! or rather she 
is lying ! she does not love you I' but she refrained. It was not 
yet time. 

' Do I know why I hate her? ' she asked, abruptly. ' It doesn't 
matter, anyway. What I want to know from you is the reason why 
you are so mercilessly silent when I humiliate myself to the point 
of begging your love / Why will you not love me i Am I not free ? ' 
* Yes,' said M. de Moray, whose voice had regained all its firm- 
ness, 'you are free, but I am not. And the avowal you demand 
would be at the same time an otfence to you, and a treachery 
towards her whose name you do not want pronounced in your 
presence ! ' 

' A treachery ! an otfence !' she cried with a ringing laugh. ' In 
truth you have a queer way of calling things. It is an offence, it 
is a treachery, according to you, to avow one's love ! Not so ! To 
love, and nothing but to love is all ! To say it is nothing ! And 
besides, if saying it is something, what do you not tell me, every 
moment, by all the voices of your being, by jour devouring eyes, 
by your trembling " ands, by your burning breath ? Your lips only 
are closed, or rather they lie, and their lie is a word more eloquent 
than all the others.' 

M. de Moray was clinging to his conscience, and would not con- 
sent to be conquered. 

' If my eyes, my hands, and my lips, all my faculties, even my 
breath betray a passion I disavow, my soul controls it, and it 


wo\ild blush with shame if 1 consented to the monstrous division 
which keeps to the honored wife the faithfuhiess of my heart ! ' 

It was too much for Gorgon. She revolted at last. 

' Si),' she asked, abruptly, ' it is because the wife is chaste and 
faithful that the man who adores me, whatever he may pretend to 
the contrary, will not say to me : I love you ! ' 

' Yes, that is the reason.' 

* Ah ! do not repeat a second time what you have just said, for 
your own sake, and chiefly for hers.' 

* What mean these words i ' 

' Nothing ! ' said the duchess, already regretting her threat. 
'Nothing. They mean nothing.' 

' Ah ! take care ! ' said the count, recovering his coolness, which 
he had lost for a moment. ' You are on the point of doing some- 
thing unworthy of such a woman as you are, to speak ill of an 
honest woman ! ' 

The temptation was really too great. 

' An honest woman ! ' she said, with a sneer, which penetrated to 
the heart of M. de Moray. ' Let us speak of that ! After all,' she 
continued, ' the battles of love are like all other battles ; and every 
one has the right to use the weapons he is possessed of. Well, 
since it is so, I raise my head and I tell you that if your heart must 
belong to the more worthy, I claim it and I take it ! ' 

The count made a gesture of cold anger. In this moment all his 
passion had vanished. He did not know whether he loved the 
woman who was before him or not. He knew only one thing : A 
human being, whoever she was, had just insulted the woman who 
bore his name. 

' Are you aware,' he cried, ' that in the words you have just pro- 
nounced, there is an odious accusation and an odious calumny 
directed against the Countess de Moray ? ' 

* An accusation, perhaps. A calumny, no,' said the duchess, with 
spirit. ' You have already the proof that I am not one who lies.' 

' Then you will explain yourself, and you will tell me ' 

. ' What ? ' 

* All ! all that you know, or rather that you pretend to know ! ' 
The count was standing, as was also his adversary. For now one 

would have said they were two mortal enemies face to face. The 
man had seized the woman's arm, and was clenching it as if ho 
would break it. 

* Speak ! why don't you speak / ' cried Roger. 

The duchess disengaged herself violently, regaining her freedom 
with all her plebeian strength. 

* Well, no ! ' she said, losing her senses ; ' I will say nothing, for 
if I spoke you would kill her ! ' 



No avowal, if it had been voluntary, could bo a more terrible 
accusation. And «fill it was true, the anger of the count had opened 
fiorgnn'a eyes. Until then she hud thought that the discovery of 
the fiiult of the countess would only provoke a judiciary separation, 
a (iivoice between the cou[)h». Hut now she understood that the 
eflect was far beyond luT anticipation, and that the life itself of the 
guilty one was at stake. Be that as it may, nothing could be more 
terribly accusing than her cry of distress, and M. de Moray felt it. 
All his being was moved in a fit of rage and despair at the same 

' 1 would kill her ! ' ho cried, stepping backwards, astounded 

and r( ariiig, 'You .say I would . But it is becaiiseit is true that 

she is false . She betrays me ! she dishonors my name !' 

And the laiigh of a maniac came from his throat. 

' Ah ! ah ! ah ! * he cried, ' Laura ! my wife ! An angel of mo- 
desty, of honor and virtue. She ! the wife who has given me her 
whole lift) ! wlio has followed me through all my perils ! who has 
shared all my tears and all ray joys ! She ! the mother whose love 
is inexhuuHtiljle, whose devotion is limitless ! she ! who is adored, 
yes, adored by her husband and her daughter ! Ah ! the stupid 
invention, and how good of you to have invented that ; because, in 
truth 1 know not if I have ever loved you, you who have tried to 
wound mo so deeply ! ' 

Gorgon was agitated by divers sentiments. She was ashamed of 
her denunciation. She had pity on the despair she had provoked. 
But she was also wounded by being suspected of having told a lie 
BO low and cowardly. However, her good instincts overcame her 
evil ones. She resigned herself. 

' Very well ! ' she said. ' I have lied to try your love. I have 
calumniated the innocent to find out what punishment you would 
mete out to the guilty. And chiefly, I wanted to probe to the bot- 
tom of your heart to know what ppace in it wo\ild be left for me, if 
ever, per chance, the place occupied by Mtne. de Moray became 
vacant. I know what I wanted to know. You can go now. We 
shall never see each other again ! ' 

And here her voice failed. Her new attitude frightened the count 
more than her accusation. He fell struck to the heart a second 

' There must be some truth in this infamy ! ' he thought. 

And he ivanted to know at all hazards. Only, having failed by 
anger and despair, he tried other means, 

' You have wounded me deeply,' he said trying to show a calm- 
ness which he was far from feeling. ' But I forjiive you on accoimt 
of the frankness von have shown. As you haVe said, in love every- 
thing is fair. Well ! I will answer with equal frankness. You 
wishod to know what would happen if the place occupid in my heart 


by Miue. de Moray became vacant. I will tell you. 1 am one of 
those men who do not admit of tre;ichery, either for or against them. 
You are a witness that I wished to keep towards her who is my 
wife, my whole faith. But if ever she should become unworthy of 
it, there would remain for her, neither a regret, nor even a remem- 
brance, in the heart she would have broken. And as I am also one 
(if those men who cannot live without sharin^' with a woman all 
their thoughts and all their atFectioiis, a second one would infallibly 
exercise over me the empire, which the drst would have voluntarily 
renounced. This other one to whom I would devote myself, 
and to whom I would belong, I need not name to you, who four 
months ago took possession, against my will, of all the sensations 
and of all the aspirations of my being ! ' 

M. de Moray had dra»vn near the duchess while speaking. His 
voice, so rough aiid hoivrse a little before, had taken inflections full 
of softness to convince her. Was he saying the truth i Was he 
j)layinn a comedy in order to find out the secrets she would not yield 
to his threats i Gori^on did not know. She was still hesitating. 

'You told me,' she said with an interrogative smile, 'that you 
would kill her if you should ever learn that she had betrayed 
you ? ' 

* No ! ' said the count. ' I would merely drive her out of my 
house. She would not deserve a nobler auger on my part.' 

C nance had brought them during this conversation near a win- 
dow of the room overlooking the yard. The bell of the hall door was 
rung, and a man entered. It was M. Smith, the jeweller. A saint 
might have resisted the temptation thus offered by chance ; (iorgon, 
who was far from being a saint, succumbed to it. 

' Well,' she said, ' if you want to know the truth, enquire of that 
man. He can tell it to you.' 

Then M. de Moray, yielding to a thoughtless feeling, opened the 

' M. Smith ! ' he cried. 

The jeweller raised his head and recognized the count. He 

' Please come up,' continued M. de Moray. ' I have a few words 
to say to you.' 

Then he ranj;, after closing the window, and told the servant who 
answered the bell to ask the gentleman to step into the next room, 
after which he turned to the beautiful Italian and asked coolly : 

' Pray explain how the terrible secret you refuse to divulge is in 
the possession of that man ? ' 

Carried away by the rapidity of events, Gorgon had gone so far 
now that it was impossible to draw back. She understood that she 
must tell all. 


* M. Smith,' sho answered, ' brings one hundred thousand francs 
to your wife who has engaged her diamonds to redeem from her 
lover the letters sho has had the imprudence to write.' 

The count did not even shudder, this time. He had assumed 
the impassibility oi a judge. He bowed. 

' Madam,' he said, ' you have just pronounced a sentence. That 
of my wife, if you have told the truth. That of your brother if you 
have lied, if the honor of Mme. de Mi>ray is proof against the 
accusation you have borne against her, 1 phall kill M. Annibal 
Palmeri to-morrow. Now 1 exact that you will not contradict one 
single word of what I am going to say to this witness on whom de- 
pends the discovery of tlio truth.' 

And going towitrds the next room, the count opened the door and 
called the jeweller. 

' Please come in, M, Smith,' he said. 

' You desire to speak to me, M. de Moray ? ' asked that man, 
taking the seat indicated. 

' Yes, M. Smith, I wanted to tell you to speak of ' 

In spite of his coolness, he felt that his own voice had a strange 
accent, and as he did not want to awaken the suspicions rf the one 
who was to decide the fate of his life, he tried to justify the state 
of his mind. 

' You must n(»tice, M. Smith, that I feel a little emotion. The 
reason is that the moment you arrived, madam was telling me of a 
great secret with which you are mixed np.' 

' A great secret with which I am mixed up ? ' 

' Yes. But I have forgotten to present you to the Duchess de 
San Lucca,' naid the jeweller. 

* 1 have the honor of being acquainted with Mme. de San Lucca.' 

* Ah ! then I have only to tell you what this secret is. The 
duchess, who is the friend and the contidente of Mme. de Moray in 
her good works, was telling mo just now that the countess, to pro- 
vide for the necessities of her inexhaustible charity, has entrusted 
to your care a part of Imr family jewels, in exchange or as a gua- 
rantee for the loan of an important sum of money, one hundred 
tliousand francs ! Madame de San Lucca, in the interest of her 
friend, has told ine of it. She thought 1 w( ;dd be happy to asso- 
ciate myself with the work of charity the countess was too discreet 
to speaic of, and she told mo everything. You see that I know all, 
and that you have no reason for reserve if I ask you to enter into a 
little plot with me.' 

' While very, very happy to be a party to the plot you are medi- 
tating,' said the jeweller, quite pleased, * I-must tell you that what 
the duchess has told you is quite true. Mme. de Moray has effec- 
tively asked me for one hundred thousand francs, which I was to 
give her to-morrow ; but the returns I was expecting failed me at 


the last moment, and I was coming to ask your wife for another 
delay of a few days. ' 

These words confirmed the reality of the loan attempted by Mme. 
de Moray, and the count had no doubt but it was for the reason 
advanced by the Ducliess de San Lucca. He felt somethinj; like 
the stroke of a dagger at his heart, but he had enougii strength not 
to betray himself. 

• Ah ! ' he said, even affecting to smile with approbation, 'you 
are not in a position to give her that sntn. Well, no matter, it 
changes nothing in the combination I was coing to propose. On 
the contrary it gives me an idea which will facilitate the execution 
of the plot I was speaking of. What is important is that nothing 
should disturb the execution of the charitablo projects of the coun- 
tess, and you will see that it is the simpleat thing in the world. 
You have the jewels of Mme. de Moray at your store, no doubt ; 
will yon be so kind as to go and got theui '? ' 

' Pardon me, sir,' said M. Smith. ' I have thorn with me. I 
thought I should take them with me in case Mme. de Moray, not 
receiving the money at the date appointed, should change her uiind, 
or should prefer to address herself to some other jeweller.' 

' Then everything is for the best. Here is what we will do. You 
will give mo the jewels, iti exchange for the money which you will 
remit to my wife ; it is well understood that you will not tell her 
where it comes from. In this way she will be satisfied, and the 
diamonds will not ljo out of the hcniae.' 

' Depend on mo,' said the jeweller, and he retired. 

M. do Moray was anxious to 6nd himself, if not alone, at least 
delivered from the presence of a stranger before whom he was 
obliged to fei:;n a perfect quietness of mind, and M. Smith was 
hardly out of the room when the count abandoned himself to a 
paroxysm of despair. He was walking like a maniac about the 
room, breaking the furniture, and striking the walls with his 
clenched fist. 

* So, it is true ! ' he was crying. ' She was betraying me ! Oh ! 
the wretch ! the infamous woman ! And while I was stifling at the 
bottom of my heart a violent passion, an indomitable love, even 
going as far as to deny that love, for [ have <lenied it, while I was 
lying through idiotic virtue, she was lying through criminal de- 
pravity ! ' 

It was hardly a human being who was thus bruising hiniself 
uttering these exclamations and roaring with rage, he was like a 
wild beast maddened with anger, which breaks its head against the 
walls of its narrow prison. Gorgon was frightened. 

' F«»r pity's sake,* she said, * calm yourself ! ' 

The sound of her voice changed the direction of his mind. To 
useless anger, to powerless despair, succeeded a burning desire for 


' Very well,' he said. * I am calm. One word only. What is 
the name of her accomplice ? ' 

' His name ? I do not know it.' 

' Is it truo ? Take care that you do not lie ! You have gone so 
far now. that 210 consideration of prudence or pity can prevent you 
from telling me all ! That name. Tell me his name.' 

* I swear that I do not know it.' 

'1 will find out. And where will she remit the money to this 
trader in female virtue 1 ' 

* I can tell you that. To-morrow at four o'clock, they are to 
meet in t!ie church of Saint-Germain-des-Pi63. He will bring the 
letters, and she will take the money to him.' 

' And it is in a church that this monstrous bargain is to be accom- 
plished ! Ah ! my God ! is it because yon were so indulgent to the 
woman taken in adultery, that this woman has chosen your house 
to meet her lover. Ah ! the wretches ! the wretches ! ' 

And he sobbed bitterly. With his head in his hands he remained 
quiet for a moment. Then forcing himself to be calmer, he ad'led : 

* To-morrow ! I will say nothing until then, hiding in the inner- 
most of my soul the secret of my shame, and my anger ! But to- 
morrow ! ah! to-morrow ! 1 will spy each one of her steps, I will 
see her, in hypocritical piety cross the threshold of the church. I 
will witness the interchange of the letters and of the money, and I 
will have the courage to hide myself and be silent, because I will be 
in the house of God. But when both are outside. Then with de- 
termination I will vindicate my honor ! ' 

' And what will you do ? ' asked Gorgon. ' Rem'imber you have 
sworn to spare her life ! ' 

' I have sworn for the woman, but not for the lover. I will drive 
her out of my house, and I will kill the man ! ' 

' And when your revenge is satisfied,' said Gorgon with a start of 
joy, ' you will remember that I love you ! ' 

Shortly after, the count went down to see the jeweller, and 
handed him the money. Of course, M. de Moray had not such 
a sum in his house, so he gave a cheque. 

' Since your wife is to be ignorant of your intentions,' said the 
jeweller, ' I will go to the bank at once, and take notes which I 
will remit to Mme. de Moray to-morrow morning, unless I bring 
them here within an hour or so.' 

' It is tin excellent idea,' answered the count. ' Moreover, my 
wife will perhaps be happy to have the money earlier. In spite of 
the assurance you have given her, she might be anxious. ' 

'Very well, it is understood. I will come back during the 

And M. Smith went away, after having pro.aised M. de Moray 
to keep their interview secret. After he w«a left alone, Roger 
opened thb case containing the jewels. 

i. MARTYR. 95 

' Here they are, these jewels ! ' he said with a heart-rending sigh, 
' these jewels a thousand times more precious by the memories they 
recall than by their value, which is enornioua. They have been 
worn before this worthless woman by her parents and mine. Family 
jewels consecrated by the foreheads aud shoulders of honest 
women ! Jewels given by my love on our weddint<-day ! And Laura 
was pledging them to-day to pay the ransom of her lost honor ! I 
hold them in my hand ! They bear witness to my shame and to 
her crime ! Yes, by them I have tlie proof of my dishonor ! And 
still,' he continued, his heart suftening in spite of himself, ' there 
is a doubt in my soul ! All the past revives before my eyes ! All 
my recollections of happiness are awakened in my memory ' It 
seems to me that at this moment I hear my daughter's voice cry- 
ing :) "It is not true, father, it is not true ! She loves us both too 
much to have done what she is accused of ! " Ah ! these proofs ! if 
they were only false ! ' 

The unhappy man was tossed between ctmtending sentiments, 
wishing to hope against hope, and crushed by the terrible evidence 
of the crime. 

' Our daughter ! ' he thought. ' It is nevertheless true that she 
must have forgotten that we have a daughter to become guilty ! 
and she loved so tenderly our Paulette we were obliged to leave 
behind us almost dying ; How is it that the recollection of her 
daughter did not prevent her from falling ! Presently, when I am 
calmer, when I am able to speak without betraying myself by th» 
trembling of my voice, 1 will go near her, I will speak to her of ou» 
beloved Paulette, then, I will see if,|having forgotten her husband, 
she could also forget her child.' 

The poor man, thus lost in a stupid contemplation of his sorrow, 
did not notice the time flying. And chance had it that at the same 
time Mme. de Moray thought also more than usual of the dear ab- 
sent one. As she was lost in these sad thou^'hts, Maltar, the In- 
dian servant, brought her a piece of paper, on which was written the 
name of a visitor who wished to speak to htsr. It was the name of 
Robert Burel. This unexpected visit startled her like a threat of evil. 

' Introduce this person, MaUar,' she said, with a deep emotion, 
' and let nobody in until after his departure.' 


Introduced by the Indian, who went away at once, Robert Ban 1 
bowed respectfully. He was in a room of the first story which was 
used as an office by Mme. de Moray and her mother, and which 
formed part of the count's apartment All their works of charity 
were planned in that room. The mother and daughter had access 


to it from their respective apartiuents, by different doors, and they 
used to spend the greater part of the day togcither in it. On that day, 
fortunately, Mme. de la Marche was not in, having been called out- 
side by some family duties ; Laura was thankful that she was thus 
permitted to receive this unexpected visitor without being obliged 
to give explanations to her mother. However, Robert's arrival 
threw her into deep trouble. She did not invite him to sit down. 

* How did you dare to come ? ' asked Laura, with agitation. ' I 
was to meet you to-morrow afternoon, at four o'clock, to give you 
the money, and you swore not to show yourself in my husband's 
house ! But, in truth, [ do not understand that>ou are here, when 
you see the terrible anxiety your presence throws me into. Dou't 
you hear me ? Don't you understand me ? ' 

' I beg your pardon,' said Robert, ' I see, I hear, I understand 
and I remain.' 

He spoke with coolness, as would have done an indifferent "ititor 

treating of commonplace questions. And as if to better affirm his 

resolution, he took a chair and sat down. 

' Just think ! ' she said, moaning, ' my husband might come ! 

' Your husband ? Well, what does that matter 1 Neither of us 
has anything to fear on his part. I am not your lover, I sup- 
pose ! ' 

* And if he should ask me who you are, what would I answer ? ' 

' If he was ill-mannered enough to want to know absolutely under 
what title I have come here, it would be very easy to give him the 
proof that there is nothing in my visit which would be likely to 
offend him.' 

* Very easy, you say ? How ? Except by telling the truth ! ' 

* Undoubtedly ! ' 

•And consequently,' Laura continued, with anguish, 'by tar- 
nishing the reputation of the most respected of women ! In throw- 
ing upon my mother the responsibility of an accusation which would 
implicate me ! In revealing the mystery of a fault redeemed by 
life-long remorse ! in tearing the heart of the noble old man who is 
my father ! No, no, know it now ! I would rather a thousand 
times be accused of a crime I had not committed than to divulge 
the fault of my mother ! Yes, by God who hears me, I would 
rather that the whole world would accuse you of being my lover 
than to avow that you are my brother ! ' 

* It is a sublime devotion,' answered Robert, smiling, ' but I hope 
you will not have to give any proof of it. If anybody should come, 
it would be easy to invent some excuse. The mission of charity 
you fulfil so well leaves your door open to the unknown. Moreover, 
it depends on you to shorten the length of my presence in this 


house, if you think it presents such a grave danger. Only let me 
tell you the reason why 1 came.' 

' Speak quickly, then.' 

' Listen. When 1 saw you for the first time, I told you that I 
intended to try my fortune in a foreign land, far away, in America. 
At that time I had formed a project, the execution of which de- 
pended upon the receipt of the sum of money I have asked 
you for. When we agreed upon the amount aud upun the date it 
would be remitted, 1 took some engagements myself, and I was 
sorely disappointed when you told me yesterday you wanted a delay 
of forty-eight hours, because I had promised to pay that money this 
morning to the parties I had made arrangements with. However, 
I had resigned myself, and at noon to-day, instead of depositing my 
share, I had to ask for a delay of two days, which was refused. Others 
more expeditious were ready to take my place. In short, all I 
could obtain was a delay of twenty-four hours, and to-morrow 
at noon, I must have the money, or all my hopes of fortune fall 
to the ground.' 

* But you know very well that I have not got the money now. I 
will have it only to-morrow.' 

' Yes, to-morrow morning, I know, and it is exactly for that rea- 
son that I have come. Instead of waiting until the evening to put 
me in possession of that money, bring it to me as soon as you have 
it yourself, and I will be in time to take advanta^^e of the benefits 
which are offered to me. ' 

* Very well, to-morrow morning, then, at ' 

At the very moment Mme. de Moray was saying these w» i, the 

door opened. It was Maltar. 

' My mistress will forgive me if I came without being called, ' said 
the Indian, ' but it is for an important matter. M. Smith is here. 
He has come to give something to madam, but on being told that 
she was engaged, he did not wish to disturb her. He has only 
asked me to hand this parcel to madam.' 

' Ah ! ' 

' It is something that he was to bring only to-morrow morning, 
but he has thought it would be more agreeable to madam if she got 
it earlier. ' 

Mme. de Moray seized a voluminous parcel which Maltar was 
handing her. On touching it she felt that it was a bundle of bank- 
notes. Her features expressed a deep joy, and Robert understood 
the cause of it. He was himself violently shaken. Nothing more 
stood between him and fortune. He was calmost tempted to seize 
the parcel which Laura still held in her hand and run away with 
it. But the presence of the Indian would not allow of this. 

'Tell M. Smith that 1 am very thankful to him,' said Mme. de 
Moray to the Indian, ' I will go and see him to-morrow.' 


And as Maltar was not goint;, the Countess added : 

* What are you waiting for, Maltar } ' 

' Madam,' he answered, ' Mme. de la Marche has just returned. 
She is in the antichamber talking with M. Smith, and she is 

' Ah ! said Laura, starting up. 

And she deposited ou the table the envelope containing the bank 

'Ah ! ' thought Robert on his part, without feeling any emotion, 
* then I am to see my mother. I am not sorry to find out how a 
mother is made.' 

The only sentiment he felt was curiosity, but it was strong enough 
to engage all his attention, and he did not at once claim from Mme. 
de Moray the parcel brought by M. Smith. Mme. de la Marche 
entered at last. 

' I was disengaged sooner than I expected,' she said, * and I 
come ' 

She stftpped on noticing the presence of a stranger. 

* Ah ? ' she went (m, addressing her daughter, ' you are not alone. 
I will leave you then and will return shortly.' 

She crossed the room to reach the door which led directly to her 
apartment, and in doing so came nearer to the group formed by her 
daughter and by Robert. He had risen and bowed respectfully. 
Mnte. de la Marche answered his Siilutationby an inclination of the 
head, and on looking at him, she stopped without thinking. An 
embarrassing silence weighed on these three persons. Mme. de 
Moray was the first to break it. 

' M. Robert Burel,' she stammered, presenting the stranger. 
' Mme. Firmin de la Marche, my mother,' she continued, address- 
ing the young man. 

Robert bowed a second time, impressed by the severe beauty of 
this high lady, whose crown of white hair looked like the silver 
nimbus of a saint. 

' I do not think I have met this gentleman here before,' said 
Mme. de la Marche, who noticed the embarrassment of her daugh- 
ter, without, however, attaching any importance to it. 

' Jn fact, mother,' said the countess, still more troubled, ' it is the 
first time that ' 

' It is the first time, also, Madam,' said the young man, * that I 
am in your presence. I did not expect this great honor, and I am, 
I must admit, moved a little.' 

And Robert's voice had not its usual firmness. He felt an agi- 
tation quite new to him, and which he could not explain. 

'And why this emotion, sir?' asked Mme. de la Marche, with a 
kindly smile. 
Laura, who was quite near Robert, said in a low voice : 
' Tak6 care, in heaven's name ! ' 



Without pretending to have heard thia recommendation, Robert 
ansf^ered Mme. de la Marche, but with a little bittemoss this 
time : 

* The great consideration which surrounds you, Madam, and the 
high reputation for benevolence which you enjoy are sufficient to 
justify ' 

' Do not praise me so much, sir,' said Mine, de la Marche. * One 
never does all tho good one should d.>.' 

' Then, Madam,' said the young man, * your daughter is a noble 
exception. Good and charitable on her own account, she is actu- 
ally accomplishing a work of redress which was incumbent upon 

* In truth ! ' said Mme. de la Marche. ' It is well, Laura ! Please 
tell me that, sir, because my daughter willingly conceals the good 
she does.' 

' Madam, it is ' 

The C'uii^ess quickly interrupted him. 

' No, no, It is tiseless. Do not tell my mother, I pray you, sir.' 

It was a strange situation, and well calculated to trouble the 
njind of Mme. de Moray. The poor woman was trembling at the 
fear that one imprudent word would cause her mother to suspect 
the truth. And she was the more afraid that Robert seemed to 
take a sing'dar pleasure in prolonging this dangerous conversation. 
Mme. de la Marclie insisted. 

' And 1, sir,' she cried, * pray ycu to tell me the object of your 
visit. Smce it is an act of charity on the part of my daughter, I 
have a desire to know.' 

Robert bowed. 

* I will obey you, Madam.' 

And turning towards the countess : 

' Fear nothing, Madam," he said, * I will say of your generous 
action only what need be told.' 
And then to Mme. de la Marche, 

* It is. Madam, a mother who has abandoned her child.' 

* Her child ! ' cried Mtne. de la Marche. 

* Sir ! ' muttered Laura, with an accent of supplication. 

* Yes, Madam,' continued the young man. ' Her child ! a — 
daughter — yes — it is a davght'W.' 

He insisted on the word daughter, so as to divert the suspicions 
which Mme. de la Marche might conceive. 

' Then, it is a daughter,' continued Robert, * who has grown up, 
deprived of a mother's love and tenderness, who has lived in isola- 
tion and tears. And if it has been given to me to know Mme. de 
Moray, it is becauVlg^flb'A was "J^ndlrtg a harping haul' to this unfor- 
tunate. She wah[tfyi,'»jg io raise^h^r 'deptcsaed rommge, to soothe 

» « 

° • • ■ • • 
* » * f t 1 1 t 

• • * I a « 

• • • I 
> « • < 

i « • • • I 

• > > 

I • 

100 A MARTYR. 

the bitterness of her soul, and to replace, as much as she could, the 
unnatural mother who ' 

Mme. de la Marche stopped him abruptly. There was a cry of 
revolt on her lips, when she said the following words : 

' The unnatural mother, say you ? The word is very cruel, and it 
is perhaps, a very unjust accusation which you bring. Ah ! believe 
me, sir, pity the mothers who are obliged to abandon their 
children, still more than you pity the children forsaken by them. 
You do not know as I do ' 

Her voice broke down. But she made an effort and went on. 

' Ah ! you cannot know as well as I do, I, who have learned by 
the sight of the miseries which surround me, you do not know all 
that is horrible for a woman in the thought that her child will 
cease to belong to her ; that she must renounce the supreme joy of 
drying his first tears, of spying his first smile ? She will not 
receive a kiss from his lips ! She will never see him ; never ! Do 
you hear this word ? Never ! And what is still more horrible is 
that she will be ignorant of what will Ijecome of the child ! She will 
not even know if he has succumbed ; or if he is not, admitting that 
he has survived, a proy to misery, to suftering ! Ah ! sir, this spec- 
tacle is so terrible that the mother whom you accuse, very lightly, 
perhaps, would undoubtedly have been less to be pitied if she had 
had the cruel consolation of seeing her child die before her eyes.' 

' Oh ! mother ! ' cried Mme de Moray, ' do not say it would be 
less horrible ! Just think in your turn ! To see her child die ! ' 

* Yes,' Mme. de la Marche went on, as crushed by her recollec- 
tions. ' It must be an inconceivable sorrow ! But still the mother 
who is condemned to it has the consolation to know that her child 
is in God's heaven, a pure angel, mowed down before he knew the 
natne of sin ! But this other child whom the poor mother has been 
forced to abandon, and whose fate she is ignorant of. What de- 
spairs he gives birth to ! Of what burning tears he is the cause ! 
At night she thinks she sees him, miserable and despairing, running 
after every woman he meets, and calling : " Mother ! Mother ! '' 
'* He sutlers," she says to herself, " he calls me to his help," and 
she can do nothing ! Nothing ! And she suffers with his sufi'erings, 
and she cries when he weeps ' 

Mme. de la Marche, who was standing, nearly fainted in pro- 
nouncing these words. It was because she was painting a living pic- 
ture of her own sorrow. Happily Mme. de Moray caught her in her 

'Oh, mother ! mother ! ' she cried, sobbing bitterlj'. 

Robert remained motionless, transformed, little by little ; while 
his mother was- speaking he bajl {elt his icji' I'ndiftorence melting, 
and the bitterness o| his rancor mellowing. He had been mis- 
taken, he had misjudged. Where he had believed there was only 

A MARTYR. 101 

forgetfulnesB, there was a mysterious wound, always bleeding. 
Tears, good real tears, came to liis eyes, and for one moment he 
was tempted to throw himself at the feet of his mother, and to cry 
out : 

* Re-assure yourself, at least, on account of the life of your child, 
my mother ! The being you have been obliged to abandon, and of 
whose fate you are ignorant, is living ; he is here, near you ; and 
all he asks is to love you, to dry your tears ! ' 

He checked himself, however, not willing to run the chance to 
increase, by an avowal, the sorrow which he now desired to lesson. 

* Ah ! ' he simply asked, * these mothers whose sorrows y ihave 
portrayed bo eloquently, how can they live V * 

Mme. de la Marche raised her head. 

' I have known some who have died of despair,' she said. 

And she added, trembling. 

' And I know one who would kill herself if her shame were 
known I ' 

It flashed like an inspiration upon Robert that he had done well 
to restrain himself a moment before. 

' She would kill herself ? ' he cried, addressing Mme. de la 
Marche, but answering his own thoughts as much as her words. 
' Ah 1 if it is truly so, I have pronounced an unjust judgement and 
spoken cruel words ! If I was acquainted with the woman I spoke 
about, in calling her unnatural, if I could speak to her, as I speak 
to you, now, I would say : ** I repent, pardon me, Madam, pardon 
me." ' 

Carried away by the strange and thrilling situation which placed 
him, the forsaken child, in presence of his despairing mother, 
Robert instinctively bent the knee before Mme. de la Marche. 

' Pardon me ! ' he repeated again, as if he had personally 
ofTended her. 

His motion brought her to herself. 

' Calm yourself, sir,' she said, motioning him to rise, * and please 
repeat all I have told you to this deserted child whose cause you 
were pleading a moment ago. Perhaps she is tempted, as you were 
tempted yourself, to accuse her mother. Teach her to pity her ! ' 

' I will do so Madam,' answered Robert, who has mastered his 
emotion, * and your words, reported by me, will be engraved on her 
heart ! ' 

Mme. de la Marche was entering her apartment, when she stop- 
ped agaiu and took a bracelet from her arm. 

* If the child you speak of is poor,' she said, * and she certainly 
is since you implore my daughter's help, Mme. de Moray will see to 
her wants. But I desire she should have a souvenir of the scene she 
has been the cause of between us. Ask her to accept this simple 
jewel in memory of a mother ! ' 

102 A MARTYR. 

' The child will keep the jewel always, Madam,' he said. ' I 
promise in her name, and 1 thank you for her.' 

Then bendinw over the hand which was tendering the bracelet, 
he deposited on it a kias, in which he put all his new tenderness, 
and he seiztsd the thin golden circlet and hid it in his breast. 

'Farewell, sir,' said Mnio. de la Marche. 

And she retired. She had Wardly closed the door, when in her 
turn, Mme. de Moray gave her hand to Robert. 

* Well ? ' she said. * Well, brother ? ' 

* Ah ! ' answered the young man, whose eyes filled with tears, 
how I wished to throw myself in her arms, and call her mother ! 
Ah 1 wretch ! wretch that I am ! I who have cursed her during so 
many years ! ' 

The countess was the first to regain her composure. She first 
tried to soothe her brother's agitation, and then she thought of 
hasteninc; his departure. 

'Now, Robert,* she said, 'let us lose no time. Thank God ! 
my efforts have succeeded sooner than I expected. The money I 
promised you is there. Take these banknotes which, I sincerely 
hope, will give you happiness.' 

Saying these words she handed him the envelope brought by the 

* Why don't you take them ! ' she repeated, seeing that her brother 

Robert Burel then took out of his pocket another envelope, very 
thin, but far more precious than the first, since it contained the 
secret of the fault of Mme de la Marche. 

' Take this in your turn,' he said handing the grievous correspon- 
dence to Mine, de Moray. * These are the letters of my 

of our mother ! ' 

And he rejected the bank notes with a noble gesture. 

' It was a shameful bargain I was making. Keep this money, 
Laura ; 1 shall not take it. I do not want to sell my mother's let- 
ters, now that I have seen her and that I have understood her sor- 

' Take them, Robert,' said the countess, with emotion. ' Take 
them, not as the price of a bargain, but as a gift, almost a restitu- 
tioh of a sister, of a sister who loves you dearly now ! ' 

' Oh ! Laura ! ' cried the young man with transport, ' I, too, I 
love you with all my soul ! ' 

He seized and held her to his breast, and was kissing her with 
passion. The door opened. The Count de Moray entered, pale as 
death. At the noise of the door which had been opened and closed 
with violence, the countess disengaged herself promptly fron. her 
brother's arms. 

A MARTYR. 103 

' Oh !' she cried with terror, and losing all coolness, ' my hus- 
band ! all is lost." 

' Her husband ! ' muttered Robert, drawing backwards, 

M. de Moray advanced slowly. He affected to be very calm, and 
he addressed his wife, handing her at the same time the jewel case 
she knew so well. 

' Madam,' he said coolly, but with an altered voice, ' do you recog- 
nize this ? ' 

' My diamonds ! ' answered the unhappy woman, terrified. 

' Yes, your diamonds, which you pledged in order to remit a larjj[e 

sura to to this gentleman, who was to give you a certain 

correspondence in exchange. Since I have given the money and 
redeemed the jewels, it is only just that I should have the cor- 
respondence; give me those letters.' 

' Those letters ! you want those letters ? * 

' I want them.' 

The envelope containing the correspondence had been deposited 
on the table beside the bundle of bank notes. An imprudent look 
of the countess designated them to her husband, who advanced to 
get possession of them. Robert noticed this motion and ruaiied on 
the envelope which he seized. 

' You shall not have these letters, sir,' he cried. ' They belonged 
to me, and 1 take back my property, and you can keep your own. 
The money is there.' 

' I shall not have them ? ' cried M. de Moray threatening.'. 


The two men looked each other in the face, ready to engage in a 
struggle. Laura threw herself between them. 

' Roger ! ' she supplicated, ' what do you suspect 1 ' 

'You dare aek such a question,' answered M. de Moray. On en- 
tering this room I find you in the arms of a man. 1 claim some let- 
ters for which you give an almost princely ransom, and you refuse 
to give them up. And you have the audacity after that, to ask me 
what I suspect. In truth, you are mad.' 

* Yes ! it is true ! ' cried Laura distracted. ' I understand ; these 
jewels in your hands; this money you have given. This unknown, 
this stranger you find with me, and lastly tl»ese letters which I re- 
fuse to give up ; yes, I understand the horrible suspicions you have 
the right to c<mceive. Appearances are terribly against me. More 
than appearances, if you wish, proofs. But do you not say to jour- 
self that your suHpicions are unjust, these signs misleading, these 
proofs deceitful ?' 

M. de Moray gave a heart-rending laugh. 

' It is so,' he cried. ' It had to come to this. My jealousy is 
absurd. You are the most virtuous of women. Come, it is enough. 
Those letters, I say. I must have those letters.' 

104 A MARTYR. 

' Do not give them up, Robert,' cried the countess. 
And aho added in a lower tone, so that her brother alone could 
hear her words. 

* Sho hia said that she would kill herself if her secret was discov- 
ered. Do not give up these letters.* 

The young man stood motionless, but firmly resolved to defend 
the secret of his mother, even at the peril of his life. 

' If these letters are the only weapons I mean to use against Mme. 
de Moray,' said the count, more and more threateningly, ' there 
are others which I can employ against you, sir ; take care ! ' 

And he pulled a revolver out of his pocket. Robert merely 

* If it had been possible to do what you ask, sir,' he said, * I would 
have anticipated your threats. Now they put one more obstacle 
between us ? ' 

M. de Moray was trembling with anger. 

* Don't you read in my eyes,' he cried, ' the rage and the merciless 
hatred which fill my heart ? Don't you understand the terrible 
struggle I am fighting against myself ? Don't you see that if you 
delay one minute longer, I will kill you / ' 

Laura made aiK>ther attempt to calm his anger. 

' Roger ! ' she cried, falling on her knees, ' in heaven's name ! in 
our child's name I listen to me ! Believe me, Roger ! If I did 
what you ask it would be a terrible, horrible action ! It would be 
more than a cowardice ; it would be a crime ! ' 

' The? 6 letters ! sir, these letters ! ' repeated the count, disdaining 
to ans\^ er the prayers and tears of Laura, who was kissing his knees. 
' Give them to me, if you do not want me to take them from you ; 
if you do not want me to kill you ! ' 

He had raised his arm in the transport of his rag'*, and was going 
to fire, when Laura threw herself between the two adversaries. She 
was distracted with terror and despair. 

* No ! no ! ' she cried raising her imploring hands. ' Do not 
commit an unpardonable crime ! Do not strike an innocent man ! 
Since you must know, I will toll you all ! I will tell you all ! * 

* The letters first,' answered M. de Moray, ' I will listen to your 
pretended justification only after having read them.' 

* Yes, yes, you will read them, but a single word will convince 
you better than all the letters : Know it then 1 he whom you ac- 
cuse of being my accomplice, is , 

Just at this moment the door was opened with violence. It was 
the admiral and his wife entering the room precipitately. The 
noise of this violent discussion, which had almost degenerated into 
a fight, had crossed the doors and the walls. They had heard, if not 
the words, at least the sounds of a quarrel which head reached the 
extreme limits of rage. 

A MARTYR. 105 

* What is the matter i What is the matter I ' both uskod nt the 
same time. 

The appearance of the new comers fell like a thunderbolt between 
Laura and Robert. At the sight of her mother, the avowal that 
Mme. de Moray was going to make froze on her lips. The admiral 
repeated the question he had addressed on entering the room, but 
to which he had not yet received a reply. 

' Once more, what is the matter I ' 

* What is the matter ? ' cried M. de Moray. ' I will tell you. The 
matter is that I am deceived, dishonored ! The matter is that I 
have just surprised your daughter in the arms of her lover ! ' 

' Her lover ! ' repeated the admiral. 

' It is impossible ! it is false ! ' cried Mme. de la Marche. 

' The matter is,' M. de Moray continued, mercilessly, * that in- 
stead of taking my revenge of that treachery, as I had a right to, I 
asked the wretches to give me the correspondence where I shall 
find the undeniable proof of their guilt ! ' 

' Then ? ' asked the admiral, panting. 

' Then they refused to deliver up these letters ; but we will tako 
them now, and you will read them yourself, after which you will 
pass sentence on your daughter and her accomplice ! ' 

' Read them ! he ? ' said Robert. 

At these words Laura uttered a shriek of terror. The tiiouglit 
that her father would discover the secret of her he had loved and 
venerated for half a century, renewed her energy. 

* Never ! ' she cried, stepping backwards and getting nearer to 
Robert. ' Never ! You will not have them ! ' 

* No ! no ! Never ! ' repeated Robert in his turn, his eyes con- 
stantly fixed on the beloved features of that mother he had learned 
to love only one short hour since, and for whom he was willing^to 
sacrifice his life. 

* But you will give them up, wretch ! ' cried the count, arrived at 
the paroxysm of rage. * I will force you to deliver them up ! ' 

' Take them out of these flames, then ! ' answered the young 

And he threw the envelope so eagerly fought for in the midst of 
a blazing fire. M. de Moray literally roared. He rushed towards 
the chimney to gather the papers which he thought contained the 
proof of his dishonor. But Robert pushed him away with force, 
so as to give the tire time to accomplish its work, and stood with his 
back to ^he chimney, with his arms crossed. A shot was heard. 

' Die then ! ' cried M. de Moray. 

Laura uttered a heart-rending shriek of despair. Robert never 

said a word. He had been struck, however, and he tottered. Ho 

had taken a step forward and was holding himself by the back of an 

arm-chair with one hand ; with the other he pressed his breast < 



However, not a drop of blood flowed from the wound, which had 
closed after the passage of the bullet, and he experienced a choking 
sensation almost instantaneously. 

* Sir,' said the unhappy man, * I was without weapons, and you 
have killed me ! It is a murder ! ' 

He could say no more and fell forward, with his face on the floor. 
He was still breathing, however. Laura then went and knelt near 
the body which would soon be a corpse, and bending near enough 
to cause those present to think that she was giving a last kiss to her 
dying lover, in the very presence of her revengeful husband, she 
said in his ear : 

' Brother, what do you command ] What do you expect from 

The approach of death gives, sometimes, a rapid lucidity to the 
thoughts of the dying, as it gives to their last desires the authority 
of almost divine will. Robert felt all the courage and resoluticm 
there was in the spontaneity of the motion which had brought 
Laura to his side, and which would not fail to be taken, in the eyes 
of all, as the avowal of the fault she had not co.nmitted. He 
answered in a low voice : 

' Let nobody ever know the truth ! she would die ! and 

one is enough ! Never avow anything ! except to him you love 

to your husband by whom I am struck ! ' 

* Yes, only to him ! ' said Laura. ' To him alone ! 

Having received this promise, the unhappy man let fall his head, 
which he had raised for a moment, as if he had been waiting for 
these words to die. A last convulsion shook his frame, a last gulp 
of blood came to his lips, then a sigh, and then nothing. His dead 
eyes, wide open, seemed constantly tixed on the accomplice of his 
sublime devotion, as if to impose an eternal silence. It was this 
fixed stare which made Laura understand that all was ended. She 
threw herself backwards with terror. 

' Dead ! ' she cried, * he is dead ! ' 

* Now,' said M. de Moray, ' I am waiting for you to pronounce 
those words which, better than the burnt letters, were to justify 
your conduct in my eyes. Speak then ! 

' That I should speak ! ' answered Laura, looking around her 
wonderingly, • That I should speak ! * 

' Yes,' said Mme. de la Marche, * tell the whole truth ! ' 

* I order you to do so ! ' thundered the admiral. 

* And I implore you, my child,' said Mme. de la Marche. 

' Be silent, mother, be silent ! ' muttered Laura, * you know not 
what you ask, you do not even suspect the tortures you make me 

The poor woman was undergoing a terrible torment ; a nervous 
trembling was agitating her body, her eyes were haggard, her voice 

A MARTYR. 107 

was short and shrill ; blood was rushing to her brain and she heard 
a tolling of funeral bells in her ears. She felt that her reason Wiis 
leaving her. 

* Will you speak, at last ? ' said M. de Moray. 

Laura looked at him without saying a word. He seized her by 
the arm. 

' What do you want me to tell yo\i ? ' she answered. 

* The contents of tl»e letters which have been burnt ? Why did 
you want to redeem them at the price of one hundred thousand 
francs ) and lastly, who was that man 1 ' 

' Answer ! Juatify yourself, my beloved daughter ! ' said Mme. 
do la Marche, sobbing. 

' Yes, love me well ! ' said the unfortunate woman, * love me 
always ! ' 

And she addec? a a firm voice : 

' You may torture me, Roger ; you may even kill me ! T will 
say nothing now.' 

' Because nothing could justify you ! ' cried the husband in a 
thundering voice. ' That man was your lover, and I throw you 
out of my house ! ' 

* And 1 — I curse you,' cried her father. 

To pronounce this cniidemnati<in the old man had exttMided his 
arms and raised his head in a gesture of supreme justice. He was 
at the same time the judge and the executioner. This last ordeal 
was more than Laura could bear. A cry of despair escaped from 
her breast ; she put her hands convulsively to her forehead and 
kept them there for a long time. When she let them fall a com- 
plete transformation had taken place in her. Her face had become 
impassive all at once. She was smiling, but her smile was strange, 
unconscious, and her voice, sweet ai d calm, was repeating without 
trouble, without emotion, and as if she had been proud of the 
avowal : ' He was my lover ! ' The unhappy woman was mad. 

During the terrible scene which had just taken place, every blow 
struck on her heart had had a fatal echo in her brain. Each rending 
of her heart had caused deep trouble in her mind and had filled it 
with such darkness that the poor victim could no more distinguish 
what was true from what was imaginary, so that now Laura thought 
she was really guilty. So she was insane, but her madnoss ex- 
tended only to one particular thing, — the accusation, which had 
weighed so cruelly upon htr, and on which her honor and dearest 
all'ections had been wrecked, had appeared to be just and deserved ; 
but this excepted, she was rational. This madness is a very com- 
mon phenomenon ; it is called reasoning madness, the most difficult 
to ascertain, because the patient sustains the dreams of his »iis- 
turbed mind with all the louic of the soundest intelligenoe. Laura 
knew the history of the fall of her mother, and in her mind this 

108 A MARTYR. 

hi8tf)ry had become her own ; this fall was personal to herself. 
When the judge was called in to find out the cause of the murder 
of Robert, she appeared before him in the attitude of a culprit, as 
if crushed under the weight of her dishonor. 

' You aduiit,* said the mai^istrate, ' that criminal relations have 
existed between you and the man who has been killed by your hus- 
band i ' 

' I admit it,' was her answer. 

That was all she would say. The recollection of the scene had 
just crosBod her mind. They had spoken of the victim, and the 
terrible scene of the murder appeared to her in its entirety. She 
Haw herself in an attitude of prayer, at the knees of her husband, 
ready to speak, when all at once, her father and mother had ap- 
peared. Then a pistol shot, and she also saw Robert ; and heard 
him saying in her ear : * Do not confide our secret to anybody ex- 
cept to him whose hand has struck me ! ' Once his mission accom- 
plished, the judge told her she could go to her home. She retired 
to her room, and threw herself on her bed, broken in body and 
soul. From that day until the date M, de Moray was called to 
answer the charge of murder, Laura remained almost constantly 
alone. Her father and mother had left the mansion, the austere 
principles of honor of the admiral not allowing his wife to kiss her 
daughter for the last time before leaving. The countess was aban- 
doned to the care of a chambermaid. The only friend who re- 
mained to her was very humble. It was Maltar, the Indian. The 
poor servant felt for Mme. and Mile, de Moray the attachment of 
the dog to his master. It was on account of his devotedness to 
Paulette that he was chosen as mediator between Laura and her 
husband in an important question which it was urgent to settle. 
The reader will easily guess the matter was about the unfortunate 
young girl left by her parents in Pondichdry. Paulette was now 
occupying all Laura's thoughts. She was asking herself with 
despair : 

' How can f hiie my shame and sorrow from her ! Alas ! it is 
impossible, if I could only hold her in my arms at the moment 
she will hear the terrible revelation of the crime I have committed ! 
With my tears and my kisses I could try to alleviate her sorrow. I 
could, with caresses, make her forget that I have been guilty. But 
thousands of leagues separate us. Letters will reveal this secret to 
the weak child. Alas ! will not the blow be too hard, and will she 
not succuinb when she learns that hereafter she must despise her 
mother ! ' 

This thought was, to the unhappy woman, a source of heart- 
rending which all mothers will understand. Happily, Maltar 
was charged by M. de Moray himself to appease her maternal terror. 
Not through pity for his eriminal wife, but through pity for hi? 

A MARTYR. 109 

ilaiightor, the angel of iniiacence a. id virtue, the count felt 
anxieties similar to those which Laura was feehfig. He understood, 
as she did, the impossibility of revealing the fatal secret to hia 
daughter, at least for the present ; and ht* also know tliat a single 
imprudent word would put her very existeuco in joopardy. Still, 
it was impossible that she should return to France, without being 
informed of these sad events. 

It was under these conditions that Maltar was instructed by M. 
de Moray to transmit his wishes to Laura. They would keep on 
writing to Paulette as if nothing unusual had happened in their 
life. Each one would write in turn by each mail. Hi)wever, they 
would not try to act a comedy. It wuuld not be bad that Paulette 
Hhould notice a tone of sadness in their double corre8i)ondence ; an 
unexplained sadness, almost vague. Nothing more. In the mean- 
tinie M. de Moray would write secretly to his sister, to Annt 
Basilique, who had care of the poor deserted child. He would 
ac(iuaint her with their painful situation, and by each mail, he 
would teli her the incidents which would bo the fatal sequel to it. 
Annt Basilique would judge herself what would be the proper time 
to i-eveal the truth to Paulette without endangering her life. This 
c;)mbination was the best they could adopt in their disaster. Both 
knew the intelligent devotedness of Aunt Baailit^ue, and that none 
coidd unveil the mystery which was to bosea ed to Paulette for the 
time being with so much prudence. 

The Indian had faithfully carried the message of his master to 
Mme. de Moray ; she had listened without interupting him, accept- 
ing everything, resigned to everything. Malta went away with a 
heavy heart. He continued to respect and \>ye Mme. de Moray. 
He pitied her and wept for her, saying to himself that in spite of all 
the proofs and all the avowals, a woman so ^ood could not be guilty. 

We will be brief now, and will simply say a few words of Gorgon. 
Once only Roger and the duchess found themselves together. It 
was an official interview, in which nobody could suspect the mutual 
passion which had seized them at one time. Gorgon could afford 
to be patient now. The future was hers. 

Although we have not expressly said so, our readers will easily 
understand that M. de Moray was to be called upon to render an 
account of his acts to the justice of men. The murderer of Robert 
Burel must be subjected to common law, even when everything 
tended to prove that he had acted under the excitement recognized 
l»y law to be an admissible excuse. M. de Moray having intention- 
ally killed a man, had to account for his action. The result could 
not be doubtful. The murderer was acquitted. The very next day 
M. de Moray took an action for divorce against his wife and a 
judgment pronounced the dissolution of his marriage. Laura had 
not attempted to defend herself. Twenty-four hours after, she 

lit) A MARTYR. 

who had no longer the right to call herself Countess de Moray, re- 
ceived the order to le%ve the old manaion. The brutal procosa of 
law which chased her out of the abode in which all her tender mem- 
ories were gathered, was the last drop of bitterness which filled the 
chalice to the brim. Once more she bowed her head and submitted 
when she was obliged to leave, without lope of entering it again, 
tlie house in which she had passed the happiest years of her life. 

Now the Count de Moray was free and the ni)ble and saintly 
Martyr was going to pursue, still more painfully, the march she had 
commencfd on the road to her calvary. 

End of tiir FmsT Part. 



^art Sftt^nA. 

'IVE months have elapsed since the last events we have narrat- 
ed. We are now at the beginning of the year 1885. The reader 
has seen at the end of the first part of this true story, that 
three months had been sufficient to M. de Moray to obtain a 
judgment of divorce. This rapidity of procedure is unexampled, and 
can only be explained by the peculiar ^circumstances in which it was 
presented to the judges. After the del eryof the judgment, and after 
the performance of the ceremony < divorce at the mayor's office, 
Mme. de Moray had left de Varennes street, and had rented a small 
apartment on Frangois I. street. We said Mme. de Moray. It 
is through the force of habit that we still give her that name, for 
she had no right to it any longer ; she had renounced it with cruel 
sorrow. When she signed her lease, it was the first time in many 
years that she had given her maiden name. But now she had not 
the right to take another, and it was with tears in her eyes and 
with a trembling hand that she had written : Laura de la Marche. 
Her modest apartment was on the third story and she occupied it 
alone with a servant. She could easily have lived according to her 
old habits of comfort. The dissolution of her marriage had broken 
the community of fortune existing between her and M. de Moray, 
and had put each of them in possessioh of their dowry. However, 
this fortune which she had to take back, amounting to nearly one 
million, was crushing her. She resolved to give it to the poor. 
They, at least, would not seek the source of the help they would 

Laura, since her divorce, had not dared to go to see the father and 
mother whom she venerated and adored. Her letters had remained 
without answer. Even some had been returned to her un-opened. 
It had been a horrible heart-breaking, when, in the envelope, she 
had found the pages in which she was imploring the pardon of a 
fault she had not committed, but of which she thought herself really 
guilty, since the terrible scene which had overthrown her reason, 
and had been the cause of her brother's death. She felt crushed 
by the disdainful silence of her parents. She was not only suffer- 
ing from her own sorrow, she also felt her mother's, because 
she k JW very well that the heart of Mme. de la Marche was 
panting to bring her some consolation. It was certainly the inflex- 
ible will of the head of the family which kept her silent. 

112 A MARTYll. 

* Ah ! ' she said one day, tirod and discouraged, ' 1 cannot live 
thuB any longer. I must see both of thern, '^ven if they drive me 
out after ! ' 

So one morning she had dragged herself to the house whore her 
parents lived, in the neighborhood of the Trocadem, She had rung 
at the door, and, as a stranger would have done, she had told the 
servant who had answered to notify Mme. de la Marche that a per- 
son wished to speak to her. The unhappy woman did not dare to 
say : Tell my mother that her daughter wishes to speak to her. A 
person. She had Ubcd this humble word which the poor knew so 
well. Unhappily, however changed and unlike herself she was, the 
servant had recognized her. And as his master had given the 
strictest orders, in the expectation that Laura would come and see 
her mother, the man did not dare to carry her message. He re- 
mained on the doorstep, to prevent the entrance of his master's 

' Madam,' he said, much troubled, * Madam, will excuse me but I 
cannot do what madam is asking ; I would be dismissed.' 

' I beg of you ! ' Laura supplicated, humiliating herself before 
that servant she had very often treated with generosity. * I beg 
of you ! ' 

She had not the strength to pronounce another word. Her legs 
bent under her. She almost fell on the doorstep. 

* Alas ! madam, compose yourself ! ' said the servant, feeling deep 
emotion himself. * You know very well that I cannot ! ' 

* It is true ! ' muttered poor Laura, * and I must not ask you to do 
what is forbidden. But my father has not told you, at least, to re- 
pulse me from the steps of these stairs. Then, please let me stay 
here, for charity's sake ! ' 

And as the door had been closed against her, she sat down on the 
■tone to wait until her father or her mother should come out. She 
remained in her position for nearly an hour. During this long time 
several persons passed by her, either going up or coming down ; 
they would turn around and look with amazement at the desolate 
attitude of that woman in deep mourning, At last the servant 
who had already spoken to her, reopened the door and approached 

' Madam ! ' said the good fellow, in a trembling voice, ' madam, 
you must go. Do you see ! Although it is very strictly forbidden, 
when 1 noticed that you were there, I went and told M. de 
la Marche. He was not alone when I entered the room. Madam 
was at his side, sitting silently in an arm-chair, as she is in the 
habit of doing now since — since many months. Then at the risk of 
raising my master's anger, I told him what had happened, and ' 

He hesitated to continue. 

' And ?' said Laura, with beating heart. 

A M>RTVR 113 

' And M. de la Marche did not interrupt mo. Hnd when I had 
done, '• I do not know the person ytm gpeak of," he paid, " We 
will not go out until she haa left the house." ' 

A sob came to Laura's throat. The servant continudd : 

' Then Mme. de la Marche looked at her with eyes that 
would have softened a gaoler, nnd joined her hands in a jjesture of 
supplication without daring to speak. " Go and do as I told yoti ! " 
my master said, harshly. I left the room and waited some time in 
the hall, hoping to be recalled. But it has been useless. I only 
hear*l through the door murmurs and sounds of prayer, and violent 
bursts of anger. A moment after Mme. de la Marche crossed the 
hall with agitated features. A violent scene had undoubtedly 
taken place. 1 believe that if you do not go awny from here mis- 
fortune will fall upon your mother, who is already unhappy, as it 
can be plainly seen. ' 

Laura mechanically rose, and went away, having thanked the 
servant ; she returned home exhausted. When she arrived her 
servant met her. 

* Ma'lam,' she said, a man has been waiting for you for the past 
hour. He has a very queer costume. He says madam knows him.' 

Laura pushed the door open and uttered a shriek. It was Maltar. 
Maltar ! What recollections this name awakened in her ! Memories 
sweet and painful at the same time. 

' You ! ' cried Laura, * you, Maltar, in my house ! ' 

There was almost an accent of joy in the tone in which she pro- 
nounced these words. It seemed to her that the faithful servant of 
M. de Moray could not be in her house unless sent by her husband 
himself. The Indian probably understood her thoughts, for he at 
once undeceived her, in order that the dream having lasted but a 
short time the awakening would be less painful. He came near 
Laura, and bending his knee, he took her hand and kissed it re- 

' Mistress,' he said softly, * Maltar has come secretly, without 
saying anything to anybody. Mistress will forgive Maltar, who 
loves her always ] ' 

* Ah ! ' muttered Laura, ' what was I thinking of ? Was that pos- 
sible ? ' 

And motioning to the Indian to rise, she showed him a seat. He 
refused it. 

Oh ! mistress ! ' he said. 

And he sat on the floor, Indian style, (m his heels. 

' Like this,' he said, ' as in India.' 

The name of the country where her daughter was, thinking of her 
having no knowledge of her unhappiness, caused her tears to flow. 

' As in India ! ' she repeated, ' as in olden times ! ' 

And she went on, after a moment of silence : 

114 A MARTYR. 

'Thank you, Maltar, 1 am grateful that vou have coni*), because 
it proves to me that there is at least one being in the world who has 
not abandoned me. Thank you ! ' 

She was repeating h*^r thanks, her soul full of gratitude. Oh I the 
unhappy and the poor ! If we only knew how a little thing con- 
soles and helps them. 

' Come,' she cor tinubd, ' speak, tell me why you have come, be- 
cause if you have come to-day rather than yesterday or to-morrow, 
it is because you have something to tell me. ' 

The faithful servant was hesitating. 

* Mistress,' he said, * has always been good to Maltar, good as the 
heavens which give him light, as the earth which gives him rest, 
and as the grain which gives him food, and Maltar is not ungrate- 
ful. He knows that his mistress is unhappy, and he does not be- 
lieve that she deserves to be.' 

He stopped a moment, as if expecting an answer, bnt Laura re- 
mained silent. Then he continued : 

* Maltar has not come until now because he had hopes ; he knew 
that master was unhappy also, and that, tired of this cruel torture, 
master and mistress would meet some day, when an explanation 
would easily take place, especially when young Mistress Paulette 
will be here.' 

' My daughter ! ' cried Laura. ' Did you learn anything t Do you 
know when she will return ? ' 

'No,' answered the Indian, shaking his head, 'Maltar knows 
nothing. He had hopes, that's all. Only ' 

* Only ? ' 

' Well, there are events preparing, and mistress must not wait 
any longer if she wishes to say * 

' What do you wish me to say ? ' replied the unhappy woman. 
' You know very well I have confessed.' 

' Yes, Maltar knows. But Maltar does not believe.' 

The good fellow looked at Laura full in the face in speaking 

' I have told the truth, she said. ' ' Do not insist any more. Your 
devotion and your love for me make you doubt my words. You are 
wrong. Tell me only the events you allude to.' 

' Mistress,' asked the Indian, ' if the master were sick, if he were 
at the point 'of death — it is only a supposition — would not mistress 
go and see him ? Would she not speak in his ear for a moment, 
and would not she reveal some secret which she has not revealed 
and which she refuses to tell to-day ? ' 

' What can I tell you ] ' asked Laura, with sorrow. * Once more, 
I have told the truth.' 

Maltar shook his head. The good Indian had some secret intui- 
tion, which attested, in his mind, the innocence of his old mistress. 
He continued in his generous stubbornness : 

A MARTYR. 115 

' And if tho miuiter woro on tho evo of doing, through madnoss 
or Borrow, something which would ho worso than death for him, 
would not mistress try to prevent liim from rushing to destruc- 
tion ? ' 

' But what is the terrible project which brings you here, and 
which threatens him ? ' asked Laura, with anguish. 

* The master loves another woman,' slowly answered Maltar, 'or 
rather thinks ho loves her, and he is going to marry her. * 

* Marry her !' cried Laura, distiacted. ' Ah ! it is impossible ! 
That, believing himself deceived, M de Moray had re{)udiatod the 

guilty wife, it was his legitimate right, and Laura had felt a mortal 
sorrow. But she had the supreme consolation to believe, in her 
madness, that the man who had repulsed her from his heart and his 
house was sutTering also. And she imagined that, thanks to this 
communion of sorrow, some mysterious tie would continue to bind 
them together. But, alas ! the announcement of his marriage de- 
stroyed her last illusion. 

* No ! No I it is impossible,' she was repeating, hoping that 
Maltar would tell her that he had been playing with her credulity. 

But the gloomy silence of the Indian made her understand that 
ho had told her the truth. Then she wanted to know who it was that 
Roger was to marry, undoubtedly to escape from his solitude. She 
p issed in rapid review all the women of their relations, and could 
not see her among them. Suddenly she had an inspiration, and she 
felt sure she was not mistaken. 

' She ! ' she cried in a shriek more painful than the first. ' It is 
she, is it not ? Oh ! the wretches ! the wretches ! ' 

* Yes,' answered Maltar, who understood very well that she was 
alluding to the Duchess de San Lucca. * It is she.' 

A spasm of anger rushed to the brain of the unhappy woman, and 
forgetting the fault she believed herself to be guilty of, the martyr 
became a rebel. 

' Ah ! ' she cried with indignation, * it is low ; it is villainous ; it 
isinfariousi and still I should have expected this humiliation ; I 
have condemned myself. I have stupidly sharpened the knife which 
cuts my heart ! They were loving each other, and I saw it, [ 
guessed it ; I told myself that it was not so ! I accused myself for 
the suspicions ! 

' Mistress ! ' muttered the Indian, trying to calm the fever of her 

' Why don't you say that I am lying?' cried Laura, tearing her 
hair, with despair. * You know as well as I do the guilty passion 
which attracted them towards each other, like an irresistible mag- 
net ! Perhaps you know more than I do ! Ah ! It is not then only 
in the future, nor in the present, that I lose the love of Roger ! it 
is also in the past ! Now I understand why he was so quick to 


acoiiie. It WM because heiiiK traitor himself he could not belive in 
the faithfuliioBS of his wife, tried, however, by seventeen years of 
loyal t(tnd«)rn(>ss ! I nnderHtand also why he wan so prompt in 
killin(( ! the proud noblumaii ! It waa because room had to be made 
for (he mistress who watt waiting ! And if I was not killed instead 
of my nccomplice, it wan bo<;auso the paramour would have hesi- 
tated, perlifips, to occupy the bed stained with blood by the murder 
of the first wife ! Ah ! no 1 it is too much ! too much ! ' 

And she walked furiously around the room, 

' Mistress,' ho tried a last time, ' if, however, you did not tell the 
truth when you accused yourself, the master would repent and he 
would not marry her ! her ! ' 

Her fury fell suddenly at these words. After tremblinc; and hesi- 
tating for a seconil, Laura reirained her usual coolness, and remem- 
berin*,' suddenly her imaginary fault; 'It is justice!' she cried. 
And she fell, stunned. 

We will now tell the readers what has happened and ^ive them 
details which Maltar has not made known to Laura. VVhile the 
woman he had repudiated was hidini^ her shame and sorrow in a mi- 
serable lodging. M. de Moray continued to live in the house on de 
Varonnes street : but ho was not alone in the old family mansion. 
The Duchi'83 de San Lucca and her brother still occupied the first 
story. Since the nnirdi-r of the supposed lover of the countess, and 
during' the divorce suit, the r6le. of the two adventurers had been 
neceas'irily thrown into the shade. At first, the old house wore a 
mournful look. All motion had been suddenly stopped. Annibal 
was very much affected by the funeral aspect of the great house, 
and he advised his sister to move out. 

* Let us go,' l>e said to his sister. ' Let us go at once. Since there 
has been a man killed in this house, it seems to me that one can 
feel death. Upon my word ! I always have a mind to take my hat 
off when I enter.' 

He was much embarrassed in saying these words. The duchess 
noticed it and asked liini what the matter was, 

' Well ! little sister,' he said, scratching his ear with a familiar 
gesture. ' I ciuinot help having remorse, whatever I may do, about 
the poor devil the count has murdered. One thing is certain, if I 
had not said a word, the unhappy fellow would still be living, and 
undoubtedly very happily, with the money of Mme. de Moray.' 

' Yoti pity him ! ' answered Gorgon, shrugging her shoulders. 

* Certainly ! 1 put myself in his place, and 1 declare that 1 would 
have hated, on the point of dying, the indiscreet ones whose prattle 
had been the cause of my mishap. After all he did nothing to us ; 
we had no motive of hatred against him.' 

* Eh ! ' said Gorgon, carelessly, ' have the soldiers who kill each 
in battle motives of hatred ? life is an every day struggle and takes 
a thousand forms. Va victis ! and the spoils to the victors ! ' 

A \fAHTYR. 117 

' Victors ! victors ! ' said th«) Neapolitan, ' I do not sue what we 
have gainud so far. I should l)e inclino«l to think we are going back- 
wards. We don't sue a living thing in the honse.' 

' Wait another week only,' said <iorgon, 'and yon will see. I 
gnarantoe that my drawing-room will not ho deserted. ' 

The adventureuB was not miataken. After the tlrst moment of 
public stupor, a great curiosity attracted a cr«)wd to the house. 
People who hardly knew the Duchess de San Lucca, and who had 
been the most bitter opponents of her introduction into their exclu- 
sive society, were the first to come and see her. Every one knew 
the friendship and intimacy which existed between the duchess and 
the family of M. de Moray, and through her, they hoped to learn 
exact news, untold details concerning the drama which occupied the 
whole of Paris. To tell the truth, (jor^on found herself in a deli- 
cate situaticm, but she came out of it with honor. The public 
expressed an equal atlection for the two heroes of the sinister ad- 
venture. But with the most hypocritical ability, she succeeded, 
without making her ed'ort apparent to divert all sympathy which 
might have excused Mme. de Moray. Without saying anything 
against Laura, she praised with such an accent of sincerity the 
devotedness and the love of Roger for his wife that very Hoon the 
count was regarded as a hero and a martyr to conjugal faithfulness. 
She did not display less astuteness and judgement in the relationn 
she was to have with M. de Moray after his divorce. The reader 
may judge from what will follow. 

The very next day after Laura had left his house, M. de Moray 
had asked the favor of a moment's conversation with Mme. de San 
Lucca. The Count had acted and spoken like a man who obeys 
some unknown magnetic power. He resembled, in the disorder of 
his recovered liberty, a lost child who is frightened. He had 
knocked at a door which ho thought a friendly hand would open. 
His heart was desivous of efFusiou, of cimfidence. Now that no 
ties united him to another woman, he was sure he would enter with 
the duchess into an intimacy of life which would till the emptiness 
of his ruined affections. From the very first words, he understood 
that the upsetting of his existence had modified the dispositions 
of the duchess. He expressed his disappointment in very bitter 

' Am [ not unhappy enough ? ' he asked. * Why don't you con- 
sent to come to my help / In exchange for all the fulness of 
my heart, why don't you offer me the treasures which yours con- 
tains ? And still 1 remember the time when, although I was not 
free, you offered me unconditionally the joys of love which 1 had no 
right to hope for or to accept. And now that we are both the mas- 
ters of our destinies, when we can listen to the voice of our passion, 
you seem to have suddenly become of ice ! What has happened i 

118 A MAUTVR. 

Why are you so cold ? Have 1 offended you unknowingly ? ' 
The duchess made a negative sign. 

* No,' she said, 'you have not offended me yet, but you would 
so )U do so if you should continue to speak as you do at this mo- 
ment. In other days, you say, I was different from what I seem to 
be to-day. You are mistaken. The passion you recall always exists, 
and it is as powerful to-day as it was on that eventful day when I 
almost dragged myself at your feet, forgetful of my di-nity as a 
woman ? ' 

On saying these words a flash darted from her eyes, and M. de 
Moray understood then that the old flame was still burning in her 
veins. The duchess continued : 

' Only the terrible spectacle of past events has revealed to me 
truths with which I was not sufficiently acquainted. There is 
no possible happiness except in the rigorous accomplishment of 
duty. In other days I should have been foolish enough to con- 
sent to become your mistress. I even had the weakness to provoke 
the avowal of your love. But to-day the fatal example of her who 
had the happiness of being your wife ' 

* Never mention her name to me ! ' cried M. de Moray, with vio- 
lence. * May the name of that woman whom I hate and despise 
never resound in my ears ! May the remembrance of her never 
come to my heart ! I have nothing but disgust for her ! ' 

* And it is exactly to avoid inspiring you with such a sentiment 
for me,' said the artful Italian, ' that I would not yield, in my turn, 
to a passion which would not be consecrated by legitimate ties. 
Yes, i have the presentiment of it. The day would come when you 
would be astonished at yourself for giving so much love to a woman 
who would deserve so little ! ' 

The reader will easily guess what the result of this conversation 
would be. Placed between the necessity of renouncing an inti- 
macy in which he had put all his hopes of happiness, or making it 
still closer by a legitimate union, M. de Moray could not hesitate. 

In this first interview a project of marriage was formed and pro- 
mises exchanged. However, the duchess did not wish to appear 
to yield too quickly, and she refused at first. 

* Do not ask any engagement from me to-day,' she said, ' Do not 
make any yourself. This thing is so serious that it must bo 
weighed carefully by both of us, separately, in order not to have 
to reproach ourselves later with having yielded to a fugitive trans- 
port t)f passion. ' 

' Ah ! ' cried Roger, ' it is because you do not love me as much 
as I thought, that you can speak with so much coolness ? ' 
' You should say wisdom ! ' 

* No, it is not wisdom which inspires you at this moment. True 
wisdom is to be happy when one can ami as nmch as he can. Ah ! 

A MARTYR. 119 

I implore you ! Do not bargain so much over that yes, on which 
depend my last chances of happiness ! ' If you have loved me, if 
you love me still, accept now and promise to become my wife ! ' 

'You wish it earnestly ?' asked Gorgon, intoxicated with joy at 
her triumph, but seeming to struggle with herself. 

' I beg on bended knees ! ' cried Roger, falling at the feet of the 
duchess, who for an answer made him rise and leaned her head 
against his breast. 

M. de Moray was in good faith in attesting his love. But he ex- 
perienced another feeling which he did not exactly understand. It 
was the unconscious desire to do everything he could to tear from 
his heart the last spark of tenderness he had for his imworthy com- 
panion of BO many years. The sooner he would be married again, 
the sooner he would forget the wretch who was not satisfied with 
his powerful and loyal affection. And he was not only seeking for- 
getfulness, he also cherished a desire for revenge. He felt an ardent 
longing to see another woman bear his name ; it would be a supreme 
revenge which would reach Laura in her solitude. 

* She will see,' he thought, ' that I can do without her, and that 
I can love others ! she will see that if I have killed her lover, it 
was not through a stupid jealousy, but to revenge my outraged 
honor ! ' 

Gorgon understood all this ; but what did she care now ? She 
had attained the end for which she had worked for the last six 
months. She would soon belong to Roger and possess him at the 
same time ; and this possession would be more complete than she 
had ever hoped for, since it was not only a lover, but a husband 
she was to have. 

Three weeks after, Gorgon became Countess de Moray. 


Under the influence of the new countess, the aristocratic man- 
sion had changed its tone of mourning to one of joyful life, and 
had almost become a palace. In the house pleasure reigned from 
morning until night, and very often from night until morning. 
This atmosphere of luxury was not new to M. de Moray, with 
whom it was an every day occurrence when he was governor of In- 
dia. His large fortune also allowed him to surround Claudia with 
all that could flatter her pride, and she used it largely. By these 
means she had succeeded in entering* the high world, and had taken a 
firm hold of the high society, which was the aim of her life and the 
height of her ambition. 

120 A MARTYR. 

One (lay, in March, the gay society which frecjuented the man- 
aion had projected an excursion to Auteuil, when M. de Moray had 
announced his intention of remaining at home under the pretence 
of some important business that had to bo attended to, and he had 
asked M. de Roc^uevaire to take his place. We are already acquainted 
with this gentleman, on whose advice Gorgon had gone to tho Cape 
of Antibes. After promising to take M. de Moray's place, M. de. 
Ro(juovairo drew near the mistress of the 

' 1 must tender you my sincere complimeucs,' he said. 

' Why I ' 

' The morning papers speak of nothing but your success at the 
ball of the British Embassy, given on the occasion of the short so- 
journ of the Prince of Wales in Paris.' 

' It was a brilliant affair.' 

* And the i>rince was very amiable, they say.' 

* In fact, his Royal Highness has even been so kind as to ask me 
if ho would meet me at the races to-day.' 

M. do Moray having heard these last words, she asked him, not 
without satisfied vanity : 

* What do you say, Roger 1 Do I sustain your honor ( ' 

' Certainly,' said the count, gallantly kissing the hand of his wife. 
' Who has ever obtained as great a success as you ] Every day you 
are the queen of some fete or other. You bear in triumph the 
splendor of your strange and marvellous beauty ! Oh ! yes, I am 
proud of you, Claudia, very proud ! ' 

' And very happy also, I hope ? ' answered the young wife with a 
gay smile. 

* You ask if I am very happy ? Certainly, I am ! ' he said, al- 
though the ([uestinn produced an tmeasy feeling that he could not 
define. ' What more could I ask ? I have a beautiful wife, a con- 
siderable fortune, and friends faithful and devoted ! ' 

After their departure, M. de Moray, instead of attending to his 
business, fell to thinking. 

* Happy ! ' he said to himself. * Yes, they are right ! I am per- 
fectly happy ! I am the happiest of men ! And why should not I 
be ? Is there, in tho midst of this whirlwind of pleasures, any room 
left for regret I Is there even room for memories ? ' 

He rose suddenly and commenced to walk about the room, pass- 
ing his h'\nds through his hair, which were becoming grey. 

' And what should I remember, after all ? ' he continued. * What 
and whom, chiefly ] Her who has odiously betrayed me ? It would 
be sheer madness ! And when I think she has not had even one 
hour's repentance ! With what pride she avowed herself guilty ! 
But I took the means of breaking her insolent pride 1 How she 
must have siift'ered when she heard of ray marriage ! And my 
ohoice must have caused her more despair than any other ! Ah ! I 

A MARTYR. 121 

hope she hag suffered, so as to make my revenge more complete 1 
And to suffer, she has only to remember the happiness of the past ! 

Whilst I ! Well, what, I ! I remember also ! But it id to hate 

the wretched woman still more, and to curse hor ! ' 

M. de Moray had just then a feeling of involuntary sincerity, and 
he cried out in a suddeu burst of despair : 

* But why is it that, in spite of her treachery and her infamy, my 
thoughts will turn towards her ? Why do I run away from all the 
pleasures awaiting me, and why do I remain alone to think more 
freely of the cruel absent one ? Ah ! it is because, though I have 
driven her away from my house, I cannot throw her out of my 
heart ! ' 

And he fell exhausted in a chair. At this moment Maltar 
entered, and the count raised his head at the noise. The Indian 
was before him, in his usual humble attitude. However. M. de 
Moray noticed on his face an air of embarrassment which made him 
understand that his strange servant did not come only for the wants 
of his service. 

* You have something to tell me i ' he said suddenly. 
Maltar bowed still lower. 

'Well, speak! What is it ? ' 

* The master will excuse me,' answered Maltar in his sweet voice. 
' I have to tell him that I am going to quit his house' 

' Quit my house ! cried the count, stup jtied. ' Are you m^id ? ' 

' No, master, not yet,' said the [ndi m artlessly ; ' but [ should 
soon become mad if I njmained. That's why I prefer going away.' 

' Ah ! your answer is beyond joking and you will explain ■' 

' No. I beg master to ask nothing.' 

' On the contrary, [ want you to speak. You have belonged to 
me for five years, and I hope you have not forgotten the circum- 
stances under which I befriended you, for you hid endured enough 
misery to remember. I have taken you into my service with con- 
fidence, I can say even with friendship. ' 

* Yes, The master has always been good to his unworthy slave.' 
' Lastly, you have been judged worthy to accompany me here, to 

receive the same benefits and render the -same services, and in 
spite of all that, you want to leave me. Would yon do like most 
servants in this country ? Are you enticed away by some maniac 
attracted by your queer costume and your strange features ? ' 
' Oh ! master ! ' protested the Indian with an accent of sadness. 

* Then if it is not so, once more, explain yourself, speak, you 

' If I must,' said the Indian, * I will obey. Since certain events 
have happened in this house, all tha old servants huve been re- 
placed by others. It is not fair that there should be an exception 
in my favor.' 


122 A MARTYR. 

* Oh ! ' said the count suddenly saddened by the memory evoked 
by the Indian of what he called, "certain events." ' You pretend 
that is the reason. Then you are more in the wrong than I sup- 
posed. It is exactly because you belonged to the old house, as you 
say, that 1 wcnild regret a great deal to see you go away. Your de- 
parture would not be an ordinary departure, like all the others ; 
it would be almost an abandonment.' 

At this last word Maltar raised his head which he had kept bowed 
down until then. He had just taken the resolution to tell the 
truth, for, it can be presumed that the reason ho had given was «.nly 
a pretence. 

' The master speaks of abandonment,' he said. ' Well, if I want 
to leave you, it is to give my services to another person who is truly 

* Whom do you speak of V haughtily asked the count, who un- 
derstood very well. 

* I speak of Mme. de Moray.' 

* Ah ! you don't know whereof you speak, then, for Mme. de 
Moray inhabits this house, whore she is the sovereign mistress, even 
before me.' 

' She is not the one I speak of, master, and you know it well.' 

* There is none other, however. Only one woman in the wurld 
a right to bear that name.' 

' She who bore it so long was good to me, almost as much as y(.u 
have been yourself. So, whatever name she bears to-day, it is her 
I will serve, since she is unhappy.' 

' Ah ! ' said the count, * it is a singular freak to devote yourself to 
the one who has committed the fau)*" and who lives in shame.' 

' Master ! ' retorted Maltar with firmness, ' I do not believe that 
Mme. Laura h.'is committed any fault, and 1 believe that the shame 
she lives in is not deserved.' 

M. de Moray was startled. 

* Yon are mad ! ' he cried. ' You were there, however, when all 
that happened ; you were a witness to my anger, to my revenge!' 

' Yes, master. But I do not believe what you have believed. I 
do not believe what I have seen ! ' 

* You were also at the trial. You heard the avowal she made to 
the judge and to the jurors. Your ears, like mine, heard the echo 
of her words when she was saying : The man killed by M. de Moray 
was my lover ! ' 

' I heard and I remember. But I do not believe what I heard and 
what I renjember. Let the master remember also. There was in 
Mme. Laura's voice a strange accent which I had never heard be- 
fore that day. There was in her eyes the wandering of madness. 
And this terrible sound of her voice, this wandering of her eyes, I 
have found them again nearly two months ago when I told her 

A MARTYR. 123 

vrhom I always consider as my mistress that you were going to 
marry another woman.' 

' Ah ! you have seen her, then ? * asked the count, with avidity. 
'You did not tell me!' 

* It was of no use. At that time you would not have listened to 
me, even less than to-day.' 

' And why did you bring her the news of my marriage ?' 
' To prevent her learning it by chance, from wicked or only in- 
different persons,' said Maltar, with the dignity which every noble 
sentiment gives to the one who utters it. ' Well, the news of your 
marriage has finished the work which her sufferings had commenced. 
For many weeks, and until the last few days, Mme. Laura has been 
in peril of her life. As long as the danger lasted, I passed several 
hours each day, each night 1 should say, by the side of my dear 
mistress, nursing her while her only servant took a little rest. If 
she had died, I would have said nothing and I should have remain- 
ed here to consecrate myself to the master, and perhaps to console 
him later on. But now Mme. Laura is saved. She tries to cling to 
life for the sake of her daughter. Just think, master ! I am the 
only being to whom she can speak of her daughter, since she is 
separated now from all those who loved the child with her ; since she 
has no husband, since her father and mother themselves have driven 
her away ! ' 

The voice of the poor Indian broke in a pitiful sob. Big tears 
rolled down his cheeks. M. de Moray had to make a strong eflfort 
not to be carried away by the force of this emotion. 

* Well, Maltar! ' he said with more softness than he had exhibited 
since the beginning of the interview, * it is in the very name of Pau- 
lette, in the name of my daughter, that I oppose myself to your de- 
parture. ' 

* In the name of Miss Paulette?' asked the Indian, who did not 

* Yes, my daughter will land shortly at Marseilles. I was expect- 
ing the arrival of the steamer to-day ; but since I have not received 
any despatch it is because the steamer has been delayed for a few 

* The young mistress is coming ? ' repeated the Indian, troubled 
by this unexpected news. 

* She will be here in two or three days at the latest. The last 
letter of A nut Basilique announced their departure by the follow- 
ing steamer. This abode, where my daughter has lived a few years 
of her childhood with her mother, will appear very empty to her. I 
will be the only one she will find of all those she has loved I ' 

' The young mistress will return ! ' repeated the Indian. ' Oh 1 
the poor child ! ' 

124 A MARTYR. 

'The poor child I you are right in speaking thus. Au orphan 
would be less tu be pitied than she. Hov^ she must suffer now, for 
Aunt Basilique has probably told her all.' 

* What ? Miss Paulette did not know i ' 

' No. Although strong enough to undertake the voyage, she was 
yet too weak to hear this cruel truth. She must have learnt it only 
after landing, in time to prevent her entering into this house with 
a hope of seeing her mother which would be too suddenly deceived. 
It is only then that my sister must have told Paulette what it is 
necessary that she should know, and only to the extent which her 
chaste ignorance could make her understand! ' 

' It is only yesterday, perhaps only to- day, you say, master, that 
Miss Paulette knows that, on arriving here, she will tind her moth- 
er's place ompty! What am I saying ? She knows, or she is going 
to know th;it this place is already occupied by another. Oh! master! 
master! Wliat a terrible meeting that will be between your daughter 
and ' 

The Indian did not dare to finish. After all, the new countess 
was the wife of his master, and she had a right to his respect. 

' Yes, very terrible! in truth! ' said the count sadly. ' And it is 
to render the first hours of her return less cruel ; it is to slowly con- 
sole the poor orphan child that I depend upon your help, Maltar. 
It is to watch over her, to weep with her also, that 1 struggle 
against your departure. But since you want to leave me, since you 
wish to abandon my child, go, Maltar, go ! I do not retain you ! ' 

'No, master!' said the Indian with emotion. 'Now I will re- 
main ' ' 

M. de Moray gave his hand to the faithful servant who bowed 
and kissed it, weeping bitterly. 

The reader remembers that Gorgon had sworn to grant the tirst 
request her brother would formulate in exchange for the informa- 
tion he had given, and which led to the divorce and to her subse- 
(juent marriage. Annibal did not exactly know then what he would 
ask, but he had an idea, vague and indefinite, it is true, but which 
had eventually become a firm desire; and he held on to his deter- 
mination with tenacity. He had not said anything to his sister about 
it yet. On the day after the races at Auteuil he called on the count. 

' I have very bad news to give you about the Rio Negro gold 
mine ; as you are one of the directors, it will be a very serious mat- 
ter. You have been the victim of knaves. The principal share- 
holders have acquired the proof that the nuggets which you and 
your co-directors have declared to have been extracted from the 
Rio Negro mine were taken from another mine. 

' But it is an infamous robbery,' said the count. 

A MARTYK. 125 

' Parbleu ! and what is worse, the shareholders declare that unless 
they are re-imbursed, they will prosecute the board criminally. (>f 
course you are not accused of having wronged any one intentionally, 
but nevertheless they will prosecute the proinotera of the enterprise. 
There are six directors on the board, and of that number three are 
filibusters. I told you to guard against them at the time you en- 
gaged yourself in that mine. So you are not six directors, but three: 
The General de Saint Rony, the Marquis de Sistenay, and yourself. 
The general and the marquis will pay one million each, and they 
hope you will do the same thing.' 

M. de Moray wiped his forehead, on which could be seen drops of 
cold perspiration. 

'Those gentlemen have done well to depend on me,' he said. 
' But it is very happy that the amount is not larger, because I would 
have been unable to pay it.' 

* I tell you honestly,' rejoined Annibal, trying to hi<le hia dis- 
appointment, * that what you are telling me gives me great ploa- 
suro. Although I do not know the extent of your wealth, 1 was 
afraid that your fortune would not allow you to face such a great 

' 1 have been very lucky in some enterprises I launched in in 
India. When I liquidated my liability at the time of the dissolu- 
tion of my marriage, our settlement of accounts amounted to two 
millions. The mansion we are now in was estimated at four hun- 
dred thousand francs, so that there remained one million six hun- 
dred thousand francs in cash. I remitted at that time eight 
hundred thousand francs in French valuns to the first Mme. de 
Moray's notary. The surplus, that is to say the eight hundred 
thousand francs which constitute my portion, and which were the 
product of the sale of our properties in India, have remained in the 
Indo-Marseillaise bank, which has a branch in Pondichery. So that, 
in two weeks at the latest, these funds will be at my disposition. 
I would easily console myself at that loss if the dowry of my daugh- 
ter was not swallowed up with my fortune.' 

'It only depends on you, my dear Roger,' said Annibal, 'to 
assure to Miss Paulette a larger fortune than the one you so nobly 

' What do you mean ? ' 

'The simplest thing in the world. Remember, my dear count, 
that when you solicited my assent to the marriage of my sister with 
you, although she was perfectly free, by right of widowhood, you 
would not hear of her oringinj? a dowry.' 

' It could not be otherwise,' said M. de Moray. 'The painful 
circumstances under which 1 recovered my liberty, and which allowed 
me to marry your sister, imposed upon me an exceptional reserve 

120 A MARTYR. 

in money matters. I could not, withoiit dishonor, bo suspected of 
making a bargain in marrying a wealthy woman. ' 

* Very well ! Let nio, in my turn, I pray you, <lo what you have 
done. It is cquaPy without a dowry that 1 have the honor to ask 
you for the hand of yoiir daughter. ' 

Roger took a step backwards, altogether suifocated by what he 
had just heard, and unable to believe his ears. 

* You ! ' he said at last, ' you, the husband of Paulette ! you who 
are the brother of ' 

* As he stopped, Palmeri continued : 

' I, the broilier of your now wife. That's what you mean, is it 
not? Eh ! I am very well aware of the prejudice which this title 
will create in the mind of Miss Paulette. But leave that to my 
sister and myself. Claudia will give her back, through her affec- 
tion, the happiness she undoubtedly fears she has lost in learning 
that she is to be separated from her mother. As to the rest, with 
time and the fortune which I am happy to place this very moment 
at the feet of Mmo. Palmeri, 1 will succeed in winning her love ! ' 

' You ask me for the hand of Paulette,' said M. de Moray, 'and 
yet you don't know that child. ' 

* Pardon me,' said Annibal, smiling, * I know her and, if I must 
say so, f love her ! Oh ! 1 have never seen her ! it is true ! ' he 
added, on noticing the astonishment of the count. * But I have as 
guarantee of her charms the tenderness which you have for her, 
the great affection of all those who have lived with her, and the re- 
spectful devotedness which some of your servants have for her ; I 
am speaking of Maltar. As to her beaiity ' 

The Italian took a photograph which was on M. de Moray's desk. 

* As to her beauty, this portrait is my answer. I have often 
contemplated it unknown to you, and, upon my word, it has in- 
spired me with a sincere admiration for her whose image it is. 
Once more, m dear count, I love Miss Paulette and I ask you to 
give me her hand. ' 

' But it is madness ! ' said M, de Moray, who was convinced at 
last of the sincerity of his brother-in-law. 

' It is madness, perhaps,' said Palmeri, ' but it can be explained 
very easily in a man of my character and of my country. Come, 
my dear count, it is yes, is it not ] ' 

M. de Moray answered evasively. 

* Well,' he said, ' since you insist so much, with a generosity for 
which I am very grateful under the present circumstances, I do not 
repulse, deliberately, the proposition you have made. Biit I do 
not accept ii either. Paulette will be here, as you know, in a few 
days. I shall leave it to her decisiim.' 

* That's all I ask,' answered the handsome Italian. * You will 
allow me to plead my cause and I am contjdent of success.' 

A MAHTYK. ' 127 

Tho two men shook hands and separated. Instead of going to 
}iis rooms, Annibal went to tho apartment of his sister. On hear- 
ing of his intention, Claudia repeated the words of M. de Moray. 

' It is madness ! ' she cried. 

* Did I tell you it was madness when you acquainted mo with the 
passion you entertained for M. de Moray, and when you told me 
you would willingly give millions to become his wife i ' 

She shrugged her shoulders. 

' It is not the same thin-/ at all,' she said. * I adored Roger, and, 
whatever you may say, you cannot love a sixteen-year old child 
whom you ih ver saw.' 

' I will admit that I do not love this little girl in your way, that 
is to say with fever, with rage ; but I am very certain that I will 
love her when she is my wife, and tliis is sufticient for the time 
being. You have married M. de Moray through passion ; I want 
to marry Mile, de Moray through reason. My dream is to have 
a home very quiet, surrounded by tho people we know and who 
know us, and who will have no temptation to make an inquiry into 
our past life, because, in spite of our good luck so far, I very often 
tremble. Paulotte is just the thing. She must be a timid young 
girl who knows nothing of the world, who has seen nothing, heard 
nothing, who loves nobody, and consequently will be very glad to 
love the first handsome fellow who will pay his attentions to her. 
Add to this a father whom wo have got hold of, who is your hus- 
band, who swears only by you, and who, by a happy accident, finds 
himself ruined at the very moment it is useful to us that he should 
require our services to pay his debts.' 

' So that story of a mine that you spoke about is confirmed ? ' 

' Nothing can be truer. Ah ! if we were not here, your poor devil 
of a husband would be in a sad plight. And even with our help, I 
don't know how he will get out of that scrape. ' 

' It is very simple,' said Claudia. ' Roger will pay. All his for- 
tune will be swallowed up.' 

' He will pay ! what with ? ' 

* With the funds he has in the Indo-Marseillaise bank.' 

* Well, he need not depend on that, because according to this 
morning's despatches, the bank has failed, and will be a total 

' In that case Roger is ruined, and he will be criminally prose- 
cuted, dishonored ! ' 

' Exactly. Unless he resigns himself to the sweet necessity of 
having recourse to the purse of his son-in-law; you must admit that 
your Count de Moray has been very lucky to meet us.' 

And the adventurer bust out laughing. His sister sent him away 
and made ready for her visits. 

128 A MARTYR. 

About nn hour after this con vernation, a young girl waa entering 
on tiptoe the drawiiii^-room of the apartments of M. de Moray, 
drau'Kitig by the )iand a middle-aged man. 

' This way, Mr. Drack,' she was saying to her companion who re- 
sisted, ' thin way. We are in mother's drawing-room. ' 

It was l*aulotto. 


We must now exphxin how it happens that Paulette arrives thus 
unexpectedly in Paris, when her father does not even know that she 
]ia<) landed in Marseilles ; and how it is that she drags behind her a 
character unknown to ua, whom she calls Mr. Drack, and who hesi- 
tates to ontor a house where he is not expected. To give all these 
explanations, we will have to return to India. The day after the 
scene of the murder, M. and Mme. de Moray had decided to keep 
on writing to their daughter, without giving even a hint of the ter- 
rible drama which held been enacted. Aunt Basiliqiie, on the con- 
trary, was to be informed of all the particulars, and she would make 
the revelation to the child at the moment she would judge oppf>r- 
tune. It had been done as agreed. On the arrival of the first 
steamer, all the colony had heard of the sinister adventure. Pau- 
lette alone knew nothing. Aunt Basilique and the doctor had 
managed so cleverly that not a word had transpired. The doctor 
was afraid that the child, in her state of health, could not bear such 
a revelation. 

* When Paulette is in Paris,' he had said, ' it will be better. She 
will see her father and mother ; she will weep with both, each in 
his turn, and perhaps, who knows ? her sweet influence will bring 
those two beinji;s together again, because there cannot be anything 
but a misunderstanding between them.' 

They had not yet heard in India, as can be seen by these words, 
of the divorce and new marriage of the count. When this news 
arrived the doctor trembled. It seamed very difficult to keep the 
secret from Paulette now, and he resolved to send her away as soon 
as possible. This decision had caused a great sorrow to a certain 
young man, with whom our readers are already acquainted. We 
are speaking of M. Gaston de Yalliferes, the lover of Paulette. Even 
before M. and Mme. de Moray had left the colony, M. de Vallieres 
loved their daughter. He was waiting for her to attain her six- 
teenth year, before declaring himself. Under these conditions, M. 
de Vallieres felt a great sorrow in learning of her earlier departure. 

A MAUTYU. 120 

' Do not be uneasy, my dear Gaston,' Aunt Bafiili<iue had said to 
oonsolo liiru. ' When we will bo in Paris, I shall plead your cause 
and I will win it.' 

So they started. Aunt Tlaailique was perplexed. The deep 
affection she bore to her brother made her desire to see him as soon 
aa possible, to share his sorrows. Hut the mnternal tenderness nhe 
felt towards Paulette caused her to fear the fatal moment when she 
would have to reveal everythiu<,' : the murder of a man by M. do 
Moray, the separation, and hnally the divorce of her parents, both 
of whom Paulette loved equally. As the steamer was spyodinji; on 
its way, the anxiety of Aunt Ba8ili({ue increased. The truth must 
necessarily be told before their arrival in Marseilles. Moreover, 
fthe was afraid that the indiscretiini of sf»me passenger might reveal 
these events too suddenly to the young girl and cause a relapse, 
and she took the following means to prevent such an occurence. 
She addressed herself, on the very first day of the voyage, to a pas- 
senger whose physiognomy and social situation were such as to give 
her confidence. He was an Englishman, who had been a trader in 
India for thirty years, and who was going back to his country to 
rest at his ease, he said, and have no trouble, which would bo easy 
for him, since his fortune was made, and there was not a single liv- 
ing being in the world in whom he took any interest, except him- 
self. Sir Elias Drack, that was his name, was consular agent at 
Calcutta, of we know not what European power. This last (lualili- 
cation was one of the great reasons which had attracted M. do 
Moray's sister's attention to Mr. Drack. Aunt Baailique met him 
squarely ; when she had been presented to him by the captain 
she asked him to come to her aid in establishing a conspiracy 
of silence among the passengers. Mr. Drack was a regular char- 
acter, as we say to-day ; at the first words of Aunt Basilique, he cried 
out against her proposal. 

* I return to Europe that I may have no more cares,' he said. ' I 
did not marry so aa to have neither wife nor children, that is to say 
no cause of anxiety or trouble, and you imagine that I am going to 
turn conspirator! — I, Elias Drack, conspirator! gieat heavens! 
for the sake of a little girl who is a total stranger to me, whom I 
saw this morning for the first time! No, never! ' 

After this first resistance of egotism, Mr. Drack promised Aunt 
Basilique everything she aaked atul commenced to fulfil his mission 
on the very same day. It is well known that we got attached to 
those to whom we devote ourselves, however little it may be. Mr. 
Drack could not escape the common law. So twenty-four hours 
after he had received the confidence of Aunt Basilique, he felt more 
involuntary sympathy for Paulette than ho had ever experienced 
for anyone in his life. But what was amusing in this case is that 
he was angry at himself for this weakness which he denied, and 

130 A MAHTYK. 

■otnetiiuoH Iio ovon osnumed Hiirly airs, as if nflBDrtiii^ thu iiulupon- 
(lence of his heart. Only ho could not deceivo anyone for a Umn 
time, and Aunt Baailiijue and Paulotto soon found out the real 
kindnofls which vv.'ih hidden under his rou^h exterior. 

At lant the land was ni^dited. They wore reaching Marsoillos. 
Wlion thoy noarotl the coast, a torrihlo accidont occurred. A 
hurricane rose suddenly, and the niagniticent steamer was to^sud 
like a nutshell on immense waves. There was no danger, however. 
Nevertheless, most of the passengers had gone below. Thoro ro- 
TUiiined on duck only a few travollors who wished to witness tlie 
grand spectacle atlorded \>y the storm. 

Since the time thoy had hoard that they wore approaching Mar- 
seilles, Paulette had been a prey to a violent emotion. Mnrsoillos ! 
that is to say her native soil, the land wiioro hor parents were ex- 
pecting her. Soniethini; told her that hor father and mother were 
there, at the very end of the wharf, expt)aod to the fury of the 
storm, to witness the entrance in port of the steamer bearing their 
chilli. Yes, certainly, they were there, huddled together, much 
all'ifcted, getting ready to seok her with their eyes, to make signs of 
welcome, to send hor their love in their far-ott" kisses. 

We have said that the huricano had forced nearly all the passen- 
gers to go down. As the coast was not yet quite near, Paulutto had 
resigned herself to this general measure of safety without grum- 
bling. But as thoy were getting nearer to the land, as tho city ap- 
peared more distinctly through tho thick glasses of tho cabin, she 
felt !i terrible agitation. She asked her aunt permission to go on 
deck. However prudent she was, the good old lady hud not tho 
courage to oppose her will. 

* We will bo wet to the skin in less than a minute,' she thought, 
* but then we will have only to change our clothes. Moreover, the 
first deception which Paulette will experience at not seeing her par- 
ents, as she hopes, will be a sort of preparation for the painful con- 
fidence I am obliged now to make.' 

They were ready to go on deck at the moment the stean.or was 
entering port. 

' Are you coming with us, Mr. Drack ? ' asked Paulette in a joy- 
ful tone. 

The Englishman was reading the British Magazine, when she called 
him. He raised his head without dropping his book. 

' Whore ? ' he asked with astonishment. 

* On deck. Don't you remember ? I told you that, no matter 
what sort of weather it would be, I would go on deck on arriving.' 

' Yes! yes! ' grumbled tho old consul, 'I remember now. You 
said that. But it does not stand to reason, because you have 
said you would do a foolish thing, that you should do it And it is 
downright foolishness to go and get drenched by the waves which 
are sweeping the deck at this moment,' 


' Como, como ! aunty haa .ven pormisfiion ; do not be wicked, 
but come and got drenched with iis.' 

'If the waves only wetted people,' retorted the Kiiv;liHhinan, 
'it would be nothini^. Hut they also wash thouj ovt»rbt)iirtl.' 

' \\;\\\ ! I ahidl take good care of myself,' said the young ^irl, pull- 
ing him by the arm. 

Once on dock, Aunt Basiliquo, H»mtod on a bench, had askud to 
have a rope passed aro\tnd her body, so as to prevent her being 
thrown down by the motion of the steamer. I'aiilette, would not 
submit to this moaauro of precaution. She wanted to be free in her 
movements, in order to bo in the best part of the steamer to see her 
parents sooner. As to Mr. Drack, he was, in spite <jf his age, a 
vigor«)U8 man. Like most of his countrymen he had travelled a 
great deal, and did not want any advice. The stoamor was entering 
ihe port itself, and in loss than a minute would be in calm watem, 
when a wave larger than any they had yet encountered broke itself 
on the side of the steamer. A mountain of water fell on the deck 
mid swept it. In the midst of the noise of tliis unexpected cataract, 
a loud cry was hoard, a heart-rending cry, and then silence. When 
t]»u deck was clear, AuntBa8ili(pio and Mr. Drack found themselves 
al<t!io, Tho same exclamation of despair escaped from their lips at 
the same time. 

•Paulette ! Paulette!' 

It was only too easy to understand what had happened. Tho 
wave had thrown her down and carried her away, on retiring. Tho 
unhappy girl was lost. 

' Paulotte ! ' cried Aunt Basiliquo once more, 8truggli»>g with tho 
anguish of madness. * Wait, I am going to your help ! ' 

And the unhappy woman, who did not know how to swim, would 
certainly have thrown herself into the sea with the ma I heroism of 
tlioso who, without depending on their strength and on thoir science, 
obey the first movement of their heart. Luckily, she had been tied 
with a rope, as we have said, and she was unable to move. She 
attempted to nndo the hard sailor's knot. She oidy hurt her 
fingers, but she could not succeed. All this time Mr. Drack had 
not remained inactive, and while storming against the mad impru- 
dence of the young girl who, after all, ho said, was only a stranger 
to him, he had mechanically taken otl" his heavier clothing. Then 
seeing a life-preserver at hand, bo had thrown it overboard. After 
tl»at, taking advantage of a new wave which was sweeping tho deck, 
ho was voluntarily carried by it, 

'This way,' ho thought, with ten feet of water over his head, 
' there are chances that I will be pushed towards tho little one.' 

When he appeared at tho surface, he looked around him. At first 
ho could not see anything in tho small radius his eyes could em- 
brace. For one moment he thought he had undertaken a usoIchs 

132 A MARTYR. 

taak. But being lifted a few feet hif^lier by a wave, he perceived a 
shred of stuff. It was the petticoat of Paulette, whose body was 
sometimes floating and sometimes sinking, at the whim of the storm. 
The courageous Englishman did not exhaust his strength in super- 
fluous cries. He swam a short distance, with the supreme effort 
inspired by desperate situations, and he soon had the chance of 
seizing the child by her beautiful hair, which was untied. 

*Good ! ' he thought, with his usual phlegm, 'the most import- 
ant part of the task is accomplished. 

But he had hardly raised the head of the young girl above water 
to allow her to breathe, then with the desperate instinct common to 
all people who are drowning, she clung to him ;vith such violence 
that all his movements were paralyzed. 

' If I do not tear myself away from her grasp,' he thought, ' we 
will sink together, and we are lost. Yes, but if I abandon her, if I 
let her die, the image of the little one will come every night and 
trouble me in ray sleep ; and it will be very annoying. Decidedly, 
I will either go up there with her, or I will not go up at all ! ' 

And, disengaging, by a supreme effort, liia arms from those of the 
young girl, he commenced to swim vi-^orously ; but it was not a 
small affair to struggle against such a sea, chiefly with the weiglit 
of the body of the poor child. Luckily, the life preserver he had 
thrown overboard passed near him. He grasped it and was able to 
find a little rest. 

* Provided,' he said to himself, 'that somebody has noticed our 
disappearance, because we cannot depend much upon Aunt Bvsi- 
lique. The poor lady must have lost her head altogether.' 

He looked towards the land and saw that ho was about four or 
five hundred feet from the coast. 

' It wouldn't be the devil of a job, if I was alone. But for the 
two it will be harder ! And then there must be breakers on that 
coast, and perhaps I will not be able to prevent the head of the 
little one from being broken ! ' 

But after all, feeling that his strength was yetting exhausted in 
spite of the help of the life preserver, he had almost resolved to 
abandon this transient support, and try to reach the shore with his 
precious burden, when a boat appeared. The accident had been 
signalled on board, and four courageous sailors had reached the 
scene. One minute after they were carrying Paulette unconscious, 
but still living, to the arms of Aunt B isilique, who had also fainted, 
As soon as the two women, so rudely shaken, had re^'ained consci- 
ousness, and when they had embraced each other, with the joy of 
people who had lost all hopes of Seeing each other a^^ain, Paulette 
asked to go on shore .at once. 

' Let us quit the ship as soon as possible,' she asked. ' Let us 
go on shore. My father and mother must be in a terrible state. 

A MARTYR. 133 

Poor dear parents ! If they have witnessed the accident, they must 
certainly be mad with fright ! ' 

* Yes/ answered her aunt. * Let U8 go at once. We will go to 
the hotel and rest a little.' 

And we will find father and mother ! ' insisted Paulette. 

* Probably,' answered the old lady with embarrassment. Now 
less than ever had she the courage to tell the poor younggirl of the 
threatening evil. 

As they were leaving the steamer, they met Mr. Drack. Paulette 
had just been told it was he who had saved her life. She thre'-r 
herself on the breast of the good Englishman. He repulsed her 
with a little roui^hness, perhaps to hide hia emotion, although he 
pretended not to know what that word meant. 

' Be careful, L pray you, Mile. Paulette,' he said. ' This is the 
second time to-day that you have rumpled my linen in kissing me 
so hard ! ' 

' You did not think of your linen when you jumped into the sea 
a few minutes ago,' looking at him with eyes full of gratitude. * I 
owe you my life, Mr. Drack ! Oh ! how my father and my mother 
will love you when I tell them what you have done for me ! How 
they will thank you ! ' 

' I defy them to do so ! On coming out of the steamer I take 
the first train to Paris, and thence to England ! ' 

' Oh ! you will not do that ! It is impossible ! My parents must 
see you, they must know you ! ' 

' Dear Mr. Drack,' added Aunt Basilique, * I pray you, come with 
us to the hotel, your presence will perhaps be very necessary there 
also ! ' 

The old consul bowed and obeyed, saying to himself at the same 
time that it was not worth while to be unmarried, if he was to be 
the prey of the first woman who required his services. Arrived at 
the hotel Aunt Basilique found herself very unwell ; not only the 
shock had been too violent for her nerves, when she had seen her 
niece disappear, but she also folt physical suffering. The wet 
clothes she had kept on too long had given her a severe cold. 

Paulette had to give up the hope of seeing her parents. But 
how was it that they had not come to meet her ? 

' It is quite natural,' answered Mr. Drack, to soothe her, ' our 
steamer is a splendid sailer and we have arrived two days ahead of 
our time. ' 

' Well,' said Paulette, 'since they could not come on time I will 
go to them myself, without losing even an hour.' 

* Listen,' said Aunt Basilique, who was in bed and shivering, * I 
will go if you desire it, but I assure you I am very unwell. I want 
two days' rest. ' 

' Two days ! ' 

134 A MARTYR. 

Puulotto repeated the worrl with siicli an accent of despair that 
the old huly took pity on her. It waa the good Mr. Diack, who, 
annoyed at being obliged to remain in Marseilles all the time Pail- 
lette wished to keep him there, came to the rescue. 

' Let us see,' he said to the child, ' we must come to a conclu- 
Bion. Will you let ine take you to your father in Paris 1 Your 
aunt will remain here a few days to rest herself.* 

The proposition, transmitted to Aunt Basilicpie, had been ac- 
cepted with enthusiasm, the more so that this combination threw 
on the ex-consul the heavy task of telling Paulette how matters 
Btood between her parents whilst they were speeding on to Paris. 
M. de Moray's sister had given to the good man all the instructions 
necessary. He had promised to reveal to the young girl all that 
was necessary for her to know on the way. He had promised, true 
enough, but he had not dared, so that Paulette when she arrived at 
the house, happy and confiding', had only one thought, that of 
clasping her father and her mother in her arms. 

\Vhen Paulette entered the drawing-room, dragging after her 
Mr. Elias Drack, who was in sore distress, Maltar was coming in 
by another door. A large screen hid him from the young girl. 
Her voice startled him. 

' Mile. Paulette,' thought the Indian. ' How does it happen 
that she has arrived to-day, unknown to her father ? And who is 
the man accompanying her ? ' 

The faithful servant thought he should find his young mistress 
in deep sorrow. The poor child must have felt a painful sensation 
in seeing the house where a stranger had taken the place of her 
beloved mother. And as he hesitated to show himself, he was 
astonished to h hear Paulette cry out in joyful tones : 

' Come, come, Mr. Drack, why do you argue with that porter 1 
I do not know him. Do you suppose I want any one to show me 
ray way through my father's house ? ' 

'But this man asks 'answered the good Englishman, who 

was very much embarrassed. 

* Well, let him ask, and come in with me. What is more natural 
after all ? We disembark on Varennes street, where nobody ex- 
pects either of us; and as for you, you are completely unknown. 
We meet the porter, and the following conversation takes place ; 

' M. and Mme, de Moray, if you please ? ' 
' They are both out, miss,' 
' Both of them 1 ' 
'Both of them.' 

* That is annoying. M, and Mme. de la Marche are there ? ' 

f The admiral and Mme. de la Marche do not live here, now, 

* Is that so ? When did they leave ? ' 
' About two months ago.* 

A MARTYR. 135 

* That is strange. What does it mean i However, it shall be 
explained by-and-by. And as I come into the liouso, although 
the masters are out.* 

' Where are yon going, miss ? ' says the porter, in no gracious 
mood. ' I have told you that the Cuunt and Countess de Mi)ray 
were out. ' 

* Well, I say, I shall wait for them,' laughing at the ruHled look 
of that Cerberus, ' When they come in, tell M. and Mme. do Mo- 
ray tliat Miss Pauletto de Moray has arrived, and wishes to see 
them at once.' 

' And then I take your hand, to the great auiazumeut of the 
portor, and lead you into this drawing-room, where I must tell you 
my joy and my happiness, coat what it will.' 

' But, my dear child,' says Mr. Drack, trying to stop her prattle. 

' Yes, yes,' she said, (juickly, ' I know what you are going to say. 
What odds is it to you that 1 am happy ? That is none of your 
business. You will take the first train to England, where there is 
no little girl to throw herself in your way, and whom you shall not 
be obliged to save from drowning at the risk of your life. And 
there you will be egotistical at your ease. And you will think of 
yourself, only of yourself ; you will be the happiest man in the 
world. That's understood. But remain here one short hour before 
you enter on that beautiful life. Wait until I meet my father and 
mother. Witness once in your life people who love each other 
dearly, and who, on account of that love, are still happier than 
you, no matter what you may say to the contrary, for their own 
happiness is increased tenfold by the happiness of those who.u they 
love ! ' 

Upon hearing this flood of words, Maltar understood. His young 
mistress knew nothing of the events which had transpired in the 
house. He shuddered. An involuntary motion and the noise he 
made in striking a piece of furniture, revealed his presence. He 
then showed himself. 

* Ah ! Maltar ! ' cried Paulette, joyously. * It is you, Maltar ! 
How happy I am to see you ! Seeing you is like seeing a member of 
the family.' 

The Indian, much moved, respectfully kissed the hand of the 

' Mistress ! ' he stammered. 

' Do you understand this, Maltar ? ' said Paulette, ' the porter 
would not let me come in, under the pretence that M. and Mme. de 
Moray are out ! ' 

' He wanted to know who we were,' observed Mr. Drack, who 
was afraid, if Maltar spoke he would say too much, ' and the man 
was right, since, not finding your parents in Marseilles, you would 

136 A MARTYR. 

not allow me to advise them by despatch of your early arrival in 

* No, no,' said the young girl, *I wanted to surprise my dear 
father and my beloved mother, in throwing myself suddenly into 
their arms, and offering them all my heart on my lips.' 

' Her mother ! ' sighed Maltar. 

Mr. Drack made an energetic gesture behind Paulette. He put 
his first finger on his lips, and opened his eyes so wide that they 
nearly jumped out of their sockets. Maltar gave a nod that he 

* Well, well, Maltar ! ' joyfully cried the unhappy child, * speak 
to me of my father and mother. How are they / Both well, un- 
doubtedly, since they are out ! ' 

While talking, Paulette had commenced to take off her travelling 

* You do not even ask news of Aunt Basilique,' said she in a tone 
of reproach to the Indian. * I have left her in Marseilles, a little 
unwell, but it will be nothing. Only that is the reason why Mr. 
Drack has been kind enough to come with me. What was I saying ? 
Oh, yes ! Since my father and mother were not there to receive 
us, we will receive them, that's all. In the first place, Maltar, see 
that no one advises them of my arrival.' 

'Yes, mistress, at once.' 

And the faithful servant went out of the drawing-room. He 
wanted to be alone to relieve his heart, which was overflowing with 
tears. Mr. Drack, also wanted to go away. He was not much 
flattered with the mission which Aunt Basilique had confided to 
him to impart to t^o young girl the painful knowledge of her un- 
happiness ; at first, he had hesitated a good deal on the way be- 
tween Marseilles and Lyons, and had resolved to speak beyond the 
latter place. But between Lyons and Paris, he had takt i, as we 
have seen, a resohition altogether contrary to the instructions he 
had received, and he had made himself believe that nobody could 
break the news to the poor child more prudently than her father. 
That was the reason why he had brought her to Varennes street 
without having spoken. 

And now that his charge was out of all danger, under the care of 
her family, the good man had a fixed idea : he wanted to go away, 
very far, at once ; he did not wish to be present when the necessary 
explanation between father and daughter would take place. He 
made a move towards his 4\at, which he had placed on a table on 
entering. Paulette noticed it, and stopped him short. 

* Well,' she said, * whal are you doing ? ' 

* You see, dear child, I but no, nothing ! I am doing 

nothing ! ' % 

A MAUTVU. 137 

* Nevertheless,' said the yovin'» girl, laiighinj^, ' if I had not 
turned around in time, you would have fled like a thiof. But I 
have caught you in the very act, and you deny it in vain,' 

* Well, it is true,' said Mr. Drack, ' I confess. I wanted to go 

* After having taken caro of me during the whole passage, after 
having saved mo from drowning at the risk of your own life, after 
having brought mo, all alone, by ourselves, all the way from Mar- 
seilles to Paris, you want to run away without receiving my parents' 
thanks. ' 

' My dear lady, you have nothing to thank me for. 1 have done 
that without enthusiasm, I can assure you.' 

Paulette smiled. She was getting used now to the self-deprecia- 
tion of that excellent man. 

'And now that you are at home,' continued the Englishman, 
' now that you do not require my services any longer, I have the 
honor to ' 

'No,' gently said Paulette, resting her little hand on the old 
gentleman's arm, and looking at him with sincere aliV'ction, ' no, 

you will not have the honor to You will remain. My parents 

must see the one with whom 1 have made this long trip, and I must 
tell them ajl your solicitude, the kindness you have displayed to- 
wards me, that they may thank you.' 

'You think I must see your parents,' asked the ex-consul, 
scratching his nose, as a sign of hesitation. 

' It is imperative. You must see them all.' 

' All ! even your grand-father, the admiral ? and your grand- 
mother i ' 

' Even my grand-mother and my grand-father.' 

' Great heavens ! ' groaned Mr. Drack. ' People should not be 
allowed to have so many relations.' 

' And how many have you got ? ' asked Paulette, laughing. 

* I ! none. I am my only relative, thank God I ' 
' Oh ! how I pity you ! ' 

' You are very wrong. Being alone in the world, all the aflection 
which I should divide, otherwise, among the diflferent members of 
my family I have concentrated altogether on the only person who 
is dear to me.' 

' And who is that person, dear sir I ' 

* That person, miss, is myself. ' 

* What ! Jt is yourself that you love so tenderly ? ' said Paulette, 
still laughing. 

' Well,' said the selfish man, ' I know of no better means to have 
nothing to do with ungrateful people.' 

'Still, it is a great pleasure to have some one to i )ve,' cried the 
young girl, with a charming impulse. 


' Who do you say that to ! ' said Mr. Drack. ' If you only knew 
the immenso lovo I have for myself.' 
' Say, Mr. Drack I ' 

* What i ' 

Paulette hesitated a little, and then recovered her courage. 
' V^ou have never loved a woman, then, since you are not mar- 
ried ? ' 

* Well ! that is preposterous ! ' energetically protested the old 

* Well ! I — I have not told you yet, hut I have no secret from you, 
1 love a young man.' 

The poor girl blushed as she said this, and hastily continued, 

* And we will be married soon, M. fJaston de Valliferes and I ; 
for, luckily my parents are rich enough not to care for the wealth 
of the man of my choice, and in that matter they will have no will 
but mino. ' 

Mr. Drack trembled again. The conversation was getting on 
burning ground, and the good man would have given a grefit deal 
to see M. de Moray come in to relieve him. Happily, with the 
versatility of youth, tl e mind of Paulette took another direction.' 

* By the way,' she said quickly, ' I was almost forgetting. It is 
very lucky I thought of i t in time. I say, my dear Mr. Drack.' 

* My dear lady i ' 

' Have you your likeness with you.' 

* My likeness ! ' repeated the ex-consul, astonished and almost 

' Yes, your portrait. ' 

' What, you want me to give you my portrait,' said he, modestly 

' Oh I it is not for me. It is to send it to M. Gaston.' 

' Who is M. Gast.m i ' 

* M. de Vitlliferes, the young man whom ' 

* Oh ! yea, the young man whose But what a queer idea to 

send my likeness to that young man. How can it interest him ? ' 

' It is very sin>ple. M. Gaston de Valliferes will know some day 
that Aunt Basilique nnd I had a very assiduous companion on the 
boat. And what is more serious, he will also know that we have 
travelled all alone from Marseilles to Paris. So, I wish him to 

have your likeness, to be reassured. Because he might believe 

You understand, don't you ? ' 

* Oh ! oh ! ' said Mr. Drack, ' it is to reassure him that you wish 
me to give you my likeness. Well, truly, 1 must confess, it is the 
first time that a young lady hos ever asked a man's photograph to 
reassure another.' 

' What I ask you is very natural,' said Paulette. 
*Ahem ! and very flattering.' 

A MARTYR. 130 

' Why, certainly I very flattering ! When he see* those eyes so 
pood, so loyal, that face so open and so frank, M. Gaston de 
Valliferes will understand what an honest man I had as a protector 
during <hat long voyage, and he shall love you as dearly as those I 
will find here will,' 

'Well, well,' answered the old gentleman, grumbling, 'all these 
people will make a poor investment of their afTection, becatiso I 
must confeps I could not pay the interest on their capital.' 

* Well, now,' said Paulette, gaily, ' I am sure that is pure 
calumny on your part. You will see how good aie all those I love I 
you will see how you will be forced to love them, in spite of your- 
self ! and you shall also see the great happiness there is in this 
house, because love reigns supreme, because, say what you will, 
true happiness is in affection and love. Ah ! the dear house I ' she 
kept on with a delicious impulse, ' this cradle of my childhood, this 
beloved abode which 1 have not seen for t least eight years ! But, 
nevertheless, although I have not seen it for such a long time, 1 
remember it quite well. Hero, see for yourself. There, at the 
right, is a little parlor that I recall to my mind as if I had been 
there yesterday. It is mamma's boudoir, the room she liked best. 
The hangings are rose-colored. Go and see it.' 

Mr. Drack opened the door she showed him. 

* Yes,' he said, ' it is a little parlor in truth ; only your little rose 
parlor is blue.' 

' Blue ! oh ! I am so sorry. I liked it so much as it was in other 

' Well, the hangings have been changed. This is done very often, 
and you need not fret over it. Hangimj^s get old and they are re- 
placed by others. It is very simple.' 

' Certainly, yes, it is simple. Well, no matter, let us keep on. 
You will see that this time I am not mistaken. In the little par- 
lor, on the right side of the door, there is a wall, and on that wall, 
yo)i will see a large portrait.' 

' A large portrait ? ' 

* Yes. A beautiful young woman with a white satin dress on, a 
ball dress. That beautiful lady is mamma, you know.' 

This time the old gentleman was again embarrassed. However, 

he was obliged to tell the truth. 

' No, my dear child , no. You are mistaken.' 

' What ! is not there a fl all on which hangs a portrait ? ' 

•The wall, oh, yes ! the wall is still there, but no portrait is 

there. ' 

' But it is impossible ! ' cried Paulette, rushing to the door of 

the little parlor, which Mr. Drack had kept open. ' It is so,' she 

continued; ' my mother's portrait is riot there. What have they done 

with it ? ' 

110 A MARTYR. 

The occasion to make the terrible declaration was good, but the 
old g«mtleman did not intprove it. 

' Undoubtedly,' hn sjiid, * the portrait has been damaged during 
yoiir long absence, and it ia bi'ini,' repaired.' 

' Yes,' repeated l*auletto, already comforted by this declaration ; 
* it must be getting repaired. Or perhaps my father had it trans- 
ferred to his own private room, so as to have it always under his 
eyes. Yes, it mtist be so. Oh ! here ! ' 

And saying this the young girl seized a little picture frame 
which was on the mantelpiece of tlie drawing-room. 

'See, here is my own portrait. A miniature they have alwaj's 
with them, and wliioli they have brought all the way from Pimdi- 
chdry. I was very yuung when this photograph was tnken. It was 
during my last voyage to Paris, eight years ago. Oh ! look ! ' 

' Where ? ' 

• ' There, on the glass. ' 

* Well, what?' 

* You see nothing ? ' 

* Nothing at all.' 

* Well, I I see marks of kisses,' cried Paulette, much 


She pressed her lips to the miniature with infinite tenderness. 

' Ah ! ' she said, ' it is not my resemblance 1 am kissing. Dear 
mother, I am gathering your own kisses.' 

Had Mr. Drack caught a cold ? He had hardly coughed as yet. 
Hut this time it was too much for him. He coughed loudly and 
blew his nose with violetice. Paulette noticed the emotion of the 
good man. 

' You see,' she said, ' that you are kind-hearted. It touches you 
when I speak of my mother. ' 

' I,' protested the old consul, vainly trying to look like a croco- 
dile. ' What odds is that to me ] Is it any of my business i I 
do not even know your moiher. ' 

Paulette kept on without paying any heed to this affected indif- 
ference and callousness which she was now used to. 

' Oh ! ' she said joyfully, * here is the stand on which mother 
puts her favorite book?, and her fancy work. Why, there are no 
books to-day.' 

' There is no work, either,' answered Mr. Drack. 

' No, no books ! no work ! ' cried the child with a joyful cry, 

* but a handkerchief which mother has forgotten. Oh ! mamma ! 
mamma ! ' 

Saying this, the dear girl put the handkerchief to her lips, but 
soon dropped it. 

' It is singular,' she said, softly, ' this handkerchief is perfumed, 
but it is not my mother's favorite perfume. Certainly, this hand- 

A MAUTVH. 141 

kerchief is not hers. However, here is the crown and the inter- 
woven initials. But no, these initials are not hers ; before the M 
there is a 0, instead of an L. How is that ? ' 

She remained silent for a few minutes, and then she cried with 
anxiety in her voice. 

' Oh ! my God ! I do not know what I feel. All these changes 
in our house where I remember nothing, wbere I am like a 
stranger. My mother's portrait which is not in its usual place. The 
cipher which is changed on a handkerchief which belongs to her, 
wliich must belong to her. All that irritates and disturbs me. 1 
must know ! ' 

And she turned towards another door leading in an opposite di- 

' Where are you going ? ' asked the old consul. 

' Into my mother's room,' answered the child quickly. ' There, 
at least, I shall find things which will speak to me of her. Wait for 
me, Mr. Drack ; wait for me.' 

She has'.ily withdrew from the drawing-room. 

* Poor thing ! ' thought the good Englishman when he was alone, 
but without losing his usual placidity. ' She is very nervous, very 
excited. It is too bad. I am very glad, indeed, not to have any 
children. In the first place, it means usually that we have not, or 
that we never had a wife ; and when one loves a calm and peace- 
able life, it is already a serious chance of happiness.' 

He was thus philosophically soliloquizing, when Paulette re- 
entered the room. The poor child looked excited, worse than that, — 
terrified. She was staggering, and was obliged to lean on the fur- 
niture to save herself from falling. 

' Mr. Drack ! Mr. Drack ! ' she cried with a strangled voice. 

* What is the matter, my dear ?' asked her companion, more and 
more annoyed to be mixed up with a venture which began so 

'The matter is that I am frightened,' she said. 
And she shuddered as she leaned on nis arm. 
' It is true, you are trembling. Come, my dear child, it is not at 
all reasonable to put yourself into such a state.' 

* You know,' she said, ' 1 went into my mother's room, thinking 
that there, at least, there would be no change, as in the little 
parlor. ' 

* Well ] ' 

* Well, there, as here, I found nothing belonging to my mother. 
Everything is changed. Every piece of furniture my mother liked 
so much has been removed. Already annoyed by this change, 
moved in spite of myself, I opened the door of my mother's dress- 
ing room, where she always makes her toilet. A strange sight met 
my eyes. In other days my mother was simplicity itself in her 

142 A MARTYR. 

<lress, and there I saw, thrown on dummios, drusaes of ^rreat luxury, 
BO much so, indeed, that I asked myself if 1 was dreaming.' 

The <.50()d Eufjlishinan was very much embarrassed and pained to 
see Paulette in such ' state of excitement, and would willingly have 
done something to h xjthe her, although the effort demanded more 
sensibility than he credited himself with. Hut, on tlie other hand, 
since in a few mitiutcs the poor child would necessarily learn the 
cruel truth, why not let her get used to the pain by her first sus- 
picions, however vague they were i 

* Come,' he said, ' there is no use in tormenting yourself. Your 
nKjther was very simple in her tastes, you say i VVoll, she has 
changed since her arrival in Paris. She has become worldly, ele- 

'No, nt),' she cried, ' it is impossible. Those dresses which I 
have seen, and which shock my sight and my modesty, would 
never be worn by my mother. But I have not told you all ! Attract- 
ed by the noise I made in entering the room, the maid c;ime in. It 
is not the same one my mother had with her in India, and whom 
she brcmght back with her. ' 

" What are you doing here i " sharply demanded the girl. " Who 
are you ?" 

' I told her my name, and she looked at me with a sneer in her 
eyes, which made me ashamed. Then, she said, ironically 1 
would swear : — 

" Ah ! you are the daughter of M. de Moray. Then 1 beg your 

' M. de Moray's daughter ! Why did she speak tiius / I had a 
mind to ask her if I was not Mine, de Moray's daughter as well &a 
M. de Moray's, I did not do so, because [ was wounded to(j deeply 
by her chatting looks. I merely took a last glance around me, and [ 
lelt that I was not in my mother's room. 1 lost my senses. I 
yelled aloud, I think, and I Hed towards you, hardly knowing what 
I was doing, and groping my way, as my eyesight was dimmed by 
tears. ' 

The poor child sobbed bitterly. She had arrived in Paris full 
of happiness at the thought of seeing her un)ther, and in less than 
half an hour she had been thrown from the highest hopes to the 
direst misery. Poor Mr. Drack was nearly demented. He could 
only repeat the same common phrases. 

' Now I now ! dear child ! be calm ! 1 beg of you ! ' 

Be calu) I the only words of people who have no good reason to 

' But,* said Paulette, ' if everything here is so difterent from what 
it was, my mother must also have changed.' Great heavens ! if 
her heart should not be the same as of yore, and if her eyes did not 
know me ! ' 

A MAUTYU. 143 

This time the coaaul tliuught ho could protest without dan^'er, 
and he did it in a humoruua way, which hu thou;{Ut wua the height 
of amiability. 

* What you say in foolish,' he said with goneroud iiidit^niition. 
' In truth these little French women are Ciipable uf all Horts of 
absurd thiii<{8. The devil ! my dear child, your mother may have 
chani{ed the han^ingd and the carpets uf the lututie, her dressus and 
her jewels. 8he mi^ht even have taken another husband (this was 
the phrase ho thought so clever), but she has nut ceased to love 
you. Tlie love uf a mother never chanj,'os.' 

' You are rij^ht,* said Fuulette, lauj^hiiig throui-h her tears, ' and 

I am foolish, as you say. 1 will soon set! my mother, and then 

But, hark ! I hear the noise uf a carriage in the yard. Hero is 
uiother. 1 ' 

She rushed to the window to see Mme. de Moray. 

' No,' she said, ' it is not her. It is my father. Ah I my dear 
Mr. Drack ! Now, I will await mother's return without anxiety, 
since I shall be in my father's arms.' 

She went towai'ds the door on sayiny these words. A few m<i- 
ments later a man rushed in. It was the Count de Moray. 

' Fauletto ! my child ! ' cried Roger, pressing his daughter to his 

' Oh ! father ! dear father I ' cried the dear girl, answering his 
deep tenderness by endless kisses. 

'At last !' thought Mr. Drack, who had turned aside not to 
hinder the out-pourings of their love. ' At last my little com- 
panion is under the care of her father. My task is ended, 
am not at all sorry. ' 

'My daughter ! my beh)ved daughter I ' the count was repeating 
between kisses. ' Yes, kiss me ! kiss me again I ' 

And their caresses commenced anew. Mr. Drack was the firfct 
one tired. It is true he was only a spectator. 

* ]\Ir. de Moray,' he said, ' 1 have the honor to bid you good- 

M. de Moray turned around. He had not yet seen the stranger. 
As to Paulette, she had altogether forgotten tluit there were Enu- 
lishmoii at all in the world, although there w, is one right there who 
had escorted, protected, and even saved her at the risk of his life 
within two months. The sound of his voice brought her back to 
a sentiment of gratitude. 

' Father,' she said, ' T am very ungrateful. I have forgotten to 
introduce you to Mr. Drack, a friend who has been very good to 
Aunt Basilique and to myself, and who has accompanied me all 
alone from Marseilles. ' 

' Alone ! ' repeated the count, astonished, ' How is that ? ' 

144 A MARTY It. 

* Alone ! Yog, M. do Moray,' answorod tho old (gentleman. ' Drack, 
IjlMm Drack, ex-trador iti HritiHh India, and ex-consul of Italy 
at Calcutta. I havti rrnigned thoHe functions, and I am retired from 
liUHine.sH. Yoiir sister was »inw(dl, an»l was ol)li^,'ed to stay over in 

Marseilles. Sim then placed Miss I'aidotto under my care But 

Miss Paulotto will explain all that to you. 1 wish only to say a few 
words in ])iivate before 1 f,'o.' 

M. do Aloi'ay tore hiiuHolf from his daughter's arms to listen to 
tho private communieiitiun tho Enj^lishnian wished \o impart. 
When tho two men were alone, tho ex-constil said : 

' Ho careful, M. de Moray, how you tell your daughter what 
neither your sister nor I have had the courage to say. Miss l*au- 
lette knows nothing of what has happened between you and your 

' Nothing ! ' cried M. do Moray, tottering. * My God ! I shall 
have to tell my dauj^hter ' 

'That you have killed a man, and obtained a divorce between 
her mother and yourself. Yes, M. do Moray, the task is not an 
easy one, and you must understand that 1 Would rather let you un- 
dertake it. ' 

And turning to tho young girl : 

' Good-bye, my dear Miss Faulette. I am very happy to have 
made your acquaintance : to the pleasure of our next meeting.' 

lie took the hand of the child and shook it energetically, English 

* You are going already,' asked Paulette, * before my mother's 
return ? ' 

* I nnist go, my dear child. I have an appointment at the hotel. 
Besides, your father has a great many things to tell you, things 
which do not concern me. ' 

' But you will come again.' 

* I do not know ; 1 must leave for London soon.' 

'Uh ! I wish to see you again. I want to mtike you acquainted 
with mamma. Promise me that you will come.' 

' Well, since you wish it, I promise.' 

Having gained his liberty by this promi.'^e, Mr. Drack obtained 
permission to go. Only, coming down the stairs he said to him- 
self : 

' I have promised to come back, it is true, but I have not said 
when ; and I shall certainly wait until everything is quiet in this 
house. May tho devil take me ! I do not want to catch heart- 
(Usease. ' 

Let us leave the good man on the way to his hotel, and remain 
in the house where a heart-rending scene awaits the reader. M. 
do Moray must now summon all his courage to tell his daughter, 
if not the whole truth, at least enough to let her understand how 

A MAHTYR. 14.') 

it haa happened that her parents tniut thereafter V)o strangeri to 
each other. 

After Mr. Drack'a departure, M. <le Moray foil in an aim-chair. 
His clauG;hter soutud herself on u stool, her arnt leaning on her 
father's knees, and her head resting; on his breast. 

' Father, dear ! how happy 1 am ! ' she said. * You have done 
well to ccnne back. Do you see, I could not bear to remain any 
longer in this deserted house without you ! It is true ! I assure 
you, I was losing my head 1 I fancied all sorts of foolish things, 
without even understanding the nightmares I formed. Hut now 
you are here ; I am in your arms ; I fear nothing', and can await 
my mother's return without that itorrible anxiety which was grasp- 
ing my whole being.' 

' Your mother ! ' repeated M. de Moray, in sore distress. 

* Yes, my mother ! oh ! you will not be jealous, will yt)U, if I 
tell you how ardently I long to see her ! No ! You cannot imagine 
the joy that fills my heart, when 1 think that we shall be together, 
all three of us ! ' 

' All three of us ! ' again repeated M. de Moray, covering his 
face with his hands. 

* lint, my dear father, what ails you?* cried I*aulette, terrified. 

* What is the matter ? you weep ! and you turn from me ! Oh, my 
God ! What evil can roach mo now / ' 

Paulette, hearing the sobs of her father, had separated his 
hands, with which he hud covered his face to hide the anguish of 
his mind. 

' You weep, father, you weep ! and you refuse to tell me the 
cause of your tears. But, don't you know, however terrible may 
be the secret, which you dare not tell, its revelation will be less 
painful than your silence, which kills me ! ' 

And she had knelt before him. bogging a look, a word only. 

' Paulette, my darling,' at last said M. do Moray, in despair. 

* You must gather all your strength, all your courage.' 

'My courage ! I trust I shall need much, if I judge of that by 
the courage you want. And still 1 ask myself what evil can reach 
me, when I am here, near you, and that in a very few moments I 
shall see my mother. ' 

* Your mother ! ' answered the count, dolefully. * Alas ! you will 
not see her again ! ' 

* What ? She is out ] She will not come in until late to-night ; 

perhaps not till to-morrow ? No You do not answer i Not even 

to-morrow 1 ' 

' Not even to-morrow ; no ! ' 

' My God ! I understand that she may hnve absented herself 
to-day for I do not know what reason you will not tell me, since, 
in my joy, I did not let you know the precise moment of my ar- 

146 A MARTYR. 

rival. Hut you knew, both of you, that I should be here within 
a couple of days. If it was not to-day it would be to-inornjw, 
or the day after, at the latest. She cannot be absent very long. 
What ! you are silent ! Oh ! cruel father ! It will nut even be in 
two days ! Ah ! I understand ! since you do not answer, it is be- 
cause my mother is sick, in danger of death, dead perhaps !' 

She cried with distress at these last words, and nearly fainted. 

' No, no ! ' cried M. de Moray, supporting her, ' be calm, your 
mother lives ! ' 

' Ah ! ' said the child, ' I thought I was going to die ! ' 

' Listen, my beloved,' said the unhappy man, who was forced at 
last to make the avowal he had put off such a hmg time. 'A serious 
dissension has arisen between your mother and myself since we ar- 
rived in Paris, and we have resolved to live separated from each 
other. ' 

' Sepi-rated ? ' cried Paulette, with fright. 'But it is impos- 
sible ! ' 

' Still, it is so. Your mother does not live in this house, now.' 

The child got up, threw her hair backwards, with the gesture of 
a maniac who tries to understand what is told him, and does not 

' Let us see,' she said. * 1 must recall what you have just said : 
a serious dissension — a separation ; that's what you said. You, 
who loved each other so much, who lived for each other, and thus 
united, lived for me. No ! it is impossible ! Tell mo it is only a 
trial ! 

A smile of hope flitted across her features, but did nut last long 
at the sight of her father's djirkened face. 

* Alas i ' he said, ' it is only too true, Paulette ! ' 

' Ah ! why was wot I here when that dissension ai'ose ? such a 
thing never would have happened, I am sure. But now I have 
come back,' she said, with contidence, ' and thanks to my presence, 
the past will be wiped off, the abyss lying between you will be 
tilled. My mother will return and I shall press and yourself in 
my arms at the same time.' 

' Never ! ' said the count. ' What you say is impossible. There 
is a wall between us which no human power can overthrow.' 

' Ah ! do not say that, no, do not say that ! ' repeated Paulette, 
with vehemence, 'if you do not want me to doubt my reason or the 
love you had for me in the happier days. Ah ! I see very well that 
I am speaking to a father, not to a mother. If my mother were 
there instead of you, she would not struggle as you are doing, and 
whatever motives of rancor she might have against you, she would 
soon forget them, leaving to my love the task-of obliterating them.' 

Just then Maltar appeared, much troubled. 

* Master,' he said, ' Mrae. de Moray is coming here.' 
Paulette cried with triumph. 

A MARTYR. 147 

* Ah ! now, did you tell me tho truth ? It waa only a trial, 

my mother, hero she comes I shall see her at last ? Dear mo- 

ther ? ' 

Tlirough the heavy draperies could bo heard a woman's voice, yet 
indistinct, giving orders to a servant, and her footsteps were plainly 

' D>) you hoar ? ' said Paulctte. ' It is uiother ! Here she is com- 
ing ! ' 

' Paulotte,' again said M. do Moray, trying to stop her. 

lint it was in vain. The young girl rushed to the door, and at 
tho same time the heavy curtains were put aside and a woman en- 
tered. This woman, whi>m I^iulette did not know, was the person 
announced. It was the Ccumtess do Moray. Only it was not the 
daughter of the Admiral Firmin de la Marche ; it was Claudia 
Palmeri, duchess of San Lucca, or rather, it was Gorgon. 

' Ah ! ' said I'aulotte, stopping short, ' 1 beg your pardon, Madam, 
1 did not know 1 misunderstood I thought ' 

Then turning to M>.itar, who was terrified, she spoke to him with 
reproach, almost with anger. 

' What were you thinking about / ' she asked. * You said : Mme. 
de Moray is coming in.' 

The Indian remained silent. The person who had just come in, 
advanced a few steps and answered ; 

' You are, 1 suppose, Mile, de Moray ? ' 

Pauletto nodded. Claudia coolly continued : 

* Well, miss, you are wrong in abusing Maltar for what he said. 
I am tho Countess do Moray.' 

' Tho Countess de Moray ! ' repeated Paulette, who did not un- 
derstand, and thought she was some distant relative she was not 
acquainted with. Claudia noticed her niistake. 

' Yes,' she continued. ' I am the Countess de Moray, your 
father's wife.' 

* You ! you ! my father's wife ! ' 

The cry of Paulette was a shriek of revolt and stupefaction. The 
cliild threw herself forward as if to snatch from that woman tho 
name she seemed to dishonor. But she stopped short, terrified. 

' Ah ! ' she cried, as recoiling from danger. ' A lunatic / she is 
mad. Take care, father, she is mad ! ' 

8he rushed into her father's arms, seeking a refuge where no 
danger cuuld reach her. 

' Roger,' coolly said the countess. ' if you have not yet told the 
truth to your child, it is now time to do so. Tell her that I am 
really your wife, so that 1 shall not have to bear her insults.' 

* Father,' shrieked Paulette, ' you hear ! she dares say that she 
is the Countess de Moray and that you are her husband ! why don't 
you silence her ? ' 

148 A MARTYR. 

M. de Moray bowed his head and did not attempt to justify him- 

'That lady spoke the truth, Paulette,' he said in a low voice. 
* She is the Countess de Moray ; she is my wife.' 

' Your wife I and my mother then ! what is she ? ' cried the child 
with an angry gesture. 

The truth could not be c mcealed any longer, and each word 
struck like a dagger. 

' Your mother ! ' repeated the count. * I have told you already 
that we are separated. Divorce has torn asunder the ties which 
united us, and when those bonds were broken, I married this lady. 
Once more I repeat it, she is the Countess de Moray, my wife ! ' 

This thunderbolt, instead of breaking Paulette'a spirits, gave her 
now strength, at least for a moment. 

' Divorce ! ' she said with an indignant gesture. ' What offence 
have you been guilty of that she should thus dc-sett your roof 
and reject your name ? ' 

Not one moment did the child hesitate, with the instinct of love, 
with the just knowledge of her heart, she had judged that her 
mother was stainless, and in thus taking her defence, she logically 
became her father's accuser. M. de Moray understood the divine 
law which dictated the words aimed at him by his daughter. He 
would have been ashamed to tight against her noble sentiments, al- 
tho\igh he thought he was the victim, while really he was the exe- 
cutioner, and he thought to himself. 

' She accuses and condemns me without knowing ! ' 

But the new Countess de Moray did not possess that supreme 
delicacy of sentiment. 

* Why don't you ask,' she said to Paulette with arrogance, ' what 
fault your mother has been guilty of to be repudiated by her hus- 
band ? ' 

' Repudiated ! you say ! ' shrieked Paulette, indignantly. ' My 
mother guilty ! It is a lie ! Madam ! it is a lie ! ' 

* Ah ! it is thus you insult me ! ' said Gorgon, wounded in her 
pride. * I was prepared to receive you with the consideration, 
even with the aflFection I owe to my husband's daughter, and 
the sincerity of my welcome constitutes an offence. If it is thus, I 
shall tell you the truth which your father is too weak to confess. 
Know then ' 

' Claudia ! ' interrupted M. de Moray. ' In heaven's name be 
silent ! ' 

And drawing near his wife, he said in a low voice : 

* I implore you ! be silent ! Even at the expense of my honor ; 
even if 1 am accused by my own daughter, not want to impose 
on her the sorrow or despising her mother ! ' 

Paulette did not hear the last words of her father, but she guessed 

A MARTYR. 149 

them and her filial love revolted against the protended pity which 
the count was befjging for her. 

' Come now,' alio said to the Italian, ' why don't you speak ? 
you must tell me what you accuse my mother of ! If, however, 
you persist in your refusal to spe.ak, it is because your accusations 
are nothing but lies and cowardly calumnies 1 ' 

(xorgon, thus chastised, was preparing to say the words : 

* Your mother had a lover whom her husband killed,' when M. 
de Moray intervened, speaking with the authority that his double 
title of father and husband gave him. 

* And I exact that nothing more be said, neither by you, Paulette, 
nor by you, Claudia. I order both of you to be silent ! ' 

And turning to Paulette : 

' Listen, my child. God knows that I deplore this painful scene. 
I had the right to think that you were acquainted with the sad 
events of the past. Then, prepared to learn the worst, you would 
have understood the duties imposed on you by the new state of 
things. Think of this, Paulette ! It is an impious daughter that 
constitutes herself judge between her father and mother. She cannot 
think one is innocent without condemning the other. Do not at- 
tempt to find out, and keep for the two beings who have loved you 
so tenderly since your birth, the respect which God commands. So 
then you will ask no questions, you will not accuse, and you will 
not defend. I have your word, have I not ? ' 

The child hesitated a moment, 

' You have my word,' she said at last, and she started to go. 

' Where are you going ?' asked M. de Moray, astonished. 

' To see my mother and live with her.' 

' Stay,' said M. de Moray, ' that is impossible ! ' 

There are in the battles of life moments when all notions of dan- 
ger and the just extent of his weakness escape the combatant. 
After a violent emotion, he does not compare his forces with those 
of his adversary, and he fights for the sake of fighting, without hope 
of gaining the battle, without feai* of being defeated. Paulette felt 
that sentiment. Her father's will was erecting a wall between her- 
self and her mother. She rushed against that wall. For the first 
time in her life she rebelled against paternal authority. M. de 
Moray had forbidden her to go and see her mother, she would not 

* Ah ! ' she cried, ' what you ask is cruel. I must know nothing 
of the past, you say 1 You are right. And now I ask nothing. 
But you have a new family. You are surrounded with love and 
tender cares, while my mother is alone and doubtless dying slowly 
with grief. Don't you see that I am right and that you cannot 
prevent me from seeing my mother.' 

150 A MARTYR. 

She had spoken with anger. The c'lild's voice usually so sweet, 
was bitter and pricked the father's heart like a spur. He felt 
wounded to the quick, and at the same time he wished to press the 
courageous child to his heart, in saying to her : ' You are right ! 
you belong to the more unhappy ' but if he had ?aid the last words, 
perhaps he would have added, in spite «)f himself : ' It is for that 
very reason that f beg of you to stay, because, now that I have 
seen you, now that through you, the ghost of the past has appeared 
before me, the most uidiappy is the one who is not free to cry ! ' 
He was prudent enough to remain on neutral grounds and to con- 
sign himself to the cold facts. 

* A superior aiitliority,' he saitl, trying to be calm, ' has decided 
on your fate. The law has entrusted the care of your h<mor to your 

In her ignorance. Paulette did not understand the full meaning 
of these words. If she had known the law, it would have been 
clear to her mind that justice, in pronouncing the divorce, had 
thrown all the guilt on the wife. And she would have suffered in- 
tensely. But this was spared to her. Happily she did not know. 

' Justice,' she said, ' has entrusted you with the care of my honor. 
It must be i ight. Being the man you are the stronger. But what 
right has justice to dispose of my heart / Did it decide to whom I 
shall give my love.' 

This was tii most cruel blow to M. de Moray. 

'Cruel chilli I' he said. 'Since you ask me such a question, it 
is because you have already answered it. You have made this divi- 
sion of your love, which the law dared not do, in a moment ; if wo 
can call divisicm the abandonment of your whole heart to the profit 
of one ! ' 

Paulette took pity on him. 

' No !' she said softly, 'do not accuse mo of having lost my love 
for you. It has not diminished. Only the tenderness I felt for my 
mother has increased to the extent of her sulTerings. ' 

The count listened to his daughter's words with rapture, but still 
he could not yield to her demand. 

'Listen, Paulette!' he said. ' I have already told you that I 
could not tell you the cause of our separation, but I have told you 
that the law has decided that you belong to me only. We must 
respect the decision of the law, and I have neither the pow r nor 
the will to change the decisiiui. However, what I cannot do, others 
may help you to accomplish. To-morrow you shall visit your grand- 
parents, and the Admiral and Mme. de La Marche will decide 
whether or not they can allow their grand-daughter to meet their 
own daughter." 

This promise soothed the brave girl. • It was false, however, 
for M. de Moray well knew that the merciless honor of the old sailor 

A MARTYR. 151 

had (lug an abyss between his daughter and hiniaelf. But Pauletto 
was not aware of this increase of misery lieaped on her niother, and 
shw thanked her father with a kiss. 

Perhaps the reader has forgotten that dniin'^ this (Muotioiuil soeno, 
a third perpon was in the room. Wo speak of the Countess d<» 
Moray. After the first explanation between PauU'tte and lierself, 
she had said nothing, because she understood that any intervention 
on her part would only spur the young girl on in her desperate 
resistance, and she admired her bravery. However, she wanted to 
see the end of the debate, and she silently sat down in the chimney 
corner. In their animatitm the count and his daughter had forgot- 
ten her pre'c nee. M. de Moray had just remembori-d it, and felt 
much embarrassed when a fourth person brought him unexpected 
help. It was Annibal Palmcri. Having bowed to P.uilette, of 
whose arrival he was aware, the Neapolitan moved towards his sister 
and shook her hand. 

' She is his da\ighter,' she said in a low voice. * What do you 
think of her.' 

' She is a thousand times more charming than the cold imago I 
have seen.' 

* 'I'ake ca-e ! she is already an enemy ! ' 

* Bast ! don't bother. I don't know if she will ever be a friend, 
but she mu t become an allv, when she will be my wife.' 

' Alway-i that folly, then ?" 

* Now more than ever. ' 

During their collo(|uy the count had explained to his daughter 
that they were brother and sister. 

' The situation cannot be changed,' he said in a low voice, ' ami 
any attempt to create .strife in this house would force me to take 
back the promise I have just made. Whoever I may present to yon, 
be courageous and strons/.' 

' I will be,' she answered firmly, ' since it is at that price that I 
can hope to see my mother again.' 

' My dear Palmeri,' said the count. 

Annibal drew near. 

' Paulette,' continued M. de Moray, ' this gentleman is M. 
Annibal Palmeri, the brother of n)y — ^ ' 

He did not dare to say — my wife. 

' The brother of Mme. de Moray. And to you,M. Palmeri. I 
present my daughter.' 

The Italian saluted Paulette, who bowed to him as she would 
have done to a stranger she was not going to see again. Still there 
was an effort of good-will in that a'-i-^n for which her father was 
grateful. Nothing more would have happened had not Claudia been 
willingly imprudent. The pride of the beautiful woman was not 
satisfied with the semblance of submission which the count had ob- 

152 A MARTYU. 

tained from Paulotto, and she wanted at the very outset, to have 
all the persons who wore to live together in this great house put in 
their proper places. She said to her brother : 

' M. de Moray has said his daughter. If Miss Paulette consents, 
I shall say our daughter. ' 

A motion of revolt met those words. Even if her mother had been 
dead. Even if her father had married again, Paulette would 
never have allowed any woman to take the sweet name which M. 
de Moray's first wife would have carried with her to her grave. 
But this was worse. Her mother was living, and she was suffering, 
and she was weeping ! And a woman, a stranger, dared to claim a 
title which was not vacant. It was worse than robbery, it was 
sacrilege ! She would never be an accomplice through weakness. 

' Your daughter ! ' she said. ' No, Madam, no ! Never call me 
by that name, because I would not think you were speaking to me, 
and I would not answer.' 

' Ah ! ' shrieked Claudia, pale with anger. 

* I still have a mother, Madam,' continued the child, provocating 
and disdainful, * and I keep for her all my respect, all my tender- 
ness, and I have none for anybody else ! ' 

* M. de Moray,' said the countess to her husband, ' will you 
allow your wife to be thus insulted, when the only fault she has 
committed was to open her heart too large to the child you 
love ? ' 

Mme. de Moray was in the right, and the count could not deny 
her his protection. However, his daughter's words had moved him 
to his very heart. 

' There must be an end to this painful debate,' he said with a 
firmness he did not feel. ' I shall judge of your affection by the care 
each of you will take not to provoke such scenes again. Claudia, 
you shall be respected, but unfortunately I can only promise my 
daughter's respect, [ cannot dispose of her affection. As to you, 
Paulette, go to your room and await my orders.' 

Paulette stepped backwards, and without bidding her father the 
tender farewell he seemed to expect, swept out of the room. Mme. 
de Moray went to her room, still irritated by the wound she had 
received. Before going, Palmeri negligently handed a letter to the 

' Ah ! ' he said, * I was forgetting to give this letter.' 

M. de Moray looked at the envelope. It was from Marseilles. 
He tore the letter open, and nearly fainted. 

' Ah ! ' he said. 

* What is the matter ? ' 

* Read for yourself. The Indo-Marseillaise Bank has suspended 
its payments. Its assets amount to nothing. The funds I depended 
upon to pay the shareholders of the mine of the Rio-Negro were 
deposited there ! I am lost ! ' 



Annibal Palmeri knew what he was doing in handing that, letter 
to M. de Moray. It contained the confirmation of a telegram he 
had read the day before. It advised the count of the faihire of the 
Indo-Maraeillaise, and the news fell upon him like a thunderbolt. 

' Yes, 1 am lost ! ' he repeated, walking to and fro. 

He stopped in front of Palmeri, who seemed to be much sur- 
prised and affected by the news he h; d learnt the evening before. 

' You remember,' the count said, ' that a few hours ago I met the 
General de Saint Rony and the Marquis de Sistenay, and we agreed 
to reimburse the shareholders of the llio-Negro. For my part I de- 
pended upon the Indo- Marseillaise, and, as the bank has failed, I 
am dishonored.' 

* I beg your pardon,' said Annibal. * You forget what I was toll- 
ing you this morning. You forget that I asked the hand of your 
daughter. I had not then seen Miss Paulette. Now that I have 
had the pleasure of meeting her, the feeling I experienced towards 
her has been intensified, and 1 could hardly renounce her hand. 

' But this marriage, which would give my daughter a large for- 
tune, would not give me my honor.' 

* You do not understand,' said the Italian, or rather you do not 
wish to understand. In marrying Miss Paulette, I wotild become 
your son-in-law, and you could not prevent me from offering you 
the help you need in this crisis, and this name of son, I repeat, I 
should be happy and proud to wear.' 

M. de Moray was deeply moved by his insistance. 

' Thank you,' he said giving his hand to Annibal. ' Whatever 
comes, I shall never forget the words you have just spoken. But 
even admitting that I had the desire to accept these unexpected 
propositions, what has happened in your presence must convince 
you that your dream cannot be realized. ' 


* You have been a witness of the revolt of Paulette at the pre- 
sence of another woman than her mother in this house. I had fore- 
seen the existence of this sentiment this morning, but it has ex- 
ceeded my fears. It is not only a feeling of antipathy which Pau- 
lette experiences for those who live in this house^ ' 

' It is one of hatred,' said Annibal. ' But when your daughter 
becomes acquainted with the offer I have just made , when she 
knows that in giving me her hand, she will spare her father the 
shame of a judgment, her consent will be assured, and provided 
the marriage takes place within one month, that is to say, before 
the general meeting of the Rio-Negro, all the shareholders will be 

l.')^ A MARTYR. 

indemnified by your notary, to whoni I shall give, on signing the 
contract, the sum necessary to save your honor.' 

* Very well ! ' said M. de Moray, ' 1 accept the barf,'ain Which 
you propose, but I will not hind myself, however, to use coercion 
towards my dauf^hter. 1 shall not do violence to her wishes.' 

' It is agreed,' said Annibal. 

The two men shook hands and parted. We have already said, 
that the J^eapolitan adventurer was not a bad man at the bottom, 
BO it was with entire good faith that he said to himself, on his way 
to his room : 

*It is lucky for the great lord, who calls himself the Count do 
Moray, that a mean Italian civil service employee, the son of a bal- 
let girl, has had the idea to personate this Annibal Palmeri. With- 
out me the count had no other resource than to blow out his br lins. ' 

On the same day, about six o'clock in the evening, Maltar went 
to the Hotel du Louvre and asked at the oflice the number of the 
room occupied by a traveller who had arrived in the afternoon, and 
whose name was Mr. Drack. Every day people of all nations can 
be seen at the hotel, but the peculiar costume of the Indian pro- 
voked the curiosity of the servants. They even mistook him for 
some rajah's son, and led him, with deep marks of respect, to the 
room occupied by the English traveller. Maltar saw the error, but 
Baid nothing, saying to himself that if he had given his right title 
he might have been told that Mr. Drack was out. 

'His Excellency Prince Maltar wishes to see you, sir,' said the 
porter, who had followed the Indian to the third story. 

* There is a prince wishing to see me ? ' answered the traveller, 
v^y much astonished. ' And you say his name is ? ' 


' Maltar ! I have a vague idea that I have heard that name be- 
fore, but the devil take me, if 1 can remember where.' 
' His Excellency wears an Indian costume.' 

* Oh, all right ! ' said Mr. Drack, smiling, who knew then who the 
prince was. ' Well show his excellency in, since he is an excel- 
lency. ' 

A moment later Maltar and Mr. Drack were alone. The Indian, 
with his arms crossed, lowered his head, waiting to be allowed to 
speak. Seeing him so humble Mr. Drack understood that if the 
good fellow sutlered himself to be called a prince, it was with a good 

' So you are Maltar ? ' said the Englishman, * and you are one of 
the Count de Moray's servants ? I remember you now. You re- 
ceived me this morning on Varennes street.- Have you something 
to tell me ? ' 

* Yes, master ' softly answered Maltar. 

* Has Miss Paulette sent you ? Is she sick ? ' 
'Sick? No.' 

A MARTYR. 155 

* Oh ! so much the better, 'said Mr. Drack with a aigh of relief. 
And ho added, as if ashamed of this kindly feeling. 

' Indeed ! I do not know why I asked you that question. I 
hardly know Miss Paulette. She is neither my sister nor my 
daughter. If a fellow were to trouble himself about every little girl 
who may be thrown on his care, under the pretence that she has 
crossed the ocean with him, or because he happened to tiih her out 
of the sea, as any one else would have done, there would be no end 
to the bother. So, then, everything passed oflF smoothly at the 
count's house after my departure 1 ' continued the good man, un- 
able to conceal any longer his kind feelings under the mask of . 
egotism. ' Well I it is very kind of Miss Paulette to lot me know 
of it, because I must tell yo\i that I was somewhat anxious, ' 

' Miss Paulette did not send me,' said the Indian. 

' But then ' 

' And everything did not pass off smothly at the house. 

' The devil ! Then explain what brings you here, and tell me 
who sends you, because I cannot guess.' 

Maltar narrated the scenes which had been enacted at the Count 
de Moray's house. He had been present at some ; others he had 
guessed, and finally his young mintress, still vibrating with anger 
and despair, had repeated to him tho offers of friendship which had 
been made to her by the new wife of her father. 

' The young mistress is very unhappy,' continued the Indian, 
' but she is not the only one to suffer, and there is a person who is 
still more unhappy than her. 

'By jovel I should think so!' cried Mr. Drack with a comical 
anger, turning around to dry a big tear* which Maltar's story had 
brought to his eyes, ' and that person is myself. Did you ever ? 
- the idea ! — to invade a traveller's room when he is busy unpack- 
ing his traps, and tell him stories about all kinds of people he does 
not care for, but which irritate his nerves. If it happens again, you 
confounded counterfeit prince, I shall have you kicked out. You 

know somebody more unhappy than poor little Paulette,' he 

kept on muttering between his teeth ; * the person you speak of 
must be devilish wretched. And you say that person is ? ' 

'The mother of the young mistress,' said the Indian, who had 
kept still during all this time, waiting for a return of the kindly 
feelings of the old gentleman, ' the first wife of the Count de Moray. 
She is not aware of her daughter's arrival, sir, and she does not 
know that her husband will not allow Miss Paulette to see her.' 

* What ! ' cried Mr. Drack. ' You say that Paulette will not ba 
allowed to see her mother 1 But that is atrocious ! ' 

' Yes, it is atrocious ! ' continued Maltar. ' That poor mother 
awaits her child's arrival every day, every hour, and she has gath- 
ered all her love, all her tenderness, for their first meeting. Poor 


woman ! What will become of her when I tell her that she will 
not see her daughter? She might die with Borrow ! ' 

* Die ! twenty-four hours' delay will not kill her ! If she does 
not see her to-day, she will see her to-inorrowr.' 

' No, neither to-day nor to-morrow ! Never ! ' 
' How do you know ? * 

* After one hour's rest, which she needed ba lly, the young mis- 
tress sent me to her father with a letter, asking liitn permission to 
visit her grandfather, M. Firmin de la Marcho, whore she thought 
she would meet her mother. Perhaps M. de Moray would have 
consented, but the new countess, who was then with him, would 
not allow it.' 

' By what right ? ' asked Mr. Drack, with indignation, * and 

' Mme. de Moray said Miss Paulotte should not be allowed to see 
her mother, and even then only very seldom, until she had re- 
pented of what she had laid, and wlien she would consent to ex- 
hibit to her the respect and the appearances of affection which she 
owed to the wife of her father. ' 

' Ah, ah ! This would seem to me exceedingly ridiculous, if I 
cared at all about all these things,' growled Mr. Prack, upsetting 
all his toilet articles, which ho had just put in order with great 
care, ' and you have repeated that to the child ? You have been 
barbarous enough to do that, and you pretend to love Paulette 1 ' 

* I had to. It was the master's order.' 

' And what did she say. 1 will wager that she started to cry.' 
' No ! on the contrary.' 

* What ! she laughed ? ' • 

* Yes ! But then her laugh was strange and almost threatening. 
" Then I would rather never see my mother again," she cried, " If 
I have to pay each one of her kisses with a cowardice and baseness. 
Do not trouble yourself about me, Maltar, A day will come, sooner 
than ycni think, when my mother will be allowed to come and kiss 
me. It will be the day when she will press her lips to the forehead 
of her dead daughter ! " ' 

' But, by the heavens ! why do you tell me all this ? ' said Mr. 
Drack, with a gesture of sorrow. ' Can I do anything / Is there 
any sense in tormenting one with such stories which do noi con- 
cern me at all ? ' 

^ I have come to tell you all this,' softly answered the Indian, 
* because you must come with me. ' 

' I ? with you ? where ? To Paulette's ? ' 

* No, to her mother's. ' 

The Englishman jumped up. 

* Never ! ' he said. ' 1 have enough of this family of M. de 
Moray ! What am I saying I Enough Forsooth ! I have too 

A MARTYR. 157 

much of it. I wotild rather ho quartered than bo mixed any more 
witli all those Htorios. And what do you want mo to j^o there for i 
If I follow you, I must know, at least, what to say.' 

As usual, after having raged and stormed, the excellent man was 
ready to do anything. 

' You will ac<(uaint the mother of the young mistress with what I 
have told you.' # 

* Couldn't you do it yourself, by chance ? ' 

* Yea ; luit I cannot tell her anything about the voyage you have 
made with Miss Paulette ; I could not repeat to her what the young 
mistress has told you during the journey. Listen ! I am (luite sure 
she was always talking of her niother.' 

* Indeed ! she talked of nothing else.' 

* She t(dd you of the joy she felt at the idea of meeting her, and 
how surprised she would be.' 

' It was a fixed idea with her.' 

' And she made you the confident of all her projects ; of all her 
hopes. ' 

' Why she even told me all about a nice young man she expects 
to marry, and whom she loves dearly.' 

* (ireat heavens ! ' cried the Indian, astounded. ' Miss Paulotto 
loves a young man / You are quite certain of that i' 

' More 80 than I am of my existence which, I commence to 
think, is very much C()mj)r(jmi8ed by the emotions cauf^ed by all this 
confounded business. Hut what difference does it make that Miss 
Paulette should love somebody in Pondichdry V 

' Because, if I understood a few words I heard between my mus- 
ter and another person, M. do Moray has already disposed of th« 
hand of his daughter. ' 

' Well, that beats all. And in whose favor has ho disposed of 
his daughter's hand without consultiug her ? ' 

' In favor of M. Palmeri, the brother of his new wife.' 

' Palmeri ? ' said the Englishman. ' Where the devil did I hear 
that name 1 Bah, no matter ! Well, since you must have it so, 
let na go and see the Countess do Moray.' 

While Mr. Drack was methodically closing his toilet-case, Mal- 
tar seized the skirt of his coat and was kissing it as a token of gra- 
titude. The two conspirators, because they were nothing else, took 
a carriage on the street to go to Mme. do Moray's house. Maltar, 
out of respect, wanted to sit beside the driver, but Mr. Drack 
pushed him inside the coupe, feigning to offer him the most humble 

' You forget that you are a princely excellency,' observed the 
Englishman. ' Be careful not to lose your prestige.' 

The distance seemed short to them. Absorbed in the emotions 
which they expected to arise out of their interview with the un- 

168 A MARTYR. 

happy woman, they were at her door before they had thought of it, 

' Oo up first and announce me,' said Mr. Drack. 

' No. Conio up with me. Onlj' you will wait in the ante-cham- 
ber, and 1 will call you when it is time.' 

The aervant girl whoanawereo the ring of the bell, welcomed the 
Indian. He was, in fact, the only human being Mme. de Moray 
hiid Been since she lived in that house, like a recluse. Maltar visit- 
ed her frtMjuontly, unknown to M. do Moray. He had tried every- 
thing which the generosity of his heart could invent to relieve the 
sufferings of his njistress. He had even the courage to present him- 
self at the house of Admiral Firmin de la Marche to acijuaint him 
with the gravity of the state of his daughter, and to supplicate him 
to bo less severe toward his daughter, at l»mst for a few days. Tlie 
old sailor had stopped him as soon as he understood the object of 
liis errand. In his prodigious stitbbornness with regard to his 
honor, M. do la Marche could have seen his own daughter exposed 
to the most cruel and imminent danger without lifting a ii.iti^er to 
help her out of it. Shocked by this inexorable severity, Maltar 
was constantly near his mistress ; he not only visited her house now 
and then, but he had pasHed every night there as long as there was 
danger. After he had finished his service at M. de Moray's, he 
would come and do the work of a nurse, or rather of a sister of 
charity, at the bed-side of the unhappy woman, who had at least, 
in her delirious dreams, the illusion of thinking herself still at 
P<mdich6ry, in the happy time when loving affections surrounded her. 
During Maltar's watch the servant rested and gathered strength for 
the next day's work. When the poor martyr felt better, the Indian 
came less often, because M. de Moray might learn of his visits and 
forbid theiu. But he soon discovered that his presence was the 
only relief to the sufferings of her whom he had never looked upon 
as Ltuilty : even if he had thought so, he would have pitied her and 
cared for her with the same devotion. This wa3 the reason which 
had led him two or three days before to leave the house of the 
Count de Moray, in ordor to devote himself entirely to the service 
of his benefactress. 

The reader will remember the scene when M. de Moray asked the 
faithful servant to remain in the old house on Varennes street, in- 
voking him lo remain in the name of Paulette, who was to arrive 
shortly, and who would want to find some one near her to whom 
eho could speak of her mother. Between the two duties thus pre- 
sented to him, Maltar had chosen the one he thought most sacred. 
The young mistress would suffer so much among these strangers ! 
She would find herself so far from any sincere affection ! and then 
she was not used to sorrow, while her mother was. He had pro- 
mised M. de Moray that ho would remain at his post. But he had 
not made this promise without restrictions. He would always be 

A MAUTVn. 15!) 

at liberty to chan^e*hiH decision, if Paulette shoiiM become reAi^nod 
to liur new situation. Then, l)reuliing every tie, he would duvolo 
his whole life to her who would not and could not bu coniforted. 
The i)roud revolt of I'aulette when she hoard i\w turrible rovolations 
which she should have known before, proved t()the Indiun the pru- 
dence of his conduct, and he congratulated himself on the choice he 
had made between the two duties which wo have ju.nt nu ntioned. 
As it had been decided, Maltar went to Mme. do Mora> 's room 
alone. Wo still give her that name, as the Indian does, in spite of 
tlie sorrowful protestations of Laura. It was night, and a wax 
candle lighted the parlor. The poor martyr, 8oiito<l in an arm-cliair, 
remained inactive; she had nothing to occupy her mind, except to 
recall the remembrances of the past. When she heard the voice of 
her friend, that wum the name she gave him, and it tilled him with 
deep gratitude, she lifted her head. 

* I did not think I would see you to-day,' sho said. ' I had un- 
derstood that you had announced your visit only for to-morrow 
night. ' 

Sho gave him her hand, which ho pressed to his lips. 
' What brings you, then I Alas ! I need not ask ! because you 
cannot but bring tales of sorrow.' 

* Mistress,' Multar said, slowly, because ho understood the neces- 
sity of not jarring the nerves of the poor lady, ' to-day we had 
news from the young mistress.' 

Laura got u[), as if moved by a spring. She placed her hand 
upon her heart, which was beating as if it was going to break. 

* Ah ! * sho said, with a faltering voice. ' Paulette, where is she ? 
When will she arrive i Tell mo, oh, tell me. Don't you see you are 
killing me ? ' 

' The vessel has arrived in Marseilles. ' 
' To-day ? ' 

* Oh, no. Two days ago.' ' 

* Two days ! but then she will soon be in Paris, to-morrow, this 
evening i Perhaps she is here now. You do not answer ! Oh, 1 un- 
derstand your silence ; you want to spare me the emotion of her 
return ! My daughter has arrived already, I shall see her in an h(mr 
— in a moment, ah, she is there ! My heart tells me sho is behind 
that door, and she awaits one word from me to rush into my arms 
— but why don't you come, Paulette 1 Hurry and come into your 
mother's arms and rest upon the heart which boats for you only.' 

The poor woman had raised her voice, so that her words might 
cross the thicknessof the door toreachher daughter's ears. With arms 
outstretched, panting, and with fixed eyes she looked at that door, 
which was so long opening, and Maltar was trying to calm her, 
when a noise iu the antechamber doubled her fever. 


* Don't yoTi hear me, Paulotte ? ' cried the poor mother, despe- 
rately. ' Still I hear you.' 

Rushing towards the hall, before Maltar could prevent her, she 
violently i)ushed open the door which seemed to her the only ob- 
stacle between her kisses and those of her darling child. A small 
lamp shed a shadowy light through the room. Instead of the be- 
loved girl she expected to seize in her arms, Laura saw a man stand- 
ing up, F man whom she did not know. A shriek of shattered 
hope iMid fright escaped from her lips. 

'Ah : ' she cried, drawing back as if she had seen a spectre. 
' There ! there ! Who is there ? ' 

And as Mr. Drack followed her she shrieked : 

' Maltar ! a man ! a man ! ' 

The Indian caught her in his arms as she was falling. 

' Take courage, mistress,' he said with his usual softness which 
always soothed her. ' The man who is there is a friend, and he 
has come to speak to you of the young mistress, whose friend, and 
ouly friend he is, with Maltar.' 

' Ah ! ' said the mother, suddenly mellowed, 'you are a friend of 
my daughter, and you have come to speak of her to me. Perhaps 
you will tiike me to her. Then, be blessed ! a thousand times. 
Thank you ! thank y^m ! ' muttered the poor woman, pressing 
the luiiu'is of l*aulette's friend, and bathing them with her tears. 

This time we luive up all idea of dcscrihing the state of mind Mr. 
Drack was in. The feeling uppermost in him was anger. He was 
literally furious. Furious at feeling so much emotion. Furious 
because he was thus upsetting the principles of his whole life. He 
had worked himself up to that pitch of anger while waiting in the 
antechamber, where he was makmg bitter reflections on his actual 
situation. At first, egotism had prompted him to run away before 
the Indian would call him, as agreed between them, but a second 
thought, a thought of good and generous charity, had forced him 
to f:,it down and wait. It was at that moment that he had involun- 
tarily Dioved a chair, and the noise had caused Laura to believe 
that her daughter was there, near her. Now the g(Jod Mr. Drack 
found himself caught in the cogs of the wheel, and since he had 
been soimwise as to put his lingers into them, he must pass through 
it bodily. As it annoyed him to see the poor woman crying, he 
seated her in an arm-chair, took a handkerchief which was on a 
table and dried her tears. 

' There ! there ! ' he said, like a father who is trying to smother 
the last spasms of despair of his child. ' It will be ail right, dear 
madam ! your daughter is not lost ! you will see her a<^ain ! ' 

By again and again repeating this promise,' in which he did not 
believe- much himself, after what the Indian had told him, Mr. 
Drack succeeded in soothing Laura to a certain extent. 


A MARTYR. 161 

' Pardon me,' said tlio Uiiba£jpy woman to tho new friend who 
was entering into her life so suddenly, ' I am ungrateful towards 
you, who come to speak to me of my beloved child, but you can- 
not know how wretched and unhappy I am ! ' 

' Yes I ' said the Englishman, trying to repair the disorder of his 

dress, ' yes, I know all. Tlie prince No, Maltar, I mean to say 

— Maltar has told me everything.' 

' He has told you only what he knew, with all the kindness of his 
boundless devotion,' said the wretched woman, smothering a sigh. 
'But J am still more unhappy than Maltar could have told you, 
and than I could have imagined myself, since the very sight of my 
child is denied to me on the day of her arrival. As for you, sir, 
may God bless you fur your kindness in speaking to me of my dear 

A bng conversation followed, incessantly interrupted by the end- 
less (piestions of tho anxious mother, who wished to hear every- 
thing all at once. Tho Englishman had to narrate, with the 
minutest details, the long ocean voyage, the arrival at Marseilles, 
the sickness (*f Ainit Basilique, and at last the arrival of Paulette 
at the old house of her father. And as ho was furious at his own 
devotedness to tho young girl he carefully omitted the recital of the 
storm before entering the poi t, the falling of I'aulette into the sea, 
and her rescue by him. Sir Elias Drack. 

' And you sa),' asked Laura, shivering, 'that the darling knew 
nothing on her arrival at Paris i That neither her aunt nor your- 
self dared to forwarn her ! Then her father had the terrilde task 
of telling her everything. However cruel M. de Moray may have 
shown himself towards me in his meiciless i-evenge, 1 pity him,' 
she continued 'vith an involuntary shiver. ' In his place 1 do not 
think I should have had the courage to leveal to my daughter the 
extent of her unhappiness ! Oh ! the dear and wretched child, how 
she must have suft'ered and how I pity her ! But yon do not tell 
mo how Paulette has borne the ordeal ? ' 

'How could I tell you,' answered Mr. Drack. ' I left Varennes 
street just at the moment when, thank God, my mission was ended 
by leaving the child with her father. Maltar alone can tell you the 
rest. ' 

It was the Indian's turn to be interrogated. The martyr wanted 
to know with a precision and an astonishitig minuteness of details 
how Paulette was ; if she had regained all her health, and if she 
had borne with courage the terrible knowledge of the sad event 
which had made her almost an orphan. The poor woman was 
divided between two contrary wishes eipially well known to the 
heart of a mother, namely, that tho child could not bear to be sepa- 
rated from her mother, and that, however, her suffering was not 
above lier strength. Suddenly, just as she was going to ask tho 

162 A MARTYR. 

Indian a new question, Laura became ashy pale. A horrible doubt, 
an uneasiness which had not occured to her mind as yet, was being 
intensely felt by her now. And this time, it was with a feeling of 
fear that she interrogated Maltar. 

' What did my daughter say,' she asked softly, ' when she learned 
the cause assigned by her father to obtain a judgment of divorce 
between himself and me / How did she judge her mother ? Did she 
accept without a protest the accusation of the crime 1 did not deny 
in the presence of my j udges ? ' 

' The young mistress knows nothing of the events which have 
preceded or accompanied the judgment of divorce,' said Maltar, 
happy to have this consolation to offer to the unhaj py woman. ' M. 
de Moray has told her nothing. He only spoke of grave dissensions 
which had arisen between you and him.' 

' God be blessed ! ' cried Laura, joining her hands in an action of 
gratitude, ' at least my daughter will not be ashamed of her mother. 
But alas ! her ignorance cannot last long. A very legitimate and 
ardent desire to know all will seize upon her mind. And if she does 
not find out by chance, there are now in the house where Paulette 
will live people who hate me, and who will acquaint her with what 
she should not know. That woman, oh ! that woman who wears 
my name and who occupies my place near my husband, near my 
child, that woman is my mortal enemy.' 

Time had passed very rapidly during this interview, in which so 
much suflering had been revealed to the noble martyr. She had 
been spared only the knowledge of two things, and these would 
only be revealed to her when there was no longer any reason for 

In the first place, she was not told positively that she would not 
see Paulette, and indeed a contrary expression was 'eft on her mind. 
The prohibition of M. de Moray was talked of as only a transitory 
measure, and Mr. Drack said nothing of the project of the marriage 
which waste tlirow her daughter into the arms of Annibal Palmeri, 
the brother of the second Countess de Moray. Then what was the 
use of uselessly tormenting the poor mother, who had already 
enough sutt'erings to bear? Be that as it may, Mr. Drack, who had 
secretly sworn to have nothing more lo do with that confounded 
family, as he expressed himself, promised to Laura that ho would 
come and see her again before his departure from Paris. 

' And when do you expect to go away ? ' asked Maltar, an- 

' To-morrow,' answered the Englishman firmly. 

'To-morrow,' said Laura, aftlicted at the thought of losing thi^t 
new friend, who was so kind to her. 

' Yes, madam,' and meeting her eyes full of tears, * to-morrow a 

A MARTY3. 103 

week, or two weeks or . Do I know when ? I shall depart 

when you and our dear little Paulette toll me : " We do not re([uire 
your services any longer, Sir Elias Drack, go away ! " ' 


Let us now return to M. Firmin delaMarche's house. The reader 
will remember that after the murder of the young man who re- 
mained unknown, and whom everybody designated as the lover of 
the first Countess de Moray, the admiral had left the house on 
Vareniies street, to go and take up a residence in the neighbourhood 
of the Trocadero. It was there, on Longchamp street, that the old 
and loyal sailor was hiding the stain which he thought the pretended 
adultery of his daughter had cast on his spotless honor. There 
Laura had come, like a mendicant, to implore her father not to be 
so severe, and having been mercilessly driven away, she had re- 
mained several hours, depressed and heart-sore, on the stairway, at 
the door of her father's house. 

The reader knows what tenderness Mme. de la Marche bore to 
Laura, It had been very painful to her to obey the will of her 
husband and to leave her daughter in such a complete state of aban- 
donment, denied all affection and all pity. Very often the wretched 
mother had prayed to her husband, supplicating to be allowed to go 
and see her daughter, or at least to bo allowed to write to her. The 
admiral hal shown himself inflexible. If she did not rebel agJiinst 
that iron will, if she humbly bowed her head, it was because the 
dark mystery of her past life imposed upon her a resignation with- 
out limit to the orders of her husband. The guilty woman she had 
been in her youth could not have in her old ago the right to enter 
into open rebellion against the outraged authority of the husband. 
Only the more she submitted to the impassive judge of her daughter, 
the more bitter were the sufferings she endured herself. She suffered 
at the same time by her own sorrows, and by those which her 
silence imposed on Laura. One day, while alone in her room, she 
opened the Holy Scriptures, as she used to do very often, and she 

d the words which suited too well her gloomy thoughts : * The 
children of adulterers,' the Book of Wisdom paid, ' shall not come 
to perfection, and the seed of the unlawful bed shall be rooted 

' Alas ! ' thought the poor woman, * how cruel these words are, 
and still they are beneath the truth, for in my case it is not only the 

164 A MARTYR. 

child i){ my own adultery who has been i)uiiished ; oven the legiti- 
mate oti'spring boars the weight of my fault.' 

She continued : ' And if they live long,' said the book, ' their last 
old age shall be without honor, and if they die quickly they shall 
have no hope nor speech of comfort in the day of trial.' 

The tears which tilled her eyes prevented her from reading any 

' What has become of the child of my shame i ' she thought. ' la 
he already dead without hope, or is he living without honor and 
without consolation ? 1 know nothing, nothing of him. J*>ut I can 
easily guess to what trials he has been subjected by the sufferings 
which have been heaped on the daughter who was not sullied by 
any original fault ' 

Then she cried m despair : 

' Laura ! my poor Laura ! my beloved dauglit«r ! what a long 
time has elapsed since I have been .permitted to see you ? what 
bitter tears you must have shed ! ' 

Her maternal love revolted against the harshness of the Book of 

' Let her, who was gudty,' she cried, ' be punished ! My God, it 
is oidy just, and 1 submit. But to prevent the guilty mother to 
sutler with her daughter and console her is too hard, yes, too hard ! ' 

As she was drying her tears, M. de la Marche entered the room. 
He said to her, harshly : 

' You are still crying / ' 

' Alas ! ' humbly answered Mme. de la Marche, ' to obey you my 
face shows the appearance of a firmness which my heart belies. But 
to-day my courage gave way ; juat think, it is three months since I 
have seen my daughter.' 

'Your daughter ! ' cried the admiral. ' I have forbidden you to 
pronounce that name. The woman who bore it is dead to us.' 

' Then, give me the liberty of crying. Was there ever a mother 
forbidden the right to cry over her dead child ? ' 

' Suppose, then, if you prefer, that she has never existed.' 

' How can you believe that I will suppose that, when Iknow that 
she is within hearing, that her sobs cinne through these walls, and 
when, for the past three months she lives in a horrible solitude, a 
divorced wife, an accursed daughter ! ' 

The admirtii. however strong was his will over himself and over 
others was startled. 

* 1 forbade you,' he said, ' ever to mention her name.' 

Mme. de la Marche had more courage than at other times, and 
she dared to insist. 

* However guilty Laura may have been,' -she continued, ' she is 
your daughter ! Remember the love you have felt for her ! ' 

The old man had regained his self-possession, and he answered in 
an implacable tone : 

A MARTYR. 105 

* The tenderer my lovo was when I believed her worthy of it, 
the more morcileas is my anger to-day. For the last time, I forbid 
you to apeak of her. ' 

' VVell, if you refuse all pity to your child,' said Mme. de la 
Marche, joining her hands, ' at least show mercy towards mo : 
iielieve mo, I have neither your strength nor your courage. I am 
only a woman ! I am only a mother ! I pray to you on bended 
knees ! allow me to see my daughter !' 

* No ! she will never enter this house. Never ! ' 

* Oh ! my God ! not here, since you do not wish it ; but at her 
home, secretly.' 

' No ! I tell you ; do not ask that. The punishment of the fault 
committed without excuse must be merciless.' 

' Without excuse, you affirm ! Who knows if there is not one she 
could invoke 1 ' 

' There is no excuse for the treason of a wife ! ' 

Mme. de la Marche felt deeply wounded. In condemning her 
daughter, the husband was pronouncing her own sentence. So, in 
pleading the cause of her daughter, she was defending her own. 

'Ah !' she said, 'since you show yourself so merciless, it is 
because you do not know what fatal circumstances xnight surround 
a woman and cause her to fall. A feeling of love, undoubtedly 
criminal, but unconscious, at tirst creeps into her heart unknown to 
herself. Who knows that afterwards she did not struggle vigor- 
ously against that love. Perhaps she has called to her help the 
husband who was absent. Who knows that the betrayer has not 
contrived a plot into which the unfortunate woman has fallen, des- 
pairing and affrighted / What can a woman do in such a case, then ? 
She resists, she fights, she implores ! ' 

' No ! ' said the admiral. ' She dies. ' 

' And if at the time she is to strike the fatal blow, she remem- 
bers she has a child, a daughter whom she adores ? ' 

' She dies for that child,' repeated the old man with the same en- 
ergy. ' She dies ! so that her fault may not sully the daughter as 
it sullies the husband and the father. ' 

Mme. de la Marche was silenced, overwhelmed and vanquished 
at last. We have said that in the desperate attempt she had made 
on behalf of Laura, she was pleading her own cause. She had done 
it with so much sincerity and animation that for a few moments she 
had forgotten the fault and the punishment of her daughter in 
thinking only of the fault committed by herself, and which,' unknown 
to her husband, had not been punished by him. 

' Ah ! ' she answered at last,' you are right. It would have been 
better to have died ! ' and she was speaking about herself. 

We have not told our readers that Paulctte had made a visit to 
M. and Mme. de la Marche. It was eight days since their grand- 


daughter had visited them when the above conversation took place. 
M. de Moray had advised thein by letter that Miss de Moray, who 
had just arrived, would present her respects to her grand-parents 
during the day. The interview had been very short, and if we may 
be allowed to use the word, very embarrassing. On the lips of the 
grand-mother, and on those of the grand-daughter, was a word, a 
name, which was burning them, and which both were wishing to 
repeat amid their tears. But M. de Moray had allowed his daughter 
to visit her grand-parents only on condition that that very name 
would not be mentioned. On the other hand, the admiral would 
not allow Mme. de la Marche to receive Paulette unless no allusion 
whatevar was made to the one who. although her mother, had not 
the right to be called by the same name as her daughter. Under 
these circumstances, what words could be freely exchanged between 
the grand-mother and the child. The remembrance of the absent 
one had stopped every other, as they would have thought of com- 
mitting an impiety by holding a common-place conversation. These 
two women, placed at the two extremes of age, and still united by 
sorrow, had embraced each other, mingling their tears, and that 
was all. Paulette had gone, saying she would come a week after, 
on the same day. 

The day indicated had arrived, and one hour only was wanting 
for the time of that second interview, when the servant brought in 
a card which he gave to the admiral. 

* Sir Elias Drack,' he said, trying to remember. * That name is 
not unknown to me. What may that gentleman have to tell me ? 
Well, we shall know.' 

While waiting for the stranger, M. de la Marche prevailed upon 
his wife to suppress her tears. She had hardly done so when Pau- 
lette's companion entered the room. 

*Be welcome, sir,' said the admiral, 'and please sit down.' 

In showing him to a seat, the admiral looked at his visitor, and 
the Englishman's face recalled an indistinct recollection. 

'I do not know, sir, if I am mistaken,' said he, hesitating, 'but 
it seems to me this is not the first time we meet.' 

'Faith I admiral !' answered Mr. Drack,' I was just thinking 
about the same thing. And 1 remember now. It was in Calcutta, 
where, although I was only an English merchant, I occupied the 
post of consul of Italy. ' 

' Exactly so,' said M. de la Marche. ' I remember also. It was 
at a banquet given by the clubs of that city to the officers of my 
squadron, during the few days we passed there.' 

* I was one of the organizers of that banquet, and as I speak 
French pretty well, I was charged to welcome the brave sailors 
placed under your orders. Between you and me, 1 was annoyed 
and flattered both by the proceeding. 1 am a quiet man, and any- 


thing changed in my every-day habits upsets me. And the idea of 
making a speech, I who had never spoken in public, was more than 
I could bear.' 

* But you did much better than many professional speakors, 
politely said the aduiiral. ' 1 have a pleasant recollection of that 
banquet, and also of the speech you made. And you have given 
up trade ? ' 

* And the consulate at the same time, yes, admiral.' 
' And definitely ? ' 

* Oh, yes, definitely. I do not deny that I thoui,ht of asking my 
government the favor of entering into the diplomatic service.' 

' It is a difbcult career for those who do not enter it very young. ' 
' In olden times, Admiral, you would have been right, but it is 
much simplified now-a-days.' 

' How is that ? ' • 

* Undoubtedly. All the science of our political men consists of 
two very simple ideas. The first is, naturally, to get into power.' 

' And the second ? ' 

* When they get there, it is to stay in.' 

* Then, decidedly, you shall serve your country again,' said the 
admiral, smiling at this whim. 

' No, Admiral. I have decided to abandon public affairs to de- 
vote myself entirely ' 

' To your own ? ' 

' To rest only. Rest will become the sole occupation of my life 
after I have acquitted myself of a mission, which is all the more 
delicate as I am not at all personally interested in it.' 

* A mission ? From whom ? ' 

' From Mile, de Moray, Admiral.' 

Until thenMme. delaMarche had taken no part in the conversa- 
tion, but the name of her grand-daughter awakened her interest. 

' Paulette has sent you ? ' she said. ' You know my grand- 
daughter ? ' 

' I had the pleasure to cross the ocean with her and to escort her 
to Paris, because her aunt was unable to continue the journey.' 

' Doubtless you know,' said the admiral, ' that Miss Basiliciue, the 
Ctunt de Moray's sister, has died at Marseilles.?' 

' I heard it this morning. Miss Paulette, who was very ranch 
afiected by this bad news, told me of it.' 

* You have seen my grand-daughter this morning?' said Mme. 
de la Marche, surprised at the intimacy existing between a stranger 
and M. de Moray's daughter, ' and she has entrusted you with a 
mission V 

' Well, Madam,' answered the Englishman with a good-natured 
smile, ' under the pretence that I have had occasion to be useful to 
her once, Miss Paulette thinks I am bound to humor all her fan- 


cies. As I am not stnuig-miiided, I do not roaist, and in this way 
I avoid discussions which would trouble my rest, and I have be- 
come her factotum.' 

' And she sends you, undoubtedly, to tell us she would not pay 
us a visit to-day ? ' 

' I bo<4 your pard(Mi. That is not exactly what I came for. I must 
even acknowledge that I have somewhat altered the truth in saying 
that Miss l*aulette has sent me. I hav3 taken ui)()n mysjif to do 
what I am doing now. I have borrowed Miss Paulette's name only 
to engage your attention.' 

'Then why do you come, sir,' asked the admiral, who was get- 
ting annoyed. 

' To speak to you of Miss Paulotto's mother, Admiral, of Mme. 
do Moray. 

It was really too bad tliat Sir Ellas Drack had abandoned the 
diplomatic career. He would have rendered great services to his 
country, if we may judge of his talent by the ability ho had dis- 
played in p nouncing Mme. de Moray's name in the admiral's 
house. Anybody else, in trying other means, would have been put 
out. But M, dela Marche had been caught luiawaros, and he could 
only protest feebly. 

'You come to speak to me of Paulotte's mother?' he asked, 
irresolutely, not knowing what to do or say. 

' Of Laura! of our daughter! ' whispered Mme. de la Marche. 

' Yes, sir, — yes, Madam,' answered Sir Elias Drack, in the most 
artless way, ' of your daughter. You are probably not aware that 
M. de Moray has forbidden his daughter to see her mother, 
which is an action exceedingly cruel and odious.' 

' You think so,' said the admiral, severely. ' For my part, I be- 
lieve M. de Moray's action to be perfectly just and legitimate.' 

* That is what I was saying,' continued the Englishman. ' Just, 
but cruel ; legitimate, but odious. We are exactly of the same 
opinion. It is exactly the same thing as if you forbade the baroness 
here present, to see her daughter.' 

' But I do forbid her, sir, and I do not understand that you 
should take the liberty ' 

* Nor I either, admiral, I do not understand it,' answered Sir 
Elias Drack. ' It surprises me to find myself interfering in family 
afl'airs I care nothing about. But I do as people do who have a dislike 
of cold water and who fall in the river, I must swim to get out of it. 
So, I was telling you that Miss Paulette not being allowed to see 
her mother, I went myself to the home of Mme. Laura, whom I was 
not acquainted with, to give her notice of her child's return to Paris. 
A beautiful woman, sir, is Mme. Laura, but she looks very unwell, 
I must tell you.' 

* Sir! ' said the admiral, getting angry. 


But the more angry M. de la Marche was yetting, the cooler Sir 
Eliaa became. 

' Well, imagine that I have been subjected to a very trying or- 
deal, I, who have not your strong-minded character, Admiral, when 
I saw Miss I'auletto's mother pass successively from extreme joy to 
extreme despair. Happy at the thought of knowing that her daugh- 
ter was so near, after such a long absence, she nearly fainted in my 
arms on hearing of the hard-heartedness of the ('ount de Moray, 
who would not allow his daughter to receive her mother's kisses.' 

*0h! unhappy woman,' whispered Mme de la Marche. 

* I had thought,' continued Sir Elias Drack, coolly, * that time 
would apiieaso these emotions. Not at all,8ir,they are growing worse ; 
and now. each of them, Miss Paulette and Mme. Laura, seem to . 
have an understanding to die of sorrow. Then I had an idea (1 
have ideas souietimea), and I said to myself : Since M. de Moray 
will not allow Miss Paulette to go to her mother, there is only <»ne 
way of fixing this matter. See how very simple it is. I said this 
morning to Mme. Laura : *' Your daughter will go to-day to her 
grand-father's, why not go yourself I And there, on neutral ground, 
you shall see and kiss your child at your ease." ' 

The admiral cut him short. 

* But I again tell you, sir,' he cried, with the thundering voice 
he usftd to have on board his vessel, ' that I will not see the per- 
son you speak of.' 

* 1 know that, admiral. I perfectly understand. But this is 
where my idea becomes altogether clever. Did you notice the fine 
weather we have to-day, admiral ] Just the kind of weather to 
crowd all sails, and run eleven knots an hour, before the wind. 
You are near the Bois de Boulogne. Go and take a walk and dur- 
ing that time the baroness will receive her daughter and her grand- 

' 1 have told you also that I forbid Mme. de la Marche to see the 
person you speak of,' brutally said the admiral. 

' Bravo ! better and better,' said the Englishman. ' Mme. de 
la Marche will go with you. You will take a walk around the lake, 
arm in ami, and Mme Laura and Miss Paulette will meet here dur- 
ing that time. You readily tmderstand how happy yo\i will make 
these poor women, this mother and this daughter, who have not 
seen each other for a year, and who have so many things to tell 
each other. ' 

The admiral exploded at this insistance, so cutting in its artless 
impudence. He even forgot in his anger, that he had forbidden 
his own lips ever to pronounce the name of his daughter. 

' Laura shall not come here,' he cried with an oath, * she knows 
she must not come here.' 

' I beg your pardon, but she will come. ' 


170 A MARTYR. 

' She woiiM d.iro I after I tlrovo her out-of my Iiouhu. ' 

' Sho will daru, Acltitiral. Hecauae J told hur to do ho, and I 
proiiiiHud to obtain your pormission.' 

' You luivo not done that /' 

' I beg your pardon, but I havo. Mnio. Laura will come to your 
door, to await your decision, and to tell the truth sho is there now.' 

' At my door / ' 

* In the street, under your window, hid in a cab, waitinj; for a 
signal which will give her the greatest joy, or throw her into the 
depths of despair.' 

* A signal.' 

' Very ingenious. On arriving, Mme. Laura showed mo your 
apartment and told mo : — ** Behind that window are my father and 
mother." And I answered : " 1 will try to soften the heart of your 
father. If I succeed, I will open the window and you will como 
up. If I fail I will let the curtain drop, in which case you will re- 
turn to your lonely abode." ' 

The ex-consul had hardly finished speaking when the admiral al- 
most tore the curtain which was to accjuaint Laura that the eti'orts 
of Sir Elias Drack had failed. 

' Ah ! what aro you doing ( ' cried Mme, de la Marche, trying to 
stop her husband. 

The Englishman prevented her. 

* Lot him go ! ' he said in a low voice. 

After a few seconds of a deep silence, the diplomat uttered an 
exclamation of surprise 

' liy Jove ! ' he cried. * What havo I done ? ' 
' What do you meah ? ' asked the admiral. 
' I have made a mistake.' 
' How / ' 

* In my trouble, in my emotion, I made a mistake, I tell you. 
It was in case you would consent to let Mme. Laura come in that I 
was to dnjp the curtain.' 

' Oh I my God ! ' cried Mme. de la Marche, understanding the 
clever comedy just played, 

' So that now 1 ' asked the admiral, at the same time furious to 
have been the dupe of a pious treachery, and moved to the inner- 
most of his soul at the thought that his daughter, answering the 
signal, would appear before him. 

' So that now,' said Sir Elias, speaking slowly to give time for 
Laura to arrive, ' thanks to my blunder, Mme. Laura has entered 
the house, she has climbed the stairs, her heart trembling with grati- 
tude and emotion, she has knocked at your door, and — and — here, 
admiral, here she is.' 

Just as the Englishman spoke these last words, Laura opened the 
door of her mother's room, and remained a moment on the thres- 

A MARTYR. 171 

hold, hiirdly oroathing. Shu was so palu, su chiiugiul, ho din'eront 
froia her old self, that evun hor fritnula v/ould hardly have known 
her. Hilt the heart of a mother could only see in the distress of 
lier child one more motive to love and pity her. However rigorous 
might have been thu orders of the admiral, Mme. de la Marche 
could not resist the sentiment which overcame her. 

* Laura ! ' she cried, ' My daughter I ' 

And for the first time in three months the two women found 
themselves closely clasped together. 

' Well ! well ! ' thought Sir Elias Drack, rubbing his hands with 
UKulest triumph,' decidedly, 1 think I could have entered diplo- 
macy ! I would not have been more clmnsy than others.' 

Surprised himself, and laboring under an insuperable emotion, 
the admiral stood as if paralyzed. A little m )re, and ho would 
have rushed to his daughter's arms, like his wife. But his anger 
getting the better of him, ho tore his wife from her child. Then 
he said to Laura : 

' By error or treachery you have thought yourself authorized to 
cross the threshold of the door which I kept closed to you until 
now. Sir Elias Drack, in his quality of occasional diplomat, has 
been guilty of a lie ! ' 

* An error, admiral ! ' he said humbly. ' A simple error for which 
1 aione am respimsible.' 

Laura joined her hands and looked at her father through the 
tears which blinded her eyes. 

' The most unhappy,' she said, 'have access to your house, my 
father ; and I swear to you that of all those who come here, there 
is not one whose fate is more worthy of pity than mine ! ' 

* Undoubtedly,' cried the admiral, ' because there is not one who 
is as guilty as you are ! ' 

Sir Elias Drack was then near Mme. de la Marche. 

* Have courage,' ho said in a low voice to the noble old mother, 
who was violently trembling, ' since he listens to his daughter, he 
will forgive.' 

* Alas ! ' answered the poor woman, ' you do not know the merci- 
less will of my husband. My daughter has come here only to 
return still more unhappy than before. ' 

What followed seemed to prove the fears of Mme. do la Marche. 
The admiral showed the door to his daughter. 

* Go,' he said coolly, ' and may the remembrance of your crime 
prevent you from again entering this house ! ' 

Laura made a last etibrt. 

* If my crime deserved such a chastisement,' she said with touch- 
ing tenderness, ' it belonged to another, to my husband, not to you, 
my father, to inflict it, and he has very cruelly struck mo. 

172 A MARTYR. 

' M. do Moray lias H|)rm><1 your lifu, and yoit May ytjii huvo hu»ii 
uruolly Htruuk '. ' iiitorriiptud tliu admiral. 

' I havo boon driven away and repudiated. Death, if tlio man 
whom the law constituted my jud^o had f^ivon it, would have been 
a puniHhint^nt Iohs severe. And still,' she said in a mysterious and 
involuntary protest, ' it seems to me that now, since 1 plead the 
cause of niy daughter and mine, that a sentiment of rebellion 
springs up in my heart, and that sentiment tells mo that i have 
boon more cruelly punished than I deserved.' 

And while she was saying those words her voice had accjuirod 
now enerj^'y, and her dazzlini^ look soemod to burst the shadows 
which darkened her reason. The cold and severe voice of the 
admiral broui,'ht her back to herself, or rather plunged her anew 
into her painful mania. 

* Others than M. do Moray would have boon still more merciless,' 
said the admiral. ' I, yes, 1 who speak, if I had been yotir hus- 
band, I would have taken a more terrible revent>o, and then I should 
have died of despair and shame.' 

' It is true,' said Laura indistinctly, ' I could have boon deprived 
of my life as well as of my happiness. It is for that reason I sub- 
mitted without protesting or resisting to the will of my — of the 
man who was my husband. Hut towards you, my father, 1 have 
boon guilty of no otl'enco. I have always been to you and my 
mother a dutiful and devoted daughter. And I entreat you, in 
remembrance of that devotion, to take pity on me.' 

There was an immense despair in this heart-rending prayer. 
Although it was none of his business, and ho was sure nothing 
which did not touch him personally could move him, Sir Elias 
Drack was biting his lips to smother a sob which was rising in his 
throat, ho knew not why. 

* Here, admiral,' he said, * that is true. Unless you are a canni- 
bal, you will have pity.' 

M. do la Marche, without even hearing him, answered his 

* Your only hope is that age and sorrow will drown my memory. 
As long as I remember, I can do nothing for you.' 

' Oh ! what can 1 say to convince you I ' cried Laura once more. 
' Can one fault erase the remembrances of a whole life ] Remem- 
ber ! Was it not you whom I cherished more than anything in the 
world, when a little child, I escaped from my mother's arms to run 
into yours 1 Later, as a young girl, I was so proud to lean on your 
arm ? Ileniomber, father ! oh, remember ! ' 

'The more I remember,' said the old man, whose anger seemed 
to bo still increasing, the greater abhorrence I feel for her who has poi- 
Boned the sweet remembrances you evoke ! Go ! accursed daughter ! 


iiiul Iiopi) that I inny forgot tho ton<1*^rnosH nnd lovo I had for you, 
to bo ablu to for^'ist your criinu at the sauiu tiiiio.' 

This time Laura felt van<|uishiul. At thu^u words : AcuurHtHl 
(laughtor, at tho ruinunihrance of that turrihh) inalLuliction, which 
had contributod to drivu her mail, alio had started, her bhxxl had 
been fro/on in ht>r vuinn. Sho rusi^^nud hurself. 

' Very well ! ' sho said, ' bo inorciloss, my fatlior, and may (Sod 
have pity on you. I shall not implore your fori^'iveness or yonr pity 
for myself. I shall speak to you now in tho name of auother. It 
is for her sako that my exile nnist coaso. It is to save her life that 
I must bo free to outer this house at will.' 

' You must ! ' said tho admiral, astonished at this now departure. 
* And why mud yuii, as you say i ' 

' Hecauso my dauj^htor has returned, whom I have not soon for 
almost one year, and that she may bo enabled to visit mo. Heed 
not the sorrows of tho guilty woman, since that is your will. Hut 
do not indict the same punishment on the poor child, so pure and 
innocent ! Do not deprive hor of her mother's carossea ; and if sho 
does not meet mo here, where can I see her / M. do Moray's 
is a paradise closed to me forever. Yo»i are also aware that Paulotto 
is forbidden to enter the house of a condemned woman.' 

'That is true,' thought the admiral, moved at last. 'Poor 
Pauletto ! ' 

Laura continued to plead with more force. She was j^ather- 
ing strength, as tho struggle wont on, like all mothers lighting 
for their childreii. 

* Hut think of it,' she said again. ' You must allow my daughter 
to come and see mo, to kiss me, to cry with me, and right here. It 
is not into the heart of the second wife her father has taken that sho 
will pour her confidence and her sorrows. And then, if it is not iu 
M. do Moray's house, or in mine, that wo are abi to meet, it must 
be in yours. Because, at last, if you throw me out, I shall be 
obliged, to moot my daughter, to stand at tho corner of the streets 
and to beg one of hor looks, to ask for her kisses as a charity. Do 
not recjuire that from me, father, because, in.leed, it is too uuich, 
yes, too much.' 

* Oh ! unhappy child ! ' thought the admiral, hesitating and fight- 
ing against his heart. 

* Don't you see what she suffers ! ' said Mme. de la Marche to her 

By a strange phenomenon, Laura's mother was not crying any 
more. All of a sudden she had transformed herself, as if sho had 
taken a grave resolution. Eiias Dr:iok, who was then looking at 
her, was stupefied at the change in her face. 

'Decidedly, I begin to find all this very amusing,' ho thought, 
trying to stifle his feelings, 

174 A MAUTVK. 

On hearing his wife asking him if he did not notice Laura's suH'er- 
ings, the admiral betrayed himself. 

' And don't yon see the sufferings I endure,' he cried. 'Do you 
not understand that my own ' 3art is torn as much as hers. All my 
being urgc»« me to open my heart and my arms to her. And still 
I must not ; I cannot, and I will not ! ' he ended, striking the floor 
with rage. ' She must go ! ' 

Laura held up her head, which she had hitherto kept lowered. 

' Your will shall be done, my father, I am going away. But I 
pray to the Almighty that, on the day of his judgment he may be 
less severe towards you than you have been towards your child. 
Farewell ! ' 

She started to go away, but her strength failed her, and she stag- 
gered. Mme. de la Marche ran to help her and caught her in her 

* Laura, my child ! ' she cried. 

* Mother dear ! ' answered the poor woman. ' At least 1 have 
never doubted your love. It would be sweet for me to die now, 
resting on your loving heart, as I used to in happier days, and 
gathering the dew of ^ our tears on my face.' 

* Unhappy child ! you wish to die ! ' 

' Oh ! yes,' answered the martyr, with a celestial smile, ' I wish 
to die in your arms, mother, and in my beloved daughter's arms. 
(Jive me another kiss, dear mother, and now that I have received 
it, let me go. If I remained here longer, I would not have the 
strength to leave, and 1 should fall there, despairing, dead ! Fare- 
well ! mother ! farewell ! ' 

' No,' cried Mme. de la Marche, ' I cannot leave you thus. Lis- 
ten,' turning towards the inflexible admiral. 

' What do you wish ? ' 

' I want to tell you that this struggle against your own heart can- 
not last any longer ; that repentance calls for forgiveness, and that 
tears deservo pity ! You will not repulse your child who prostrates 
herself it your feet ! ' 

The admiral was like one of those lunatics who hear nothing, and 
are always trying to break their heads against the walls of their 

'No ! no ! no !' he cried vehemently. 

Mme. de la Marche raised Laura, who was on her kneei^ 

* Then, get up, Laura,' she said firmly, ' wo shall go togeiher ! ' 
' Ah ! my mother ! ' cried Laura distracted. 

' What are you doing '( ' -^sked the admiral. 

' My dutv,' nobly answer*, i Mme. de la Marche, * I quit the house 
f m which my child is banisiied to go and weep with her. ' 

You wish to leave me, your husband ! the old man whose name 
is above reproach. 

' To follow ray repented child, yes ! ' 

A MARTYR. 17o 

* Cto, then ! ' said the admiral. ' And J hope that with your depar- 
ture, the remembrance of forty years of devotion and alt'ection may 
be wiped out for you and for me. I had thought that death alone 
could part us ; and now I shall wait for it anxiously. Farewell ! 
then, farewell ! ' 

And ho made a gesture to drive away from his house the oidy 
beings he had loved, his wife and his daughter, but his heart broke 
and he fell into an arm-chair, sobbing bitterly. Sir Elias Drack, at 
the sight of his tears, began to cough loudly. He took out a hand- 
kerchief which he feigned to put to his mouth, but in reality, it was 
to dry his eyes. Laura, hearing her mother say she was going to 
leave her husband's house to weep with her, felt an immense joy in 
the midst of her sorrow. But the despair of the oUl man shattered 
the sudden hope which had sprung up in her heart. 

' Mother,' she said softly, * look at my father. He weeps ; he 
who was not moved by the storms of the ocean, or in tlie midst of 
battles. He weeps, and you would leave him I No, no, remain 
with him, mother I I do not wish him to know the anguish of lone- 
liness and abandonment. I have been already, througli the fault I 
am expiating, a cause of sorrow to my father, and 1 do not want to 
add anything to the burden of his woes. Remain with him, mother, 
and keep my heart between yourselves.' 

Say' g this, she gave a parting embrace to the mother whom her 
self-ti nial repulsed and started away. Mme. de la Marche, with her 
hands clasped, seemed to call upon her daughter the consolations 
which her love could not give, and which she could expect only 
from heaven. This time, the admiral was vanciuished. His iron 
will was broken to pieces. The generosity of his daughtfcj. -^n- 
quered him quicker than her tears and her supplications. 

'Laura!' he cried, .'Laura? I am vanquished. Come to my 
heart ! ' 

The poor woman looked at her father, and her eyes seemed to 
ask if his words were true. 

' Yes, come ! ' repeated the old man. 'I could not have survived 
the abandonment of her who was the companion of all my life, and 
still 1 would not have said a word to retain her, since she preferred 
going with you. But you forgot that I had been merciless IVIy 
daughter, my beloved child ! You know not how wretched I felt 
when I forced my lips to condemn you to exile, and I closed my 
arms, which were tempted to clasp you to my heart. Now that your 
devotion has made me another man, it seems that a ray of hope 
glitters in the future, and that we may yet have happiness. Come 
then, dear Laura ! come to my heart and let us try to forget.' 

' Oh ! father ! dear father I ' cried liaura. And she rushed into 
her father's arms. Mme. de la Marche leaned towards them, and 
those three beings who had been so sorely tried, found intiuite hap- 

170 A MARTYR. 

piness in mingling their tears. As to Sir Ellas Draok, this touch- 
ing scene had impressed him so much, in spite of himself, that ho 
rushed to the admiral, and unable to utter a sound he seized his 
hands and shook them energetically. Feeling that his tears w. ukl 
betray him, he rushed out of the house and started towards his liotel 
on foot, (in his way, he was making a very judicious observation, 
this false and stoic philosopher. 

' What this old admiral has done is well, it is even very well. 
Why, an English admiral could hardly have done hotter, my W(jrd 
of honor ! But didn't he say he had been con<|uere(l by his daugh- 
ter's devotion ? Zounds ! he should have said victorious. This de- 
feat does him more credit than his most glorious victories. For if 
it is a success to concjuer others, it is a greater one to conquer one- 

Having uttered this last aphorism, Sir Elias Drack entered the 
hotel, and called at the oflice to see if there was a letter or despatch, 
when the porter came up to him : 

' Sir,' he said, 'the prince is here and has been waiting for you 
for nearly an hour. ' 

* The prince ? what prince ? asked the Englishman with astonish- 

' His excellency the Indian prince. ' 

' Oh ! yes,' said Mr. Drack, smiling, 'I was foigetting ' 

The porter admired this traveller, who must have a terrible lot 
of fine acquaintances since he did not know who he was talking 
about when he said the prince. 

' His excellency is in your apartments, ' said the porter. * Strangers 
are not generally allowed in the travellers' rooms, but we thought 
wo might let his excellency ' 

' That's all right,' said Mr. Drack. ' That animal will bo very ex- 
pensive,' he thought to himself. * A man, who, like me, knows an 
Indian prince, is obliged to give enormous gratuities to the ser- 
vants, a thing altogether contrary to the principles of the children 
of such a great country as England.' 

On entering his room the good man looked for Maltar, and could 
not see him at first. The Indian had seated himself on the floor in 
a corner and was fast asleep. However he awoke at the noise and 
jumped up suddenly, excusing himself for the liberty he had taken 
to go to sleep. 

' You are forgiven,' said the Englishman. ' 1 know too well where 
you have spent your nights during the last month, not to under- 
stand that you have a good deal of lost sleep to catch up. Now tell mo 
what brings your excellency to my humble room. ' 

* I have come,' said Maltar, ' to tell you of a very serious danger 
which threatens my young mistress.' 

A MARTYR. 177 

And the Indian told him, that, listening at the doors, ho had that 
very nioniinif overheard a conversation Vjotween his master and M. 
Pahneri, during which the latter had called upon M. de Moray to 
fulfil the promise'he had made to give him the hand of his daujjh- 
ter. The count, it seems, had asked a few days' respite, which the 
merciless creditor had Hatly refused. 

* Ah ! sir/ said INIaltar, 'find some means to prevent this mar- 
riage. It would be a crime to sacrifico tlio young mistreaa to this 
M. Pahneri.' 

' The more so that she loves another, as I have already told you, 
rejoined the Englishman. 

And the good man thought to himself : 

* Pahneri ! Pahneri ! where did I hear that name ? ' 


After Mr. Drack's departure, a few moments of delicious emotion 
were experienced by the admiral, his wife and Laura. A servant 
interuptcd them suddenly. 

'Mile, de Moray is in the drawing-room,' said this man, 'and 
she wishes to know if M, and Mme de la Marche can receive her I ' 

' Paulette ! ' cried Laura, pressing her hands to her heart, which 
was ready to burst. The beloved daughter she had not seen for a 
year was there and her head was bowed with shame at the thought 
of seeing her. Tliia thought filled her soul with trouble. The deep 
emotion she felt a moment before, while speaking of her child, was 
still more intense. Unknown to her, it was a decisi 'e trial. Would 
her reason, already shaken come out victorious, or founder entirely ? 

Paulette appeared at last. At the sight of the child she had 

left sick and suffering, and who had become a woman full of life 
and radiant with beauty, an immense joy tilled her heart, and all 
her fears disappeared. At the same time, by a phenomenon similar 
to the one by which she had lost her reason, the truth flashed on 
her mind, and the spectre of her imaj^inary shame vanished. She 
was proud of that splendid creature and she felt herself worthy of 
being her mother. Unable to utter a word, her lips were silently 
calling her. 

' Paulette ! ray beloved ! ' she whispered at last. 

* Mother ! dear mother ! ' cried Paulette, and she rushed into 
her arms. And their kisses mingled with their tears. And each of 
her child's caresses tore away a shred of the veil which darkened 
the poor mother's intellect. The darkness brought on by suffering 

178 A MARTYR. 

had beon dispelled by maternal love. In one moment, the past un- 
folded itself before her eyes. The biirnt letters, Robert's death, 
the undeserved accusation brougi . against her and accepted by 
her : and then her abandonment, the divorce, she remembered 
everything. And when Paulette became indignant bec.iuso her 
father would not jillow their meeting. 

' Ah ! ' she cried, 'it is because he believes me guilty.' 

' It is because lie. believes you guilty ! ' repeated M. and Mmc. do 
la Marche, ' what do you mean ? ' 

They asked for an explanation, and she had made up her mind 
to tell everything, her innocence and her unhaj)piness, when she 
reinembered the threatening words of the admiral : ' I would have 
taken a more terrible revenge, and then 1 should have died with 
despair and shame ! ' Then she turned her eyes full of tears to- 
wards her mother, and she bowed her head, as if confessing her 
guilt anew. But, again, she well knew that she was innocent, aiul 
she felt that to let Paulette suspect and despise her mother would 
be a crime, a sacrilege. She prayed to be left alone with her. Hit 
prayer being granted, the mother sat down, while Paulette leaned 
on her knees, the same as she used to, when, a little child, she 
was saying her prayers, morning and evening. 

' Let me look at you again ! ' said Laura, ' how beautiful you 
have become, my Paulette ! How I love you ! ' 

' And how I love you also ! ' repeated Paulette with the faithful 
accent of a mysterious echo. ' But, alas ! how you have changed ! 
How you seem to have suffered. Your features bear the stamp of 
sorrow, and your eyes the traces of bitter tears ! Your hair has be- 
come white. Oh, mother ! mother ! you must have endured terrible 
sufferings since such a change has been made in you, who are so 
young yet I ' 

' You cannot imagine,' said Laura with a bitter smile, ' the suf- 
ferings I have borne. ' 

She started up. Without knowing exactly how far she would be 
taken into her confidence, she felt that a certain explanatitm was 
necessary between them, and that the time had come. 

'Answer me,' she said. 'What did they tell you? On your 
arrival, when you did not find me tl^ere to receive you, when you 
saw another woman bearing my name, you encpiired, you ques- 
tioned i What answer did you receive ? ' 

* They said nothing,' answered Paulette, letting her eyes full of 
her pure innocence rest on her mother. ' Nothing. 'J'hey have told 
me nothing.' 

' Why,' cried Laura, • you did not wish to know ! ' 

* No ! I have merely suffered. J rrmember, however, that when, 
trembling with despair, I asked my father what he ci mid have done 
to cause you to leave his house and break the ties which united 

A MARTYR. 179 

you ; this woman you speak of, who bears your name, and who had 
almost the audacity to wish mo to call her mother ! ' 

' Oh, the wretch ! ' thought Laura with indignation. 

' This woman, I say, commenced I know not what revelation in 
which I easily understood from the first words, that she was 
throwing on yoii the responsibility of all that had happened.' 

' Oh, the ip'.pious woman ! ' thought Laura. ' Denounce a mother 
to her own daughtor ! ' 

' My father bade her to be silent,' continued Vaulette, * and since 
that day they told me nothing. Moreover, I would have refused to 
listen to anything.' 

Laura was thoughtful for a moment. She was thankful to Roger 
not to have allowed his second wife to dishonor the memory of the 
first before her own daughter. However, it was impossible that 
Paulette should remain any longer in complete ignorance. She 
would be too much exposed to the sufferings that an indiscretion, 
even involuntary, might bring on. 

' Listen, my child,' she said. ' It is not your father, as your 
tenderness for me made you suppose, who is the cause of our 

* Ah ! ' feebly said Paulette, with an aching heart. 

* Terrible charges have been brought against me. I did not deny 
them ; neither to your father, nor my own parents — nor even to 
justice itself.' 

' Why? Since those charges were not true !' 

' Dear soul ! ' said Laura with emotion, 'blessed be you, who 
affirm my innocence without even knowing the fault 1 have been 
accused of ! No, I did not deny those cruel charges. I did not wish 
to, and I could not then. But to-day the situation is changed : I 
cannot consent to see my child tempted to condemn or even suspect 
me. Listen to me, then, with all your soul's faith. Recall the 
sweet memories and the pious thoughts of your childhood 1 ' 

' Mother, I am listening. ' 

' Remember what I have been to you during sixteen years. Re- 
member the cares I lavished on you, the happiness I enjoyed in 
loving yoii, the immense tenderness I surroxnided you with, and of 
which we alone mysteriously kept the secret, as if afraid others 
would be jealous.' 

' Mother, I remember all that. ' 

' Remember my solicitude in guiding your soul towards good, in 
forming your heart to virtue, in unfolding before your eyes, and 
in engraving in your mind the sacred sentiment of duty.' 

' Yes, mother, 1 remember, and I venerate and admire you as 
much as I adore you I ' 

' Well, remembering all that 1 have recalled, can you suppose 
that such a mother could become a criminal wife ? ' 

180 A MARTYU. 

' A criminal wife ! ' ropoatod Paulotte. * Never ! never ! Yt)u 
only accuse yourself to force me to answer ? No, it is not true ; 
you calumniate yourself ! Do you wish to know my whole mind / 
Well, it must be by virtue. It was in obedience to some sublime 
devotion that an anjjel such as yon could accuse herself ! ' 

* Ah ! pure and saintly child ! ' said Laura, moved to tears. 
* Your heart understands, and the cry of your soul has redeemed 
all my past sutFerings ! Yes, it is an injporions duty, a sacred duty, 
which has kept mo silent. Yon have said it, my child. Whon I ac- 
cused myself, I was lying ! ' 

* But why ? ' 

* I wiis lying to prevent a danger a hundred times more torriblo 
than the one which threatened me ! ' 

* And you have taken upon yourself alone the weight of a fault 
you were innocent of ? ' 

* No ! Another one accused himself with me of the same crime 1 ' 
' And this other, where is he ? ' 

' Alas ! the devotion which I paid with my honor has coat him 
his life ! ' 

Paillette turned horribly pale. Until then the pure child did not 
have a just notion of what had happened. These words of fault 
and crime did not offer a precise sense to her ear. She had vaguely 
supposed it meant some sins like those she would have accused her- 
self of at confession. But now the words of her mother over- 
whelmed her. A human being had paid with his life his pretended 
complicity in a crime avowed, but not actually committed. 

* Another ! Killed ! Great God ! But who ? ' 

* The name you ask is a secret I share with God alone. Even 
your father has never known it.' 

' But for whose sake, at least, did you bring upon your head the 
evil which was to make two victims ? ' 

' I cannot tell you that either. My duty was to reveal the whole 
secret to M. de Moray. To him alone belonged the right to de- 
cide what was expedient to suppress and to divulge, in the interest 
of his honor. I was ready to fullil that duty as soon as I found my- 
self alone with him ; but when the first accusation fell upon me, 
the anger of my husband exploded so violently, so terribly, the 
curse of my father was so withering that what remained in me of 
strength, of energy, and of courage was suddenly annihilated ; I 
lost my head ; yes, I understand now, 1 lost my reason ; I was 
mad ! ' 

' What do you say ? ' 

' Yes, mad ! and 1 remained in that state until I saw you again ; 
until the moment your looks, your kisses and caresses redeemed me. 

* And you can justify youself, now ? ' 

A MARTYR. 181 

' Yes, I could justify uiysolf ; that is to say, inflict on M. do 
Moray the romorao of havin<^ killed an innocent man, the remorse 
of having shamefully repudiated me, of having driven me away 
from his house to give my place at the conjugal hearth to a stranger ; 
I could do all that. IJut none of these evils, none of those faults, 
can be repaired. It is for ever that an impious law has condemned 
me, and I would perhaps lose, alas ! those I wish to save, without 
dragging myself out of the abyss in which I have fallen ! You, my 
daughter, you must forget this secret. In the eyes of all I must re- 
main what I seem to be : a guilty wife justly disgraced ! ' 

' However ! ' 

* It is my will ! Do not cause me to regret the conhdence I have 
had in you in destroying with a single word the work I have accom- 
plished. To you also 1 should have kept silent. But I am a 
mother, and I must have your respect as well as your love. Un- 
doubtedly, you said I was incapable of doing wrong, but that was 
not sufficient. I must have all the confidence as well as the tender- 
dess of your heart, without trouble, regret, or afterthought. Since 
I am always your mother, you must know how to defend me, in 
ycuir heart, if ever you hear it said that I have avowed the crime. 
It is for that reason, and that only, that I have told you that my 
avowal was a lie. But, once more, keep preciously the secret I 
have confided to nobody, not even to my judge. You promise, 
don't you ? ' 

'Mother!' said the child, with solemn gravity, *I shall keep 
your secret piously. I shall keep it without understanding what 
you ask, except that you are not only a saint, but that you are also 
a martyr. ' 

*Yes, a martyr!' murmured Laura, *a martyr to a sacred 

Paulette suddenly had a generous impulse of indignation. 

' And my father,' she cried, could not discover the truth ? Ho 
has believed this avowal of a fault which did not exist. Alas ! to 
cherish you still more than I do, must I learn to love him less 1 ' 

Laura had the loyalty to defend the man who had caused her to 
endure such sufferings, and who had forgotten her so (quickly in the 
arms of another. 

* Do not accuse your father,' she simply said ; ' he^haa done noth- 
ing which exceeded his rights. The care of his honor has dictated 
his conduct.' 

The conversation had lasted for a long time. The young soul of 
Paulette was not enough tempered yet to support without danger 
the terrible emotions of which her mother had given her the presenti- 
ment, without, however, revealing them altogether. Laura noticed 
the paleness of her face, and the trembling of her whole frame. 
She then wished to engage in a sweeter conversation, which would 

182 A MARTYT^. 

causo tho Hpriu}^ [lowor to regain hor hrightnusB, as if tlio huu'.i 
brilliant rays wore succeeding to a violent storm. 

'Come,' slie said, trying to smile, 'let us speak (»f yourself, now. 
Tell me everything that has happened since 1 saw you ou the day 
1 deserted you to save yoi.r father's life, leaving you to the care of 
Aunt Hasili(|ue ' 

' Aunt Hasili<|ue ! ' interrupted the child, whoso eyes lilled with 
tears. ' You know, mother ? ' 

'Yes, I have heard of her death on reaching port. Alas! poor 
Aunt Hasili(iue! she loved you woll, and I wept over her as if slio 
had still been my sister. But s[)eak to me of the bejiutiful country 
where we were happy. Speak to me of the kind friends we left be- 
hind US.' 

A crimson blush suffused tho cheeks of the child, and she com- 
menced an adorable confession, the confession of a pure love for a 
young man who had been scj good, so tenderly affectionate and d*-- 
voted when she had found herself alone in IVmdichery. Although 
the chaste young girl had blushed <m thinking of Gaston de Val- 
lieres, she felt no embarrassment in telling her mother of the senti- 
ments of sweet tenderness for him which filled her heart. The 
purity of her love expressed itself without fear, with a serene c(»n- 

' Do you see, mother,' she said, with a beautiful smile, ' I love him 
so much that 1 would rather die than become the wife of another.' 

Laura pressed her child to her heart. 

' Reassure yourself,' she said, ' M. de Vallitjres will be your hus- 
band. I know no one who is so worthy of you and to whom I would 
be so glad to confide your happiness.' 

A short time after these two beings, who loved each other so well, 
separated, and Paulette returned to her father's house. 

We will also return to M. de Moray's, where wo have not been for 
along time. Many events have happened since the previous week. 
Roger had seen his honor compromised by the failure of the Indo- 
Marseillaise bank. We are acquainted with most of of them. They 
have been told us incidentally, thanks to the intervention of 

The Indian had informed M. de la Marche of the death of Aunt 
Basilic) ue. M. de Moray had been with his sister at her last mo- 
ments, having been calk \ to Marseilles by the care of his interests 
through the failure of the bank. The Indian had also informed Sir 
Elias Drack of the project in view against Paulette, which threat- 
ened to give to Annibal Palmeri a heart already disposed of in 
favor of M. de Vallieres. Maltar had learned this project through 
eaves-dropping. This was undoubtedly a grave violation of profes- 
sional duty, but Maltar was conscious that he was not betraying M. 
de Moray in trying to discover the intrigues which surrounded him. 

A MARTVR. 183 

Mis iiiHtinct liiid told liiiii that thu inastor wivh thu proy of infamous 
cliiinictiirs, and lie wasBpyiiij^ tluMU todiHcovur tlio means to open the 
uyoH of tlio count. Tliu known siipplunesa and cunning of thupooplu 
of his race mado this spying very easy. Every Indian covers an acro- 
bat. For tliose people there is no dillictdty in enterin<^ rooms and in 
closing and openini,' doors without being seen or heard. Maltar, 
then, had heard the whole conversation between M. de Moray and 
Palmeri, and he had told the principal i)arts of it to Mr. Drack. This 
conversation had been very painful to M. de Moray. He had re- 
turned from Marseilles very much affected by the emt)tion8 of his 
trip. The deatli of his sister, and the contirnuition of his total ruin, 
had completely demoralized him. Anotlier cause of anxiety, the 
future of Paulotte, had increased the tro\ible of his mind. A few 
moments l»efore dying, Aunt Basilitpjo had exchanged supremo 
confidences with her brother. In the midst of the heart-rendings of 
their separation, the poor woman had told him that she had at least 
the consolation of being able to depend on the happiness of Pau- 
lotte. And with the authority which the approach of <ieath gives to 
the words of those who leave us, Aunt Basiliciue had entreated M. 
de Moray to entrust, as soon as possible, tlie fate of his da\ightor to 
an honest and loyal young man who would love her. 

* [ cannot judge,' she liad said, 'how far you were right to re- 
place so quickly the guilty woman you have just repudiated. Hut, 
knowing the tenderness of Pauletto for her mother, I can easily 
guess the numberless causes of suffering which await her \inder 
your roof, where a stranger rules. Then give her soon the husband 
she will desire and love. Every minute of delay you cause to this 
union means an increase of sorrow which you would impose upon 

She did not say any more. She would not betray the secret of 
Paulette's heart, reserving to the young girl the sweet contidence of 
her love. On his side, not to trouble the last moments of his sister, 
M. de Moray did not acquaint her with the engagement he had 
made three or four days before, concerning Paulette, with Annibal 
Palmeri. He let her die in the false confidence of the near realiza- 
tion of the project she had already formed months before. Never- 
theless this advice in extremis made him understand the gravity of 
the situation. Certainly the project of a marriage between his 
daughter and Annibal had not been accepted by him without a strug- 
gle. Everything that was revolting in such an union had been 
apparent to his mind the very first moment Palmeri had made his 
intentions known. But the reader will remember undor what 
circumstances this project had been proposed. His life, his honor 
itself was condemned. Between two evils he had chosen the one 
which then appeared the least. Furthermore, he had not disposed 
of the hand of Paulette without restriction, and if he had known 


thai hIiu liud dispouud uf huruulf, his wuuknusH would huvo uppuured 
to him liku a crime. 

Ho \va8 very much enibjirrassed when on the moniim,' <tf his re- 
turn, Annihal came to remind iiim of his pi-omise. He took up the 
question of liis marriage with raulette atpiarely, and wished her 
father to make the overture to her on that very day. 

' Not to-day,' answennl llof^er, tired out, 'I pray you, not to- 
day. Give me at least a few days.' 

' My dear sir,' coolly said the Italian, * when you had to be saved 
from ruin, I asked you neither a few days nor a few hours ; I came 
to you open-handed and I said : Here is salvation, and here is the 
condition on which I otl'er it ; you have accepted, then it is well 
understood. You will speak, this very day, to Miss I'aidetto. ' 

* I have j.(iven you my word,' answered the count, broken-hearted,' 
and since you desire it, I shall keep it.' 

Such was the conversation which Mai tar had overheard and trans- 
mitted to Sir Eliaa Drack ; but what the Indian did not know, since 
he had started almost at once for the hotel du Lovivre, was that M. 
de Moray had asked his wife to obtain from Annibal the delay of 
a few days which he had vainly solicited. To his astonishment 
and to his deep regret Claudia refused point-blank. The triumph- 
ant pride of the adventuress had received a terrible wound at the 
hands of hor husband's daughter The disdain, the hatred which 
the child had shown, and which nothing could curb, had re-kindled 
in the breast of the Neapolitan the bitterness hardly extinguished 
yet of her painful beginnings in Paris. If she could not bend 
Pauletto before her, Gorgon woidd break her. 

Thus the attempt made by M. de Moray to obtain the interven- 
tion of his wife unfortunately resulted contrary to what he expected. 
The more the unhappy father defended his daughter, the more ho 
injured her. It was exactly because a hasty union imposed on 
Pauletto on the morrow of the day she had learned the disaster of 
her mother would be cruel to the child that the countess was re- 
joicing to see the celebration of the marriage hastened. And it 
was also because it was odious to impose her own brother as a hus- 
band upon the unfortunate child that she imperiously invoked the 
realization f)f the word given to Annibal. M. de Moray, seeing the 
uselessness of his efforts, retired with sadness. An unexpected en- 
counter, as he was coming out of the apartment of the countess, 
caused him a great emotion. He was crossing the parlor when he 
found himself face to face with Pauletto, who was returning from 
her visit to her grandfather's. He thought it was chance that had 
brought her into his presence, and that liB must acquaint her at 
once with her fate. Putting his arm affectionately round her 
waist, he brought her to his room. 

* Coine with me,' he said ; ' I have something to say to you.' 


Paulotto Imd not yet taken her honnot off, when the count Hpoko 
to luT : 

* You have been out with your maid / ' 
' Yt'«, father ; but ' 

'This girl is not tho companion you want, I ki-.ow ; but it is only 
for a short tiTuo. You will soon have a govornoss. IJut you did 
iKit toll nio whore you have been / ' 

' 1 wont to j^randfathor's.' 

* Ah ! you went to see yoiir grand- parents ? ' 

* Yes. You ch) not forbid me to go there, do you ? ' 

In asking this (juestion Pa'.dotte'a voice was full of anxiety. It 
was not only hor grand-parents she could not set;, if slui had bo*^n 
forbidden to go, it was also her mother. Ha[»pily M. do Moray 
reassured her. 

' Oh ! no,' ho said (piickly. ' It would cause you too much \y.ii\i. 
Yoji will go and see thom as often as you like ; even to-morrow, if 
you wish.' 

Paulotte threw her arms around her father's neck in a sincere 
hurst of gratitude. Roger kept his daughter close to him and looked 
at her with a mixture of love and deep pity, it seeuutd cruel to 
him to choose exactly the moment she was more loving than usual 
to ac(|uaint her with the terrible news. 

' I love you when you are like your old self,' he said with tender- 
ness. ' It is the first timti in eight days that I find in your eyes a 
little of your old love.' 

* It is because this is the first time we find ourselves aU)ne to- 
gether, as of old. ' 

Paulette thought she was saying the whole truth to her father in 
reproaching him indirectly with never having dared to seek to see 
hot alone. But she was mistaken. It was because she had had 
during the day the supreme joy of seeing her mother again that her 
soul was more open to sentiments of love. Such was the sweetness 
of their interview that M. de Moray had not the courage to end it 
by a thunderl)olt. On the other hand he felt a sort of conscious 
hhame, which made him blush at the mere thought of the words ho 
would use to make Paulette .accjuaiuted with tho name of the hus- 
band he intended to give her. 

' No,' he said to himself at last. ' I shall never be able, and I will 
leave to others the task of telling the cruel necessities to which I 
have to submit, and they will reveal the truth to Paulette. I shall 
go to the admiral's to-morrow, and ask him to speak to my 
daughter for me.' 

This idea of making M. and Mme. de la Marcho tho missionaries 

of the painful revelation he diil dare to make, eased the mind of M. 

de Moray. He knew, too well, the rigid princi|jle3 of the atlmiral 

concerning honor, not to be certain that th« old soldier would ap« 


186 A MARTYR. 

prove of his sacriticiiig everything to the fiflory of his name. And 
then the public approval which M. de la Marche would give to the 
marriage of his grand-daughter with M. Annibal Palineri would 
have a good effect. It would be a great moral support for the 
divorced husband, whom many people would be disposed to blame 
at seeing the child of the first wife enter his new family. The com- 
bination appeared excellent in every way, and the next day Roger 
went out on his errand. The admiral had just gone out. As Roger 
appeared to be very much annoyed at this mishap, the servant 
asked him if he would not come in, and await the return of his 

* Very well,' said the count, ' I shall wait.' 

' Shall I tell Madam ? ' asked the servant with a little embarrass- 

' Yes,' answered M. de Moray, who had a great veneration for 
the admiral's wife. 'See if she will receive me.' 

A mistake had just been made. In the servant's mind, the word : 
Madam had a sense which M. de Moray could not understand. It 
was only the day before that Laura had succeed' •jd in vanquishing 
the merciless severity of her father. The joy of the poor woman in 
finding herself amid those surroundings of love and honor, was so 
great that she had not strength enough to tear herself away. She 
took possession of a vacant room in the house, and such is the 
force of illusion, that on the night which followed her return, her 
imagination carried her twenty years backwards, when a happy 
young girl, she was dreaming of the husband, for whom to-day 
she was wearing a mourning more cruel than that of death. 

Be it as it may, on seeing at a few hours' interval his master's 
daughter, and the man who had been her husband so long, the ser- 
vant had established a connection easily explained between the re- 
turn of the one and the visit of the other. So, in saying : ' Shall 
I tell Madam ? ' he meant Laura. It was not possible, however, 
that the count should understand the phrase as it had been pro- 
nounced. Madam, in the house of Mme. de la Marche, could only 
be Mme. de la Marche herself. Moreover, Roger knew that the 
admiral had mercilessly closed his door against his g'.nlty daughter, 
and he had not learnt the incidents which had caused that door to 
be opened. The reader may judge of his sudden emotion on see- 
ing before him Laura. Yes, Laura herself ! At the sight of the 
woman he had in turn so ardently loved and so deeply hated, 
Roger felt a sort of trembling agitation of all his nerves. He 
thought he was going to fall. 

* You ! ' he cried, throwing his arms forward, as if to repulse a 
threatening vision. ' You ! you ! in this house ! ' 

We have shown the emotion felt by M. de Moray at this meet- 
ing, but we have not had occasion to speak of the wondrous power 

A MARTYR. 187 

of will which Laura had to appeal to, in order to meet her hus- 
band. The gorvaiit w<u} very much troubled himself when he camo 
to her and told her : 

' Madam, M. de Moray asks if Madam is willing to receive him.' 
Laura had been very much astonished at the reciuest brou;;ht 
by the servant, and in spite of all, she had hesitated. To 
see as a stranger the man she had loved so much, the man she 
loved yet, seemed an ordeal beyond her strength. However, since 
he asked to see her, he must have very grave reasons. Then how 
could she refuse to grant a necessary interview ? Perhaps it was on 
account ot her dauglitor ? She was thus deceiving herself ; but in 
reality she said to herself, at the bottom of her heart, that Roger 
was there ; Roger through whom she had known her greatest joys 
and her greatest sorrows ; Roger, lastly, the father of her child. 
There stood only the thickness of a door bet ^en them. She opened 
it at last. She was coming to this interview, thinking she had been 
called to it. The first words of M. de Moray undeceived her and 
she understood that a mistake had occurred. 

* You ! ' cried Roger with terror depicted in his face. * What 
are you doing in this house ? ' 

This you which Roger had said with such terror was like the 
stroke of a whip lashing her across the face. There was everything 
in that exclamation : fright, anger, threats, contempt. There was 
everything but peace, pardon, and, chiefly, repentance. Struck to 
the heart, she stopped short. Was it thus that she was to see him 
for the first time I But she had sufl'ered so much and so long already, 
that she was used to suflerings. She submitted. 

* You have driven me away from your own house,' she said with 
sadness full of dignity. ' Have you come here to-day yourself to 

eproach my father and my mother because they have opened theirs 
^o me i If it is so, and if you exact, for the satisfaction of your 
•anger, that my solitude should be eternal, I will obey and I will 
return to my abandonment. What must I do I What do you com- 
mand ? ' 

This voluntary submission to a master who had freed her from 
all duty to himself by breaking all the ties which imited them to 
each other, touched M. de Moray more deeply than he cared to ac- 

' I have not the right,' he said with en eflfort at rudeness, * to 
regulate your life now. But if I had known that you were here, I 
wojild not have sent my daughter, and I would not have come 

' Alas ! ' answered Laura in a low voice, ' yimr daughter ! She is 
mine also as much as yours, but I do not think of disputing for her 
with you. It is doubtless a fatal mistake which has placed us in 
each other's presence. You will perhaps take advantage of this 

188 A MARTYR. 

error to deny me the right to see Panlette again for a long time ! 
Well, you must ho satisfied, and having nothiui^ olse to impose to 
make me suffer still more, you will allow me retire.' 

She made a motion to retire. In spite of himself, and as if 
carried away by an invincible force, M. do Moray stopped hur with 
a word. 

* Stay ! ' he said. 

* You wish me to stay ! ' she said astonished. * Why I What c m 
be common between us he'kuafter ] The divorce is the abyss which 
divides us. The sight of me alone is, I know, an outrano to you, 
as the sight of your face is an ordeal beyond my strength ! Let mo 
go away ! ' 

' No. Stay ! if only for an instant. Since chance has pJaced us in 
each otlior's presence, we might as well take advantage of our moot- 
ing to settle, once for all, the only ({uostion which can interest botli 
of us hereafter, our daughter. ' 

* What more can you say than I have said myself I ' painfully 
asked Laura. * Your anijer is still bitter enough to impose upon iik>, 
as a sort of posthumous chastisement, the order not to see my 
daughter again. I have told you that 1 would submit to this excess 
of severity, not through loss of love for my child, God knows ! but 
to spare Paulette even the temptation of a struggle with your will ! 
J ask you again what more do you want / ' 

* I want you to thoroughly understand,' said M. do Moray with 
agitation, ' that it is not through a barbarous feeling of auger that I 
am acting, as you seem to think at this moment. The judgment 
which has pronounced an eternal separation between us, has decided 
also that the jfuardianship of Paulette, as well as the conduct of 
her life, should belong to me alone. This judgment has decided 
thus to protect against yourself, against the attraction of your love 
for your daughter, against the attraction of my own weakness, per- 
haps, the future and the honor of a child whom the infection of 
your tarnished honor would compromise for ever ! ' 

* Oh ! ' thought Laura struck to the heart. ' I had not thought 
of this heaping ignominy, that my contact could ever appear a threat 
of corruption and a cause of shame to my daughter ! ' 

' And then to conclude,' continued Roger, getting more and more 
angry, although he was not being contradicted, * the judgment has 
decided thus, in order that the betrayed husband, every time he 
shall put his lips on his child's forehead, may not find there the 
trace of the kisses of the guilty wife ! ' 

* Guilty ! The mother at least was not, if the wife was ! ' Laura 
could not help saying, 

' Yon were her mother only because you were my wife,' answered 
Roger. U is impossible to punish the • lO without striking the other. 
So much the worse for ^ou I ' 

A MARTYR. 189 

' Ah ! ' said Laura, trombling under hia cruelty, ' what sort of a 
laau have you become ?' 

* I have become the man you have made me. 
' I ! how i ' asked the martyr with anxiety. 

* Yes, you ! The deeper u\y affection and my respect have been 
for you, the greater the anger they have awakened in me ! Do not 
try to implore my pity ; it would bo useloas ! * 

Nothing could increase the sutrerings inHicted upon the martyr 
in the present, but the violence of M. de Moray reflected on the 
past. A cry of protestation esci^oed from her lips. 

* And you I ' she cried, ' do not speak of the love you pretend to 
have felt for me ! The man who persecutes me in the way you are 
doing aft«r having inflicted so much evil, this man, I say, has never 
loved me ! ' 

At these words, Roger forgot everything else to remember only 
one thi,ng that was true ; it was that for many long years, he had 
borne to Laura a boundless love. He uttered a heart-icnding 
la igh. 

' She dares to say that I did not love her ! ' he cried, ' she dares 
to say that ! ' 

He raised his arms as if to call heaven to witness the injustice of 
such an accusation. 

' She dares to say that ' he repeated. * 1 I I who had given her 
all my life I 1 whose love an<l respect repulsed from my heart all 
teioptaticms and attractions I For it is true. 1 had subdued every- 
thing, coiupiered every pjvssion. while she was betraying me basely, 
»iot thinking that I mi^ht die of her treachery ! ' 

The words of M. de Moray could not convince Laura. The bru- 
tality of the facts gave them the lie in her eyes. 

* Die of my treachery,' she said with a painful smile. ' You con- 
soled yourself too (juickly ; the danger was not great,' 

M. de M(jray drew near her, with his teeth set, hissing his words 
rather than pronouncing them. 

*I have married the other too (juickly ! Tiiat's what you mean, 
is it not ? But who tells you that in my liaste there was not more 
desire for revenge and a challenge thrown at my own sorrow T 

* Nonsense I ' cried Laura, drawing nearer to Roger, as he had 
done himself. 'You loved that wtmian before you thought you had 
any cause of revenge against me.' 

* Even admitting that I had loved her,' answered the count, ' I 
swear before God who hears me, I swear that 1 had victoriously re- 
sisted all the attractions which were dmgging me to her. But no I ' 
he cried, striking the floor with his foot as if to better attest the 
truth of his word, ' it is false ! I did not love her. I understood my 
error too well by the terrible sufferings I endured at the discovery 
of your crime. ' 

190 A MARTYR. 

A fouliuj^ of egotistical j<ty fiUod tho heart of Laura. 
' Ah ! ' she said almoat faiz»tii)g, * is it very truo that you have suf- 
fered so much 1 ' 

lloger seized her roughly by the wrist. 

* Ah ! ' he answered, * do you think that I could, without despair 
and without weeping tear from my heart the niots of a love which 
had grown for eighteen years ? ' 

Laura was drinking his words. They entered her ears like a 
delicious music. In living over again tho love of tho pant, it almost 
seemed to her a new love. She insisted, abandoning her arm to 
the hand which clasped it as a vice, enjoying this physical suftering 
better than a caress. 

' Is it very true also that you have wept so much 1 ' she mut- 

Roger stepped back a little, placing himself in the light afforded 
by the window. 

* Look at me ! ' he said in a low voice. * Look at my emaciated 
face, at my sunken eyes, at my hair — white, but not by age — and 
do not ask any more if I have suffered. The wreck you are looking 
on is tho work of one day. In a few hours you have made me an 
old man. Ah ! yes, I must have loved you to suffer so much ! ' 

' And now ] * asked Laura, panting, * instead of that love ? ' 

* Instead of that love,' cried Roger with violence, throwing from 
him tho arm he had bruised. * Instead of that love, it is hatred 
which fills my heart. Yes I I hate you with all the strength of my 
lost happiness, of my profaned memories, of my broken hopes ! I 
hate you ! do you hear me ! I hate you ! ' 

Laura could not be mistaken, and her joy exploded in a burst 
which she could not have withheld even at the cost of her life. 

* You hate me ! ' she critd ; * you hate me ! Ah ! repeat those 
words again, which resound in my heart like the sweetest accents of 
love. I thought I was indifferent to you, and it was killing me. But 
now I can live, your anger and your threats have revived my cour- 
age. Ah ! if you did not love me, you would not hate me so much.' 

Roger staggered a few steps backwards. He did not have the 
strength to protest. 

* I — I — ' he said stammering, *I would be cowardly enough.' 

* Yes I she retorted, walking towards him, * yes, you love me al- 
ways. We are still tied to each other by this love which you com- 
mand, but which does not obey. Do now what you will. Every- 
thing that will come from you will be good and sweet, even your 
anger, even your rigor, even your acts of violence ! ' 

* Be quiet ! ' cried Roger, distracted, * in 'the name of heaven, be 
quiet ! ' 

But Laura had suffered too much not to abandon herself entirely 
to the joys of this unexpected, unhoped-for victory. 

A MARTYR. 101 

' That I shuuld be silent ! ' she said, raising her head with a ges- 
ture of triumph. ' Whatever you may do now, you belong to me by 
that love which you vainly attempt to deny, and which your whole 
being proclaims. Do what you will, I tell you, it matters not. 
Tear your daughter away from my arms, keepher for yourself alone I 
It is my features you will see when your eyes rest upon her ; it will 
be my kisses which you will find on her lips, and you will return 
them to me in giving her yours. ' 

M. de Moray was trying to run away, leaning on the furniture, 
against the walla, beating the air with his arms, and sustaining 
against himself a struggle still more desperate than the one he was 
fighting with Laura. 

' Be silent ! ' he implored once more. ' Don't you see that I am 
becoming mad.' 

* I will be silent,' said Laura, ' on one condition. Dare to tell me 
you do not love me ! ' 

He tried to lie a last time. 

* I do not ' 

But his strength failed him ; he could not finish the perjury. 

* Yes! yes! ' he said, falling on his knees. * Yes! in spite of your 
treachery, in spite of myself, in spite of my shame, and in spite of the 
revolt of my honor, I must make the avowal. It is mean and cow- 
.wdly, but since you force me to it, hear then the words which you 
tear from my heart after having broken it : "I love you ! I love 
you always! " ' 

For a moment Laura felt a mad temptation to accord " ♦rue avowal 
of a lover, the confidence she had refused to the rage of the 
outraged husband. It was sufficient for her to cry out : * Yes, love 
me ! You have a right to do sol I did not betray you!' and he 
would have believed her. But what good would it do today ] This 
cry of her innocence would remain without efFect since the husband 
who had spoken with such a powerful passion had contracted new 
engagements. And the danger remained the same for'tlie honor of 
her mother. So she resigned herself once more, but this time, it 
was with a deep and tender sweetness. 

' We can leave each other,' she said, * and even we may not meet 
again ; I shall keep mysteriously, like a treasure, the secret of your 
own heart. Perhaps we shall not see each other a;^ain in this world. 
But no matter how long the separation of life may be, it is but a 
second in comparison to the eternity when our two souls will be for- 
ever united. Farewell, Roger! you love me, and I adore you! ' 

The noise of steps separated them. The admiral and his wife 
were entering the room. On his arrival the old sailor had been told 
by a servant of the presence of M. de Moray in the parlor. Aston- 
ished and even troubled on hearing that an interview was taking 
place between their daughter and the man they used to call their 

192 A MARTYK. 

Hoii-iii-law, thu uld couplo liad rosolvetl not to intorfero. Hut oti 
tiinu paHSiu), (huir aiixiuty had iiiuroist^d and tliuy ducidud to go to 
thu liulj) of Laura, whose situation must bo very painful, face to face 
with the man who had repudiated her. To rt-joiu their dauj^hter 
they even left alone a person who was in their room. On enterin<{ 
they saw botli Laura and Roger standing a few steps from eacli 
other, evidently a prey to great emotion, but silent. 

' You have asketl to see us, M. de Moray ? ' s.iid the admir..l. 
* Mme. de la Marche and myself are at y«)nr (trders.' 

The appearance of the new-comers had caused the excitement of 
Laura an<l K(»ger to fall suddenly. But, although M. de Moray 
usually had a great mastery over hiuiself, he wiis in need of a few 
seconds to recover the balance of his mind. What a cliange it wan 
thus to re-enter the immediate reality of hia life! How rapidly he 
had been recalled from the heaven where his meeting with the 
w«>man he still loved paasionately had made him a.scend! He was so 
troubled that he had forgotten why he ha«l come to see the admiral ; 
but his memory soon returned, and he shuddered. 

* Yes, yes, 1 wanted to see you, he muttered. ' I — it is a 
thing which ' 

His lips opened and closed in uttering in:a-lic\date sounds. 

'Pardon me,' he said, succeeding in restraining himself. * The 
unexpected presence of a woman I never tiiought of seeing again 
has thrown me into a great state of trouble. I beliuve I h;vve been 
mad. Once more, I pray you, f >rgive me and hear me.' '■ 

' We are listening,' said the admiral, motioning to everyone to sit 

M. de Moray turned towards Laura. 

* The communication 1 have to make,' he said, ' was to be ad- 
dressed only to the admiral and his wife ; but after the interview 
we have had. Madam, I have not the right to exclude yor.,' 

Laura bowed her head softly as a sign of compliance, and Roger 
continued, preuarin4 himself to climb a painful calvary. 

' 'I'he terrible I'veiits which h.ivo dividtnl our two families,' he 
said, after a moment's silence, * have not been able to alter either 
my sentimentH of respect for you, Adnuial, or my feelings of ven- 
eration for you, Mme. de la Marche. This being the case, even had 
I n.)t wished to invoke your assistance in a pri»ject I have formetl, 
1 should have felt it as a duty to acquaint you to-day with a deter- 
mination I have come to.' 

' A project 1 ' asked Mme de la Marche. 

' A determination ? ' said the admiral. 

* Yes, I have resolved to marry my daughter.' 

■ JNIarry Paulette!' cried Laura, with fear, interfering for the first 

A MARTY U. 193 

' Our fuinily diBBonsions,' continued M. de Moray, ' imiwBi'd upon 
niu till: <hity to put tin end hb quickly iM p<»8Hib!i) t«> the very unibur- 
ruHBing situation in which my duuglitor wusplucod in nty own houHc. 
13ut having decided ou marrying her promptly, I had not choRi>n 
the liUBhand she was to have, until a fatal event haa forced on uw 
the choice of that husbaud, and I will tell you his name. It is 

' It is ? ' asked Laura with an;,'ui8h. 

' It is M. Annibal Palmeri,' answered Roger with an ellort, and 
speaking in a low voice, as if ashamed to hear himself makin;^' this 

' Annibal Palmeri I ' repeated everyone with the same cry of re- 

* The brother of the woman who has usurped my place!' cried 
Laura, with intense indignation. ' Why, you are mail I Even if I 
]i.:d deserved a chastisement a hundred times more severe than tlie 
one you have inflicted ; even if I was the lowest specimen of the 
lost, I'aulette is nevertheless my daughter, and (»n account of that 
title alone, she cannot love the brother of the woman who boan the 
old nauie of her mother! ' 

* Who speaks of lf>ve i ' ivsked M. de Moray, sadly. ' Moreover,' 
ho continued, with bitterness, * are you ([uite sure, madam, that a 
marriage of love alvs-ays realizes the happiness it promises / ' 

A leaden silence weighed on these four persoiiH. separated by 
manifold interests, but who, certainly, met on the same thou<,'ht : 
the happiness of Paulette. For a moment they remained motion- 
less, silent. Laura was the first to tind enough strengtii to speak. 
Mothers are Ciipable of all the energies when the happiness of their 
child is in jeopardy. 

' Let us see ! ' she said, passing her hand across her foreheail, as 
if <■.■> drive away a horrible dream. ' There is in all tljia stmiething 
which you do not say, and which alone can dictate the monstrous 
words we have just heard. Listen ! do not interrupt me yet. A 
few minutes ago, I might have suspected in you some evil thought 
which would have led you to destroy my child's happiness, after 
having contributed, I would have sworn, to the destruction of mine. 
But now, without wishing to recall anything of what has happened 
when we were alone together ; now, 1 cannot accuse you of suoli ;• 
weakness, of such a crime, I may say. Theie is something you (lit 
not tell, a necessity which pushes you in spite of yourself. Well, 
it is that something you must tell, that mystery you must reveal. 
You must underrttaud that you cannot tell rao that you are sacri- 
ticiug my daughter, without also telling me what merciless law yuu 
are obeying. Come, speak out, I am listening ! ' 

One would have said that the roles wore changed now. Aft'i- 
having so rudely exercised his power, M. de Moray was forced to 
lower his head. His victim was his judge, in her turn. 

194 A MArnrn. 

' YrH,' iuMmiI thu tMliiiirul, ' wu must know.' 

' 1 have cuiiio to tull you all,' said thu count, sadly. ' PerliapH 
when you aro hotter informed, you will judge niu less haruhiy. 
Know, then, that after the evil which struck mo in my love, another 
atihction befel mo. After the honor of the husband, the lionor of 
the man has been threatened, compromised.' 

* Oreat heaven ! ' 

' In two words, the facts are these, and, as you have said, here is 
the law imposed upon my will. Certain circumstances which it 
woidd be too long to tell, and which it is useless to mention, have 
compromised my name and my honor in such a torriblo manner, 
that even to-day 1 am threatened with a criminal prosecution before 
the tribunals, where 1 will be condemned. But 1 hope you will not 
Buapect my good faith ; I can be accused only of a guilty impru- 
dence. Bo that as it may, when the peril was revealed to me, I felt 
lost, ccmdemned in advance. I had before me the expectation of 
the felon's cell, or the bullet of the honest man prosecuted for a 
fault involuntarily committed.' 

* You wanted to kill yourself I ' cried Laura. 

' It wis the only thing 1 could do,' coolly said the count. ' And, 
believe me, M. do la Marcho would not have blamed me. I was 
almost touchini'; the fatal minute when I was to strike the blow, 
when a man came to mo and <ifiered me a chance of salvation.' 

* And that man was V 

* The man 1 named just now, M. Annibal Palmori. Ho offered 
to savo mo from disaster. Hut he made a bargain, and the price of 
this bargain was thu hand of Paulette. I accepted.' 

' I should have died ! ' cried Laura, with the inspired accent of 
voluntary sacrihce. ' Yes, rather than sacrifice my child, I shoiild 
have struck myself with my own hand ! * 

* Do you think I was nt>t tempted to do so? ' asked the count, 
painfully. * And I believe that God would have shown Himself 
more merciful in His judgment of the crime I should have com- 
mitted in taking the life Ho had given mo. But had I the right to 
prefer death ? I did not judge S(j,* 

' And you are right,' said the admiral. * The death to which you 
Would have condemned yourself would have only weakly glossed 
your shame ; it could not have obliterated it. You had to accept 
everything, to consent to everything, to redeem your honor, no 
matter how cruel were the conditions imposed. Once mi)re, I say 
it, you have done your duty.' 

' Even at the cost of his daughter's happiness ? ' cried Laura, des- 

* Even at that cost ! * confirmed the admiral, without hesitation. 

* No, it shall not be ! * cried the loving mother, who saw only the 

A M\UTYR. lOr) 

uvil, piThapH thu cluatli of her chiM. ' Y<mi hnvu proiiiisod, it it 
true, but you could only uugagu youraulf, and ' 

*And I'aulette will rodoem the word of her father!' said the 
poor girl, pale and shuddoring, pushing open a door boliind which 
flhu had buen a silent spuctator of this drHinaiic interview, and en* 
tering the room. ' i am ready to marry M. I'ahnori, father ! ' re- 
peated Paulette, because it was she who had just entered. 

The di;y previous M. de Moray had told his daui'\ter that she 
could visit her grand-parents as often as she wisheu. Taking ad- 
vantage of this permission, the young girl had returned to tho ad- 
miral's on the next day. She had met her grand- father on the thrt'sh- 
hold of the door, and had learnt at the same time the presence of 
her father in tho house. She had been told that he was having a 
private interview with her mother, and liistly, she tiad seen her 
grand-parents going, with deep emotion, t<> join thu two beings to 
whom she owed her life, and between whom she shared her love 
C({ually. When she found herself alone an invincible presentiment 
told her tlwt she was the cause of this strange meeting, and nho 
wanted to Ifnow ; and had she been told that death was awaiting her 
behind that door, she would have gone there to listen. It was death, 
in fact, but a uoath more slow, more cruel, than would have been 
the stroke of a dagger through her heart. So she had listened, 
standing up at first, then m the terrible ^ruth was being gradually 
revealed to her through the thin boards, her strength becoming ex- 
hausted, she had fallen on her knees. It was in this attitude of 
prayer she had heard her sentence. It was a condemnation which 
tore away from her heart the word given to M. de Valliores, the 
absent friend so dearly loved, to impose respect to the promise 
made by M. de Moray. She did not hesitate, even for a second, hav- 
ing drawn from the blood of her mother the courage of sacrifice. In one 
moment she immolated her happiness to satisfy the honor of her 
father. And when she had heard her mother, who had also sacri- 
ficed herself, she knew it, rebelling in her maternal instinct, she 
had risen, she had made the sign of the crons, like the soldier on 
the eve of engaging in battle, or the missionary preparing himself 
to die at the stake, and she had opened the dojr. It was then 
that she uttered these simple words of devoted noss and heroism : 

* Paulette will redeem the word of her father ! ' Only having added: 

• 1 am ready to marry M. Palmeri ! ' she felt an involuntary weak- 
ness and would have fallen if her mother had not caught her in 
her arms. 

* Paulette ! Paulette, my child ! ' cried Laura. * Forget these 
words. Think of it, my beloved. It is your life, it is your happi- 
ness you are giving.' 


' It in hin liiiior I am rodootning,' ri'tortod tlio Kcnoronii chiltl, in 
a HUproiiiu ( tloit. Then turning to Miiiu. du Moray , * You wuru 
ri};ht in not doubting your child, fathur. What you havo donu is 
well donu.' 

After those words she leaned her head on Laura's shoulder, and 
told her in a voice so low that nobody else could hear her ; 

' It Huuius to nu>, do you sue, that somuthini^ is broken in my 
htart. 1 do not know what I feel ; I do not sutler, and still I 
am not conscious. Oh ! mother, one must feel so on the point of 

llur limbs trembled and sank under her. Her blood rushed to 
her heart and to her brain ; as pale as a corpse, she uttered a dull 
moan ; her eyes closed. 

' Farewell, mother,' she muttered, ' Fare ' 

Kho could not liniHh the word. She fell, slipping, from iho 
uniis of Laura, who could only lessen the force of h>u- t)n«^\pectid 
fall. All this scene had been enacted in a few scctiuds. Ijiiuni 
uttered a heartrending shriek. 

' Ah,' she cried, ' Dead ! she is dead I ' 

Then throwing herself down beside the chihi, she raisetl her, 
and took her in her arins. Mud with sorrow, she rockt'd the h'l'j, 
girl to and fro in her ai ms, ha h\w. used to do long ago when she 
took the little child out of her <;n»dlo. M. de Moray and the a<l- 
miial, frightetted by the iie8|>air of the nu>ther, almost as much 
as by the fainting of the daughter, tinally succeeded in taking hor 
from L:iura's arms and placed lur on a sofa, where Mme. de la 
Marche bathed her temi-les with water. 

' Ah,' suddenly ciied Latira, who saw signs of life (m her child's 
lips, ' she has iiu>ved, she has moved, I tell you. She lives, she 
lives great (Jod I ' 

And passing from extreme terror to extreme joy, the unhappy 
woman burst into sobs, bathing the face of her daughter with her 

' Ah, sir,' said the admiral to Roger, * if you have been cruelly 
oilended, >ou are now cruelly revenged.' 

M. de Moray lowered his head, and wept bitterly in his turn. 
They had the charity to leave the two women alone. Laura sat 
<lown by her child, whose hands she held in her own. She 
silent, thinking that she would soon go to sleep. But Paulette 
pressed her mother's hand to call her attention, and spoke to her 
in a low voice : 

' Mother,' she said, ' I havo reflected a great der.l within the last 
few minutes. Do you see, it is our common fate to sutfer, al- 
though neither you nor I have anything to reproach ourselves with. 
We love each other so much, dearest, that sorrow could not create 
any jeaU>usy between us. You and I are sisters now, sisters in 

A MAUTYU. 11)7 

tears and sorrows. Since it is so, and in order that we may fnl- 
till our doRtitiieH without tlitichi*)^, wo noml ^roat oourni'o, and 
the tirHt thing wo must do is to resign ourselves not to sue oacli 
other again.' 

* Not Buu each other again ! ' cried Laura. ' Ts that the means 
you have found to keep up your courage I ' 

* Yes,' answered Paulette, with grave tirmness. * I romember niy 
childhood ; if [ fell and hurt uiyHulf, I would get up with courage, 
litid start to run again, certain that you had not seen mo. But 
if, pale with fright, you would raise me up, and ask if 1 was 
wounded, tears woidd come to my eyes, because I folt at the same 
time both your pain and mii'o. Well, it would bo the same thing 
for the terrible fall which awaits me : the fall of all my dreams, of 
all my hopes ! 1 must become ii^sensible to everything, ami it is 
only in thinking of myself that I can attain that end.' 

Laura had loaned her face on the nofn, smothering the murmurs 
of her maternal rev(»lt. She rose to answer : 

' V'ou will do what your strength will allow,' she said. ' Yoti will 
go, on the road to your calvary, as far lis your feet will be able to 
carry you, and ivs long as your shoulders will be able to bear your 
cr«»sfl. [ shall walk by your side in thought only, since you are 
afraid that my real presence would be a cause of weakness. Hut if, 
after all, you felt that you are going to fall before reacliing the end 
will you refuse me the right to attempt a la^t eftort to save you I * 

' What couUl you do/' asked the child with a gesture of des- 
pair. ' However, be <]uiet 1 If I feel that the task is beyond my 
strength, I will write to you.' 

' You promise ? ' 

' I promise ! ' 

The hour of their separation had come. 

' Farewell, mother I ' said Pauletto. 

* Farewell ! ' repeated Laura, chisping the hand of her child, and 
pressing it on her heart. 

I'aulette, accompanied by her father, returned to the old man- 
sion, and soon after the usual guests of the house sat down to dinner 
Paulette was by the side of Annibal Palmori, and, except that she 
was a little paler than usual, nothing in her demeanor recalled the 
murderous emotions of the day. After dinner Paulette approached 

' I shall be grateful to you,' she said, * if you will lead me into 
the garden. I havo a few words to speak to you in private.' 

Palmeri bowed without answering, and gave her his arm. We 
must say, to the honor of the Neapolitan that his heart was beat- 
ing faster at that moment than he thought it was capable of. The 
yirginal charms of Paulette had made a deep impresHion on that 
bandit born at the foot of Vesuvius. £yen so, that ho was trembling 

198 A MAHTVFl. 

like a young inau who goua to his Hrst rendezvous. They were 
hardly seated when Paulette said to Annibsvl that her father had 
told her of the obligations he owed to the brother of his second 
wife, and of the engagements he had taken in exchange. These 
engagements, whoso execution depended upon herself alone, she 
was ready to keep. She would become M. Palmeri's wife to release 
her father froni his debts. J3ut it was her dut)' to tell hini, that she 
could dispose only of her person, her heart having been already 
given to another. 

• I hope. Miss,' said the Italian, with a smile full of conceit, ' I 
hope to be able to make you forget the whim of a young girl. At 
your age, the imagination is easily carried away.' 

' At my ago,' Paulette answered coolly, ' a young girl such as I 
am does not take back the heart she has once given. Be that as it 
may, sir, do you still insist upon your demand, after what I have 
told you ? ' 

' More than ever. Miss. ' 

* Then 1 shall be your wife, and redeem u>y father's promise ! ' 
She bowed and walked away. 


Two or three days after the events we have just narrated, the 
servant of Sir Elias Drack at the hotel of the Louvre, told him that 
the prince wished to see him. 

' Still the Indian,' grunted the good man, visibly anxious, and 
trying to disguise his anxiety with an air of bad humor. ' The 
prince is commencing to annoy me. But it aitfckes no ditFerence. 
Show his excellency in. Ah, here you are,' said Mr, Drack to the 
faithful Indian when they were left alone. ' I was in hopes of 
being able to take the train for Calais this evening without hearing 
from you or your masters. They are well, those people, eh ? ' 

' Not, not well ! But is it true that you are going away ! ' asked 
Mai tar, in his turn. 

* If it is true ! This evening, by express ! I leave for England.' 

* You return to your family ! ' 

' Eh ! I have very little family.' 

* Among your friends i ' 

' I think that I have less of them than of a family. * 
' To your country then ? * 

* My country ! my country ! You mean the country where I was 
born, and where 1 have lived until I was seven or eight months old. 
Later, my parents sent me around the world.' 

A MAUIYU. 199 

' Well, if it is so,' continuod MalUir, ' why aro you thinking of 
loaving I'aris, where I know somebody who wants you.' 

' That's another reason why I should go,' growled the Englisli- 
nian. *■ Wants me ! and who is it that wants me I ' 

' The young mistress.* 

' Paulette ! What can I do for her, even if I consent to incon- 
venience myself 1 She has hor father ! ' 

' Unhappily, yes,' answered Maltar, in a low voice. 

' She has her mother.' 

' Unhappily, no ! ' added Maltar, a little louder. 

* What are you saying no for ] Has n<»t Mme. Laura, thanks to 
me, been reinstated into the good graces of the old seal ? ' 

' The old seal ? ' asked Maltar, opening his eyes. 

' The old admiral, if you prefer the term, and will not Paulette, 
who is allowed to visit her grand-parents, see her mother as much 
as she wants 1 ' 

' Oh ! ' said the devoted servant, * there has been a great change 
within forty-eight hours.' 

* A change ? ' asked Mr. Drack, stopping in his preparations for 
his departure. * And what is that change ? ' 

' I went to jee the Countess de Moray last night.' 

* Which countess ] Because one loses himself among all these 

' There is only one Countess de Moray for me,' answered the 
Indian, his eyes flashing with anger. ' I mean Mme. Laura. My 
old mistress has told me, crying bitterly, that her daughter could 
not come and see her any more, on account of her going to be 
married. ' 

With this Palmeri you have spoken about. The project is not 

' Alas ! no.' 

* And Mme. Laura consents to it ? ' 

* What can she do to prevent it ? Nobody can do anything. 
She, no more than the others ! ' 

' Nobody, nobody ! ' repeated Mr. Drack, * It is not yet written 
that nobody can do anything. Perhaps there would be one way of 
which I have already thought.' 

' One way ? ' asked Maltar. * One way to prevent this marriage 
which will kill Miss Paulette. Yes, Mr. Drack, it will kill my 
young mistress, I am sure.' 

' Kill her ! ' said the Englishman with agitation. * Tell me, do you 
think Miss Paulette would consent to receive me, if I went and pro- 
posed one way to put this Annibal out of the way i ' 

* Oh ! yes, sir,' answered Maltar, who knew very well that all the 
bad humor of good Mr. Drack would end in a proposition of that 

200 A MAHTYH. 

kind. * And I am stire the young mistress would be very hap])y to 
see you.' 

' Well, return to the mansion, and tell her of my visit. Ah ! one 
word yet. Do you think I could enter the house without nieetin<4 
her father. You know, your jnastor irritates me. He is the cause 
of all this annoyance. I could not help telling him that he has 
neither heart nor soul, which would make me angry and it might 
injure my health.' 

' 1 shall expect you. Mr. Drack,' said the Indian retiring, 'and 
you will enter without anybody seeing you.' 

An hour later the good Englishman was introduced into Pau- 
lette's room. The young girl greeted him with a tender caress, as 
if feeling that he was her best friend. 

' How good of you ! ' said Paulette, with tears in her eyes. ' How 
I thank you ! ' 

* Oh ! you are welcome,' answered Mr. Drack. ' As I had nothing 
to do this morning, I came this way, by chance. Then what Mal- 
tar has told me is true, they are marrying you ? ' 

Paulette looked at him and answered firmly : 

* Mai tar makes a mistake. They do not marry me ; I consent to 
the marriage myself.' 

* Hum ! ' said the old consul, * the result is about the same. But 
then, if you get married what will become of poor M. de Valli^res ? ' 

' Gaston ! ' cried the child. 

' Yes, Gaston ! that young man so good, so charming, from what 
you have told me, at least, because I don't know him myself.' 

* Gaston ! ' repeated Paulette. * Ah ! if I only dared ! ' 
' What 'i ' 

' Nothing ! A foolish idea ! ' 

' Say it, anyhow.' 

' Well, if some day soon, you should return to India ! ' 

* Never in my life, thank you. Return to India ! there is no 
danger. If it did happen, however, what do you want mo to do ? ' 

' You will go and see M de Valliores and tell him all you have 
heard since you came to l^aris, all you have witnessed until the 
moment of your departure. You will tell him that she who was 
wedded was not a happy and smiling bride, but a victim to an im- 
perious, to a sacred duty, and you will so make him understand my 
story that he shall not think of accusing me, who will never cease 
to love him, imtil my last ! ' 

' Your last what t ' asked the Englishman .with the same phlegm, 
when she stopped for the second time. 

* Until the time when this necessary marriage has made me the 
wife of another ! ' said the child with heroic courage. 

' Poor unhappy child ! ' the g(»od man could not help saying, at 
the itame time grumbling at himself for being so weak and seusi- 

A MAUTVK. 201 

tive. 'Certainly, if what you say shoiiUl happen, I would proba- 
bly have business which would call uio to India, and I would have 
tiino to deliver your message to M. Gaston de Vallii'rea. Hut aH [ 
was telling Maltar this morning, there is a very simple means to pro- 
vent this cimfounded marriage, and you have only to say the word. 
1 have never told you that I have accjuired many physical accom- 
plishments ; I am as clever as a monkey.' 

* 1 am aware that you swim well ! ' said the young girl, with a 
look of aft'ection and gratitude. 

* Eh I 1 swim, 1 swim,' he answered modestly, ' say that I swini 
a little. But there are lots of things I can do infinitely better. I 
am as good a swordsman as a fencing-master^ and with a pistol I 
hit thp mark at thirty feet every time. I have never had the 
chanco co utilize those little talents, and I believe I have a good 
occasion to-day to pass from theory to practice. This M. Palmeri 
of yours, whom 1 never saw, annoys me ; disturbs me ; ho upsets 
all my combinations. Come, would it cause you great sorrow if I 
tried my skill upon him ? ' 

' No, no, said Paulette (£uickly, * I have nothing against M. 
Palmeri, whose conduct towards my father has been gonercjus, and 
he has my word. I must, do you hear, I must become his wife I ' 

' An you will,' said Mr. Drack, who appeared disappointed. ' I 
shall make experiments cm someone else. But I would have pre- 
ferred . After all, my child, it is your business. And when 

is the wedding to take place i ' 

* As soon as possible,' answered Paulette. * Since this marriage 
is necessary, I am in a hurry to see it celebrated. I have asked my 
father to shorten the delays. It will be in fifteen days perhaps.' 

'Good ! ' thought the honest Englishman. ' In fifteen days one 
can do many things, and we have time to turn around.' 

While Paulette was extending her hand to her old fiiend, to say 
farewell, the door opened and the maid appeared, asking if M. 
Palmeri could be received. 

'Certainly,' said Mr. Drack, without waiting Paulette 's answer. 
* Introduce him.' 

Then turning to Paulette. 

'I beg your pardon if I answered for you, my dear child,' he 
said, * but it affords me great pleasure indeed to see this excellent 
M. Annibal, your future husband.' 

The presence of Sir Elius Drack on that day spared Paulette a 
painful annoyance which she had to suffer since the previous day, 
'and which would come every day until the wedding. This annoy- 
ance, or rather this downright torture was the necessity the young 
girl had to submit to, of receiving the visit of her attianced lover. 
This visit was very painful to Paulette, for the man who sat by her 
and tried to conc^uer, if not her love, at least her indilFerence, this 

202 A MAKTYU. 

man appeared, in her eyes, to bo an executioner. And was he not 
one, in reality / For our readers have understood that Paulette had 
resolved to die. M. do Moray had pronounced her sentence of 
death in taking in her name the enj^agement to make her the wife 
of the brother of Claiidia. He had doubly pronounced that sentence 
when lie had disposed, without her consent, of a heart she had given, 
and wiiich she would never take back. And the man who was to 
execute the sentence, the man who was to be thereafter, we repeat 
the word, the executioner of Paulette, this man was the very ono 
designated to lead her to the altar. It was Annibal Palmeri. M<jre 
than once, she had made a comparison between herself, the inno- 
cent, and the wretch awaiting with anguish, in his cell, the terrible 
morning of the "last toilet. This last toilet ! for her, the bride 
whom everyone would envy, it would be made of flowers and silk ! 
It would be the virginal dress with which every young girl adorns 
herself ono day in her life, to go and meet the expected husband. 
But, no matter how beautiful, it would bo her last toilet, the one 
which precedes death. And there was one thing which rendered 
the approach of the torture still more acute to l*aulette than to 
ordinary criminals : it was the obligati<m she was under, in order to 
hide her project, to make her own preparations, and to weave, so to 
speak, the wedding veil which was to be her shroud. There are 
voluntary deaths to which those who are resigned rush witli ner- 
vous enthusiasm. It seems then that life has been so hard to those 
who resolve to quit it that it is a burden they are in a hurry to be 
rid of. But it was far from being so in the case of Paulette. Hardly 
one month before her existence was full of beautiful promises. The 
joys of her childhood held out still greater happiness for the future. 
One month, nay, fifteen days ago she was landing from the steamer 
at Marseilles, knowing nothing of the drama which had filled the 
old family mansion with blood ; of the divorce which had separated 
her parents, of the financial disaster which was threatening the 
honor of her father, and lastly of the engagement which boxind her 
to a man she abhorred. In such a short time, what a revolution in 
and around her. The visits of Palmeri awakened all these sad ideas 
in her heart, and it is no wonder that they were a downright tor- 
ture. On that day the presence of Sir Elias Drack made the visit 
less painful. She presented the two gentlemen to each other, and 
shortly after she retired, leaving them together. Annibal, who was 
annoyed by the incident, tried nevertheless to be amiable. 

' I believe it was you,' he said, ' who (escorted Miss de Moray on 
her voyage ? ' 

* My own self ! ' answered Mr. Drack, whoso eyes, piercing like 
daggers, wore searching to the very bottom of his interlocutor's 
brains, trying to discover his secrets. ' And it is you who are 
going to marry my young companion ? ' 

A MARTYR. 203 

' Yen, sir, I have this great happiness ! * 

' It is a ^reat happiness, as you say, and I congratulate you sin- 
cerely, liut this marriage was decided on very <}uickly, it seems to 
me ? ' 

' It has been sufficient to me to see Miss Paulette, to become 
B\iddenly smitten with her beauty, her charms, and her grace. Does 
not that seem natural to you ? ' 

' Quite natural. And I dt>ubt not that at your first interview, 
my young friend has experienced the same feeling as yourself. 
Reciprocated and instantane(.ii8 love ! A thunderbolt, double pres- 
sure, as we say in France, I believe.' 

Annibal who was an ass at times, but who still was nothing of an 
imbecile, felt the irony of the remark, and experienced a feeling of 
anger. At the very moment he wjis giving way to his passion, the 
adventurer felt that he would make himself ridiculous, and he pro- 
tended not to have understood. This was the more easy to liim as 
M. Drack had a good-natured air, and appeared convinced of what 
he said. 

'•The thunderbolt, sir, as you say, 'he replied. 

* So that.' rejoined the ex-consul, ' the daughter — of the wife 
— of the husband — of Madam, your sister — it is that, is it not ? 
is made perfectly happy by this sudden union ? ' 

Mr. Drack had wound the chaplet of relations we have just writ- 
ten with a very comical accent, as if seeking his words, lint the 
Neapolitan had made up his mind not to be offended or astonished 
at anything. 

* Happy! ' he replied. ' Certainly Miss Paulette is very happy, 
and I doubt not she will be still more so after her marriage, when 
she will have appreciated the sincerity of my sentiments. But I 
see with the greatest satisfaction, sir,' he added, setting his teoth 
in an involuntary movementy of humor, * that you feel a great deal 
of interest in Miss de Moray.' 

* A great deal, dear sir, indeed! 1 even offered her my services 
a minute ago for a favor to which, by the way, you were not indif- 

* A favor! And what was it ? Tell me, I pray.' 

* Oh, nonsense! Since Miss I'aulette has refused to take advan- 
tage of certain talents which 1 put at her entire disposal, it is quite 
U'eless ' 

' Ah ! she has refused ? ' 

' Yes, unluckily. I regret it for her sake, and for mine also, to 
tell you the truth ; because it would have been a great tisfaction 
to me if I ' 

Mr. Drack did not go any further in his confidence, as the reader 
will easily understand, when ho will remember the nature of his little 

204 A MARTYR. 

talents and the favor he alluded to. Annibal, although filled with 
mistruHt, felt obliged to answer a few polite words. 

* Whatever may be the favor you speak of, sir, I am very grateful 
for the intention.* 

* You are quite welcome, I assure you, my dear Mr. Palmer!. 
Ah! do me a favor in your turn,' 

' If it is in my power.' 

* Oh! the simplest thing in the world for you, but which is giving 
nio a great deal of bother. I have just called you my dear Mr. 
Prtltueri, and every time I pronounce your name, it seems to me [ 
have heard it before. Please tell me where 1 have met you.' 

Annibal, as it happened every time someone enquired about his 
personality, felt a cold shiver, to use a familiar expression. Never- 
theless, it could not be noticed. 

' It is not very surprising,' he said, ' that xuy name should be 
known to you. M. Palmeri, my uncle, who was in tlie banking 
business, made a great fortune, which we inherited, my sister and 
I. It is undoubtedly my uncle whom you have heard spoken of.' 

* It is probable,' answered the Englishman, apparently aatist^ed. 
* And you say you have inherited ; recently, is it not V 

' About a year ago.' 

* A year, in truth! it is very recent yet. And you are Italian, are 
you not 1 ' 

* Yes, by origin, but I was born in India.* 
' Ah ! in India, I begin to understand.' 

' It must have been in India I heard your family spoken of. Ah! 
my dear Mr. Palmeri, there is another thing I have forgotten to tell 
you, and which I hope will not annoy you. I have consented to 
be one of the witnesses of your bride.' 

' She could not make a choice more agreeable to me,' politely 
said Annibal, who had a good mind to send his bride's friend to 
the devil. 

' I am very happy that it is so agreeable to you,' rejoined Mr. 
Drack, giving Annibal one of those shakes of the hand of which one is 
never sure whether its aim is not to pull off one's arm. ' Inasmuch 
as my quality of witness will afford me an opportunity, I hope, of 
getting better acquainted with your charming family. I have not 
had occasion to be presented to Madam your sister yet.* 

' She will be at home to-morrow night,' politely answered Anni- 
bal. * She receives every Friday. You wiH be welcome.' 

' One cannot be more courteous. I will have the honor to come 
and pay her my respects, with your kind permission. Good-bye, 
dear Mr. Palmeri, until to-morrow. Ah ! a last word. When you 
see your amiable betrothed, please tell her on my part that if sh(^ 
changes her mind about that little favor, she will always find me 

A MARTYR. 205 

* D^;>end on ine,' said Aunihal, ' 1 shall not fail.' 
' Thank you. Good-bye.' 

Haying these wttrds, Mr. Drack went uway. 

' The confounded prattler,' thought Annibal, I fancied he would 
never go away. ' Then, reflecting: 'What might be the nature of 
the little favor he is always npeaking of i I should not be sorry to 
know what he is alluding to.' 

Our intention is not to dwell at length upon the events of the 
fifteen days which were to elapse before the marriage of Mile, de 
Moray. We are too anxious to arrive at the grave changes which 
are preparing. Moreover, the situation was such, between the dif- 
ferent actors of our dranin. that it could not V>e materially altered. 
Mr. Drack was the only oi to modify his niaiinerof life. He made 
himself altogether at hoT , afl'ecting the keenest sympathy for his 
hosts, and becoming a great friend of the new countess and her 
brother, at least as much' as of Paulette. This transformation 
grieved Paulette greatly at lirst, because she had thought she had 
lost her only protector. But she had been reassured very quickly 
by Maltar, who went to her one day, and told her that the con- 
duct of Mr. Drack was only a deceit. 

' Mr. Drack has charged me to tell young mistress,' rapidly said 
the Indian in a low voice, ' not to believe that he is forgetting her.' 

' So you have seen him ? ' asked Paulette surprised. 

' Yea ; Maltar goes almo>^t every morning, secretly, to the hotel, 
where they let the prince come in. ' 

* What prince?' 

' No matter, don't mind ! ' answered the good servant with a 
silent laugh. ' And when he arrives, Maltar always sees Mr. Drack 
working with^a fencing- master. One, two. One, two. Ho is a 
good swordsman, Mr. Drack.' 

* Poor old friend,' thought Paulette with a grateful heart. * He 
has always the same foolish idea.' 

Then addressing herself again to her humble and faithful ser- 
vant, she lowered her voice still more and said : 

* And my mother, Maltar ? Did you see her yesterday ? How 
is she I ' 

' Well,' answered the Indian ; it is always the same thing at the 
admiral's. Everybody weeps. But they are all glad of being to- 
gether again. Mine. Laura hopes that when the young mistress 
will be married, she will see her again. Until then she entreats her 
to keep up her courage.' 

' Yes, yes,' said Paulette quickly. ' Tell my mother that I have 
courage, a great deal of courage. Tell her that my evils will soon 
end — and that — when I will be — ' 

Her voice fell in a moment of weakness, but was soon firm again 
as she continued : 

206 A martvk. 

' Toll hor that whoii I will be — married, I will be by her side 
alwiiyB. I will wiit'-h (»vor hur. I will console hor. — C*o, ii<iw, g<».' 

When she was alone, the poor child burst into sobs. 

* Yes, beh)ved mother,' she thouyht, crying, ' I will bo near you. 
I will console you. My soul, delivered from its chains, will fly to 
you. My breath will heal the wounda of your heart. And, know- 
iiiy then the mysteries of your life, I will share the weight of the 
Bullorings of the saintly and heroic martyr.' 

While his daughter was preparijii^ for her funeral wedding, M. 
do Moray was beginning; to undergo the just punishment of the at- 
traction which hail dra<iged him in his new life, as if he )i:id 
been suddenly attacked with madness. His interview with Laura 
at the admiral's had dissipated a portion of the clouds which 
darkened his heart. He looked at himself now with a sort of in- 
stinctive horror. Moreover, the emotions which he owed to his 
financial disasters and to the imperious necessity of marrying Pau- 
lette against her wish had weakened his will and his courage. He 
was living after a mechanical fashion, and was avoiding thought as 
much as possible. He was seeking the numerous gatherings ; noise, 
movement, and, in a word, everything which could divert his 
thoughts from him. Only one thing had survived in the ruin of this 
high personality : the sentiment of honor. 

Gorgon was enjoying her triumph. The marriage of Paulette was 
the crowning of her success. There was nothing left of the scruples, 
the disdains, and the jealousies of which she had. been the object. 
Her will had passed through everything like the scythe which cuts, 
and the harrow which levels. Her harvest was made, and she was 
getting the ground ready for the seeding of new successes. Annibal, 
also was frankly happy. The heart of such a man did not want, to 
be satisfied, the love of the woman he was going to marry. He was 
asking from Paulette only the gift of her beauty, and that he felt 
sure to have. 

Let us return once more to Paulette and her mother. The reader 
will remember that the noble young girl, after her unexpected pre- 
sence at the interview at the admiral's, in which her fate was settled, 
had implored her mother to cease all relations between them until the 
day her sacrifice would be consummated. Paulette had said that 
she must be free from all causes of emotion to be able to attain the 
end she had in view. It had been agreed that they would neither 
meet nor write to each other. They had news of each other through 
a few words hastily exchanged with Maltar. One day as Laura 
was expressing her surprise at not receiving the visit of the ex-con- 
sul, the Indian had told her that Sir Elias Drack hardly ever left the 
old mansion. 

* Ah ! ' Laura had cried with discouragement, * that one is also 
tired of being the companion of the unhappy ! He courts the ris- 

A MA.PTYR. 207 

iii^ Bun, iiiul wauta his Hharo of thu i)luu8urtm, huviiig fouiul too 
much bitturnuBs in the tuurs.' 

' No, mistress,' answered Maltar, shukxng liis head. ' 1 do not 
know wliat Mr. Drack's projects are, but I am certain ^hat Ito hatt 
not abandoned liis unhappy friends, and moreover, he is quite 
chaii^'od, Mr. Drack is ! ho does not say, as a month ago, that this 
confounded house of de Moray does not concern him. He does 
not speak of his broken rest, fie does not threaten to leave every 
morning. Do you see, mistress, I am quite sure lie has an idea, 
and he hopes in something.' 

' What can he hope for i ' asked Laura, * think of it, Maltar ! It 
is to-morrow, to-morrow ! that the crime will bo perpetrated ! To- 
morrow my daughter will become almost the sister of the woman 
who occupies my place in my own hoviso ! It is to-morrow that 
Paulette, burying her own love for M. Gaston de Vallibros, will bo- 
come tho wife of one Annibal Palmeri ! ' 

' I don't know, mistress ! I know nothing ! ' repeated Maltar. 
• But I believe Mr. Drack has a project and a hope he iloes nut 
speak of.' 

We are now on tho morning of the day fixed for the marriage. 
The ceremony is to take place at two o'clock. It is nine o'clock. 
Then only live hour separate Paulette from the moment when 
everything will end for her. And when she counts the minutes she 
says the day will have no morrow. When she will have redeemed 
the promise of her father, she will have regained her freedom. She 
will die then ! At times she touches in her pocket a thin little 
dagger she has brought with her fron India. The wound of the 
weapon is mortal. The i)oint of it has been charged with a subtle 
poison, known to the negroes only. A single touch of tho dagger, 
and in a few minutes the work of destruction will deliver her from 
the work of profan.ation. This is how she came into possession ( f 
this dangerous arm : after her long illness, during her convalescence, 
M. de Valli^res had told her one day, while showing her the 
dagger ; 

* if you had died, Paulette, this would have delivered me from 
this life, and I should have rejoined you where our souls, at least, 
could be united for eternity ! ' 

Paulette, frightened, had taken away tho weapon from his hands. 
She had kept it religiously ever since, and to-day she was saying to 
herself : ' It is with this dagger he would have killed himself if he 
had been obliged to renounce mo ; it is by this dagger I will die, 
sooner than belong to another.* All these things whirl in her head, 
and she is hardly conscious of the fleeting hours. Nevertheless, 
she hears the clock strike ten, and she remembers that on the pre- 
vious day she has said to Mr. Drack: 'Come to-morrow at ten 

208 A MARTYR. 

o'clock. I liavH Homothin^ to entrust to yfnir caro. ' It in ovoii in 
uiiticipation of tluH visit, and to preiuru what shu wiui to remit to hor 
faithful friend that ahe was up writing the greater part of the night. 

* Q\iarter past ten already ! ' she says to herself with nervous im- 
putiencu. ' Has he forgotten his promise ; still I nuiat speak to 
him ! ' 

At the same niouient, the old consul arrived, much agitated. 
Ho excused himself. 

' Pardon nio, my dear child, if I am a little late ; but I was ex- 
pecting some important despatches.* 

* DcHpatches ! ' answered Paulette, inattentively. ' What dps- 
patchus / ' 

' Oh ! nothing that concerns you,' hastily rectified Sir Elias 
Drack. ' Moreover, when you will have informed mo what yoii 
called me for, I will return to the hotel to remain until the hour of 
your sacrifice. Tell mo at once what you want.* 

* 1 wish you to do mo a favor,' said Paulette, ' and I hope you 
will not refuse me.' 

To claim a favor with so much insistance on the morning of the 
day of her marriage, Paulette must have attached a particidar im- 
portance to it. Sir Elias Drack understood that, and ho did not 
hesitate to answer. 

* I am entirely at your orders,' he said, eagerly. * Did you think, 
at the last minute, to have recourse to the little talents 1 have 
spoken of ? ' 

* It is not that,' answered Paulette, with an icy smile. *I do 
not desire the death of anybody. It is simply this : You know that 
my mother will not be present at tho ceremony of the marriage. 
She knows that I want all my courage, and she understands that 
her presetice would provoke in me emotions which would annihilate 
my strength. So it has been decided between my mother and my- 
self that we would not see each other to-day.' 

* Weil, you will allow me to tell you that this combination of 
yoTirs is not very clever. It is heart-rending for your mother, and 
tiireatoning to you. Yes, I say threateningly and i maintain the 
word, I should not wonder if it was a cause of misfortune.' 

* Perhaps so,' said Paulette, with the same enigmatical smile, 
\\hich did not escape the atteJition of her old friend, 'it maybe 
possible that it will be a cause of misfortune, even very soon. But 
it must be so. Well, if I must not see my mother, I should like 
very much that a letter should be handed to her this very day, one 
hour, minute for minute, after the time we have left the mayor's 
office. Here is the letter. Will you be kind enough to deliver it 
under the conditions I have told you ?' 

* Very willingly,' said Mr. Drack, with a good-natured air, ' It 
is understood, I shall do your errand at once, before returning to 
the hotel. I hare all the time necessary. Give it to me.' 

A MAKTYU. 200 

The young yirl wh'» wiw on tho \)n'\ui «»f giving lior lutter to tho 
En(;liHhiiiuii, withdrew liur hand Buddeiily. 

' No, no,' bIio said, quickly. • It in tliin eveiiiiif,', thntuj^lithe day. 
I mean, one hour after my hushaiid and 1 shall have returned. It 
is oidy one hour after that the letter mint he han<lod to my mother. 
Can I dopond on your punctuality /' 

' Perfectly,' retorted the good Mr. DrHck, with tho same aflfec- 
tionate franknesa. ' Yuu know very well that I do only what you 

* You j<ive me your word ? ' 
' 1 give it to you.* 

' You Bwear on your honor aa a gentleman, a\id on your faith as 
a Christian, to liand tliis letter to my mother only one hour after 
the accomplishment of my marriage ; but you swear also not to de- 
liver it later ? * 

' Mtist r swear by Styx V laughinirly asked tho consul. 

' Do not laugh,' said Paulette, with gravity. 'Otherwise, seeing 
that I could not confide in you, I would think of Houjohody else.' 

Sayiiij^ these words, tho noblo child turned towards Maltar, who 
had just entered the room to attend to his duties, and who, taking 
advantfige of tho great freedom he was enjr)ying in exchange for his 
immense devotiop, was listening to their conversation. That one, 
at least, she was sure, would not argue ; he woiild execute her orders 

* No, no,' cried Mr. Drack, with a sober air, ' I am not laughing. 
Don't you see that I am not thinking of laughing. On my faith as 
a Christian, on my honor as a gentleman, I swear that this letter 
shall bo placed in the hands of your mother one hour only after 
your marriage.' 

' Very well, my friend. I thank you, and I have conlidonce in 

The young girl gave her little hand to the Englishman, who 
squeezed it affectionately between his own. 

' Now,' she added, making an effort to smile, ' I am going to sur- 
vey the last preparations of my toilet, because I must be a beatiti- 
ful bride.' 

She did not wait for an answer, because she was afraid to yield 
to her sorrow in the presence of the only two friends she had. The 
poor child was hardly out of the room when Sir Elias Drack turned 
towards the Indian : 

* Maltar,' he said, * do not lose a minute ! Take this letter to 
Paulette's mother at once, this very ruomeiit ! ' 

' But you have promised the young mistress to remit it only one 
hour after the ceremo ' 

' Why don't you start ! ' retorted Mr. Drack, with anger, not 
allowing him to end the word. * Go, as I would go myself if 1 wj« 

210 A MARTYR. 

not obliged to ruturii to tho hotel for thusu c«>nfoun(led denpatuhcH, 
which may iirrivo ut uiiy iniiiut«>. Don't yo\i uiulerHtaiul that it 
would hti tho faruwtdl of a uorpsu I would tako to Mine. Laura if 1 
waited until the uiiddlu of the day to Beiul this nu^ssngt'. You don't 
winh then that Mnio. Laura Hhould bo warned in tiniu to prevent 
her duuuhtor killing; herself?' 

In Bjito of his violent words, Maltnr was not <|uito i^'cided. 

' Sir,' hu Hnid, hoBitatiuK, 'you have taken an oath, a solemn 
oath. Can one break an oath i ' 

• Certainly not ! ' cried Mr. Drack, with coniical energy. ' But 
all oaths are e(|ually nacred ; and l*>u^' before I took this one for 
the poor young girl, there was one I solemnly made to myself : I 
have sworn always to act according' to my conHcience. And my 
conscience tells nu) that tudther my conscience nor my faith will be 
compromised becauHe I will have saved this dear child who wants 
to kill herHelf. Moreover, this is an affair between heaven and my- 
self, and it does n(»t concern you, you wretched idolator !' 

Maltar did not insist any more, but ho revenged iiimoelf in his 
own way for this outrage to his faith. 

* Very well,' ho said, ' I tly to Mme. Laura's, and I will tell her : 
Madanj, this is sent by the English gentleman who never bothers 
about anything that does not concern him, who hates emotion, and 
who thinks only of himself.' 

'Yes,' grumbled Sir Klias Drack, ' lauyh at me, old buffer, 
that's your right. Uidy hurry up, because the minutes are counted, 
do you see. And if you should arrive too late on account of your 
confounded prattle, I think I should strangle you with thcao 

' And the niaster would be right,' hund)ly said the Indian, leaning 
towards the threatening hand of Mr. Drack to kiss it. ' Tho master 
loves Mme. Laura and Mile. Pauletto almost as much as I lt)ve 
them myself, and I would die for him, at once, if he desired it.' 

On these worda they separated. 

We will let them pursue their work of devotion, and we will re- 
main in the mansion, whore the preparations for tho ceremony are 
being actively pushed. Tho servants have put on their most gor<.'e- 
ous livery. In tho yard the coachmen throw a last look at tho 
carriages ; in the kitchtn the cooks are already preparing the ban- 
quet to which will be invited only the moat intimate friendd of tho 
family. There is only one poor wretch in this magnificent mansion : 
the one to whom it belongs, whoso name it bears, tho one who 
seems to command as master, the Count do Moray. He must be 
very poor, indeed ! this one, most horribly ruined, not to be able, 
by sacrificing all ho possesses to redeem the life of his daughter ! On 
this eventful morning this thought preyed on his mind still more 
than usual. At the moment the sacrifice was to be consummated 

A MAUTYIi. 211 

without hopes of over turiiitig hack, ho wan porcoiviiiK with ^reuttir 
lucidity than oii thu pruvious ilays tho iiuuiensu roRpoiisibility hu 
wafl iticnrritiK for the wlioh) future. NuverthuleBs, worldly honor 
obliged him to let these things bu done. If ho were to die, if Pau- 
lotto herself wero to bo condemned to inconsolable sorrow, the mar- 
riage must take place, since there was no means to avoid criminal 
proceedings but to take refuge in suicide, or to accent salvation at 
the sacritice of his daughter. It was eleven o'cloclc when M. do 
Moray was thinking thus. At tho same time, with a brazen (>trr«)nt- 
nry, the new Countess do Moray, accompanied by her brother, sent 
a servant to Paulette to ask her if she would receive them. Sho 
wanted to be the first to kiss tho dear child on the day of her mar- 
riage ! Paulette, the courageous girl, had made answer that she 
would rejoin the countess in the drawing-room as soon as she was 
ready. Annibal and his sittter, full of joy at their triumph, had 
been waiting for a few minutes, when tho door was opened with a 

' I will enter ! I tell you ! I will enter ! ' cried an an^ry voice. 

The Italian turned around suddenly, and recognized Laura. The 
two Countesses do Moray were facinj^ ea<;h other. It was a iatal 
law which made these two women meet, so that one would crush 
tho other. All that remains to bo known are the conditions and 
the issue of tiiia duel in which is resumed all the morality of this 
story ; all that remains to be known is, who will be definitely and 
logically winner, either yirtue disarmed or vice defended and pro- 
tected by all tho seductions of beauty, youth, and fortune. 

On seeing the tirst wife of hor husband, the second Mme. do 
Moray had the presentiment that something definite would bo done. 
She accordingly accepted the battle without hesitation, like a vali- 
ant wrestler. But this time, as the reader will see, she had to c(m- 
tend against a powerful enemy. Her adversary was not, as a few 
numths before, a daughter who sacrificed herself for the honor of 
her mother, a wife who resigned herself to the abandonment of her 
husband. It was a mother who wanted to save the life of her child , 
and who would fight with tooth and nail, until sho would be out of 
the hands of her executioners. 

' I will enter ! ' had cried Laura, dashing by sheer strength into 
the drawing-room. 

' You ! you in my house ! ' answered another shriek, uttered by 
the Italian. 

' I do not know where I am or in whose house I am ! ' said Laura, 
with force. * I know only one thing ! it is that my daughter is 
going to die, and I have come to prevent her killing herself.' 

' Die ! ' repeated Palmeri and his sister, with the same accent. 

* Yes, die ! rather than be tho wife of the one she had accepted.* 

212 A MARTYR. 

* Ynxi are mad ! ' retorted the beautiful Claudia, with disdain. 
* So, your insults do not reach us. Only is it not customary to 
keep mad people in a house, you will go out, do you hear ! ' 

' I will not go out ! at least not without seeing my daughter and 
taking her away with me. Come ! make room ! madam ! I must 
see my daughter ' ' 

The adventuress had placed herself near the door of Paulette's 
room, and to get to that door, Laura made a gesture to push her 
aside. Annibal rushed to the help of his sister, and placed himself 
by her side. But Claudia refused his aid. 

'There is only one person,' she said proudly, * whose help I am 
willing to accept against this woman ; and that is my husband. Call 
M. de Moray, Annibal. He will judge between us.' 

Palmeri hesitated before he obeyed, not knowing what would hap- 
pen during the few minutes he would be away. But Laura re- 
assured him. 

' Yes,' she said, ' your sister is right, sir. Call M. de Moray. Go 
without fear. I will await his decision.' 

Annibal bowed and went away. During the few minutes they 
remained alone, the two rivals were silent. 

At last the count, sent by Palmeri, entered the room. 

' Come, come quickly, sir,' said the Italian, again becoming in- 
Bolent, with the certainty of victory bnnight by the arrival of her 
husband. * Put a stop, I pray, to the insults and threats of 
Madam ! ' 

On hearing from Annibal of the unexpected presence of Laura in 
his daughter's apartment, M. de Moray felt troubled to the bottom 
of his soul. But the legal exigencies of the situation imposed upon 
him the duty of taking the part of her who had become his wife 
against her who had been repudiated. Firmly resolved to fulfil 
this duty, he approached Laura and said coolly : 

' Have you calculated, Madam, before crossing the threshold of 
this house, the consequences of such a proceeding ] ' 

Laura answered as coolly. 

* 1 have not come,' she said, * to engage in a discussion with you. 
I only wished to see my daughter. Your appearance gives mo the 
occasion to say some things I did not intend to say. I shall do and 
say what I know is my diity, which is a sacred one. It is placed 
higher than all your social conventions, higher than all your laws. 
For a mother the care of the life of her child is the first of 

* The life of Paulette ? ' asked M. de Moray with anxiety. 

' This marriage, if it is acconiplished, is the death warrant of 
your child.' 

' What do you say ? ' 

' 1 say that Paulette will kill herself if you persist in imposing 
this marriage upon her. ' 

A MAKTYK. 213 

* You are strangely mistaken,' naid the count. * Remember that 
Paillette herself has accepted the husband I destined for her, but 
which I would not have imposed, neither this one nor any other. If 
what you aftirm is true, she would not have accepted this union, or 
having accepted it presuming too much on her strength, she would 
have renounced it since.' 

' I have said,' attirmed Laura in despair, * that this marriage will 
kill Paulette. Here is the proof. You see this letter ? It is her 
eternal farewell which she has sent me. It was to be given to me 
only at the very moineiit she was to strike the fatal blow, one hour 
after her marriage. Happily, the friend to whom she had entrusted 
it guessed her project, and betrayed her confidence. If 1 had re- 
ceived it only at the hour appointed, this night your daughter 
would bo no more. My mother and I have read it. It is wet with 
our tears yet. But read it, sir, read it in your turn, and you will 
not doubt, after, that this marriage was going to kill your daugh- 

M. de Moray took the pages which Laura was handing him, and 
read them rapidly. In an instant he learned the love of Paulette 
for Gaston de Vallieres and her invincible hatred for the man 
whose sister had been the cause of her mother's unhappiness. 
Henceforth his mind was made up, 

' Be reassured, Madam,' he said with great emotion. ' Paulette 
shall live. This marriage will not take place, since, thank God, it 
is time yet.' 

A cry of joy escaped frojn the lips of Laura. In truth, God owed 
her this moment of happiness. But the Italian claimed the rights 
of Annibal Palmeri. 

'Ah!' she said with sovereign contempt, 'my brother and I 
should have expected this. The nobleman 1 have married thinks 
very little of his honor! ' 

' You are mistaken. Madam,' said M. de Moray. ' I forget noth- 
ing of what I owe either to you or M. I'almeri. Only, instead of 
sacrificing my daughter to pay my debt, I willacfjuitit myself before 
this evening ; depend upon it, the honor of the gentleman will soon 
be redeemed.' 

' You want to die ! you ! ' cried Laura, stupefied. * Why ] * 

' Did not you hear ? ' asked Roger with a painful smile. * The 
honor of a nobleman is engaged. I must, within twenty-four hours, 
pay a considerable sum of money. This money, which I have not, 
the marriage of Paulette with M Palmeri put at my disposal. But 
since this marriage will not take place, I will have to pay with my 
blood what I cannot pay with my money. ' 

Laura stopped him with a shriek. 

' So,' she said, ' you were going to sacrifice your daughter for the 
sake of money, and it is for the sake of money that you want to 

214 A MARTYR. 

kill yunrself. In that case it will soon be settled. I will save both 
of you ! ' 

' You? * cried the Italian. 

' Save us ? and how can you do it ? ' asked the count. 

* When the tribunal pronounced our divorce,' answered Laura 
with animation, ' you remitted to my notary j^bout eight hundred 
tbouaand francs, which formed my dowry ; take that money, Roger, 
it is yours ! ' 

* if that is the only means you have to offer,' said M. de Moray, 
* I cannot accept it ! ' 

* But why ? why ? ' cried Laura stupefied. 

'Certainly,' ironically said Claudia, 'who can prevent you re- 
deeming your honor with the money of the woman who has di.v 
honored you ? ' 

' Yes, the world would pronounce the same judgment as my con- 
science. Once more I repeat : I do not accept ! ' 

* But it is impossible,' cried Laura, ' I cannot be placed between 
those two torments : Either to see my daughter die, or to see my 
husband die ! ' 

* Your husband ! ' protested Claudia with a threatening laugh, 

' No ! /ours ! ' answered Laura, distracted. * Yours ! But let 
him live, and live without condemning his child. Roger, in the 
name of the past ! in the name of our daughter ! do not repulse the 
ofier I make, and which you would accept from anybody else ! ' 

The count was strangely moved by this generous struggle for his 

* Alaa ! ' he repeated, ' don't you understand that you are exactly 
the only person in the world from whom I cannot accept any help ? ' 

'But this money is not even mine ; just think ! It is the result 
of the long services and privations of my father. And since I am 
an unworthy woman, a guilty woman, a dishonored woman, it is 
only just that this fortune hcmorably gained should pass from the 
glorious hands of the grand-father to the pure and innocent hands 
of his grand-daughter. It is not I, Roger, it is she ! It is your 
daughter who offers you her ransom and yours ! and since it is so, 
you will accept this money, Roger ; you catmot refuse it ! ' 

' It is your dowry ! I will not accept it ! ' 

* So the child, or the husband will be sacrificed, because the 
mother ' 

' Because the mother has been guilty ! Yes,' cried M. de Moray 
with force ; ' it is the chastisement inflicted on the guilty wife ! ' 

This was too much. Laura rebelled at last. 

' Well, no ! ' she cried ; ' it will not be ! I have suff'ered every 
shame, every evil, every despair ! But before this one my heart 
rebels ! I will not, and I raise my head ! ' 

' What do you mean 1 ' cried the count. 

A MAIlTVll. 215 

At this moment Mine, do la Marchu entered the room. The 
reader will remember what Laura had said : I'aidette'a letter, sent 
by Mr. Urack, had been read by her mother and by herself at the 
same time. Laura had fled without losing a minute, and now the 
arrival of Mme. de la Marche brought a powerful auxiliary to her 

' Come, mother ! ' said Laura, ' Come ! ' 

' Well i ' asked Mme. de la Marche, ' our poor Paulette ? ' 

* They deny me the right to save her ! ' cried Laura with distrac- 

' What do you say ? ' 

* 1 say that pride leads M. de Moray either to a criminal suicide 
or to the murder of his child ! ' 

' Is that true / ' asked Mme. de la Marche, turnin;^ towards the 

'Since your daughter appeals to you, madam,' answered M. de 
Moray, ' you whimi I respect and deeply honor. 1 will also accept 
you as judge in this (juestion of honor and dignity ! ' 

' I ? ' she answered, hesitating. 

' You will decide between us,' repeated the count. 

' And you will accept her deci-iion / ' asked Laura. 

' I will accept it. ' 

' And you swear to submit to it ? ' 

' I swear. ' 

* Very well ! please let me alone with my mother. ' 

* Madam,' said the count to Mme. de la Marche, ' it is more than 
my life I entrust you with, it is my honor.' 

* It is in good hands, Roger ! ' she answered. ' Go without fear. 
Leave us ! ' 

The count bowed and left the room, taking his wife with him. 
The mother and daughter were alone. 

' Speak, now ! ' said Mme. de la Marche. 

' Mother, you know that it is to redeem his honor that M. de 
Moray wisliea to marry Paulette to this Palmeri ? ' 

' I know that : Go on.' 

* You know that this marriage would cause the death of Paulette. 
Well, to save those who are dearest to me, I offered my dowry to 
M. de Moray.' 

* What did he answer 1 ' 

* He has refused this money ] ' 

* He has d<me well,' said the noble woman. ' Roger cannot accept 
anything from you.' 

' But think of it. It is the condemnation of my daughter which 
you are pronouncing. Paulette will save her father at any price, 
and she will die, since the death of one of the two is necessary to 
redeem his honor ! * 

21 G A MAHTVll. 

* Ah ! it is the merciless justice of heaven ! It strikes the guilty 
mothers even through their children ! ' 

' Then you recognize that if I was not guilty, M. de Moray could 
accept the money which I have otlbred ] Well, know it then. I 
have been unjustly accused, and I have been unjuatly condemned I * 

' What do you say / ' cried Mmo. d(5 la Marche. ' Ah ! 1 under- 
stand,' she added, * the falsehood you would not utter 'so as to 
escape the j^unishment which was threatening you, you would utter 
now to redeem Paulette. Alas ! however pious it may be, it will 
be a useless falsehood ! * 

' But it is not a falsehood ! ' said Laura with force. * I tell you, 
mother, that 1 was not guilty ! ' 

This time, there was in her voice such a ring of truth, that Mme. 
de la Marche was astonished. 

' You were not guilty ? ' she ri'peated, her eyes full of anxiety. 

* No, mother ! no ; I was not guilty ! And without asking any 
other proof, you must affirm to Roger that ho can accept without 
shame the numey belonging to me.* 

' I will not say that ! ' said Muie. do la Marche, with discourage- 

' Mother '. ' 

* I will not say that ! For if I do not obtain from you the proof 
of this innocence which you refuse to give even to me, your mother, 
the trouble of my look, ^hb hesitatioii of my lips, the blush on my 
forehead will contradict my words ! ' 

* And still you have the right to swear for me ; for, before God, 
and on the salvation of my soul, I swear, mother, that I was 
innocent ! ' 

Laura had risen and had pr(jnouuced tlii;} ])rotestatiou in a sort 
of mystic ecstasy, as if she had been at the foot of the altar. 

' So,' asked Mme. de la Marche, more and more divided between 
doubt and faith, ' you swear that ytju have not betrayed your duty 
as a wife ? ' 

' I swear it ! ' 

' That you have not dishonored the name of your husband ? ' 

' I swear it ! 1 swear that [ have never loved but Roger, and that 
1 never belonged to anybody else ! I swear it ! 

' But you must not only swear, you must also give proofs ! ' 

* Proofs ! oh ! no ! no ! Do not ask that, mother ! ' 

' You must, Laura ! For the sake of 'your daughter ! you must ! ' 

' Well ! Since you order me to ! ' 

' Yes, I order you to ! speak ! speak, then ! unhappy child ! ' 

' Then, I shall tell you all ! But, alas ! I am trembling more at 
the moment 1 am justifying myself than 1 was on the day I bowed 
my head under undeserved shame ! ' 

' Undeserved shame ! ' said Muie. do la Maicbe, still doubting. 
' Did 1 not see your accomplice expiiing under my eyes ? ' 

A MARTYR. 217 

* My accomplice ! he ! ho I ' muttered Laura, iuvoking heaven as 

* Did 1 not hear his avowal, which was in accordance with yours / 
Did I nr»t see the unhappy man die rather than give up those 
letters, proof of your crime ( ' 

' Those letters ! ' cried the j^enorous woman painfully, vaiKjuished 
at last in her last struijgles, ' those letters contained only the cruol 
secret of his birth. They truly belonged to him whom you call my 
accomplice, but it was his mother, not I, who would have been lost 
if ho had consented to have them read ! 

' His mother ! ' cried Mme. do la Marche, not yetundorstandint,', 
but instinctively pained, however. 

Laura was silent as if unable to continue. 

* Go on ! ' cried Mme. de la Marche. * Those letters would have 
ruined his mother, you say i ' 

'Yes his mother ! A saintly and noble woman ! A belovea 
angel, guilty only of a moment of weakness, or perhaps the victim 
of an odious plot ! ' 

' A moment of weakness ! A plot ! ' 

' It must have been so,' cried Laura, wringing her hands, * if this 
one has succumbed ! 

' But what did this victim and this plot matter to you ? ' ask Mme. 
de la Marche, panting. ' Why did you hide the secret of this man. 
even at the cost of your honor ? ' 

' He was hiding it, even at the cost of his life.' 

* But he ! ' cried Mme. de la Marche, with vii 'ence, ' he was pro- 
tecting his mother ! ' 

* Alas ! I was also protecting mine, ! ' muttered Laura, hiding her 
face in her hands. 

Mme. de la Marche uttered a shriek of despair. She rose and 
walked about the room, striking her heaving breast. 

' For me ! ' muttered at last the noble woman in the midst of 
abundant tears. * You have sacrificed yourself for me ! You have 
suflfered all these shames and all these sorrows for my sake ! ' 

* Oh ! mother ! beloved mother ! ' repeated Laura. 

* And he — he was my son ! But how is it that, when he was dying 
for my sake, my heart did not cry out : It is your child ! ' 

Then the mother wept bitterly over the son lost as aotm as he had 
been born, and whose fate she had never known, and whom she had 
seen only once to lose him in a terrible tragedy, 

* Mother ! ' said the poor Martyr whose courage seemed to be 
broken, now that her long sacrifice had become useless, 'mother ! 
pardon me if I had not the strength of keeping this secret any 
longer. Forgive me your despair and your tears. But I could not 
keep silent any more. Remember ! you have said it yourself. It 
was to save Paulette, and I had not the right to keep silent any 


218 A MARTYR. 

longer. To save yon 1 sacrificod myself without hesitation, as you 
have soon, but t<» bhvo my daughter, I would Hacrifico the world ! ' 

' And you would do your d\ity,' answered Muu'. do la Marche. 
' You would do your duty as 1 am going to do mine.' 

' What do you mean / ' 

Mme. de la Marche walked to the door which opened on the 
boudoir to which M. de Moray and the Italian had retired. She 
invited Koger to come into the drawing-room. Claudia and her 
brother Annibal who had joined her, wanted to come in also, but 
Mme. do la Marche stopped them. 

' No,' she said, ' M. do Moray alone. In a moment 1 shall call 

However anxious Claudia might have been to be present at the 
interview, and whatever right she had to know everything which 
happened in her house, she did not dare to insist. The high dignity 
of character and the age of the admiral's wife commanded her re- 
spect. Then Roger, Laura and her mother were alone. Mme do 
la Marche Aras the tirst to speak. 

' Dear Roger,' she said, ' the one we gave you for a wife, the 
Admiral de la Marche and myself, was the image itself of virtue ; 
she was an angel of God ! ' 

' And 1 have adored her,' loyally answered M. de Moray, ' as we 
adore God in his purest works until that fatal day when ' 

* Until the day when the saint, taking upon herself the fault of 
another, has become a Martyr.' 

* What do you mean ? ' cried Roger. 

' Mother ! ' interupted the imploring voice of Laura. 
Mme de la IMarche turned to her daughter. 

* To save your child, you have said, you would sacrifice the world. 
I only sacrifice a culprit. Let me speak.' 

' No, no, not another word ! ' implored Laura, with clasped 

Mme. de la IMarche did not even answer. 

' Roger,' she said, ' it is through a sublime devotion that the one 
who was your wife has borne the consecjuences of an unjust sus- 
picion, of an infamous accusation. The man you found with her 
was not her lover.' 

* What do you mean ? ' 

* The letters this man threw in the fire were not hers. 

* But then whose were they ? ' 
' They were mine ! ' 

' Yours ! ' said Roger, not understanding the extent of the reve- 
lation. 'What means ' 

' Be ;iilent, mother ! ' cried Laura, * For God's sake, be silent.' 
' The man you killed,' .continued the noble woman, humiliating 
the honor of her old age, * that man was not her lover ! He was my 

A MAUTYll. 21!) 

' Your soil ! ' cried M. de Moray, Btupolied. 

' Do not listen to hor, Roger,' cried Laura, distracted. ' Do not 
believe her ! ' 

'On the life of Laura,' answered Mme. do laMarche, inxpassible, 
' 1 swear that what I have just said is the truth. Dare you, then, 
Laura, take on the life of I'aulette, to give nie the lie, the oath I have 
just taken on your head to accuse myself. Swear ! swear at once ! ' 

Laura did not dare to add perjury to the false avowals she had 
already made. She bent her head and remained silent. M. do 
Moray awoke at last from the torpor into which his mind had fallen 
for the last few minutes. 

* Ah ! all that is true ! ' he cried with force, ' all that is very 
true ! I believe it ! I feel it ! I swear it in my turn. And I, wretch- 
ed insensate that I was, I saw nothing, guessed nothing, atul in my 
blind anger, in my criminal jealousy, 1 forgot everything.' 

He was walking about the room as if mad, and in a rage a'^'ainst 
himself. However, a flash of reason crossed this violent storm, 

* Happily,' he cried, ' it is time yet, and I can repair at loast a 
part of the evil I was the cause of. ' 

He rushed to the door of his daughter's room. 

* Paulette ! ' he cried, ' Paulette ! Come ! come quickly to kiss 
your mother.' 

Paulette entered the room, already dressed and ready for the 

' My mother ! ' cried the child, who, drowned in her own sorrow, 
had heard nothing of the solemn interview which had just taken 
place in the drawing-room. * My mother ! you hero! what has 
happened that I should see you once more 1 ' 

' Yes,' said M. de Moray, panting. ' Your mother ! that is to say, 
honor, modesty, and virtue itself ! Throw yourself at her feet and 
ask her to forgive me. I dare not do it myself. I cannot implore 
for pardon because I have been too cruelly unjust towards her.' 

And in saying these words the unhappy man hid his face in his 
hands and wept bitterly. If he doubted that the woman he had so 
mercilessly tortured would forgive him, it was because M, do INIoray 
did not yet know her well. 

* Roger ! ' cried Laura, opening her arms to him, ' forget every- 
thing. I remember only your love of old, and as of old, also, I 
love you, ' 

M, de Moray held her to his heart for a long time, supporting 
her with one arm, whilst with the other he drew Paulette to him, 
and she shared his kisses with her mother. 

At this moment the door of the boudoir was opened, and Annibal 
and Claudia entered. The Italian had not heard anything of what 
had been said in the drawing-room. The thick hangings used as 
door curtains had deadened the noise of the voices, and only vague 

220 A. MARTYR. 

BoundH had roaolied hor oarH. Exasporated bocause alio could not 
hear what was Haid so near her, and strong besides in her rights us 
niistress of the house, she ha<l not had the patience to wait until 
Mnie. de hi Marche should call her in, as she had promised ; she 
luid suddenly rushed, as we have seen, into the room she was ban- 
ished from. 

* Ah ! ' she cried, with rage, addressing Laura, * you were telling 
the truth, madam. One word has been sufHcient to bring back to 
your feet the noble and loyal C»mnt de Moray.' 

Palmeri thought it was his duty to come to the help of his sister. 

' What has happened, M. de Moray,' ho asked, ' that such an 
outrage slionld he inllicted on my sister / And how is it that this 
woman ' 

'This woman,' cried Roger, fiercely, pressing Laura to his heart, 
' tluH woman has a riyht to all your admiration and your respect. 
To yours, sir ; to yoiirs, also, madam, as well ns to mine.' 

' She may go somewhere else to receive the homage she deserves,' 
answered Claudia, brutally. * But she will go out of here ! This 
house is mine, and I will have her thrown out of it.' 

And the Italian went towards the chimney. She was going to 
ring for the servants when she found herself face to face with a 
personage who stopped her, by placing himself before her and 
making a bow so very profound that it exceeded the boinids of po- 
liteness and reached those of irony. It was Sir Elias Drack. 

' Madam,' said the Englishman, with the greatest civility, * if I 
lieard aright, you have just said that you would have the motluT 
of Miss Paulette put out by the servants. I shall be very grateful 
if you will tell me by what right and under what title you act so 
rudely towards such an honorable person ? ' 

' By what right and under what title I want to be the mistress of 
my house and keep my husband 1 ' 

' Your husband / I beg your pardon. Whom do you speak of / ' 

* Whom do I speak of ? but of the Count de Moray, here ! ' 

* Let us agree, beautiful lady ! M. de Moray can only be the hus- 
band of a living person, I suppose, and if you have forgotten it, I 
have the regret to remind you that you are dead ! ' 

At this word they all looked at him. Was Sir Elias Drack be- 
coming insane? However, Annibal had started; he had drawn 
little by little nearer the door, and was trying to slip off without 
making any noise. Sir Elias Drack stopped him with a word. 

' I beg your pardon, dear M. Palmeri, do not run so quickly. He 
who has two feet in his grave needs to walk very carefully.' 

* Two feet in his grave !' mechanically repeated Annibal, stupe- 
fied and mad with fright. 

* Undoubtedly ! Born on the 9th June, 1861, you fell sick on 
the 22nd July, 1856. The next day, 23rd, your life was despaired 

A MAUTYU. 2*2 1 

of. On the inoriiiiig of tho 24th yon died in tlie tiower of your 
age, and a few hours after you were buried without further delay, 
for fear of epidemic infection. Your unfortunate siater, madam 
here present, attacked by the same disease, shared, ahis ! your de- 
mise and your funeral ! ' 

* You are mad, sir ! ' cried Annibal, who was livid. 

' 'i he proof of what you advance I Give us the proof ! ' said 
Claudia, with etlrontery. 

• The proof ! here it is I ' 

The Englishman then pulled out of his pocket a bundle of those 
yellow sheets used for telegraphic despatches. 

' We have here,' he said, * an otlicialcopy, giving word for word, 
the deeds of the civil status of M. Annibal and Claudia 
Palmeri. A complete copy which proves, my dear mad.iuj, that 
you are neither Countess de Moray, nor Duchess de San Lucca, nor 
Claiidia Palmeri, and that your two marriages, contracted under a 
false name, are null and void.' 

' Who am I, then / * asked the young woman, with the arrogance 
of despair. 

Sir Elias Drack, more and more gentlemanly, answered with ex- 
rjuisite grace : 

' You are, pretty one, a splendid girl, the glory of tho suburbrt of 
Naples, called by her right name Gorgon ! You are both sur- 
prised, undoubtedly, to hnd me so well informed. It is quite 
natural, however. When I heard this name of Palmeri, I remem- 
bered that I had something to do with people of that nan>e, and 
that I had to legalise, in my <iuality of Italian consul at Calcutta, 
certain deeds concerning them. To make sure of it, I telegraphed 
to my successor in India, 1 telrgraphed to the authorities at Naples, 
and I have gathered all the information I have just had the honor 
to acquaint you with.' 

' So wo have been the victims of low intriguers ! ' said M. do 

' The law will punish them,' answered Elias Drack, ' and I am 
going ' 

' Koger,' said Laura, softly, * this woman has been called the 
Countess de Moray. Let that name, although unduly borne, be 
the safeguard of the one it was entrusted to.' 

' What ! you wish it ! But think it was she who made me doubt 

' If I meddled with other people's business, which I have never 
done and never will do,' said Mr. Drack, with modesty, ' I would 
take the liberty to urge you, my dear count, to follow the advice 
of the countess. It being well understood,' he continued, passing 
his arm through that of the Neapolitan, in order to prevent all de- 
sire of flight, if by chance he had any, ' it being well understood 

222 A MAUTYIt. 

that before their dopartiire those two uioo young puoplo will Hottlu 
certain littlu accounts with me. ' 

' Certain accounts I ' asked Annibal and Claudia toj^ether. 

* A mere nothing,' said the consul. ' A simple formality. M. 
Annibal will ^ive up the millions of M. I'almeri.' 

' The millions ! I ! never ! '. 

' Unless ho prefers goinj,' to gaol,' continued Sir Elias Drack, with 
his usual calmiioss. 'These millions belong t<> the ntate, and they 
will return to it. As to this interesting girl, she will reco;4ni/,e by 
a deed already prepared to that eflfect, and which I have hero, the 
false quality she has used to sign her two deeds of marriage, 
and thanks to her avowal, the two marriages will bo made void 
without scandal. Cumo, sign and bo quick ! ' insisted for the last 
time the mischievous old man, handing to Gorgon a pen which was 
on the table. 

The Italian took the pen ; but before signing her own condemna- 
tion, she looked at M. do Moray. At this moment Roger was hold- 
ing Laura's hands, and did not seem to remember that another 
woman had ever crossed his life. Gorgon did not hesitate any 

* And if I sign this,' she asked of Sir Elias Drack, * will you let 
me go ? ' 

* With ten thousand francs to pay your expenses,' answered the 
old consul graciously. 

She leaned on the table and wrote a single word at the bottom of 
the paper : Gorgon, simply. Then, without adding a word she 
went out of the house, and on that evening she left for Italy with 
Annibal, hardly wealthier than on the day they had come. But 
they were free, and very happy to be so. 

The false Annibal and the false Claudia had hardly left the man- 
sion, in company with Sir Elias Drack, to settle the famous little 
accounts, when M. de Moray went towards the room where a few 
friends liad gathered. They were to be the witnesses of the marriage 
of poor Paulette with the Italian. 

* Come, gentlemen, come all ! ' cried Roger, * I have solemn and 
happy things to tell you.' 

Ten or twelve persons answered his appeal. At the same moment 
appeared also the admiral, who, having learnt of the presence of his 
wife and daughter at the mansion, had hurried thither. The reader 
can judge of the astonishment produced by the sight of Laura, her 
face radiant, leaning on the arm of M. de Moray. 

* What does this mean ? ' asked the old sailor, stupefied. 
Roger answered gravely, and deeply moved. 

' M. de la Marche, and you, gentlemen,' ho said, * I am glad of 
your presence, which allows me to publicly make a great act of 

A MARTYR. 223 

roparatioii. Sho who is by my Rule, Hiid whom I ropudiatod un- 
justly, han uoviir uuasod to be a model of honor and virtue. 1 ren- 
der this homage to her before you all, and I aocuae mynulf before 
her and before you of the itijurious auspiciona of which I have been 
guilty. I had been led to anapicit;]), even to murder, by wretched 
adventurers. I wont so far as to give to an unworthy woman the 
name and place of her who desorvea my veneration and youra. 
Happily, the luarriago 1 have contracted with the intriguer is null 
ana void. A judgment will declare it so in a few days. So I will 
regain my freedom again. Thanks to the now law, divorced couples 
are allowed to contract between thomaolvoa a now marriage. Gen- 
tlemen, be all witnesses of the repentance I feel for tho evil I have 
catised ; be witnoHsos to my sorrow and remorse ! ' 

Then turning to Laura, who was listening to his words, her eyes 
full of tears, he bended the knee. 

' Laura,' he asked, * will you allow me to redeem, by a whole life 
of devotion and lovo, tho tortures I have inflcted on you 1 ' 

For an answer the generous woman opened her arms. 

' But to rehabilitate my daughter thus,' said in a low voice tho 
old admiral to M. do Moray, * what proof have you of her inno- 
cence i ' 

At these words, Laura, trembling with fright, looked at her 
mother. Mme. do la Marcho was livid. Tho noble Martyr devoted 
herself once more. 

* Father,' she murmured, ' what proof could I give, alas ! The 
generous compassion of my husband rehabilitates me in the eyes of 
the world ; but in reality he does not justify me ; ho forgives me ! * 

Once more she had saved her mother and the old admiral. 

Some time after, M. de Moray, invested anew with tho high sit- 
uation he used to occupy, and accompanied by all his family, was 
returning to India, where M. Gaston de Vallioros married Paulotte. 
On the very morning of tho celebration of the marriage, a man re- 
cently disembarked appeared in tho uniform of a consul before Pau- 

' Sir Elias Drack ! ' sho cried, filled with joy and surprise. 

* Myself,' he answered. 

* But how does it come ? ' 

* Had not I promised I would be one of the witnesses of your mar- 
riage, Miss Paulotte ? ' 

*■ That's true. But then you will stay here some time, with us ? ' 
' Some time, no, miss, no.' 

* How V 

* T have had the ai?poJii*i\ivnt .of Eubidh, Consul ;at; Tondich^ry, 
and I will remain hoite^-Hhfrttis.*: '<■ I ;; :'l\' ' ,» i t y 

224 A MARTYR. 

At tho cathudral whoro wm celohratod, a fuw ininuteii after, the 
niarriat^e nf I'aiilotto, a woiuan was praying by her sido, hur soul 
intoxicated with hanpiiioss. It was L-iiira. Even while living; she 
had received the palms of Martyrdom, and (io<l permitted her to 
know on this earth, luttween tho mother, tho husband, and the 
daughter she adored, the secret of celestial joys. 

Tub End. 


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