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Full text of "My brother's wife : a life-history"

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MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Ctfe-jjistorg. 



AMELIA B. EDWARDS, 

AUTHOR OF 

"BARBARA'S HISTORY," "THE LADDER OF LIFE," "HAND AND GLOVE," &c. 



NEW YORK: 
HARPER & BROTHERS, PUBLISHERS, 

FRANKLIN SQUARE. 
1865. 



ALUMNUS 



NOVELS BY AMELIA B. EDWARDS. 



BARBARA'S HISTORY. 8vo, Paper, 75 cents. 

THE LADDER OF LIFE. A Hear.t-Hiftory. 8vo, Paper, 50 cents. 

MY BROTHER'S WIFE. A Life-Hiftory. 8vo, Paper, 50 cents. 



From the New York Evening Post. 

At this day, when so many indifferent namby-pamby novels are thrust upon the public 
novels which it is a wearisome waste of time to read we are quite sure that it is a kindly 
act to direct our readers' attention to such beautifully-written, and in many cases superior, 
works of fiction as are these by Miss Edwards. 

From the London Times. 

"Barbara's History" is a very graceful and charming book, with a well-managed story, 
clearly-cut characters, and sentiments expressed with an exquisite elocution. The dialogues 
especially sparkle with repartee. It is a book which the world will like, and which those 
who commence it will care to finish. This is high praise of a work of art, and so we intend it. 



Sent by Mail, poflage free, on receipt of the price. 



PUBLISHED BY HARPER & BROTHERS, FRANKLIN SQUARE, NEW YORK. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



CHAPTER I. 

HOME CHRONICLES. 

I CAN scarcely believe that my task, is real 
that I am now guiding my pen along the first 
few sentences of my Life-History. It seems so 
strange a thing that any man (and myself above 
all men) should deliberately receive the whole 
world into his confidence should take his own 
heart to pieces, as one might a passion-flower, 
and pluck it leaf from leaf, petal from petal, for 
every eye to gaze upon at will ! 

Stranger still is it that I should indite these 
pages in a foreign tongue that I should, in the 
first instance, address myself to foreign readers. 
Yet not so strange, perhaps, when I reflect upon 
all the long past, and when I remember how 
dear and familiar is the English language to 
my lips and to my ears. It is the native tongue 
of many whom I have best loved in life. From 
my earliest childhood I have studied and spo- 
ken it. I could not write this book with satis- 
faction to myself in any other ; and, be it well or 
ill done, it must go thus before all who read it. 

My name is Paul Latour. I was born upon 
our estate in Burgundy, about two years after 
my father's marriage, and three years before the 
birth of my brother Theophile. I do not re- 
member my father very distinctly, excepting as 
I saw him lying in his coffin, very pale and still, 
when they carried me to his chamber, that I 
might kiss him for the last time. His cheek 
was cold and sunken ; he did not raise those 
heavy eyelids to gazQ fondly upon me as was 
his wont ; and I recollect that I sobbed bitterly 
without knowing why, unless it were in childish 
sympathy with the distress around me. Some 
other memories, vague and transient enough, 
seem now and then to flit before me memories 
of a cordial voice and of a lofty brow yet, 
when I strive to realize them, they fade away, 
and leave me doubting whether they be recol- 
lections or fragments of old dreams. 

My mother was beautiful nay, is still beau- 
tiful, though somewhat faded by the passage of 
events and years. According to my earliest 
impressions, she was tall, fair, and stately as a 
queen ; and, when she spoke, the low tones of 
her voice were grave and sweet, like the ca- 
dence of our chapel bells down in the valley. 
I will not say that my mother's disposition was 
unloving ; but it was cold cold toward her hus- 
band, toward her servants, toward me. The 
touch of her white slender fingers was ever 



brief and unwilling; the expression of her large, 
calm blue eyes was serious, but frosty ; her kiss- 
es, for me at least, were careless and infrequent. 
Theophile was ever her favorite child. She 
treated us in all respects precisely alike ; she 
never accorded him any indulgence in which I 
was not an equal sharer ; and yet I saw it, knew 
it, felt it from the first. That she thought her 
preference unjust, that she even resisted it to 
the utmost, I am fully certain ; for I saw that 
also. I saw the effort as plainly as I saw the 
affection, and I wept away many an hour of the 
night-time thinking of it. No one ever knew 
how passionately I then loved my mother how 
breathlessly I used to listen to her gentle speak- 
ing how reverently and admiringly I used to 
look up to her beautiful, proud mouth, and to 
the rich folds of her golden hair ! It was an 
idolatry the idolatry which children often feel, 
and for which we are so little disposed to give 
them credit. 

I once dreamt that I was with my mother in 
the library, and that she took me by the hand, 
and, looking into my face, said, "Paul, you are 
not my child." And I remember now, as if it 
were yesterday, how I woke up sobbing, and 
crept out of my little bed in the bright moon- 
light, and stole along the corridor ; and how I 
crouched down at her chamber-door, listening 
to her breathing, and there dropped asleep. 
This it was which gave me the reputation of be- 
ing a somnambulist ; for, when they found mo 
in the morning lying there, I would say nothing 
of what brought me. 

I have already stated that Theophile was my 
mother's favorite ; and when I look upward to 
the mirror near which I am now writing, I can 
not help acknowledging that her preference was 
sufficiently natural. My younger brother was 
tall and fair, like herself; noble-looking; full 
of spirit and enterprise ; and as proud as if he 
were heir to all Burgundy. As regarded study, 
he was indolent; yet his abilities were great. 
He learnt rapidly, easily, brilliantly ; and he re- 
lied upon this intellectual facility so much, that 
he frequently left himself more to do than any 
mind could accomplish in the time. The con- 
sequence was, that his knowledge was often su- 
perficial, and, still oftener, forgotten as soon as 
acquired. Besides this, Theophile met with 
universal indulgence, and from no one more 
than from our two instructors, M. le Cure', and 
Mr. Walsingham, our English tutor. He had 
so many excellent equalities he was so affec- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



tionate so affable. Though spoilt, he was 
light-hearted and enjoying. Though, perhaps, 
a little selfish, he could be profusely generous. 
Every creature on the estate loved him, down 
to the poorest vigneron. Such was his youth, 
and so he grew to manhood willful, careless, in 
love with life, with pleasure, and with himself. 
Before he was twenty, Theophile was weary of 
the country. He was rich, for he would inher- 
it all my mother's fortune, and his yearly allow- 
ance, even then, exceeded my modest rental by 
more than one third. So he left us, and launch- 
ed himself, with all the heedless delight of 
youth, upon the brilliant dissipations of Paris- 
ian life. He had introductions, wealth, talent, 
personal advantages ; and with many less rec- 
ommendations than these one may become a 
wit, a man of fashion, and a beau garfon, amid 
the gay and glittering circles of the best Paris- 
ian society. 

Must I now speak of myself ? Alas ! the 
subject is an ungrateful one ; for I have but lit- 
tle to win the favor of strangers. 

I am decidedly plain. I was plain from my 
childhood. My reflection in yonder mirror is 
that of a pale, dark, melancholy-looking man 
about eight-and-thirty years of age. I am not 
yet so old by more than six years ; but I have 
/ suffered much both in mind and body. My in- 
fancy was sickly, and for many months I under- 
went constant pain from an injury done to my 
hip in falling frohi a cherry-tree, so that my 
countenance learned to wear an expression of 
settled discontent, which subsequent health has 
failed to dispel. I limp slightly when I walk 
so slightly, I have been told, that it has more 
the effect of a peculiarity in my gait than a per- 
ceptible lameness. I am somewhat below the 
middle height; my habits are silent and re- 
served ; I dislike much society ; and I love to 
be alone for some hours in every day. 

I carried this solitary habit almost to a pas- 
sion in our old Burgundian chateau ; and, as 
soon as I attained my majority, I proceeded to 
gratify it, though in a somewhat singular man- 
ner. Ever since I was sixteen years of age, I 
had occupied a wing of the chateau overlooking 
the garden. I can scarcely say that I occupied 
the whole of it, for only the ground floor was 
kept furnished. Here I had the rooms en suite, 
where no one but myself, or my valet, attempt- 
ed to enter. The first of these was my library, 
the second my studio (for at that time I was 
fond of painting), the third my sleeping-room. 
The library I determined to improve, according 
to my own taste ; and when I entered upon my 
twenty-first year, I carried my long-contempla- 
ted projects into effect. 

I caused the windows, which opened upon a 
terrace leading down to the shrubberies, to be 
set in Gothic pointed frames, and fitted with 
stained glass in rich heraldic devices. I had 
the ceiling supported by arches of carved oak, 
like the Gothic ceiling of a church ; and six 
spacious alcoves, sunk in the thick walls, con- 
tained my books. Between each alcove were 



panels carved with fruits, and foliage, and grace- 
ful arabesques, and hung with groups of arms, 
and antique coats of mail. Large crimson dra- 
peries fell in massive folds before the doors ; a 
Turkey carpet of rich deep hues, like the wings 
of the peacock butterfly, covered the centre of 
the floor; several easy-chairs stood here and 
there ; and a table covered with books, writing 
materials, reading desks, and spirit lamps of 
different sizes and constructions, occupied the 
middle of the room. In winter it was warmed 
by hot pipes concealed within the walls ; and 
at night I used to light a silver lamp of grace- 
ful and antique design, which was suspended by 
chains from the middle of the ceiling, and the 
light from which streamed down through a 
globe of amethyst glass as through a painted 
window. But the most striking objects in my 
library were the twelve pillars which supported 
the roof, and which were placed about five feet 
distant from the walls, down each side of the 
apartment. These, during my father's lifetime, 
had consisted of gray marble ; I replaced them 
by twelve colossal statues, carved in oak by 
a Flemish artist, representing the Apostles. 
There was something very stately and solemn 
about these lofty draped figures standing so si- 
lently around, especially by night. And night 
was the time I loved best the time for thought 
the time for study. I delighted in the quaint 
old literature of the Middle Ages ; and it pleased 
me to fancy some analogy between the dark- 
ness of the silent hours before day-dawn, and 
that early period during which poetry and art 
groped onward, side by side, amid the gloom, 
looking with earnestness and hopefulness to the 
far-off rising of the sun. Then it was that I 
would take down the folios of long-forgotten 
writers from the dusty shelves, and read on and 
on during the quiet night, till I seemed to live 
back into those old times of emperors, and 
knights, and poets, who wandered, singing, from 
land to land, and whose very names have now 
almost faded out of the pages of history. 

I made the early Romance languages my 
study ; I gathered together the chivalric poetry 
of the Troubadours and the Trouveres ; I studied 
all the varieties of the Proven9al dialect, in 
French, Italian, and Spanish. The rude love- 
chants of the Emperor Frederick and his chan- 
cellor ; the songs of the Jongleurs and the Ger- 
man Minnesingers ; the old rhymes of King 
Arthur and his knights ; the Romance of the 
Rose ; the Castilian Roman ceros ; the early 
Spanish ballads ; the Ossianic legends ; the an- 
cient chronicles of Froissart and of Stowe ; the 
strange fantastic mysteries and miracle plays 
which preceded the drama throughout Europe ; 
all " Niebelungen Lieds," "Ottfrieds," "Brevi- 
aries of Love," " Cansioneros, " Lives of the 
Saints, " Versos de arte mayor," legends, ser- 
ventes, canzones, or black-letter pamphlets, 
were my recreation and delight. The'ophile's 
tastes were not mine. He scoffed at my worm- 
aten volumes, at my old poetic lore, and at my 
church-like sanctuary. I loved the place dear- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



ly, for all that. It accorded with my taste for 
cathedral architecture, and for all that is som- 
bre, solitary, and impressive. 

Very different was the chamber opening from 
it, which I could enter by withdrawing a cur- 
tain, and which presented all the heterogeneous 
confusion of easels, draperies, lay-figures, casts, 
rusty arms, sketches, antique furniture, and col- 
or-boxes, which may generally be found in the 
atelier of an artist. Here it was my custom to 
spend several hours during each day, excepting 
when I took my sketch-book under my arm, 
and strolled away for all the long summer's 
morning, amid the shady hollows and rocky 
heights which extend for miles around that 
pleasant spot ; or when I wandered, book in 
hand, along the banks of the neighboring river, 
or through the tangled pathways of the dark, 
silent forest. 

At such times as these, looking round from 
some elevated point upon the massy woods ; the 
green valleys; the sunny vineyards, with the 
vignerons singing at their work; the rivulets 
gliding like veins of silver ore along the pasture 
lands, or dashing in foamy cascades from preci- 
pice to precipice ; the scattered villages and 
spires; the quaint slated turrets of our old he- 
reditary chateau glistening in the sun, amid 
their environment of dark chestnut trees and 
stately poplars j the lofty mountains standing 
so solemnly and distantly around at such 
times, I repeat, it surprised me that The'ophile 
could relinquish a scene of such rare beauty, 
and a home so peaceful, for the glaring magnifi- 
cence, the feverish amusements, and the hollow 
society of Paris. 

Oh, the unspeakable beauty of sweet Burgun- 
dy, the vine-garden of France ! Who can con- 
ceive of it without having beheld it ? Who can 
so admire and love it as those who have been 
born in its bosom ? We Burgundian French- 
men cherish our native province as we would a 
beautiful bride, ever fresh, ever smiling, ever 
young ! As the Swiss of his snowy Alps and his 
Alp-roses as the Englishman of his wavy 
corn-fields as the German of his broad feudal 
Rhine-river, so are we glad and proud of our 
mountains and our vine-lands. So do our 
hearts beat, and our eyes kindle, at the name of 
Burgundy ! 

It was my mother's pride and mine to keep up 
all the quaint old customs of our ancestry to 
assemble our tenantry round the yule log, call- 
ed in Burgundy Suche to sing carols of the 
"Little Jesus" to entertain the wandering 
piper to attend the midnight mass, and carry 
the midnight tapers to distribute the sugar- 
plums of Noel among the poor children to pre- 
side at the supper of the Rossignon, and to or- 
der the festivities of the autumnal Vine-feast 
and the May pastimes even as Gui de la Tour 
used in the olden time, when our family stood 
high in power and rank at the court of Bur- 
gundy. 

My younger brother cared nothing for these 
old historical obeservances ; and, save for a few 



days at the commencement of the shooting sea- 
son, he seldom came down to visit us. He had 
accustomed himself now to the excitement of a 
great city ; he found our home dull, and our 
pleasures triste. He was not at any time very 
fond of study; he soon. became tired of sport- 
ing ; and in less than a week he was ready to 
die from ennui. So his visits grew shorter and 
more infrequent, and we seldom saw him more 
than once in every year. 

The last occasion upon which we all met to- 
gether under the roof of our own home was for 
the celebration of his twenty- fifth birthday. 
For this once he had consented to leave Paris, 
although it was in the gay month of May, and 
to give us a week of his society, in honor of this 
quarter of a century of life which he was just 
completing. And he really came. So they 
rang the chapel bells as if for a wedding, and I 
rode out to meet him at the railway station. 
As we returned through the village, Pierre the 
blacksmith was nailing a white flag to the old 
sign-post in front of his door ; and the school- 
children were all shouting at the road-side ; and 
the old women were all peering at us from their 
cottage windows ; and it was quite a triumphal 
entry, considering the limited resources of La- 
tour-sur-Creil. 



CHAPTER II. 

A STAR RISES IN THE SKY. 

IT was during the first week in May that iny 
cousin Adrienne arrived. Theophile had been 
at home about four days when my mother re- 
ceived the letter from England which announced 
her coming, and he made up his mind to remain 
a short time beyond his intended visit, just for 
the purpose of meeting her; for we were all 
somewhat curious to see Adrienne, on account 
of her foreign residence and education. Per- 
haps it will be as well if, in this place, I briefly 
sketch the outlines of her history. 

My mother's maiden name was Lachapelle. 
She was the daughter of a gentleman of A r ast 
landed property, whose estates joined those of 
my father, and she had a younger brother named 
Adrien, an. officer in the first regiment of Chas- 
seurs, under Napoleon. The battle of Water- 
loo was fought the peace ensued Adrien re- 
turned home just in time to see my mother mar- 
ried, and then went over to England to the 
very land against which his sword had been 
raised so long and so often. He fell in love 
with an English lady, married her, and made 
his home for life at a remote country-seat in the 
county of Devon. He never returned to France ; 
and my grandfather died shortly after, without 
again beholding the face of his son. Time 
passed on, and my uncle sent us word that he 
was the father of a little girl, to be named after 
himself Adrienne. From this time an unac- 
countable apathy seemed to take possession of 
him ; his letters, never very frequent, became 



8 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



fewer and fewer, and at last ceased altogether. 
Then we heard that his wife died, and, shortly 
after, that he also was no more. My mother 
offered to receive and educate their little orphan, 
but her maternal relatives refused, to part with 
her. She was adopted by her great-uncle, an 
old Devonshire esquire, who surrounded her with 
masters ; lavished upon her every kind of indul- 
gence ; and placed her, child as she was, at the 
head of his household. Here she had remained 
until this very spring-time, when her guardian 
died suddenly, bequeathing to her the bulk of 
his riches in addition to her own fortune, and 
leaving her the entire control of her actions and 
her property. It was in consequence of this 
loss that Adrienne wrote to my mother, request- 
ing permission to visit her father's sister, and 
saying that she could no longer endure to re- 
main in a country which was, for her, the grave 
of all whom she had loved. 

The letter was touchingly and charmingly 
worded, written in a large free hand, and bor- 
dered with deep black. I need scarcely say 
that my mother's reply was prompt, kind, and 
hospitable, or that we all awaited the arrival of 
our English cousin with some little impatience. 
The'ophile, who could find little else to while 
away the hours, occupied the chief part of every 
day in wondering if she were pretty, and in 
casting up complicated rows of figures, in the 
vain endeavor to calculate the amount of her 
fortune on both sides of the Channel which, 
however, he always threw aside when about half 
completed. My mother was very pale and si- 
lent, for she thought of the father and brother 
who had passed away. As for me, I fear I was 
hypocrite enough to affect a total indifference 
upon the subject of our visitor, and even to 
murmur audibly against the disturbance of our 
household quiet. 

The day came at last the day appointed by 
Adrienne in her second letter. The Paris and 
Strasburg line of railway does not traverse our 
part of Burgundy, and the nearest station is at 
Chalons, full eighteen miles away. We sent a 
carriage to meet her; and, as we could not tell 
by what train to expect her, we gave instructions 
to the servants to remain all day at the station 
until Mademoiselle Lachapelle should arrive. 
It was quite late in the evening before they re- 
turned. We were all sitting together at a large 
open window in the best reception-room, a lofty 
paneled chamber set round with antique mirrors 
and hung with amber damask, commanding a 
view of the high road and all the surrounding 
country. The dusk had closed in so thickly 
upon the landscape that we heard the quick 
rolling of the wheels long before the carriage 
drew near enough to be distinguished. On it 
came, faintly at first and louder by degrees, 
along the level road. We saw the flashing 
lamps between the lime-trees that stand for 
miles and miles on either side we heard the 
cracking of the whip, and the hoarse cry of the 
postillion. Nearer it came and nearer. There 
was the throwing open of gates the clattering 



in upon the pavement of the court-yard the 
sudden stoppage before the tiall entrance. 

"Diable I" said my brother, with a suppressed 
yawn ; " I am glad that la petite Anylaise has 
come at last, for I am furiously hungry!" 

In a moment the door was thrown open; 
"Mademoiselle Lachapelle!" was announced; 
and my mother, who had been striving, ever 
since we first heard the distant sound of wheels, 
to maintain her usual calm and dignified bear- 
ing, now stepped forward to the dark figure 
standing at the threshold, and saying, in a low 
voice, "My dear niece!" folded her in her 
arms, and imprinted a stately kiss upon her 
forehead. 

Then my mother introduced us both by name 
to Adrienne, and led her straight away to her 
own apartments. All this took place so hur- 
riedly,, and the room was so dark, that we had 
not yet seen her face, or distinguished more of 
her voice than a few faltered sentences. 

But, even then, I thought the voice was 
sweet ! 

They were a long time away more than 
three quarters of an hour. The'ophile rang for 
lights while we were waiting, and looked at his 
image in the glass, arranging the thick curls of 
his golden hair, and whistling dreamily to him- 
self; while every now and then he would stride 
impatiently to and fro, murmuring agttinst the 
delay, and exclaiming that he should be starved 
ere long. As for me, I drew a volume of Uh- 
land's poetry from my pocket and tried to read ; 
but my mind wandered from it, and I went over 
and looked out at the pale moon rising behind 
the poplars, and at the still, dark landscape, as 
it lay beyond the window like a framed picture. 
And sometimes, as I stood there, there came 
the swift whirring of a bat close before my face, 
and sometimes the intermitting passionate song 
of the far-off nightingales, amid the topmost 
branches of the trees. 

Suddenly the door opened they entered 
the servant, who had been waiting outside for 
the purpose, stepped forward and announced 
that dinner was served The'ophile, as usual, 
gave his arm to my mother I, confusedly and 
awkwardly, handed down our visitor, without 
even looking at or speaking to her and thus, 
preceded by sen-ants and lights, we descended 
the stairs and entered the dining-room. 

But, when we were seated at table, I raised 
rny eyes to her face and saw that she was beau- 
tiful. And now let me observe, if I were to de- 
scribe her as she seemed to me that night, and 
for the few weeks following, I should use terms 
little short of extravagance. I had seen few 
women then, save the sunburnt peasants who 
labored with their husbands and brothers in our 
vineyards, and, on rare occasions, the daughters 
of some few and distant neighbors. Beauty 
and youth were too unfamiliar to me that I 
should judge of them very narrowly, and, to my 
eyes, Adrieune Lachapelle seemed radiant as an 
angel. In all my artist-dreams, in all that I 
had pictured to myself of the fair ladies of the 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



songs of old, I had never imagined any thing so | 
unspeakably fair. And yet I find it difficult to 
say in what her loveliness consisted. It was ' 
not in her eyes, though they were large, and 
soft, and blue, like my mother's ; nor in her 
mouth, though it was delicately beautiful ; nor 
in the contour of her head, graceful and self- 
poised, like that of the young Diana. It was 
not in her features, or her form, or in any one 
perfection you might name ; but I think it lay, 
rather, in the sweet gentleness gentle, yet ani- 
mated of her expression. Every thought and 
emotion that passed through her mind reflected 
itself upon her countenance, as the under-cur- 
rent of a streamlet breaks the sunshine into rip- 
ples on the surface. When she spoke, her color 
came and went with every earnest word. Mirth- 
ful as a child, the simplest jest would light her 
face with smiles smiles not only of the lips, 
but of the eyes. A sweet, mournful poem, read 
aloud, would cover her cheeks with tears. She 
varied every moment, like an April day ; and 
when she blushed, the faint crimson would suf- 
fuse her very brow, as a sunset on the Alps. 
But I am speaking of her now as I saw her aft- 
er some days, not as I saw her on that brief 
evening; and, even so, how useless is my at- 
tempt to depict in words that which I can not 
make clear to my own thoughts! Nothing is 
more difficult than to describe a really beautiful 
countenance (especially if it be one we dearly 
love) ; for there is always, in real beauty, a 
something for which we find no equivalent in 
language a something so refined, so evanes- 
cent, that all written description seems poor 
and clumsy in the comparison. Such was the 
beauty of Adrienne, and this it is which, as I 
first begin to speak of her, seems to embarrass 
and defy me. 

The dinner was long and formal. Adrienne, 
in her black dress, bending down her head and 
scarcely partaking of any thing placed before 
her, replied lowly and by monosyllables to the 
few commonplaces which were from time to 
time addressed to her. My mother, still pale 
and sad, looked toward her at intervals, but 
spoke seldom. Even The'ophile, after a few ef- 
forts at conversation, said no more, and applied 
himself wholly to the business of the table. In- 
deed, he was the only one among us to whom it 
was not almost a mockery ; he enjoyed and par- 
took of it as usual. For myself, I never once 
broke the silence, but sat there at the head of 
the board like one dreaming ; mechanically per- 
forming my duties of host ; gazing earnestly 
on the downcast face between me and my moth- 
er ; and listening with suspended breath to every 
murmured word that proceeded from her lips. 

This dinner-ceremony, so long, so silent, so 
constrained, came at last to a conclusion. We 
returned to the salon, whence, after a few mo- 
ments, Adrienne, pleading the fatigue of her 
long journey, retired, accompanied by my moth- 
er, and, as far as the room door, by The'ophile, 
who sprang forward to hold it open for them as 
they passed. 



"What a wretched evening!" he exclaimed, 
returning and flinging himself upon a fauteuil 
near the window. "Mais n'est-ce-pas qu'elle 
est belle, cette petite cousine ?" 

What had he said that I should feel the hot 
blood rush up to my brow so angrily ? What 
was there in his words that I could not answer 
them? Was it that he had spoken somewhat 
lightly, and that I, already, could not bear to 
hear it ? I know not ; but it seemed, at all 
events, to jar upon the pleasant harmony of my 
thoughts. I turned away, and was silent. Pres- 
ently I also left the room, and went down into 
my library to read. 

To read! Ah! no; I could not read that 
night. It was all in vain that I took up volume 
after volume of my favorite authors. Some- 
thing seemed to interpose between their thoughts 
and mine something whereby I was made rest- 
less, but not unhappy something which prompt- 
ed me at last to close the book, to withdraw the 
heavy folds that curtained out the night, and to 
stand there at the open casement, looking up to 
the sky and the stars. 

The moonlight lay upon the turrets and the 
trees, and fell in patches, faintly colored by the 
stained glass, upon the floor beside me. The 
Apostles stood within, brown, shadowy, and gi- 
gantic. The silver lamp burned dimly. There 
was a magical stillness in the air a holiness 
unutterable in the night-silence. It seemed to 
me as if all Nature were one vast cathedral, 
with blue arching roof with a starry multitude 
of lamps, and with myself for a solitary wor- 
shiper. And in that supreme hour an impulse 
of infinite gratitude and awe came over my 
soul, and I thought of heaven, of truth, of life, 
of Adrienne. 

I felt as one who reads the opening page of a 
strange, sweet poem, or as one who sits for the 
first time in a brilliant theatre. Beauty and 
grace are met on every side. The air is heavy 
with perfume. The orchestra gives forth a low 
intoxicating melody, and the hush of expecta- 
tion is on every lip. His heart beats ; his 
breath comes and goes ; he trembles ; his eyes 
are fixed upon the dark curtain which is so soon 
to rise, and the skirts of which are already 
fringed with the radiance beyond. 

And was it not truly so ? Was I not unfold- 
ing the poem in my heart gazing upon that 
curtain ? Was it not the first Act of my Life- 
Drama that was about to commence ? 



CHAPTER III. 

THE FOUNTAIN OP ROSES. 

ABOUT eight miles from Latour-sur-Creil, 
half way up a wooded mountain in the direc- 
tion of Strasburg, there may be found a deli- 
cious little spring, quite shut in and hidden by 
trees and wild rose-bushes, which was christen- 
ed by my mother La Fontaine aux Roses. It is 
somewhat difficult of access ; for, after leaving 



10 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



the cultivated fields and vineyards that extend 
for about a quarter of a mile up the ascent, you 
find the road, which has been getting narrower 
and narrower all the way, diminish suddenly to 
a steep shingly footpath, wide enough for only 
one person at a time. Following this amid the 
thick green shade, you arrive at last, wearily 
enough, upon a little level platform cut sheer 
away, as it would seem, from the shelving rock, 
which here rises precipitously at the back, in 
overhanging blocks of rough dark granite. Fa- 
cing you lies the continuation of your pathway, 
narrower, steeper, more unpromising than be- 
fore ; at the edge of the platform, the cliff (steep 
and bush-grown) seems to sink away beneath 
your very feet ; to the left a tiny opening, or fis- 
sure in the rock, seems to indicate the track of 
some animal, looking too narrow for the passage 
of any thing larger than a goat. Nevertheless, 
try it. You will find it sufficiently wide to ad- 
mit of your entrance. Once through the little 
straits, you are in a sort of natural vault, hol- 
lowed out of this same granite ; treading softly 
upon a carpet of thick gray moss ; making to- 
ward that day-opening at the end of the rough 
corridor, about forty yards in advance. When 
half way along, you pause and listen : it is the 
gush and gurgle of water that you hear echoing 
down the cool stillness of the granite walls ; 
and, hastening on to the end with what speed 
you may, you there discover a little ' ' heart of 
green, " all set round with trees, and rock-cliffs, 
and wild wavy ferns ; with a broad boundless 
landscape stretched out far and wide at one 
side, and, on the other, a fount of fresh bright 
water welling up through a bower of wild dog- 
roses from the inner depths of the rough mount- 
ain mass overhead. Springing, foaming, leap- 
ing forth eddying down into a pebbly basin 
flowing with a sudden calmness in and out the 
trees, and across the Yew square yards of grassy 
platform winding, as it were, unconsciously to- 
ward the brow of the cliff whirling over in 
swift madness, and falling, ever falling, from 
ledge to ledge, from steep to steep, all spray, 
hurry, and confusion, till at length it disappears 
among the forest trees down far below, and is 
seen no more unless, indeed, it might be that 
smooth gliding rivulet which shows so silverly 
along the valley, and flows, miles away, into the 
current of yon broad river setting onward to the 
sea! 

Exquisite Fontaine aux Roses! Was I not 
the first to penetrate thy fairy nook ; to drink 
of thy waters; to press thine untrodden turf; 
to lie in the shadow of thy trees, gazing upon 
thy wild mountain flowers and feathery grasses, 
and listening dreamily to the sweet cadence of 
thy falling music? Chancing upon thee in one 
lonely walk some nine years past, did I not be- 
come the Columbus of thy vernal world ? and 
may not I (as thy discoverer) be pardoned for 
dwelling, perchance too tediously, upon the 
praises of thy beauty ? Hither, then, one gen- 
ial afternoon in May, we came to show the view 
to my cousin Adrienne, and to picnic beside 



the fountain. She had been with us about a 
week; and by this time the first strangeness 
had worn away, and we had become, in all re- 
spects, better acquainted. We were charmed 
with Adrienne. Already she had fascinated us, 
as she fascinated every one through life, with 
her graceful kindness of manner j her deep feel- 
ing for truth and beauty ; her airy wit and play- 
ful bearing. Susceptible alike to pleasure or 
sadness sunny, yet variable now childlike, 
enjoying now womanly, tender it was impos- 
sible to determine when, or in what mood, she 
seemed most winning. Hers was a nature wild, 
beautiful, capricious a soul 

" Where shadows dark and sunlight sheen 
Alternate come and go!" 

On this sweet day of May how fair and sea- 
sonable she looked, like a delicate May flower, 
and how her bright laugh cheered the rugged 
mountain-path, and lapsed in with the water- 
song of the fountain ! Theophile was in high 
spirits, looked handsome, flushed, excited. My 
mother unbent for once, and smiled, and con- 
versed gayly. Even I, silent, distant, unsocial 
as I am, grew cheerful, even conversational, un- 
der the influence of that bright sky, that fount- 
ain nook, tha.t magical presence ! 

We were very happy. We admired the view 
we sat under the shadow of a mountain ash 
we opened the basket of sandwiches which The- 
ophile and I had carried alternately up the 
mountain we cooled our Champagne bottles 
in the running stream, and chinked our glasses 
laughingly together we made a wreath of oak- 
leaves, roses, and green berries, and placed it 
upon Adrienne's golden hair we poured a liba- 
tion of red wine into the dancing waters, and 
drank to the " flowery - kirtled naiad" of the 
fountain we chatted we jested we sang in 
short, we yielded up our whole hearts to the in- 
fluence of the hour and the place, "giving no 
thought to the morrow." 

"How pleasant it is," observed my mother, 
looking round with a contented smile, "to be 
assembled up here, on this beautiful day, where 
no one can interrupt or find us ! Do you know, 
these trees this landscape this 'enameled 
sward,' as it is called by the romancists nay, 
the very wine-glasses yonder, remind me irre- 
sistibly of the Decamerone ?" 

" I had often wondered," said Adrienne, sud- 
denly, "who it was that originated that hack- 
neyed simile, 'enameled sward;' but the other 
day I found it somewhere in the ' Purgatorio' 
of Dante. He calls it ' la verde smalto.' How 
pretty it is in Italian!" 

"How pretty any thing is in Italian!" ex- 
claimed Theophile. "Why, a Neapolitan fisher- 
man might swear at you for an hour, and you 
could almost fancy that he was addressing to 
you the choicest compliments if you did not 
understand the language. I have heard them 
at it many a time in the Chiaja. Two of the 
fellows, with their scarlet caps and black curly 
beards, will stand face to face, leaning against 
the doors of their houses, or even lying lazily on 



MY BKOTHER'S WIFE. 



11 



the ground, and swear at each other in the most 
deliciously intonated liquid tones for hours to- 
gether. It is one of their national amusements. " 

" How horrible ! And perhaps one assassin- 
ates the other afterward!" 

"By no means. That is quite a lady's no- 
tion ! They are the greatest cowards imagina- 
ble. They quarrel, they glare upon each other, 
they swear to their heart's content, but they nev- 
er come to blows. And these men's forefathers 
were the masters of the world ! Alas! degener- 
ate Italy, once the birthplace of heroes and the 
garden of Europe!" 

"But it is a garden still!" cried Adrienne, 
warmly. "It has lost its Caesars, but not its 
vineyards, its olive-groves, its fair Lombardian 
plains!" 

"True, mademoiselle,"! said, turning toward 
her and taking up the theme. "True, it is a 
garden, but a garden in ruins a garden such as 
your English Shelley describes in the ' Sensitive 
Plant' such as Hood pictures in his 'Haunted 
House.' Rarest exotics spring up side by side 
with the nettle and the deadly nightshade ; the 
fountain is choked and moss-grown; the very 
sun-dial is broken, for what need is there to mark 
the progress of Time where Time finds nothing 
to record ? There are statues also, defaced, neg- 
lected, lying in the grass ; the present genera- 
tion, plodding idly on, treads them deeper and 
deeper into the clay; the traveler, the stranger, 
alone reverences and, re-erects them. They are 
the statues of Dante of Petrarch of Ariosto 
of Tasso !" 

"Do not omit my favorite Metastasio," said 
Adrienne, who listened while I spoke with a 
bright, earnest gaze peculiar to herself, and which 
I have never seen on any other countenance. 
"I so delight in his long musical periods, and, 
for the sake of his harmony, pardon the monot- 
ony of his plots. And pray do not forget that 
noble woman who lavished such exquisite verses 
on so worthless a husband I mean Vittoria Co- 
lonna." 

"It appears to me," observed my mother, qui- 
etly, " that your remarks are very partial. Pray, 
has Italy no modern poets and historians, no 
men of eminence whatever ? Have you nothing 
to say for Manzoni for Casti for Pellico ?" 

' ' Not much, ' ' replied Adrienne, smiling. '"I 
Promissi Sposi' is tedions, and as for ' Gli Ani- 
mali Parlanti, ' it is very uninteresting ; Gay's 
and La Fontaine's Fables are worth a thousand 
of it. Pellico's prison-narrative is perfection, 
and has, I suppose, become a classic in almost 
every language. I have not read his poetry." 

" His poetry ! " echoed The'ophile. " Oh, de- 
fend me from his poetry ! I once attempted to 
read his tragedy of 'Francesca de Rimini, 'but 
I could get no farther than the end of the first 
act. It is a feeble imitation of Alfieri ; and his 
long romanza, ' La Pia,' founded on a passage 
in Dante, is a weary performance, in I know not 
how many cantos. The original is four lines 
long, and one of the sweetest, saddest, briefest 
stories ever written in verse." 



" I remember it," said Adrienne. " It is the 
tale of Madonna Pia. Her husband took her to 
a castle in the marshes of Volterra, and there 
watched her fade and die beneath the noxious 
influence of the malaria incidental to the swamps. 
A fearful vengeance !" 

' ' Fearful indeed, and national ; like the 
swearing," said Theophile. "The Italian is 
cruel and cowardly ; or, rather, he was both, but 
now he is only the latter." * 

"But Italy has, within the last forty years, 
produced several lyric poets of considerable mer- 
it," I said, after a pause. "Do you know any 
thing of Rosetti, Berchet, Leopardi ?" 

Adrienne shook her head, and I went on. 
" Rosetti is a revolutionary poet, full of fire 
and military ardor. His songs relate chiefly to 
the Neapolitan disturbances of 1820 and 1837. 
There is one commencing ' Cittadini air ar- 
mi!' (Oh, citizens, to arms!), and another 
'L'Asilo e I'Arpa deW Esilio' (The Home and 
the Harp of the Exile), both of which are ad- 
mirable, and have the heart of a patriot beating 
in every line. He was exiled in consequence, 
and fled to England. Berchet, too, is well wor- 
thy your attention. His political romanzas are 
both novel and affecting." 

"And Leopardi ?" asked Adrienne. " Is he 
equally clever?" 

" He has not written so much as either of the 
others, and the little which we have is, for the 
most part, fragmentary. But it is graceful, 
fresh, suggestive, like the ballad-poetry of Uh- 
land and Miiller. There is one little strophe 
of his which pleased me so much, and is so ut- 
terly Germanic in style and conception, that I 
translated it into English. I think I can re- 
member it, and you shall tell me if you like it : 
" Parted from thy native bough, 
Whither, whither goest thou, 

Leaflet frail? 
From the beech-tree where I grew 

In the vale, 
From the woods all wet with dew, 

Lo 1 the wind hath torn me ! 
O'er the mountain tops he blew, 
And hither he hath borne me ! 
With him wandering for aye, 

Until he forsakes me, 
I, with many others, stray, 
Heedless where he takes me. 

Where the leaf of laurel goes, 
And the leaflet of the rose." 

"That is delicious !" said Adrienne, her eyes 
filled with tears. " It is simple, yet how sweet ! 
Without uttering it in words, it seems to suggest 
a feeling of Life and its shadowy Beyond. What 
is its title?" 

"I call it 'The Leaf and the Breeze;' but 
the poet has only prefixed to it the inappropri- 
ate and modest word ' Imitazione.' It would 
make a beautiful song for music." 

"Yes ; but the composer must also be a poet. 
Mendelssohn should have done it, with his pro- 
found feeling and picturesque mannerism. I 
shall ask you for a copy of that poem the orig- 
inal as well as the translation." 

The sun was now sinking lower and lower on 
the horizon, and shining crimsonly through the 
belt of amber vapor that skirted the landscape 



12 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



all around. The air,' too, grew somewhat chill 
upon that mountain height ; and the birds, twit- 
tering softly, came wheeling round the trees and 
fluttering in among the leaves to their nests in 
the branches. 

The conversation dropped, and we sat for 
some time gazing at the sunset. Then, as if by 
common consent, we looked into one another's 
faces, and rose up fronTour pleasant seat beneath 
the mountain ash. It had been a happy day ; 
but the sweetest poem must end, and we felt that 
this had come to a conclusion. 

So we bade farewell to La Fontaine aux Hoses, 
and went down silently into the brown shadows 
of the valley. 



CHAPTER IV. 

DREAMING. 

WE have an old French proverb which says 
" Le bien vient en dormant." Better had it been 
written "L'amour vient en dormant," which it 
truly does. Love ! why the very word hath 
some such slumberous spell in the mere sound 
of it ! Doth it not come to us, for the most part, 
gradually, imperceptibly as a dream to our 
sleeping? Nay, is it not a dream, a golden gos- 
samer dream, transfiguring the shows of Earth, 
and clothing all Life as in a divine garment? 

In the semblance of a dream it came to me ; 
and I knew it not until the time arrived when I 
could no longer deny it, even to myself. I loved 
her. I loved her passionately. I loved her 
with all the force of a heart long silent and long 
solitary, and yet I did not discover it for many 
weeks. Be it not supposed, for this reason, that 
I loved suddenly. Ah ! no. I had felt the joy 
at my heart, though I knew not whence it came. 
I had seen new gladness in life in thought 
in the world. My tongue had been loosened in 
speech, so that I sat no longer like a misanthrope 
among others, but, emboldened by her presence, 
learned to pour forth my thoughts, if not with 
eloquence, at least with that earnestness which 
befits a true man. And she had listened to me 
listened with attention with smiles it might 
be, sometimes, with tears. Oh, blessed time 
when I loved and knew it not ! Oh, still more 
blessed morning of early June when I first in- 
terpreted the sweet new secret of my heart ! It 
happened thus : 

I had risen early earlier than was usual with 
me; for I awoke soon after day, and could 
not sleep again. Aimlessly, carelessly, with 
thoughts elsewhere busy, I strolled into my 
painting-room, and, taking my accustomed seat, 
leaned my head upon my hand, and gazed va- 
cantly upon the half-finished picture that stood 
before me on the easel. 

It was an interior how well I remember it ! 
a church interior, lofty, pillared, gloomy with 
shadow and deep-stained oriels; empty, save a 
few scattered worshipers kneeling on the polish- 
ed flags in the foreground; with vacant altar, 



and long tenebrous aisles lighted dimly in the 
distance. An interior such as I delighted to 
imagine ; for, as I have said, I had a true love 
and appreciation of cathedral architecture, es- 
pecially of that order called the Flamboyant 
Gothic. 

Thus thinking and looking, I resumed the, 
palette and brushes close at hand, and began, as 
it were mechanically, to fill in the outline of a 
female figure kneeling before a confessional in 
the foreground. The confessional itself, with 
carved foliage and cherubim, and florid pedi- 
ment and traceried lattice, stood, half hidden, 
in a dark angle of shadow ; but I had so con- 
trived that a single thread of light, falling through 
a partially opened door, should irradiate the 
face and head of the penitent almost like an 
emblematic glory. 

On this head and face I worked, still absent- 
ly, still with thoughts intent on other things. 
Strange, that the eye and the hand should toil 
on without the master-guidance of the mind ! 
Stranger yet that the eye and the hand should, 
all unconsciously, respond to that inner work- 
ing, and begin shaping forth the hidden thought 
upon the canvas, visibly realizing the invisible ! 

Suddenly I dropped the pencil started rose 
returned, and looked long and earnestly, till 
the gathering tears blotted out and blurred the 
picture from my sight. 

In that face I had painted the face of Adri- 
enne! 

I can not tell now how long I stood there 
gazing gazing, or in what vague, unreflecting 
state of confused happiness I was ; but, all at 
once, a sudden flush overspread my counte- 
nance I trembled I turned away from the pic- 
ture I paced rapidly up and down the room. 

" Yes, Adrienne,"! cried aloud, with passion- 
ate vehemence, "I love thee! I love thee!" 

Oh happy secret, so welcome and so beauti- 
ful ! And yet, even then, I seemed both to re- 
joice at and fear it ! 

The room felt close and oppressive. I could 
scarcely breathe. 

I threw open the windows, and stepped out 
into the morning. 

There was a warm soft air abroad, heavy to 
the sense, and somewhat obscuring the distant 
landscape. The turf sent up a pleasant odor 
of fresh earth. The sky was dull and gray. 
Every now and then a breath of fresh breeze 
came sweeping over the fields, bearing with it 
a perfume of sweet hay and May blossom, and 
shaking the bright drops from off the broad 
leaves of the chestnuts and acacias. The trees 
in the garden looked round and shadowy. The 
grass was full of tiny yellow flowers, and stretch- 
ed out in one broad green and golden sweep 
down to the river bank. All was still and slum- 
brous in the dreamy atmosphere of the June 
morning. 

Forth I went, restless intoxicated, with a 
fountain of gladness welling up from my heart. 
Forth I went, across the long wet grass and into 
the shade of the tall trees. I looked back at 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



13 



the chateau, with its steep roof, its long ranges 
of small glittering windows, and its quaint point- 
ed slate-roofed turrets. It was my chateau, the 
chateau of my fathers, and I thought in my 
heart how fair would life be were she the mis- 
tress of those gray old walls. To the left I saw 
her window, curtained and closed. I stretched 
out my arms as if embracing her, and again I 
said, 

" I love thee, Adrienne ! I love thee !" 

I passed out of the wicket-gate and into the 
forest beyond. The sun came slowly out, and 
the birds sang in the boughs. There were wild 
strawberry-blossoms and violets under my feet 
green leaves, and sunshine, and openings of 
blue sky overhead. A young lizard, feeble, 
emerald-hued, half-stupefied, lay in my path, 
and I stooped down and placed it on one side 
amid some high soft grasses ; for my heart was 
full of love, even for the green lizard. Then 
the shade grew deeper. The clouds met, and 
melted into a shower, and I uncovered my head 
and looked up, and let the warm rain-drops 
splash heavily upon my brow. Then the sun 
came -out again ; and the birds rejoiced and 
shook their sleek plumage, and sang more mer- 
rily than before. And I went on, still on, amid 
the living stillness of the forest, with a new fire 
in my eye and a new freedom in my step, and 
with the same words of foolish exultation ever 
on my lips, 

"I love thee! I love thee!" 

Once I paused and asked myself, "Art thou 
beloved also?" But with the question came a 
doubt, and the heavens were darkened. Then 
I said, "Let me be happy, if it be only for this 
one day!" And I dismissed the question and 
the doubt, and went forward blindly rejoicing 
rejoicing that I had seen, that I loved her 
wishing that she might remain in Burgundy 
forever drinking in hope and joy from every 
sight and sound : from the rustling of the leaves, 
from the song of the wood-birds, from the hum 
of the wild bees. 

" Ahi con che affetto araore e il del pregai,* 
Che fosse eterno si dolce soggiorno ; 
Ma fu la speme al ver lunge assail" 

Dreaming, dreaming consciously dreaming, 
and refusing to be awakened ! 



CHAPTER V. 

WAKING. 

THERE is a German tradition respecting a 
certain Saint Elizabeth of Marburg, who, in 
proof of her sanctity, hung out her washing to 
dry on a sunbeam. To this saint, by one of 
those strange contradictory impulses of our na- 
ture which sometimes contrast the saddest with 
the most ludicrous things, I involuntarily com- 
pared myself, as I sat silently, apart in a dark 
corner of the salon some few evenings after my 

* TRANS. Ah! with what earnestness did I pray to 
Heaven and Love that so sweet a stay should be eternal; 
but my hopes were far from anticipating the truth ! 



ramble in the forest. Had I not trusted to an 
illusion as glittering, as beautiful, as unsub- 
stantial ? Had I not hung my hopes on a sun- 
beam? 

Alas ! it needed but a brief time to work this 
change to steal the brightness from my dream 
and the hope from my heart. 

The'ophile loved her. I was convinced that 
he loved her. HaQ I not seen him walking be- 
side her in the garden-paths on the evening of 
that day that one happy day ; and had it not 
chilled me even then, although I knew not why ? 
Since that time had not his attentions been re- 
doubled? Was he not hovering round her at 
all hours ? Sitting beside her at table ? Rid- 
ing with her? Walking with her? Reading 
to her while she sat embroidering under the la- 
burnums? Nay, is he not at this moment hang- 
ing over her, as she looks through the music 
lying loosely upon the piano, and allows her 
fingers to wander idly along the ivory keys? 
Is she not listening, with head half turned aside 
listening to his low speaking, and thinking 
nothing of piano or music ? 

My mother is not present, and I am affecting 
to read by the waning twilight. They are quite 
at the farther end of the room, and they speak 
in that subdued tone which people's voices are 
so apt to assume in the dusky hour. I watch 
them jealously over the edge of my book. I 
can not hear any thing they say. I neither 
wish nor try to hear ; but I can not help look- 
ing at them ; and, though I turn resolutely to 
the window every now and then, I find myself, 
the very next minute, falling back into the old 
posture. I am very unhappy very lonely! 
" Ah !" I think bitterly to myself, " if she could 
but know how I love her ! if she could but judge 
between us, and choose the one who loves her 
best!" 

Theophile is still bending over her lower, 
lower! His yellow curls shine through the 
gloom. How handsome he is ! There is a mir- 
ror near me (the room is paneled with mir- 
rors), and I look up, with an angry pang, at my 
own sallow, sorrowful countenance. What ! am 
I envious already? Envious as well as jealous? 
I feel the hot blood flush up to my face for very 
shame I struggle resolutely with my own heart 
I fix my eyes upon the book, but the letters 
waver, and grow distorted, and swim before 
them. Now I reproach myself. After all, it 
is I, and only I, who am to blame ! Why, I 
loved her from the first. I loved her from that 
very night, five long weeks ago, when she first 
sat before my eyes, so pale, so silent, so beauti- 
ful, in that dining parlor below ! Why did I 
not try to win her then, even then, and every 
succeeding day? Why did I leave the field 
open to another? I have education, I have 
heart, I have a wild latent poetry in my nature 
wherewith I might have won a woman's love as 
easily as with perfumed locks, and compliments, 
and a low flattering voice! Pshaw! am I a 
man, that I should have sat thus tamely by 
and lost the treasure without a single effort ? 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Would she not despise me now if she knew how 
I loved, how I loitered, how I suffered ? 

Thinking thus, I lash myself to fury. I feel 
an impulse upon me to utter my rage aloud 
to pace violently up and down the room to tear 
the book to pieces which I hold in my hand ! 
But, for all this, I sit still and silent. I press 
my lips together, and clench my hands till the 
nails wound the palm. I becbme alternately hot 
and cold. I endure a martyrdom of envy, jeal- 
ousy, and remorse; and still I sit watching them 
over the edge of my book, and still The'ophile 
bends down to Adrienne till his yellow curls al- 
most meet the soft braids of her lustrous hair! 

All at once she touches the instrument again, 
and plays some few notes of a very simple, but a 
plaintive symphony. The'ophile draws back and 
leans against the wall, listening. I breathe more 
freely now that the distance between them is 
greater. Presently the notes of the symphony 
become fewer and fainter, like the last drops of 
a shower there is a moment of suspense then 
her delicious voice, modulated to a low, clear 
under-tone, inexpressibly pathetic and sweet, 
sings this little ballad : 

" Oh, lady, thou art fair and free 

As are the heavens above thee ! 
A student I, of low degree 
What wouldst thou say if thou couldst see 

This heart, which dares to love thee? 

" Thou hast been told that rank and state 

Are gifts beyond all prizing. 
The poet singing at thy gate 
Were all too lowly for thy hate, 

Too poor for thy despising ! 
M So proud, and yet so angel-sweet ! 

I fall down and adore thee : 
And oh ! whene'er we chance to meet, 
I stand back in the public street, 

And bare my head before thee. 
"'Tis said that thou wilt wedded be 

To some more noble lover. 
To-day the bells ring out for thee, 
To-morrow they will toll for me, 

When all my tears are over. 

" What radiant party passes by 

With plumes and pennons flying? 
Thy wedding train ? Nay, then, will I 
Straight in thy path all prostrate lie 
One look, love ! I am dying !" 

The song is a simple song enough a transla- 
tion of a little German ballad and yet it moves 
me deeply. Toward the last verse her voice 
grows lower and lower, with breaks and pauses, 
and at last trembles, fails, sobs forth despairing- 
ly then ceases altogether. 

When it is ended The'ophile applauds, enrap- 
tured ; and I sit speechless, feeling as if a sor- 
rowful hand had been laid upon my heart. Per- 
haps it is the revulsion of feeling from wild rage 
to melancholy perhaps it is that the'little story 
conveyed in those simple verses touches a chord 
in my own breast answers to a thought in my 
own 'mind. At all events, it utterly subdues and 
saddens me. 

Once more Theophile bends down. By this 
time it has grown so dusk that his yellow locks 
are no longer visible. I still sit silently in the 
dark corner, affecting to read, and my tears fall 
slowly and heavily, one by one, upon the open 
pages. 



CHAPTER VI. 

THE END OF THE FIRST ACT. 

"WiSH me happiness, monfrlre!" said The- 
ophile, springing up from his chair, and advan- 
cing toward me with outstretched hands. 

It was in my mother's breakfast parlor. She 
was sitting near the window, with her hands ly- 
ing folded together on her lap, and some pens 
and paper spread upon the little work-table be- 
side her. Sire turned her face slowly toward me 
as I entered. There was a faint flush on her 
cheeks. She looked agitated, but happy. 

" Yes, Paul," she said, with a voice slightly 
tremulous, "to-day you must rejoice with us. 
Your brother is engaged to Adrienne. "" 

So, then, it was over ! I felt myself turn pale ; 
but I was very calm. 

"I have expected this, madame," I said. "It 
does not surprise me." 

" Indeed ! Well, it is not surprising. They 
are so suited to each other in every respect." 
And my mother looked up admiringly in my 
brother's face. "It is a most happy event!" 
she added, with a sigh. 

"A most happy event, madame," I echoed. 

"And so advantageous with regard to prop- 
erty. Adrienne is rich." 

" A clear rent-roll of three hundred thousand 
francs per annum !" interrupted Theophile, joy- 
ously. "We shall be very rich. I mean to buy 
the Hauteville estate for our country residence. 
It is just announced for sale. Did you hear of 
it?" 

I shook my head. I could not trust my voice 
to speak. 

" Yes, it is announced at last for two hund- 
red and fifty thousand francs ! It is a high price, 
but I am determined to have it, for it was for- 
merly one of the possessions of our family. Be- 
sides, we shall, of course, live a great deal in 
Paris, and we can come down here every sum- 
mer en retraite. Will it not be charming ?" 

" Charming, indeed." 

Strange! the harsh, level tones of my voice, 
so cold, so mechanical, seemed scarcely to pro- 
ceed from my own lips, but sounded to my ear 
as if they were uttered near me by some other 
speaker. 

"It is really remarkable that the Hauteville 
property should be vacant so opportunely. Noth- 
ing could have happened better. And when we 
come down, to be so close to you ! Why, it will 
be almost the same as living at home ! We can 
have a path laid down through the shrubbery, 
and a gate of communication, and so run from 
one house to the other in a few moments." 

"And I shall see you for many weeks in ev- 
ery year, " said my mother, with the tears stand- 
ing in her eyes. 

' c Weeks ! nay, months, ma chere mere, " said 
The'ophile, kissing her hand. "I have so many 
plans so many improvements in my head ; and 
I shall superintend all the alterations myself. 
There is a moat there which I mean to have 
filled up; timber to be felled; conservatories 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



15 



and out-houses to build ; stables to repair. Oh ! 
it will need an army of workmen, and I must 
come down to see that every thing is carried out 
as I wish. I shall be here for a long time in the 
autumn. Besides, Adrienne is so fond of Bur- 
gundy !" 

Plans improvements alterations ! Alas! 
gentle lady, had I been thy choice, methinks 
there would have been less thought of thy 
wealth, and more, far more of thee ! 

I fancy that even my mother, with all her love 
for The'ophile, and all her native coldness of dis- 
position, felt this, for she turned the conversa- 
tion. 

"Adrienne is a charming demoiselle," she 
said. " I like the English system of education, 
it is so solid. She is not only accomplished, 
but amiable, polished, and thoroughly well- 
read." 

"And so beautiful, mother! How she will 
be admired in Paris ! We must take a man- 
sion in the Chaussee d'Antin, and she shall have 
a fixed reception-evening in each week." 

"The'ophile is very happy, is he not?" said 
my mother, appealing directly to me for a reply. 
"It would have been impossible for him to have 
made a more eligible connection !" 

"Impossible, madame,"! said, huskily. 

"Your brother now receives from me an in- 
come of one hundred thousand francs yearly; 
but it is my intention henceforth to double that 
sum. They must not be too unequally matched 
in point of fortune. However, at my death, 
The'ophile's property will be as large as that of 
his wife. But this is not to the purpose. We 
wished to ask you, Paul, if you would object to 
receive them here on their return from the wed- 
ding tour ? The Hauteville chateau can not be 
got ready for them in time ; and they might 
take the whole of the right wing without incon- 
venience to any of us ; for you, although mas- 
ter here, occupy only a suite of three rooms." 

"Be it so, madame,"! replied, absently. 

"Thank you. I will take care that none of 
our arrangements shall disturb you. The mar- 
riage, of course, must take place here. We 
ought to give a ball and fete upon the occasion." 

"Certainly!" cried The'ophile "that is, if 
Paul permits it. There are many whom I 
should wish to ask from Paris, besides all the 
neighbors here. And we must have sports for 
the tenanti'y, and " 

"And Adrienne must be asked if she would 
not like to invite some English friends," inter- 
rupted my mother. 

"The'ophile !" said a voice from the garden. 
"The'ophile!" 

I started. My icy self-possession, hitherto 
so stoically preserved, threatened to give way at 
the sound of that sweet voice which called so 
familiarly upon his name. In one instant the 
full sense of my desolation rushed upon me. 
In that single word, revealing so much of love 
and home, I seemed to see all the extent of 
happiness which I had lost ! . 

The'ophile sprang to the window. 



" I will bring her here," he cried, as he step- 
ped out upon the terrace and flew to meet her. 
I turned toward the door. I could not stay 
to see them return together. 

"Madame," I said, articulating the words 
hoarsely and with difficulty, "Madame, this 
house, and all that it contains, is at your dis- 
posal, and and at my brother's. Make any 
arrangements you think proper, but do nut do 
not take the trouble to consult me !" 

There must have been a strange unusual 
something in my tone, or in the expression of 
my countenance, for my mother turned sudden- 
ly, looked at me, and half rose from her chair. 

"Mon Dieu!" she said, hurriedly, "what is 
the matter?" 

My hand was on the lock I trembled in ev- 
ery limb I heard their voices approaching 
nay, I heard the very rustle of Adrienne's dress 
upon the terrace ! 

"Nothing, madame," I said, and closed the 
door. 

Scarcely master of myself, I ran along the 
corridor and across the hall. My favorite 
hound, who had been lying near the door of 
the library, came bounding toward me ; but I 
spurned him with my foot and passed on. In 
the library I paused and looked around with a 
kind of angry despair. 

"Alas ! ye books," I cried, "of what use are 
ye ? Poets, philosophers, historians, what do 
you teach us ? Can you give us peace or wis- 
dom ? Be ye accursed ! Man in his savage 
state alone is happy!" 

The curtain that led to the painting-room 
was drawn aside. Pacing up and down, back- 
ward and forward, raging in my strong passion 
like a caged panther, I went in. 

These scenes of my former occupations seem- 
ed hateful to me. What was art, or science, or 
literature to me, now or henceforward ? Tricks, 
phantasms, accursed phantasms, all ! 

A cast of the Medicean Venus stood in my 
path. I dashed it down with one blow of my 
hand, and* trampled the smiling features into 
dust and fragments. The last work of my 
hands the unfinished interior stood yonder 
on the easel. I advanced toward it and ex- 
tended a destructive hand then I paused 
stood still dropped upon a seat before it, and 
covering my face with my hands, burst into an 
agony of tears. Adrienne's portrait! Adri- 
enne's portrait, painted there by me a few short 
days ago, and now smiling toward me from the 
canvas ! Oh, fair cousin, how dearly this heart 
loved thee ! 

I know not what burning visions, what deso- 
late retrospections, what wild plans for the dim 
future passed through my mind as I sat there 
with my head bent down upon the easel, and my 
whole being convulsed by strong, deep sobs. I 
know not how long I even remained there, for I 
took no heed of time, or of the broad day be- 
yond. I had arrived at one of those terrible 
epochs of man's existence, when the highway 
of life threads that solemn valley of the shadow 



16 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



of death when to look back is misery ; to look 
forward, despair when the storm-clouds gather 
overhead, and thick darkness lies every where 
around; and the wayfarer pauses, trembling, 
and awaits his destiny. He is bewildered, reck- 
less, helpless against others, helpless against 
himself and his own impulses. Evil from with- 
out, evil from within, combine to torture him. 
A word may destroy, a word may save him ! 
Alas for him if, in that hour, there be none at 
hand to guide, to console, to pray for him ! 

My tears had ceased to flow a struggling 
sob broke now and then from my lips my head 
was still buried in my hands. Within, all was 
black misery. Without, the day bent toward 
the west, and the shadows lengthened in the 
level sunlight. 

Hush ! 

The outer door was cautiously opened, and, 
after the lapse of a few moments, closed as cau- 
tiously. I heard it; but, as one might hear 
through sleep, without receiving any impression 
from the sound. Light footsteps crossed the' 
library paused at the second door approach- 
ed nearer and nearer ; and still I heard without 
heeding. Then there was the rustling of silken 
garments at my side, and a hand was laid upon 
mine a cold slender hand, whose touch roused 
me in a moment like an elective shock. 

I sprang to my feet, grew hot and cold alter- 
nately, tried to speak, but could not. My moth- 
er looked marble -pale. Her eyes wandered 
from rny face to the picture, and back again to 
me, with a mute mournful expression of tender- 
ness and pity, such as I had never seen in that 
gaze before. There was no surprise in her 
countenance no pride, no coldness, no auster- 
ity ; but grief grief only. For some minutes 
we stood thus face to face, with the picture be- 
tween us, both silent. 

"Paul," she said at length, very softly and 
sadly, "why didst thou conceal this ?" My lips 
moved again, but uttered no sound. 

She took my vacant seat, and pointed to" a 
stool beside her. "Come," she sakl, "come, 
Paul, confide in me !" 

My senses seemed bound up in ice, though 
my heart beat wildly. I neither spoke nor 
stirred. 

" Speak to me, my son, speak to me ! Thou 
sufferest may I not weep with thee ?" 

She extended her arms to me. Her words, 
her look, her tone, went to my heart. 

"Oh, my mother!" I cried, wildly, falling 
upon rny knees before her, and hiding my face 
in her lap, " I love her! I love her !" 

She folded her arms around me she pressed 
her lips to my forehead, my burning head to her 
gentle bosom she mingled her tears with mine 
she breathed words of pity and consolation in 
my ears she passed her hands over my hair, 
and called me her son her dear son ! 

Yes, in that dark and bitter moment, I rested 
for the first time oh, God ! for the first time ! 
upon my mother's heart received the first out- 
pourings of my mother's love ! Thanks be to 



Heaven, she saved me I dare not think from 
what ! 

Let me not reveal the particulars of that first 
confidence. It is to me a sweet, almost a sa- 
cred thing. Sufficient if I say that the day de- 
clined lower and lower in the west; that the 
shadows widened and lengthened, and gradual- 
ly overspread all the landscape ; and that I still 
sat at my mother's feet, with her hands clasped 
in both mine, and her eyes looking down upon 
me with that light in them for which, as a child, 
I would have gladly died. At last I rose and 
looked out upon the gathering gloom of even- 
ing. The thought which had been lying silent- 
ly at my heart for many hours must sooner or 
later be uttered. 

"It is getting dark," I said, looking earnestly 
at her. "It is getting dark, my mother. I 
must go now." 

She turned a shade paler, and her lips trem- 
bled. She understood me. 

"You are right, my son," she said. "But 
will you go to-night?" 

I made a mute gesture of assent. It was 
enough. She went into the library, rang for 
refreshments, and desired the attendance of a 
servant. 

" Where wilt thou go ?" she said, after a brief 
absence, during which she and Jeanne had pre- 
pared my valise. "In what direction?" 

"I know not care not." 

"Thou wilt write to me? Good. What 
money hast thou ?" 

I opened my desk. It contained about thirty 
Napoleons, and some notes to the value of eight 
hundred francs. These I placed in my pocket- 
book, saying that they were enough. My moth- 
er shook her head, and laid her own purse upon 
the table before me. 

" Take this," she said ; "it contains a thou- 
sand francs. Nay ! refuse a gift from thy moth- 
er ! Take it I entreat ! It is well. Now go, 
my son, for it will soon be night. Heaven pre- 
serve and bless thee !" 

We went round together to a door at the back, 
opening on a dark lane. Two horses and a 
groom were waiting. Not another soul was 
near, and all the bouse was silent. There we 
parted there I received one more embrace 
one last farewell word and then I rode away 
into the gloom into the unknown Future. 

After galloping some distance, I reined in my 
horse and looked back. But it was too late. 
All was dark ; the limes stood up between ; I 
could not even trace the outline of my old tur- 
reted home. The veil had fallen between her 
life and mine. The first Act of the Drama was 
played out, and ended ! 

I put spurs to the horse I flew madly for- 
ward, with the groom clattering at my heels. 
The eighteen miles were soon past ; we reach- 
ed the Chalons station ; I flung the reins to 
Pierre, seized my valise, and, without even giv- 
ing the faithful fellow a fafewell glance, ran up 
the steps and stopped before the bureau. 

"When does the next train go?" 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



17 



"Directly, monsieur." 

I threw a note on the counter. 

"Where to, monsieur?" 

" As far as it will take me." 

The man passed me the change and the tick- 
et ; the bell rang ; the engine came panting up, 
with its black train ; I ran forward, leaped into 
the first carriage, and in another moment was 
moving on. 

"Pray, monsieur," I said, turning to my near- 
est neighbor, "how far does this train go to- 
night?" 

"ToStrasburg." 



CHAPTER VII. 

STRASBURG. 

A LONG drear night of perpetual traveling, 
broken by snatches of feverish sleep, which 
seemed scarcely sleep, but rather the distress- 
ful wanderings of a mind restless and over-wea- 
ried. The oil lamp flickered vaguely overhead, 
and cast an uncertain glimmer upon the forms 
and faces of my fellow-passengers, all of whom 
were profoundly sleeping. Without were clouds, 
and moonlight, and an ever-shifting panorama 
of the alternating flats, forests, vineyards, and 
steep mountains of South France, all gliding si- 
lently by, and looking ghostly in the moonshine. 
Every now and then there came a steep cutting, 
or a long black tunnel. Sometimes a sudden 
blaze of gas ; a stop ; a hurrying past of quick 
feet; a confusion of loud voices; passengers get- 
ting in and out ; and the entrance of a guard, 
with imperative voice and blazing lantern, mark- 
ed our arrival and brief pause at some station by 
the way. Then came the shrill whistle, and we 
flew on again; trees, mountains, villages, flitting 
past us as before, and ever the low continuous 
bass of our rushing progress sounding along the 
iron roadway. 

Oh ! a weary, weary night, checkered by fan- 
tastic dreams and wakings up to miserable real- 
ities by heart-sickness by sullen melancholy ! 

About three hours after midnight I fell into a 
dull, heavy sleep. It was gray morning when I 
awoke. So profound had been my slumber that 
I started ; stared round at the sleepers ; could 
remember nothing for some moments. My head 
ached ; my lips were parched ; my eyes were 
burning hot, and swollen from the tears of yes- 
terday. Worse than all, an oppressive sense of 
misfortune seemed to weigh upon my chest, 
though what that misfortune was I could not at 
first remember. Alas ! are there any who have 
never so suffered, slept, forgotten ? 

One by one my companions awoke also. 
Three of them were Germans, and they kept 
talking inaudibly among themselves. I fancied 
that I was an object of remark, and I shrank 
back into a corner and feigned to sleep. Grief 
makes us suspicious. 

"How far are we from Strasburg?" asked 
some one near me. 

B 



"Look out," was the reply, "and you will see 
the cathedral spire." 

In a few moments the guard came to collect 
our tickets, and before half an hour we had reach- 
ed the end of our journey. 

I alighted. The unfinished station was crowd- 
ed with carpenters and masons ; the yellow om- 
nibuses from Kehl, with their German drivers, 
were ranged in long rows outside the doors ; 
soldiers, hotel agents, porters, and passengers 
crowded the platform, the waiting-rooms, and 
the square beyond. All was noise, hurry, and 
confusion. Through these I made my way, as 
it were mechanically, for I felt nervous and be- 
wildered. Without, the gray morning had dis- 
solved into a slow continuous rain, and dingy 
vehicles were rattling swiftly to and fro. I 
emerged upon a line of quays, bordering a broad 
turbid river crossed by many bridges. In every 
direction were high, quaint houses, and shops 
with overhanging stories ; and, straight before 
me, showing dimly through the driving rain, 
one sharp, delicate brown spire rose up into the 
gray sky, and I knew that it was the highest 
pinnacle in the world the spire of Strasburg 
Cathedral. 

Keeping my eyes fixed upon this, and follow- 
ing its direction, even when it was no longer in 
sight, I went across a wooden bridge and into 
the broad streets of the town. It was market- 
day, and the open places were all crowded with 
stalls and people. Here were soldiers, German 
and French; peasant -women from over the 
Rhine, with silver-embroidered caps or large 
black bows upon their heads ; mountebanks 
vending cosmetics and articles of mock-jewelry; 
itinerant ballad-singers ; fruit and cake sellers ; 
purchasers and gazers of all ages and of two 
countries, hurrying, loitering, hither and thither 
in the rain, and protected by umbrellas of every 
color and shade. Past the Place Gutenberg I 
went, where stands the bronze statue of the 
First Printer, with his printing-press and types 
beside him through a low vaulted passage, or 
arcade, with mean shops and stalls on either 
s id e U p a turning to the left, at the top of 
which rose the dark cathedral, a mountain of 
perfect architecture. 

Near the entrance I paused, forgetful for the 
moment of every thing but wonder and admira- 
tion, and looked up at the gigantic mass above 
me at the intricate network of arcades and 
buttresses at the thin spire, delicate as an ivo- 
ry carving, and towering up so far into the sky 
that one feeis dizzy, though only looking at it 
from the pavement below at the labyrinthine 
processions of carved figures over the arching 
doorways, where, as a French poet beautifully 
says, 

" Stand the old stone saints in niches hoar; 

Praying so softly praying for the living." 

Inside, the rich golden gloom that pervades 
the pillared aisles, and dims the lofty roof, awed 
and oppressed me. I felt wearied and ill. There 
was scarcely a living creature scarcely the echo 
of a sound. I wandered on, and seated myself 



18 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



upon a stone bench just in front of the singular 
organ, which, with its glowing arabesques, its 
gilding, and its long pendent, terminating in a 
painted carving of Christ riding upon a lion, 
looks more like a stupendous clock than any 
thing else, so fantastic is it, and perched up, as 
it were, so perilously in the very roof of the 
building. 

Nowhere in the world is there so much su- 
perb stained glass as in this Cathedral of Stras- 
burg. The whole interior is dark with beauty, 
steeped in an atmosphere of religious gloom. 
Here are windows dating from the early part of 
the thirteenth century, which "blush with the 
blood of queens and kings" windows crowded 
with mailed champions, and bishops, and royal 
saints, robed in the most gorgeous contrasts of 
color deep red, azure, and orange. To read 
in this dusk is impossible ; and so magical is 
the effect, that persons standing a few paces off 
look dim and transfigured. 

Leaving the cathedral, I passed a motley 
crowd assembled near the south entrance beg- 
gars, market-women, soldiers, peasants, and 
fashionable visitors, all grouped together most 
republicanly, waiting to see the great clock strike 
at noon. Presently the brazen cock crew, and 
the whole paraphernalia of machinery were put 
in motion. Strange mixture of emblems, Chris- 
tian and heathen, of grave science and puppet- 
show puerilities! I wandered into the street, 
with the rest of the spectators, as soon as the 
performance ended. It was still raining heavily. 

"Hotel de Metz, monsieur!" said a dark 
man, who wore a badge suspended rcmnd his 
neck. "Hotel de Metz quite near good 
breakfasts table d'hote at five will monsieur 
permit me to conduct him ?" 

I was worn out mentally and physically, so I 
followed him to a large white hotel near the sta- 
tion, and breakfasted alone at a little table in a 
window overlooking the street. I was weary of 
the noisy life and bustle of this frontier town, 
and longed to escape from it to some green 
peaceful place farther away farther away. 

' The surging crowd went rolling on,- in spite 
of the rain, ever moving, ever changing the 
swell and hum of voices ascended from beneath 
a brass band stationed itself before the house 
some German University students, with spurs 
on their heels, and little crimson cloth caps on 
their heads, came clattering into the room, call- 
ing loudly for "bier und cigarren!" and were 
followed by three or four others wearing tri-col- 
ored caps orange, white, and blue. Theirfrank, 
jovial voices, their peals of laughter, so full of 
young life and enjoyment, jarred painfully upon 
my present mood. I drew back into the cur- 
tained embrasure of the window, and debated 
with myself whither I should go next. To 
Switzerland, by way of Basle, or to Germany, by 
the Rhine ? In my then wearied state of indif- 
ference, it mattered little which. An accident 
decided me. 

"Let us dine together, boys !" said one of the 
noisiest among the students, striking his com- 



panion on the shoulder. " Let us all dine here, 
or at the Rothes Haus, and then go to the thea- 
tre. There's to be a new play to-night ! " 

"I can not," said one of the crimson caps, 
moodily. " I must go back this afternoon to 
the old mill." 

" To Heidelberg ?" 

The student nodded. 

"Confoundedly dull place, that Heidelberg, 
is it not?" 

" Oh, confoundedly ! Nothing going on from 
one year's end to another." 

4 ' No amusements ? No theatres ? No gam- 
ing-rooms?" 

"Nothing of the sort. It's so terribly out of 
the way, you know, that none but honeymoon- 
tourists and young ladies with sketch-books and 
camp-stools come near the place. The only fun 
we ever have is beering, boating, and dueling." 

"Abominable!" "Intolerable!" chimed the 
rest, to the friendly music of the clinking glasses. 

Heidelberg ! 

Why not to Heidelberg, oh Paul Latour ? To 
that ancient abode of learning in the Neckar 
Valley to that low ruined fortress on the 
"shores of old Romance," whence the tide of 
life hath long since retreated into the great 
ocean which is eternal ? 

So to Heidelberg I went. 



CHAPTER VIII. 

HEIDELBEEG SCHLOSS. 

IT was already somewhat late in the morning 
when I drew aside my window-curtains at the 
Hotel Adler, expecting to look out upon the cas- 
tle ruins, and saw instead the steep narrow road- 
way, with its high rock-wall, the small flint 
pavement, and the usual Continental gutter, now 
swollen by the rain, running swiftly and broadly 
down the centre of the street. Overhead, the sky 
was blue and sunny, with large snowy clouds 
floating across, one after another, like an army 
with white banners. A party of laughing girls 
went up toward the castle, riding upon donkeys, 
and then some pedestrian tourists ; so I also 
hastened out, and proceeded to make my way 
up the toilsome ascent. The birds sang and 
darted about in the air; little children were 
playing upon door-steps ; the poultry strutted 
up and down ; and I passed two or three little 
knots of women and old men preparing plates 
of horn for combs a trade much followed in. 
Heidelberg. 

Shall I describe the Castle of Heidelberg, that 
red old ruin, standing midway up a fir-Avooded 
mountain, which is chapel, fortress, and palace 
in one ? Alas ! no. It has been done too well 
and too often. For such word-painting, oh 
reader, turn thee to the pages of that prose-poem 
which ascends from the shores of the New World 
like a steam of golden incense offered up to the 
glories of the Old. Those pages will tell unto 
thee, in such lordly language as befits the theme, 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



of the triumphal gateway with its leaf-carved 
pillars, which was erected in one night by com- 
mand of the Elector Frederick V., that his En- 
glish bride might pass through it on the morrow, 
and which is still called, in remembrance of her, 
the Elizabethan Pforte, or Elizabeth's Portal 
of the second gate, where the iron teeth of the 
portcullis yet threaten overhead of the silver 
shield that was stolen from its place above the 
entrance by the French besiegers of the two 
grotesque gigantic stone figures which stand, in 
the guise of armed warders, on either side of 
the glorious fa9ades of the Friedrichsbau and 
the Italian Rittersaal of Otto Henry, with their 
statues of knights and heroes, their cornices, en- 
tablatures, and rich mouldings, and blank open 
windows where the blue sky shines through 
of the blasted tower and its leafy linden-trees 
waving on the top of the canopied well of royal 
Charlemag*ne of the tower of the library of 
the deserted chapel, with its blue marble altar, 
and the paintings spared by the destroying light- 
ning yet suspended, all faded and blackened, 
above the different shrines of the armory, and 
the clock-tower, and the great tun, and of all the 
beauty and romance of that rare old building, 
which is, "next to the Alhambra of Granada, 
the most magnificent ruin of the Middle Ages." 

All these did I see, and more besides ; for I 
wandered in and out the ruins and the garden 
walks as I listed, thinking of many things. For 
the place was to me something more than a 
mere sight than a fine ruin : it was a history 
a poem a prayer. 

In this mood I sat for a long time upon the 
steps of a crumbling solitary tower, where a cher- 
ry-tree grows wild against the wall, and droops 
its fruit-clusters across the very path on which 
you tread. Hence I went down and wandered 
through the interior of the castle, seeing the tun 
and the wooden image of the jester ; the dun- 
geons, and the collection of old paintings. 

But oh ! the first sight of that view from the 
garden wall the town beneath, with its slate- 
roofed University, its church spires, and its 
bridge the shallow turbid Neckar eddying 
through the arches the broad, level Rhine-val- 
ley, with its vineyards, and corn-fields, and 
flashes of the river here and there the dark 
green Odenwald; and the dim, distant Hartz 
Mountains fading on the horizon, with the 
spire of Strasburg Minster showing up midway 
upon the plain ! The immensity of the circuit 
bewildered and oppressed me, and I gazed so 
long and so earnestly that the bright sunlight 
dazzled me, and the near and the far were con- 
founded together upon my sight. 

" Eine schone Aussicht, mein Herr!" (a fine 
prospect, sir!) said a pleasant voice close beside 
me. 

I turned. A tall, fair young man, with an 
open book in his hand and a long German 
pipe at his lips, was standing at my elbow, with 
his arms resting upon the parapet. An almost 
indefinable something in his accent, in the fash- 
ion of his dress, in the free-falling cm*ls of his 



light brown hair, and the frank cheerfulness of 
his address, told me at once that he was a for- 
eigner. I glanced rapidly at the open book : 
it was Carlyle's "History of the French Revo- 
lution." 

"Indeed, a most divine prospect,"! replied 
in English. "One that might drive a painter 
to despair." 

The young man colored. 

" I suppose," he said, after a moment's hesi- 
tation, "that my countrymen never are to suc- 
ceed in concealing their identity. During the 
two years that I have been here, I have studied 
the peculiarities of the language very earnestly, 
but I have not yet mastered what may be call- 
ed its nationality. How did you know me to 
be an Englishman ?" 

I pointed to the volume in his hand. 

"Your accent told me something," said I, 
smiling, "and your book confirmed my suppo- 
sitions. What do you think of Carlyle ?" 

" Oh, he is magnificent !" exclaimed the En- 
glishman, with some warmth. "A most orig- 
inal genius, and a very Titan in literature. He 
wields words like mountains, and hurls them, 
not at Heaven, but at ' idols' and ' mud-gods.' " 

" His style is very eccentric." 

"Granted; but is it not vivid, earnest, pas- 
sionate? Does he not carry your sympathies 
forcibly along with him?" 

"That is true, especially with regard to his 
history. It lacks, perhaps, the majesty of Gib- 
bon and the lofty grandeur of Macaulay, but it 
is history with a heart in it." 

"And then, notwithstanding the severity of 
his principles and his hatred of 'shams,' what a 
deep well of love, and pity, and even of humor, 
lies buried down in the depths of his nature ! 
Besides, what force and power in his language ! 
It is as if his thoughts were cast in bronze." 

"I perceive, sir," I said, with more cordiali- 
ty than was usual to me when conversing with 
strangers, "that you are an enthusiast for books ; 
but here is an epic that passes the art of the 
poet a history more impressive than any which 
can be related by man. Surely there can be 
no second place on earth so beautiful as this !" 

"If there be, I have not seen it," said the En- 
glishman, "and I have traveled much. Dear 
old Heidelberg!" he continued, facing round to 
the castle, and leaning against the wall with his 
back toward the landscape ; " dear old Heidel- 
berg ! I know every nook, and cranny, and 
owl's-nest in its crumbling walls ! Some of the 
happiest hours of my life have been spent here, 
reading my favorite books under the trees in the 
garden ; dreaming my favorite dreams in unfre- 
quented corners of the ruins ; talking German 
metaphysics with my University friends, beside 
that little fountain bubbling up yonder in the 
sunlight. I believe that, with the one excep- 
tion of the tun-keeper's, those silvered globe- 
mirrors in the court-yard have reflected ho face 
so often as mine for the last two years. I have 
rooms down in the town, but I am scarcely 
ever there unless at night. I almost live up 



20 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



here ; and a fine day, a quiet nook in the ruins, 
my pipe, and a book, are all that I require to 
be perfectly happy. You can't think how I love 
the place, or in what curious fancies and com- 
parisons I delight to indulge respecting it. 
Standing up thus, so lordly and so battle-worn, 
and inclosing within its shattered walls these 
flower-beds and that fairy fountain, it often re- 
minds me of some old disabled warrior with his 
grandchildren smiling on his knee. But night 
is the time for Heidelberg ! Have you been up 
yet by moonlight?" 

I said that I had only arrived at a late hour 
the evening before. 

"Then I envy you the sensations of that first 
view by moonlight. You have not yet an idea 
of the beauty and poetry of the spot. The moon 
rises to-night about ten o'clock.; come to my 
rooms, and I will accompany you. I know all 
the best points of view, and I shall be delighted 
to witness your enjoyment." 

"A thousand thanks; but had you not bet- 
ter call for me ? I am staying at the Hotel Ad- 
ler, half way up the hill. We can sup together 
before we start." 

"As you please. This, too, is the month 
when the nightingales sing sweetest ; and I 
promise you that you will hear such songs 
' shaken from their little throats' to-night as you 
never heard before. By the way, who knows 
but we may even see the spectre-mass in the 
chapel of St. Udalrich !" 

"What is that, pray?" 

" Oh, one of our Heidelberg legends ! We 
have plenty such." 

"Delightful! you shall relate some of them 
to me by moonlight. How glad I am to have 
made your acquaintance!" 

We were friends already ; and the conversa- 
tion thus begun lasted for more than two hours. 
We talked of paintings, and of our favorite 
books ; of Goethe, and Jean Paul, and of Uh- 
land of philosophy of history of the German 
and French character, and of many more things 
than I can now remember. Our tastes seemed 
to agree in most respects ; or, when they differ- 
ed, differed just sufficiently to lend an interest 
to discussion. Averse as I generally am to 
strangers, I was pleased with this young En- 
glishman from the very first. His smile, his 
glance, the cheerful tones of his voice, impressed- 
me favorably. He had read much, and his 
reading had been well chosen. That he was a 
good German, French, and Italian scholar I had 
already discovered ; and the enthusiasm with 
which he spoke of places and of authors showed 
me that he possessed a warm imagination, and 
an almost boyish enjoyment of beauty and talent. 
In a word, he seemed to be good-natured, unaf- 
fected, and a gentleman. It was almost noon 
when we parted, renewing our engagement for 
the evening. My new acquaintance walked 
with me to the door of my hotel, and as we pass- 
ed the restaurateur's in the castle gardens, we 
saw a party of English dining in the open air, 
one of whom exclaimed as we went by, 



"Capital place, this Heidelberg! Magnifi- 
cent old ruin ; and the very best beer I have 
tasted since I left home ! " 



CHAPTER IX. 

NORMAN SEABROOK. 

I KNOW not whether it Avas the heart-suffering 
through which I had passed that made me more 
susceptible to every kindly influence, but I have 
often been surprised when I recall how quickly 
that friendship was formed between Norman 
Seabrook and myself that cordial and manly 
friendship which has ever since been one of the 
greatest joys and consolations of my life ! 

He had so true and just a feeling for poetry 
and art he was so generous, so high-spirited, 
so warm of heart, so earnest of soul, that it would 
have needed a nature far colder and more un- 
grateful than mine to reject the golden gift. 

Not that Norman Seabrook was faultless and 
a hero ! Alas ! no. Our age, reader, bringeth 
forth no heroes. He was simply a young man 
with a good heart, a liberal education, and a 
somewhat indolent and luxurious disposition. 
I never knew any one with so great a capacity 
for enjoyment. The sight of a pretty child, of 
a good picture, sculpture, or engraving, the far 
sounds of music, the summer sky, and the land- 
scapes around Heidelberg, used to afford him 
the keenest sense of delight. He would dwell 
upon a passage from some favorite author with 
a gusto that I used positively to envy ; tracking 
the idea through every possible gradation of 
meaning ; discovering little hidden beauties of 
accentuation and phrasing, and seeming actual- 
ly to taste the inner-sweetness of every deep 
and lovely thought. It was the same with paint- 
ings the same with music the same with rid- 
ing, boating, or walking. He enjoyed every 
occupation to the uttermost, and with the care- 
less glee of a school-boy. He seemed to drink 
in contentment with the very air, and I do not 
know that there was any one thing in which he 
took a greater pleasure than lying upon his 
back in the deep grass upon the river-banks, 
with a pipe in his mouth and a paper of choco- 
late bonbons in his pocket, looking up to the sky 
and the clouds, and suffering his imagination to 
stray unheeded through all the wild untrodden 
ways of thought. 

"There are times," he used sometimes to 
say, " when the heart is more than usually open 
to impressions of beauty when the form of a 
tree, the rustle of a leaf, the piping of a solitary 
bird, are sufficient to fill us with a vague and 
subtle feeling of delight which is more than 
half sadness, and for which no expression can 
be found in language. At such moments how 
beautiful is the world how divine is life! 
What poetry is it only to feel the warm sun ; to 
breathe the pleasant air; to lie in the quivering 
shadows of the trees, or the cool angle of some 
gray ruined wall, and to look up to the blue sky 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



21 



overhead with that unspoken longing of soul 
after the Infinite and the Far which our human 
nature loves to recognize as the stamp of its 
own strange immortality!" 

In all this there was something of the dreamy 
mental self-indulgence peculiar to German the- 
orists, and to that school of poetical philosophy 
which possesses so irresistible a fascination for 
those young men whose imaginations are warm, 
and whose experience of the realities of life has 
been but limited. Norman Seabrook would 
perhaps have been a nobler and more useful 
member of society had his intellectual training 
been less of the Sybarite than the Spartan had 
Bacon, and Newton, and Locke been studied 
rather than Fichte, Swedenborg, and Shubert. 
He would have learned to seek after difficulties, 
that he might overcome them. As it was, he 
only searched for beauty, that he might worship 
it. He shrank instinctively from all that was 
harsh and unprepossessing ; he attached him- 
self, as unconsciously, to every thing that was 
agreeable. No one could say a kind word or 
perform a gracious action more pleasantly than 
he ; but I must confess that, where a distasteful 
duty had to be accomplished, he would delay, 
neglect, and even avoid it, if he could. It was 
the weak point of his character an amiable 
weakness, if you will, and one that was adorned 
by a thousand good and graceful qualities. It 
is often well for a man when he is either poor 
or proud, for the desire either of opulence or 
fame urges him on to play his part as a laborer 
in that field wherein it has been truly said that 
"to work is to worship." Unfortunately for 
Seabrook, he loved knowledge better than fame, 
and he owned a small independence which just 
sufficed, with economy, for the requirements of 
a bachelor. 

"I love books," he said, "and I have where- 
withal to purchase such as I love best. I am 
fond of travel and of Continental life, and I con- 
trive to enjoy it. When I can not afford to 
rent rooms on the first story, I am content with 
the attic ; if my purse be too low for the first 
class in the railway, I do not object to the sec- 
ond or the third. When I am too poor for 
either, I take my knapsack on my shoulders, my 
book in my hand, and walk. After all, this is 
the best traveling. You get a lift by the way 
from some peasants going to a fair or a wed- 
ding ; you gather some grapes from the vine- 
yard or some cherries from the roadside, to eat 
witli the loaf in your pocket at noon ; you go by 
the river-banks, and along the green meadows, 
and at the foot of steep precipices, which the 
fashionable travelers on the high road never 
dream of investigating ; and at night you arrive 
at some little hamlet, with bells ringing and 
cows being driven out to the pasture after milk- 
ing, where you sup at the rustic inn, and listen 
to the legends of the Rhine and the Black For- 
est, as they are told by mine host, over the pipe 
and the ale-jug, when the dusk gathers round, 
and the neighbors come dropping in on their 
way home from the harvest-fields." 



Such was my new friend a dreamer among 
men a loiterer by the wayside on the great 
road of life and endeavor. In my lonely and 
meditative condition of mind, I attached my- 
self to him with my whole soul, and his very 
faults were almost as virtues in my eyes. Dis- 
appointment had worked some evil already upon 
me ; and, placing myself but little value upon 
ambition, how could I blame his indolence, and 
the carelessness of its advantages ? 

We met daily we walked together we read 
each other's favorite books, and studied side by 
side in the University library. We always 
supped and spent the evening together, either 
at my rooms or his ; and sometimes we wander- 
ed up to the castle, or crossed the river to laugh 
away an hour or two among the students who 
frequent the Hirschgasse a little, solitary white 
inn, about half a mile out of Heidelberg, where 
as many as four or five duels take place daily 
among these riotous children of philosophy. 
We also spent long afternoons upon the Neck- 
ar, taking it in turn to row, while one read aloud 
from the pages of some old poet or historian, 
till the pleasant dusk came gently over all, and 
the last brightness faded from the lofty tower 
of the Konigstuhl. Then we would look up- 
ward to the pale moon, and, resting a while 
upon our oars, hear only the falling drops that 
splashed back from them into the river the 
surging of the stream against the banks on 
either side the melancholy cry of the heron 
among the reeds or the lowing herds at the 
homesteads in the valley. 

Oh, those calm, delicious evenings of warm 
June, when the stars came glowing through the 
tranquil depths of sky, and the sun went slowly 
down behind the mountains in the purple dis- 
tance, like a monarch to his grave, clad in scar- 
let and gold ! 

It was on the morning following some such 
evening ramble that I lay at the foot of a clump 
of trees bordering the footpath called The Phi- 
losopher's Walk, about half way up the hill 
fronting the town. In my hand I carried a 
volume of Lamartine's "Meditations Poe- 
tiques;" the sultry air hung heavily upon the 
sense ; scarce a blade of grass waved scarce a 
leaf stirred scarce a bee hummed near me 
All was silent above, below, around. The faint 
murmur from the town came drowsily and at 
intervals. The very river lay sluggishly along 
the landscape, as if torpid beneath the sun. 
Gradually I fell into a dream a waking dream, 
wherein the dim land of the past was wafted 
before me, and the poets of old days walked by 
in their singing-robes, serenely glorious. Sud- 
denly a rapid step came along the path a free, 
firm, careless step that I well knew, and my 
English friend, with his dog at his heels, had 
bounded almost past me before he was aware 
of my presence. 

"Eureka!" he exclaimed, laughing, as he 
stopped short, and flung himself down beside 
me on the grass. ' ' Found at last ! Why, 
man, I have been looking for you in the ruins, 



22 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



and down by the river, and in the library, and 
had just given you up, when it struck ihe that 
you might possibly have strolled in this direc- 
tion. See ! I called for you at the ' Adler,' and 
finding these new arrivals upon your table, I 
put them in my pocket, that you might have the 
pleasure of reading them the sooner." 

And he flung a couple of letters down before 
me. 

This one, so slenderly and accurately direct- 
ed, was evidently from my mother ; that, with 
its rough, dashing superscription all blotted and 
defaced, I recognized for the handwriting of 
Theophile. 

Alas ! the dream-threads were broken, and 
at the sight of those letters the chill remem- 
brances of love, and home, and exile, and dis- 
appointment came back upon me, and broke the 
brief reverie into which I had fallen. I took 
the letters up, laid them down, took them up 
again, turned pale and red by turns, and re- 
mained quite silent. 

"Are they from your family in Burgundy?" 
asked my friend. 

I nodded. 

" But won't you read them ? Pray don't let 
me be an interruption !" 

I dreaded to open them ; and yet how strange 
it would seem were I not to do so ! My moth- 
er's no ! I could not read that one yet ! I 
placed it reverently in my pocket-book, and 
broke the seal of The'ophile's letter. As I did 
so, a vague shuddering dread ran through me, 
and the paper fluttered in my fingers. 

"Read it to me, mon ami!" I said, hoarsely, 
turning away, and holding out the letter toward 
him. " Read it to me ; I am not well to-day." 

He glanced at me, took it without a word, 
and read it aloud. 

"By the time that my dear Paul receives 
this letter, his brother will be the happiest of 
men and of husbands. Yes, monfrere, the con- 
tract is to be signed this evening by my dearest 
Adrienne and myself, and to-morrow at midday 
the ceremony which unites our lives forever will 
take place. Every thing will be conducted as 
quietly as possible. We shall have no fete ex- 
cept for the peasantry, and no company except- 
ing that of Adrienne's maternal uncle from En- 
gland the brother to her late guardian. I am 
very sorry that you will not be here to share 
our happiness. I would have written to you 
before this, to acquaint you with our wedding 
arrangements, had not our mother prevented 
me from time to time. It is a great pity that 
you should have fancied to travel just at this 
time ; but you were always a contrary fellow, 
and unlike the rest of the world, mon cher, so 
we can but lament your sins of omission. To 
tell you the truth, I fear lest Adrienne should 
imagine that you are not favorable to our mar- 
riage, or that you do not like her, and have 
gone away for the purpose. Seriously, it has 
that appearance, and I am sorry for it, although 
I know it can not be actually the case. I have 



purchased the Hauteville property. The price 
was high, and the house, I regret to say, is al- 
most a ruin ; but the repairs will be commenced 
in a few days. There is a kiosque in the park, 
which I mean to convert into a smoking-room. 
I have given my Andalusian mare to Adrienne, 
and bought a new bay riding-horse for my own 
use. Adrienne looks charming on horseback 
quite an Amazon. Besides, the mare had 
not fire enough in her to suit me. Our mother 
is looking well, and these matrimonial prepara- 
tions keep her constantly employed. That good 
heart ! it would have been almost worth while 
to have married, had it been only for the sake 
of seeing her so proud and happy. I wish you 
could be here to-morrow for the ceremony ; but 
I know that you are too firmly wedded to your 
old bookworm habits to care any thing for love 
or marriage. Will you ever fall in love your- 
self, mon cher? The very question, as applied 
to you, .seems an absurdity unless, indeed, 
some fair Olimpia Morata were now living in 
Heidelberg for your sake ! Adieu, my dear 
Paul. Take care of yourself, and let us see 
you at home again when we return from our 
wedding tour. 

" Your attached brother, 

"THEOPHILE LATOUR." 

"A letter filled with good news !" exclaimed 
Seabrook, gayly, as he concluded my brother's 
epistle. " Come, you must describe this fair 
bride to me is she beautiful ?" 

"Most beautiful!'' 

"Amiable?" 

"As an angel." 

"And rich?" 

I nodded. 

"But this is not half a wold-painting. What 
hair has she ? What eyes ? Is she tall or 
short ? brunette or blonde ? gay, grave, lively, 
or severe ? Now manifest your artist-skill, La- 
tour, in enumerating me so glowing a catalogue 
of your sister-in-law's charms, that, as the 
knightly Troubadour, Geoffrey de Rudel, of the 
fair Countess of Tripoli, I may become enam- 
ored of her beauty, even without having once 
beheld it!" 

His unconscious levity jarred upon me. I 
turned my head suddenly and looked him in 
the face. 

''Mon ami," I said, earnestly, and with all 
the firmness I could muster, " do not ask me to 
dwell upon this subject to speak to you of this 
lady. I I can not." 

He started ; the letter dropped from his hand, 
and he pressed my hand silently. We were 
both silent for a long time, and I was the first 
to speak. 

"Tell me, Seabrook," I said, "who is, or 
was, this fair Olimpia Morata whom my brother 
mentions ? Do you know any thing of her ?" 

' ' Yes ; she was an Italian lady of much beau- 
ty and learning, married to a young German 
doctor named Grunthler, who fell in love witli 
her at Fcrrara, and fled with her to Augsburg 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



in 1548, to escape the persecutions of the Italian 
Church. Chased from Augsburg to Schwein- 
furt, from Schweinfurt to Hammelburgh, they 
settled at last in Heidelberg, under the protec- 
tion of the Elector Palatine. Here Grunthler 
obtained the appointment of Professor of Phys- 
ics to the University, and his wife delivered lec- 
tures upon the Greek, Latin, and French lan- 
guages, and upon the paradoxes of Cicero. 
They were now perfectly happy ; and the great 
beauty of Olimpia, as well as the fame of her 
acquirements, brought many listeners and gaz- 
ers from far and near throughout all Germany. 
In 1555 she died, at the age of twenty-nine 
years. You may see her simple monument 
yonder, in the church-yard of St. Peter. Shall 
we stroll down into the town and look at it?" 

" Not now, Seabrook, for I want to propose 
something to you. You have no particular mo- 
tive in remaining at Heidelberg, have you ?" 

"You know that I am only loitering about 
here among the books of the University for my 
own amusement." 

" Good. Would you object to go to Frank- 
furt?" 

"To Frankfurt? Certainly not; but why 
do you wish to visit Frankfurt ?" 

"I only name Frankfurt because it is near. 
I care not where we go, if we but go some- 
where ; for I need change, amusement, relief 
from the monotony of thought. You are free 
free as myself let us get away, farther away, 
to Frankfurt, Darmstadt, Wiesbaden any where 
you will!" 

Once more he pressed my hand in his, for he 
understood me. 

"To Frankfurt, then, and with what speed 
we may ! When will you go ? To-night ?" 

" Not to-night. Let us spend our last moon- 
light evening together among the ruins. I may 
never behold them again." 

"And sup afterward with the University lads 
at the Hirschgasse ! We must be merry for 
the nonce, for who knows when we shall again 
share their ' cakes and ale ?' " 

So that evening, when the crescent moon 
stood over the clock-tower like a silver sickle in 
a field of stars, we went up to the ruins, and 
heard the nightingales sing in Heidelberg for 
the last time. 

Alas ! for the last time ! 

Farewell, then, to thee, thou majestic monu- 
ment of many centuries ! Though I behold 
thee no more, yet keepest thou thy desolate 
state on the steep verge of the Jettenbuhl, and 
some of my greenest memories cling round thy 
crumbling walls, even as thine own ivy. This 
wintry sun which gleams in so coldly through 
my casement as I write, sleeps now upon fliy 
grassy court-yard, thy fountain, and the maimed 
heroes of thy kingly Rittersaal ; this chill air, 
which shakes the gaunt poplars yonder by the 
dull pond, stirs amid the branches of thy droop- 
ing willows, and rustles the last yellow leaves 
upon the lindens of thy Blasted Tower. The 



people come and go amid thy solitudes the 
river eddies far beneath the town lies at thy 
foot. Thou art the same, and I alone am 
changed !. Farewell to theel 



CHAPTER X. 

THE MOONLIGHT SONATA. 

FROM Heidelberg to Frankfurt we went in 
the misty morning, past the Sea of Rocks past 
the dark leafy Odenwald past the sunny Berg- 
strasse, and the little stagnant capital of the 
duchy of Hesse Darmstadt. 

The sunny Bergstrasse ! This "road of 
mountains," as the Germans poetically name 
it, is an undulating chain of hills, cultivated in 
fields, orchards, and vineyards up almost to the 
summits, and crowned, like Indian chiefs, with 
solemn plumes of the fir and pine. At the feet 
of these hills lie little white villages with heav- 
en-pointing spires, and yellow corn-stacks, and 
pillars of blue smoke rising up into the "pa- 
geantry of mist" which hangs in fantastic bil- 
lowy wreaths low down the sides of the mount- 
ains. Here, also, are fields of pink poppies, 
maize, wheat, and potatoes wooded bluffs, and 
dark green hollows steep ravines, and slopes 
of radiant green, and towers, and streamlets 
crossed by rude wooden bridges, and feeding 
cattle, and rustic gardens, and foaming mill- 
streams turning busy wheels, and yoked oxen 
bending their proud heads .to the earth before 
the steady plow. A fairy fertile region a land 
of corn and wine ! And past here, with the 
beautiful Bergstrasse on our right, and the 
broad, sandy, flat Rhine-valley, with the river 
winding far away, and the summits of Mont 
Tonnerre and the Vosges Mountains dimly 
showing through the distance on the left, we 
went from feudal Heidelberg to the ''ancient 
imperial free city" on the River Main, where Lu- 
ther lived, and where Goethe was born that 
fair fine city of Frankfurt, where the houses- are 
so white and high, and the public streets so 
broad and busy ; where the shops are so gay 
and the women so fair, and where the slates on 
the roofs are shaped like fishes' scales. 

It was a sultry sunny day, that first day of 
our arrival in Frankfurt ; and when we return- 
ed to our hotel, after seeing the Romer, with its 
kingly portrait gallery, the public library near 
the Ober Main Thor, and the monument of the 
Emperor Giinther von Schwartzburg in the old 
cathedral, we were too warm and too weary to 
do any thing but sit smoking beside the open 
window till summoned down by the pealing bell 
to that second and later meal which is provided 
in most German hotels for such foreign visitors 
as object to the national midday dinner. 

Our apartment overlooked the broad Zeil, all 
thronged with carriages and promenaders, and 
looking like a Parisian boulevard without the 
trees. It was to me a new and cheerful scene. 
Here were elegant loungers, and travelers with 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



the Guide-book in their hands, and sun-burnt 
peasant-women selling cherries by the roadside. 
Boyish soldiers of the town-guard, with their 
dull gray and green uniforms, and their round 
hats surmounted by bunches of cock's feathers, 
went sauntering by, arm in arm, clanking their 
spurs. Luxurious private carriages, belonging 
to the merchant-princes of the city, dashed past, 
raising the dust in clouds. Humble yellow ca- 
leches, indicative of hotel-stables, ambled along, 
filled with smiling and admiring tourists. ' Some- 
times a red railway omnibus went by, with its 
two gaunt horses, and its bearded conductor, 
who pauses and rings a bell as he nears every 
hotel by the way ; sometimes a dark, keen-look- 
ing Hebrew, from the neighborhood of the Ju- 
dengasse, glided gravely through the crowd; 
and once a troop of glittering cavalry, with helm 
and breastplate flashing back the sunlight, rode 
down the street to ringing sounds of brazen 
music. 

Pleasant to me, oh Frankfurt ! are the rec- 
ollections of thy wealth, and thy dignity, and 
thy free stateliness, as thou sittest on the banks 
of the Main River, fair and beautiful, like Do- 
7 rothea by the brook-side in the Brown Mount- 
, ain. 

The table d'hote of the Baierischer Hof was 
attended chiefly by English and French visitors, 
with a sprinkling of Germans and a small knot 
of Polish Jews, who congregated together at one 
extremity of the table, and talked loudly and 
unintelligibly during the whole period of the 
dinner. These gentlemen wore each a scrap 
of red ribbon at the button-hole, and were call- 
ed by the waiters Lord Baron and Lord Count, 
notwithstanding that their jewelry looked some- 
what questionable, and that their linen might 
have been washed with considerable advantage. 

When the second course of that hopelessly 
incongruous ceremony, a German dinner, had 
just been removed, a gentleman came hastily 
into the room and took a seat which had been 
left vacant at the table just opposite my own. 
I say a gentleman, because, despite the poverty 
of his attire, there was an air of faded gentility 
about the appearance of the new-comer that 
seemed to entitle him to the appellation. He 
wore an old brown frock-coat, buttoned nearly 
to the throat, and trimmed with ragged braid 
across the breast ; and in his black stock a small 
pearl brooch inclosing a lock of dark hair. He 
was very thin, and stooped much, and his hands 
were yellow and spare, like those of a sick man. 
His hair and mustache were thick and quite 
gray ; and his face, as he looked up, bore that 
peculiar expression, so worn and so sorrowful, 
such as we see given to the martyrs in the old 
paintings by Van Eyck and Wilhelm of Cologne. 
It was a remarkable face so remarkable that, 
after gazing upon it in silence for a few mo- 
ments, I could not forbear observing it to my 
friend beside me. I should not have called him 
a plain man ; on the contrary, his nose and 
mouth were somewhat delicately shaped ; and 
yet the skin seemed drawn so tightly over every 



feature that the cartilage of the nose showed 
whitely beneath, and the lips were shrunken so 
as partially to expose the teeth within, which 
were irregular, firm, and glittering. His fore- 
head was particularly massive, and projected in 
two knots above the eyes, causing them to look 
deep-sunken and glowing, like a lurid fire in 
the depths of a dark cavern. Added to this, 
his whole complexion wore one dull, unhealthy 
sallow hue his actions were nervous, trembling, 
and eager the tones of his voice high and quer- 
ulous his glances rapid, furtive, and suspicious. 
I also noticed that he devoured the dishes, as 
they were placed before him, with a quick vo- 
racity that I felt shocked to witness. 

"Look at our opposite neighbor,"! whisper- 
ed, softly; "can you not read a long story of 
privation and anxiety in that poor fellow's pal- 
lid countenance ?" 

Seabrook looked up. A sudden flash of sur- 
prise and recognition passed over his face. 

" I know him," he said, in a low tone. "His 
name is Fletcher. He is an Englishman a 
strange, eccentric creature, of wild and irregular 
habits, but a real genius." 

"A genius in what?" 

" In music. He plays the organ and violin 
composes the wildest and most wondrous la- 
ments, fantasias, and capricios that ear ever 
heard lives the most restless, wretched life on 
earth eats opium, and is killing himself inch 
by inch, day by day, in the pursuit of that fatal 
intoxication. I used to meet him constantly 
in Vienna, about a couple of years since, at the 
houses of two or three musical friends, and we 
became tolerably well acquainted. I will speak 
to him." 

And he bent forward and a4dressed to him 
some brief words of ordinary civility. The mu- 
sician looked up hastily. He seemed startled 
and confused. 

"I I beg your pardon, "he said, nervously, 
"for not having observed you before. I hope 
yoi* are quite well. It is a fine day, but they 
say we shall have rain. Have you been to the 
theatre much ? This is a very bad dinner red 
currant jelly with salmon faugh ! Do you like 
the German wines ? Rudesheimer is the best. 
Have you been long here ? I have been here 
two montbs ; but I leave to-morrow. Going to 
Ems. How are our friends in Paris ?" 

My companion smiled and shook his head. 

" It was not in Paris, but Vienna, that we 
used to meet, Mr. Fletcher," he said. "Don't 
you remember our choral evenings at Alexander 
Braun's, and our quartett parties in the Freder- 
ic-strasse, near St. Stephen's church ?" 

"True, true ; but I have no memory now ex- 
cept for music. I hope you will forgive me. I 
remember you perfectly. You play the violon- 
cello, and very well too. Those were pleasant 
meetings at Braun's. Do you recollect the 
evening that Chopin came in ? He played splen- 
didly that night. Do you know many people 
in Frankfurt? Plenty of music always going 
on. I have been conducting the band at the 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



25 



Main-lust ; but this will be my last evening. 
Will you come round and hear us ?" 

There was an anxious rapidity and incoher- 
ence in this man's conversation that was to me 
unaccountably distressing. His words and ideas 
came hurrying forth, one after the other, without 
connection or pause ; and when he had ceased 
speaking, it seemed rather that he relapsed into 
some previous train of silent thought than that 
he waited for a reply. 

"I should like to hear your music very 
much," said Seabrook, "and I am very sure 
my friend would also. Let me introduce you : 
Monsieur Latour Mr. Fletcher." 

He bowed, almost without looking at me, and 
went on. 

"Do not expect too much. The band is only 
tolerable ; but the Frankfurt Choral Society sing 
to-night. They will amuse you. Have you 
ever been to the Main-lust ? It is an odd place. 
You sit under the trees and drink coffee while 
we play to you. Don't touch this calf 's-head 
it's intolerable. By the way, you have tasted 
sour-krout ? Schroder is dead. You remember 
Schroder he used to take the tenor in the quar- 
tetts. Are you lodging at this hotel ? We can 
go down to the gardens together after dinner. 
It is now four, and at five we begin." 

He relapsed into a dull silence, bent over his 
plate, and, when Seabrook again spoke to him, 
seemed not to hear. 

Almost as silently, he conducted us, when the 
meal was over, to the concert-gardens called the 
Main -lust, just beyond the town. Here the 
most respectable of the citizens repair with their 
families, and, sitting beneath the leafy roof 
formed by the close-planted trees, have coffee 
and ices, and even suppers, in the grounds. 
The gentlemen amuse themselves with pistol 
and rifle shooting in a gallery set apart for that 
purpose, and there is a circular kiosque for the 
band. The ladies read and knit ; the children 
sit by demurely, listening to the music and eat- 
ing cakes ; and the waiters glide about, silent 
and attentive, with little badges on their arms. 
A large hulk is moored beside the garden for 
it abuts on the river, just in view of the city 
spires and on this hulk a sort of arch is erect- 
ed, all hung round with evergreens and colored 
lamps, and surmounted by a bust of Mozart. 
Desks are placed here for the singers, and it is 
all fenced round by trellis-work, and flowers, and 
Chinese lanterns, and gay flags and streamers. 
Here the Choral Society, some thirty gentlemen 
in all, assemble presently, and the evening pass- 
es pleasantly away between alternate vocal and 
instrumental pieces. They sing well, and their 
voices come richly to us from the river. Then 
it grows dusk, and the moon rises. The colored 
lamps are lit, and the light from them blue, 
green, and red falls, with a curious effect, upon 
the faces of the singers. Mr. Fletcher conducts 
in the orchestra, but we can not see him from 
where we sit beneath the close avenues. Well- 
dressed people promenade through the garden 
walks, and numbers of tiny pleasure-boats, filled 



by young men and maidens, come stealing soft- 
ly round the singers in the river some with a 
twinkling lamp suspended at the prow, which 
casts a light upon the ripples of their progress. 
The bridge close by is likewise crowded with 
listeners ; and the boys from the town, in their 
blue blouses, come climbing up the shrubby 
banks, with the true German love for that art 
which has been called " the poetry of sound." 

Thus the cool hours glide ; and, by-and-by, 
the gay company, the flitting pleasure-boats, the 
loiterers on the bridge, disperse their several 
ways, and the gardens are deserted. The sing- 
ers mingle with their friends in the departing 
crowd ; the musicians in the kiosque pack away 
their instruments ; the waiters go round, extin- 
guishing the lights and collecting the empty 
glasses. Mr. Fletcher joins us where we are 
waiting for him near the entrance, and we all 
go out together into the blank, silent streets. 
It begins to rain, and we hurry on in silence, 
past the Stadel Museum, and the Allee facing 
the theatre, where stands the bronze statue of 
Goethe, looking shadowy through the mist 
pass the Rossmarkt, and into a narrow street 
opening on the Zeil, where our companion stops 
suddenly, and, pointing to a lighted doorway be- 
fore which we have just arrived, says, 

" Let us go in for an hour. It is early, and 
I always sup here. We have music and goose- 
pies. It is a sort of private club ; and nearly 
all the band come. Have you any objection ? 
Mendelssohn came in one night with Weigel 
andHirt!" 

We are only too delighted, and we follow him 
down a passage and to the door of an inner 
room, whence come the sounds of loud laugh- 
ter, and chinking glasses, and snatches of gay 
songs. A porter, who touches his cap as we 
approach, sits by the entrance, and throws the 
door open. It is a room filled with tobacco- 
smoke, and the odors of beer and hot savory 
dishes. Around a long table in the centre sit 
some sixteen or eighteen dingy-looking, beard- 
ed men, busily occupied with the viands before 
them. Some are smoking during the intervals 
between the courses ; some are arguing, telling 
tales, whispering confidentially together; some 
are reading the "Frankfurt Journal" while they 
eat. All is freedom, and enjoyment, and good- 
fellowship. 

We sit down, almost without being observed, 
at the lower end of the table ; and. being sup- 
plied with all that it affords, fall to work heartily. 
Fletcher is more taciturn than ever, and eats vo- 
raciously, like a dog, holding his head down, and 
helping himself to every thing that is near. 

"Take no notice of him," whispers Seabrook, 
observing my surprise. " He is very eccentric, 
and you have not yet seen him ,to advantage. 
Wait till the supper is removed, and you will 
find him no longer the same man. He knew 
Beethoven, and his conversation is sometimes 
most interesting. We must contrive to lead to 
the subject in some way by-and-by." 

The smoking, the talking, the eating still goes 



26 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



on. Indeed, it would seem that the relays of 
dishes are never-ending, especially the favorite 
goose-pies of which we have been told. How- 
ever, the supper does at last arrive at a conclu- 
sion the table is cleared tobacco, beer, wine, 
and cigars are laid before us the chair is taken | 
by a stout dark man in a green coat the read- 
ers lay down their newspapers, and music and 
conversation become the order of the night. 

"A song!" cries the president, in a powerful 
bass voice. "A song 4 I call upon Brenner 
for a song!" 

Brenner, a fair young man with an amber 
beard, hereupon rises, amid general acclama- 
tion, and, seating himself at a piano, preludes 
cleverly for some minutes, and then glides, by 
an agreeable transition, into a graceful tenor 
song by Schubert. His voice is sweet, but not 
powerful; and he sings remarkably well. I 
learn from a gentleman opposite that he belongs 
to the summer theatre at Bockenheim, and takes 
the roles of second tenor. Great applause and 
cries of "encore" prevent him from resuming 
his seat after he has concluded. Seabrook sug- 
gests "Adelaide" it is repeated by several 
voices the singer bows and smiles, and the 
song is sung. 

"I know no music like Beethoven's, after 
all," says Seabrook, with a glance toward me 
and a little emphasis in his tone. "There is 
a power and passion in it which I find in no 
other ; a deep, earnest under-current of poetry ; 
an inner meaning ; a universality of feeling and 
perception totally unlike others of his craft. I 
often think that if Beethoven had not been a 
musician, he would have been a great poet. 
Look at his bust it is almost Homeric in its 
stern beauty. Those loose, thick locks; that 
large, eloquent mouth,- that furrowed brow; 
those deep, thoughtful eyes are they not the 
very types and outward revelations of the strong, 
wild nature of the man, and of his great warm 
heart?" 

"You are right, sir," says Fletcher, turning 
sudddely toward us with kindling eyes. "And 
he put that heart into his music that heart that 
was so torn and rejected by his fellow-men. 
What pictures of life and emotion are many of 
his symphonies and sonatas ! How character- 
istically some of them are conducted ! At first 
wailing and lonely, like a sorrowful voice in the 
night-silence ; then agitated, broken, throbbing, 
like the yearnings of a full heart ; then stormy, 
torrent-like, burning, as the billows of a tem- 
pest, which rage and leap, and then, all sud- 
denly, subside away, while some aerial melody, 
like a charmed boat, comes gliding over the sur- 
face, bringing calm, and sunshine, and openings 
of blue sky, and airs from heaven ! " 

"You knew him personally, Fletcher, " says 
the gentleman opposite, who has been lending 
an attentive ear to all that passes. * ' Can you 
not tell us something of himself?" 

This speech is somewhat injudicious ; for the 
musician is of a contrary temper, and dislikes 
talking "by desire." He pauses, looks discon- 



certed, and, but for a well-timed observation 
from Seabrook, would probably have relapsed 
into his previous taciturnity. 

"His music," says my friend, "is his best bi- 
ography. In it we have a record, intelligible 
enough to those whose sympathies are with him, 
of his joys, sorrows, and struggles nay, even of 
certain incidents of his life, and of his politics, 
as in the case of the pastoral and heroic sympho- 
nies. From it we learn to read his every feel- 
ing ; for, like himself, it is all tenderness, and 
impulse, and stormful energy." 

"It is beautiful and terrible," says Fletcher, 
thoughtfully, " as his own nature. It is an in- 
cantation a poem a spiritual philosophy. 
Did I ever tell you how or why he composed 
the Moonlight Sonata?" 

"Never," replies Seabrook, giving me a tri- 
umphant glance. 

" It happened at Bonn. Of course you know 
that Bonn was his native place. He was born 
in a house in the Eheingasse ; but when I first 
knew him, he was lodging in the upper part of 
a little mean shop near the Romerplatz. He 
was wretchedly poor just then ; so poor that he 
never went out for a walk except at night, on 
account of the poverty of his appearance. How- 
ever, he had a piano, pens, paper, ink, and a 
few books, and from these he contrived to ex- 
tract some little happiness, despite his priva- 
tions. At this time, you know, he had not the 
misfortune to be deaf. He could at least enjoy 
the harmony of his own compositions. Later 
in life he had not even that consolation. One 
winter's evening I called upon him, for I want- 
ed him to take a walk, and afterward to sup 
with me. I found him sitting by the window 
in the moonlight without fire or candle, his 
head buried in his hands, and his whole frame 
trembling with cold ; for it was freezing bitter- 
ly. I roused him, persuaded him to accompany 
me, urged him to shake oif his despondency. 
He went ; but he was very gloomy and hope- 
less that night, and refused to be comforted. 
'I hate life and the world,' he said, passionate- 
ly. 'I hate myself! No one understands or 
cares for me. I have genius, and I am treated 
as an outcast. I have heart, and none to love. 
I wish it were all over, and forever ! I wish 
that I were lying peacefully at the bottom of 
the river yonder. I sometimes find it difficult 
to resist the temptation.' And he pointed to 
the Rhine, looking cold and bright in the moon- 
light. I made no reply ; for it was useless to 
argue with Beethoven, so I allowed him to go 
on in the same strain, which he did, nor paused 
till we were returning through the town, when 
he subsided into a sullen silence. I did not 
care to interrupt him. Passing through some 
dark, narrow streets within the Coblentz gate, 
he paused suddenly. ' Hush !' he said. ' What 
sound is that ?' I listened, and heard the feeble 
tones of what was evidently a very old piano, 
proceeding from some place close at hand. The 
performer was playing a plaintive movement in 
triple time, and, despite the worthlessness of 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



27 



the instrument, contrived to impart to it consid- 
erable tenderness of expression. Beethoven 
looked at me with sparkling eyes. ' It is from 
my symphony in F ! ' he said, eagerly. * This 
is the house. Hark! how well it is played!' 
It was a little, mean dwelling, with a light shin- 
: ing through the chink of the shutters. We 
paused outside and listened. The player went 
on, and the two following movements were exe- 
cuted with the same fidelity the same expres- 
sion. In the middle of the finale there was a 
sudden break a momentary silence then the 
low sounds of sobbing. ' I can not go on,' said 
a female voice. ' I can not play any more to- 
night, Friedrich !' * Why not, my sister?' ask- 
ed her companion, gently. ' I scarcely know 
why, unless that it is so beautiful, and that it 
seems so utterly beyond my power to do justice 
to its perfection. Oh, what would I not give to 
go to-night to Cologne ! There is a concert 
given at the Kauf haus, and all kinds of beauti- 
ful music to be performed. It must be so nice 
to go to a concert!' 'Ah! my sister,' said the 
man, sighing, 'none but the rich can afford 
such happiness. It is useless to create regrets 
for ourselves where there can be no remedy. 
We can scarcely pay our rent now, so why dare 
even to think of what is unattainable?' 'You 
are right, Friedrich,' was her reply. 'And yet 
sometimes, when I am playing, I wish that for 
once in my life I might hear some really good mu- 
sic and fine performance. But it is of no use of 
no use ! ' There was something very touching in 
the tone of these last words, and in the manner 
of their repetition. Beethoven looked at me. 
'Let us go in,' he said, hurriedly. 'Go in!' I 
exclaimed. ' How can we go in ? what can we 
go in for ?' ' I will play to her,' he said, in the 
same excited tone. ' Here is feeling genius 
1 understanding. I will play to her, and she 
will appreciate it !' And before I could pre- 
vent him, his hand was upon the door. It was 
only latched, and instantly gave way ; so I fol- 
lowed him through the dark passage to a half- 
opened door at the right of the entrance, which 
he pushed open and entered. It was a bare, 
comfortless apartment, with a small stove at one 
end, and scanty furniture. A pale young man 
was sitting by the table, making shoes ; and 
near him, leaning sorrowfully upon an old-fash- 
ioned harpsichord, sat a young girl, with a pro- 
fusion of light hair falling over her bent face. 
Both were cleanly but very poorly dressed, and 
both started and turned toward us as we en- 
tered. 'Pardon me,' said Beethoven, looking 
somewhat embarrassed. ' Pardon me but 
but I heard music, and I was tempted to enter. 
I am a musician.' The girl blushed, and the 
young man looked grave somewhat annoyed. 
'I I also overheard something of what you 
said,' continued my friend. ' You wish to hear 
that is, you would like that is shall I play 
to you ?' There was something so odd, so 
whimsicalj so brusque in the whole affair, and 
something so pleasant and eccentric in the very 
manner of the speaker, that the ice seemed bro- 



ken in a moment, and all smiled involuntarily. 
' Thank you,' said the shoemaker ; ' but our 
harpsichord is wretched, and we have no music.' 
'No music!' echoed my friend. 'How, then, 
does the fraiilein ' He paused and colored 
up, for the girl looked round full at him, and in 
the dim, melancholy gaze of those clouded eyes 
he saw that she was blind. ' I I entreat your 
pardon,' he stammered; 'but I had not per- 
ceived before. Then you play from ear ?' * En- 
tirely.' 'And where do you hear the music, 
since you frequent no concerts?' 'I used to 
hear a lady practicing near us when we lived 
at Briihl two years ago. During the summer 1 
evenings her window was generally open, and I 
walked to and fro outside to listen to her.* 
' And have you never heard any music ? ' ' None 
excepting street-music.' She seemed shy, so 
Beethoven said no more, but seated himself 
quietly before the piano, and began to play. 
He had no sooner struck the first chord than I 
knew what would follow how grand he would 
be that night ! And I was not mistaken. Nev- 
er, never, during all the years I knew him, did I 
hear him play as he then played to that blind 
girl and her brother ! Never heard I such fire, 
such passionate tenderness, such infinite grada- 
tions of melody and modulation ! He was in- 
spired; and from the instant that his fingers 
began to wander along the keys, the very tones 
of the instrument seemed to grow sweeter and 
more equal. Breathless and entranced, we sat 
listening. The brother and sister were silent 
with wonder and rapture. The former laid 
aside his work ; the latter, with her head bent 
slightly forward, and her hands pressed tightly 
over her breast, crouched down near the end of 
the harpsichord, as if fearful lest even the beat- 
ing of her heart should break the flow of those 
magical sweet sounds. It was as if we were all 
bound in a strange dream, and only feared to 
wake. Suddenly the flame of the single candle 
wavered, sunk, flickered, and went out. Beet- 
hoven paused, and I threw open the shutters, 
admitting a flood of brilliant moonlight. The 
room was almost as light as before, and the illu- 
mination fell strongest on the piano and the 
player. But the chain of his ideas seemed to 
have been broken by the accident. His head 
drooped upon his breast his hands rested upon 
his knees he seemed absorbed in meditation. 
It was thus for some time. At length the young 
shoemaker rose, and approaching him eagerly, 
yet reverently ' Wonderful man !' he said, in a 
low tone, ' who and what are you ?' Beethoven 
lifted his head and looked up at him vacantly, 
as if unconscious of the meaning of his words. 
He repeated the question. The composer 
smiled, as he only could smile, benevolently, 
indulgently, kingly. 'Listen!' he said, and 
played the opening bars of the symphony in F. 
A cry of delight and recognition burst from the 
lips of both, and exclaiming, 'Then you are 
Beethoven!' they covered his hands with' tears 
and kisses. He rose to go, but we held him 
back with entreaties. ' Play to us once more 



28 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



only once more !' He suffered himself to be 
led back to the instrument. The moon shone 
brightly in through the curtainless window, and 
lit up his glorious rugged head and massive fig- 
ure. ' I will improvise a sonata to the moon- 
light!' said he, half playfully. He looked up 
thoughtfully for a few moments to the sky and 
the stars then his hands dropped upon the 
keys, and he began playing a low, sad, and infi- 
nitely lovely movement, which crept gently over 
the instrument with a sweet and level beau- 
ty, like the calm flow of moonlight over the 
dark earth. This delicious opening was fol- 
lowed by a wild, elfin, capricious passage in 
triple time a sort of grotesque interlude, like 
a dance of sprites upon the midnight sward. 
Then came a swift agitato finale a breathless, 
hurrying, trembling movement, descriptive of 
flight, and uncertainty, and vague impulsive 
terror, which carried us away upon its rushing 
wings, and left us at the last all emotion and 
wonder. 'Farewell to you,' said Beethoven, 
abruptly, pushing back his chair, and turning 
toward the door ; ' farewell to you.' ' You will 
come again?' asked they in one breath. He 
paused, and looked compassionately, almost ten- 
derly, at the face of the blind girl. ' Yes, yes,' 
he said, hurriedly, ' I will come again, and give 
the fraiilein some lessons. Farewell; I will 
come soon again !' They followed us in a si- 
lence more eloquent than words, and stood at 
their door till we were out of sight and hearing. 
"Let us make haste back,' said Beethoven, urg- 
ing me on at a rapid pace. 'Let us make 
haste, that I may write out that sonata while I 
can yet remember it !' We did so, and he sat 
over it till long past the day-dawn. And this 
was the origin of that ' Moonlight Sonata' with 
which we are all so fondly acquainted." 

The musician ceased speaking. There was 
. a dead silence, for all had been intently listen- 
ing. 

"And did he afterward teach the blind girl?" 
asked some one, at length, from the farther end 
of the table. 

Fletcher smiled sadly and shook his head. 

" He never went again. When the excite- 
ment was past, the interest was gone also ; and 
though doubtless they remembered and expect- 
ed him week after week, he thought of them no 
more, excepting as his eyes chanced now and 
then to fall upon the pages of the 'Sonata.' Is 
not such the rule of life?" 

Shortly after this the company began gradu- 
ally to disperse, and by the time we rose to 
leave, nearly all were gone or going, with the 
exception of a knot of choice spirits at the up- 
per end, who had made up their minds to her- 
ald in the daylight. 

The rain was over now, and the night starry. 
As we passed the doors of the theatre, we saw 
the bill-stickers busily placarding the pro- 
grammes for the following evening. 

"Look here!" cried Seabrook. "There is 
to be a performance to-morrow night ! ' Der 
Freischutz,' by all that's glorious! We must 



go, Paul ! See, THE ENGAGEMENT OF MADAME 
VOGELSANG, in letters half a foot long ! Who 
is Madame Vogelsang? Does any body know?" 

We both turned toward Fletcher for a reply. 
He had been conversing gayly but a moment 
before, yet now he stood still and silent. The 
light from the street-lamp fell full upon his 
face. He was very pale, and his lips quivered 
convulsively. He caught my arm as if for sup- 
port, and I felt him trembling. 

' ' Mon Dieu /" I cried, involuntarily. ' ' You 
are ill!" 

He shook his head subdued his emotion by 
a strong effort relinquished his hold upon my 
arm drew his hat down upon his brow and, 
without a word of reply, turned abruptly away, 
and dashed down a neighboring street. In a 
moment he was out of sight, and we were left 
standing together by the theatre door, in mute 
amazement. 

"A most eccentric man!" exclaimed Sea- 
brook, drawing a long breath, as we resumed 
our way. "I always fancied that he was half- 
cracked, and I do not suppose that drinking and 
opium -eating have done any service to his 
brains!" 



CHAPTER XI. 



" I REALLY believe, Norman, that you, famil- 
iar as you are with the pleasures of cities, feel 
more anticipation and enjoyment this evening 
than I, who have not witnessed a theatrical per- 
formance more than thrice in my life !" 

I was tempted to say this on seeing the buoy- 
ant exhilaration of his manner and counte- 
nance as he surveyed the house through his 
lorgnette, and gazed impatiently toward the 
drop-curtain. 

" 'Der Freischutz' is my favorite opera," he 
replied, smiling. " I enjoy the wild devilry of 
the legend ; and, above all, I delight in the pic- 
turesque music of Weber. He has all the 
science of Spohr, and more than the sweetness 
of Rossini." 

" The part of Caspar is immensely powerful." 

" Immensely. I could listen to the drinking^ 
song for a whole evening, and to the low, fitful 
music of the incantation scene, with its mutter- 
ing thunders and grotesque imagery. I have, 
often thought that the part of Zamiel might be 
made more striking by the performers in a dra- 
matic point of view, for " 

My friend's criticism was arrested by the 
opening chords of the overture, and from this 
moment he became entirely absorbed in the 
progress of the performance. We occupied a 
small box near the stage, whence we could see 
the actors closely, but whence, also, we suffered 
under the disadvantage of witnessing somewhat 
too much of the "business" of the coulisses, 
This was particularly annoying to Seabrook, 
who, faithful to his love of complete enjoyment, 
regretted the lost illusion of the scenery. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



29 



" I prefer," said he, " to be for the time utter- 
ly deceived. 1 do not wish to see that Zamiel's 
nose is false, and that Caspar wears a wig. I 
would rather believe that yonder pale spectres 
have just arisen, shuddering, from the Tartarean 
gulfs, than watch them drinking beer at the 
sides, out of sight of the audience. There 
ought to be no side- seats in a theatre. There 
should not be, were I the architect." 

Accompanied by such brief remarks on music 
and the stage, the piece went on. Like all 
German performances, it was conscientiously 
rendered. The band played as one instrument ; 
the chorus sang as one man ; but, with the ex- 
ception of the jmma donna, the principal per- 
formers were little beyond mediocrity. The 
scenery, too, was faded and worn the dresses 
dingy the house far from cleanly. Yet it was 
crowded crowded from pit to gallery with earn- 
est listeners lit by close rows of eager upturn- 
ed faces. Madame Vogelsang, it would seem, 
was the attraction to the good townspeople of 
Frankfurt Madame Vogelsang, whose name 
had been placarded in letters half a foot long, 
and of whom Norman Seabrook had never 
heard. 

And here let me pause for some moments, 
that I may briefly describe this woman as I 
then saw her for the first time. 

Therese Vogelsang was already past the 
bloom of her first youth. She might then have 
been perhaps thirty, or thirty-two years of age, 
and, in place of the slight proportions of early 
beauty, her superb figure had attained all the 
majestic grace and fullness of a Juno's. She 
was somewhat above the middle height. Her 
head was noble ; her arms were the whitest and 
loveliest I had ever beheld ; her dark hair was 
gathered in abundant braids around her serene 
and stately brow. There was something very 
dignified in her look, her bearing, her walk, in 
the very movements of her hands ; something 
statuesque in her repose, her action, her every 
attitude. But her face, her lovely face, with its 
dark, languishing brown eyes, so soft and dan- 
gerous her mouth, so full and so alluring 
her rounded cheeks, her small straight nose, 
her smile, like the siren-smile of Italian Circe 
of all these I have not yet spoken of these I 
weep to speak, even to think. 

Woe is me that this pen should have to trace 
the record, oh songstress, of thy most fatal 
beauty ! 

Her voice, like her person, was full, voluptu- 
ous, infinitely sweet and powerful. Its luscious 
tones, alternately tender and commanding, had 
a thrilling and peculiar accent, which left what 
is in French called a retentissement in the hearts 
of her hearers. Her love-accents, so tremu- 
lously sustained and touching, seemed to vi- 
brate in one's very soul her tears, stage-tears 
though they were, moved the inmost sympathies 
of one's nature. Looking at her, you felt your- 
self in a dream ; listening to her, you fancied 
yourself in Elysium. 

I do not exaggerate her fascinations. In- 



deed, I describe them almost in the very words 
of my friend, and of many others who subse- 
quently felt them. 

"What a glorious woman!" exclaimed Sea- 
brook more than once during the evening. 
"What a regnant head! There is something 
in her glance that seems almost to take my 
breath away ! Did you ever see such eyes 
such a smile ? She looks just like some Phid- 
ian Venus Avarmed into life !" 

And such, truly, was the character of her 
beauty ; warm life-like sensual the perfec- 
tion of mortality. In strict accordance with the 
genius of Greek art, there was the uttermost re- 
finement of personal loveliness ; the luxurious 
repose which veils strong physical energy ; the 
outer calm which half reveals the inner passion. 
One thing alone was wanting, and wanting that, 
I found all the rest blank and unalluring. Need 
I say that that one thing was Soul ? Yes, from 
the very first, that flaw in the diamond, that 
dark stain upon the marble, was plain to me. 
I saw in her only the Mortal-Beautiful per- 
haps the Sinful-Beautiful. I missed that spir- 
itual glory which I have sought and worship- 
ed during all the years of my life which has 
shone out upon me from less beautiful, but 
dearer eyes which, in God's heaven, lights the 
foreheads of the angels ! 

The opera progressed, amid the acclamations 
of the audience, to a conclusion, and at last the 
curtain fell. A tempest of applause burst forth 
from all parts of the house ; the pit rose simul- 
taneously; the name of "Vogelsang" was shout- 
ed enthusiastically by hundreds of voices by 
none more rapturously and loudly than that of 
Norman Seabrook. After some delay the drop- 
curtain was moved aside the hurricane re- 
doubled the vocalist once more stepped before 
the audience. 

Her stage-costume was thrown aside, and she 
wore a robe of plain black velvet, which became 
her beauty and complexion ten times better than 
the former dress. Her cheek was flushed with 
pleasure she smiled she advanced to the foot- 
lights she clasped her hands upon her breast, 
half deprecatingly, half joyfully her eyes wan- 
dered round the house with an indescribably fas- 
cinating expression she bent lower and lower 
she gathered up the flowers that fell around 
her on every side, and pressed them alternately 
to her lips and to her heart. 

How strange it was, but in the midst of that 
tumult, while every eye was directed to the stage 
while Norman, flushed and excited, was lean- 
ing forward from the box, applauding frantical- 
ly while the very players in the orchestra were 
joining in the general/wrore, I was tempted, by 
some sudden and inexplicable impulse, to turn 
all at once and look round at the box-door be- 
hind us. 

Not vainly not vainly ; for there, there, 
pressed closely against the little window in the 
door, and staring wildly forward at the smiling 
singer, I saw a ghastly face a face distorted by 
passion and pale rage the face of Fletcher! 



so 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



For an instant I could not speak, so unex- 
pected and strange was the apparition. Then a 
smothered exclamation broke from my lips I 
seized my friend by the arm I pointed to the 
door, and, even as I spoke, the face glided sud- 
denly away and disappeared. 

"Fletcher the musician look!" 

It was all I could say. 

" Where ? what do you mean ? Who ?" ask- 
ed Seabrook, impatiently. 

I made no reply, but, rushing to the door, 
opened it and looked into the lobby. There was 
not a soul there. I listened ; but the noise from 
the house would have drowned the sound of his 
footsteps, even had they then been echoing along 
the corridor. 

One of the box-keepers was coming up the 
stairs. I ran to him, and asked if a gentleman 
a pale, thin gentleman, had passed him on 
the way ? No one had passed him, he was con- 
vinced. Was there a gentleman answering to 
my description in any private box on this tier ? 
Not one. 

"What is all this?" interrupted my friend, 
hastily. "What are you saying about Fletcher ? 
Why did you run away just as the Vogelsang 
was before the curtain ?' 

"Fletcher was looking through our box door !" 

"Nonsense ! He is gone to Ems !" 

" I swear I saw him ; and looking terrible, 
glaring, almost unearthly!" Seabrook burst 
into a laugh. 

"Pooh! my dear Paul," he said gayly, pass- 
ing his arm through mine, and leading me back 
toward the box, "you will next fancy that you 
have seen a ghost ! It was a delusion, and noth- 
ing else. Poor Fletcher is far enough from 
Frankfurt to-night, and at the dullest place in 
all Germany. I hate Ems that is to say, I 
hate the people who go there. The spot itself 
is a paradise, but it is also a hospital. You see 
none but invalids and physicians wherever you 
go. No, no, you did not see Fletcher, take my 
word for it. Hark ! they are beginning again. 
Let us go back and see the ballet." 



CHAPTER XII. 

AM DEN R H E I N. 

WE had not been longer than a fortnight in 
Frankfurt, when Seabrook came into my room 
one bright fresh morning, and, sitting down be- 
side my bed for I had not yet risen said ab- 
ruptly, 

' ' Why do we remain here, Latour ? We have 
seen all that is to be seen in this place. We have 
been to Homburgh and to Offenbach we have 
visited all the stock-sights of the city we know 
the Ariadne and the music by heart. I was up 
and out this morning while you were soundly 
sleeping, and in the fruit-market near the Romer 
I heard a peasant-girl singing a song that has 
well-nigh driven me frantic. 'Am den Rhein! 
am den Rhein !' Oh, delicious ! Get up, amigo, 
and let us not lose a day !" 



"In the name of common sense, Norman, 
what do you mean ? Where do you want me to 
go?" 

" Where should I, if not to the Rhine ?" 

His gay, enterprising nature swayed mine in 
many things by the mere force of its own joyous- 
ness-, and now I yielded to the bent of his hu- 
mor. Before midday we had arrived at Bibe- 
rich, within sight of the turreted city of Mayence 
on the opposite bank, and in a few moments more 
had taken our places on board the "Konigen," 
and were gliding swiftly and pleasantly over the 
broad-flowing waters of the Rhine River. 

Gliding, ever gliding, with the warm sum- 
mer's air around us, and the bright sunlight 
glittering up from the foaming river, and the 
pleasant sounds of voices, and of paddle-wheels, 
beating like a busy heart, and of humming in- 
sects, and faint murmurs from the banks on 
either side ! 

Now, one by one, we pass the rush -grown 
river-meadows, as they call these islands of the 
Rhine Peters-meadow, and Ingelheimer-mead- 
ow, and Haller - meadow, facing the bare and 
lofty chateau of Johannisberg, with its viny 
slopes and its chapel spire. The cupolas of 
Mayence have by this time faded and sunk be- 
neath the level distance the green hills ad- 
vance toward the stream on either side, like the 
wings of an army the Taunus Mountains, far 
away, grow pale and cloud-like through a dark 
gorge to the left comes the gentle tide of a trib- 
utary river, with houses, and an old collegiate 
church, and a ruired castle, all clustered at its 
mouth. This is the little Italian-founded town 
of Bingen ; and the castle bears the name of 
Roman Drusus. Now the banks grow narrow- 
er, and the white and stately castle of Rhein- 
stein, with its iron cresset suspended from -the 
topmost tower, and its tiny chapel sheltering on 
a narrow ledge of rock just within shade of the 
battlements, stands up erect, like a warden- 
knight, guarding the curve of the river. This, 
says Seabrook, is the summer - schloss of the 
Prince of Prussia. It is now one hour past 
noon, and the sailors are busily suspending a 
canvas awning overhead. The waiters place 
long tables all the length of the upper deck, 
and, covering them speedily with relays of snow- 
white cloths, silver, and glittering glass, prepare 
every thing for our alfresco meal. Next comes 
the little ancient town of Bacharach, with its 
Avails and towers, and its exquisite fragment of 
old red Gothic architecture, St. Werner's Chap- 
el, lifted high above the town upon a rise of 
green hills. We now take our places at the ta- 
ble, beside some merry students, and opposite to 
an elderly Graff with a grizzly beard, and his 
pretty young wife by his. side. The clatter of 
knives and plates commences ; voices talk loudly 
all around in French, German, and English ; the 
slender-necked amber Rhine-bottles start up in 
all directions ; incongruous dishes, eel and sweet 
pudding, boiled beef and preserved cherries, 
smoked salmon and cheese, pass backward and 
forward, and succeed each other with bewilder- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



31 



ing rapidity; there is the noise of cork-drawing, 
conversation, ai.d laughter ; and a pale, sickly- 
looking youth, about sixteen years of age, takes 
his place beside the man at the wheel, and be- 
gins playing with no little skill and taste upon 
a curious instrument, like a gigantic accordion, 
which contains several rows of keys, and is so 
large that it rests upon the deck between his 
knees, like a violoncello. 

Amid all this, we still glide on in the bright 
sunshine, amid the woody hills, the mouldering 
ruins, the nestling villages, and sunny vineyards 
of the fair Rhine-country. 

Now come heights steeper and darker the 
castle of Gutenfels, with the little hamlet of 
Caub low-lying at its foot, with towers and 
slated roofs the gloomy turreted Pfalz rising 
abruptly from the middle of the river, like a 
stone ship at anchor the green hills beyond 
all, the blue sky overhead, and the boat flying 
on, ever on, like a swallow on the wing. 

Here is Oberwesel, with high round tower 
and embattled walls, and circuit of slate mount- 
ains, clothed with vines ; and yonder black and 
beetling rock, all riven into crags, and surround- 
ed at the base by a narrow ledge of winding 
pathway what threatening cliff is that ? 

"Look! look!" cried Seabrook , "there 
comes the Lurle'yberg that bare, stern preci- 
pice to the right ! That spot where the river 
falls and foams is the famous Whirlpool ; far- 
ther off you see the beginning of the town of 
St Goar! This is the loveliest spot upon the 
Rhine! Listen to the echo it repeats twelve 
or fifteen times!" 

Whereupon a man starts out of a little straw- 
thatched hut upon the opposite bank, and, just 
as we arrive in face of the rock, fires a sudden 
pistol-shot. We all start, and some of the la- 
dies utter timid exclamations, for it would seem 
that a regular and rapid discharge of fire-arms 
is taking place around us, so loud, so steady, so 
continuous are the repetitions. By the time 
that the last faint report dies away, we are 
threading our way between the sister-towns of 
Goarhausen and St. Goar, and gazing up at the 
vast and far- stretching ruins of the red fortress 
of Rheinfels. 

The fourteenth course of our Rhine-dinner 
has just been removed strawberries, cheese, 
and sweet biscuits are placed before us the gen- 
tlemen begin to order cigars, and the ladies rise 
from table and walk up and down the lower 
deck, or sit sketching and conversing in little 
knots at the farther side of the vessel. One of 
the merry students at my left volunteers to re- 
late a legend. We order a fresh bottle of the 
ruddy Assmannshausen all that are near gath- 
er eagerly round the narrator fills his glass, 
looks round with an air of satisfaction, leans 
back in his seat, and commences, in his native 
German tongue, the following 



of tfje 

"A very great many years ago, when these 
ruined castles were impregnable strong-holds in- 



habited by the old feudal barons when every 
passing boat paid a tribute to the castellan 
when the gnomes had not yet fled the mountains, 
the fairies the forest, nor the Lurley nymph her 
caves under the river, there lived in a little vine- 
grown cottage, hard by the Castle of the Katz, 
a pretty maiden named Ida Miiller. Now Ida 
was the only child of the head huntsman to the 
Lord of Katzenelnbogen, and would inherit not 
only the cottage and garden, but two little fields 
down by the water ; so, you see, she was rich as 
well as pretty ; and, what was better than ei- 
ther, she was good. I need scarcely tell you 
that Ida had many lovers. All pretty girls 
have, especially when they are rich. Among 
these, the only two who seemed to have a chance 
of success were Otto Wolfsohn and Max Steiger- 
wald. Otto was a small proprietor whose vine- 
yards and cottage lay just at the opposite side 
of the river, close by the whirlpool called the 
Gewirr ; Max was nothing but a poor artist, a 
sculptor in stone and wood, who lived in an old 
ruined tower, which has long since utterly crum- 
bled away and disappeared, about half way be- 
tween the towns of Oberwesel and St. Goar. 
Here he made his home and his workshop ; 
and, although it must be acknowledged that he 
was exceedingly poor, he contrived to lead a 
very happy existence. He loved Ida and he 
loved art he was ambitious, light-hearted, and 
in love life he found pleasant the future, he 
thought, could not fail to be as golden as he 
wished it so he carved and sang from morn- 
ing till night, and on Sundays attended mass 
at the chapel of St. Peter of Goarhausen, less, 
it is to be feared, through devotion than love, 
for there he saw Ida among the young girls near 
the altar there he watched her fair head bent 
over her missal, and tried to separate the tones 
of her voice from the others in the sweet-chant- 
ed responses. Of course it happened, as it al- 
ways did and does in love-stories, that Ida, with 
a woman's keen-sightedness, read the heart of 
the young sculptor, and contrived in some way 
to let him see that she preferred him and his 
poverty to Otto Wolfsohn, despite his lands and 
his riches. This knowledge only made Max 
ten times more industrious than before ; and 
when, at length, his talent and his perseverance 
were rewarded by a great piece of good fortune, 
he went straight over to Muller's cottage at the 
castle-foot, and formally demanded the hand of 
his daughter. A great piece of good fortune, 
indeed ! The Abbot of Kamp, having seen some 
of his efforts, had actually bidden him, Max 
Steigerwald, to carve an oaken image of the 
Blessed Mary, to stand over the great altar in 
the monastery chapel. Nor was this all ; the 
best part was that the abbot had engaged to pay 
him the sum of thirty golden ducats on the very 
day of its completion. Thirty golden ducats ! 
why, what marvelous things might be done with 
thirty golden ducats ! A cottage might be 
rented a field might be bought a pair of sil- 
ver ear-rings might be given to the bride ! 
What more could the heart of man desire ? 



32 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Thus pleaded the lover when he urged his suit 
in the ear of Meister Miiller the huntsman. 

" Now Meister Miiller loved Ida dearly, but 
he loved money also, and it needed many argu- 
ments and persuasions to gain his consent to 
the beti-othal ! He would have preferred the 
wealthier and less amiable Otto for his son-in- 
law ; and, even though he yielded, yielded un- 
willingly. But Ida cared little for Otto, and 
little for his wealth ; still less for his scowling 
glances when he chanced now and then to meet 
her by the river-path, or the chapel-door, or in 
the market-place of Oberwesel. She loved and 
was loved , and so she trusted gayly to the fu- 
ture, like a bird to the summer-time. 

"Meanwhile the winter came and went the 
snow melted in the mountain - hollows the 
spring-season filled the landscape with green 
leaves and flowers the cuckoo was heard 
again in the meadows ; and the sculptor work- 
ed on with ever-increasing energy, for the statue 
was now all but completed. 

' ' I have said that Max Steigerwald lived in 
a tower by the river a gray, dilapidated round 
tower, with long wavy grasses growing at the 
top, and swallows'-nests built in the crannies of 
the battlements. The upper part was utterly in 
ruin ; so he made his home in the two lower 
rooms, and there, day after day, night after 
night, he toiled assiduously at his task, think- 
ing of Ida ; and often, as he carved on by lamp- 
light in the silent night-hours, he heard the si- 
ren-song of the Lurley wafted along by the 
wind from where she sat in the moonlight on 
the jutting base of the Lurleyberg, weaving gar- 
lands of the forget-me-not and the white water- 
lily. But at such times he would shudder, make 
the sign of the cross, and, fixing his eyes on the 
holy image, growing momentarily more and 
more beautiful beneath his busy fingers, breathe 
a pious prayer for protection against the spells 
of the pale maiden. Sometimes, too, he would 
fix his thoughts, instead, upon the gentle Ida, 
and upon the happy time that was daily draw- 
ing nearer, and he found this plan succeed quite 
as well as the other. Nevertheless, there were 
nights when he had a fearful struggle to over- 
come the temptation of obeying the melodious 
invitation conveyed in that unearthly canticle ; 
for there is a sweet and evil power in the song 
of the Lurley which few human natures are 
strong enough to resist, and which, if they but 
yield to it, destroys not only the body, but the 
soul. So Max Steigerwald closed his ears to 
the spell, put his heart into his work, and was 
at last enabled to name the very day on which 
it might be conveyed to the monastery-chapel 
amid the walnut-trees of Kamp. 

"It was late in the afternoon of a glowing 
day in May when the sculptor threw down his 
tools, and, gazing joyously upon the calm and 
lovely face of his statue, with its holy brow, its 
draped robes, and the slender gilded circlet of 
glory round its head, saw that the work of his 
hands was finished, and knew that it was beau- 
tiful. 



"'Oh art! oh love!' he exclaimed, 'how 
happy ye have made me !' 

" So happy, poor fellow, that he felt he must 
enjoy his gladness with her whose share in it 
had been so great ! So he went forth into the 
evening sunset, and, giving one last backward 
glance at his beloved statue, closed and locked 
the door of his tower, and went along by the 
river-banks to the ferry of Goarhausen, by which 
he crossed over and went straight to the vine- 
grown cottage at the foot of the Katz, where 
Ida was seated spinning by the door, under the 
boughs of a yellow laburnum. 

"They were so happy that evening, and had 
so much to dream and plan ! The cottage was 
chosen ; the field had but to be paid for, since it 
was already hired ; the day for the wedding was 
even fixed ; for would not Max be a rich man 
on the morrow, with his thirty golden ducats ? 

"The moon shone brightly on river and 
mountain that night as he went homeward 
along the meadows. His heart was full of love 
and gratitude. He could almost have danced 
for joy. He never had been so happy in his 
life, and the road seemed so short that he quite 
started to find himself at the door of his own 
tower. 

"Now to see my beautiful Virgin again !' he 
said to himself, as he took out the key and pre- 
pared to enter. 

"Strange! at the first touch of his hand, 
even before he could fix the key in the lock, the 
door gave way creaking, and rolled back a little 
on its hinges. 

"An evil presentiment came over the sculp- 
tor : he paused pressed his hand upon his beat- 
ing heart advanced, drew back, and finally 
flung the door wide open and went in. 

"Alas ! not vainly had he trembled and de- 
layed! The moonlight shone in as a silver 
flood, illumining the interior of the room. Chair, 
table, working-bench, fireplace, all were clearly 
defined and bright as day ; but the statue ! the 
statue ! the oaken Virgin, with her holy brow, 
and her divine smile, and her golden glory 
where was she ? 

"Gone, stolen, lost, no one knew whither. 

"He threw himself upon the ground he 
wept he raved ; and at last, in a delirium of 
grief, ran wildly out of his tower, and down to 
the river-bank ; for why live when statue, duc- 
ats, and bride were all reft from him in one 
brief and bitter moment ? 

" ' Farewell, Ida !' he cried, lifting his hands 
to heaven, and gazing for the last time in the 
direction of her home. 

"Suddenly he started his lips trembled 
the very power of motion seemed to desert him ; 
for lo ! a pale shadow pale, but how lovely ! 
glided like a moonbeam over the surface of the 
stream, midway between the two river-banks. 
There were white water-flowers twined in her 
hair and around her arms ; her eyes were lan- 
guishing and full of tenderness ; her smile 
sweeter than the breath of the roses. She 
sang, and he listened : 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



33 



" v Come hither, young mortal ! come, taste of the wine 

Divine ! 

Of the wine of a love so immortal as mine ! 
Come, drink from my lips be my lover, my guest ! 
Lay thy cheek to my cheek, and thy breast to my 

breast ! 
Come hither to love, to elysium, to rest I' 

"The sculptor heard the fatal song. His 
breath came thick and fast his cheek flushed 
his heart beat wildly. Nearer and nearer 
floated the river-maid ; sweeter and sweeter fell 
those liquid tones ; brighter and brighter grew 
the vision of her beauty. 

"'Come!' murmured the Lurley. 'Come, 
hither ! ' 

" ' Ida ! Ida !' he cried, with desperate cour- 
age. 'Ida!' 

"The shadow on the water seemed to wane 
and tremble. The sculptor fell upon his knees. 

" ' Ave Maria,' he began, in the earnest tones 
of one who prays for life or death. 'Ave Maria 
beatissima ' 

' ' Dimmer and dimmer grew the form of the 
Lurley ; her song died away into a low wailing 
cry ; she bent her head, shuddering, and sank 
in one moment beneath the surface of the wa- 
ter. 

"Max rose from his knees, but he beheld 
only a chaplet of white lilies drifting on with 
the current. 

' ' Earnest and awe-struck he gazed for some 
moments ; and then, turning slowly away, went 
onward in the moonlight, leaving river, and 
tower, and Ida behind him, and disappeared 
amid the shades of the forest. 

"Many and strange were the rumors when it 
was found that Max Steigervvald had disap- 
peared, and that the oaken Virgin was gone 
from her place in the old tower. Very indig- 
nant was the abbot of the monastery among the 
walnut-trees of Kamp ; very sad and broken- 
hearted was the gentle Ida in her father's cot- 
tage at the foot of the Katz. Otto Wolfsohn 
alone showed neither surprise, nor sorrow, nor 
anger, but simply hastened to profit by the ab- 
sence of his rival in the renewal of his former 
suit. This time, however, he addressed him- 
self less to Ida than to her father, wisely judg- 
ing that his arguments and his wealth would be 
more favorably received by him than by her. 

" ' Steigerwald is gone,' he said. ' Either he 
is dead, or he has deserted and no longer de- 
serves her. I love her. I am rich I am 
young. She will be happy, she will be prosper- 
ous, she will be respected as my wife. If you 
command, she will marry me.' 

"And so Meister Miiller commanded, and 
Ida, despite her tears and her grief, was forced 
to obey; entreating, however, that she might 
yet be allowed one year of tarrying. But the 
year passed away, and he came not; and the 
day of her wedding dawned through the mists 
of November. 

"How pale she looked how pale and how 

joyless more like a victim than a bride, as she 

sat in her father's house, in the midst of the 

guests, with the crown on her head, and the 

C 



silver arrow, for the last time, in her hair, await- 
ing the bridegroom. 

" It was strange that Otto alone should be so 
late in arriving! 'Let us go out, and see if he 
be coming,' said one of the bride-maidens. So 
they all went forth upon the river-bank ; for you 
will remember that Otto lived on the opposite 
shore, just beyond the pool of the Gewirr. But 
there was nothing in sight. Hold! what is 
that ? A boat putting off from the bank, about 
half a mile up the river ? Yes at last ? That 
boat is Otto's ; it is moored by his orchard-gate ; 
he will row himself down to the Katz ! Wel- 
come, bridegroom ! How swiftly and featly, for 
Ida is waiting. 

"Quite silently they stand, expecting and 
watching. Hark ! what strange sound is that ? 
The sound of music ! of what music ? Of a 
voice ! of what voice ? How unlike any voice 
that we have ever heard ! How sweet, how 
liquid, how enchanting ! 

"And see! what white form is that which 
rises from the mists of the river ? 

"A shudder runs through the spectators. 
'The Lurley!' they say, with tremulous lips. 
The young men grasp each other by the hand 
the young maidens hide their faces in the bo- 
soms of their mothers. 

"Row, bridegroom ! Row swiftly and featly, 
and heed not the danger. 

" Horror ! he drops the oars he listens he 
extends his arms to her he stands up in the 
boat, and, as if impelled by some invisible pow- 
er, drifts rapidly toward her. 

"One sudden, fearful cry bursts from every lip : 

"' The whirlpool ! the whirlpool!' 

" Alas ! too late. The Lurley ever beckons 
the boat ever follows. It nears the fatal cir- 
cle ; it rocks and strains, like a panting steed ; 
it flies madly round and round, and is sucked 
down, down, down into the foaming gulf ! 

" Who is this that bursts through the crowd, 
with flushed cheek and hair wildly flying, crying, 
'Make way! I will save him!' who plunges 
headlong into the stream who strikes out for 
the whirlpool, and boldly breasts the strength of 
the current ? 

"Max Steigerwald, the sculptor. 

" Swim on, brave sculptor swim swiftly and 
featly ; thy rival is sinking ! 

" On he went, with his fair gallant head lifted 
above the waters on to the spot where the Lur- 
ley had sank, and where Otto had followed. 

"Now he pauses, as it were, on the brink 
of the whirlpool ; now he dashes forward with 
fresh strength, and dives down to the depths of 
the Gewirr. 

" There was an interval of suspense breath- 
less, agonizing suspense. Can he ever return 
to us ? Hah ! what is that ? Now blessed be 
Heaven and all the saints in the calendar, 'tis 
the fair gallant head coming back once more 
over the waters and not alone ! See ! he bears 
a dark form in his arms! Welcome, bravo 
sculptor ! Swim swiftly and featly but a yard 
or two farther, and thou art safe on the shore. 



34 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



V Now he waxes faint and weary has no one 
a rope ? No ! 'tis not needed ; he strikes out 
once twice thrice ; he staggers forward, and, 
with his burden, falls heavily to the ground. 

"They rush toward him they carry him up 
the bank, and lay his head on Ida's breast. But 
Otto ! Where is Otto, and what is this dark 
form which has been borne, with such peril, to 
the shore ? 

"By heaven! the oaken Virgin, with her 
holy brow, and her divine smile, and the gold- 
en circlet, somewhat dimmed and water- worn, 
around her meek head. 

"The mystery is great almost insoluble. 

"Slowly the sculptor revives, and opens his 
eyes upon the loved bosom of Ida. He can ex- 
plain nothing, save that he has traveled and 
studied, and wrought a second and a lovelier 
statue, which he had brought this very day to 
the monastery at Kamp, and sold for thrice the 
sum before agreed upon that he has returned 
richer and wiser, to make Ida his bride that he 
beheld the danger of Otto, and sought only to 
save him that he dived that he clasped a form 
at the bottom of the waters that he seized and 
upbore, and saved it, nor knew all the time but 
that he was saving his rival. 

"Two things only are certain that Otto is 
drowned, and the Virgin discovered. 

"'But how came she in the depths of the 
Gewirr?' asks Meister Miiller, the huntsman. 

"This is a question to which no one can re- 
ply, and Max, going over to the image, raises 
it from the ground, and clasps it to his breast 
with all the joy of a father who recovers the 
child of his affection. 

"A sudden exclamation escapes the lips of 
the by-standers they snatch the image from his 
grasp : 

" 'See! see! what words are these cut on 
the back of the figure ?' 

" Simply these: 

"'Giro WOLFSOHN. A TOKEN OP RE- 
VENGE.' 

"So it was thus. Yielding to the impulse 
of a base vengeance, he had sought to destroy 
the fair statue, and with it the prosperity and 
happiness of his rival. Fortunately, all was 
without success ; and on the afternoon of that 
very day on which Otto was to have wedded the 
fair Ida, Max Steigerwald stood with her before 
the altar rails of the little chapel of St. Peter, 
and received her for his wife. I will venture to 
say that no happier or fonder pair ever occupied 
that place before or since. 

" And this is my LEGEND OF THE LURLEY- 
BERG." 

This night we sleep at Coblentz ; and, as the 
dusk draws on, I retire to my chamber, for I am 
weary, and long to be alone. 

A waiter has lit candles and drawn the cur- 
tains closely. The room, too, is warm and op- 
pressive. I extinguish the lights, draw aside 
the muslin draperies, throw up the sash, and 
lean out into the quiet night. 



Fronting my window flows the King-river, 
broadly and silently, reflecting the lights which 
shine down at regular intervals from the lamps 
along the bridge of boats which connects Cob- 
lentz with the opposite bank. Beyond the riv- 
er, standing up darkly and boldly upon their 
steep rock-base, spread the fortress-ranges of the 
citadel of Ehrenbreitstein. Far hills and forests 
close in the landscape round. Every where 
there are lights gleaming lights on board the 
steamers moored along the quay lights in the 
windows of the hotel of the Cheval Blanc, on 
the other side of the river lights here and there 
along the shore, which stream out redly, and 
waver on the current. A vaporous mist is now 
rising from the water, and a late steam-boat 
comes panting up with a crimson lamp at her 
prow, discharging her bewildered passengers in 
the darkness. Now the city grows more silent, 
and a droschky rattling along the pavement 
sounds noisily. Presently some Prussian sol- 
diers, with their brazen helmets glittering in the 
lamp-light, go singing past the window, for they 
have just strolled out of a neighboring wine- 
shop. Then the town clocks chime, and the 
notes of a solitary trumpet ring out faintly and 
clearly from the fortress. Soon the night grows 
darker, and the mist upon the river whiter and 
heavier. Some rain begins to fall, and I close 
my casement with a sigh. 

Alas ! to-night the sorrow lies heavily at my 
heart, and I can not shake it off. For many 
hours I toss restlessly upon my bed, and it is 
gray dawn before I sleep. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

ROUGE ET NOIR. 

"AND is it possible, Seabrook, that you do 
not admire this place ? It seems to me almost 
a paradise!" 

It was evening-time. We were sitting to- 
gether on the verge of one of those precipitous 
wooded hills which inclose the little watering- 
place of Ems on every side. Far below us ex- 
tended the public gardens ; the avenues of chest- 
nut-trees and lindens; the Kurhaus, with its 
white fa9ade stretching beside the water; the 
long, irregular row of hotels and lodging-houses 
which constitute the town. Calmly and bright- 
ly, glassing the green shadows of the hills and 
the white clouds overhead, flowed the Lahn Riv- 
er, child of the Rhine. Crowds of gay company 
were promenading along the banks, strolling up 
and down the light-roofed suspension bridge, 
lingering round the band in the garden-pavil- 
ion, or eating ices under the trees. 

Along the winding road at the foot of the 
mountains there passed sometimes an open car- 
riage ; sometimes a troop of donkeys, accompa- 
nied by their liveried drivers with blue blouses 
and red-trimmed caps ; sometimes a little band 
of peasants singing together, and laden with 
fruits and vegetables for the market. Now an 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



artist trudged wearily by with sketch-book and 
folio, returning from his diurnal labor. Now a 
single horse came wading up the very middle 
of the shallow river, towing a barge. 

Below was life and animation above and 
around us, infinite quiescence. And through 
all the landscape, winding and glistening away, 
with villages, and churches, and raftered farm- 
houses nestled here and there along its banks, 
and boats moored under willows, and evening 
bathers in among the rushes, and little foaming 
weirs, and water-mills, and knots of white and 
amber lilies nodding with its current, lay the 
river, shut in by mountains and hills, with the 
soft fleecy haze of the coming night spreading 
slowly over all. 

Seabrook looked up smiling. 

"I never said that I did not admire the 
place," he replied ; " I only told you that it was 
monotonous ; that it was peopled by pale-faced 
invalids, and ruined gamblers, and fashionable 
physicians ; and that I detested it heartily. You 
are walking, perhaps, in the gardens ; you see 
an elegant couple sitting together in an arbor, 
and you please yourself with fancying some lit- 
tle love - romance. Ten to one, on drawing 
nearer, but that the gentleman, who seemed to 
you to be gently pressing the fair hand of the 
object of his affections, is feeling her pulse all 
the time, and that she is just drawing forth her 
purse to tender him his fee ! The doctors hold 
their stances in the open air, and consult with 
their patients to the accompaniment of the band. 
You wander in the vicinity of the Kurhaus, and 
every person you meet carries a colored glass 
tumbler or a silver goblet in one hand. These 
are on their way to the springs. All the world 
is ill or getting better; drinks the waters or 
bathes in them ; diets rigidly at the table d'hote ; 
takes exercise in an invalid chair, and sees a 
favorite physician at least once in every day. 
Defend me, oh Common Sense, from all such 
humbug!". 

"But if the people are really ill, and come 
hither in search of health . . . ."I urged, 
gravely. 

"No such thing!" interrupted my friend, with 
an impatient gesture. "Not the tenth part of 
them ail any thing at all. It is the fashion to 
be ill here voila tout ! People make acquaint- 
ances at the springs, and through their medical 
attendants. They condole with each other, and 
sickness forms the staple resource of all their 
conversation. Without something is the matter 
with you, you can get no sympathy, no society ; 
if you are an invalid, you have every chance of 
spending your three months very pleasantly. A 
liver complaint is a sure introduction, and you 
find a galloping consumption an immediate 
passport to the best circles." 

We went down by a winding path, crossed 
the suspension bridge, and mingled with the 
promenaders in the gardens. We saw Fletcher 
in the kiosque, conducting the band; but he 
was occupied with the music, and did not rec- 
ognize us among the by-standers. Like the 



rest, he wore a heavy brass helmet and a fantas- 
tic uniform ; and I know not whether it was the 
effect of illness or of his unusual costume, but 
he seemed to me paler, sterner, and more hag- 
gard than ever. 

They were playing a selection from the ' ' Eu- 
ryanthe" of Weber when we arrived, and as 
soon as the last chord was struck, we made our 
way up to his desk and addressed him. 

He started, held out his hand, drew it back, 
held it out again, and shook ours nervously. 

" How do you do ?" said he, in his old quick, 
incoherent way. "This is quite a surprise. 
Have you been on the Rhine ? Ems is a gay 
place. Where do you live ? Have you been 
long here ? The waters are very bitter." 

"We only arrived this morning," replied 
Seabrook, " and we are staying for the present 
at the Hotel d'Angleterre." 

"Very dear hotel. What do you say to our 
band ? Wretched set this year. The King of 
Wiirtemberg is in the gardens to-night. Are 
you from Frankfurt direct, or did you stay at 
Coblentz? This is pretty scenery. Fond of 
ruins ? I am not. The Rhine is greatly over- 
rated. So is Goethe. Have you been down 
to the springs? It's like going into a vault. 
See that dark man yonder Mazzini. He's 
talking to the Princess Von Hohenhausen. 
Plenty of celebrities. Of course you've seen 
the Conversation Haus ?'' 

In conversing with Fletcher, I always made 
it a rule to reply to the last thing said, since it 
was hopeless to think of disentangling the parti- 
colored threads of his wandering ideas ; so I 
told him that I was at present such a stranger 
as not to know where the Conversation Haus 
was to be found nay, I was even ignorant of 
what its purport and uses might be. 

' ' It's a part of the Kursaal. A set of showy 
rooms cafe, ballroom, and gaming-rooms. It 
all belongs to the Grand-Duke. Seventy and 
eighty thousand florins are lost there annually 
by play. We call the hazard-tables the duke's 
treasury. He also lets lodgings at the Alte 
Kurhaus. Quite a commercial prince. Poor 
as a mouse. Hush! We have to play now. 
Last piece. We'll go to the rooms when it is 
over." 

We went down again, and waited for him at 
the back of the kiosque while the band per- 
formed Mendelssohn's " Wedding March" from 
the "Midsummer Night's Dream." By the 
time that it was over, the gay company had al- 
most deserted the gardens ; the shades of even- 
ing had closed in and darkened all the land- 
scape ; some stars were out in the clear sky ; 
and a flood of warm light glowed from the win- 
dows of the Conversation Haus. Then the mu- 
sician rejoined us, and we followed him to the 
rooms. He had laid aside his helmet and 
braided coat, and as he walked along with his 
hat in his hand, letting the cool breeze play 
upon his brow, I fancied that the thick gray 
hair looked somewhat thinned, and the care- 
worn brow more deeply furrowed than when we 



36 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



parted with him at Frankfurt a few weeks be- 
fore. Besides this, his conversation seemed 
more disjointed and wandering. He frequent- 
ly paused in the middle of a sentence some- 
times in the middle of a word. Often he spoke 
as if in reply to his own thoughts ; and still oft- 
ener, as though his mind were occupied on oth- 
er matters, and his tongue a mere mechanical 
agent uttering commonplace observations, with 
which his powers of reflection were totally un- 
connected. 

At the door of the Kursaal we found knots of 
visitors talking and smoking; little bands of 
promenaders from the gardens strolling up and 
down the colonnade ; and in the empty ball- 
room several gentlemen reading the newspapers 
of the- day. 

"But where are the gaming-tables?" asked 
my friend. 

The musician pointed to an open door at the 
farther end of the apartment, through which 
several persons were passing and repassing, and 
whence a busy hum, accompanied by an occa- 
sional clicking noise, was distinctly audible. 

We entered. The atmosphere was warm and 
oppressive ; the blaze of gas intolerable ; the 
crowd of lookers-on so great that for several 
minutes we could get no farther than the door. 
All were thronging round one long table which 
almost filled the room, and no one spoke save in 
low whispers. Presently a slight movement 
arose near us. A gentleman came out, and 
Fletcher took advantage of the moment to make 
a way for us to the front rank next the table. 

The players only were sitting. They were 
of all ages and both sexes. Some of them had 
pieces of card, which they pricked occasionally 
with a pin, according to the progress of the 
game. Many had little piles of .gold and silver, 
rouleaux sealed at either end, and packets of 
yellow Prussian notes lying beside them. All 
looked serious and interested ; but there were 
none of those violent emotions of which we read 
in books depicted in their countenances. They 
won and lost with the best-bred composure, and 
the stakes upon the table varied from half a 
dollar to twenty gold pieces at a time. Four 
elderly, respectable - looking men, occupying 
raised seats at the centre of the table, were the 
bank-company. One of these dealt the cards, 
the others paid and received the money. Each 
pack of cards, as soon as it had been once dealt, 
was thrown into a well sunk in the table, just in 
front of the dealer. 

The scene was utterly new to me. I looked 
round from face to face with untiring curiosity, 
and saw the gold changing hands without in 
the least comprehending the laws of the game. 
Opposite to me sat an old lady, very highly 
rouged, and decked in artificial flowers and false 
jewelry. She had a cunning eye, and on her 
lips a fixed smile. I observed that she al- 
ways won. Next to her a sallow boy leaned 
forward upon both elbows, now and then haz- 
arding a ten-franc piece which he drew from his 
waistcoat pocket. Farther on, a dark handsome 



man and his wife sat side by side, drawing their 
stakes from a heap of money between them, 
and adding to their store with every 'venture. 
Just at my elbow I noticed a young and Afoell- 
dressed woman, who watched the cards with af- 
fected indifference, putting down a florin every 
time, and losing invariably. Others there were 
whose fortune seemed to fluctuate, but none in 
whom those fluctuations produced any visible 
emotion. 

I could not help remarking this to my friend. 
He smiled. 

"Your observation," he said, "proves to me 
that you have never before visited a place of the 
kind. It is only in novels that ruined gamblers 
rush wildly from the tables, with distraction in 
their faces. Here a man will lose his last florin 
with a smile which looks, at least, sufficiently 
natural. Your real habitue is perfect master 
of his countenance, and would scorn to betray 
himself even to a gesture. In fact, lie rather 
seeks to reverse the ordinary course of matters ; 
for he smiles when he loses, and looks indiffer- 
ent when he wins." 

"And what game are they now playing?" 

"Rouge-et-noir. Will you hazard a thaler 
or two?" 

"Not I. In the first place, gambling pos- 
sesses no attraction for me ; and, in the second, 
I can not even fathom the rules by which they 
play. They all seem to me to do the same 
thing, and yet how different are the results to 
each person ! What is the reason that " 

"Hush!" interrupted Seabrook, plucking me 
by the arm and speaking in -a hurried whisper. 
"Look there! My life on it, but this man's a 
gambler!" 

I turned, and saw Fletcher in the act of lift- 
ing a couple of silver dollars from the table. 
His cheek was flushed, and his eager eye fixed 
upon the dealer. The old lady opposite staked 
two gold pieces, and won. A half smile flitted 
over his lips he replaced his two dojlars on the 
board the color proved favorable, and his little 
capital was instantly doubled. Again he tried, 
and again he was successful. The next time 
he ventured all, and with the same result. 

Seabrook and I exchanged glances, but we 
were too much concerned to speak. We stood 
by, silently observing him ; and he, evidently, 
had lost every recollection of our presence. 

Presently a seat became vacant just where he 
stood. He slipped into it mechanically, as it 
were ; exchanged a glance of recognition with a 
gentleman sitting on his left, and went on play- 
ing. 

For a long time we remained there, watching 
him. His success was not invariable, for he 
lost once or twice ; but he was, on the whole, 
a considerable winner. At length the weary 
sameness of the scene, the hot glare, the op- 
pressive silence, and the still more oppressive 
atmosphere, fatigued and annoyed me. I made 
a sign to Seabrook, and he followed me from ;' 
the room ; but, as I went, I cast a last glance ! 
at the musician, and 1 saw that his two dollars 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



37 



had by this time multiplied to thirty or forty, 
among which gleamed some five or six yellow 
Friedrichs-d'or. 

Quite silently we went out arm in arm 
through the empty ballroom, along the deserted 
garden-walks, and out upon the bridge, where 
the white moonlight slept upon the river, and 
where one or two romantic couples were yet 
loitering to and fro. 

Seabrook was the first to speak. 

"Upon my soul," said he, gravely, "I am 
very sorry for what we have seen to-night- the 
more so, as I believe this infatuation to be a re- 
cent thing." 

"Recent!"! echoed. "On the contrary, I 
should say that it had been the practice of years. 
See how haggard, how nervous, how absent the 
man is ; and what more likely to make him so 
than the gaming-table ? Depend upon it, he is 
well known at all the Brunnen in Germany!" 

My companion shook his head. 

"Ihave seen more of life than you, Paul," 
said he, '"and have studied the 'dimensions, 
senses, passions, and affections' of mankind 
more attentively. I repeat that Fletcher has 
not long been a gambler nay, more, he is still 
in his novitiate. Did you not see how his hand 
shook when he took up his first gains from the 
table ? How his cheek flushed as he proceed- 
ed ? How terrified he looked when he thought 
the ' luck' was turning ? How, when he was 
winning, he staked all that he had previously 
won, without reserviug a single piece to carry 
on the war in case of loss ? No habitual player 
would do this. No habitual player would watch 
the successful competitors as he does, staking 
upon their colors, and trusting to their good 
fortune rather than his own. No, no, mon ami! 
A true gambler has strong nerve, impassive feat- 
ures, self-reliance, and a ' theory' of his own re- 
specting chances, numbers, and colors. Fletch- 
er has none of this ; and I dare wager a hund- 
red Napoleons that his initiation into the mys- 
teries of rouge-et-noir has dated solely from the 
period of his arrival at Ems." 

"But are there no means by which we .can 
save him?" 

Seabrook shook his head again. 

"I fear not," he replied, sadly. "He is nerv- 
ous, excitable, irritable to the last degree. Be- 
sides, what amount of resolution or self-denial 
can you expect from a confirmed opium-eater ? 
His power of control over his own inclinations 
is already gone his nervous system is shatter- 
ed his mental and physical energy utterly 
weakened and broken down. The case, I fear, 
is hopeless ; but we must see more of it before 
we pass judgment. Let us come here again to- 
morrow evening, and watch the progress of the 
disease for a disease it unquestionably is. 
After all, what is gaming but a kind of opium- 
eating? And who shall say which of the two 
is the more fatal intoxication?" 



CHAPTER XIV. 

ALSATIA. 

WE remained for more than three weeks 
at Ems, notwithstanding the prejudices of my 
friend, and passed them very pleasantly. We 
sketched, rode, read, and made' long pedestrian 
excursions to the Lindenbach Valley, the Cas- 
tle of Marksburg, and the Convent of Arnstein. 
We also visited the iron-works of Hohenrain, 
and the silver-smelting furnace in the neighbor- 
ing vale, and spent many happy hours following 
the windings of the Lahn, or boating up to that 
romantic point where the little troubled river 
glides peacefully into the broad embraces of the 
Rhine. 

During this time we had repeatedly entered 
the Conversation Haus at hours when the music 
wUs not going forward, and seldom without find- 
ing Fletcher in the gaming -rooms. It was 
plain that he had become a confirmed player. 
He had his appointed seat at the table; his 
nod of recognition from the croupier ; his mute 
greeting from one or two who, like himself, 
were punctual in their attendance. He had 
also acquired a certain command of feature 
which he did not at first possess ; yet such was 
the constitutional nervousness of his tempera- 
ment, that, despite all his care, it was still be- 
trayed now and then in the eager intensity of 
his gaze, and in the tremulous lip and hand. 
An attentive observation of his play and the va- 
riations of his luck assured me that in the long 
run he was no inconsiderable loser. What he 
gained one night he lost, and more than lost, 
the next ; and at those very moments when 
Fortune seemed more than usually kind toward 
him, the most signal reverse was certain to be 
at hand. 

I do not say that he ever hazarded largely, or 
that he lost to any great amount; but I saw 
enough to convince me that his limited resources 
could not long withstand the impoverishment 
consequent upon drains so exhausting and so 
incessant as these. I also noticed, with a feel- 
ing of regretful pity which I can not express, 
that each day only added to the ghastly pallor 
of complexion and the unnatural brilliancy of 
eye which stamps the opium-eater that his 
tone of mind grew more absent, more unsettled, 
more purposeless and disjointed that his gray 
hair, once so thick, became thinned, and hung 
about his neck and brow in long, uncut, neglect- 
ed locks. Sometimes, when we met him in the 
grounds, he would pointedly avoid us ; some- 
times maintain an obstinate silence after the 
first greetings were exchanged ; sometimes pour 
forth a string of wandering phrases with a kind 
of voluble indifference that was infinitely pain- 
ful to witness. Once or twice, when we en- 
countered him in the rooms or -under the colon- 
nade, he did not even recognize us ; and he sel- 
dom or never recollected either of our names. 
I have stood for hours together behind his chair, 
and watched the changes of his fortune, without 
his ever dreaming that I was there. 



38 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



I found myself much interested in the fate 
of this eccentric man more interested than 
Seabrook, who had known him longer. I knew 
that he was blindly traveling toward ruin, and 
the same fascination which impels us to watch 
a rider whose horse has taken fright, or a ship- 
wreck, or any fatal and inevitable misfortune, 
impelled me, as it were, to track the course of 
this infatuation. I felt that I must be at hand 
to count the steps of his descent to watch it 
from day to day, from depth to depth ; and, 
when matters came to the worst, to be enabled, 
at the right moment, to step forward and save 
him from absolute destruction. 

"It is his only chance of amendment,"! re- 
plied, when rallied by Seabrook on my devotion 
to the gaming-tables. "When all is lost I will 
say to him, 'Here is gold for thy necessities, 
but not for thy vices. Promise me to play no 
more.' If he have a spark of honor and good 
faith remaining, he will be cured." 

But my friend only shook his head, and 
sighed, and went off to play at billiards with 
some young men whom he knew in the town, 
and among whom he passed away those hours 
which I spent in the Conversation Haus. 

One evening I missed him from his accus- 
tomed place. I scarcely knew Avhether to be 
pleased or alarmed at this unusual absence ; 
but, at all events, I felt an inward uneasiness 
that caused me to direct my steps to the gar- 
dens at an earlier hour the next night. 

The music of the band came pleasantly 
through the trees as I entered the gate, and I 
made my way at once to the pavilion. 

A stranger was conducting in his place he 
was not there. A cold sensation crept over me. 

"He has lost every thing,"! said to myself. 
"He was in despair perhaps he has committed 
suicide. And I ! Alas ! I had hoped to save 
him !" 

This fear was too much for me. I sat down 
upon a vacant bench, and leaned my head 
against a tree. Presently the music ceased. I 
rose up and went over, with the intention of 
asking some of the players ; I hesitated ; and 
while I hesitated, the leader gave the signal, 
and they recommenced. I returned to my seat 
in an agitation for which I could not account, 
and of which I felt ashamed, even to myself. 

"What's Hecuba to me, or I to Hecuba?" I 
muttered. "Doubtless the man is safe ; and, 
at all events, the fault is not mine." 

Selfish reasoning, and hollow as selfish, for it 
availed me nothing ; and when I at last sum- 
moned resolution, and asked the conductor aft- 
er my new acquaintance, I felt as nervous as 
before. 

"The Herr Fletcher," replied the young man, 
politely, "is not well. For some days he has 
been indisposed, and for the last two he has 
been confined to his apartment." 

"Will you oblige me with his address?" 

He penciled it on the back of an old letter, 
and handed it to me. 

"Thanks. And his illness?" 



The musician shrugged his shoulders. 

" Really, mein Herr, I have not the least no- 
tion." 

I touched my hat, turned away, and, glancing 
at the address written on the letter, threaded 
the garden paths as rapidly as I could, and went 
out into the town. 

Hollandischer Hof ! I did not remember to 
have seen any hotel or lodging-house of that 
name since my arrival at Ems. I went up to a 
waiter standing upon the steps of the Hotel de 
Russie, and inquired of him if he knew it ; but 
he only stared at the paper with an insolent air, 
and bade me ask the donkey-drivers over the 
way. , 

Rudely as the advice was meant, I acted 
upon it, and was directed to an obscure quarter 
of the town, lying down by the river side, near 
the bridge of boats, where the watermen colo- 
nized. 

It was a wretched spot wet, unpaven, and 
dirty. There were children, pigs, poultry, and 
donkeys wandering, uncared for, through the 
narrow lanes. Large heaps of refuse lay before 
each door. The voices of women quarreling 
were loud within ; men leaned, smoking, from 
the upper windows; and all the atmosphere 
around was tainted and heavy. At the farthest 
extremity of this Alastia I found the mean inn 
dignified by the name of the Hollandischer Hof. 

He was crouching over a small stove in a 
comfortless garret, wrapped in a blanket taken 
from the bed, and shivering piteously. He 
looked very pale and ill, and had not shaved 
for three or four days. His hands, too, as he 
held them toward the open door of the stove, 
seemed almost transparent.- I could not have 
believed that I should see so startling a change 
after so brief an absence. 

When I tapped upon his door he made no 
answer when I entered the room he neither 
turned nor spoke when I stood beside him, 
and uttered a few simple words of apology and 
condolence, he only looked up with a listless, 
weary air, and sighed heavily. 

"I am indeed sorry to find you thus, Mr. 
Fletcher. I feared that you were ill when I 
saw a stranger conducting the band, and so I 
took the liberty of calling to to inquire if you 
were better." 

He stared dreamily into the fire, but remain- 
ed silent. 

"You have some medical advice, I trust?" 

He moaned and shook his head. 

I looked round the room for a chair, and, see- 
ing only an old deal box beside the window, I 
dragged it over to the fire, and sat down oppo- 
site to him. 

"I consider that it is absolutely necessary 
for you to have proper attendance, Mr. Fletcher. 
You must permit a friend of mine a man high- 
ly distinguished by his professional skill to 
call upon you. I know that he will gladly 
oblige me in so small a matter." 

Heaven forgive me ! I had not a friend, or 
even an acquaintance, in all Ems, except Nor- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



man Seabrook. But any eminent physician 
would suit the character ; and I consoled my- 
self by arguing that it was, after all, but a figure 
of speech. 

As the musician still said nothing, I went on. 

"My friend shall see you this very evening 
and and I think that is, I suppose it prob- 
able, that he will order you wine generous 
living perhaps expensive medicines." 

He looked up hastily. 

"No no," he said, in a low, hurried tone, 
"no I am well better. No physician no 
physician !" 

"Pardon me, but it is necessary. I assure 
you that you are more unwell than you suppose. 
I will go at once in search of my friend ; and, 
in the mean time in case you should require 
any thing pray excuse me I shall call again 
to-morrow. Good evening good evening !" 

And I hastened from the room, down the 
dark staircase, with its balustrade of greasy 
rope, and out into the lanes below, leaving a 
couple of gold pieces upon the table at his 
side. 

Once more outside the house, I shuddered, 
and thrust my hand into the breast of my coat, 
for I had touched his at parting, and that clam- 
my chill, like the chill of death, seemed yet to 
cling against the palm. 

What a den! what a neighborhood ! I strode 
rapidly along the slippery lanes in the direction 
of the Hauptstrass, in the hope of reaching the 
gardens before all the company had departed, 
and of finding there some one of those medical 
gentlemen whom I had learned to recognize by 
sight during my brief sojourn. Every thing 
seemed to impede my way. The watermen 
were returning to their homes for the night, 
the donkey -drivers, with their weary beasts, 
were thronging along on their way to such 
wretched stabling as the place afforded ; a bro- 
ken-down cart, with a gaping crowd around, 
blocked up the pathway. Added to this, it was 
getting dark, and some rain began to fall. 

When I felt the first drops of the shower, I 
knew that my last chance was gone, and my 
fears proved to be correct ; for when I reached 
the gardens, the gay company had all dispersed, 
and the musicians were just in the act of hast- 
ening away with their instrument-cases in their 
hands. One of these I stopped. 

"Pardon, monsieur; but can you direct me 
to a physician ?" 

"A physician ! Indeed no, mein Herr not 
I." 

And, shaking my hand roughly from his 
sleeve, the man endeavored to pass on. 

"One moment, I beseech you," I continued, 
nothing daunted, as I again seized him by the 
arm. "It is for Mr. Fletcher he whom you 
know. He is very ill. Pray help me to find 
a physician!" 

The name of Fletcher instantly produced the 
desired effect. He paused looked at me 
hesitated and, finally, summoning one of his 
companions, exchanged with him some sentences 



in a kind of rough patois German which I could 
not understand. After a few moments, the new- 
comer turned to me with an air of respectful 
civility, saying, 

" If the Herr Graff will be so good as to fol- 
low me, I will conduct him to the apartments 
of a famous physician close at hand." 

He led the way, I followed, and the man 
whom I had first addressed turned swiftly off in 
another direction. 

Suffice it here that we found the gentleman, 
that I introduced myself to him, stated the par- 
ticulars of the case, furnished him with the ad- 
dress, and had the satisfaction of seeing him de- 
part. 



CHAPTER XV. 

A MIDNIGHT VIGIL. 

SOMETIMES together, sometimes separately, 
sometimes in the company of the physician, we 
visited Fletcher at his miserable lodging at least 
once in every day. We had found him too 
weak and ill to be removed ; but he had now a 
nurse, and all such comforts as his condition 
required. He was, indeed, very ill. Intense 
mental anxiety acting upon a nervous constitu- 
tion, which was already sufficiently undermined 
by the long and unremitting use of opium, had 
ended in a low fever, which day by day was as- 
suming a more malignant character. 

One morning we found him moaning and 
tossing upon his bed, and quite delirious. The 
nurse said that he had been thus since a little 
past midnight. It was a painful spectacle ; and 
we stood silently by the fire, looking at him, 
till the physician arrived. This gentleman was 
stout and tall, with a lion-like face, and green 
eyes, and a profusion of rings and chains, and 
a mass of rough, shaggy hair, like a mane. 

He was late to-day, and came up stairs very 
quickly, and softly, stopping short upon the 
threshold as he saw the condition of the patient. 
He then took his place beside the bed, and say- 
ing that he had expected this change, laid his 
hand upon the hot brow, and counted the leap- 
ing pulse. 

After a few moments he shook the mane very 
gravely, and laid poor Fletcher's hand gently 
down upon the coverlid. 

"Brain fever," he said, very distinctly and 
slowly. ' ' Brain fe ver ! " 

We looked each other in the face without 
speaking. The physician rose, and imparted 
some directions to the nurse scrawled a hasty 
prescription bowed, and moved toward the 
door. 

"But there is hope?" cried Seabrook, in a 
low, quick voice. " There is hope?" 

The physician paused, glanced keenly from 
me to the patient, and back again, and looked 
uncomfortable. 

" Well really," he said, hesitatingly, "I 
I The gentleman is .your friend, perhaps, 
monsieur" (turning to me) "a a relation ?" 



40 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



I made a gesture of dissent, and Seabrook 
said impatiently, 

"Mr. Fletcher is comparatively a stranger to 
both of us, sir. Pray give your unreserved 
opinion. Is he in much danger?" 

He appeared relieved by this, but still hesi- 
tated. 

"Brain fever," he remarked, "frequently 
proves fatal ; and, again, many persons recover 
from it. The the patient is not strong; but 
delicate persons often go through sickness better 
than more robust subjects. We must, however, 
remember that opium is, in itself, a slow pois- 
on." 

"But your reply, sir! your reply!" urged 
my friend. " Is there hope ?" 

The physician was now at the door, with one 
foot down upon the first stair. 

"I I fear that is to say at least No, 
gentlemen. I regret to say none." 

And once more shaking his head, so that the 
mane swayed like a pendulum from side to side, 
he bowed, coughed apologetically, and made his 
way down as quickly and softly as he came up. 

It was quite late in the evening when I next 
saw him. I had left Seabrook writing letters ; 
the night was dark and wet ; the low lanes by 
the river were ankle-deep in mire ; scarce a soul 
was abroad ; and the hungry dogs were fighting 
over the bones upon the dunghills. There was 
noise of revelry and loud laughter in the public 
room of the Hollandischer Hof, and as I hurried 
through the dark passage and up the narrow 
stairs, I heard fragments of a popular Rhine- 
wine song and chorus, and inhaled a fog of 
coarse tobacco-smoke. 

It was strange ; but, as I advanced, the sound, 
instead of lessening, became louder. I paused 
at the foot of the last flight, and listened attent- 
ively. 

Yes beyond a doubt. It grows more dis- 
tinct with every step I take. The words are 
those by Mathias Claudius, which I know so 
well; the voice ah! the voice in which they 
are chanted ! I shudder I pause I hasten 
forward I push open the door. Alas ! 

" On the Rhine, on the Rhine, 
There grows the vine ! 
Bless'd be the Rhine I" 

He is sitting up in his bed, wild and haggard ; 
and, as I enter, chants these lines with a ghast- 
ly mirth more shocking than tears or ravings. 
The fire has gone out ; the candle burns dimly ; 
the nurse is absent. All is gloomy, comfortless, 
and chill. 

Shuddering, I take my seat beside him ; but 
he never notices my presence, and still goes on 
singing : 

" From the banks down below, 
Up the mountains they grow, 
And yield us the wine! 
This wine of the Rhine!" 

He has thrown off the covering, and flings his 
arms up wildly above his head as he finishes the 
verse. I twine mine around him, soothe him 
with gentle words, and induce him, for a few 



moments, to lie down. Unfortunately, I have 
omitted to shut the door, and again the chorus, 
with its accompaniment of clattering glasses, 
swells loud below, and comes up distinctly to 

r ears. 

He starts up, laughing (how I wish he would 
not laugh in that way!), and bursts forth again 
with a hoarse, frantic vehemence that makes 
me shudder : 

11 With the leaves of the vine 
Let us gayly entwine 
Each beaker of wine ? 
Drink it merrily dry, 
And all Europe defy 
To equal this wine ! 
This wine of the Rhine !" 

I go over and shut the door. He pauses 
listens eagerly looks round and, hearing 
nothing, moans softly several times, and rocks 
himself to and fro, as if in pain. 

Once more I induce him to lie down ; but he 
keeps muttering absently between his teeth, and 
shivers piteously. I pile bedclothes over him, 
and coats, and a woman's cloak which hangs be- 
side the door. I chafe his cold hands in mine ; 
I place the candle on one side that he may not 
see the light; and, as he seems quieter, I hope 
that he may sleep. However, he still moans 
and mutters, and from time to time vague frag- 
ments of the song yet escape his lips. 

"Faster!" he says thinking, perchance, 
that he is conducting the orchestra "faster! 
you are all too slow I tell } ? ou, prestissimo ! 
What! here already! I thought you were in 
London. Frankfort! Frankfort! Ah! I must 
not stay here ! Away! Beautiful fiend, I hate 
you! Hark! what is that? Wine! Ha! ha! 
Wine and cards ! ' So drink, drink the wine ! 
Rejoice in the vine!' Are you come again, 
Margaret ? Poor Margaret ! How pale you 
are, poor Margaret! Like your mother, Mar- 
garet like your mother, as I last saw her 
in her shroud, poor Margaret ! And Frank ! 
Where is Frank? Frank! Frankfort! The- 
resa! Ah! I remember you ! Dare you show 
yourself before me ? Poor Margaret poor 
poor " 

His voice grew fainter the words came 
thickly and heavily his eyes closed he start- 
ed twice or thrice, and presently he slept. 

His slumber lasted, as I should think, three 
hours. At first he seemed to dream painfully, 
and tossed restlessly upon the pillows, grasping 
my hand the while with strong energy, as if as- 
sociating with it some wandering notion of pro- 
tection. By-and-by he grew calmer; his hold 
relaxed ; his head fell back ; and, save for his 
quick, moaning respirations, I could almost 
have fancied that he was dead. 

Thus the dreary night wanes. The revelers 
in the inn-parlor break up and go forth, sing- 
ing, into the streets. The doors are barred 
loudly below. The profoundest stillness pre- 
vails within and without. The clocks chime 
sadly in this and the neighboring house ; and 
still the sick man sleeps, and still the nurse 
comes not. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



41 



By-and-by he wakes. I am not apprised^of 
this by any movement of his, but, on turning 
round, find his eyes fixed earnestly upon me. 
Something peculiar in the expression of his face 
something strange in the depths of his eyes, 
causes me to bend down suddenly toward him, 
and call him by his name. 

"Is that you, sir?" he says faintly, and with 
some difficulty of articulation. "Is that you? 
You're very good to me, sir. " 

The delirium is gone; but there is now a 
look upon his face which fills me with more 
dread than that of mere insanity. 

" Do you feel better now ?" I ask him. "Are 
you in pain ?" 

"No, sir. No pain but a a numbness 
seems to be taking me. I I think I'm going 
this time sir." 

I strive to reassure him to smile to shake 
him by the hand ; but mine trembles so that 
even he feels it, and the words die away upon 
my lips. He asks for water, and, when he has 
it, closes his eyes, and so lies for several min- 
utes quite still and silent. Presently he looks 
up and speaks again, and this time I notice that 
his speech is more labored than before. 

" I feel it coming. This numbness this 
. I I have no one to ask but but you, sir. 
Will will you " 

"I will do any thing for you," I exclaim, 
with warmth. " I meant to offer, in in case " 

He understands me, and looks grateful, but 
for some minutes seems unable to enunciate. 
The hand which I hold in mine appears mo- 
mentarily to grow colder, and large drops of 
perspiration gather upon his brow and upper 
lip. Again I bid him speak, for, alas ! there is 
no time to lose now. 

" I I have a daughter, sir a daughter 
Margaret in Brussels a school write " 

"I will go to her!" I say, quickly. " Give 
me her address. What do you wish me to say 
to her ? Have you any property ?" 

"No money spent gambled poor 
school Brussels. " 

" Yes, I know ! But where ? what street ?" 

"Rue Leopold, No. 24 Madame Von 
Plaets " 

"Enough. Have you any thing else to tell 
me ? Any message to Margaret ? Any other 
person you wish me to see?" 

I speak this earnestly and loudly, for his 
sense of hearing seems to grow dull, and a gray, 
gray tint is stealing down gradually over his 
face. 

" Protect warn protect " 

"I will protect her!" I say, fervently. "I 
will protect her !" 

He stares up at me with a beseeching ex- 
pression, and strives to rise. I lift him in my 
arms ; but he can scarcely breathe, and his 
dumb efforts at articulation are fearful to wit- 
ness. Then the pupils of his eyes dilate preter- 
naturally ; his lips move ; his features assume a 
look of intense anxiety, almost of rage or ha- 
tred ; the gray shadow creeps down, down, and 



overspreads all his countenance ; he falls heav- 
ily back, quivers once all over, and is then quite 
still. 

He has fallen upon my arm, and for some 
time I dread to move it, lest I should disturb 
his last moments. However, he lies there so 
motionless that I need not fear his waking ; so 
in a few minutes I withdraw it, and, taking the 
candle over to the bedside, stand there looking 
down upon the dead face. 

What untold tale was hidden there ? What 
strange tragedy of wrongs, and bitter hatreds, 
and fond loves, would go down unrecorded to 
the grave, and be buried in the outworn heart 
of this poor human sufferer? What hand was 
destined to unclasp the Book of the Past, and 
read therein the Chronicle of his Life-history ? 

I knew not ; but in that solemn hour I felt 
a strange awe and exultation upon me, as if, in 
the great duty which I had undertaken, an Era 
had begun for me, and a new blessing had 
dawned upon my path. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

"OH SWEET, PALE MARGARET!" 

"RuE DE LEOPOLD, No. 24 Madame von 
Plaets !" 

I had arrived in Brussels late the night be- 
fore, and, over-wearied by the long journey from 
Cologne, had slept till the shops were opened 
and the foot-passengers all stirring in the busy 
streets around me. I woke with these words 
upon my lips could think of nothing else dur- 
ing my hasty breakfast; and, immediately aft- 
er, hurried forth in quest of the school and my 
young ward, self -constituted guardian that I 
was. 

Strange, how this one event had changed the 
whole tone and tenor of my mind ; how it had 
braced my weary nerves ; reawakened my in- 
terest in things ; occupied my thoughts with 
pleasant images, and given a purpose and an 
impulse to my daily life ! I was always dream- 
ing of this child which the poor musician had 
confided to me on his dying bed ; wondering 
whether she was fair or dark, playful or sedate ; 
hoping that her eyes might be blue, like those 
of Adrienne ; and forming conjectures as to her 
age, size, disposition, and talents ; for to none 
of these did I possess the slightest clew. I 
amused myself by rehearsing in my own mind 
all that I should say to her when we met ; I ac- 
customed myself, in idea, to the name of "Fa- 
ther," which I thought would sound sweeter 
than that of "Guardian" from her infant lips. 
I framed the wildest impossibilities. I was to 
devote myself entirely to her ; to educate her in 
all that I deemed fittest for her improvement, 
and to grow wiser myself in the gentle task. 
She was to console me for my disappointment ; 
to be the comfort and pride of my old age ; the 
inheritress of my fortunes ; the adopted daugh- 
| ter of my heart. 



42 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Nay, I had even thought of legally investing 
her with the name of our family ! 

From the moment that we had consigned the 
remains of poor Fletcher to the little burying- 
place beyond Ems, I had found it impossible to 
restrain my impatience, and had hurried along 
the glorious Rhine-scenery lying between Cob- 
lentz and Bonn without even a wish to linger 
by the way. From Bonn to Cologne, from Co- 
logne to Brussels, had been the rapid journey 
of a day ; and not even the persuasions of my 
friend, who remained obstinately at the City of 
the Three Kings, could induce me to defer my 
farther progress for a few hours. Perhaps, were 
I to search my own motives narrowly, I should 
be forced to acknowledge that his very determ- 
ination to explore the antiquities of Cologne 
bore some share in the urgency of my desire to 
proceed. I wished to present myself alone to 
the little orphan, and I could not endure to 
share that first interview even with Norman 
Seabrook. There was to me an importance in 
our newly established relation to each other, a 
sacredness in the grief that I was to unfold to 
her, which admitted of no publicity ; besides, I 
had built such a fairy chateau en Esjjagne upon 
the affection which she was to give me, that I 
felt jealous lest I should not be the first and 
only one whom she would learn to love. 

"Rue de Leopold, No. 24 Madame von 
Plaets ]" 

The road was not long, although I thought it 
so in my impatience; but I had to ask my way 
several times; to traverse streets and squares 
utterly strange to me; to turn back twice or 
thrice when I had taken a wrong turning, or 
been misdirected. Besides, it was market-day, 
and the open places were all thronged with 
stalls and country people, and many whom I 
had addressed could not comprehend either 
my French or German, but had replied to me in 
their unintelligible Flemish dialect. Then the 
novelty o| the architecture, so different to any 
thing that I had previously seen, bewildered and 
distracted me. A regiment of Belgian Chas- 
seurs, with their dark uniforms, and curious 
round hats surmounted by plumes of cock's 
feathers, defiled along the very street which I 
was about to cross, and kept me waiting, as it 
seemed to me, full a quarter of an hour. I 
was waylaid and followed by importunate guides 
and commissionaires in short, every possible 
aggravation and delay -seemed to combine 
against me. 

At length I found the Rue de Leopold, a lit- 
tle street running at the back of the theatre, 
consisting of shops, hotels, and private houses. 
Walking slowly down the centre, and looking 
from side to side alternately, I came to No. 24. 
It was a large white house standing back from 
the street, with an outer wall, and heavy wood- 
en gates, decorated with two ponderous knock- 
ers. Within were long close rows of jalousied 
windows ; the topmost branches of one or two 
lofty lime-trees ; and, on the coping, in letters 
a foot long, the words "Pensionnat des De- 
moiselles." 



How my heart beat as I lifted the heavy 
knocker as I asked for Madame von Plaets 
as I heard that she was within, and followed 
the hobbling old concierge across the court-yard 
to the steps of the mansion, where I was met 
by a staid footman in a sober livery, and by him 
preceded to a spacious drawing-room opening 
upon a garden. 

"Madame will be with monsieur directly." 

Directly ! It seemed an age to me. I sat 
down rose sat down again examined the 
pictures upon the walls the books lying upon 
the table the visiting-cards in the filigree bas- 
ket the little figures of Dresden china on the 
shelves of the inlaid cabinet. Surely those were 
the sounds of music ! I listened attentively, and 
heard a chorus of female Voices, supported by 
the deep undertones of an organ. Doubtless 
we were in the neighborhood of some church ; 
and yet it was not the hour for service. 

It certainly appeared to come from the direc- 
tion of the garden ! I went over and opened 
the window. This time I could not be mistaken, 
for I heard the very words and recognized the 
very notes of a choral movement by Marcello. 

The garden was spacious, but gloomy sur- 
rounded by a high wall, overgrown by ivy and 
green moss, planted here and there with tall 
dark poplars, and laid out in formal walks and 
parterres. There was a broken statue of the 
Piping Faun, and a weed-grown sun-dial in 
among the trees ; and, at the farther end, par- 
tially screened by a lofty laurel hedge, a small 
white edifice, apparently of recent date, pierced 
by a row of long and narrow windows, and sur- 
mounted by a glazed cupola. 

Now, beyond a doubt, it was from that very 
building that the sounds proceeded. 

Did Madame von Plaets, then, keep a private 
chapel for her pupils, or did the garden com- 
municate with some other house or street be- 
hind the confines of that laurel hedge ? 

My curiosity Avas powerfully excited. I went 
out upon the terrace, and down into the garden, 
making my way cautiously along the paths till 
I turned the corner of the. hedge, and found 
myself before the entrance to the building, when 
I stole forward into the shadow of the doorway, 
and gazed on the scene within. 

It was one large and lofty hall, with bare 
white walls and matted floor, and rows 'of plain 
deal benches ranged down all the centre, like 
the seats in a church or a concert-room. On 
these benches sat some fifty or sixty female 
scholars, varying in age from six to twenty. 
Each held an open music-book in her hand, 
and all were singing to the accompaniment of 
an organ which stood at the upper end of the 
hall, and was played by a young girl dressed 
entirely in black. About half way down, add- 
ing to the church-like appearance of the place, 
stood a little pulpit-like oaken desk, behind 
which a stout, fair, and florid lady of middle age 
was seated, as if presiding over the assembly. 

It was a curious scene, and for me an inter- 
esting one ; for I stood there scanning those 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



43 



rows of fair young faces, and striving vainly to 
guess which was the one I sought. 

Suddenly the lady-president, glancing in the 
direction of the door, fixed her eyes upon me 
with a startled expression, rose from behind her 
desk with an air of immense dignity, and came 
rustling toward me in her silken robes. 

I felt that I was looked upon as an intruder, 
and as she advanced I gradually retreated. 

"Monsieur is desirous of speaking to me?" 
she asked, with a stately salutation. 

I was not particularly desirous of speaking to 
her ; but I knew not what answer to make, so 
I bowed profoundly. 

"Then monsieur will have the goodness to 
step this way." 

She laid a pointed emphasis on "this," and 
preceded me along the walks, up to the terrace, 
and back into the saloon which I had lately left. 
She then indicated a chair with a languid ges- 
ture of her fat white hand, and sank, as if ex- 
hausted, upon a spacious fauteuil. 

"And now," she said, turning to me and 
bowing somewhat more graciously, "and now, 
perhaps, monsieur will have the politeness to 
speak." 

"Madame von Plaets, I presume?" 

Another bow. 

"I am the bearer of some painfufc intelli- 
gence to one of your pupils, Miss Margaret 
Fletcher. Her father is no more. I attended 
upon him in his last moments, at Ems,. where 
he intrusted me with the care and guardianship 
of his daughter." 

Madame looked concerned, and shook her 
fair head gravely. 

"I am very sorry," she said, two or three 
times over; "I am very sorry." Then, as if 
suddenly remembering my words, "Mademoi- 
selle is not my pupil," she added. "She is my 
musical gouvernante." 

"Your musical gouvernante, madame !" I ex- 
claimed. "I I had expected to to find her 
quite a child !" 

There must have been something very blank 
and discomfited about the expression of my 
face, for the Flemish lady smiled outright, and 
saying, "Monsieur shall judge for himself," rang 
a silver hand-bell, and desired the attendance 
of Mademoiselle Marguerite. 

So, then, all my predetermined speeches, my 
fairy plans, my pleasant dreams of education, 
guidance, and voluntary paternity, were vanish- 
ed my chateaux en Espagne had turned to "airy 
nothings," and I found myself the guardian of 
a musical gouvernante, as old, and perhaps old- 
er, than myself ! But for the sad cause of my 
journey, I should have recognized something al- 
most ludicrous in the situation. 

She entered a pale, slight girl about seven- 
teen or eighteen years of age, with fair straight 
brow and downcast eyes, and her hands folded 
meekly together, like the picture of the Virgin 
Mary in the old German paintings. Her smooth 
brown hair was banded closely round her head ; 
she wore a plain dress of some black material, 



and a small white collar round her throat, so 
that I recognized her at once for the organist 
whom I had seen from my ambush in the gar- 
den. 

"A gentleman to visit you, mademoiselle 
Marguerite," said madame, condescendingly. 

The little gouvernante blushed and courte- 
sied, and stole one timid glance toward me from 
beneath her long eyelashes, but made no reply. 

"You can be seated, Mademoiselle Margue- 
rite.* 

From the manner in which this was conceded, 
it was evident that madame deemed it a dis- 
tinguishing mark of favor." 

"This gentleman comes from abroad from 
Germany, mademoiselle. He has seen mon- 
sieur your father, and will himself relate to you 
the melancholy details. Helas ! mais c'est dom- 
mage, monsieur. Qa me dechire le coeur !"' 

And madame sighed, and pressed her laced 
pocket-handkerchief to her eyes, and tried to 
weep, but could not. 

"I beg a thousand pardons, Madame von 
Plaets," I said, rising hurriedly, "but I should 
prefer to speak with this young lady in private ; 
the nature of my communication demands it. 
Have you any unoccupied room to which we 
might be permitted to retire?" 

' ' Mais c'est juste, mais les convenances," 
stammered the mistress of the house, half rising 
and hesitating. 

" The customs of society, madame, suffer a 
young lady to be alone for a few moments with 
her guardian." 

"Monsieur is a young guardian," said ma- 
dame, looking greatly disappointed, and moving 
slowly toward the door. "But since it is 
wished on this one occasion /will retire." 

She bowed again, very haughtily ; I returned 
the salutation; and, after lingering for a min- 
ute with her hand on the lock, she finally left 
the room. 

As for the little gouvernante, she had risen 
and sat down again a dozen times during this 
brief colloquy ; but, now that madame was ac- 
tually gone, she resumed her seat, and remain- 
ed quite still and silent, revealing nothing of 
her previous agitation save by the trembling of 
her hands, which she strove to press firmly to- 
gether. 

I was troubled how to begin, and sat looking 
at her in silence for some moments. At last I 
spoke. 

"I am the unwilling bearer of some painful 
intelligence, Mademoiselle Margaret," I said, 
gravely. 

A startled glance from the downcast eyes a 
closer clasping of the hands a quickening of 
the fluttered breath that was all. 

"I I was your father's friend at Ems. He 
desired me to visit you to protect you to in- 
form you of of his illness." 

"My father has been ill !" 

It was the first time she had spoken the 
first time she had looked me steadily in the 
face ; and, despite my anxiety and pity, I could 



44 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



not avoid remarking how sweet was the voice 
and how beautiful were the large brown eyes. 

" Very ill. More ill than you imagine. Can 
you bear to be told how ill he has been ?" 

I said this very earnestly, looking at her sor- 
rowfully the while, as in the hope that the ex- 
pression of my face and the tone of my voice 
would speak my story for me. 

She turned very pale even her lips grew 
white; but she answered firmly, "I can bear it." 

The task was too painful. I thrust back my 
chair, and took one or two hurried turns about 
the room. Then I stopped suddenly before her, 
and taking her hand, 

''Margaret," I said, " I am your guardian 
your guardian and protector for life. It was 
your father's wish that I should be so. Do you 
understand me ?" 

No reply no glance no movement. 

" I am your guardian, Margaret, because 
because you have no other." 

The little hand that felt so cold in mine was 
hastily withdrawn. 

"No other!" she repeated, in an inward 
shuddering tone. " No other ! " 
, She rose up, pale and horror-struck, and 
moved slowly away, as if in dread of me and 
of my tidings. There were no tears upon her 
face, though mine were falling fast. 

"No other!" 

Suddenly both voice and strength seemed to 
fail her. She paused, wavered, caught wildly 
at my outstretched hand, and fell fainting into 
my arms. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

CLOUD-SHADOWS. 

Norman Seabrook to Paul Latour. 

"Hotel deJRubens, Antwerp, July 2d, 18. 

"EBBENE, amico mio ! So thou hast even 
taken unto thyself apartments at Brussels, and 
a ward of seventeen with 'a face of saintlike 
purity!' By my faith, friend Paul, you im- 
prove, /can remember but a very short time 
since when the name of woman was never heard 
to escape those ascetic lips, and when to remain 
longer than seven days in any one locality was 
intolerable to your philosophership. But all is 
changed now, I perceive : a pair of * large, earn- 
est brown eyes' have been sufficient to charm 
even you into the paths of sentiment and sighs ; 
and you must allow me to interpret your fine 
speeches about ' the duties which you have tak- 
en upon yourself,' etc., etc., according to my 
own reading. Ha ! ' thou blushest, Antony !' 

"I arrived in this place five days ago, and I 
have not yet thought about when I shall leave 
it. 'Tis a glorious old mediaeval city, Paul, 
and not a moment passes that I do not wish you 
were here to enjoy it with me. The most glo- 
rious cathedral a Muse'e of incalculable wealth 
the quaintest old Bourse you ever saw ; and 
a style of florid architecture everywhere abound- 



ing that absolutely feasts the eye with beauty. 
I never saw any thing like the house of Rubens. 
It is one wreath of fruits, and flowers, and 
rarest scroll-works a perfect bower in stone. 
What an idea of magnificence that man had ! 
What a princely splendid life he contrived to 
lead embassador, chamberlain, secretary of 
the privy council, knight, and artist ! Was ever 
painter so rich and so honored? Will ever 
painter be so again ? They have his palette, 
and an old leather chair in which he sat while 
painting, preserved in the Muse'e. 

* ' Talking of the Muse'e, I have seen a pic- 
ture in it which I shall never forget, and which, 
if I could but describe it worthily, would, I 
think, induce you to take the rail and come 
down for a day or two that is, if the sight of 
your English friend would not be sufficiently 
attractive. It is a small crucifixion by Van 
Dyck to me a most affecting and remarkable 
picture. You see the cross standing up, as it 
were, alone against the leaden sky. There is 
nothing above or around but darkness, and one 
or two points of flinty rock peep up from below, 
giving an idea of the altitude and loneliness of 
the mountain. The evening shades are gather- 
ing; the sun is retreating behind a bank of 
slaty clouds, and the Savior of mankind looks 
upward^nto that heaven to which he seems so 
near, and from which his term of banishment is 
almost ended. The face is filled with a divine 
yet beautiful agony : the extremities assume the 
blue hues of death, and harmonize in a master- 
ly manner with the tones of the background. 
All is solitary, silent, and awful. Do come, 
Paul, if it be only to see this picture. It is 
worth a pilgrimage. There is a copy of it in 
the church of St. Jacques ; but the original is 
the gem. 

"I have taken an immense fancy to the Mu- 
see. It is a noble building, and is surrounded 
by a quiet bit of garden, full of fine old trees, 
' with seats beneath the shade,' and tablets in- 
scribed to the memory of eminent artists set in 
the walls. The bust of Rubens stands over the 
entrance. Somehow the geniusrcf a great man 
seems to reign forever in the place of his birth, 
and to hallow all the atmosphere around with 
something of his individual majesty. I have 
found this particularly the case with Frankfurt 
and Antwerp. Both cities appear like reflec- 
tions of the minds of Goethe and Rubens, and 
are, to me, as inseparable from the men as the 
men from their works. You will understand 
what I mean, though I write 'words mere 
words.' Surely there is a something about 
Stratford-upon-Avon that is different to any oth- 
er town by any other river in any other part of 
England. 

"I spent yesterday at Ghent, and paid a 
hasty visit to the cathedral of St.Bavon, and 
the famous old belfry surmounted by the Gold- 
en Dragon, where I saw the great bell named 
Roland, with its Flemish inscription, mentioned, 
as you must remember, by the poet Longfel- 
low: 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



45 



" ' Then the bell of Ghent responded, o'er lagoon and dike 
of sand, 

" I am Roland ! I am Roland ! there is victory in the 
land !" ' 

" His dragonship, by the way, is delightfully 
ugly, and suffers at present under the personal 
disadvantage of a broken queue. I could not 
resist the whim of taking up a bit of chalk lying 
on the top of the tower, and writing these words 
along the remains of that appendage 'This tale 
to be continued.' Forgive the poverty of the 
pun. 

"There is a large establishment here for Be- 
guine nuns which I much wished to see, but 
time forbade. These excellent women half peo- 
ple the dead streets of the city ; soldiers and 
priests seem to make up the rest of the popula- 
tion. The grass grows in the public squares; 
the sluggish . canals, with their waters 'thick 
and slab,' lie like torpid snakes along the thor- 
oughfares ; dogs go by dragging carts, and 
queer wagons rumble past, like boats upon 
wheels ; there are little images of the Virgin 
and Child stuck up under tiny penthouses at 
the corners of all the streets ; and down by the 
bridges and the water-stairs you see women 
scrubbing their bright brass kettles and peeling 
vegetables. I never beheld a more dreary 
place. I hear it is one of the most demoral- 
ized in Europe. 

"Leaving the town in what they are pleased 
to call a 'vigilante' (!) on my way to the rail- 
way, we had to cross several of the canal bridges. 
At one of them my driver stopped while a barge 
passed through ; for on these occasions the 
bridge ha-s to be drawn up, so small a distance 
is there between the surface of the water and 
the planking above. I was amused at the prim- 
itive manner in which the toll was collected 
here. Two men in red woolen shirts drag the 
boat through the narrow straits ; another man 
appears at the window of the toll-house, which 
overhangs the canal. He holds a fishing-rod 
in his hand, with an old sabot attached to the 
line. This he drops down to the level of the 
steersman's nose, and draws it up again, like 
Peter's fish, with a piece of money in its mouth. 

" On the whole, I like Belgium, it is so un- 
disguisedly stupid. I like its flat, strange scen- 
ery its mouldering old cities its population 
of dark priests and silent nuns. How ugly the 
women are ! I have not seen a pretty face 
since I have been in the country. ' Formosis 
Bruga puellis,' saith a very respectable proverb 
of the Middle Ages. It may be; but I have 
not yet been to Bruges. 

"I wished you had remained a few days with 
me at Cologne. There is a private gallery there, 
the property of Mr. Van der Weyer, which is 
worth half the national collections in Europe, 
and which you, as an artist and a man of taste, 
should by no means have omitted. Some of the 
finest specimens of the early German school, 
the works of Wilhelm of Cologne, Stephen his 
pupil, Hans Memling, Van Eyck, etc., adorn 
these walls with 'riches fineles*;' and as for 
the maturer painters of a later age, which pos- 



sess for me far greater charms, you can not con- 
ceive of a more exquisite selection. There is a 
Guido, an upturned head of Christ, full of the 
deepest poetry of feeling ; a glorious Rem- 
brandt 'Simon in the Temple;' and another 
equally grand, a portrait of a man dressed in a 
sort of Russian costume, with cloak, and furs, 
and heavy leathern boots, but with an Oriental 
turban on his head. The table near him is 
laden with ' barbaric gold and pearl ;' a rich 
gloom hangs over all ; and points of brilliant 
light falling here and there only serve to height- 
en the depths of shade beyond. I saw there a 
spirited ' Head of a Cavalier,' by Rubens, and a 
group of his own family; a fine Salvator, 'Cain 
after the Death of Abel;' a delicious 'Virgin 
and Child,' by Titian, all life and sweetness; 
and oh ! such a calm and golden Cuyp. It is 
a landscape scene, Paul. A woman seated on 
a mule is led over the brow of a hill by a man 
in a red jacket. The far country lies behind, 
all liquefied and transparent in the sunny even- 
ing air. The blue mountains fade upon the 
horizon, and the towers of a distant chateau lift 
their peaks to the red clouds far away. Be- 
sides, there is a ' Forest-pool' by Ruysdale, with 
the trees standing silently around in that light of 

u ' Clear obscure, 
So softly dark, so darkly pure, 
Which follows the decline of day, 
Ere twilight melts beneath the moon away.' 

And I must not forget a Velasquez one of the 
most effective that I have seen. It is a portrait 
of Don Carlos, a youth whose long fair hair falls 
down upon his lustrous armor. He leans on a 
gorgeous mace all blazing with jewels ; a dog 
stands at his side ; and behind them are the 
gates of a palace by the sea. It is a model of 
high art in portraiture, and one laments that the 
coloring should be so faded. 

"But, if I proceed at this rate, you will think 
that I am sending you a catalogue raisomwe, or 
else that I am qualifying myself to be an author v 
of guide-books. 

" I often think of poor Fletcher and his mel- 
ancholy ending. There was a man utterly self- 
destroyed self-sacrificed. I have sometimes 
fancied that a great care was weighing upon his- 
mind, and was the secret source of all his errors. 
It might have been anxiety for his daughter. 
And to think of his having a daughter! I 
never even dreamt that he had had a wife. By 
the way, do you remember that little brooch he 
used to wear ? I often wondered whose hair he 
could so value, and you would smile to hear 
some of the romantic tales which I was pleased 
to hang thereby. Perhaps, after all, it was his 
wife's. 

" You must come and see me. I shall be 
here, I dare say, for a fortnight or three weeks 
longer, for I have still so much to see in the 
way of churches and private galleries. Really 
one might spend a year in Antwerp and still 
leave something unvisited. Suppose you come 
next Saturday, and stay for a few days with me 
on the banks of what Goldsmith calls 'the lazy 



46 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Schelde ?' I name Saturday, because there is 
to be a grand fete on Sunday at the cathedral, 
and a procession headed by the archbishop. 

"I want you to make me a little sketch of 
Miss Fletcher's head, that I may know in what 
this * saintly purity' consists. Is it in expres- 
sion or feature ? I should imagine the former, 
since you tell me that she is not beautiful. It 
is probable that I shall find my way to Brussels 
on leaving here ; but perhaps I may go first to 
Bruges. I am very curious to visit that old 
city. In the mean time, I should like to see 
what your fair ward is like, and I hope, for the 
' sake of our friendship, that I may be enabled to 
write beneath her portrait that old line of Chau- 
cer's which you, as a Frenchman, I dare say, 
have not read 

" ' Si douset est la Margarete !' 
What a long letter I have written ! ffiimphrtc, 
I know that you will read it all, mon aini, and 
that, were it twice the length, you would not 
deem it a trouble. ' Farewell, Monsieur Trav- 
eler.' I drink your health in a glass of admi- 
rable Cura9oa. Yours ever, 

" NORMAN SEABROQK." 

From the Same to the Same. 

" July 4th, 18 . 

"DEAR OLD BOY, This is good news! I 
did not really think that you would come, al- 
though I asked you. Start by the first train in 
the morning, and I will meet you at the sta- 
tion. Huzza ! N. S." 

It was late in the evening, and getting quite 
dusk, when I parted from my friend upon the 
platform of the Antwerp railway station. I 
had passed two pleasant days with him, of 
which the greater portion had been spent in 
the Muse'e and the cathedral ; and I couM not 
help feeling a movement of regret as the guard 
closed the door, and the train began slowly to 
glide past the outskirts of the city. 

The carriages were dimly lighted from the 
roof; the view without was flat, obscure, and 
ghostly. I turned wearily from the level marsh- 
lands, and the dull lines of poplars that seemed 
to travel past the windows, toward my fellow- 
passengers. These were three in number 
a stout, jovial-looking priest, with broad-brim- 
med hat and long black robe, and a railway rug 
folded comfortably over his knees ; a young 
officer of Chasseurs, sound asleep, with the frag- 
ment of a cigar between his lips ; and a lady su- 
perbly dressed in a robe of violet-colored satin, 
and a cloak of velvet and rich sables, who sat 
precisely opposite to me, and kept her veil down 
closely over her face. 

There was something in the attitude of this 
lady in the shape of her hands, one of which 
was ungloved and glittering with diamonds 
in the very style and splendor of her attire, that 
attracted my attention, strangely. Having once 
looked at her, I coul ; d not remove my eyes, and 
I sat there vainly striving to penetrate the folds 
of lace that concealed her features. 

Presently the evening mists rose thicker and 



the air grew damp. I raised the glass on my 
side, and the priest raised his at the other. The 
steam then gathered slowly on the panes; the 
night became quite dark, and the faint oil-lamp 
seemed to burn brighter by the contrast ; the 
priest threw aside his rug ; the officer muttered 
restlessly in his sleep; I removed my hat in 
short, the atmosphere of the carriage was trop- 
ical. 

Surely the heat must soon compel her to up- 
lift that veil ! 

She takes a scent-bottle from her reticule 
she loosens the cloak around her throat at last, 
yes, at last, she throws up the veil ! 

Madame Vogelsang ! 

An unaccountable thrill ran through me at 
the sight of her, and I sank back, shuddering, in 
my seat. What was she to me that I should 
feel this presaging weight upon my heart? 

Nothing ; and yet I drew my 

breath with difficulty, and closed my eyes that 
they might not look upon her. 

The train flew on, and to me the journey 
seemed to endure for hours, although I knew 
how short the distance was, and how swift our 
speed. Then came Brussels, and at the first 
slackening of our pace I threw open the door, 
leaped out upon the platform, and never once 
glanced back. 

Who shall say that it was not a presenti- 
ment? 



CHAPTER XVIII. 
"SUMMER HALCYON DAYS." 

SOME three or four weeks went by, and Brus- 
sels arrived at the height of its summer glory. 
There were evening concerts in the park ; pub- 
lic balls at the Cafe Vauxhall ; shoals of car- 
riages and equestrians on the Boulevards, and 
in the Allee Verte, during the day ; and, above 
all, operatic performances at the theatre in the 
Place de la Monnaie, with Madame Vogelsang 
as the star of the season. 

I partook of very few of these amusements, 
and divided my time between study, exercise, 
and the society of my ward. I had taken a 
couple of rooms in the neighborhood of the 
park, within sight of the green trees and the 
great basin, and here established for myself an 
humble imitation of my beautiful library at 
Latour-sur-Creil. During the mornings I wrote, 
and read, and walked if the weather permitted ; 
in the afternoons I called upon Margaret, and 
either took her out for a little stroll, or read 
aloud to her from the pages of some favorite 
French or German writer; at night I studied 
again till late, and sometimes spent an hour in 
the park, listening to the band. It was a very 
quiet life, but a happy one ; not the less happy, 
perhaps, for being tinctured here and there with 
some few shadows and regrets. 

As I had felt and conjectured from the first 
ay, from that very moment of that woful mid- 
night I had found peace and consolation in 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



the new and solemn duty which I then assumed. 
To have the care of a life of a life so young, 
and innocent, and fair! this was indeed a 
high and holy trust, and I grew stronger in the 
mere effort to fulfill it. There was, however, 
one difficulty ever present to my mind. I, who 
had so easily built up a pleasant future for my 
child- ward and myself, could now determine 
on no fitting course of life for this grave and 
timid girl of seventeen. To suffer her to con- 
tinue as I found her, a lonely and ill-paid mu- 
sical gouvemante in a school, was out of the 
question. Indeed, I had already done much to 
soften the harsher points of her position. She 
had now a private sitting-room ; leisure for 
study ; and, owing to a pecuniary arrangement 
into which I entered with Madame von Plaets, 
enjoyed a far greater amount of respect and 
consideration than any teacher had ever before 
received at the hands of that majestic lady. 
For the present this answered well enough ; but 
I could not reside in Brussels ad infinitum, and 
Margaret must not occupy a subordinate posi- 
tion for any longer period than was necessary 
for the completion of my plans. The subject 
was most perplexing, and cost me many hours 
of reflection every day. Yet I found it impos- 
sible to arrive at any definite conclusion. 

Could I but have taken her to Burgundy, and 
placed her under the care of my mother but I 
could not yet endure to think of the Hauteville 
grounds, which opened into mine, and of the 
near vicinity of Theophile and his bride. True, 
I might send or leave her there, and again de- 
part upon my aimless travels ; but was she not 
my ward, and I her guardian ? Was it not my 
duty to remain with her, to console her, to guide 
her studies, and watch over every dawning im- 
pulse of her heart ? How dull and solitary she 
would be, alone with my stately mother in that 
remote chateau, with its environment of old 
forests; how lonely I should be to leave her 
there, and go forth for the second time ! 

It was a step not to be thought of at least 
for the present. A time might arrive when old 
griefs and old impressions would fade and wear 
away ; when I might learn to look upon Adri- 
enne without regret, and upon The'ophile with- 
out envy ; when to return to Burgundy would 
once more be a pleasure unalloyed by pain, and 
Margaret might rejoice to call that antique house 
her home. 

And so I put it off day by day, and the sum- 
mer weeks went on. She was singularly placid 
and silent for her age the more so, perhaps, on 
account of her isolated position, and the sor- 
row which had lately fallen upon her yet she 
thought much, and felt deeply. Her nature 
was so reserved, her inner world so far removed 
from all vain or idle scrutiny, that her ideas and 
feelings became known to me only by chance, 
and at rare intervals. I have spent hours read- 
ing the story of her calm eyes and serious brow, 
and striving to look through them upon the 
workings of her heart. She would often sit by 
with drooping head, and hands busy over some 



piece of delicate embroidery, suffering me to 
carry on the conversation unaided, and seldom 
uttering even a comment or an interrogation. 
Then again, at times, thoughts of such fresh 
purity and beauty would fall from her lips as 
caused me frequently to look round upon her 
with sudden admiration and delight, the more 
so because she was ever totally unconscious of 
the sweetness of her own sayings. 

Every glimpse that I obtained into that fair 
soul revealed only grace and innocence, and 
these revelations were but the more precious for 
being so unpremeditated and infrequent. 

Oh, this pleasant study of a young life ! I 
had read many books, and was learned in many 
philosophies and languages, but in this first liv- 
ing volume that had been opened for me I read 
a wise and simple poem such as I had never 
dreamed before. It would be vain for me to 
attempt an analysis of all the peace and conso- 
lation which I learned from the perusal of that 
book's gentle pages. Slowly and earnestly I 
read, and observed, and commented upon them, 
and day by day rejoiced more heartily and grate- 
fully that the care of them had been committed 
to my keeping. Yes, it was my duty now to 
win the confidence and affection of this lonely 
girl it was my duty to shield her from sorrow, 
and to preserve in all their stainless purity the 
virgin tablets of her heart. Father, brother, 
friend, all these must I be to her, and all these, 
oh Beneficent Sustainer, did I not pray to Thee 
to make me ? 

The task, the responsibility, the anxiety was 
overwhelming, and Heaven knows with what 
humility and strong endeavor I armed myself to 
execute it worthily. 

The more I understood, the more I respected 
and loved her. There was a something in her 
presence that seemed to hush my voice, as in 
the presence of a superior nature. Frequently 
I likened her mind to some Parian sanctuary 
peopled with pious, and chaste, and lovely im- 
ages, and dedicated to the service of the gods ; 
sometimes I compared it to a smooth lake 
whose translucent waters are dark only because 
they are deep, and beneath which grow fairest 
water-plants and flowers, such as the upper 
earth can not match for sweetness. 

Scarcely a week had elapsed since my arrival 
in Brussels when I recognized the necessity of 
establishing some link of thought and action 
between Margaret and myself some link that 
should induce a community of aim and a reci- 
procity of ideas between our minds. It was 
even necessary to the acquirement of her confi- 
dence ; for how could the innocent familiarity 
which belonged to our relative position ever be 
attained by formal visits and conversations gov- 
erned by restraint? To this end I began in- 
structing her in drawing. Like all persons of 
high musical ability, she showed a remarkable 
aptitude for art, and progressed rapidly so rap- 
idly that in less than a month she had mastered 
the difficulties of the simple outline, and began 
studying from the round object. I must here 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



observe that Margaret had a little favorite pupil 
in the school, a pale and sickly child, with large 
dark eyes and ordinary features, stunted in 
'growth, but precocious in mind, and who loved 
her with a passionate devotion that reminded 
me of my own feelings toward my mother when 
I was myself a child. This little girl was her 
constant companion, the sharer of her studies, 
the partaker of all her simple pleasures, her 
walks, her rooms, her books. Little Clemence 
was too shy, and strange, and silent to inspire 
me at first with any great interest ; but J will- 
ingly taught her all that I taught to Margaret, 
and in time grew almost fond of my earnest 
scholar. She was scarcely like a child in her 
tone of mind; she had none of the prattle 
and ingenuous confidence of youth. Her very 
amusements were odd and fantastic, and unlike 
all those which are suitable to childhood. I 
have known her sit silently in a corner for long 
hours at a time, inventing grotesque patterns in 
colored papers, or drawing maps of imaginary 
countries with bays and promontories, and 
strange outlandish names marked here and 
there. With Clemence for our companion, we 
passed many a pleasant evening hour, and en- 
joyed many a sunny walk together. With 
what delight I attended the sales of antique 
bijouterie and objets (fart, and found out quaint 
shops in the close dark streets of the medieval 
quarter of the city, seeking models for her pen- 
cil! How I triumphed when I succeeded in 
bringing to her some graceful vase, or classic 
statuette, or fragment of old foliated cornice, 
making her little salon into the semblance of an 
artist's studio ! And then what long rural wan- 
derings we had in the neighborhood of Laken, 
and in the forest of Soignies, searching for ferns 
and leaves, and sketching moss-grown trunks of 
fallen -trees, and telling fairy- stories to Cle- 
mence by the way ! 

A happy, happy time, and calm as dreamless 
sleep ! 



CHAPTER XIX. 

A CABINET COUNCIL. 

IT is a bright and joyous morning during the 
first week of August. The boxes of mignonette 
in my windows send up a fragrant odor; the 
trees are nodding in the sunshine ; my bird in 
his painted cage is almost wild with joy, and 
darts from perch to perch in the pauses of his 
song ; pleasant sounds of children's voices, and 
cries of itinerant florists and chocolate vendors 
are heard outside, with now and then the pass- 
ing wheels of some early vigilantes going to 
meet the first train at the station. 

I am seated beside the open casement in my 
slippers and robe de chambre, reading and 
. breakfasting. My book (Thiers's History of the 
Consulate and Empire") lies before me in a con- 
venient position ; my toast and coffee stand at 
my right hand ; sometimes I look out upon a 
troop of passing cavalry, or a party of country 



milkmaids, with their graceful cans of glittering 
brass upon their heads. In short, I am just 
now exceedingly comfortable, very much inter- 
ested, and have made up my mind to a morning 
of quiet study. 

A tap at my chamber door. 

I want no interruptions ; so I affect not to 
hear it, and go on with my book. 
A second tap, very much louder than the first 
a tap that insists upon being heard ! 

" Go to Algeria !" I mutter sulkily between 
my teeth, and then, without removing my eyes 
from the page " Come in !" 

The door flies open a rapid foot treads the 
floor a friendly hand falls heavily upon my 
shoulder, and a frank voice cries cheerily, 

"Hail to thee, worthy Timon!" 

"Norman Seabrook! dear old fellow, is it 
really you ? How glad how very glad I am ! 
When did you come ? Where have you put 
up ? Why did you not write and let me meet 
you ? Sit down and have some breakfast ! 
Well, this is a pleasure!" 

And in an incoherent rapture of delight and 
surprise I shake him vehemently by both hands, 
force him into a chair, ring for fresh coffee, kick 
Thiers's "History of the Consulate," etc., to the 
farther corner of the room, shake hands again, 
and so on for some ten minutes at the least. 

Presently we subside over our breakfast and 
sit talking eagerly. He has so much to tell 
and I so little, that I soon drop my share of the 
conversation, and leave him to speak of all that 
he has seen since we parted, uninterrupted save 
now and then by an interrogation or a brief re- 
mark. Besides, it is such a pleasure to see him 
once again, that I prefer to sit listening to his 
voice and looking at his cordial face. 

More than five weeks have elapsed since we 
parted, and during that time he has visited all 
that in Belgium is worthy the notice of the his- 
torian, the art -student, and the archaeologist. 
He has been to Ghent, Antwerp, Bruges, Lou- 
vain, Mechlin, Tournay, etc., and is all the 
browner for his traveling. He has seen every 
thing and been into all kinds of places ; has 
journeyed from town to town in a lazy ca- 
nal-boat; has jolted along the paven country 
roads in a peasant's wagon ; has trudged on foot 
and on horseback ; lodged at hotels, and farm- 
houses, and roadside inns ; frequented theatres, 
churches, gaming-rooms, picture-galleries, mar- 
kets, guinguettes, reviews, law-courts, and relig- 
ious ceremonials. Life in all its phases, art in 
all its stages, he has observed, studied, and en- 
joyed. For five weeks he has done wonders, 
and nothing has escaped his quick eye, his ready 
wit, and his genial temper. 

"And so," I say at length, "Brussels is all 
that you have left to see ! How long do you 
propose to remain with me ?" 

" To remain with you, amico ! Why, you are 
not going to establish yourself here for the term 
of your natural life ! I had thought to stay 
here for some three weeks, perhaps, till you 
should have disposed of your interesting charge 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



49 



in some convenient and appropriate asylum, 
and then I hoped, and hope, that we shall on 
together 'to fresh woods and pastures new!' 
Why not to Paris? It is the most insoufiante 
and delicious place on earth, and I must fain 
confess, with Madame de Stael, that it is rny 
vulnerable side. Besides, you are a French- 
man, and have never visited the fairy capital of 
your native country ! I tell you, Paul, 'tis ab- 
solutely a duty!" 

I shake my head and look grave. 

"Indeed, Seabrook,"! say, tracing a pattern 
on the tea-tray with my spoon, " indeed, I find 
myself in a very delicate, I may say, a very dif- 
ficult position. Miss Fletcher, you see, is not 
the child I had supposed ; she she is young, 
accomplished, interesting Hem ! interesting to 
me on account of her poor father, and and " 

Here Seabrook bursts out laughing, and I 
pause disconcerted. 

" Go on, old boy," says my friend, biting his 
lips to smother his risible inclinations. " Go 
on. You were speaking of the difficulties of 
your situation, and of the charms which la belle 
Marguerite inherits from her father!" 

* ' No jesting, I beg. The subject is a serious 
one, and I entered into it that I might be bene- 
fited by your advice, not mocked by your unsea- 
sonable pleasantries." 

And hereupon I am so very grave and digni- 
fied that Seabrook holds out his hand and begs 
my pardon earnestly. So I continue. 

"That she shall not remain in her present 
position I have quite determined, and I have 
many reasons why I should not wish to place 
her with my mother in Burgundy. She has no 
friends with whom I could even leave her as a 
boarder. Were she a child, or one of our own 
sex, the thing would be sufficiently easy ; as it 
is, I know not what on earth to do !" 

"Put her into a good school not as a teach- 
er, but as a pupil. You can make as many ar- 
rangements for her comfort and indulgence as 
you please, and you would be providing her 
with a respectable home, "says Seabrook, deci- 
sively. 

" Eh lien! that would, perhaps, be as wise a 
course as any. Yet I do not much fancy pla- 
cing her in a school. I do not fancy the re- 
straint, the discipline, the want of friends and 
society to which she must be subject ; and " 

" And, most thoughtful guardian, you do not 
fancy the separation ! La belle Marguerite at 
school, Vaimable Paul en voyage quelle idee af- 
j reuse!" 

1 ' Really, Seabrook," I exclaim, rising angrily, 
and pacing to and fro about the room, "if you 
mean this for a jest, it is neither appropriate nor 
generous. I asked your advice ; and if you can 
give me no better than this, we had better drop 
the subject." 

Seabrook leans back in his chair and looks 
after me with a quiet smile, so full of good-hu- 
mor and friendliness that I already more than 
half forgive him. 

"Now listen to me, Paul, "he says, firmly, 



' ' and I will give you the best piece of advice in 
the world." 

"Well?" 

"The girl is virtuous, amiable, clever, is she 
not?" 

" Eminently so." 

"Good-looking?" 

"I think so. You might not." 

"Bien! Now my advice is this: put her 
into a first-rate finishing school, and there leave 
her for a couple of years while you and I go to- 
gether through France, and Italy, and ' tawny 
Spain.' Then come home and take her down 
to Burgundy, where you can portion her oft' to 
some worthy husband, 'an' it so please you.' 
Depend upon it, I counsel you wisely, amico. 
What, silent ?" 

"It needs consideration, Seabrook." 

" Consider as long as you please, Paul. You 
will arrive at my opinion. And now let us talk 
of something else. What is there to be seen in 
this town ?" 

"There is the cathedral of St. Gudule the 
Hotel de Ville some private galleries the ar- 
cades the theatre, and the park." 

' ' Well, to-day I am in the mood for neither 
pictures nor churches. Let us stroll out for a 
while under the park trees. It is fearfully 
warm here!" 

So, arm in arm, we go forth together, and 
mingle with the tide of visitors who promenade, 
read, embroider, and converse in that most 
pleasant and fashionable resort of morning idlers. 
There are children floating their tiny crafts on 
the basin; schools demurely pacing the less 
crowded alleys ; elderly financiers devouring the 
morning papers ; aristocratic youths, with elab- 
orate waistcoats, eating ices within the precincts 
of Velloni's ; sentimental couples seated in the 
grottoes down in the hollows ; groups of ladies 
and gentlemen discussing last evening's soiree, 
and soldiers playing dominoes on the benches. 
The spectacle is animated and amusing, and the 
weather brilliant. Seabrook is in high spirits, 
and sees and enjoys all. 

" Voila!" he says. "Do you see that lady 
with a face like the queen of spades, and her 
three passe daughters all dressed in red, like el- 
derly flamingoes ? I know them by sight, and 
have seen them in all the capitals of Europe, 
and they never can get husbands it's impossi- 
ble ! Who is that saffron -colored little man 
with the wooden leg and the white mustache ? 
But I forget you know nobody. What a pret- 
ty girl that is with the lavender bonnet ; and, 
by Jove ! there's a handsome fellow no not 
there here just in front of you ! Stay, he'll 
turn presently. What a pair of shoulders ! I'd 
bet you a five-franc piece that that man's En- 
glish!" 

He points to a gentleman walking a few paces 
in advance a tall, well-made man, about six 
feet in height, with a profusion of curling light 
hair, an easy bearing, and that indescribable air 
of self-possession that stamps good breeding. 
His back is turned to me ; Iris head bent toward 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



the ground, as if in thought ; his hands buried 
in the pockets of his paletot. 

My heart beats, though I know not why. 
He turns aside to watch some children at play 
upon the grass, and for one instant I catch sight 
of that beautiful and familiar profile. 

"Heavens!" I cry, pausing suddenly and 
seizing my companion by the arm, "it is my 
brother Theophile !" 



CHAPTER XX. 

PAGES OLD AND NEW. 

"THEOPHILE! Theophile, monfrire!" 

I am close beside him now, with my hand 
upon his arm. 

"How! Paul in Brussels! I thought you 
still in Heidelberg. But this is delightful! 
Have you seen much, my brother? Are you 
well?" 

" Quite well, Theophile. Quite well and 
you?" 

He looks so handsome and florid, and withal 
so happy, that I have no need to ask the ques- 
tion. This he tells me, laughing, and drawing 
my arm through his, is, in a few moments, chat- 
ting as freely and carelessly as when we were 
last together. 

Seabrook, I may observe, has walked away 
and left us to our recognition undisturbed. 

Of course my brother's first words are of the 
subject most distressing to my ears. 

"I am the happiest husband," says he, "in 
Trance ! I possess in Adrienne the very model 
of a wife. She receives visitors with the best 
air possible, is the belle of every soiree to which 
we are invited, and certainly dresses with a taste 
that is beyond all praise ! Besides, she has the 
sweetest of tempers. I assure you, Paul, we 
have not differed since our day of betrothal ! 
Truly I believe that we were destined for each 
other." 

"And about Hauteville? Do the repairs 
progress ?" 

"A merveilk. Do you remember that little 
wood, scarcely five acres in extent, that lies to 
the right of the chateau, about half a mile from 
the house ?" 

" Yes. You mean that copse adjoining your 
domain ?" 

" C'cst fa. I have bought it, mon ami, and 
am about to inclose it in my grounds. Laid 
out with winding paths and planted with wild 
flowers, it will form a charming promenade. It 
is my intention to place rustic seats here and 
there, and a little temple in the centre, dedi- 
cated to Love. The idea is good, is it not ? 
As for the chateau, the repairs take longer than 
we thought. There are now twenty-five work- 
men employed upon it ; but, even so, we do not 
expect that it will be habitable before Novem- 
ber, and that is too dreary a season for the 
country. So we propose to remain here for the 
sumrher, and then pass our winter in Paris. 



Adrienne has never been to Paris. Have you 
been long in Brussels?" 

" About five or six weeks." 

"Really ! Is it tolerably full this year? Do 
you know any one ?" 

"Only my English friend with whom I be- 
came acquainted in Germany. As for the com- 
pany, I believe that Brussels is very gay this 
season ; but I never go into society, so do not 
take me for an authority." 

" You must come and see Adrienne." 

" I I shall be most happy." 

"Come directly. We are not far from the 
hotel, and I have nothing to do. She will be 
enchanted to see you. Stay ! I forgot. I came 
out to see after a carriage. We must buy or hire 
one, and I believe there are very good carriage- 
makers here. Can you direct me to one?" 

"Recollect, The'ophile, how little I know of 
such things. I could scarcely tell a cabriolet 
from a barouche if I saw it. There stands my 
friend Seabrook ; let me bring him here and in- 
troduce you. He can aid you, I dare say, as to 
the choice and fashion of your purchase." 

"Excellent." 

So I signal to Seabrook where he stands be- 
side the basin, and make the two known to each 
other. We then leave the park and stroll along 
the Rue Royale, seeking a coachbuilder's. 

Suddenly The'ophile pauses in front of a large 
white house, with the words " Hotel de France" 
inscribed along the front. 

" This is where we are staying," he says, 
turning to me. "Adrienne is within, and alone. 
Do go in and see her ; it will be a charity. 
Monsieur Seabrook will, perhaps, kindly remain 
with me. Pray go up, Paul, if it be only for a 
quarter of an hour." 

"Not now not now, "I exclaim, nervously. 
"As we return, The'ophile." 

"And shall I tell Adrienne that our brother 
passed the door, and knew that she was there 
trisie and alone ? Bah ! enter, Paul, and amuse 
her with some stories of thy travels." 

Thus urged, I yield, for Theophile is accus- 
tomed to rule every thing just as he wishes; so 
I enter the lofty door and ask for Madame La- 
tour. 

Madame Latour! How strange a name for 
Adrienne Lachapelle ! 

"Monsieur will have the goodness to mount 
to No. 5, au premier," says the waiter, bowing. 

Arrived at the door, I pause and examine my 
own heart before I knock. Adrienne is within 
Adrienne whom I loved, and from whose beauty 
I fled despairing ! Does not my heart beat or 
my hand tremble ? Is there no flush upon my 
brow no fluttering of my breath no sign or 
evidence of that love which exiled and tortured 
me, and cast the darkness of night upon the 
morning of my life ? I am almost angry with 
myself that there is none of this. I can not be- 
lieve that the passion has burnt out that I 
tread the ashes of a dead love that Adrienne 
is no more to me than a pure, and lofty, and 
admirable woman, and tmj brother's wife! It 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



seems, then, that mine was a boy's fantasy a 
Hark ! a footstep on the stairs ! I start, knock 
hurriedly, and, before she has time to answer, 
open the door. 

' ' Madame Latour !" It is all that I can say. 

4 'My brother Paul!" 

She had laid her book aside and risen as I 
entered. How beautiful how radiant how 
fair ! I was not agitated ; yet a strange feel- 
ing, like shame, tied my tongue, and I could 
scarce articulate the words of common compli- 
ment that were required by the moment as I 
bowed over that delicate small hand, and touched 
it lightly with my lips. 

"I had no idea of meeting you in Brussels, 
mon beau fr ere. Are you here en route, or for 
the season ?" 

"I scarcely know yet, madame. Circum- 
stances will decide for me. " 

"Pray be seated. Have you met my hus- 
band?" 

Her husband! The word jarred upon my 
nerves painfully, and I replied by a gesture of 
assent. 

" How delighted he must have been to meet 
you ! And he missed you so much when you 
left Burgundy." 

"I can scarcely imagine that possible, ma- 
dame, since you remained," I said, forcing a 
smile. 

She looked up hastily and fixed her eyes full 
upon me. Mine fell beneath their gaze, but not 
before I had seen her color change, and a troub- 
led expression flit across her face. Perhaps my 
mother Ah, no! my mother would never 
have betrayed me ! 

"Where is The'ophile?" asked Adrienne, 
changing the conversation, and affecting to 
glance along the columns of the morning paper. 

"I left him with an English friend of mine 
Mr. Seabrook. They are gone to purchase a 
carriage in the town." 

"I have heard of Mr. Seabrook that is, I 
have read of him in your letters. My husband 
gives me all his letters" (a pause). "Stay! 
here is our arrival published among the list of 
'distinguished visitors.' Listen. 'Arrived at 
the Hotel de France, Monsieur and Madame 
Theophile Latour, of Latour-sur-Creil and 
Hauteville, Burgundy.' They have given us 
the honor of your estate in addition to our own, 
mon beau frere. How amusing!" 

"I dare say you will think me very much 
hors du monde, madame, but I confess that an 
announcement such as this would annoy me 
very particularly. I should not wish all the 
idlers of a city or a watering-place to ' know 
the secret of my whereabout ;' and it seems to 
me that the half of a man's self-sovereignty is 
gone when his privacy of action is wrested from 
him by a miserable newsmonger in search of a 
paragraph." 

"There is some justice in what you say," re- 
plied Adrienne. " But, at the same time, these 
announcements are useful. They bring friends 
and acquaintances together who must otherwise 



have trusted to chance for their meeting. Take 
our own case to-day for an instance. Had you 
not encountered your brother, the journal would 
have informed you not only of our presence, 
but of our address. But who is this?" 

"Monsieur le Marquis de Courtrai!" said 
the waiter, throwing open the door, and, with 
great ceremony, ushering in a little, withered 
old gentleman, dressed in the extreme of youth- 
ful fashion, who advanced with a profusion of 
bows and smiles. 

He was one of Monsieur Theophile's oldest 
Parisian friends had known the cher gargon for 
years had been, indeed, the cher garcorfs cha- 
peron on many occasions when he first left Bur- 
gundy. He had seen the announcement of 
their arrival in this morning's journal, and had 
hastened to be the first to welcome Monsieur 
Theophile and his charming lady to Brussels. 
He was charmed, proud, enchanted to make the 
acquaintance of madame ; and he hoped that he 
might become the happy means of introducing 
her to the agremens of the city. In all respects 
wherein madame would condescend to make 
him useful, he was her slave. 

All this was said with an air of antiquated 
gallantry, and in a strain of high-flown compli- 
ment that I found particularly repulsive. Adri- 
enne, however, received him with perfect toler- 
ance and good breeding, and requested him to 
be seated and await the return of Theophile ; 
whereat the marquis pressed his hand upon his 
laced shirt-front, and declared himself pene- 
trated. 

"Permit me," said Adrienne, glancing to- 
ward me with a half-suppressed smile. " Mon- 
sieur Latour my husband's eldest brother." 

The marquis bowed again, showed his false 
teeth, ran his jeweled fingers gracefully through 
the ringlets of his wig, and took a pinch of snuff 
from the depths of an enameled box glittering 
with diamonds. 

' ' What have we to see in Brussels, Monsieur 
le Marquis?" inquired Adrienne; "and what 
families are staying here at present?" 

Monsieur le Marquis begged to assure ma- 
dame that Brussels was just now in perfection. 
The Prince and Princess of Saxe Hohenhausen 
had been here for more than three weeks al- 
ready ; the Grand-Duke of Zollenstrasse was 
expected daily at Laken ; the Baron and Bar- 
oness de Montaignevert were at the Hotel de 
Bellevue, and the Comte de Millefleurs at the 
Hotel de la Regence. Besides these, the Earl 
of Silvermere and family had just driven up to 
the doors of the Bellevue, and it was rumored 
that a venerable and distinguished duke, to 
whom the near vicinity of Waterloo could be 
suggestive only of the proudest reminiscences, 
might shortly be expected on a visit to the royal 
palace. As for amusements, madame might 
repose upon his assurances that she could not 
be triste or gente in Brussels. He would make 
it his proudest duty to enliven the leisure hours 
of Theophile and his most beautiful and accom- 
plished lady. There was an instrumental con- 



BROTHER'S 



cert every evening at Velloni's, in the park 
exhibitions, soirees, fancy and court balls with- 
out number; and at the opera, three evenings 
in the week, a celebrated singer Madame Vo- 
gelsang with a ravishing voice a femme su- 
perbe a Juno, in fact, and quite the furore at 
Brussels. 

"Monsieur le Marquis is an enthusiast, I 
perceive," said Adrienne, smiling. 

Monsieur le Marquis ogled himself in an ad- 
joining mirror, and simperingly avowed him- 
self the slave of beauty. It had been his fai- 
blesse, he said, as long as he could remember ; 
and, judging from his general appearance, and 
from the variety of ingenious fictions to which 
he was indebted for his hair, teeth, complexion, 
and figure, one might reasonably conjecture that 
the personal recollections of M. le Marquis ex- 
tended over a considerable period of time. 

At this moment the door opened, and The- 
ophile entered alone. 

"I could not persuade your friend to return 
with me, Paul," he said. Then, perceiving his 
visitor " Monsieur de Courtrai, this is an honor 
which I had not expected. I will not ask after 
your health, for I see that you are well and 
young as ever." 

There was a slight shade of sarcasm mingled 
with the respect and courtesy of my brother's 
welcome, which would have been observed only 
by those who knew him .intimately. Adrienne 
instantly entered into it. 

" Monsieur le Marquis," said she, with a fas- 
cinating glance and smile, "has been entertain- 
ing us with all the news of Brussels the visit- 
ors, the society, and the theatre. The time has 
flown since his arrival." 

" Monsieur le Marquis is famed for his judg- 
ment in all matters of fashionable interest, ma 
chere," said Theophile, with another inclination 
to that gentleman "and for his brilliant pow- 
ers of conversation." 

"Now, positively, it is too much," remon- 
strated the peer, having 1 recourse again to the 
enameled snuff-box. "I vow, Latour, that you 
make me blush absolutely blush!" And he 
would have covered his face with his embroi- 
dered handkerchief, only that he dared not, for 
private and important reasons. "I was speak- 
ing, "he continued, "of the Vogelsang." 

"And who is 'the Vogelsang?' " asked The'- 
ophile. 

"The Vogelsang, mon garfon, is the divinity 
of the Place de la Monnaie the radiant star of 
the Belgian opera. She comes to us from Vi- 
enna and Frankfurt, where every one is ravi 
even as we are in Brussels. You must see her 
immediately, and madame also. I have a little 
loge which is entirely at your disposal, and in 
which I shall be charmed to see so distinguish- 
ed a lady as madame !" 

This polite oifer is, after a brief hesitation, 
accepted with many acknowledgments for the 
following evening, and presently the Marquis 
de Courtrai takes his leave as ceremoniously as 
an embassador, and drives away from the hotel 



in a purple chariot drawn by four horses, with a 
footman behind carrying a bouquet in his but- 
ton-hole. 

"Who is that absurd little old gentleman?" 
asks Adrienne, as soon as he has left the room. 

" This absurd little old gentleman, my love," 
replies Theophile, with an air of superb gravity, 
"is Polydore Emmanuel Hippolyte de Courtrai, 
Marquis de Courtrai, Comte de Sauterelles, and 
Chevalier of the most noble Italian order of 
Santo Polichinello a very great man, I assure 
you, and one whose genealogy dates from the 
reign of Clovis the Second." 

"Not his genealogy, The'ophile," I exclaim. 
"You surely mean himself!" 

It is true, then, that I love her no longer! 
So surprised, nay, I might almost say, so troub- 
led am I by this discovery, that I wander away 
restlessly out of the city and spend some hours 
amid the lanes and fields of Ixelles. Return- 
ing toward evening, I bend my steps in the di- 
rection of the Rue de Leopold, where Margaret 
has been expecting me these four hours past. 

Oh, gentle Margaret ! why is it that my 
troubles grow lighter as I arrive within sight of 
the roof which shelters thee, and whence comes 
this sweet and chastened feeling which, at the 
thought of thy fair image, streams down upon 
my heart like the pale radiance of the evening 
star? 



CHAPTER XXI. 
THE HEART'S MISGIVINGS. 

" MONSIEUR will find Ma'm'selle Marguerite 
in the little salon," said Elise, courtesying. 

Elise was the pretty fille-de-chambre, and the 
"little salon"! have already mentioned as that 
which had been assigned to Margaret for her 
private sitting-room and studio. 

She was not there, however, and I even fan- 
cied that I had heard her flying footsteps on the 
stairs. She had never shunned me before, and 
the suspicion for one moment vexed me. Then 
I smiled. 

"Some woman's vanity," I murmured to my- 
self. "Some ribbon or collar to be adjusted! 
Childish petite Marguerite!" 

I could not help finding something pleasant 
in this explanation, and, musing over it, sat 
down and looked around me. 

The tokens of her presence were scattered 
every where about ; the very atmosphere of the 
room, heavy as it was with the perfume of aca- 
cia-flowers and verbena, seemed to retain some- 
what of herself. On yonder chair were laid her 
gloves and shawl ; here, on the chimney-piece, 
her open book ; upon the table, beside the win- 
dow, her pencils and drawing-paper, and that 
little bronze Apollo which I had given to her 
only yesterday. Her fingers, perhaps, have but 
just left the ivory keys of the piano ; this mir- 
ror, perchance, has but a moment since reflected 
back the semblance of her features ! 






MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



All this is soothing to imagine, and several 
minutes glide away unnoticed. Presently, how- 
ever, I wonder why she does not return, and 
then, growing impatient, I rise and take one or 
two turns ahout the room. Her book ! Let 
us see what it is that she has been reading 
Saintaine's "Picciola." The most exquisite 
and chaste of prison-stories, and one meet for a 
gentle maiden's studying. Her drawing what 
criticisms can I make upon it before her arri- 
val? As yet the outline is barely sketched, 
and 

Why, what is this ? A tear-drop yet undried 
and blistering on the paper ! Another on the 
table close beside it ! Tears ! tears from my 
gentle Margaret's eyes those eyes which I had 
fondly hoped would never weep again, unless 
for joy ! 

This explained the mystery of her flight and 
subsequent delay. I paced to and fro, and to 
and fro, in my agitation and dismay. What 
could have occurred? Why had I not come 
before ? Would she never arrive ? 

I was on the point, at last, of ringing the bell 
for Elise, when the door opened and she enter- 
ed, pale, silent, downward-looking. 

I went over and took her hands in mine. 
There were the traces of weeping in her white 
lips and cheeks, and red eyelids. She trembled 
too, and her hands were burning. 

"Margaret,"! said, looking down earnestly 
upon her, " Margaret, you are not well." 

"I am well," she answered, in a low voice. 

"Your hands are feverish you tremble. 
What is the matter?" 

"Nothing is the matter." 

She tried to move away, but I detained her. 

" Nay, stand here in the light, Margaret, and 
let me look at you. You have been weeping!" 

She shook her head, but I repeated it. 

"Yes, Margaret, you have been weeping. 
That forced smile can not deceive me. Look 
here!" 

And, leading her to the table, I pointed to 
the tear-drop on the paper. She turned aside 
from my grave scrutiny, and, looking upon the 
floor 

' ' I can not help thinking sometimes of of 
my father," she murmured, hesitatingly. 

"You are evading the question, Margaret," 
I said, sternly. "Is it possible that you can 
stoop to an equivocation ?" 

She remained silent, and kept her eyes fixed 
upon the ground. 

"Can you look me in the face, Margaret, and 
say again that you were weeping for your fa- 
ther ? If you do, I will believe you." 

No reply. 

"Tell me that it was true, Margaret, and I 
will entreat your pardon!" She looked up at 
me, paler than before. 

"It was false," she said, firmly, but with a 
quivering lip. 

I drew a chair close beside her, and once 
more took her hand between both of mine. 

"Margaret, dear Margaret," I said, gently, 



"you have had some annoyance suffered some 
pain to-day, and I must know it. I have the 
right to share alj your pains as well as all your 
pleasures, and if I am not to possess your conft>' t s 
dence, who is ? Come, tell me all. Has ma- *" " 
dame been unkind to you?" 

She shook her head. 

"Have any of the servants or pupils dis- 
pleased you ?" 

"None." 

"What is it, then? Some one must have 
hurt the feelings of my little Margaret." 

" Oh, no one ! no one ! Every one is too 
good to me better, better than I deserve a 
thousand times you, monsieur, most of all!" 

She says this with a burst of eager vehe- 
mence, and, snatching her hand* away from 
mine, covers her face and falls into a passion 
of tears. 

In doing this^I see a ring upon her finger a 
plain hair ring, which I have never observed 
there before ! A new and startling doubt flits 
across my mind, and strikes me with a sudden . 
anguish such as I never thought to feel again. 

* ' Margaret, look up ! " I cried, seizing that 
hand arid forcing it from her face. "What 
ring is that ? Whence came it ? Answer me 
truly, for I will know !" 

She shuddered, glanced upward for an in- 
sta v nt, and replied in a trembling voice, "I can 
not tell you." 

"You shall tell me, Margaret. Remember 
who I am !" 

The fury of my tone, so far from intimida- 
ting, seemed to give her resolution. She looked 
up calmly and steadily in my face, folded her 
hands together, and said, 

"I will not." 

The sight of her pale courage subdued me 
my voice faltered. 

"For your father's sake, Margaret! for your 
father's sake I" 

The tears gathered in her beautiful eyes, and 
rolled slowly down her cheeks. 

"Not for my father's sake," she answered, 
softly. 

" Oh, Margaret, what is this terrible secret 
which you are concealing ? Tell it to me, Mar- 
garet if not for his sake, tell it for mine for 
my sake, Margaret!" 

She clasped her hands imploringly, and laid 
her head down upon the table, sobbing bitterly. 

"Oh, forgive me," she said, "forgive me! 
Do not ask me give me time oh, what shall 
I do? what shall I do?" 

Her sorrow tore my heart. I went over to 
her, and laid my hand upon her shoulder. 

"Nay, then, child," I said, falteringly, " keep 
thy secret. It must needs be innocent, like thee. 
I will be content, and ask no more." 

I took her head between my hands, pressed a 
kiss upon her hot brow, and left the room with- 
out one backward glance. 

I do not wish to remember the agony of mind 
which I endured that night, or the torturing pity 
which, in spite of all, I could not help feeling 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



for her. Till many hours past midnight, I paced 
the opposite side of the street in which she lived, 
watching the pale light from her window, and, 
when that was extinguished, finding some con- 
solation in the thought that she slept peacefully. 
Oh, gentle Margaret, hadst thou but heard 
the measured echo of my steps ! Hadst thou but 
known the prayers which thy silence wrung from 
these lips, as I passed to and fro in the moon- 
light, like some phantom of the night ! 



CHAPTER XXII. 

"UPON A SUNSHINY HOLIDAY." 

THREE days without seeing her three weary 
solitary days ! It was the first time that I had 
so remained away, and I could bear it no lon- 
ger. 

Perhaps she, too, had been lonely and unhap- 
py. This last thought decided me, and I went. 

The day was resplendently fine ; a cool breath 
of purer air came from the westward, and the 
white buildings and streets of the town glared 
painfully in the sunlight. The driver of a little 
open vehicle held up his whip invitingly to me 
as I went along. He was a good-tempered, 
red-faced, jovial-looking fellow, with a bunch of 
clover-blossoms in his button-hole. The car- 
riage, too, appeared clean and new, and the horse 
wore a green bough upon his shaggy head, to 
keep off the predatory flies. 

I paused and hesitated. 

" Suppose,"! said to myself, "that I took her 
and the little Clemence for a country holiday, 
and trusted to time and opportunity for an ex- 
planation of the past ! Suppose, if it be only 
for a day, that I endeavor to enjoy the pleasant 
Now, and banish the Hereafter!" 

The driver held up his whip again. I thought 
of Margaret's pale cheeks, of quiet lanes, and 
woods, and wayside flowers, and, replying to his 
signal by a smile, jumped in, and directed him 
to drive to the Rue de Leopold. 

To reach there, to alight, to make my way 
rapidly across the court-yard, and up to the door 
of her little studio, occupied but a few rapid 
moments ; to open the door softly and by de- 
grees, to enter unperceived and steal up to the 
back of her chair as she bent low over her draw- 
ing, to stand there silently watching the touches 
of her pencil, and the coming and going of her 
breath, all this was more difficult and more de- 
lightful, and took longer to accomplish. 

She was still at work upon the bronze Apol- 
lo, not much farther advanced, I noticed sadly, 
than when I last approached that table and look- 
ed down upon the outline. She had been, per- 
haps, too sorrowful to proceed, and I fancied, 
though I could see but a very small portion of 
her cheek, that she looked even paler than was 
usual with her. Poor Margaret ! I felt so 
grieved for her grief, that I almost forgot my 
own distress at being excluded from her confi- 
dence. 



So ! that arm a little longer and more ele- 
vated yes ! As if she had heard my thought 
outspoken, her careful pencil corrected, and re- 
touched, and traveled on. A haughtier curl, 
Margaret, to that imperial lip more freedom in 
the backward falling locks more power to the 
hand that grasps the bow ! Ah ! she effaces it 
with bread, and tries again. No ! less effect- 
ive, if any thing, than before. One more trial 
now a light firm outline, and a steady perusal 
of the copy ! Quietly, my pupil ; no haste no 
excitement no 

"Admirable! The very inspiration of the 
Sun-god!" 

Margaret suppresses a scream, drops the pen- 
cil from her fingers, and falls back, trembling 
and blushing, into her seat. 

"How you have alarmed me, monsieur !" she 
exclaims, pressing her hands upon her heart. 
It leaps so wildly that I can almost see it beat- 
ing there against her side. 

"I did not intend to startle you, Margaret, 
thus suddenly. The words escaped me una- 
wares. I had been watching you for many min- 
utes, and had observed the previous failures ; so 
you see, when the success was achieved, I for- 
got myself, and could not control the expression 
of my pleasure. But I am not here to-day to 
praise, or blame, or play the drawing-master; 
I have come to take you for a holiday this lovely 
morning a holiday in the country." 

" A holiday in the country how delicious!" 

She looked up at me with that grateful ex- 
pression of quiet satisfaction to which I was ac- 
customed from her, and began hastily to put 
away her drawing. How her hands trembled 
as she did so, and how the quick blushes kept 
rising and fading at every word 1 Never be- 
fore had I seen her so fluttered and agitated ; 
but then, to be sure, never before had I so start- 
led and surprised her. 

" Now, Margaret, depeche-toi, call hither the 
little Clemence, and I will wait while you make 
ready. I charge you not to outwear my pa- 
tience with any ' silken dalliance in the ward- 
robe,' for our carriage waits below." 

Whether it were the unwonted luxury of the 
drive and the rejoicing aspect of the summer 
morning, or whether it arose from the apparent 
cheerfulness and ease of my own manner, I can 
not tell, but the timidity with which she at first 
received me vanished quite away before an hour 
had elapsed. Indeed, I do not remember ever 
to have known Margaret more childishly happy. 
The general placidity and reserve of her char- 
acter seemed to yield to the influence of that 
glowing sky, as the snow-drift melts and dances, 
sparkling, in the sunlight. 

She rose up in the carriage to look round at 
the level harvest - fields and the distant city 
spires she alighted ere she had well-nigh trav- 
ed a couple of miles, to fill her lap Avith honey- 
suckle and wild convolvuli from the roadside 
she clapped her hands with delight at the sight 
of a small white butterfly, and imitated in her 
s^Yeet low voice the prolonged shake of the 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE 



nightingales that peopled the shadowy planta- 
tions of poplars and dark pines. As for Clem- 
ence, sitting by silently in a corner of the car- 
riage, she was by far the graver and sedater of 
the two. 

For my part, I encouraged her mood by an 
assumption of unembarrassed kindness, which 
cost me, at the first, a strong effort, but which 
merged, ere long, into a sentiment of real satis- 
faction. Her smiles reassured me. I felt that 
to be thus innocently gay, her secret, if she had 
one, must be pure and maidenly ; and presently 
the very remembrance of it seemed fading from 
my mind. 

Toward noon we reached a small town, and, 
staying at the door of the solitary hotel, bade 
the driver look to his horses, ordered an early 
dinner from the smiling landlady, and wandered 
out on foot to stroll in the forest. 

It was not what I should understand by the 
name of a forest, accustomed as I was to the 
old umbrageous labyrinths of mossy trees that 
skirted the horizon round about my fair Bur- 
gundian home ; it was rather a few level acres, 
regularly planted with the slender fir and pine, 
and affording a pleasant promenade for students 
and young lovers. 

Here Clemence seemed to wake from her si- 
lent apathy, and ran in and out the trees, seek- 
ing, with Margaret, for wild strawberries and 
" purple dewberries" in the long grass and tan- 
gled underwood. Yet, even in this search, the 
child was unlike other children, and pursued it 
with a quiet industry and a grave composed de- 
meanor that contrasted oddly with the innocent 
gayety of her older companion. She laughed 
but seldom, and then softly to herself, as if 
laughter were a thing to be subdued and con- 
quered. Even when she ran, it was utterly 
without the buoyant precipitation and careless 
eagerness ot infancy. She was a strange child, 
and my attention became more and more drawn 
to her with every time I saw her. 

Thus they amused themselves gathering wild 
fruits and acorns, and finding the brown pine- 
cones that lay scattered here and there beneath 
the trees, while I wandered near, keeping them 
in sight, and indulging myself in "fancies wild 
and sweet." Growing weary after a while, they 
sat down to rest at the foot of an alder that 
overhung a deep clear pool toward the skirts of 
the forest, and here, as it was not yet time to 
return, the child besought me to tell her a fairy- 
story. 

"A fairy-story, little one ! but what if I know 
none ?" 

Clemence shook her little dark head, and 
fixed her eyes full upon me. " I am sure you 
know one," she said, seriously. " Margaret 
says you do." 

"I never told Margaret a fairy-story,"! re- 
joined, laughing. "How should she know that 
I can do it ?" 

Margaret blushed and laughed too, and said 
she thought that monsieur could do it, if he 
liked just to please Clemence ! 



"Well, then, I must try; but, as I know of 
none, I must even invent one for the purpose. 
You must give me some few minutes to consid- 
er, and stay ! I have it ; but it is not a fairy- 
tale, Clemence." 

" Oh, no matter, if it is pretty. What is its 
name ?" 

"I hardly know. Suppose we call it 'The 
Angel and the Wanderer!'" 

" I like that name very much." 

She crept up closer to Margaret, and laid her 
head down upon her shoulder. Sitting thus, 
with her pale cheek half turned away, her large 
dark eyes bent downward in listening expecta- 
tion, and her little slender figure curled up, as 
it were, beneath the folds of Margaret's shawl, 
she looked so sallow and elfin that one might 
almost have taken her for Goethe's Mignon in 
person. After gazing at the pair for a moment 
as they sat thus in quaint companionship, I be- 
gan my story. 



' ' There was an Angel hovering over a great 
city by night. 

" It was so dark, and the mist so thick, that 
the church spires looked like shadowy figures 
pointing heavenward, and the tall masts of ships 
along the river like the lances and pennons of 
a hostile armament. 

" Scarce a footstep echoed along the wet 
pavements ; scarce a shop threw its broad light 
out into the deserted streets. It was late ; the 
cold wind rushed moaning on its way, and the 
rain came heavily down, blurring the pale light 
of the flickering gas-lamps. 

"Still the Angel flew on, though the rain 
spared not his white wings ; for he was a good 
Angel, and it was his mission to watch over the 
hearts of young children ; to protect them from 
evil thoughts and angry impulses ; and to bring 
pleasant dreams to the slumbers of those who 
had been good, and truthful, and obedient all 
the day. 

"Presently he passed within sight of a small 
court-yard, at the end of which stood a large 
white house, with all its windows lighted ; and 
he paused in his flight, for he saw a figure 
crouched up against the wall, just within the 
shadow of the archway that opened into the 
court-yard from the street. 

"It was a poor little Italian image-vendor, 
with his tray of plaster figures laid beside him. 
His eyes were closed, his black hair fell in long 
damp locks over his face, and the tears with 
which he had cried himself asleep were yet wet 
upon his cheeks. One cold hand was sheltered 
in the breast of his jacket, and the other had 
fallen listlessly on the ground. The Angel bent 
low and dropped a tear upon the little hand, it 
was so wasted ! 

" He was weary, and sleepy, and hungry. 
He had not sold one image all that day, and he 
was dreaming of his cruel master, and of the 
heavy punishment that awaited him. But the 
Angel pressed his lips upon the pale forehead, 



56 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



and folded his wings around the shrinking form, 
and the bad dreams fled away, and he slept 
peacefully. 

" Still he was chilled and weak for need of 
bread, and the Angel's heart of mercy was troub- 
led. He looked up at the great house ; its 
bright windows were crossed and recrossed by 
the shadows of the dancers, and the sounds of 
music and laughter were loud within. 

" ' Alas !' said the Angel, ' they are too happy 
to heed me!' 

" Hark ! there were footsteps coming quickly 
along the street! It was a wealthy old citizen 
hastening home from a card-party. He had 
lost money at the game, and he was out of tem- 
per with the weather and with himself. The 
Angel flew out of the passage and clung to him. 

" Help !' he cried. ' Help for the cold and 
the hungry !' 

"The citizen shuddered, and drew the collar 
of his coat closer round his neck. 

" 'How the wind whistles into one's ears!' 
muttered he, and passed by. 

" So the Angel flew back, and strove to warm 
his little charge by breathing on his cold lips 
and eyelids ; but in vain. They grew colder 
and colder, and still the music and dancing in 
the great house went merrily on. 

"Another passenger ! 

" It was a poor needle-woman returning from 
her day's labor a good, earnest woman, think- 
ing of her children at home, and never hearing 
the gentle voice of the appealing Angel. 

"'Help! help!' he sighed. 'Shelter and 
food ! shelter and food !' 

'"What a thick, raw mist!' said the poor 
needle-woman. ' 'Tis like a cloud before one ! 
Maybe, though, 'tis the long day's work that 
makes my eyes weak.' 

"But it was the two white wings that she 
saw fluttering in her path, only she did not 
know it; and even the sacred tears that he 
wept down upon her face she mistook for rain- 
drops borne upon the wind, and so passed by. 

" Still the Angel watched and waited, and 
still the music and dancing in the great house 
went merrily on. 

" The sleeper moaned and feebly murmured 
'Mother!' 

"He was dreaming dreaming of his far 
home beside the blue sea that home where the 
shadows of the vine -leaves round the porch 
flickered on the floor in the bright sunshine 
where his gentle mother sat spinning on the 
threshold, and his little brothers played with 
shells and sea-weeds at her feet, and all the 
days were happy. 

" Then the Angel flew up to the windows of 
the great house, and looked in, and saw a party 
of merry children dancing gayly together, and 
a group of elder persons sitting by, and watch- 
ing them with smiles. The chandeliers were 
shining overhead ; the room rang with young 
voices; the floor echoed the quick touches of 
their light feet. The Angel clasped his hands 
in despair. 



" ' Help ! help ! before it is too late !' 

"And he dashed himself against the window, 
and filled the air with his cries. 

" ' Listen to the rain,' said an old white- 
headed gentleman, who was standing close by 
with two or three others. ' Hear how it beat's 
upon the panes !' 

'"Ay, and to the wind,' replied one near 
him, taking a pinch of snuff from a jeweled box. 
' It howls like a human voice. Bad weather, 
my lord, for the shipping.' 

"And they spoke of it, and noticed it no 
more. 

" So the Angel went back, and took the out- 
cast in his arms, and pressed him to his divine 
heart. But the little cheek still grew colder 
and colder, and the faint breath fell more faint- 
ly and an hour went by. 

" Then a carriage with bright lamps and paw- 
ing horses drove up and waited before the arch- 
way ; then another and another, till presently 
there was a long row of them waiting in the 
street. And very soon the door of the house 
was opened, and, amid the blaze of lights and 
gleaming of many faces, a gentleman and lady, 
with three little children, appeared upon the steps. 

" But this time the Angel was silent, and just 
as they came forward he unwound his loving 
arms from round the boy, and stood apart. 

" 'Eh! what is this?' cries the gentleman, 
starting back as his foot touches the figure 
crouching by the wall. ' A boy asleep !' 

"The servant snatched a lamp from the car- 
riage more gentlemen came crowding round 
they tried in vain to rouse him as he lay. The 
first gentleman stooped down and held the light 
to his face. It was very white. Pie took the 
cold hand in his, and it dropped heavily as he 
released it. 

" 'Great heaven !' cried he, looking round 
upon the rest, ' the child is dead!' 

"Then the Angel, weeping and invisible, 
spread his white wings, and, with a long sad 
wail, soared up into the night, far from the arch- 
way and the wondering throng around it. On- 
ward he went, and onward, till the lights all 
faded away, and the site of the great city lay 
dark and indistinct beneath his feet. And pres- 
ently there was a sound of rushing wings behind 
him, and another Angel, bright and beautiful as 
the morning, overtook him, and said, 

" 'Whence comes my sorrowful brother?' 

" 'I come,' said the Angel, 'from the great 
city. I have seen men in their blind selfishness 
reject the voice of pity, and I have seen a little 
child die from cold and hunger. Therefore am 
I sorrowful, and the decrees of our Master are 
dark before me.' 

"'Dost thou question the justice of Provi- 
dence?' 

"'Alas!' replied the Angel, 'I question it 
not; but I can not understand the death and 
the suffering.' 

" 'Look upon me/ said the radiant Stranger; 
'look upon me, and doubt no more. I was the 
soul of that little child !' 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



57 



" So, hand in hand, and rejoicing together, 
they ascended through the mists and clouds of 
earth to that far space where the stars shine 
night and day." 

The story ended, we returned to the inn. 
Some rare ferns, a tiny oak no bigger than a 
rose-tree, some feathers fallen from the wing of 
the golden pheasant, and a profusion of blue 
and yellow field-flowers, were among the treas- 
ures with which Margaret and Clemence re- 
turned laden to the Lion d'Or, and which they 
stored away in the carriage as it stood, horseless 
and driverless, awaiting us before the door. 

Then with what ceremony we sat down to 
our merry feast how politely I placed my ward 
at the head of the table, and Clemence at my 
right hand how gravely I apologized for my 
morning costume, and for the absence of a 
white waistcoat ! How we jested and laughed, 
and drank each other's health in the frothing 
Champagne, and praised the fresh country fare, 
the vegetable soup, the fowls, the omelettes, 
the pastry, and the rosy apples ! With what 
reluctance we rose at last, and resumed our 
homeward journey along the paven country 
road, just as the shadows began to lengthen to- 
ward the east, and the evening light to glint 
between the trees on either side ! 

How quaint and soothing it is, this monoto- 
nous and fertile Belgian landscape ! For leagues 
and leagues it lies sleeping all around, rich in 
produce as a garden, level as a desert. Here 
and there nods a formal plantation of willows 
and beeches, and the evening breeze flows over 
wide luxuriant crops of barley, flax, and feath- 
ery oats, with long stripes of potatoes and other 
vegetables in between, and not a fence or hedge- 
row any where in sight. Sometimes we meet 
a lazy wagon on the road, or a group of market- 
women coming homeward from the town ; some- 
times we arrive at a broad and many-bridged 
canal, whose course, hidden till this moment by 
the lofty corn, is revealed to us only by the glid- 
ing sails of some boat topping the yellow grain, 
like a ship sailing upon land. Now and then 
we pass a white farm-house with tiled roof and 
trim garden, and perhaps a bower made all of 
ivy, and cut into points or battlements by the 
skillful gardener. Next comes a quiet town, 
with its high belfry and red-brick cathedral tow- 
ering up above the plain; and perchance we 
hear the pleasant bells chime sadly and sweetly 
from turret to turret as we travel by. On all 
sides are wind-mills and feeding cattle, and 
long paved roads with never a curve or a hill- 
rise to break their arrowy perspective a land 
of peace and plenty. 

I bade our coachman drive slowly, for we en- 
joyed the almost conventual stillness of the 
hour. Somehow a change had fallen upon our 
mood since we had turned our faces homeward. 
A softer and more chastened sentiment seemed 
to be inspired by the scene. Clemence slept wea- 
rily in a corner ; Margaret sat beside me lost in 
reverie. Both were alike absorbed and silent. 



Then the faint far lights of Brussels drew 
nearer; carriages and market -carts became 
more frequent on the road ; and presently a few 
houses scattered on either side, a solitary gas- 
lamp, and some bills placarded on a hoarding, 
warned us that our holiday was fast approaching 
its conclusion. 

Just now we arrived near a little bridge cross- 
ing a narrow canal, and lit on one side by a sin- 
gle lamp. Beneath the lamp, with his arms 
resting on the parapet and his head bent down, 
a man stood looking at the water. There was 
nothing remarkable in his appearance, yet the 
involuntary start and catching of the breath 
with Avhich Margaret leaned forward as we came 
in sight of him attracted my attention. 

We were moving very slowly at the time 
up hill, in fact, toward the bridge, and our horse 
was tired. I looked earnestly into her face, but 
she did not heed me. Her eyes were fixed upon 
the stranger, and her cheeks were pale. 

Suddenly he looked up, and shaded his eyes 
with his hand as the sound of our approach 
drew nearer. It was too dark, and we were 
too distant from him to see any thing of his feat- 
ures ; but, as if the action were convincing and 
she knew him, Margaret sank back in the car- 
riage, and avoided my gaze by looking stead- 
fastly down upon the floor. 

At the same instant he turned rapidly away, 
and dived down a small street opening to the 
left. When we had crossed the bridge and 
reached this opening he was out of sight. 

"Margaret,"! said, sternly, "what man is 
that?" 

" I know not," she replied, faintly, and with 
averted head. 

I said no more urged her no farther but 
leaned back sadly in my place. This time no 
reproaches found their way to my lips no tears 
betrayed the pressure at my heart. The iron 
had entered into my soul, and I was silent. 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

THE DIAMOND BRACELET. 

. "BY my faith, Seabrook, I can not help it. 
Granted, 'tis a weakness, a folly, yet I can not 
help it. So young, so gentle, so false ! Now, 
before Heaven, I feel as if a star had fallen from 
the skies when I remember how she is deceiv- 
ing me !" 

Seabrook whistled dismally thrust his hands 
deep into his pockets, and walked over to the 
window. 

"And she looks innocent! Would you be- 
lieve that one could lie and play the traitress 
with a face so fair ? Ah ! I forget ; you have 
not seen how fair how fair she is !" 
" Be she fairer than the day, 
Or the flow'ry meads in May, 
If she be not so to me, 
What care I how fair she be ?" 

sang my friend, with a shrug of his shoulders. 
" Seabrook, you have no feeling !" 



58 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



" Paul, you have no common sense !" 

He came and drew a seat close beside mine. 

" Confess, now," said he, with his old kindly 
manner, half sad, half sarcastic, " confess, now, 
that our wise and faithful guardian has played 
a very foolish part ! Is it not natural enough 
to suppose that a girl of seventeen has a lover, 
and that she has been too shy to confess it ? 
Was it not absurd of the most potent, grave, 
and reverend seignior Paul to play Dr. Bartolo 
to his fair ward, while some gallant Almaviva 
was all the while lying perdu in the inmost re- 
cesses of her heart ? Pshaw ! man, swallow 
the nauseous draught with as good a grace as 
you can muster, and finish your part according 
to the good old stage-fashion, by forgiving and 
blessing the young couple as soon as you find it 
useless to do otherwise." 

" And then sing a trio to cement our eternal 
union !" I said, forcing a smile. 

He laughed, poured out a glass of wine, and 
nodded my health. 

"Hush! do you hear?" said he, suddenly, 
pointing toward the window and listening at- 
tentively. "What music is that?" 

" 'Tis the band in the park. They give an 
instrumental concert every evening at Vello- 
ni's." 

"A concert every evening! To think that 
I have been a week in Brussels, and not have 
known that before ! Let us go instantly." 

' ' I have no heart for such amusements, Sea- 
brook." 

"Heart! nonsense, mon ami; 'tis the very 
' medicine to minister to a mind diseased ! I 
prescribe nay, I entreat it, Paul. Will you re- 
fuse me?" 

I yield, as ever, to his gay sovereignty, and 
we are loitering, ere long, amid the throng of 
coffee-drinking and ice-eating loungers who fre- 
quent the space of sward and trees surround- 
ing the celebrated restaurateur's. Seabrook is 
charmed with the music, with the company, 
with the gay and pleasant scene The lights, 
the voices, the hurrying waiters, all serve to ex- 
hilarate him to depress me. Amusement, to 
one of his joyous temperament, is food and life ; 
to one saddened and harassed, like myself, by 
disappointment and doubt, is utterly intolerable. 
I take the opportunity, after some twenty min- 
utes of uneasy endurance, to plead a headache, 
and escape by myself out into the public ave- 
nues of the park beyond. 

It is not yet quite deserted in the principal 
walk and around the central basin, so I turn 
aside into the dark quiet alleys at the back of 
the restaurant's, where the music comes to me 
softly through the trees, and the dark night 
reigns unbroken, save by a gas-lamp at rare in- 
tervals. 

Here the stars twinkle down between the 
roofing leaves, and, in the gloom and stillness 
of the place, my shattered nerves are soothed to 
somewhat like repose. I strive to think with 
calmness of the past and future to arm myself 
for a dispassionate judgment and a generous line 



of action. It is hard to do this, nevertheless ; 
and in the magnitude of the effort I discover the 
extent of the weakness. Whether to consult 
her happiness in preference to every other con- 
sideration whether selfishly to use my power 
as her guardian, and 

Alas ! alas ! that our sternest foe should lie 
ambushed in our own weak hearts, and that the 
most brilliant of our victories should ever be 
the saddest humiliation of our lives ! 

The night deepened, and still I walked to 
and fro, to and fro, lost in a train of thought 
that absorbed my every faculty, and from which 
I was at length aroused by the sound of voices 
in a neighboring alley. 

I will scarcely say "aroused," for, though I 
heard their footsteps on the gravel, and their 
very words as they passed now and then close 
beside me, with only the green hedge between 
us, I gave no heed to their vicinity, and attach- 
ed no meaning to their speech. Nay, more, the 
words were English ; yet, such was the strange, 
abstracted condition of my mind, I did not even 
remark that they were uttered in a foreign 
tongue. They fell upon my ear, but without 
finding their way to my mind; they were fa- 
miliar to my sense, and my thoughts were at 
the time so earnestly engaged that I was con- 
tent to hear them without asking whence they 
came. It has frequently occurred to me since, 
how singular an instance of preoccupation of 
mind was this, and how forcible a question of 
inner-duality it might suggest to the psycholog- 
ical student. 

The voices were two a man's and a woman's. 
The latter, somehow, appeared not wholly un- 
familiar to me, and the murmuring sadness of 
their tones chimed in with my own melancholy. 

Suddenly a something, which was more a 
shock than a suspicion, flashed over me. The 
woman was speaking. 

"He doubts me," she said, and it seemed 
that she was weeping. "He doubts me. I am 
most unhappy!" 

Margaret's voice ! Oh, heaven, Margaret's 
voice ! 

"It is unfortunate," replied her companion, 
"but" 

They passed, and his words grew inaudible in 
distance. I was neither grieved nor enraged 
only powerless, breathless, overwhelmed. 

Presently they returned, and the man was i 
still speaking. 

"Avow nothing," he said, as if in continua- ii 
tion ; " you know my position, and the necessi- | 
ty we have for strict concealment. I am well j| 
aware how firm my little Margaret can be, the 
more especially " 

Again the voice died away. 

The blood rushed to my head and boiled in 
every vein ; I felt as if an iron band were tight- 
ened round my brow ; I uttered a cry like the 
cry of some fierce animal; I spurned the dull 
earth madly with my heel, and struggled for 
very breath. 

On all sides disappointment, concealment, 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



deceit! Had I not one friend whom I could 
esteem and trust? Was there not one hand 
unarmed against me ? Chilled in my childish 
affections supplanted (and by ivhorn supplant- 
ed?) in my manhood's first passion wronged 
by this young creature whom I would have given 
fortune and energies to serve to whom I would 
have devoted the cares and tenderness of a life 
to whom I had resolved (Heaven knows with 
what unselfish purity of thought !) to supply the 
lost home-ties and work out my trust with holi- 
ness of purpose for whom I was prepared, even 
this very night, to relinquish every personal and 
sordid hope, even as a father would relinquish 
for a child Say, was I not tried almost beyond 
the bounds of patient faith ? To feel a mo- 
mentary resentment was not surely inexcusa- 
ble to doubt all love and fair seeming not ut- 
terly unjustifiable? 

I felt that I must see this man this lover 
face to face. I must look into his eyes, and see 
him quail before me. 

The impulse was obeyed as soon as felt. I 
ran with the speed of a madman down the dark 
pathway. It branched away to the right. I 
found myself getting farther and farther from 
the outlet which I sought. I retraced my steps 
again went wrong again doubled back, and 
at length reached the spot where, but a few 
short moments before, they had been walking 
together. 

It was a long walk quite over-roofed by trees, 
and opening at one end upon the Rue Ducale 
a long, straight, open walk, and not a soul in 
sight ! 

They had taken alarm at the sound of my 
footsteps perhaps at the involuntary cry that 
had escaped my lips, and were gone ! 

Baffled, yet calmed by the disappointment, I 
sank exhausted upon a stone bench under some 
trees, and, after a brief interval of rest, rose up 
and went out at the gateway which terminated 
the path. The audience were pouring from 
Velloni's as I passed, and, by some strange im- 
pulse, I stood and watched for Seabrook. 

It was never my disposition to seek society 
when grief was weighing on me, but this night 
I seemed to long for the sight of a face in which 
I might still see truth and friendship for the 
pressure of a hand that had never played me 
false. The fever of anguish was past the hour 
of the human weakness was come ; and though, 
probably, I should not betray what I had suffer- 
ed by look or word, I should not feel alone. 

Presently he came. I stepped forward, 
placed my arm through his, and said simply, 
" I was waiting for you." 
" I would have left sooner had I known that," 
said my friend, with a smile. "Is your head 
better?" 

I nodded. 

' ' And what do you propose doing ? It is yet 
early, and the music to which I have been list- 
ening is so good that it has only served to make 
me wish for more. What say you to dropping 
into the Opera House for an hour, just to hear a 



song from the Vogelsang ? She plays to-night in 
Norma. We shall be in time for the last act." 

* ' Go where you please I will accompany 
you." 

The theatre was crowded when we arrived. 
We were warned at the entrance that no seats 
were to be had, and we took up our standing at 
the back amid a crowd of others similarly cir- 
cumstanced. 

The act had begun before we arrived ; the 
Vogelsang was already on the stage, and every 
breath was hushed throughout the house. 

Great as she had been when first I saw her, 
she was far greater now. Through all the gra- 
dations of stormy passion, jealousy, fury, despair, 
and agonized humility, she passed with a skill 
which was more than skill which was reality. 

"Per Bacco!" whispered Seabrook to me, 
"this woman gives me an oppression on the 
chest ! What power what instinct !" 

Instinct ay ! that was the word. It was not 
intellect, for intellect is cold, and calm, and 
lofty. It was the fierce and fearful beauty of 
the panther, grand in its instincts, terrible in its 
rage ! 

I shuddered. Strange that, from the mo- 
ment when I beheld her on the Frankfurt stage, 
I should have ever felt this creeping aversion, 
and that the third time it should be more 
strongly marked than even at the first ! 

The last scene that tremendous scene where 
the despairing priestess wrestles for forgiveness 
with her father came to an end. There was a 
dead silence for a moment ; the audience drew 
a long breath of relief; then came that deafen- 
ing shout of unanimous wonder and delight to 
which she was so well accustomed. She is 
called she comes ; the bouquets are showered 
round her; something heavy something that 
glitters as it falls, is flung from a stage-box, and 
lights just at her feet. It is a bracelet a gor- 
geous bracelet scintillating with diamonds ! She 
lifts it gracefully, and, bending low in the direc- 
tion whence it came, clasps it upon her arm. 

In an instant every eye is turned upon that 
box ; for a moment the liberal giver eclipses the 
songstress; even I, who am occupied with heavy 
thoughts, am influenced by the general impulse, 
and rise in my place to look upon upon whom? 

Upon my brother The'ophile ! 

"Mafoi, Paul," said Seabrook, shrugging his 
shoulders and glancing toward me with a pecul- 
iar expression, "your brother must have a re- 
markable appreciation of talent, and more mon- 
ey than he well knows how to employ !" 

Vexed, bewildered, uneasy, I made no reply, 
but hastened nervously through the crowded lob- 
by, and bade farewell to my companion at the 
doors of the theatre. 

Alas ! there are times when the foreshadow- 
ings of evil, vaporous and undefined, rise up 
over the soul like the night-mists over the mead- 
ow-land, obscuring not only the landmarks of 
earth, but dimming even the star-guides of heav- 
en. At such periods we find our only safety in 
solitude and prayer. 



60 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 

A PACKET OF LETTERS. 

Theophile to Paul. 
u Hotel de France, Aug. 30th, 18. 

"WHAT an age it is since we have met, mon 
cher frere ! I vow that I begin to forget your 
very features. Twice have I called at yom 
apartments, and twice . have I been told thai 
you were out ; a statement which, at the risk 
of offending you, I must confess that I did not, 
on both occasions, entirely credit. Were it nol 
that I have seen your friend, Mr. Seabrook, 
twice or thrice lately, I should not even know 
that you are living and well. I am glad that 
you chanced to introduce me to this English- 
man. I find him pleasant and obliging, and an 
excellent judge of all that relates to the stable 
and the studio. He has kindly advised me in 
the purchase of some horses and paintings, 
which I think you will like, if you only come 
to see them. 

"I have discovered many of my Parisian ac- 
quaintances here people of whom you have 
never heard, and whose names would not inter- 
est you and find myself, agreeably enough, in 
the centre of a petite societe ires distingnee, of 
which Adrienne is the reigning sovereign. We 
have determined upon giving a soiree on the 
15th of next month, and are now issuing the 
cards of invitation. I know that it will be a 
trial to your patience, my philosophic brother, 
but I insist that, for this once, you make your 
appearance among us. I request it as a mark 
of respect to my wife. It is her first reception, 
and I am sure that I shall not find you obdu- 
rate. But you will come before then, rfest ce 
pas? I inclose Adrienne's card for the 15th 
instant. Write a reply such as you know I de- 

" 4 T - V 



sire. Adieu, vaurien ! A toi. 



T. L. 



P.S. Apropos of horses, I want to buy 
some at the great sale which they advertise at 
Malines, and I find my treasury somewhat poor- 
er than I had anticipated. Could you lend me 
five thousand francs for a day or two ?" 

Norman Seabrook to Paul Latour. 

" August 30th, 18. 

"It is past midnight. All is still in the 
house. I can not sleep. Thoughts and sensa- 
tions which are not, perhaps, wholly strange, 
but which have presented themselves dimly and 
rarely to my mind, are now busy within me, 
and I write to you. 

"Your anxiety, your vexation, the solitude 
which you have maintained for many days see- 
ing no face but mine some words spoken by 
you this morning, have impressed me with a 
melancholy akin to your own. 

" ' I have none to love,' you said, and noth- 
ing to accomplish.' 

* * None to love and nothing to accomplish. Alas ! 
I also, my friend, I have none to love and noth- 
ing to accomplish. In that sentence you epi- 
grammati/ed my history. 



/ ., t DV/ ^ J.UJDGII iu my LI ue 

I do not know that I have ever felt so deep- ! face with my own spirit. 



j ly on this subject as to-night. It seems to me 
j that I am halting on the road of life ; leaning 
on my staff, and calmly scanning the backward 
pastures and the forward waste. How fair and 
profitless a Past ! how blank a Future ! I fan- 
cied myself a pilgrim sans souci a. butterfly 
tasting the flowers by the wayside without a toil 
or a sorrow. I have shaken off the dream to- 
night, and I find that I fill no place among men. 
I am a drone in the hive. 

"You know my affairs as well as I know them 
myself. You know that it is my pleasure to be 
a bird of passage, lighting here and there, and 
resting nowhere. You know that I have a 
small independence, just sufficient to keep me 
out of debt, and supply my few necessities. 
You know all this, Paul. Well, at this hour, I 
feel that a man without ties, without aim, with- 
out profession, is morally an offender against so- 
ciety and against Providence. I have head I 
have education ; yet of what avail are they to 
me ? Will my knowledge of poetry and philoso- 
phy make me a poet or a philosopher? Can 
Plato teach me the law, or Homer qualify me 
for the profession of arms ? My travels have 
not elevated me into a Humboldt. My amateur 
chemistry has brought me no nearer to the sci- 
ence of a Liebig or a Dalton. 

"I have heart. Although I have, as yet, 
lived without loving, I am sensible of a capacity 
for love in my own nature. But dare I think 
of love ? Dare I dream of wife and fireside, I 
who am without resources ? Of what use am I 
in the world ? In what path of human endeav- 
or could I hope to earn bread for my children, 
were I so unfortunate as to possess any ? 

"Oh, the life of a man without ties, without 
home, without labor, is a want and a bitterness. 
[ taste it now for the first time. 'Tis true that 
I may forget it to-morrow, and for many to-mor- 
rows, but I feel that it must come again and 
again, and that at last it will abide with me 
evermore. 

Would that I could begin to study even 
now ! Would that I had something to work for 
and to love ! 

As it is, I fear that I could not devote my- 
self to any profession without some powerful in- 
centive. My powers of mind are various, but 
not tenacious. I want not perseverance, but 
constancy. The proposition looks like a para- 
dox, yet it is not one. Whatever I attempt, I 
attempt earnestly, and with my whole soul. My 
studies are interrupted by no self-indulgence. I 
devote myself to my subject night and day till I 
arrive at a certain proficiency. There I stop. 
My curiosity is satisfied. Other objects present 
themselves, about which I am equally desirous 
of knowledge. I throw aside the palette for the 
crucible, the violin for the microscope, the in- 
struments of the mathematician for the wild rev- 
eries of the mental philosopher. I am ' everv 
thing by turns, and nothing long.' 

"I despise myself to-night, for to-night, Paul, 
I see myself in my true colors. I stand face to 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Gl 



"There is something awful in it, Paul some- 
thing weird and terrible in thus summoning 
one's self to judgment. I feel as if I had looked 
in a mirror and seen a strange face there a 
face unlike that to which mine eyes were accus- 
tomed daily, but which bore a certain palpable 
and dread resemblance that convinced me of its 
identity ! 

"Tell me, have you never known moments 
such as this, when the veil of custom seems to 
be rent suddenly before your eyes; when life 
and the world stand revealed in their true col- 
ors ; and when the shows of things are for a few 
seconds stripped of the semblance of realities ? 
Have you never been aroused by these brief rev- 
elations from the hollow seemings of every-day 
life 2 Have you never indulged them, as I now 
indulge them forgotten them, as I to-morrow 
shall forget them ? 

"I have opened my window upon the outer 
night. It is so still that not a breath stirs the 
flame of the candle by which I write, and the 
brazen statue of St. Michael on the slender spire 
of the Hotel de Ville glitters close by in the 
moonlight. Surely there is something in the 
unruffled calm of Nature that overawes our little 
anxieties and doubts ; the sight of these house- 
tops and steeples, with the deep sky and the 
clustering stars above them, seems to have im- 
parted some quiet to my mind. Perhaps I could 
sleep now. Good-night. 

" NORMAN SEABROOK." 

Margaret Fletcher to PaulLatour. 

"Aug. 30111,18 

" So many days have elapsed since I last saw 
my father's friend, that I no longer dare to enu- 
merate them. Some withered ferns and grasses 
on my table remind me of the time that has 
gone by since he gathered them for me in the 

little wood of ; my unfinished drawing has 

long awaited the corrections of the master. In 
vain I ask myself if he can have left Brussels? 
if he be suffering ? if I have displeased him ? 
Whatever be the cause, truth were better than 
this intolerable suspense, and the truth I entreat 
from him, though it be conveyed but in a single 
word. Oh, if you are vexed with me, what shall 
I say or do to make you forgive me ? If I have 
seemed ungrateful to you, believe, monsieur, 
that appearances alone are against me, and that 
my heart is unconscious of a thought that might 
be construed into a sin against my benefactor. 

' ' I fear that I do wrong to write to you, yet 
how can I help it ? You will not be angry with 
me, will you, Monsieur Latour ? You will par- 
don the trouble and annoyance that I occasion 
you, for I am so unhappy. MARGARET." 



CHAPTER XXV. 

A LITTLE SCENE OUT OF THE DRAMA. 

SCENE. MARGARET'S Studio. She is reading 
near the window, but lays aside the book when 



I enter, and seems both pleased and agitated. 
CLEMENCE is not present. 

PAUL (advancing and taking her by the hand). 
Well, Margaret, are you glad to see me ? 

MARG. Oh, very glad, Monsieur Latour ! I 
I thought you had forgotten me. 

PAUL (archli/'). Forgotten you, eh ? But I 
think you were determined not to be forgotten, 
petite Marguerite ! 

MARG. (blushing'). Do not speak of that, mon- 
sieur, I I entreat you. I am I am, indeed, 
quite ashamed that 

PAUL (very earnestly and gravely). That you 
should be sufficiently interested in one whom 
you call your "father's friend" to care to see him 
again ! Is that it, Margaret ; and did you real- 
ly wish me to think you utterly impenetrable 
and hard-hearted ? 

MARG. Oh, not that ! You I am sure you 
know what I mean ? 

PAUL. I think I do, Margaret. Indeed, it is 
seldom that I am pained or perplexed by the 
ambiguity of words, for there is always more 
conveyed by the tone in which they are uttered 
and the glance by which they are accompanied. 
It is only the ambiguity of action that grieves 
and troubles me. Concealments, falsehoods, 
double-dealings, preconcerted plans of decep- 
tion, these are the things that cut me to the 
soul ; and sooner than be subjected to them 
from the hands of those whom I trust and love, 
I would go away, like the Athenian Timon, and 
live in a desert ! 

MARG. Monsieur! 

PAUL (in an excited tone). I never loved any 
thing yet that it did not bring me sorrow and 
suffering never ! And to think that you too, 
Margaret you who are so young and so se- 
cluded you whom I thought so innocent, so 
docile, so affectionate to think that you should 
plot and plan against me, as if I were a blind 
puppet to be bandied about from hand to hand, 
and thrown aside at last if occasion warrant ! 
It destroys my faith in human-kind ! 

MARG. (turning very pale and striving to speak 
firmly). You wrong me, sir. I am no hypo- 
crite. 

PAUL. No hypocrite ! Why, did you not 
stand there and blush, and smile, and speak fair 
words just now, and do I not know how false 
your heart is to me all the while ? Do you not 
weep tears of which I never know the cause ? 
Receive gifts (pointing to the ring upon her fin- 
ger) from lovers whose names I never learn ? 
Make evening assignations in the park (she 
starts) with men of whom I have never heard ? 
Hah ! you are silent, Margaret : you tremble ; 
you can say nothing ! 

MARG. (with effort). I could say much, but I 
dare not. 

PAUL. What! do you fear me? 

MARG. Indeed, no; but but Alas! what 
would I not give now for liberty to speak ! 

PAUL. Then you confess that there is a se- 
cret ? 

MARG. (hesitatingly}. Yes, there is a secret 



62 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



You know there is, monsieur ; why do you com- 
pel me to say so ? 

PAUL. And the ring ? 

MARG. (bursting into tears and kissing it pas- 
sionately). The ring was my mother's my 
dear mother's ! 

PAUL. Can this be true, Margaret? Why 
not have said that long ago, when I first asked 
you? How did you get it? How long has it 
been in your possession ? Why ever have 
made a mystery about it ? 

MARG. Do not ask me; I can not tell you 
more ; I have said too much already more 
than I promised. 

PAUL. Tell me, at least, who met you in the 
park? 

MARGARET looks down and shakes her head. 

PAUL (trying to speak calmly and conciliating- 
ly). Listen to me, Margaret. I was in the park 
that night in the next walk, and divided from 
you only by a hedge. I heard you speaking 
speaking, I am convinced, of me. You agreed 
with your lover to deceive me. He called you 
his his little Margaret. I heard all this. 

MARG. (anxiously). No more than this ? 

PAUL. No more. Alas ! you are relieved 
that I did hear no more ! Do not seek to evade 
me farther ; confide in me, Margaret acknowl- 
edge this lover, and I will pardon all. Nay, I 
will serve you, I will serve him, I will do what 
a father would do (what your father would have 
done) to make your happiness. Speak ! 

MARG. (weeping). All that I can say is that 
I do not deserve your goodness ! Only trust 
me for a little while ; do not quite hate me ; I 
am tied by by a fatal promise, and I can not 
speak! Only trust me, monsieur only trust 
me! 

PAUL (after a brief silence). Well, I will trust 
you, Margaret ; but beware, beware ! Conceal- 
ment is the cloak of Wrong, and your lover 
would scarcely impose this task of secrecy upon 
you save for some deep and doubtful reason. I 
almost question whether I am fulfilling my du- 
ties in thus yielding and trusting to you : it 
should be my place to sift his character and his 
motives ; but let it be so, Margaret. Your face 
and voice have again overcome me. Promise 
me, at least, that you will take no decisive step 
that that you will not hear of marriage with- 
out 

MARG. (smiling through her tears). Be assured 
of that, monsieur. I shall certainly not elope 
with him, or or marry without your permis- 
sion. {Bell rings.) Hark! that is madame's 
bell ! The class is assembling, and I must go 
now. 

PAUL. Trifler ! that smile half reassures me. 
Must you go ? 

MARG. Directly, monsieur. 

PAUL. Au revoir, then, Margaret ! 

MARG. Au revoir ! [Exit different ways. 

CLOSE OF THE SCENE. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE SHADOWS DARKEN INTO FORM. 

I WAS unwilling to go, but I went. The 
night was glorious one of those dark, warm 
September nights, when the sky is thick with 
stars and there is no moon. 

Long before I reached the house (for I should 
observe that my brother had engaged a fur- 
nished mansion for the season), I found the 
street blocked up by vehicles and bright with 
carriage-lamps. An awning reached from the 
door to the curb-stone there were lights in ev- 
ery window sounds of music dimly heard from 
without passing shadows on the blinds pow- 
dered servants in the hall, and pages in waiting 
stationed on the stairs announcing names and 
titles statues, and figures of armed knights, 
and vases of rare flowers on the landings 
stands of arms and trophies of broad antlers in 
the hall vistas of brilliant rooms and galleries 
opening all around, and thronged with company. 

It was the first time that I had crossed the 
threshold of my brother's house since his re- 
moval, and for a moment I stood still, gazing 
with surprise at the profuse elegance of all 
around me, and overpowered by that old feel- 
ing of nervous embarrassment which has been, 
through life, one of my most serious annoy- 
ances, and which is the usual penalty incurred 
by the student for the luxury of retirement. It 
was, however, too late to retreat ; my name had 
already traveled before me, and as I reached the 
entrance to the first drawing-room, it was an- 
nounced for the fourth time. At the extremity 
of the third apartment I found Adrienne, sur- 
rounded by a little court, receiving, conversing, 
resplendent with jewels and beauty, and look- 
ing like a queen, so lofty and so fair. 

"Welcome, thrice welcome, mon beaufrere" 
she said, with her bright smile, as I approached. 
" Take this seat beside mine, and let us talk to- 
gether for a while. It is long since we have 
met, and you look pale to-night. Not ill, li 
trust ? Monsieur de Saint Saturnin, will you 
favor me by relinquishing this seat in favor of j 
my husband's brother ? A thousand thanks. ] 
You will pardon me for troubling you?" 

Monsieur de Saint Saturnin, a red -faced 
youth with an embroidered shirt-front and a 
blue silk waistcoat, bowed, rose with an affecta- j 
tiqn of immense alacrity, and mingled with the i 
crowd. 

I took the vacant seat, and she continued : 

"It is really kind of you to come to-night, 
for I know that you take no pleasure in society. 
Have you seen Theophile? No? Why, he 
was here but a moment since, and Ah ! there 
he stands, almost under the central chandelier. 
He is conversing with two gentlemen one, that 
is, the one in black, is M. d'Ermenonville, pro- 
fessor of Oriental languages to the College Roy- 
al of St. Egbert ; the other is General Smith- 
son, an American celebrity. This little gentle- 
man with a diamond star upon his breast is a 
Neapolitan prince ; and that handsome man 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



63 



with the long hair, just passing by, is Felicien 
David, the musician. I must endeavor to amuse 
you, and tell you who the people are, monfrere." 

"You are very good, madame." 

"Do not call me madame, I entreat of you. 
Let me be your sister in name as well as in re- 
ality. Here we have a Russian grandee and 
his wife what a regalia she wears ! and that 
small, quick-featured man with the glasses is 
Scribe the dramatist. He is leaning on the 
arm of a man equally famous perhaps you 
guess who he is by his complexion and African 
cast of features Alexander Dumas. Do you 
know, monfrere, a large assembly such as this 
reminds me of a menagerie." 

"With a remarkable show of lions," I added. 

"Ah!" said she, with a half sigh, "is it to 
be compared with our summer picnic at the 
Fountain of Roses ?" 

At this moment there was a universal silence 
at the farther end of the apartment ; a few 
plaintive notes were heard upon a piano ; and 
the rich, magical tones of a voice that sounded 
strangely familiar to my ears began the open- 
ing movement of an Italian cavatina. 

" Hush !" said Adrienne, placing her finger on 
her lip. " Madame Vogelsang is about to sing." 

"Madame Vogelsang, the actress?" 

" Yes ; we have engaged her for the evening, 
and Kiallmark as her accompanyist. Oh, list- 
en how delicious ! " 

It was odd how the very name and voice of 
that woman seemed to overshadow and depress 
me. I fell into a profound reverie, from which 
I was roused by the murmurs of applause, and 
-by a hand laid suddenly upon my arm. It was 
Norman Seabrook. 

"I have spoken to you twice, Paul," said he, 
" and have stood before your very face for three 
or four minutes, paying my respects to madame, 
and you never observed me. I was not aware 
that music produced such an effect upon you be- 
fore. Did she not sing gloriously?" 

"I must confess," I replied, smiling, "that I 
was lost in thought, and heard nothing of it 
whatever." 

Adrienne was at this moment surrounded by 
her visitors, and busily engaged in convei'sation. 
I rose, passed my arm through Seabrook's, and 
proposed to make the tour of the rooms in 
search of Theophile, with whom I had not yet 
spoken. 

"Your brother," said he, "has an absolute 
genius for mustering his forces. He would 
make a great general. By the way, have you 
seen that pair of Vanderveldes which he bought 
the other day, or the silver shield chased by 
Benvenuto Cellini?" 

"Neither." 

"Nor the case of fossil zoophytes ?" 

"No." 

" Nor the Cabinet de Lecture ?" 

' ' I never even heard of all these things. 
What do you mean?" 

' ' I mean that Monsieur Theophile possesses 
what you never will possess a genius for soci- 



ety. He is desirous of filling his rooms with 
all available rank and talent, and he takes care 
to provide that which may render his house 
agreeable. Here are paintings and articles of 
virtu for the connoisseur ; natural curiosities for 
the learned ; books and engravings for those 
who like them ; and the best music, the best 
society, and the best ices in Brussels for each 
and for all." 

"You amaze me, for The'ophile himself is 
neither connoisseur, bookworm, nor natural 
philosopher!" 

"I did not say that he was ; I only observed 
that he had a rare tact in society. There are 
people who refine upon this tact till it becomes 
a science." 

At this moment our conversation was inter- 
rupted by a tall lady with a long waist, a long 
neck, and a long nose. She looked like a stork 
with a turban on, and had a young and some- 
what pretty girl upon her arm. 

"Ah! Mr. Seabrook," she said, languidly, 
" is it really you ? One finds you every where. 
Emma, my precious love, you remember Mr. 
Seabrook?" 

The young lady bowed, and her mamma con- 
tinued. 

" I think the occasion of our last meeting 
was at Cardinal Mezzotinto's, during the Ro- 
man Carnival. You went as as let me see, 
as Robinson Crusoe such an odd costume ! 
Charming soiree, this. Quite new people, too. 
Provincial landowners from the wilds of Bur- 
gundy, I am given to understand. Really a 
well - contrived evening. We came to - night 
with the Hospodar of Moldavia and his wife. 
Delightful family. Greek extraction. His 
highness is the most fascinating creature ! So 
talented ! So eccentric ! Eats a pound of un- 
cooked steak for his dinner every day, to keep 
up his stamina. But I am detaining you with 
my prattle, and you are, perhaps, engaged in 
conversation with your friend. Addio ! My 
darling angel, wish Mr. Seabrook good-even- 
ing !" 

"What a terrible woman!" I exclaimed, 
when we were out of hearing. 

"Terrible species, but common," replied 
Seabrook, laconically. "Order Aristocratic. 
Generic character Detestable. Locality Un- 
exceptionable. Ilabits Gregarious. Family 
The Bores." 

" I am glad, at all events," I said, laughing, 
" to find that the species is not dangerous." 

"Not dangerous, my dear fellow! On the 
contrary, it belongs to a genus of the most un- 
paralleled ferocity, especially when providing for 
its young. The heir, indeed, is its natural prey. 
Stay, here is a man I know, who fancies him- 
self a poet of the highest order. Quite a char- 
acter. He once held a capital situation in the 
Foreign Office, but found it too prosaic for what 
he calls his 'wild poetic nature,' and so relin- 
quished it. I fear that his circumstances are 
wretched now, poor fellow ! How are you, Mr. 
Staines ! Been long in Brussels ?" 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



" Scarce three sad, sultry days, my worthy 
friend," replied the poet, who wore blue glasses 
and long hair, and who, as I presently discov- 
ered, spoke always in blank verse. 

"Rather a brilliant party here, is it not?" 
asked Seabrook, with an air of determined com- 
monplace cheerfulness. 

"These glitt'ring halls are lit for me in 
vain, " rejoined the other, misanthropically. ' ' To 
ears in love with cataract and storm ; to eyes 
that gaze unshrinkingly on fate ; to souls up- 
lifted o'er the flat inane, cleaving the realms of 
thought and poet-lore, all revelry is stale all 
music harsh!" 

"Just so, just so," said my companion, smil- 
ing. "I see that we are of the same opinion. 
A glass of brandy and water, and a good cigar 
at a friend's fireside, is worth all this sort of 
display. Exactly my own idea, Staines. Au 
revoir /" 

The poet looked after us with a lofty pity 
that was utterly ludicrous ; and we made our 
way, as well as we could, through the crowd, 
which was momentarily increasing, toward the 
reading-room, or, as Theophile had chosen to 
designate it, the Cabinet de Lecture. 

It was a pretty little Gothic room, lined with 
book- shelves, and furnished with costly vol- 
umes, but was, if possible, even more crowded 
than the larger apartments. The heat, too, was 
intolerable. 

"Diable!" exclaimed Seabrook, "we shall 
die here if we remain long, amico mio ! Sup- 
pose we go and have a peep at the conservato- 
ry. I have not yet seen it, and your brother 
told me yesterday that the fittings, flowers, and 
tropical plants had cost a little fortune. Al- 
lans .'" 

This was more easily said than done. The 
Cabinet de Lecture was situated at the extrem- 
ity of the fourth and last reception-room, and 
the conservatory at the end of the entrance-hall 
down stairs. We had consequently to thread 
our way back throughout the entire suite, and, 
as the apartments were now quite filled, the task 
was by no means one of great facility. It gave 
us, however, a better opportunity of observing 
the general features of the entertainment. 

Many of the guests were English, but the 
greater number belonged to the Continental 
nations. Now we pass a knot of Parisian wits 
and dramatists now a group of artists discuss- 
ing the merits of the Vanderveldes now a 
clique of politicians occupied with the last new 
ministry. Here the swarthy features of an Ot- 
toman dignitary, surmounted by the scarlet fez, 
contrast with the delicate beauty of some reign- 
ing belle, who glides along with her train of 
slaves around her. There we see a handsome 
and popular ecclesiastic discoursing honeyed 
righteousness to a circle of admiring ladies. 
Now and then we light upon some tender couple 
whispering together in the embrasure of a cur- 
tained window, and every where we are amused 
by the scraps of conversation that meet our ear 
in passing. 



"A terrible state of affairs, I assure yoo. 
The quotation of gold is lower than it has been 
in the memory of any man living population 
increases the value of labor diminishes our 
commerce is on the decline our coasts unpro- 
tected our navy and army almost disorganized 
in short, sir, the country is going to ruin, and 
I see no hope for the government or the people 
unless the military are immediately re-enforced 
and " 

" Stewed down with port wine and sugar. It 
is the finest thing in the world. I have tried it 
myself for the last four years, and find it an un- 
failing remedy." 

"And did you really come on purpose to see 
me, Charles ?" 

"You, and you only, my angel! You know 
that I live but in your smiles, and that your 
glance alone has power to reduce me to " 

"A heavy oily liquid, obtained from a double 
sulpho-carbonate of ethyle and potash, acted 
upon by diluted sulphuric or hydrochloric acid. 
Indeed, a most interesting experiment." 

"Possibly so; but I acknowledge that the 
present cabinet inspires me with little confi- 
dence. Russell is too indolent for the duties 
of Premier, and Palmerston " 

" Has the loveliest legs and ankles you ever 
beheld ! They skim along the stage, my boy, 
like like " 

"The Ficus Indica, or banyan-tree, abound- 
ing chiefly in the vicinity of the Circar Mount- 
ains. It covers with its trunks a sufficient space 
to shelter a regiment of cavalry, and looks, when 
one is in the midst of it, like a thick grove or 
wood. You find the best account in Rumf's 
4 Herbarium Amboinense.' " 

Through this Babel we gradually worked our 
way, exchanging a gesture of recognition with 
Adrienne as we passed by, and receiving an 
elaborate salutation from Polydore Emmanuel 
Hippolyte, Marquis de Courtrai, whose appear- 
ance did honor to the consummate skill of his 
valet, his tailor, his jeweler, and his wig-maker. 
He formed one of a phalanx of contemporary 
exquisites as boyish and fascinating as him- 
self, all of whom were so resplendent with 
crosses, cordons, and stars as to elicit from Sea- 
brook a doubt as to whether the Milky Way had 
not unexpectedly dropped in. 

At length we reached the stairs (up which 
the fresh arrivals were still pouring, although it 
was now within half an hour of midnight), and 
in a few moments more were threading the cool 
dark passage leading from the entrance-hall to 
the conservatories. This passage was quite de- 
serted ; the hum and movement of the world 
beyond became hushed, and involuntarily we 
dropped our voices to a whisper. Then we 
passed through a doorway of painted glass that 
opened without a sound, and entered the warm 
and heavy atmosphere respired by the cactus 
and the palm. The roof was garlanded with 
creeping plants, whose large pendulous blos- 
soms, like fairy pavilions, white, amber, and li- 
lac, hung low above our heads. Fragrant magno- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



65 



lias, orange-trees with their round yellow fruits, 
delicate orchids, and all rare exotic plants, were 
marshaled on every side. Deep tanks of tepid 
water, gleaming with gold and silver fish, and 
supporting the languid leaves and flowers of 
strange aquatic vegetation, Avere sunk at either 
extremity ; and marble statues of stern and rig- 
id beauty, holding amethyst-hued lamps in their 
cold grasp, stood here and there, lighting the 
silent scene with a subdued and uncertain lus- 
tre. High and fantastic, like the grand, shad- 
owy superstitions of an Orient clime, rose in the 
midst the luxuriant native of the tropics the 
bamboo ; the bread-tree, with its dark shining 
leaves and amber fruit ; the sandal-wood-tree ; 
the gigantic rhododendron, laden with white 
blossoms ; the slender sugar-cane ; the lofty co- 
coa-tree ; the graceful palm ; the royal cactus. 

All was silent, strange, oppressive. Our very 
footsteps gave no echo on the soft matting where 
they rested. 

Quite silently we passed from end to end, 
indulging our own thoughts. Then we reached 
the curtained arch that led to the next division 
of the conservatories. It had always been 
Theophile's taste, as well as mine, to substitute 
draperies for doors wherever it might be practi- 
cable. I did it in my own rooms at home, and 
here it seemed more than ever Eastern and ap- 
propriate. t 

I looked at my friend, as if asking silently 
whether he would go on. He nodded. My 
hand was already on the damask folds, when I 
drew back suddenly. 

" Hush !" I said, in a low whisper. "I hear 
voices within!" 

He smiled. "Some lovers, perhaps, "he re- 
turned, in the same tone. "Let us go back. 
It would be a pity to interrupt them !" 

And he passed his arm through mine. But 
there was some fascination in the faint tones 
which I had heard some indefinable fascina- 
tion, which ran through me like an electric 
touch, and chained my feet to the spot. 

''Come away," said Seabrook, impatiently, 
" or I go without you. I have no wish to play 
the eavesdropper." 

"Go, then, "I rejoined, hoarsely. "Go. I 
must remain here." 

" What is the matter ? Are you ill ?" 

"Listen!" 

The voices were dulled by the heavy damask 
intervening, yet not so dulled but that the words 
came through distinctly. 

"All men are flatterers, and I believe none 
of them not even you, monsieur, despite that 
imploring look ! Have you not a wife whom 
you adore ?" 

"If I have a wife, it does not follow that I 
adore her ! We men marry for wealth and po- 
sition, but we reserve our hearts for beauty. 
Your logic is not sound, charming The'rese !" 

"Madame is beautiful. What woman could 
be more so ?" 

"Yourself! Nay, I swear by those glorious 
eyes that you are a million times more lovely 
E 



than the fair, soulless doll whom I call wife ! 
Compare yourself with her, Siren, and confess 
that it is so !" 

" I will confess nothing." 

" Except that you love me!" 

"Vain man!" 

"Not vain, for I deserve all that you can 
give in return for my devotion. Am I not your 
slave literally your slave ? Is there any thing 
which you could ask and I refuse ? Is it not 
my pride to deck you with jewels that a queen 
might envy with shawls that a caliph would 
not disdain ? Is not my wealth, my heart, my 
life at your disposal ?" 

" And you really love me ?" 

" I never loved till now !" 

" Then I suppose I must believe you. But 
I have not yet thanked you for the gift you sent 
me yesterday. It was so splendid, and chosen 
with such exquisite taste ! I do not know that 
I have ever seen a vehicle so elegant." 

"I hope to see you drive past my house in 
it; it will then look ten times more elegant." 

"Not with my horses ! They are too large 
for such a fairy chariot. How exquisitely a 
pair of cream-colored ponies would become it !" 

"You shall have them to-morrow." 

" No, no. I will not suffer you to " 

" I shall send them to you, and you will ac- 
cept them. Promise me that you will accept 
them!" 

"I can refuse you nothing!" 

1 ' Loveliest, queenliest of women ! Say that 
word once again just once! Oh, Therese ! 
The'rese ! thy beauty intoxicates me ! " 

My hand was on the curtain, but Seabrook 
grasped me by the wrist and forcibly detained 
me. 

"Let me go,"I said, in a voice that trembled 
with deep passion. "Let me go ! " 

"Madman ! what would you do ?" 

* ' Confront them !" 

"To what end? To make an enemy of your 
brother to exclude yourself from his house 
to place an insuperable barrier between your- 
self and every means of useful action that inti- 
macy and observation might afford you ? De- 
sist. You know not yet what you may be ena- 
bled to do. The first person to be remembered 
is his wife. She must not know this." 

" Poor Adrienne ! " 

" Come away, come away ! We can best 
serve her by remaining calm and keeping our 
heads clear. Come away from this place !" 

The recollection of Adrienne had subdued 
me, and I submitted like a child to the influ- 
ence of his graver and more temperate judg- 
ment. The fresher air of the outer passage 
seemed to cool the fever in my blood. We 
passed hastily through the crowded hall, past 
the long lines of carriages, and out into the 
quiet streets where not a footstep echoed on the 
lonely pavement, and where the innocent stars 
were still shining out of the depths of upper sky 
u Like sweet thoughts in a dream." 

This, then, was the secret of that long aver- 



66 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



sion, hitherto so inexpiable to myself that 
aversion dating from the first moment that I 
had seen her upon the stage at Frankfurt 
which I had felt so strong within me when I en- 
countered her on the railway as I returned from 
Antwerp which had affected me so powerfully 
but a few nights since in the Opera House of 
Brussels ! Mysterious promptings of the heart 
inexplicable repulsions and affinities, who 
shall presume to deny or to define them ? 

Oh, my brother, my brother, that thou shouldst 
do such evil ! 

Absorbed in these thoughts, and wholly oc- 
cupied by my own distress of mind, I had taken 
no heed of external circumstances, and I started 
when Seabrook pressed my arm suddenly, and, 
pointing to a shadowy form gliding along by the 
houses at the opposite side of the street, said, in 
a quick whisper, 

"Do you see that man yonder? He has 
dogged our steps ever since we left your broth- 
er's house." 

" Pshaw ! you fancy it. What could be his 
motive ? We are two to one." 

"I know nothing but the fact. See ! if he 
approaches a lamp, how he turns aside to avoid 
the light!" 

My curiosity became roused. We quickened 
our steps we loitered we made unnecessary 
detours. Still his pace altered with ours, and 
followed us wherever we went. We were watch- 
ed, beyond the shadow of a doubt. 

Suddenly we changed our tactics, faced round, 
and stood still. The spy stood still likewise. 

Seabrook laughed and rubbed his hands glee- 
fully. The affair, in his eyes, had already as- 
sumed the character of an adventure. 

"Let us turn the tables, " he whispered, "and 
follow him!" 

We accordingly advanced rapidly toward our 
pursuer. Seen dimly in the angle where he 
stood, he seemed to pause irresolutely for a mo- 
ment even to take one forward step, as if with 
the intention of meeting us then turned and 
walked very swiftly down the street. 

It was our place to follow now, and this we 
did with so much determination, that the walk 
merged presently into a run, and away we went 
through the dark, silent thoroughfare, pursuers 
and pursued, as fast as our flying feet would 
carry us. 

Up one street, down another, across the mark- 
et-place, in and out a labyrinth of narrow wind- 
ing alleys and crooked passages it was evident 
that he knew the intricacies of the old town by 
heart. Presently my breath began to fail, and 
my head to grow giddy. I staggered I stop- 
ped suddenly I could go no farther. 

"Keep on', Seabrook," I gasped, leaning back 
heavily in the shelter of a doorway. "Keep 
on. I will wait here for you." 

Agile and unwearied as a greyhound, he 
sprang forward even more rapidly than before. 
In a few moments, however, he returned reluct- 
antly and slowly. The brief delay occasioned 
by my stoppage had favored the escape of the 



spy. When Seabrook turned the corner he was 
already out of sight, and beyond this point sev- 
eral streets and courts branched off, amid which 
it would have been useless to pursue the search. 
The game, for once, had outsped the hunts- 
men, and we were left to find our way back to 
the upper town as best we might, wearied out 
with the chase, and marveling together over the 
events of the evening. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 
"THE ROAD TO RUIN." 

" How, Theophile ! and thus early ?" 

"Myself. Hardly hoped to find you awake, 
monfrere. Have not been to bed all night my- 
self. Not worth while, you will say, when I 
tell you that I was out till past three o'clock this 
morning. Society is a Maelstrom. Once in, 
you can never get out of it, and are whirled on 
faster and faster, till " 

" Till it swallows you up altogether!" 

"Very true very true. But I am not yet 
ingulfed. By the way, you left us very early, 
Paul, the night of our soir&." 

"Yes, I left early, and without having spoken 
to you once. How did you leave madame ?" 

"I really do not know. She was asleep 
when I left home." 

"You have come to breakfast with me, The- 
ophile ?" 

"No, thank you. I have no appetite this 
morning. The fact is, I I came to ask you if 
you had another five thousand which you don't 
particularly want just now. My remittances 
will arrive to-morrow or next day, when you' 
shall be repaid instantly." 

All this was spoken rapidly and nervously;, 
and I observed that he stood before the glass ar- 
ranging his cravat, and avoiding my eyes as 
much as possible. 

"Another five thousand !" I echoed, pushing 
back my chair, and fixing a searching glance 
upon his face. "Another five thousand! What 
can you want with such large and frequent 
sums ?" 

"/ want nothing, my dear fellow," he re- 
turned, with a forced laugh. " The affair con- 
cerns my tradesmen ! I have bought largely, 
pictures, statues, plants " 

"For the conservatory,"! interrupted. 

"Just so for the conservatory," he contin- 
ued, with the slightest possible shade of embar- 
rassment in his tone. " And the soiree was an 
immense expense. Besides, there have been 
ornaments for my wife, horses, carriages, hotel 
bills. Really, I dread to think of what we have 
spent already !" 

" It must cost you a great deal for horses, 
carriages, and jewelry," I remarked, dryly. 

Theophile flushed crimson up to the roots of 
his hair, and looked at me very earnestly. See- 
ing, however, that I maintained a perfect com- 
posure, he drew a long breath and resumed, 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



67 



though with a more constrained and anxious 
manner than before, 

"Yes, we find the 'season' costs money; but 
we are rich, mon frere, and we may as well use 
our wealth in moderation. But, to return to 
my first question have you the five thousand 
francs to spare me this morning ? I could ask 
Adrienne, for no doubt she has as much by her ; 
but one doesn't like to borrow from one's wife." 

"Why not? You but need to tell her how 
much you require, and for what you require it, 
and she loves you so much that I am sure that 
she would give it on the instant." 

"Ah! yes of course; but women do not 
understand these things ; and But, if you do 
not wish to oblige me, I have no wish to press 
you. I should have thought my credit good 
with my own brother." 

"It is not that, The'ophile," I replied, very 
calmly. " You should be welcome to the mon- 
ey if I had it ; but I assure you I have not more 
than, if so much as, half that sum in my desk." 

He colored up again, but this time it was 
with disappointment. 

' ' You shall have two thousand francs, if they 
be of any use to you," I said, after a few min- 
utes' pause, during which he had been pacing to 
and fro between the table and the window. 
"Surely that will suffice till you receive mon- 
ey." 

"Thank yQU," he replied, somewhat stiffly. 
"I accept your kindness ; and I hope to return 
all that I owe you before the week is out." 

"You need not be so proud about it, Theo- 
phile. I would come to you if I wanted money 
to-morrow, and not deem myself under so very 
heavy an obligation when you had lent it. How 
proceed the repairs at Hauteville ?" 

My brother blushed again. It was strange 
how often he blushed this morning ; but then, 
as a boy, his handsome, ingenuous face had al- 
ways betrayed every transient emotion that flit- 
ted through his mind. 

" Hauteville ? Oh, tolerably, I believe. That 
is, I I do not think they are doing much at 
present. Burgundy is a dull place." 

"You did not think so when you first pur- 
chased the estate." 

"True ; but but Adrienne has seen more of 
the world since then, and cares less for retire- 
ment. I may not keep Hauteville, after all." 

1 ' You amaze me ! And our mother ?" 

"Would, perhaps, be a little disappointed; 
but then she would soon be reconciled to the 
change. Besides, although I have talked of it, 
we may not give it up, you know." 

"I earnestly hope not, The'ophile," I replied, 
gravely. "You are our mother's darling, and 
you hold much of her happiness in your power. 
Going already ? Stay, you must not forget 
your money. Here are the notes." 

He crushed the papers into his pocket-book, 
wished me a hasty good-day, and protesting ve- 
hemently against the trouble I took in seeing 
him to the door, sprang into his carriage and 
drove away. 



Returning slowly and sadly to my room, I 
find a paper lying near the door a little open 
note, on which a few words are written in a del- 
icate female hand. So few are they, that, as I 
lift it from the ground, I read them at a glance 
indeed, almost before I am aware of it. 

"Why have you not been to-day, mon cherif 
I have expected you since noon, and it is now 
past midnight. Meet me in the foyer at eleven 
o'clock to-morrow evening, and return with me 
to sup. I can not ask you sooner, for we have 
a rehearsal during the day. Bring me some 
money ; my modiste wearies me with importuni- 
ties. Ever thy. THERESE." 

The letter bore the date of the previous day. 

There were two entrances to the foyer the 
one leading from the public part of the theatre, 
the other opening into the street. Through 
this outer door (which, properly speaking, should 
be called the stage entrance) the actors, musi- 
cians, officials, and certain privileged habitues 
passed to their various destinations behind the 
scenes ; and hither, accordingly, I repaired 
about twenty minutes before the time appoint- 
ed, for I judged that it was by this door my 
brother would come to the place of meeting. 

It was a little side entrance opening into a 
dull back street, and lighted by a powerful jet 
of gas. Just within the threshold I saw a 
young man sitting sleeping at a desk, with some 
papers and the fragments of a frugal supper ly- 
ing before him. Hence a second door, which 
was occasionally opened by passers to and fro, 
revealed glimpses of a whitewashed, dreary- 
looking bricked passage, also lighted by gas, 
and offering but few temptations as a means of 
transit. 

Outside this place I paced slowly and method- 
ically until he should arrive, only pausing at 
times to listen anxiously to the sound of distant 
wheels, or loitering now and then to glance at 
the clock above the head of the sleeper at the 
desk. 

Watching and waiting watching and wait- 
ing what a weary task it was, and how every 
minute seemed the length often! 

Yet I was not quite alone in my promenade, 
for on the opposite side of the street, sometimes 
pacing backward and forward, sometimes paus- 
ing and leaning against the wall, I saw a sec- 
ond loiterer. There were no gas-lamps in the 
street, and the night was so intensely dark that 
I could distinguish nothing clearly ; but his ap- 
pearance seemed that of a man in the middle 
station of life perhaps even a grade poorer. 
He was waiting, most likely, for his wife or sis- 
ter some ill-paid coryphee or chorus-singer. A 
wretched life ! Somehow, despite my own cares 
and all that I had to make me anxious, my 
thoughts, having been once diverted into this 
channel, continued to flow there, and I found 
myself inventing a sequence of contingent prob- 
abilities picturing his home, his children, the 
meagre furniture, the scanty meal to which they 



GS 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



returned at night after the glare and weariness 
of the evening's performance. Thinking thus, 
I forgot the presence of the very man of whom 
I was thinking, and was only recalled to my 
original purpose by the sudden driving up and 
stoppage of a hackney-carriage at the stage 
door. 

I sprang to the spot ; a gentleman leaped out 
of the vehicle, and in an instant Theophile and 
I were face to face. 

"Stay, my brother, stay! I know all I 
found the letter I am here to try and save 
you ! Remember your wife remember Adri- 
enne !" 

The light from the open doorway fell full 
upon his face. He stood quite still his color 
came and went his lips quivered his whole 
attitude and countenance expressed the strug- 
gle of many feelings. 

"You are ruining yourself, Theophile! I 
have known something of this for several days, 
but I abstained from speaking until now. Oh, 
that I may not be too late !" 

Still silent still down-lookingstill red and 
pale alternately. 

"Not only for your fortune, but for your rep- 
utation, your happiness, your peace of mind, 
which are all in danger, I implore you to re- 
flect!" 

" I but act as others act," he said, in a sup- 
pressed tone. * ' Why should it be a greater 
crime in me than in them ?" 

An elegant close-carriage, with blazing lamps 
and prancing horses, drove up as he was speak- 
ing, and stopped before the door. The man at 
the desk woke up suddenly ; the second door 
leading to the brick passage was flung open ; a 
cry of "Madame Vogelsang's carriage!" was 
repeated by many voices, and several persons 
came hastening out, surrounding and escorting 
a lady whose features were almost concealed be- 
neath the hood of a velvet opera-cloak, and who 
was leaning upon the arm of a repulsive-look- 
ing man with a profusion of red whiskers and 
mustaches. 

A flash of anger passed over Theophile's feat- 
ures at this sight, and he took a forward step. 
I caught him by the arm. 

" Stay! It is a madness!" I cried. "You 
know not what you do!" 

"It is a madness," he rejoined, furiously, as 
he shook off my grasp like a roused lion. "It 
is a madness and my fate. Let me go !" 

In another moment he had saluted her, and, 
bestowing a haughty stare upon the red-whis- 
kered escort, had offered his arm, handed her 
into the carriage, stepped in after her, and driv- 
en rapidly away. 

As for me, I stood like a statue frozen and 
motionless. Then my eyes fell upon the gen- 
tleman whose services had been superseded, and 
who yet remained standing upon the pavement 
where she had left him. His countenance was 
contracted into an expression of malignity and 
baffled shame, and his head was yet turned in 
the direction by which the carriage had disap- 



peared. Presently the features relaxed a 
sneering smile writhed on his lips he ran his 
jeweled fingers lightly through his hair, and 
sauntered into the office, whistling softly. Then 
the clerk resumed his seat at the desk ; the other 
loiterers, with the other gentlemen, retired back 
whence they came, and in a few seconds all was 
silent and empty as before. 

A strange feeling of curiosity came over me 
a feeling that I must learn the name of this man 
whose presence inspired Theophile with such 
open discourtesy and anger. I stepped forward, 
entered the room, and civilly asked the ques- 
tion. 

The clerk smiled and looked surprised. 

"His name is Lemaire Monsieur Alphonse 
Lemaire." 

"And his station?" 

"He is the manager of this theatre." 

I thanked him and turned toward the door. 
There was a pale face peering eagerly in and 
suddenly withdrawn a pale face that gave me 
a sudden shock for which I was unable to ac- 
count, and which for a moment struck me with 
a sensation like that of fear, as if I had seen a 
wraith or, rather, as if I had beheld it before 
under some strange and terrible circumstances 
that I could not remember. Perhaps in a bad 
dream who could tell ? 

During a few seconds I stood still, with my 
eyes fixed upon the door, expecting every in- 
stant to see it return. Suddenly a suspicion 
flashed upon me. I thought of the loiterer upon 
the opposite footway of the spy of a few nights 
since ! It was plain that I was watched, and 
constantly. I uttered a hasty exclamation, flew 
to the door, and gazed eagerly up and down the 
street. 

The man whom I sought was no longer keep- 
ing watch on the other side. He had crossed 
over, and was waiting in the shadow close against 
the wall, some few yards from the spot where I 
stood. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

THE ARROW IS FITTED TO THE BOW. 

HE made no attempt to elude me this time, 
but, to my surprise, stepped forward to meet me, 
and was the first to speak. 

"I beg your pardon, sir," he said, quietly, 
touching his hat the while, " but might I ask the 
favor of a few minutes' conversation with you ?" 

"I was about to make the same request. 
Pray speak." 

" You will allow me to put a few questions to 
you, sir ?" 

"Yes, on condition that I may afterward use 
the same privilege." 

"Agreed." 

We had been standing, half defyingly, face 
to face, but upon the conclusion of this brief 
treaty we involuntarily dropped side by side, 
and commenced walking leisurely to and fro in 
the shadow of the silent street. It was so dark 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



that I could not see his features very distinctly, 
but they looked commonplace enough, and I 
could distinguish nothing of the expression and 
character that had struck me so forcibly only a 
few moments since. 

He recommenced. 

" In the first place, then, were you not pres- 
ent at a soiree given in the Rue on the 15th 

evening of the present month ?" 

"I was." 

"Are you acquainted with the giver of that 
soiree ?" 

"Yes." 

"Was that he with whom you were speaking 
to-night, just as Madame Vogelsang was coming 
out?" 

" Why do you ask me these questions?" 

' ' That is my business. Answer them, and I 
will answer yours. Such was our bargain." 

"I will not answer the last till I know your 
motive for inquiring." 

" Very well ; then I will pass on to another." 

There was something brief and matter-of-fact 
in his manner that did not altogether displease 
me, but I felt disposed to be equally brief and 
decisive with him. Every now and again I 
strove to see his face more plainly, and sought, 
by turning Suddenly at times, to catch any re- 
turn of the expression seen at first, but in vain. 
I observed, too, although he spoke with perfect 
fluency and propriety, that his pronunciation was 
slightly grating and peculiar, as if bearing traces 
of a foreign origin. 

He went on. 

"You are aware that Madame Vogelsang 
was present at that soirge, on the 15th ?" 

"Yes I heard her sing." 

"Did it appear to you that there was any 
thing remarkable in her conduct that evening ?" 

"You must speak more clearly. I do not 
understand what you mean by ' any thing re- 
markable.'" 

"To be plain, then, any thing light any 
thing wanton ?" 

After a momentary hesitation, I replied in 
the affirmative. 

"Will you have the goodness to relate the 
circumstances to me?" 

"Certainly not." 

"You are afraid of implicating yourself?" 

This was spoken somewhat harshly and satir- 
ically ; but I took no notice of it, and replied 
more calmly than ever. 

" For myself, I fear nothing; but I have nei- 
ther the right nor the inclination to betray the 
errors of others." 

' ' Good ; I perceive that you are cautious. 
One more question, however : Was this conduct 
(which you admit to have observed) open and 
unconcealed visible to all eyes, or only to your 
own ?" 

" I believe it to be known only to myself and 
to a friend who happened to be with me at the 
time." 

"The same Avith whom you left the house 
that night?" 



" When you followed us ? Yes." 

"True ; when I followed you, and you hunt- 
ed me. But let that pass ; I want to know all 
that you saw." 

"I have already refused to tell it to you.'* 

"At least tell me who this preux chevalier 
may be upon whom the chaste Therese bestows 
her favors, ' secret, sweet, and stolen !' Is it not 
he with whom you were speaking by yonder 
door some ten or twenty minutes since ?" 

There was something more than harshness, 
brevity, or satire in the voice now. There was 
a deep inner vibration, as if of some vital string. 
I was startled. Might I not already have said 
too much ? Might I not be on the brink of be- 
traying Theophile to a deadly foe ? Suppose 
that this man were a I shuddered. 

" I will reply to no more of your questions," 
I said, hurriedly. ' ' I am sorry that I have an- 
swered any. Who and what are you? By 
what right do you hang upon my footsteps ?- 
Why do you waylay, and spy, and follow after 
me ? You were watching me the other night 
you watched me to-night. What is your pur- 
pose ? How do I or my movements concern 
you? Are you a mouchard?" 

The word mouchard, so offensive in a French- 
man's ears, seemed neither to sting nor annoy 
him. Indeed, I almost doubt whether he even 
observed it, for he still sauntered on beside me 
in the same unmoved, meditative manner, with 
his head a little bent and his eyes fixed on the 
ground. He never once looked up as I uttered 
this passionate rush of words, and was silent for 
several minutes after I had ceased speaking. 

At length he replied, yet so musingly that it 
seemed less a reply than an answering to his 
own thoughts. 

"I expected this," he said. "It is natural 
that you should feel angry and suspicious. I 
was not such a fool as to think you would be 
cross-questioned in this fashion. I only did it 
to try you." 

" To try me ?" 

"Ay. Suppose now that I knew, if not all, 
at least the greater part of the information I 
have been asking from you what then ?" 

" What then ? Why, you are content, I sup- 
pose, and can have no farther occasion for inter- 
rogating me, " I replied, stiffly ; for I saw in this 
supposition only a trap for the disclosure of all 
that I had refused to tell. 

"Not so; I still require your aid and confi- 
dence. Suppose now for the sake of argu- 
ment that I know precisely in what position 
you stand to the giver of that soiree?" 

I started and was silent. My companion 
gave a short dry chuckle, as if enjoying my 
perplexity, and went on : 

" Suppose I know that you and he are broth- 
ers that you are both from Burgundy that he 
is lately married?" 

" Supposing that you do," I retorted, impa- 
tiently, "you are no wiser than half the trades- 
people and visitors in Brussels. It is no more 
than' you might have learnt from servants with 



70 



MY BROTHER'S WIPE. 



less than half the trouble you have taken to 
watch me !" 

"Precisely so," he replied, in the same tone 
of quiet self-possession and authority ; "precise- 
ly so. It is just what I have learnt from serv- 
ants and tradesmen, and it was not to ascertain 
those facts at all that I have taken upon myself 
the office of your shadow. What I require from 
vou is your confidence and co-operation, and a 
detailed account of all that you know respecting 
the liaison between your brother and Madame 
Vogelsang the singer. This I have determined 
to obtain. I have waited and watched for an 
opportunity of speaking alone with you. The 
other night you were, as you just stated, in the 
company of a friend. I followed you in the 
hope that you would part with him somewhere, 
and end your walk alone ; on the contrary, you 
both turned round and pursued me. Of course 
I ran for it. What I had to say was for you 
alone, and I did not choose to be questioned. 
To-night every thing has happened well. I 
have even seen your meeting with your brother 
heard your expostulations seen him drive 
away with her side by side in short, gained 
ajnple confirmation of my suspicions and the 
current rumor. Still I have occasion for you. 
There has been much done with which I am un- 
acquainted, and which you must tell me. There 
is much to be done wherein you must assist me. 
You see that it is my wish to be frank with you. 
Be the same with me. 

Frank indeed ! Dsspite the anxiety with 
which this strange dialogue inspired me, I could 
scarcely forbear a smile at these words. A pe- 
culiar sort of frankness, where he preserved the 
strictest incognito himself, and exacted the full- 
est confidence from me ! 

Finding that I replied not, he spoke again. 

" Tell me all that you noted between them 
on the night of the soiree." 

"Between whom?" 

" Your brother and the singer." 

"I never said that there was a liaison between 
them. What right have you to suppose it is he ? 
You know that he is married married to a 
woman whom he loves." 

' ' Of course you say so at first ; but you for- 
get what I saw and heard in this very street to- 
night." 

I was dumb. 

"Besides which," he continued, "I have 
watched her, too, and I have watched her 
house. I have seen him go in and out at 
strange hours I have marked the increasing 
splendor in which she lives I have seen the 
chariot and the cream-colored ponies which he 
sent to her, and I know from whom they were 
purchased. More than this, I know that he is 
plunging blindly into ruin, and that he is al- 
ready in debt and in difficulties. With all these 
things I am more fully acquainted than your- 
self." 

There was, to me, something almost appalling 
in this man's cool, dispassionate resume of all 
that touched me most nearly. I recoiled from 



his narrative of patient, business-like espial, 
which, like a dissecting -knife, laid open the 
anatomy of that infected spot which I would 
have given half my fortune to keep secret ! 

Tortured by an anxiety which had become 
almost desperate, I suddenly stood quite still, 
seized him forcibly by the arm, and, stooping 
down to the level of his face, for he was some- 
what shorter than myself, said fiercely, 

"Who and what are you ? Speak, or, by the 
fiend, I shall do you some mischief!" 

He first made an attempt to disengage him- 
self from my grasp, and then, finding the effort 
useless, looked up at me composedly and said, 

" What am I ? Why, a man like yourself, to 
be sure."' 

"Why do you pry after my brother, and what 
are his courses to you ? Who are you ?" 

" Let me go first, and I will tell you." 

"No, by heaven, you shall not escape me this 
time ! Till you speak you are my prisoner." 

"Just as you please. I do not open my lips 
again till I am free." 

He was perfectly calm and undismayed as he 
said this, and, looking steadily forward at the 
angle of a building close at hand, seemed utter- 
ly unconscious of my presence, my threats, or 
my hold upon his arms. For several minutes 
Ave stood thus. Talus himself could not liave 
been more impassible. I might as well have 
tried to intimidate the brazen figure on the bel- 
fry of the Hotel de Ville. I saw that it was 
vain for us to stand here like two statues, so I 
released him sullenly, and waited for his expla- 
nation. 

He laughed again the same dry chuckle as 
before. At the farthest extremity of the street, 
where it opened into the broad thoroughfare 
leading to the front of the theatre, there stood 
a solitary lamp. To this he pointed, and be- 
neath it he stopped. 

"Look at me," said he, removing his hat and 
smiling grimly. "Look at me well. Now, 
who do you suppose I am ?" 

His face was pale, and, though it gave me the 
impression of belonging to a younger man than 
I had previously supposed him, was deeply fur- 
rowed around the mouth and eyes. The fore- 
head was knotted, care -lined, somewhat con- 
tracted at the temples, and prominent over the 
eyes ; his hair was thick, and sprinkled prema- 
turely with gray. He wore neither beard nor 
mustache, and stooped in the shoulders like an 
aged man. At the utmost, as I guessed, he 
could not be much past thirty, and yet his as- 
pect was withered, neglected, trouble-worn. 

I looked at him with a painful interest. There 
was something in the face which I almost pitied 
something not wholly strange to me, as it 
seemed. Where had I seen that singular ex- 
pression before ? I could not solve it ; I sighed 
I shook my head. 

" I cari not imagine who you are," I replied, 
"but I seem to have seen you before some- 
where some time long ago in a dream." 

"No, you haven't," he said, shortly, replacing 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



71 



his hat and leaning back against the lamp-post. 
"I've seen and watched you these several days 
past, but we have never been face to face with 
each other before this minute." 

There was another brief pause. He seemed 
reluctant to speak, and drew his breath quickly 
once or twice, as if in the effort to say something 
which it annoyed him to reveal. Then, turning 
suddenly toward me and looking up, as if to 
mark the effect of his words upon my counte- 
nance, he said, 

" I am the husband of Madame Vogelsang.' 1 

Had a thunderbolt fallen at my feet, I could 
scarcely have been more dismayed. I staggered 
back a step, and stared at him blankly. The 
husband of Madame Vogelsang ! And Theo- 
phile ? A confused dread of vengeance expo- 
sure shame, swept over me, and paralyzed my 
very powers of speech and breathing. 

He looked at me for some time in silence ; 
then, with a somewhat gentler mien, "Well," 
he said, "does that surprise you? Have you 
nothing to say ? Why, who else should I be, to 
take so much trouble about the matter?" 

"And you are the Herr Vogelsang?" 

"Eh? ah! yes I am the Herr Vogelsang. 
It is an honorable title to bear, is it not ? Don't 
you envy me my wife my charming, chaste, 
devoted Therese?" 

Again the deep, bitter, vibrating tone that had 
struck mo so before. It made me cold at heart 
to hear it now. 

"Alas ! Theophile!" I exclaimed, involunta- 
rily. 

He turned sharply and looked at me again. 

"I mean no harm to him, "he said, harshly 
and quickly. " I should not have spoken to you, 
or told you what I have, if that were my inten- 
tion. I know the character of that woman too 
thoroughly to need any explanation of how the 
affair began. She entangled him seduced him 
preys upon him now, like a beautiful vampire. 
He is not to blame. I wish to save him, if it 
can be done." 

I could scarcely believe my ears for wonder 
and joy at hearing this. An inexpressible sense 
of relief came over me, and I breathed again 
more freely. My countenance must have ex- 
pressed something of this, for my companion's 
voice assumed a less austere accent, and his 
communications became more unreserved. 

" I married her," said he, gloomily, " when I 
was little more than a boy. Her father had been 
my fathers oldest friend, and although she was 
a year or two my senior, the match had been 
agreed upon from our childhood upward. I 
never cared for her; but the thing seemed so 
certain, so inevitable, and I had heard it discuss- 
ed for so many years, that I never thought to 
oppose it, even in a dream. Every year she 
grew more beautiful, yet every year I conceived 
a greater distaste for her. I told my father this, 
and he entreated me, with tears, to banish such 
feelings and ideas forever from my mind. His 
oldest friend, and her father, he said, had been 
consoled on his death-bed by the prospect of this 



union. The old promises had been renewed in 
that solemn moment. It was as a favor, nay, 
as a right, that he demanded from me the ful- 
fillment of an engagement entered upon in my 
name while I was yet an infant. I loved my 
father. I yielded. I married her. From that 
day I date the degradation of my judgment 
the abnegation of my manhood's royalty. We 
were poor, and she was a public singer an act- 
ress a faithless wife a well, no matter we 
have been parted many years. She, beautiful 
and infamous, revels in luxury and applause. I, 
laden with dishonor, poor, comfortless, and un- 
happy, lead a wretched, wandering, aimless, 
homeless life, without a hope for the future or 
a regret for the past." 

There was an inexpressible melancholy in the 
tone in which this was said a tone so sad and 
so subdued that I was tempted to hazard a few 
words of sympathy and consolation. 

He laughed a bitter, sardonic laugh and 
shook his head haughtily. 

"I want no pity," he said. "All I seek is 
justice, and justice I will have. How pleasant 
it is when justice and vengeance are one !" 

"Vengeance!" I repeated. 

"Yes, vengeance. Now listen to me. When 
my wife (how well it sounds my wife!) first 
fled from my roof, she robbed me robbed me 
not only of money and jewels, but of the title- 
deeds of a small property to which I had suc- 
ceeded in establishing some claim after a pro- 
tracted litigation. This was about two months 
before the last and final hearing of my cause in 
the laAv-courts of Vienna. No one knew whith- 
er she had fled with her paramour; every search 
was useless, and my cause was lost for want of 
the necessary documents. For years I never 
heard even the echo of her name. She was as 
completely lost to the world as if the ground 
had opened beneath her feet and ingulfed her. 
About six months since she emerged from her 
seclusion, and reappeared upon the Viennese 
stage. I was in England at the time, and knew 
nothing of it. She created a furore went from 
Vienna to Munich from Munich to Berlin , 
Dresden Frankfurt. I heard it all by the 
merest chance. I traveled from England to Vi- 
enna with the speed of an avenger. I found no 
difficulty in proving her identity, for there were 
many there who had seen and known her both 
then and now. My first step was to lodge an 
accusation against her for the abstraction of pa- 
pers and other valuables ; my next to follow her 
from place to place (always finding myself, by 
some luckless chance, a day, or, perhaps, only a 
few hours, too late), and at last to discover her 
here, in this town of Brussels, in my power in 
my power, whenever I choose to exercise it!" 

" How can she be in your power, even noAv ?" 

"I do not speak without reason, sir," said 
he, impatiently. Then, as if correcting himself, 
"I have that with me which, once produced, will 
compel her to leave this place and return forth- 
with to Vienna an injunction from the govern- 
ment an injunction which she, as an Austrian 



72 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



subject, can not choose but obey which can call 
her from the stage before the eyes of the audi- 
ence, if I so please ; an'd for the enforcement of 
which, if she resist it, I can claim the aid of the 
Belgian authorities. Now do you comprehend 
me ? Now do you see how I can aid you, and 
save your brother from utter ruin?" 

I held out my hand to him in the impulse of 
my gratitude ; but he appeared not to notice it, 
and I allowed it to drop unheeded by my side. 

" Still I can not understand why you should 
have sought me, or have cared to interfere be- 
tween my brother and this woman," I said, in- 
quiringly. 

He looked down and bit his lip. 

" The question is natural," he said, at length. 
' ' But I scarcely like to answer it. The con- 
fession is an ugly one. Yet it must out. I hated 
her," he continued, very swiftly and passion- 
ately, "before I married her. But, once wed, 
once surrounded by the hourly fascinations of 
her presence, once master of all her loveliness, 
I I was fool enough to " 

"To love her!" I exclaimed. 

"Ay," he muttered, sullenly, changing at 
once from the excited tone in which he had 
just spoken, "ay to love her! Curses on me 
that I should have ever loved a thing so vile ! 
Curses on me that I should love her still, and 
take a dainty vengeance in wresting her from 
her handsome lover her handsome lover with 
the white hands and the curling hair ! Pshaw ! 
this is sheer folly. But my plan and my mo- 
tive yes, this is what you seek to know; that 
is why I have sought you, confided in you, 
plagued you with this dull story. Listen. My 
vengeance would be no vengeance if it did not 
part them utterly. I could not accomplish this 
without your aid, and to do it is your interest as 
well as mine. Do you understand me?" 

"Not quite. I know what you mean, but I 
do not see how we can prevent the continuation 
of their intercourse. I fear that he would fol- 
low her. He is mad. He confessed to me to- 
night that it was his ' fate.' " 

"Precisely. Then all that we have to do is 
to strike the blow suddenly ; to keep him in ig- 
norance till it is over, and never to let him know 
what has become of her." 
"Impossible ! He sees her daily." 

"To contrive his absence for a day, or even 
two days, must be your share of the scheme. I 
will undertake to achieve the rest. On his re- 
turn he shall find her gone. The manager must 
be bought the officials must be bought ; com- 
plete secrecy secrecy at any price, must be se- 
cured. To judge from that manager's face to- 
night, I should say that it would not be difficult 
to enlist him in our service." 

"I see it all. Nothing could be better. When 
shall it be done? Let us lose no time." 

I was excited, flushed, and spoke rapidly. 

" No, no," said he, quietly, " not yet. Let us 
wait a while, till we have matured our scheme 
together, and laid the train surely. Besides, I 
would rather your mind were familiarized with 



it, and your nerves steadied to the task first. 
One false step, would lose all." 

"But, in the mean time, this thing is going 
on. The'ophile is being ruined, and your wife " 

"My wife, sir," he interrupted, "may go on 
as she will till the moment of retribution comes ; 
and as for your brother, a few days more or less 
can not either save or beggar him. A vengeance 
such as mine can wait is the sweeter for delay." 

I submitted, but I sighed as I submitted. 

"And now," said he, "we have said enough 
for to-night. It grows late, and I already see 
a gray tint in the sky, which looks like coming 
day. If you will meet me again to-morrow 
night, we can consult afresh. What say you 
to Le Roi Faineant of Ixelles, at ten o'clock in 
the evening ? It is a quiet little out-of-the-way 
inn and brasserie, about a couple of miles out 
of town. We shall be safe and undisturbed 
enough there!" 

"As you please ; but why at night, and so far?" 

" Can you ask why ? Ah ! I forget that you 
are no conspirator. Well, then, do you not see 
that I must keep myself concealed? That if 
she knew of my presence all our plot would be 
endangered ? I have not dared to venture in 
any place where I should be likely to encounter 
her. I have scarcely stirred out, save at night, 
or dared to take exercise, save in the country 
suburbs, ever since my arrival in Brussels. A 
stab, to fulfill its errand, must fall suddenly and 
in the dark. Good-night to you, sir." 

He touched his hat as when he first spoke to 
me, turned away suddenly from my side, and, 
almost before I could tell in which direction he 
had vanished, plunged into the shadow and dis- 
appeared. 

For some time I remained standing where he 
had left me, stupefied by the crowd of thoughts 
and emotions which his language and presence 
had aroused within me. His pale, care-worn 
face ; his strange story ; the espial which he had 
exercised over me ; the plot which he had un- 
folded ; the peculiar influence with which he had 
swayed me during the interview, all combined 
to trouble, to excite, to oppress me. I felt my- 
self, as it were, a tool in his hands. His face 
and voice haunted me. I could not forget the 
expression of his features as he watched me from 
the doorway when I had entered the little office 
inside the etage entrance of the theatre. The 
whole thing seemed to me like a dream, or rath- 
er the dream of a dream, for I could not rid my- 
self of the impression that I had seen him before, 
at some sad and remote time or other. Him- 
self seemed to me almost as a phantom. I tried 
to remember that I ought to feel gratitude joy 
relief from what I had learnt and undertaken. 
I almost hated myself for the unutterable mel- 
ancholy that had fallen upon me the instant he 
was gone from my side, and for the hopeless, 
dreary feeling with which I contemplated the 
future. It was as if I felt the spell of some ap- 
proaching danger ; and ever, as I threaded the 
solitary streets leading to my home in the gray 
morning, I murmured to myself, 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



73 



" Oh that it were to be done to-morrow ! Oh 
that it were to be done to-morrow!" 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE SKY DARKENS BEFORE THE STORM. 

I CALLED on Adrienne the next morning, 
and found Seabrook there before me. She was 
leaning back in &fauteuil\nth a book lying open 
upon a small table close at hand. He was bend- 
ing over some geraniums in the window, and 
looked up, as I entered the room, with a troubled 
expression upon his face, such as I had seldom 
seen there before. 

Adrienne observed my glance, and smiled 
somewhat sadly. 

"I have been undertaking the graceless office 
of adviser to your friend," she said, after the 
customary salutations Avere over. "I think it 
is almost his duty to employ his education and 
talents in the exercise of some honorable pur- 
suit." 

"Then, madame," I replied, "you should ad- 
vise me likewise, for I find myself in precisely 
the same position." 

* ' Not so ; you have estates to cultivate de- 
pendents whose happiness must rest, in a great 
measure, upon your treatment wealth which 
it is your task to employ worthily. All these 
things may be sufficient for a rich scholar who 
loves his library, his old home, and his 'paternal 
acres' better than the civil warfare of profession- 
al life. Such is not the case with your friend. 
He confesses that his resources are insufficient 
for his requirements. He would fain be the 
possessor of some few hundred volumes of poet- 
ry, history, and romance. He enjoys refined 
society, and would wish occasionally to be the 
entertainer as well as the entertained. It would 
please him now and then to purchase a painting 
by some favorite artist; and he could love a 
faithful horse, or three or four sagacious dogs, 
if it Avere in his power to become their master." 

" A very pretty picture of the beau ideal of a 
wealthy connoisseur," I replied. "It reminds 
one of Beckford and Horace Walpole, or of that 
luxurious desire of Gray's, who wished that he 
could lie all day upon a sofa, reading eternal 
new novels of Crebillon and Marivaux !" 

She smiled again, and shook her head play- 
fully. 

"You misapprehend me," she said. "It 
would distress me to hear Mr. Seabrook aspire 
only to the position of a 'wealthy connoisseur.' 
You speak of a life thus devoted I of a leisure. 
He must earn the privileges of taste and liber- 
ality before he can enjoy them." 

"Am I then to understand that Seabrook 
contemplates entering upon the study of a pro- 
fession ?" I asked, incredulously. 

He blushed and laughed. "The die is not 
yet cast," he said, with an assumption of badi- 
nage that seemed hardly natural, "but I really 
contemplate such a step, and have contemplated 



it for some weeks. When a man passes five- 
and-twenty, he finds a blank in his life that 
needs to be filled up by some grim word, such 
as 'physician,' 'lawyer,' or 'statesman.' It is 
my turn now, I suppose ; and Seabrook, the 
idler sans soud, the picture-loving, adA-enture- 
seeking, all-enjoying rambler, the scorner of car- 
riage-tourists, and the SAvorn foe of all ciceroncs, 
guides, and valets de place, is about to subside 
into a respectable member of society, with a brass 
plate on his door, and (if the gods permit) an in- 
teresting little account at his banker's !" 

"Here is a change, indeed! Have I not 
heard you say of poverty that it Avas the only 
wealth of riches, that you pitied those who are 
burdened Avith the care of them of books, that 
in the liberty of reading in the great free libra- 
ries of Paris, London, and Berlin, you com- 
manded the finest collections in the Avorld of 
picture-galleries, that you enjoyed them, and 
that their owner could do no more? Oh, 
shame ! you are seceding from your own te- 
nets!" 

" An honorable retreat, Paul not a flight !" 

"Then you acknoAvledge that ther^has been 
a combat a combat wherein madame is the 
victress." 

" On the contrary," retorted Adrienne, viva- 
ciously, "it has, I fear, too nearly resembled 
that celebrated battle of Bologna of AA-hich Guic- 
ciardini relates that it 'Avas a victory obtained 
Avithout a combat !' Mr. Seabrook Avas the first 
to enter upon the subject, and I believe that the 
opinion Avhich I ventured to express was pre- 
cisely that which he most Avished to hear." 

"Jesting apart," I replied, "I am heartily 
pleased to knoAV this. To what profession do 
you think of turning your attention ?" 

" I can not say that I have yet arrived at any 
decision," said he, Avith an assumption of pro- 
found gravity. " It lies at present between the 
Church, the laAV, finance, and the study of med- 
icine. Indeed, I am hourly expecting the arri- 
val of deputations from each of these professions, 
soliciting me to confer immortality upon their 
respective bodies; and until I have considered 
the advantages and disadvantages attendant 
upon all, I can not definitively state Avhether it 
is to be the Archbishopric of Canterbury, the 
Woolsack, the Chancellorship of the Exchequer, 
or the presidency of some distinguished medical 
society." 

Thus conversing, mingling jest with earnest, 
some time passed by, and I was just about to 
take my leave, Avhen the stoppage of a carriage 
beneath the windows, and a man's voice on the 
stairs, told us that Theophile had returned home 
from his morning drive. 

Up he came, bounding over three or four 
steps at a time, and entered the draAving-room 
by storm. His face Avas flushed; he carried 
some cards in his hand, and the very air with 
which he threAv them doAvn at Adrienne's feet 
was that of a man nearly beside himself Avith 
excitement. 

"Void, void, ma fernme /" he exclaimed. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



"Here is some life, here is some amusement, 
here is some variety at last ! A bal masque, 
Dieu inerci! and one patronized, authorized, 
originated by. all the best people in Brussels ! 
The king lends his name the nobility and vis- 
itors subscribe it is every thing that is private, 
select, and extravagant ! I have taken a dozen 
tickets directly, and it is expected that all will 
be sold before evening. Oh, comme c'est deli- 
cieuse!" 

Involuntarily I glanced at Adrienne to see 
how she would relish this proposition and the 
tone in which it was conveyed; but her eyes 
were fixed upon the ground, and I could not 
read the most transient emotion in the com- 
posed immobility of her face. 

"Here are tickets for you both," continued 
Theophile, boisterously, as he forced the cards 
into Seabrook's hand and mine. "We will 
make a merry party we will invent costumes 
we will have a glorious night of it !" 

He began walking to and fro in his wild 
mood, and his words came thick and fast, like 
those of a man whose tongue has been loosed 
by wine.* 

"You, Adrienne, you shall go as Marie An- 
toinette ; she was blonde and belle, like you ! 
Marie Antoinette! no, no that would be an 
evil omen. Let it be Marie Stuart!" 

" Just as bad," interrupted Seabrook. " She 
was beheaded." 

" Joan of Arc, then ! '' 

"Joan of Arc was burnt," remarked Adri- 
enne, forcing a smile. "You are resolved that 
mine shall be a tragic part, Theophile." 

"Diab/e!" exclaimed my brother, looking 
round with an odd, wandering stare. "Why 
do these fatal names come into my head ? We 
mean to be merry we mean to forget every 
thing but pleasure we want no evil omens! 
Be Pallas, or Helen, or the Virgin Mary they 
were not beheaded, or burnt, or guillotined, were 
they ? Ha ! ha ! Let us enjoy it in prospect ! 
Vive le bal masqu!" 

" But you have not yet told us where it is to 
take place," said I, addressing him for the first 
time. 

"Where? Why, where should it be held, 
unless in the ballroom of the Opera ? We shall 
have the entire orchestra for our band, and it 
will be the best ball of the whole season ! What 
characters shall we take? What will you be, 
Seabrook ? What will you be, Paul ?" Then, 
not waiting for any reply, "I have thought of 
hundreds for myself," he continued, " but I can't 
decide. What say you to Robespierre Charles 
the Twelfth Philip de Comines Dante the 
Man with the Iron Mask Shakspeare the 
Count of Monte Christo Sir Philip Sidney 
the Knave of Hearts Rob Roy Masaniello 
Napoleon Bonaparte Polichinello Richard 
the Third Erasmus Bluebeard! Ha! ha! 
What a medley! Enough for all to choose 
from!" 

"And when does it take place !" asked Adri- 
enne, with a sigh. 



"To-morrow week the 16th of October?" 

"But shall we be in Brussels, The'ophile! 
Were we not to start for Burgundy in three or 
four days?" 

' ' What folly ! Would you think of missing 
the ball for that? We can go to Burgundy a 
week later or we need not go at all !" 

"Not go at all, Theophile?" cried Adrienne, 
rising and fixing a searching glance upon his 
face. " What do you mean ?" 

"Bah, Adrienne ! How you take every thing 
seriously ! Let us be happy while we can ! I 
will go to the ball I swear it ! And so will 
you, ma femme : I shall insist mon Dieu ! I 
shall insist. Courtrai is to be a steward," he 
continued, falling back into the reckless strain 
he had pursued before, " and De 1'Orme master 
of the ceremonies. They wanted me to be a 
steward, but I would not; no, no, I was resolved 
to be merry to be free ! free ! free !" 

And again he laughed aloud, and still he kept 
striding backward and forward backward and 
forward like a prisoner in a dungeon. 

Quite silently I rose and left the room. . I 
could not bear to see it. There was something 
ghastly in his wild mirth, and I dared not give 
way to the displeasure which it roused within me. 

As I passed down the staircase, a hand falling 
lightly on my arm caused me to turn. It was 
Adrienne. 

Pale as marble breathless with one finger 
pressed on her lips, she opened a door upon the 
landing, and, with her hand still resting on my 
sleeve, led me in and closed it softly. 

For some moments we were both silent ; then, 
in a voice that went to my heart, so measured, 
so low, so unnaturally calm it was, she spoke to 
me. 

"You are his brother, Monsieur Paul. You 
have known him longer and better than I. You 
know all his faults. Tell me what this is." 

I looked down and shook my head in silence. 

" Strange things have taken place of late, 
Monsieur Paul," she continued, still firmly. 
"He has not been the same man since we ar- 
rived in Brussels. He has anxieties, debts, as- 
sociates of whom I know nothing. Immense 
expenses have been incurred timber, and even 
land, has been parted with. Do you know any 
thing of this ?" 

Again the same mute reply. W T hat other 
could I give her ? 

" He he has sold some farms of mine in En- 
gland," she said, and her voice wavered slightly. 
j "His lawyer was with him every day last week. 
' There is some fatal propensity some some in- 
fatuation at work, I am convinced. The other 
night he came home as day was dawning, and 
in the morning I found a pack of cards scatter- 
ed upon the floor of his dressing-closet. He 
he gambles." 

" No, no," I exclaimed, eagerly, " there I am 
certain you do him an injustice. However weak 
and thoughtless he may be, Theophile, I am as- 
sured, could never be a gambler !" 

"He is a gambler," she said, in a rapid and 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



75 



more excited tone, "he is a gambler. I know 
it, for I heard him call the names of the cards 
and colors in his sleep. But let that pass ; let 
him gamble let him ruin himself and me let 
us be beggars, pensioners, outcasts every thing, 
in the name of heaven, so that our hearts be not 
estranged from each other ! I could endure 
every thing but neglect ; I could be happy un- 
der every privation save that of my husband's 
confidence! Why did we ever come here? 
Why was I ever born ? He loves me no lon- 
ger ! he loves me no longer !" 

All her pride and strength was broken now, 
and, bending her face down upon her hands, 
she sobbed convulsively. 

"Alas! madame,"! said, sorrowfully, " what 
can I do ? This is a sad sight for me. I know 
that he loves you still I would stake my life 
upon it! Shall I speak to him?" 

She dashed her tears aside with a haughty 
gesture of the hand, rose to her full height, and 
looked at me with a sort of proud anger in her 
eyes that blinded mine, as if I had been guilty 
of some deep offense, and could not lift them in 
her presence. 

"Speak to him, sir!" she cried; "speak to 
him ! Have I fallen so low that even you insult 
me now ? Think you that I need an interces- 
sor? that I must plead for mercy? that I am 
about to kneel down at my husband's feet, and 
pray for his kind glances? No it is too 
much!" 

Standing there in her lofty scorn, upbraiding 
me with her flashing eyes, and curling lip, and 
flushed, disdainful brow, she looks almost more 
than woman ; then suddenly gives way and 
weeps again, and entreats my pardon, sobbingly 
and through her tears. 

It is her grief, she says, that makes her un- 
just ; she has been thinking of it, and fretting 
over it, by day and night, for many weeks, till 
her brain and her heart ache, and her very voice 
grows strange to her own ears. I must forgive 
her ! I will will I not ? She is but a weak 
girl ; she knows not what to do, or where to 
turn ; she wdnts help advice comfort. She 
is broken-hearted, and she longs to die ! 

All this is said at intervals, with a face buried 
in the cushions of a sofa, and a form trembling 
from head to foot. 

How am I to help comfort advise a grief 
like this ! What can I say or do, with the solu- 
tion of the dark secret hidden in my breast, and 
the knowledge of a blacker sin than even she 
dreams of pressing down, like the weight of an 
iron hand, upon my heart? My only resource 
is in vague, general terms of sympathy in re- 
iterated assurances of her husband's affections 
in suggestions that his new pursuit, far from 
being a fixed passion, could only be considered 
in the light of a passing folly in promises that 
I would endeavor to keep him in my sight as 
much as possible, and, by every indirect means 
in my power, hasten his return to Burgundy. 

Uncertain and unsatisfactory as they are, 
these assurances serve in some degree to calm 



the impetuosity of her mood. Presently the 
excess of agitation subsides, and by-and-by a 
low occasional sob is all that I hear. 

Thus at length I leave her, and, pausing with 
suspended breath outside the door, hear the 
voices of Theophile and Norman Seabrook yet 
conversing in the drawing-room. It seems that 
they are still discussing the subject of the ball, 
for the words "costume feathers grotesque, " 
accompanied by a prolonged peal of laughter, 
come distinctly to my ear, and jar upon it pain- 
fully. 

And so I turn away, and hasten down into 
the street unnoticed. 

I am to meet Vogelsang to-night at the little 
inn of Ixelles, and I hope much from the inter- 
view. It must be done quickly it must be 
done quickly ! 



CHAPTER XXX. 

THE EVENTS OF A WEEK. 

A FEW words will suffice to relate all that 
took place during the week which intervened 
between the last chapter and the next. It was 
a weary time, occupied by delays disappoint- 
ments doubts daily-increasing apprehensions. 

Adrienne was in the right Theophile gam- 
bled. Vogelsang had discovered it long since, 
and on the evening of the very day that Adri- 
enne confided her fears to me, the intelligence 
received its final confirmation from the lips of 
my associate. Nay, worse even than this, 
Hauteville Hauteville, which had been pur- 
chased in the morning-time of his happiness, 
and which was to have descended as an integral 
portion of the Latour property from generation 
to generation, was publicly advertised for sale 
in all the Belgian and French newspapers ! 

He might have been saved he might have 
been saved even now, had I but succeeded in 
rousing Vogelsang to immediate action. Alas ! 
some unaccountable torpor seemed to possess 
him. Whether from the fear of failure, the re- 
luctance to face his wife, or a refinement upon 
his vengeance which delighted in holding the 
sword suspended above her head, I can not tell, 
but every day he deferred the execution of our 
project every day I lost hope and courage 
every day plunged The'ophile deeper and deeper 
into ruin. 

Twice I saw Adrienne, but only upon the last 
occasion did I find myself alone with her. I 
had no favorable intelligence for her no con- 
solation which could afford her the faintest hope 
for the future. She had read the announce- 
ment respecting Hauteville, and was even more 
unhappy than before. Theophile had refused 
to give her any explanation of his affairs had 
spoken to her with harshness and impetuosity 
had absented himself as much as possible 
from home, and now seldom met her, even at 
meals. In society alone they appeared togeth- 
er as before, and in the face of the world main- 



76 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



tained the semblance of that sacred confidence 
which existed no longer. 

All this Adrienne told me with a heart-an- 
guish which only made my own trouble too 
heavy for endurance. I could do nothing to 
alleviate her misery, and I found the interview 
so painful that I had not the courage to repeat it. 

As for my other friends, I saw Margaret twice 
or thrice, and Seabrook even less frequently. 
He was much occupied now in making arrange- 
ments for commencing the study of the law, and 
was frequently absent upon visits to Antwerp, 
where he had consultations upon the subject 
with an English solicitor resident in that city. 
Somehow a check had fallen upon our inter- 
course of late a check, but not a coolness. We 
loved each other as heartily as ever, but we met 
less frequently, and our traveling projects were 
all given up and forgotten. Perhaps the fault 
lay with myself, after all. I think it did. 
There were events and anxieties which I dared 
not reveal to him ; I had appointments which I 
could not explain schemes in which he could 
be admitted to no part. Perfect friendship and 
perfect confidence are one. Where there is a 
lack of the one, the other droops like a flower in 
the shade. 

Thus matters stood till within two days of 
the bid masque from which Theophile anticipa- 
ted so much enjoyment. Then Vogelsang told 
me that he had opened his negotiations with 
the manager of the theatre, and had purchased 
his promise of silence with a fee of two thou- 
sand francs, which I was to pay. Lemaire 
agreed to conduct a similar treaty with the sub- 
ordinates, and all was at last en train for the 
speedy accomplishment of our plot. Still no 
day was absolutely fixed, and though I felt that 
the first step was taken, I yet chafed impatient- 
ly at the delay, and urged for speed speed 
speed ! 

So the 16th of October came round, and noth- 
ing decisive had been done. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 

THE MASKED BALL. 

MORE from the desire of affording an escort 
to Adrienne during the evening than from any 
curiosity with which the scene itself could in- j 
spire me, I consented to accompany my brother i 
and his wife to the masked ball. She went j 
with the vague hope that her presence might 
preserve him from the temptations of the card- 
tables, which, as the announcements told, were 
to be prepared in the king's retiring-rooms. I, 
because I felt convinced that Theophile would 
take his own course, and leave her to the com- 
panionship of whatever acquaintance he might 
chance to meet. Seabrook, too, was absent 
upon one of his Antwerp excursions. Proba- 
bly, had he been near at hand, I might have ex- 
cused myself, for I felt but little in the mood for 
this carnival folly. 



From Theophile's residence to the Opera 
House we traveled in unbroken silence. Two 
hearts out of three, at least, were too heaw for 
speech ; and even my brother, leaning back 
moodily in a corner of the carriage, was grave 
and absorbed. 

It was a dark, windy night, and sudden gusts 
of rain came dashing against the windoAvs. The 
street was full of vehicles moving along in two 
lines, and all toward the same spot. Going on- 
ward thus slowly, with the lights from the shops 
and the glare of the surrounding carriage-lamps 
flashing in upon us every now and then, reveal- 
ing our pale, sad faces and fantastic dresses to 
each others' eyes, we seemed more like a party 
of mourners than a company of masks on their 
way to a ball, and I could scarcely divest my- 
self of the idea that we formed part of some 
grotesque, yet awful funereal procession. 

As we neared the theatre door, our progress 
became more and more difficult, and at last we 
stopped altogether. The carriages were "set- 
ting down," it appeared, about a hundred yards 
in advance, and we were not likely to reach our 
destination for a quarter of an hour or twenty 
minutes at the least. Theophile muttered an 
impatient curse, and, after looking angrily from 
the window for several minutes, flung himself 
back, as before, and played with his sword-knot. 

He wore the rich and elaborate costume of 
Prince Charles Edward the Pretender, and 
looked, in his ruffles and velvets, the very type 
of Scotland's chivalric darling. Sitting there, 
with his plumed hat resting on his knees, his 
fair hair hanging in natural curls almost to his 
collar, his breast covered with jewels, and his 
hands with rings, I thought I had never seen 
him so handsome. Adrienne could be per- 
suaded to wear nothing more conspicuous than 
a white satin domino, embroidered with silver 
flowers ; and a similar costume made in plain 
black silk furnished me with the only incognito 
I cared to assume. 

Gradually w r e advanced, a few steps at a 
time, and soon there remained but one carriage 
between ourselves and the doof, Adrienne 
sighed. Theophile stirred uneasily in his corner. 

"Why do you sigh, Adrienne ?" he asked, 
roughly. "We shall be released in another 
minute." 

"That is why I sigh, Theophile," answered 
his wife. They were the first words that had 
been spoken since we started. 

"How! Do you not like the ball? Are 
you dissatisfied with your dress which, I con- 
fess, might have been more elegant?" 

"I like the dress as well as any other, The'o- 
phile, but I care nothing for the ball." 

" She cares nothing for the ball ! Bah ! all 
women are contrary. If you care nothing for 
the ball, madame, pray why have you taken the 
trouble to come to it?" 

This was spoken even more harshly than be- 
fore, but with an effort, as if he were endeavor- 
ing to be out of temper. Finding that she re- 
mained silent, he repeated the question. 



MY BKOTHER'S WIFE. 



77 



"Why have you taken the trouble to come?" 

"Because you are here, Theophile." 

He coughed, and looked aside out of the win- 
dow. Presently he began again. 

"If one goes to a masked ball, it should, at 
least, be with the intention of enjoyment. I in- 
sist upon your trying to be amused to-night." 

"I will try," she replied, and her voice fal- 
tered. 

At this moment the carriage in advance of 
us drove away, and we moved on opposite the 
lighted entrance with awning and carpeted pave- 
ment, and crowds of maskers thronging in the 
hall. 

Theophile suddenly flung off his assumption 
of ill-humor. 

"Adrienne!" he exclaimed, with emotion, 
"you are an angel!" 

He seized her hand and kissed it warmly. 
At that instant the servant flung open the door ; 
my brother leaped out and assisted his wife from 
the carriage ; we passed rapidly through a double 
row of eager, curious faces, and in another mo- 
ment had entered the hall, presented our cards, 
and made our way up the broad staircase to the 
ballroom beyond. 

A strange scene, truly, but more confused and 
less imposing than I had anticipated. Only a 
dense crowd of richly-costumed persons walk- 
ing, standing, conversing, and scarce any space 
to spare for those who were disposed for danc- 
ing. Many characters held their masks in their 
hands, or wore them hanging loosely from the 
belt or wrist ; and the whole assemblage seemed 
to me more a vehicle for the display of taste, 
and an opportunity of conversation, than a bat 
masque, such as I had often read and heard 
about in history and romance. 

A stream of promenaders was circulating 
slowly round the room, and into this train we 
involuntarily fell ; Theophile and Adrienne in 
advance, I following in their wake. One of the 
first persons we encountered was M. le Marquis I 
de Courtrai, laboriously scented, powdered, and 
rouged, and carefully made into the likeness of 
Louis Quatorze, "to whom," as he smilingly 
averred, " he flattered himself that he bore some 
humble resemblance." 

Finding Adrienne retain the arm of Theo- 
phile, M. le Marquis fell presently into the rear, 
and honored me with his conversation. 

He began by assuring me that the first requi- 
site in society was the possession of the grand 
air, and that the grand air was precisely the 
point upon which the youths of the present day 
were most deficient. He next proceeded to in- 
form me that there were many fine women in 
that very ballroom who were languishing, abso- 
lutely languishing for him (M. le Marquis); and 
he accompanied that interesting announcement 
with a variety of piquante and alluring details. 
From thence he diverged into a resume' of his 
bonnes fortunes, past and present, and (as I made 
a good listener, and never opened my lips in 
reply, which would, indeed, have been rather dif- 
ficult, seeing that I heard without comprehend- 



ing one half of what he said) he enlarged upon 
this theme with considerable complacency and 
eloquence. Finding, however, that my attention 
was neuter rather than passive, and becoming, 
perhaps, dimly aware that my mind was occu- 
pied with other thoughts, M. le Marquis at 
length thought fit to drop the subject of his con- 
quests, and to indulge in a few observations on 
the persons and things around him. 

" The Hospodar is looking remarkably well 
to-night. You did not see him? Heavens, 
how droll ! He passed us on the instant in the 
costume of a bashaw, with his eldest son carrying 
the tails before him. A pretty girl to the left, 
in that Circassian dress. Charming back and 
shoulders charming ! A good arm, too, and a 
nicely-turned ankle. Scarcely plump enough, I 
think. Eh ? A nice girl, though a very nice 
girl. " (M. le Marquis had an agreeable way of 
dissecting the perfections of a lady, as if he were 
a butcher, and of commending them afterward, 
as if he were a cook.) "Here is Madame la 
Baronne de Vallonvert, looking hideous in the 
costme of la Reine Elizabeth ! Mon Dieu ! that 
woman is positively too fat ! Ah ! Madame la 
Baronne, this is a veritable pleasure ! Always 
charming, always recherche, Madame laBaronne. 
I find your costume delicious. By the way, M. 
Latour, I think that we have the history of per- 
fide Albion at the ball to-night. I myself have 
seen three Henry the Eighths, four Eichard the 
Thirds, two Princes Noirs, and more than one 
Oliver Cromwell. Ah ! ah ! Do you see that 
woman yonder in the costume of Norma, with 
the wreath and sickle, and the classic drapery ? 
Mark her fine figure her graceful head her 
neck her arms her pose I She wears her 
mask, yet can you not tell who she is ?" 

I looked, started, doubted, shook my head. 

"Mon Dieu! Not know the Vogelsang, 
even though her face be masked ! My good 
gargon, have you no eyes no senses ? There is 
not such another woman in Brussels. She is 
glorious magnificent superb ! Your brother, 
I fancy, would not need to look twice eh? 
Comment ! do you not comprehend ? Why, the 
world does say " 

And Monsieur le Marquis elevated his eye- 
brows, shrugged his shoulders, took a pinch of 
snuff with the grand air of Louis Quatorze, and 
subsided into a significant silence. 

Just at this juncture The'ophile conducted 
Adrienne to a seat. Monsieur le Marquis ab- 
ruptly quitted my side, and flew to the back of 
her chair, where he took up his stand in the at- 
titude of her devoted slave. The'ophile dived 
away into the crowd and disappeared ; and I, 
in compliance with my sister-in-law's request/ 
strolled on idly amid the throng, silent and ob- 
serving, feeling my mind agreeably diverted, for 
a brief space, by the novelty and richness of the 
scene around me. 

There was a band playing at the farther end 
of the room, where an area had been cleared 
for dancing. Hither I made my way by slow 
degrees, and found the space surrounded by ad- 



78 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



miring spectators. A party of twelve persons, 
habited in the picturesque fashion of the reign 
of Louis XL, were going through the stately 
and solemn figures of certain antique tradition- 
ary dances of that early period, to the accompa- 
niment of quaint music, as intricate and grave 
as the windings of the dances themselves. Be- 
coming interested in these obsolete measures, I 
stood gazing for a considerable time, till I found 
that a vast crowd had gathered behind me, and 
that I was standing in the front rank of a phal- 
anx of spectators, many of whom had mounted 
upon benches and seats, and even upon the ped- 
estals of the columns which skirted the room. 

It was a matter of no little difficulty to re- 
treat from this position ; but, on consulting my 
watch, I found that I had left Adrienne more 
than two hours, and I doubted not that she was 
by this time completely wearied of the convei*- 
sation of Monsieur de Courtrai. I therefore 
worked myself gradually out of the press, and 
had just emerged into a part of the room which 
was comparatively clear, when I came suddenly 
face to face with the masked Norma, and re- 
ceived a smart blow on the ankle from the sword 
of her companion, a tall man wrapped in a long 
Spanish cloak reaching almost to his feet, and 
whose head and face were shrouded in a broad 
sombrero, with heavy black plumes. 

They seemed to be in haste ; but the gentle- 
man, though nearly past, turned to apologize. 

"A thousand pardons, monsieur," he said. "I 
did not observe that my rapier was in your way." 

It was the voice of Theophile ! 

For a moment I stood still then sighed heav- 
ily, and went upon my way. Of course it would 
be so. I might have guessed it before. He 
came to this ball for the purpose of meeting 
her had most probably presented her with the 
admission ! 

Yet I was pleased that he should have as- 
sumed a second disguise. That, at least, testi- 
fied to some little regard for the opinions of the 
world averted somewhat of the notoriety of his 
intrigue argued some lingering respect for his 
wife. 

I found Adrienne where I had left her, and 
the marquis was so obliging as to relinquish his 
post on my return. She was less sad than usu- 
al, and the gay scene amused her. The kiss, 
too, which The'ophile had imprinted upon her 
hand in the carriage, had revived her drooping 
spirits. 

"Perhaps," she said, hopefully, "his mania 
for extravagance is on the wane. You were the 
good prophet who foretold it, won beau frere ! 
It was, after all, but a whim ; and if it be over, 
and that he was pleased by the indulgence of it, 
I shall not remember whether it were or were 
not an expensive or a dangerous one. " 

" Indeed, madame, I hope that it may be so." 

"Do not say it with such a grave air, M. Paul. 
I feel assured that it is so ; and the assurance 
makes me, ah! so happy. To-morrow I will 
persuade him to withdraw Hauteville from the 
market, and we will go down together to dear 



old Burgundy before a week be over. How 
pleased your mother will be to see us, will she 
not, M. Paul ? And the servants, and the dogs 
ah! yes, even the dogs. Poor Hector! he 
will not forget me." 

Fond child ! how slender an act of grace suf- 
ficed to fill that trusting little heart with grati- 
tude, forgiveness, love ay, even to overflowing. 

Conversing thus she full of garrulous hope 
and anticipation, I silent and dispirited two 
moi'e hours passed away, and the rooms began, 
though almost imperceptibly as yet, to grow 
thinned of their brilliant company. It was ten 
o'clock when we first arrived, and it is now two. 
Adrienne suggests that we should look for The'- 
ophile, and return home as speedily as may be, 
for the hour grows late ; so we rise and make 
the tour of the salons. 

Abundance of princes, kings, knights, cav- 
aliers, Highlanders, historical celebrities, Ro- 
mans, Hamlets, Mephistopheles, Polichinellos, 
harlequins, debardeurs, jesters, peasants, offi- 
cers, Persians, and Spanish noblemen we met, 
but never the beautiful and glittering Charles 
Edward whom we seek, or that dark Hidalgo 
with the sable plumes, for whom I keep an ea- 
ger watch by the way. 

Adrienne grows nervous. 

"Perhaps," she whispers, falteringly, "per- 
haps he he may be in the card-rooms!" 

I pity the little hand lying upon my arm, for 
I see it contract, as if with a sudden spasm, at 
this thought. But we go. 

The card-rooms are almost deserted. Only 
two tables are occupied, and .those by some eld- 
erly gentlemen in plain dominoes, whose masks 
are laid aside, and whose faces look earnest and 
business-like over whist and picquet. 

It is a relief to find that he is not here. "We 
must have overlooked or missed him down stairs, 
after all. Let us go back and search again. 

So we go back and search again, threading 
our way through all parts of the ballroom, pass- 
ing in and out the pillars, peering eagerly into 
the recesses of the windows and behind the dra- 
peries of the curtains. Thus another hour passes. 
It is three o'clock, and Theophile is not found ! 

Poor Adrienne ! Every limb is trembling 
now. She takes off her mask ; the room, she 
says, is so warm she can scarcely breathe ; yet 
she stands at this moment in the current of cool 
air from the door ! Her face is deadly white, 
and I can feel her heart beat against my arm. 

He must have gone home. Can he be ill? 
Has any accident happened ? That idea is ter- 
rible, and I can not prevent her from asking one 
or two persons near whom we are standing if 
they have seen her husband, or if any gentleman 
has been taken ill. They only stare, smile, or 
remain silent, and one shrugs his shoulders and 
mutters, ' ' Poor thing ! " half pityingly, from be- 
hind his visor. 

I now suggest that the best thing she can do 
is to return home. If he be unwell she will find 
him there. At all events, it is plain that he is 
no longer here. He may have sought her, all 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



79 



this time, as anxiously as we have sought him, 
and is, perhaps, now waiting for her at home. 

"To be sure ! Why did I not think of that 
before? Oh, that is it, I feel convinced ! Thank 
you, thank you, brother Paul ! Do not let us 
lose a moment. Where is my carriage ? Oh, 
let us go pray let us go directly !" 

So we go down hastily, and Madame Latour's 
carriage is called. I have some difficulty in find- 
ing her cloak, which we had left in the care of 
an attendant, and there are so many carriages 
filed along the pavement that it is a long time 
before ours can reach the door. 

All these delays are torture to Adrienne, and 
she stamps her white - slippered foot upon the 
marble flooring in the impetuosity of her haste. 

At last the vehicle draws up. " Madame 
Latour's carriage stops the way !" is shouted by 
three or four voices at once. We rush forward ; 
the door is opened, and I hand her in. 

"Pray come with me, Paul," she entreats, 
forgetting, in her anxiety, the forms of address 
which we have always so scrupulously observed. 

I obey. My foot is on the step, my hand 
upon the door, when I am seized roughly by the 
arm and dragged forcibly back. 

" Stop !" whispers a hoarse voice in my ear 
" stop ! All is lost ; we are betrayed ; they are 
gone ! " 

The form is that of a gray friar the face is 
masked the voice is the voice of Vogelsang ! 

"Lost gone ! What do you mean ?" 

" They have eloped together from this very 
spot two hours ago. We must follow them at 
any risk. Oh, I will have blood for this before 
I have done with her !" 

There is a savage energy in the tone with 
which he utters these words that appalls me. 
Adrienne calls to me from the carriage; I plead 
a flurried excuse, shut the door, direct the coach- 
man to drive home, and so the vehicle rolls 
away, with her pale face looking back at me 
from the window. 

"Well," I exclarm, turning round upon my 
associate, "what is to be done? What next?" 

"What next?" he says, fiercely. "What 
next? VENGEANCE AND PURSUIT " 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

THE FIRST CLEW. 

I FOLLOWED him to a little dingy cabaret in 
the next street a place of mean resort, with 
every shutter closed, and a pale light streaming 
from the open door upon the wet pavement. A 
man and woman were drinking at the counter, 
and a sleepy gar$on in shirt sleeves and slippers 
ushered us into the parlor at the back, now de- 
serted, but bearing evidence of recent company. 
The sanded floor was strewn with fragments of 
broken glasses, corks, and ends of cigars ; the ta- 
bles were smeared with wine ; a hazy atmosphere 
of tobacco hung about the room like a fog; and 
the clock pointed to half past three. 



Vogelsang called for a half bottle of 'eau-de-vie, 
poured it out into a tumbler, and drank half at 
a draught. In doing so, he threw back his 
friar's hood, and I saw that his brow was cover- 
ed with blood, and that his face and lips were 
deathly pallid. 

" You are wounded ! " I exclaimed. ' ' Let me 
go for a surgeon !" 

"No no," he replied ; "it is nothing. I 
fell. I am a little faint. In a few minutes I 
shall be the same as ever." 

He sat down and leaned his head back against 
the wall, looking ghastly. Trembling with ea- 
gerness to know more, I yet abstained from 
speech or movement, and stood watching him. 
I could hear my own heart beating as 1 did so, 
and I remember noticing at the time (with a 
sort of painfully acute susceptibility to every 
sound, however trifling) that it went so much 
faster than the ticking of the clock. 

Presently he seemed to revive, and came over 
feebly to the fireplace. His hands shook like 
those of an aged man as he held them to the 
blaze, and he stared vacantly before him. 

"Now tell me," I cried, impatiently, "tell 
me all! Where are they ? Quick quick!" 

"Gone," he said, moodily, and without 
changing his position. " Gone !" 

" I know it ; but where ?" 

Ay where?" he repeated. "Where? 
That's the question." 

There was a strange, dead apathy in his man- 
ner, totally different to the furious impetuosity 
with which he had stopped me at the doors of 
the theatre a few minutes previously. 

" And have you no idea of the route they 
have taken ?" 

He shook his head silently. 

"Nor of the way in which they travel?" 

The same reply. 

"But we must pursue them we must dis- 
cover them we must part them !" 

"Ay," he replied, " we must we must." 

"Instantly." 

He stared up at me for a moment, then 
dropped his head again, and seemed to watch 
the embers, moaning softly to himself. 

I resolved to rouse him. 

"Up!" I said, authoritatively, "up and be 
doing ! The hours are going fast, and every 
minute sees them a mile farther. We have to 
discover every thing for ourselves. I will bring 
a cab, and we will go round to both railway sta- 
tions. Perhaps something may be done that 
way. I trust to energy for every thing." 

My voice, my gestures seemed to animate 
him. He sat erect, and made an effort as if to 
collect his wandering thoughts. 

" You are right," he said, at length, and more 
firmly " you are right. Let me have a basin 
of water and a towel, and bid them bring me 
some bread, for I am faint. I have lost blood, 
and have eaten nothing since noonday." 

I did as he desired, and assisted him to wash 
the stains from his face and clothing, and to 
throw aside the friar's mantle which he wore 



80 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



outside his dress. He then ate a small crust, 
and both looked and felt better. 

" Now I am ready," he said. " Let us go." 

There was not a vehicle in sight. I went 
round to the theatre, and the few that stood 
there were engaged by maskers ; for the ball 
was not yet over, and I could hear the music 
going on merrily as I passed by. 

Down two more streets in the rain and dark- 
ness, and still without success back again past 
the theatre a second time, and on in the direc- 
tion of the old town, where I met an empty vigi- 
lante rolling slowly along, and hired it with dif- 
ficulty, for the driver was tired, and his hours of 
work were over. 

I found Vogelsang better than when I left 
him ; but he had bound a red scarf round his 
head, which made him look whiter than ever by 
the contrast, and he leaned heavily upon my 
arm as he got in. 

"To the Antwerp line, cocker, and as fast as 
you can make your horses go !" 

On, still on, but very slowly, for the weary 
beasts are scarcely equal to even that short jour- 
ney, and the driver is nearly asleep on the box. 
On on till it seems that we shall never arrive 
there. 

Again I urge my companion to tell me more. 

"How did you learn their flight? Where 
did you get that blow ?" 

' ' One question at a time. As to their flight, 
I saw them leave the rooms together. I had 
been at their heels the whole evening in my 
friar's cowl ; I followed them to the cloak-room, 
and saw him hurry her into the carriage ; she 
dropped this note as she went : listen : ' To- 
niyht you will be prepared for escape. I will 
have all in readiness. We can leave the rooms 
about midnight, and before suspicion is roused we 
shall be beyond the reach of discovery. T. LS 
I only paused to pick this paper up to read it 
once, and then I followed the sound of their 
carriage-wheels with the speed of an Indian. 
Suddenly my foot slipped ; I fell ; my head 
came sharply against the curbstone : I remem- 
ber no more till I recovered my senses about 
half an hour since, lying on my face in a dark, 
solitary street, with not a soul in sight. On 
striving to rise and walk, I found myself giddy 
and confused, and my face wet, but whether 
with rain or blood I knew not. Then I re- 
membered what had happened, and my first im- 
pulse was to find you, to pursue them, to be re- 
venged ! I did find you, for just as I came up 
you were leading the lady to her carriage. You 
know the rest." 

"And do you still feel equal to the pursuit? 
Had you not better see a surgeon, and take some 
brief rest before we go farther?" 

' ' Rest ! No not if I die upon the journey ! " 

His old courage and determination speaks out 
again now in voice and bearing, and when we 
reach the station he is the first to alight. 

The doors are all fast closed, but there is a 
light burning in the windows of one of the low- 
er rooms, and we knock lustily and repeatedly. 



We are not heard ; all is perfectly still within ; 
the station seems deserted. 

Again we knock, and are just going away dis- 
appointed, when a door is opened suddenly, and 
a man in a dressing-gown and slippers looks 
out, and asks us angrily what we do there at 
such an hour. 

"We want to know when the last train left? 
Has there been one since midnight ? Does 
monsieur remember to have seen a fair gentle- 
man and a dark lady (both very handsome) to- 
gether on the platform ? Did they take tickets, 
and can he remember for what place?" 

The station-master thunders forth an artillery 
of abuse. There has not been a departure since 
ten minutes before eleven. We must know that. 
We are mauvais sujets. To the devil with the 
dark gentleman and the fair lady, and with all 
impertinents ! 

Thus rebuffed, we turn away and resume our 
places in the cab, desiring the coachman to drive 
to the Ligne du Midi, or South Railway. To 
this he gives at first a positive refusal ; but, being 
bribed by promise of a triple fare, consents at last 
to go on, though at a slower pace than ever. 

At the South Railway the outer gates are 
closed ; not a light is any where visible not a 
sound is audible. The coachman thinks that 
there is no train between midnight and six 
o'clock P.M., and declines to drive us any far- 
ther. In vain I expostulate entreat threaten 
urge the importance of our business and the 
illness of my companion. Jehu is inflexible. 
His horses are of more importance to him than 
any man's business, and to knock them up would 
grieve him more than any man's illness. He 
has driven us as far as he had agreed ; he must 
be paid and dismissed. In short, he dismisses 
himself. 

So we are compelled to alight in the thick 
close mist of the early morning, and, taking 
shelter under an archway,, hear the vigilante 
rumble lazily away. 

" What shall we do now ?" asks Vogelsang, 
peevishly. ' ' I feel as if I had no power to 
think or act; it is this cursed blow that has 
done it. What shall we do ?" 

" The first thing is, obviously, to get another 
coach," I replied. "The second, to find by 
which road they have left Brussels." 

"But how? How?" 

"There are thirteen gates to the city, are 
there not?" 

"Yes." 

"Then we must go from gate to gate till we 
find through which they passed. And now for 
the coach!" 

I set off upon the same search as before, and 
this time with readier success, for in a few mo- 
ments we are once more seated side by side, and 
driving in the direction of the Porte de Halle. 

At the Porte de Halle we meet only with dis- 
appointment. No carriages have passed that 
way since midnight; but there have been four 
market-carts, which came from the country, and 
one traveler on horseback. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



81 



11 Which, then, is the nearest gate from this?" 

"I hardly know, monsieur; I should think 
the Porte d'Anderlecht." 

"Allans! to the Porte d'Anderlecht." 

Again the blinds are drawn up, and we dash 
forward between the gray lines of trees that skirt 
the Boulevai'd. It still rains, and the morning 
dawns slowly. Vogelsang leans back with a 
groan, and presses his hands upon his aching 
brow. 

"You must take the lead now in every 
thing," he says, moodily. "I am as helpless 
as a child." 

At the Porte d'Anderlecht we find the gates 
shut, and have to wait for several minutes be- 
fore any one makes his appearance. Then a 
soldier comes out yawning, and proceeds to un- 
lock them. We put the same questions to him. 
Has a carriage passed this gate since midnight 
a carriage with a lady and gentleman inside ?" 

He knows nothing of any carriage. He is 
only just come on duty. Shall he call Jean- 
Simon ? Jean-Simon, it appears, is his com- 
rade yonder, sitting sleeping heavily by the fire. 
We see him through the open doorway, and we 
see how hard it is to rouse him. At length he 
stumbles forward not half awakened, and listens 
to my interrogations with a glazed, heavy eye, 
and a half-opened mouth. 

"Has a carriage passed through this gate 
since midnight?" 
' " A carriage, monsieur ?" 

"Yes, yes a carriage. You know what a 
carriage means ?" 

"Yes, monsieur. I I think a carnage did 
go through. But I'm not sure. It might have 
been a chaise or a wagon. I was very sleepy 
at the time." 

"Nay, nay, Jean-Simon," cries a shrill voice 
from within, "a carriage did go by about let 
me see, about one o'clock of the morning." 

"Ay she knows," says Jean-Simon, pointing 
over his shoulder toward the gate-house. "It 
was a carriage, of course. She knows." 

"And in which direction did it go? To or 
from the town?" 

"From town, I think, monsieur. At least, 
I'm not certain ; but I think it was from town." 

"From town, Jean-Simon," says the shrill 
voice, confirmatively. 

"Did you see who was in it?" 

"No, monsieur that is, I won't be sure. 
There was a gentleman, I think." 

"And a lady? Try to recollect was there 
not a lady also ?" 

" Truly, monsieur, I can't tell. I don't think 
there was a lady. I was very sleepy just 
then." 

"Holy Virgin, Jean -Simon!" screams the 
shrill voice, impatiently, "there was a lady a 
lady with a velvet cloak and a veil, leaning back 
as if she did not wish us to see her. You must 
recollect the lady!" 

"Ay, she knows," says Jean-Simon, content- 
edly. "There was a lady, of course and a 
gentleman and a carriage. I saw them all. 
F, 



Of course I did. It's all true, messieurs. She 
knows." 

" Where does this road lead to ?" 

"To Halle Enghien Tournay." 

"And the nearest poste aux chevaux?" 

"Plait-il?" 

" Where is the nearest place that I can hire a 
carriage and post-horses to follow after them ?" 

Here our driver interposes. He knows of a 
post-master's close at hand, whose horses are 
excellent. I direct him to take us there forth 
with, and away we go again between the lines 
of gray trees, growing distincter now in the in- 
creasing daylight. 

All were asleep at the post-house, and ten 
minutes more, at the least, were lost in knock- 
ing before we succeeded in rousing a soul. 
Then a half-dressed ostler came down then 
two more, and presently they were putting the 
horses to a post-chaise in the yard. 

And now, for the first time since we started, 
I remember Adrienne and her distress. What 
must she be suffering ? What thinks she of my 
sudden refusal to accompany her of my subse- 
quent absence ? 

But this is not the time for reflection. I 
must act, and that quickly, for the carriage is 
being prepared, and I am going on what may 
prove a long journey. I tear a couple of leaves 
from my pocket-book, and scrawl a hasty note 
on each. One is to Seabrook, entreating him 
to break this matter kindly to Adrienne, and 
telling him, in three words, the cause and ob- 
ject of my departure. The other is to Adri- 
enne, commending Margaret to her care during 
my absence, and referring her to Seabrook for 
all other information. This done, I fold and 
address them. 

" Is there any man here who will faithfully 
deliver these letters for ten francs ?" 

The three ostlers each start forward and offer 
themselves. 

"Nay, I can choose but one. Do any of you 
know how to read?" 

There is but one out of the three who can do 
this, so him I choose, and have the satisfaction 
of seeing him go, with the letters in his hand, 
just as we step into the chaise and drive off. 

Once more away! Away through the nar- 
row streets along the Boulevard out through 
the Porte d'Anderlecht now giving passage to 
a succession of market -carts and pedestrian 
peasants, bound for the markets of the city. 
Away through the scattered villas, and brick- 
fields, and market-gardens that sprinkle the out- 
skirts, and on to the flat green country, all dim 
and faded through the falling rain ! 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 

THE CHASE GOES ON. 

THE gray dawn gives place to the dull day. 
The travelers are few, and go trudging through 
the rain and mud, with discontented faces. 



82 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Now and then we whirl past some little cart or 
wagon, spattering the horses, and sometimes 
the driver, with our rapid wheels, and dash on 
before he has time to utter the indignant remon- 
strance which rises to his lips. 

Always on on on, and so fast! The for- 
mal lines of poplars and pollards seem to rise 
up beside the windows as we go, and to glide 
out of sight, like ghostly sentinels going through 
an exercise. Now a gate now a fallow-field, 
with the idle plows lying in the furrows now a 
little farm-house a bridge a canal, all dim- 
pled with the rain a plantation a party of 
country-girls in cloaks and hoods, all become 
for a moment visible, and the next are left far 
behind. 

See ! yonder lamp-post by the roadside marks 
the first toll-barrier, and tells us that we have 
journeyed one league. Only one league ! Why, 
we seem to have been two hours at least upon 
the road ; yet, on consulting the watch, we find 
it scarcely twenty minutes. We might pay the 
tolls to the post-boy to avoid delay, but we must 
stop and speak with the toll-keeper. 

"Ho! Has there been a carriage past here 
this morning before dawn a carriage contain- 
ing a gentleman and lady?" 

The gate-keeper is an old man. He shades 
his eyes with his hand, peers up at us from be- 
neath his shaggy brows, and says, tremulously, 

"You must speak louder. I am rather hard 
of hearing." 

I repeat the question like a stentor, and a 
flash of intelligence crosses his face. 

"Oh, ay ay. There was a carriage, to be 
sure. A dark green chariot, with four bays. 
You must ride fast if ye would catch 'em ! " 

On again faster and faster ! The post-boy 
shall have a double fee for his speed. The 
trees seem to fly the people on the road stand 
still, and look after us in wonder. 

" Cheer up," I say to my companion, " cheer 
up ! we are on their track most surely, and we 
will take four horses at the next post-house. 
We shall overtake them after all!" 

Vogelsang groans and points to his head. 

" You are in great pain ? Well, we can stop 
at the first town, and have the wound dressed." 

"No, not for a second. They will pause 
somewhere to rest. Our only chance is in per- 
petual traveling." 

He is so resolute on this point, and there is 
so much reason in his argument, that I know 
not how to refute it. So, after a brief expostu- 
lation, I yield, and we are again silent. 

Another lamp -post marks another league. 
Here toll-house and post-house are one, and 
while we change horses, I put the usual ques- 
tions, and receive the same answers. A car- 
riage has been up about five hours ago (it is 
now nearly eight o'clock A.M.), and took a re- 
lay of four horses. "The four horses, indeed," 
says the groom, "are now in the stable, feed- 
ing." 

"And the post-boys who drove them where 
are they ?" 



The groom points to two men who are hast- 
ily donning their jackets and buckling on their 
spurs inside the. stable door. 

"They are now preparing to drive, mon- 
sieur." 

They are instantly called and questioned, 
and their replies confirm every thing. The car- 
riage contained a lady and a gentleman. The 
lady kept her veil down, and leaned far back all 
the time ; but they saw her hands and her fine 
rings. The gentleman had light hair, and paid 
them with gold, as if the ten-franc pieces were 
nothing but cents. They went like lightning. 
Holy St. Francis, what a hurry they were in ! 

"Eh lien! To your saddles! Five francs 
apiece for you if we clear the next two leagues 
in twenty minutes !" My urgent tones and ges- 
tures seemed to lend some meaning to the 
chase, for the grinning ostlers look and laugh 
among themselves, and I overhear one of them 
mutter, "C'est safenune, pent-etre /" 

Useless to chafe at the boorish jest ! I affect 
not to observe it, and again we are on the road 
faster and faster ! 

Thus on and on for hour after hour, till mind 
and limbs grow weary from the lack of sleep. 
At noon the sky clears, and the sun comes out, 
and we reach the old fortified city of Mons, 
with its grand steeple and surrounding ditches. 
Here we purchase bread and wine, and partake 
of it as we go ; and presently we have left the 
busy streets and squares, and are traveling along 
by the bleaching-grounds and coal-districts that 
lie beyond. 

Were farther traces needed, we gather plenty 
on our way. Every where they are about five 
hours before us; sometimes a little more or 
less. They are remembered at toll-house and 
post-house all along the road. In many instances 
we are driven by their very post-boys, and these 
we examine eagerly. It is curious how all their 
stories tally. The lady was always veiled and 
leaning back ; the gentleman always scattering 
gold with a careless hand. At one town the 
lady had a glass of milk. The gentleman some- 
times smoked. The carriage was their own. 
They seemed to care nothing for money, but 
every thing for speed. 

On and on ! Vogelsang, despite his suffering, 
sustains the fatigue better than I had expected, 
and sleeps at intervals. 

In the afternoon, at a small post-house, we 
find their carriage. The rough, paved Belgian 
roads have split the wheels in every direction, 
and hence they were compelled to travel in a 
hired vehicle. In a moment I spring out and 
search it eagerly. Here is Theophile's morocco 
cigar-case under one of the cushions, and a bag 
containing a few biscuits. The cigar-case i.s a 
prize, and I secure it. 

Now the town of St. Ghislain, black, flat, 
dreaiy. The roads are thick with coal-dust ; 
the cottages mean and many ; the tall chimneys 
casting forth clouds of smoke. Then come 
hamlets, trees, and canals again, gliding like a 
phantasmagoria then Quievrain. 






MY BROTHEK'S WIFE. 



83 



At Quievrain we reach the limits of Belgium, 
and are vexatiously hindered by the authorities 
of the customs. Our passports are not quite en 
regie we are subjected to a tedious interroga- 
tory are compelled to procure visas in the 
town, and are not suffered to pass the frontier 
till after a delay of nearly three hours. At the 
custom-house we still pursue our inquiries, and 
are referred to the chefde bureau's office, where 
an old gentleman with a white beard and an 
eyeglass asks our business. 

" We are anxious to overtake a lady and 
gentleman who passed the frontier this morn- 
ing. We have reason to believe that it was by 
this road they went, and we want to know for 
what place they are bound." 

The old gentleman mends a pen slowly, and 
coughs twice or thrice, as if to gain time. 

"And what may be your object in following 
these persons? Have they committed any of- 
fense?" 

"None for which I am bound to account to 
you. It is enough that we are in the utmost 
haste, and that we beg you to be quick, as we 
have already been delayed three hours." 

" What are the names of the parties ?" 

" Therese Vogelsang and The'ophile Latour." 

"And yours?" 

We hand him our passports in reply, which 
he examines carefully. 

"Which of you is Heinrich Vogelsang?" 

My companion steps forward and says it is 
he. 

"Are you the husband of Therese Vogel- 
sang?" 

"I am." 

Here the old gentleman smiles cunningly to 
himself, and tries the nib of his pen upon his 
thumb nail. He then turns to me. 

"And you are Paul Latour, of Burgundy, 
French subject ?" 

"Yes." 

"What relation are you to The'ophile La- 
tour?" 

" His elder brother." 

"Hum! And your elder brother, sir, and 
your wife, sir, passed this barrier this morn- 
ing?" 

"So we believe." 

The old gentleman opens a large book, wipes 
his eyeglass carefully, and, pointing with a fat 
fore finger, begins carefully examining the pages 
from bottom to top, as if he were reading He- 
brew. This goes on for so long that we begin 
to despair. At last he stops suddenly. 

"Hem!" (he has a bad cough, this old gen- 
tleman.) "Hem! 'Passed this day, between 
the hours of one and two P.M., Therese Vogel- 
sang vocalist Austrian subject. Going to Par- 
is from Brussels. 1 Is that the lady, sir?" 

' ' Yes yes," says Vogelsang, hurriedly. ' ' It 
is she ! Let us go directly ; we have no time 
to lose ! " 

"Stay," says the old gentleman, calmly, "you 
have not heard all. What did you say was the 
name of the other party ?" 



'The'ophile Latour." 
' No, that is not the name." 
' Not the name ?" 
'No." 

'What is it, then?" 

' Alphonse Lemaire proprietaire French 
subject." 

Vogelsang and I look involuntarily at each 
other. The old gentleman is watching us, and 
reads the meaning of the glance as plainly as if 
the thought had been spoken. 

" Then it is an assumed name," he says, with 
a keen look. "Alphonse Lemaire is really 
The'ophile Latour ! Itien." 

And he makes an entry beside the former 
name, with a gleam of the old cunning smile 
hovering round the corners of his mouth ; then 
shuts the large book with a sudden bang ; bows 
politely, and asks if he can be of any farther 
service. Of course not ; we have heard enough, 
and may pursue our journey as we will. 

So we pass out into a sort of waiting-room 
beyond, and consult together. We have now 
lost four hours. When we first started we were 
five behind. Five and four make nine. What 
chance have we of overtaking them upon the 
road now, being nine hours after them ? The 
swiftest horses that ever ran could not accom- 
plish it. Better take the rail, and push on for 
Paris direct. Most probably it is the very thing 
they did themselves ! 

So we decide upon this course, and dismiss 
the post-chaise. 

Fortunately, there will be a train in about 
half an hour. We spend the intervening time 
in accomplishing a hasty ablution and in pro- 
curing a little refreshment, for we shall be trav- 
eling all night. 

Then the train comes up ; we take our places, 
and are once more forward in pursuit. 

We are in France now on the Great North 
Railway on the road to Paris ; and so the fe- 
verish day passes to its close. 

It is night dark, lonely night, with the 
misting rain beginning to fall again, and the 
wearisome rushing sound of our progress din- 
ning in our ears. 

Utterly overcome by long watching and ex- 
citement, I find my ideas wander and my eye- 
lids grow heavy. Troubled dreams, which mock 
reality, weave themselves in with the web of my 
thoughts, and I wake with a start from visions 
wherein The'ophile, Vogelsang, Adrienne, Sea- 
brook, and Therese are mingled in hideous con- 
fusion. 

Every now and then a sudden stoppage a 
flashing light a passing view of a station and 
passengers the entrance of fresh travelers and 
the departure of others, or the abrupt voice of a 
guard calling upon us to show our tickets the 
starting off again the monotonous rushing 
sound-^-the blurred picture of a dark wet night 
dreams waking up complete forgetfulness 
once more this over and over, with alternate 
slumberings and meanings from my restless 
fellow-traveler, who tosses his arms wildly in his 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



sleep, and, dreaming or waking, is ever mutter- 
ing to himself. 

Once in the dark night I wake up entirely, 
and fall to thinking over all this strange adven- 
ture. The'ophile eloped with Therese The'rese 
the wife of this man beside me Adrienne de- 
eerted ! Strangest of all that The'ophile should 
take the name of the man Lemaire for his in- 
cognito ! Done to mislead us, of course. But 
we are not to be so misled. From this theme 
my thoughts, somehow or another, revert to 
Burger's "Leonora." The wild midnight jour- 
ney the flying scenery these combine, and 
strike me with an odd sense of similarity ; and 
so I drop off to sleep again, murmuring, 
" Hurra ! the dead can swiftly ride !" 

Then I dream that Theophile and the singer 
are on before. Theophile is not only Theophile, 
but Wilhelm. Wilhelm is not only Wilhelm, 
but Death. He rides upon a shadowy steed, 
and she clings to his waist in the likeness of 
Leonora. This ghastly confusion of persons 
fills me with inexplicable terror. I watch them 
from the window (for it seems that I am fol- 
lowing them in the post-chaise again). They 
ride like the wind. Theophile looks round at 
me ; his face is that of a grinning skeleton, and 
he points to Vogelsang sitting at my side. Hor- 
ror! not Vogelsang now, but the livid corpse 
of Fletcher is my companion in this frightful 
chase ! 

I shriek for aid, and wake with the cry on my 
lips wake and find it gray dawn again, and 
the towers of St. Denis showing dimly through 
the mist. Beyond them, faint and yet distant, 
lies the shadowy outline of a great city. Stee- 
ples, and house-tops, and shining cupolas grow 
plainer with every instant of our progress with 
every fresh beam of early sunrise. Then glimps- 
es of the broad bright Seine of some grassy 
earthworks stretching round the city of the 
hill, valley, and forest of Montmorency of nest- 
ling country houses of scattered suburbs 
streets the walls of a station. We are arrived 
at last, and it is a bright, fresh, sunny morning, 
more like May than October. 

Vogelsang is refreshed by a long sleep and 
feels better, and we hire a voiture de place, de- 
siring the driver to take us to the Hotel des 
Etrangers in the Rue Duphot ; for my compan- 
ion lias been here before, and knows where to go. 

Oh, beautiful Paris ! how fair and strange it 
looks to me in the early morning ! There are 
no shops open, and but few people on foot. 
The broad streets are silent and sunny ; the 
trees of the Boulevards have not yet lost all 
their leaves; -the gilded balconies of the hotels 
and the white shutters of the lofty houses re- 
mind me of the City of the Caliph and the pal- 
aces of Granada. Now comes a graceful little 
theatre now a vista of glittering arcades now 
a glimpse of a broad street and a lofty iron col- 
umn, with the statue of Napoleon crowning it 
worthily now a wide space planted round with 
trees, and a white glorious temple in the midst 
a second Parthenon, classic, pillared, vast 



the church of the Madeleine. Far down toward 
the left flits a vision of obelisk, and fountain, and 
far palaces ; but it is gone in an instant, and 
we have turned aside into a narrow street, and 
are pausing before the door of the Hotel des 
Etrangers. 

Now for an hour or two of rest and quiet ere 
we search farther. We are shown to our rooms, 
ordering breakfast in three hours, and desiring 
the waiter to awake us at the time. 

There is a sofa in my chamber, and I lie down 
upon it in my clothes, preferring it to the bed, 
and am soon sound asleep. The three liours 
thus glide away like ten minutes, and it seems 
to me that I have scarcely closed my eyes, when 
the voice of the attendant outside my door in- 
forms me that it is already half past nine 
o'clock, and that the breakfast is ready. 

Can it all be true, or am I still dreaming? 
Have I been pursuing Theophile and The'rese, 
with Vogelsang for my fellow-traveler? Have 
I left Margaret and Belgium far away? Am I 
in France, and is this really Paris ? 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

THE SHADOW OF DEATH. 

"THE first thing to be done," says Vogel- 
sang, "is to go to the prefecture of police, and 
ascertain when they arrived." 

To the prefecture of police we go according- 
ly, crossing the Seine, with a far prospect of the 
stately river-palaces, and driving up a gloomy 
court branching off from the Quai des Orfevres. 
The court is full of carnages, the dark passages 
full of soldiers. In a long room surrounded by 
clerks we next make our inquiries, and, after 
meeting with many delays, and being referred 
from desk to desk, are told at length that no 
persons bearing such names have arrived in 
Paris. 

This is disappointing; yet we might almost 
have expected it. It is hardly probable, after 
all, that they would have traveled so unflag- 
gingly as ourselves ; and, in taking to the vail- 
way, it may be that we have even passed them 
on the road. Well, it is but to wait another 
day. They must be here to-morrow. 

The morrow comes, and with the same result. 
In the morning we are first at the prefecture. 
In the afternoon we linger last. The officials 
are very polite. They regret to disappoint 
"messieurs" so often. " Messieurs' " friends 
will be here to-onorrow, sans doute. 

And so the 19th of October passes, and they 
have not yet been recorded. Oh, how dreary 
and irritating is the rest of this second day! 
How annoying to the heavy heart are these ev- 
idences of mirth nnd life these open theatres 
these brilliant carnages these pleasure-seek- 
ers who crowd the dusk alleys of the Champs 
Elyse'es, the booths, cafe's, and concert-gardens! 
How harsh is this music, and how hollow seems 
the merriment of the gay city! 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



85 



It is gorgeous it is startling it*is utterly 
new and surprising to me ; but its very splendor 
jars upon me now, and I could hate the people 
for being so happy ! 

Vogelsang, too, is a depressing companion 
gloomy, reserved, abrupt ; seldom speaking, and 
always absorbed in the one stern thought re- 
venge. He is much better now, but still very 
pale, and the livid mark upon his brow looks 
ghastly to the eye. 

Night comes at last night, and sleep, and 
troubled dreams, till the next day dawns. 

Back then over the Seine back in the early 
morning to the prefecture of police. The bu- 
reau is not yet opened will not be opened for 
two hours more. Two dreary hours! What 
can we do for two hours ? 

"The Morgue is close at hand," says Vogel- 
sang. "Let us go there." 

The Morgue! I shuddered. I had often 
heard of the place. At any other time I should 
have refused to enter its dark precincts ; but to- 
day it was in accordance with my morbid con- 
dition of mind, and I consented. 

The morning was cold and bright, and the 
yellow Seine rushed in swift circling eddies 
through the arches of the Pont St. Michel, and 
rocked the floating baths beside the quays. I 
geem to remember every event of that hasty 
walk. There was a mountebank in a cart, 
dressed in motley, and vending his wares to the 
harsh music of a hand-organ. He had taken 
his stand where the carriage-way was broadest, 
and the surrounding crowd were laughing loud- 
ly at his jests. A troop of soldiers marched by, 
with ensign and band. Some children ran after 
me with cakes and chocolate for sale. All was 
hurry gayety life, and in the midst of it rose 
that one dark, melancholy building of the Mar- 
ehe' Neuf. That low square pile, like a huge 
tomb, built with great blocks of stone, green and 
discolored from abutting on the water. Win- 
dowless, deathlike, dreary. There was a crowd 
of ouvriers, soldiers, women, and children gath- 
ered round the entrance. Many were going in, 
others coming out. 

"What a pity!" said a young girl to her 
mother, as they passed close beside us, on leav- 
ing the place ; " such a child, and so pretty !" 

I looked at my companion, and drew back. 

" I don't think I will go in, after all," I said. 

He shrugged his shoulders and made no re- 
ply, but walked straight in, and so I followed 
him. 

A fearful place indeed ! There, on a black 
marble slab, exposed to the idle gaze of every 
eye, lay the body of a young fair boy, a mere 
child. His long bright hair fell in wet masses 
on the stone couch ; his eyes and mouth were 
closed, and his pale lips were contracted into 
an expression of determined agony. 

' ' Suicide !" murmured the people at the grat- 
ing. "Suicide!" 

I turned to a soldier standing by the door. 

"Is it possible," I asked, " that this child can 
have purposely destroyed himself?" 



"We can not tell, monsieur; but it is most 
likely. They often do." 

I went back again, as if fascinated, and stood 
for a long time looking at him. There was an- 
other body lying at a little distance from him, 
but changed and frightful to look upon. I seem 
still to see that picture before me, with the long 
grating the crowd of eager faces the sad 
property of the dead, the wet and faded clothing 
hanging round the walls the dim light coming 
from the roof the trickling water flowing over 
the features of the drowned. 

I could bear it no longer. I turned suddenly 
away, and hurried out into the street. I felt 
oppressed and shocked, and the blazing sun- 
light seemed unnaturally bold, and bright, and 
painful by the contrast. 

Vogelsang follows me with a gloomy smile 
upon his harsh lips. 

"You are not used to the sight of death, 
Monsieur Latour," he says, with a sarcastic ac- 
cent. 

"I have seen it but twice in my life before. 
Once when I was an infant, and my father died. 
Once again some few months since, while I was 
in Germany. Upon a battle-field it would not 
affect me thus ; but upon the face of a young 
child" 

' ' Humph ! Here we are in front of the pre- 
fecture of police. The two hours are nearly 
past." 

Presently we go in again. Still the same re- 

pty. 

"No strangers bearing such names upon 
their passports have yet been registered. We 
would recommend monsieur to call again in the 
afternoon, about four o'clock. By that time, 
perhaps, we may be able to afford him some in- 
formation." 

Will delays and disappointments never cease? 

It were vain to think of pleasure at a mo- 
ment like this ; yet how is the time to be' em- 
ployed ? I have written to Seabrook, but it 
would be useless to seek letters at the post-office 
till to-morrow. Shall we go to the Louvre to 
the Luxembourg to Notre Dame to Pere la 
Chaise ? 

To the latter be it, then, for I am still sad 
and dispirited, and the face of that dead child is 
vividly present to my eyes. 

How calm, and still, and melancholy it is 
here in the cemetery! The sunlight comes 
creeping through the leaves, and lying gently 
down along the graves, like a fond mourner ; 
and we walk silently between the monuments, 
as in the streets of a dead city. Here are 
tombs like little chapels, with altar, and cross^ 
and painted window; others like pyramids, or 
temples, or sharp granite obelisks. Some are 
carved into the semblance of a broken pillar a 
draperied urn an open volume lying on a desk, 
inscribed with holy and consoling words. A 
pleasant, tranquil place, dark with the pine and 
yew, planted by pious hands with every autumn 
flower, sacred to the Past and to the Future ! 

I am thinking of Margaret now, and I long 



86 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



to be alone. Vogelsang has thrown himself 
upon the grass at the foot of a great tree, and is 
jotting some memoranda in his pocket-book; 
so I stroll away, and, finding a solitary high 
spot, with a view of the distant country and of 
the cemetery, sit down upon an humble grave, 
and suffer my thoughts to wander back to Brus- 
sels. 

The dead are sleeping very peacefully at my 
feet and all around me, Margaret, and I am 
watching here among them with my human 
love beating at my heart, the only living thing 
in sight. It is very awful to think this ; yet it 
fills me with a strange sort of gladness, and I 
feel that to have you sitting here beside me with 
your hand in mine, to lay my over-throbbing 
temples on your breast, and there die, would be 
a blessed rounding of my life, and happiness 
complete. Not in sorrow, Margaret, not even 
in weariness do I say it ; but at this moment it 
seems to me that such a fate would be the ful- 
fillment of love and life. My heart is heavy at 
the remembrance of all the miles that lie be- 
tween us, and I can scarcely believe that you 
are so far distant from me. We are parted, and 
every parting is a form of death, as every reun- 
ion is a type of heaven. 

It is well for me that I came hither to- 
day. The aspect of this garden grave-yard has 
soothed me restored the balance of my mind. 
I was shocked erewhile by the sight of that fair 
child and his manner of death. Gloomy and 
terrible thoughts tormented and mocked me, as 
the pale Furies, Prometheus ; but they are gone 
now, and to die seems beautiful. Death is not" 
truly that brief pang with which we cease to 
live" It dates from the dark hour in which we 
first find that life has lost its charm; when 
fades the "glory from the grass, the splendor 
from the flower;" when all smiles are sad to us, 
and all tears indifferent ; when, as with Ham- 
let,- "man delights not us, nor woman either," 
and the very clouds and sunshine overhead look 
old and sorrowful. 

But I did not intend to chant a requiem to 
thee, Margaret. I meant it for a love-song ; 
and lo ! my words are traitors to me and mine 
eyes too, by this mist before them. 

There is a little blue-eyed flower (a sickly, 
slender thing, that shivers in the cold autumnal 
breeze like a star in a frosty night) growing up 
beside the pathway at my feet. Stray child of 
the summer-time, I will gather thee in memory 
of this hour and its poetry ! 

And so I rise up and return to Vogelsang. 
My shadow has lengthened since I left him, and 
only the tree- tops catch the red sunlight now. 
His watch is in his hand. It is nearly four 
o'clock, and he is impatient to be gone. 

Back, then, once more, to the prefecture of 
police. Out through the broad semicircular 
entrance, out into the stream of busy, careless 
life again, and on toward the accomplishment 
of our anxious task. 

The clerk looks up and smiles as we approach 
his desk, in the long gloomy room, all lit with 



gas and crowded with people. He knows the 
errand on which we come, and begins rapidly 
turning over the leaves of a large volume. Pres- 
ently he stops reads some passages attentively 
then, turning toward us, 
" I am rejoiced to inform you, messieurs," he 
says, politely, " that your friends have arrived. 
Have the goodness to listen. ' On the evening 
of the 19th inst., Madame Therese Vogelsang; 
vocalist ; Austrian subject ; from Brussels. 
Also, Monsieur Alphonse Lemaire ; proprie- 
taire ; French subject ; from Brussels. De- 
scription of person : Tall ; eyes, blue ; nose, 
short; hair and beard, reddish-yellow. Resi- 
dence, No. 30 Avenue ., Champs Elysees.' 

Those, I believe, are the parties for whom you 
inquired?" 

This is sufficient ! The fiacre in which we 
came waits for us outside. We leap in, desire 
the driver to take us to the Champs Elysees, 
and are directly on the way. 

Swiftly, swiftly along the quays and over the 
Pont Neuf swiftly past the Louvre, and up to 
the Place de la Concorde, till we reach the cen- 
tral avenue leading to the Arc de 1'Etoile. 
Here, although it is now almost dusk, the road 
is filled with carriages and the footways with 
promenaders. The long rows of bright lamps 
on either side look like illuminated chains 
stretching from end to end, and in among the 
trees is the gay perpetual fair of shows and 
mountebanks, and cafes concerts. 

We move but slowly here, and as the Avenue 

lies up near the Jardin d'Hiver, it is long 

before we turn aside from the principal road to 
the quiet, retired spot, which, as our driver tells 
us, is the locality we named. 

The houses are built as villas, and each is 
surrounded by a spacious garden. Many of 
them, says the cocker, are schools, boarding- 
houses, and maisons de sante. Within a few 
doors of No. 30 we pause and alight, for we are 
anxious not to attract the attention of the in- 
mates, and so walk on and stop before the 
house. 

It is built in the Italian style, surrounded by 
a wall and garden, and set round with lofty 
trees, on which few leaves remain. There are 
lights gleaming from some of the windows, and 
sometimes a passing shadow from within dark- 
ens on the blinds. By-and-by the sound of a 
piano is heard, and the tones of an enchanting 
voice linger, and rise, and fade upon the air. 
Then they cease the outline of a woman's form 
flits along the curtain all is still. 

Observing thus, we wait and watch for full 
three quarters of an hour, and then turn silent- 
ly away. 

They are found now, and to-morrow shall see 
the work begun ! 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



87 



CHAPTER XXXV. 

STRENGTH MEETS STRENGTH, AND CRAFT WITH 
CRAFT IS MATCHED. 

IT is bright morning again, and again I stand 
looking up at the house where ray misguded 
brother and his mistress are dwelling. The air 
is chill ; the blessed sun is shining as if there 
were nor sin nor sorrow in the world ; the red 
and yellow leaves strew all the ground, and 
shower down with every gust of wind; the 
workmen are going to their daily labor ; the lit- 
tle children are playing in the streets ; all toil 
and pleasure is going on as usual, and I am 
standing there with a stern duty upon my hands, 
and a heart full of perplexity and trouble. 

Looking down toward that point where the 
road branches off from the main avenue of the 
Champs Elysees, I see the figure of a man walk- 
ing slowly to and fro. He pauses he waves 
his hand impatiently. It is Vogelsang, and he 
is urging me to action. We judged it best that 
I should go in alone, and see my brother first, 
and he is waiting yonder till I return. Nay, I 
do not need urging ; and in proof of it, I ring 
the bell beside the garden gate. It is answered 
by a servant in livery. 

"Is Monsieur Lemaire at home?" 

" He is breakfasting, monsieur." 

"No matter. I will wait." 

With these words I am shown in ; and, fol- 
lowing the man through the garden, am ushered 
up a broad flight of stairs, and into a small but 
elegant drawing-room. 

"What name shall I say, monsieur?" asks 
the servant, lingering at the door. 

"It is of no consequence. I am a stranger, 
and I come upon business." 

Left alone in the room, I observe every thing 
with that peculiar susceptibility to trifles, that 
painfully acute power of seeing and reasoning, 
which, at times of great excitement or anxie- 
ty, seems to endue the senses with a twofold 
power. 

The furniture of the salon is rich, but not new. 
One or two valuable paintings adorn the walls, 
and suspended in the most conspicuous situa- 
tion hangs a superb full-length portrait of an 
officer under Napoleon. His breast is covered 
with orders ; his weather-beaten face and white 
mustache tell of long service ; he leans upon 
the neck of a bay charger, and a distant view 
of the sands and Pyramids of Egypt points to 
the scene of at least one of his campaigns. 
Crossing over to examine it more nearly, I see 
the name of DAVID in the corner. 

The induction is easy. Theophile has hired 
the house for the season, while the owners are 
absent at their country seat or on their travels. 

Some books lie on the table, and I examine 
one. It is the "History of the Consulate and 
the Empire," by Thiers ; and under an en- 
graved coat of arms pasted in the first fly-leaf, 
I see the name of De Montreuil the name of 
the owners of the place, of course. 

A grand piano-forte is placed close under the 



portrait. . It is open, and the candles which 
were used the night before are yet standing, 
half burnt down, on either side of the music- 
book. Near it, two chairs drawn close together 
seem to show me where they have been sitting 
side by side ; and a man's hat is thrown care- 
lessly upon a couch beside the window. 

Strange that the veriest trifles should find a 
place in my attention at this moment j but I 
remember noticing that it was a white hat, and 
that I had never known Theophile wear a white 
hat before ! 

As I am thinking this, the door opens, the 
same servant appears, and I am requested to 
follow him. 

Down stairs this time, through a broad hall 
and a spacious library, and into a pleasant par- 
lor opening upon a conservatory and garden. 
There is breakfast on the table a lady in a 
white morning robe leaning back in an easy- 
chair by the fireside, reading the newspaper a 
gentleman with his back turned toward me, 
stooping over some flowers in the conservatory 
beyond. 

She lays aside the paper as I enter, with an 
anxious glance at my face, and half rises from 
her chair. 

She is most lovely to-day in that white robe. 
Her dark lustrous hair is gathered in massive 
rolls at the back of her head, and fastened by a 
single golden arrow ; her beautiful arms are 
half hidden by the white lace sleeves: her atti- 
tude is that of a queen, graceful, indolent, dig- 
nified like Cleopatra's in the golden galley. 

"You wish to see Monsieur Lemaire," she 
says, courteously, and with the slightest foreign 
accent in the world. "He will be here imme- 
diately. Pray take a seat." 

I bow profoundly, but remain standing, hat 
in hand. 

"Laurent, request your master to step this 
way. A gentleman is waiting to speak with 
him." 

The servant passes into the conservatory, 
and inadame resumes the newspaper, but I can 
see that she does not read a single line. 

Now the servant has reached his side he 
pauses turns enters the room, and I recog- 
nize not my brother not Theophile, but a 
harsh, unprepossessing countenance, which I cer- 
tainly remember to have seen and noticed late- 
ly, but where I can not tell ! 

"You have asked for me, monsieur? I am 
entirely at your service." 

That sneering smile, that glance from be- 
neath the drooping eyelids, that peculiar ges- 
ture, I could swear that I have yes, by heaven ! 
it is the man Lemaire himself the real owner 
of the name the lessee of the Brussels theatre ! 

"You have business with me, I believe. 
Pray, is it respecting theatrical matters ?" 

Still breathless, bewildered, utterly taken by 
surprise, I can only look at him. A crowd of 
ideas are flitting like lightning through my 
mind. Where is Theophile? Shnll I ask for 
him ? Shall I tell them who I am ?" 



88 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



I am 



"You have but to speak, monsieur, 
waiting." 

This is said somewhat impatiently, and with 
a surprised, suspicious glance from beneath the 
red eyelashes, which fills me with aversion, so 
foxlike is it, and so stealthy. 

Madame drops the paper now, and fixes her 
dark eyes full upon my face. 

" Perhaps, " she observes haughtily, "if the 
gentleman will not state the purport of his visit, 
he will, at least, be so obliging as to inform us 
of his name." 

My course is taken now. I return her gaze 
steadily, and the tone of my voice, as I reply, is 
measured, resonant, penetrating. 

"My name, madame, could be of little im- 
portance to this gentleman. I came here this 
morning to meet a very different person. You, 
most probably, can guess whom I mean, and 
will, perhaps, favor me with some address by 
which I can find him." 

She still looks at me fixedly, as before, for a 
few seconds, and the pupils of her eyes seem to 
dilate as if from some inner passion of anger, 
suspicion, or defiance. Then, finding that I 
sustain her scrutiny unwaveringly, she sudden- 
ly drops the lids, and leaning back with an af- 
fectation of proud indifference, turns to Mon- 
sieur Lemaire and says languidly, 

"You see, Alphonse, it is a mistake altogeth- 
er. This this person is inquiring for the peo- 
ple to whom the house belongs. I think we can 
oblige him ; for, if you remember, they left us a 
card by which we were to direct any letters that 
might arrive for Monsieur (what is his name ?) 
Monsieur de de Montreuil. Will you have 
the kindness to pass me the paper-case ? I am 
almost sure that the card is inside. We will 
not detain you, monsieur, many minutes. Ah ! 
here it is 'Monsieur le Comte de Montreuil, 
Poste Restante, Baden-Baden, Germany.' " 

" I thank you, madame," I reply, in the same 
tone, and without having once removed my eyes 
from her face, "but it was not to meet M. le 
Comte de Montreuil that I came here to-day." 

"Indeed!" she exclaims quickly, looking up 
at me again with a sharp unquiet glance. 
" Pray whom else could you have thought to 
see here, in my house ?" 

"Monsieur Theophile Latour." 

I have expected something of a start, an ex- 
clamation, a passing expression of surprise or 
shame ; but no she is calm, impassable, un- 
moved as a statue; only, on looking more close- 
ly, I fancy that the rich brunette tint upon her 
cheek is a shade paler, and that the delicate 
nostril quivers twice or thrice, but almost im- 
perceptibly. 

"You are in error, sir," she says, clearly and 
deliberately. "Monsieur Theophile Latour is 
not here. You had better direct your letters to 
Brussels. He is residing there, and they will 
be sure to find him." 

"To Brussels, madame! But he has left 
Brussels!" 

" Indeed ? I was not aware of that." 



So calm, so collected, so natural ! I am al- 
most thrown off my guard, and begin to doubt 
the evidences of the ball and the journey. 

" Not aware of it, madame ?" 

"You echo my words strangely, sir. I re- 
peat that I was ' not aware of it.' Are you con- 
tented?" 

"But he traveled with you from Brussels!" 

"Monsieur!" 

She rises from her seat and draws herself to 
her full stature as she utters this one word so full 
of pride, anger, offended modesty. The flash- 
ing eyes the indignant gesture the imperious 
tone, baffle and confuse me. I hesitate I 
pause. 

" Have the goodness to repeat that assertion, 
monsieur." 

"I that is Monsieur Latour did he not 
travel from Brussels in your company ?" 

"Monsieur Lemaire was so obliging, sir, as 
to favor me with his escort from Brussels to 
Paris Monsieur Lemaire, the impressario of the 
theatre in that city. I am but very slightly ac- 
quainted with Monsieur Latour, and though I 
do not feel myself called upon to account for my 
actions to any person (more particularly to an 
entire stranger), yet, rather than suffer such a 
report to become current, I must beg leave to 
observe that a step such as you have just named 
a step so unusual, so equivocal, so open to ob- 
servation and censure, would be utterly opposed 
to my principles, my inclinations, and the strict-!- 
ly reserved line of conduct to which I have ad- 
hered throughout the course of my professional 
life. Monsieur Lemaire, will you have the kind- 
ness to corroborate my words, and to show your 
passport to this this very inquisitive and sin- 
gular gentleman ?" 

I came here with the resolution of not ex- 
changing one syllable, if possible, with this 
woman, and behold, she alone had taken upon 
herself the entire conversation ! Her looks, her 
words, her very gestures were all -convincing, 
and wrought upon me with an irresistible power. 
Yet how reconcile this with Vogelsang's narra- 
tive with my brother's disappearance with the 
testimony of his note, now in my possession 
with the cigar-case found in the carriage ? 

Monsieur Lemaire drew a folded paper from 
his pocket-book and handed it to me with his 
false smile. 

"Monsieur may inspect my passport if he 
pleases," he said^ shrugging his shoulders, "but 
really one might almost think that we were in a 
court of justice, or, at the least, passing through 
a frontier town!" 

Yes. Here is the passport, and perfectly cor- 
rect. ii Monsieur Alphonse Lemaire; French 
subject. Tall; eyes, blue ; nose, short ; hair and 
beard, reddish-yellow." The same from which 
the entry was made in the books at the prefect- 
ure of police. I have nothing to say to this. I 
am almost ashamed of my own suspicions, and 
feel my situation more than embarrassing. 

Happening to look up suddenly from the pa- 
per, I see a triumphant glance pass between 



MY BKOTHER'S WIFE. 



89 



them, which awakens all my former doubts. 
At the same moment madame turns to me, 
and, pointing toward a small velvet case lying 
on the mantel-piece, says, even more haughtily 
than before, 

"My passport lies there, sir, if you choose to 
look at it : and then, when your curiosity is sat- 
isfied, I trust this interview may l>e considered 
at a close. I have endured your intrusion and 
replied to your questions, not because I felt 
bound to do so through any law of politeness, 
but because I considered it my duty to defend 
my reputation against the scandalous report 
which you had the audacity to repeat to my 
very face, and which, as I can not imagine it to 
have originated with yourself, I fear must have 
circulated to the detriment of my honor. It is 
now in your power to contradict that rumor, and 
I trust that, in common justice, you will not fail 
to do so. I hope, monsieur, we fully understand 
each other." 

Had it not been for that glance which I sur- 
prised just now, I would not have looked at her 
passport ; nay, I believe that I should even have 
gone so far as to apologize for all that I had 
said, such truth, and fire, and dignity is there in 
her speech and bearing. As it is, however, I 
only bow in silence, take the case from the inan- 
tel-piece, and run my eye along the document. 

"Madame Therese Vogelsang; vocalist; Aus- 
trian subject; from Brussels." 

I have nothing to say to this either. Every 
thing is perfectly en regie. I am defeated, but 
not convinced, and all that I can do now is to 
bow and retire.- 

I am about to do this -I have even begun to 
refold the paper, when a sudden thought flashes 
through me like a revelation, and, taking the 
other passport from where Iliad laid it upon the 
table, I compare them together. 

"Seen at Quievrain, for Paris, October 17 th, 
18 . Chefde Bureau, E. LECROIX." 

" Seen at Quievrain, for Paris, October 18thj 
18 . Chefde Bureau, E. LECROIX." 

This discovery smites upon my heart like a 
death-blow. I feel myself grow pale, and the 
papers flutter in my hand as I hold them up be- 
fore his face, and, striking upon the two sen- 
tences with my finger, exclaim hoarsely, 

" See, sir, will you explain this? How could 
you have traveled with madame, and yet pass 
the frontier a day later?" 

Ha! blenched cheek, and downcast eye, and 
quivering lip what does that mean? Is the 
man stricken dumb ? 

"/can explain it, monsieur," interposes the 
singer, with a glance of contempt at her silent 
companion and a dauntless energy upon her 
face; "/can explain it. Monsieur Lemaire, 
although we left Brussels at the same time, 
found himself compelled to return when we 
were about half way to the frontier. He had 
forgotten an engagement which demanded his 
personal attendance, and he only rejoined me 
toward the afternoon of the second day." 



"Yes, yes," stammered the manager, "that 
was it! MonDieu, that was it, upon my honor!" 

"And may I take the liberty of inquiring, 
madame, where you stopped to wait for the ar- 
rival of this gentleman ?" 

"It is a liberty, sir, yet I will answer you. 
It was at Douai." 

At Douai -and we took the railway from 
Quievrain ! Had we but pursued the journey 
as we began it for a few hours more, we should 
have overtaken her and known the truth of this 
story ! Well, after all, it is useless to question 
or irritate her farther, and I feel that, as far as 
evidence goes, I am powerless. Best, then, to 
appear satisfied to lull suspicion to meet craft 
by craft to prove all before I say more. 

My face expresses, perhaps, something of the 
deliberations and doubts that are passing through 
my mind, for I find them both watching me nar- 
rowly. I make a strong effort to control voice 
and countenance, and, after a few moments' ap- 
parent reflection, assume a look of melancholy 
conviction, and sigh heavily. 

"Then, madame, you can tell me positively 
nothing respecting M. Theophile, excepting that 
he has been in Brussels ?" 

"Excepting that he is in Brussels. I last 
saw him there, and I believe him to be still resi- 
dent there. How do you know that he is gone ?" 

I meet her searching glance, and say quietly, 
"A friend of mine called at his house, madame, 
to endeavor to procure from him some money 
which I had lent to him not long since. They 
told my friend that he was gone nobody knew 
whither; but it was supposed (you will excuse 
me for repeating it) it was supposed that he 
had accompanied you to Paris." 

It is now her turn to suspect, to interrogate 
me. How stern and piercing is the steady, pro- 
longed gaze of those dilating eyes ! 

"Then you have lent money to M. Latour?" 
she says, inquiringly. 

I bow without speaking. 

"How did you know my address?" 

"I applied for it at the prefecture of police." 

"And why did you ask for Monsieur Le- 
maire when it was Monsieur Latour you wished 
to see?". 

"The entry stated that you were accompa- 
nied by Monsieur Lemaire. The description 
of his person tallied sufficiently with that of my 
my debtor. I thought it possible that he 
might have assumed an incognito while travel- 
ing, especially if he be as deeply in debt to oth- 
ers as he is to me, and seeks to escape his cred- 
itors." 

This explanation, and the manner in which I 
gave it, seems to satisfy her. She draws a long 
breath, and, for the first time since she rose 
\ from it in anger, sinks back into her chair. 

"It appears to me, sir," she says, with her 
fascinating smile, " that we have misunderstood 
each other from beginning to end of this con- 
versation. Had you told me at first that you 
were Monsieur Latour's creditor, and confided 
, to me the motive of your visit, we need not have 



90 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



wasted so much time in useless discussion. I 
really regret that I can be of no service to you, 
and I hope that you may recover your money. 
I would advise you to send your letters to Brus- 
sels without delay, for if he were absent he has 
doubtless returned before this. I wish you a 
good-morning. Laurent, attend this gentleman 
to the door." 

Thus saying, she inclines her head gracious- 
ly, and resumes the newspaper. Lemaire stands 
scowling after me near the conservatory door, 
and I follow the servant back through the libra- 
ry and hall, across the garden, and out into the 
road. 

"What news?" cries Vogelsang, eagerly, as 
I rejoin him in the Champs Ely sees. "What 
news?" 

And so I tell him all that has passed, word 
for word, as I have told it here, and when I 
conclude I ask him what he thinks of it. 

But he shakes his head, and, looking down- 
ward with a troubled face, says, 

"I don't know. Don't ask me. I don't 
know what to think I don't know what to 
think!" 

Then, silent and gloomy both, we walk on 
side by side till we reach the great post-office in 
the Rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, a long way 
from the Champs Elyse'es. Here I find one let- 
ter awaiting me, and the bold, careless super- 
scription tells me that it is from Norman Sea- 
brook. It is brief enough scarce half a page 
in length and I read it almost at a glance : 

"Oct. 20,13 . 

"I have only bad news for you, my dear 
friend. Hauteville is sold. The purchase-mon- 
ey was all paid in on the evening of the 15th, 
and we have every reason for believing that 
your brother has the entire sum in his posses- 
sion . We know, of course, how and upon whom 
it will be spent! I have this from Monsieur 
Pascal, his lawyer. The amount was 500,000 
francs. Madame L. bears it better than one 
could expect. I have no time for more at pres- 
ent, but will write again to-morrow. 

"Yours ever, N. S." 

"Read this," I cry, thrusting the letter into 
Vogelsang's hand. "Read this! Mon Dieu! 
what is to be done ? What has become of him ? 
My dear, dear brother !" 

Vogelsang reads it, and grows paler as he 
reads. Coming to the end, he crushes it in his 
hand and looks gloomily into my face. 

"Foul play!" he says, in a low, deep voice. 
" Foul play somewhere ! We must fathom this 
abyss : there is crime at the bottom of it, and 
my vengeance will be deeper yet and sweeter!" 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

REVELATIONS. 

WE are on the road again ! It is the even- 
ing of the 21st of October, about six or seven 



hours since I left the Avenue ; and au- 
tumn's early sunset tints all the fields and 
house-tops of St. Denis with a red glow, as if 
we saw the landscape through a painted window. 

On the road by which we came four days ago 
that iron road which intersects France in a 
northward line from Paris to Brussels flving 
forward, ever forward, while sunset fades into 
dusk, and dusk thickens into night ! 

We have a railway carriage to ourselves this 
time, for the sake of privacy and liberty of 
speech this, chiefly, because we are no longer 
alone, and need to talk with our companion. 
He whom I style "our companion" is a small 
pale man, with green spectacles, and a particu- 
larly vacant countenance. He is dressed in a 
suit of threadbare black, wears a hat too large 
for his head, and a crumpled white neckcloth 
tied loosely round his throat. He looks more 
like a petty schoolmaster or peripatetic preacher 
than any thing else, and carries a large cotton 
umbrella between his knees. Neither beard 
nor mustache adorn his countenance. He looks 
not to the right nor to the left, and, when 
spoken to, turns upon you a large, dull, mean- 
ingless gray eye, in which no spark of intelli- 
gence is ever seen to quicken. 

Certainly a more insignificant and utterly un- 
promising person could scarcely have been se- 
lected for a traveling associate ; yet in that 
man's pocket are the only proofs we possess 
the note and the cigar-case ; and into his ear 
we are pouring all our doubts, adventures, dis- 
coveries, suspicions, and fears. Already he is 
in possession of all the leading facts, from the 
conversation which I overheard in the conserv- 
atory on the night of the soiree, down to my in- 
terview with Madame Vogelsang this morning, 
and to all this he listened with a face as absent 
and passionless as if he were counting the bricks 
in a dead wall. 

Only now and then he asks some trifling 
question, or enters a brief note very slowly and 
methodically upon the leaves of a greasy pock- 
et-book, and but for this we might almost fancy 
that he neither heard nor heeded a syllable of 
all that has been said. 

His name is Pierre Corneille Barthelet. He 
is an agent of police, and one of the most saga- 
cious of Parisian detectives. 

Fonvard, always forward in the deep night- 
past the lighted stations with never a stop past 
the up-train with a shock of vision, like the sen- 
sation of a sudden fall from some giddy height 
forward, forward like the wind ! It is an ex- 
press train, bound for Brussels, and stopping 
only at Quievrain and Valenciennes by the way. 

The whole scene, police agent and all, seems 
like some rushing terrible dream, and the tale 
we tell him a fantastic fiction. 

"And now are you sure that I know all the 
circumstances?" he asks, carelessly, "because 
that is important." 

"I believe that we have forgotten nothing." 

" Humph ! You made one very false move, 
gentlemen." 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



91 



"When, and how?" 

"In going to the house as you did. It must 
have put them on their guard." 

"And they will escape us again!" cries Vo- 
gelsang, with a fierce oath. "Oh, I must go 
back I must go back by the next train !" 

"Indeed, they suspect nothing," I interpose. 
"Have I not already told you how I replied to 
her questions, how I satisfied her that I was but 
a creditor of The'ophile's ?" 

"Yes, yes; but it is not enough! She only 
affects to believe you ; she will escape before I 
can get back!" 

"Be tranquil, monsieur," observes Barthelet, 
with calm indifference. " They are safe enough. 
I have provided for that, and set a watch upon 
the house. As it happens, no mischief has 
been done ; but I objected to the way in which 
you entered. It was unprofessional." 

So saying, Monsieur Barthelet looks at his 
watch by the light of the dim lamp above ; ob- 
serves that we have just three hours left; takes 
off his hat (brushing it carefully with his sleeve 
before he hangs it up), and, tying his pocket- 
handkerchief over his head, composes himself 
for a nap. 

This nap lasts till we reach Quievrain, when 
he awakes, as if by magic, and follows us out of 
the carriage to the passport-office, where the el- 
derly gentleman with the white head and the 
eye-glass is still sitting, as if he had never left 
his place since we last saw him. 

He recognizes us the moment we enter, and 
the cunning smile hovers round his lips and in 
the corners of his eyes. 

"Well, sir," he says, peering at Vogelsang 
from behind the top rails of his desk, "well, 
sir, have you found your wife ?" 

But, before my companion can frame a reply, 
Monsieur Barthelet has glided from behind us, 
and is standing beside the old gentleman's el- 
bow. A whispered word the sight of a writ- 
ten paper drawn from the greasy pocket-book, 
has worked wonders. The face of the chef de 
bureau has become suddenly grave and atten- 
tive. He requests us to be seated. He listens 
deferentially to the agent's hurried statement. 
He takes down the same great book, and again 
reads up every page, in the Hebrew fashion, 
only more quickly. 

Suddenly the fore finger pauses in its course ; 
the page is compared with one a little way be-r 
fore it ; they look significantly into each other's 
faces, and we are called over to inspect the en- 
tries. 

They stand thus : 

"Passed this day, Oct. 17th, 18 , between the 
hours of one and two P.M., Madame Therese Vo- 
gelsang ; vocalist ; Austrian subject. Going to 
Paris from Brussels. Seen at Quievrain, for 
Paris, Oct. 17, 18. 

' ' Chef de Bureau. E. LECROIX." 

"Passed this day, Oct. 17 th, 18, between the 
hours of one and two P.M., Monsieur Alphonse 
Lemaire; French subject; proprietaire. Going 



to Paris from Brussels. Description of person : 
Tall; blue eyes; auburn hair. Seen at Quie- 
vrain, for Paris, Oct. 17 'th, 18 . 

"Chefde Bureau. E. LECROIX." 

Then, a little farther on, 

"Passed this day, Oct. 18th, 18, between the 
hours of four and Jive P.M., Monsieur Alphonse 
Lemaire; French subject. Tall; eyes blue; nose 
short ; hair and beard reddish-yellow. Going to 
Paris from Brussels. Seen at Quievrain, for 
Paris, Oct. 18th, 18. 

' Chefde Bureau. E. LECROIX. " 

Two Monsieur Lemaires have passed the 
frontier ! 



CHAPTER XXXVH. 

THE CHAIN IS BROKEN. 

"AND it was from this point, gentlemen," 
says Barthelet, "that you took the rail in pref- 
erence to the road ?" 

* ' From this point." 

"Then, clearly, we must first find the post- 
house from which they had their next relay of 
horses. Thence we shall easily discover the 
road by which they traveled. Tenez." 

And Monsieur Barthelet takes a small vol- 
ume from his pocket, and after referring back- 
ward and forward three or four times from the 
map to the letter-press, from the letter-press to 
the map, observes dryly that Quievrain has four 
posies aux chevaux, and that we must go from 
one to the other till we meet with the right. 

This is dismal work, traversing the streets of 
Quievrain in the dark, three hours after mid- 
night. It reminds me of the first step which 
we took upon the journey on leaving Brussels, 
only that it is infinitely more wretched; and 
over all we do, or think, or say, there hangs the 
"shadow of a fear" sombre, chilling, unde- 
fined. 

At the first post-house we have to wake the 
people from their sleep, and they reply to our 
questions surlily enough. They have no remem- 
brance of any such carriage or travelers. What 
right have we to disturb folks for nothing ? It 
is their business to furnish horses, not informa- 
tion. They have a great mind to give us over 
to the police ; but they content themselves with 
slamming the door in our faces. At all of 
which Monsieur Barthelet smiles grimly, and, 
tapping the breast-pocket of his coat, says, with 
a tone of quiet power, that he has " a little pa- 
per there by which he could exact their civility 
ay, and the civility of the gendarmes too, if 
he thought fit to produce it !" 

At the second we fare no better ; and at the 
third we find all hands busy, and every body up 
and stirring. It is now nearly half past four ; 
the great lumbering diligence, swaying to and 
fro like a sleepy giant with a hood on, fills all 
the yard ; horses are being harnessed ; postil- 
lions are getting ready ; luggage is being heaped 



92 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



on the roof; some early passengers are darting 
here and there, and getting in every body's way ; 
and all this confusion by the light of glancing 
lanterns, with the black sky overhead. 

Of course we can not get attended to in the 
hurry and bustle of the moment, so we wait till 
the diligence has departed, lurching and pitch- 
ing, and still very sleepy, out of the yard, when 
Barthelet makes the old inquiry. 

No one can remember any thing, whether of 
the carriage, the travelers, or their destination. 
This is the largest post-house in Quievrain ; 
they keep the greatest number of horses supply 
the most extensive circle of customers. It is 
hardly probable that they would recollect it, 
without something had occurred to render the 
journey remarkable. They are, however, very 
civil, and offer no objection when we request 
permission to interrogate the servants of the es- 
tablishment. But from these we can obtain 
nothing, and are about to turn away in quest of 
the fourth and last post-house, when some one 
recollects that we have not yet spoken to the 
postillion, Van Comp, who, it appears, has not 
long come off a journey, and is now in bed. 

Unwilling to lose any chance of success, we 
wait till Van Comp is awakened, and pass the 
time, weary as we are, in pacing up and down 
the yard, for the morning is bitterly cold, and 
there has been a frost. 

At length Van Comp, a little, shrewd-look- 
ing man, with quick black eyes, makes his ap- 
pearance, half dressed and shivering. So small, 
so puckered, so elfin is his tout ensemble, that I 
find myself at a loss to decide whether he be 
an active old man or a withered boy, which 
perplexity is increased when I hear the shrill 
treble of his voice replying to Barthelet's ques- 
tions. 

He speaks only Flemish, of which neither 
Vogelsang nor myself comprehend a syllable, 
and we watch the conference in silence. Bar- 
thelet, as usual, looks entirely unconcerned, and 
speaks occasionally in a low, drawling tone, to 
which the other responds with a torrent of vol- 
ubility and a variety of lively gesticulations. 
This goes on for several minutes, when Barthe- 
let seems to give some order the ostlers run to 
the stables a heavy post-chaise is brought out 
of a coach-house, and Van Comp, rushing over 
to a pump in a distant corner of the yard, pro- 
ceeds to plunge his head and face twice or thrice 
into a bucket full of water, apparently as the 
first step toward completing his toilet. 

"What now?" I exclaim, eagerly. "What 
does he say ?" 

"He remembers to have driven a lady and 
gentleman from here to Valenciennes about five 
or six days ago. All that he can be sure of is 
that the lady was very handsome, that her com- 
panion paid him in gold, and that it was about 
two or three o'clock in the afternoon. At Va- 
lenciennes they took fresh horses, and went on 
without delay. He can not tell where they 
went, but he knows the post-house to which he 
drove them, and he supposes that from the peo- 



ple there we shall learn all we require. I have 
ordered a chaise to be got ready immediately, 
and he will drive us." 

Monsieur Barthelet delivers this important 
news with about as much energy and emphasis 
as one might remark upon the state of the 
weather, or any other equally exciting subject, 
and then falls to consulting the map and the 
pocket-book. 

And now we are on the road again. 

It is still dark, and the bright carriage-lamps, 
illumining a narrow patch on either side, reveal 
brief glimpses of trees and gates, and show our 
little postillion jerking up and down before the 
front windows. Thus, in silence and gloom, 
we journey on to Valenciennes, where, with lit- 
tle difficulty, we recover the next clew, and so 
on, post by post, in the direction of Douai, which 
we enter between nine and ten o'clock in the 
morning, with the sun shining coldly overhead, 
and the white frost glittering like diamond dust 
on the ramparts and church towers. 

We are driven to the Hotel de Flandres, 
where we order breakfast, and request a few mo- 
ments' conversation with the landlord a lofty 
gentleman adorned with rings, pins, and chains, 
who listens to our inquiries with an indulgent 
air, and replies in an infinitely condescending 
manner. 

Truly he has some recollection of the travel- 
ers to whom we allude, and he imagines that 
their stay at his honse was not prolonged be- 
yond a few hours. But madame keeps the 
books, and attends to all these little matters, 
and he thinks, upon the whole, that we had bet- 
ter mention the subject to her. Madame's lit- 
tle bureau lies to the right of the salle a manger. 
She is always there, and we may seek her when 
we are disposed. 

And monsieur strolls out of the room, clink- 
ing 'the Napoleons in his pockets as he walks, as 
if to show us that he has plenty of them, and 
rather likes the sound. 

To madame's room we repair accordingly. 
She is very gracious and has been handsome. 
She consults a large ledger, and presently dig- 
covers the following entry, which she permits us 
to read, and which Barthelet copies forthwith 
into the greasy pocket-book : 

Monsieur and Madame arrived October 17th, 18 

, Dinner for two 1.4 

Vin de Champagne 30 

Cafe for two 4 

Apartments and service 16 

Breakfast for two 10 

Vin de Champagne at ditto 10 

84 

"And in what manner did this lady and gen- 
tleman leave?" I asked, eagerly. "Did they 
take a post-chaise from here ?" 

Madame shakes her head. Had they done 
so, there would be an entry of it in the ledger, 
which there certainly is not. 

"Can madame remember at what hour they 
left the house ?" 

Madame thinks that it was immediately after 



breakfast about eleven o'clock; but perhaps 
the waiters can tell me this. 

The waiters are called and questioned. They 
remember the lady and gentleman perfectly. 
"They arrived quite late the first day, and 
dined about eight o'clock in the evening. They 
went away the next morning after breakfast, 
about twelve or one in the day. They paid the 
bill, and walked out arm in arm. They never 
came back again." 

"But their luggage ?" 
" They had no luggage, m'sieur." 
"No luggage!" 

"Not a single bag or box of any description. 
The gentleman had his great-coat upon his arm, 
and the lady carried a small velvet reticule." 
They were positive of this, because " down there 
in the cuisine, la has, they had talked of it to- 
gether, and, mon Dieu! whatfun the cook made 
of it!" 

And the waiters glanced at each other, and 
grinned behind their hands at the remembrance 
of this irresistible joke. 

" Can you describe the lady ?" 
" No, m'sieur. They had the two rooms yon- 
der on the premier etaye, where the bedchamber 
opens off the salon, and there the lady retired 
whenever we were in attendance. At the din- 
ner they would not suffer us to wait, but rang 
whenever they wished the courses removed ; 
and then the lady sat with her veil down and 
her bonnet on. It was quite plain that she did 
not wish to be seen, and that made us try all 
the more to catch a glimpse of her face. But 
it was impossible, m'sieur quite impossible. 
HGYjinesse was perfect." 

"Eh bien! but the gentleman what was he 
like?" 

"The gentleman ! Oh, he was tall and fair. 
Jeannette thought him handsome ; but, at all 
events, he was very liberal paid like a prince." 
And this, question them as we will, is all the 
news that we can obtain. Barthelet, for the 
first time since we have been together, exhibits 
a faint emotion in his face, and looks less blank 
than usual. The emotion, unfortunately, is vex- 
ation. 

He then dismisses the waiters, asks madame 
for our bill, and, when it is paid, strolls out into 
the street, whither we follow him. 

"This matter grows difficult," he says mood- 
ily, as if thinking aloud. "We are thrown off' 
the scent entirely now." 

"Then all that we have to do is to find it 
again," interrupts Vogelsang, with a look of 
dogged resolution. "We must beat every bush 
in the neighborhood try every petty village, 
inn, and farm-house all around, till we find the 
evidences of their track. Why, it must have 
been some time in the evening of the day they 
left this place when Lemaire joined them." 

"Of course it was," replies Barthelet, refer- 
ring to the pocket-book. " He passed the front- 
ier Between four and five. It takes about five 
hours by posting, and about one hour and forty 
minutes by rail, to travel from Quievrain to 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 93 

Douai. By whichever route, he would meet 
them that night. The time and place of that 



meeting once found, the object of our journey 
will be accomplished, or I am much mistaken." 
And now, guided in every respect by our 
professional" ally, we proceed upon the search. 
The first step, says he, is to make inquiry at ev- 
ery livery-stable in the town, though it should 
take us a week to do it. However, there are 
but three or four, and to these he pilots us 
through street, and market-place, and square, 
after a peculiar fashion of his own, wherein he 
leads without seeming to lead us, and by point- 
ing out the road, gliding now before and now 
behind us, loitering, hastening, and doubling 
back upon his own footsteps, he dexterously 
contrives to make us always appear like the 
party in advance, while himself is strolling on 
carelessly in the rear, looking in at the shop- 
windows, or walking on the opposite side of the 
way with an utterly unconscious face, as if he 
had no acquaintances and no business in the 
world. 

At no livery-stable or post-house in Douai 
had they been heard of or seen. The chain of 
evidence is completely broken, and to find the 
lost links seems now to be an almost hopeless 
task. 

However, we hire a vehicle, and, taking the 
first road that presents itself, travel in a norther- 
ly direction, and after turning aside to many a 
little village, farm-house, and hamlet by the 
way, arrive toward dusk at the town of Orchies, 
where we dine and spend the night. 

Alas ! the seeking and waiting 

" All the hope, and the fear, and the sorrow 
All the aching of heart, the restless unsatisfied longing, 
All the dull, deep pain, and constant anguish of pa- 
tience !" 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 

THE LOST LINKS. 

NORTH, south, east, and west, in every direc- 
tion for twenty miles round Douai, we sought 
them in vain. Had the earth opened benenth 
their feet when they went out arm in arm from 
the Hotel de Flandres that morning of the 18th 
of October, they could not have disappeared 
more entirely till the period of their arrival in 
Paris. Northward as far as Lille and Tournay ; 
southward to Cambray and Arras ; eastward to 
Bethune, and westward over all the ground ly- 
ing between Douai and Valenciennes, we search- 
ed diligently, and so passed four days more. 

We begun to despair. Even Monsieur Pierre 
Corneille Barthelet was heard to murmur occa- 
sionally, and Vogelsang became more morose 
and silent than ever. 

It seemed really as if they must have taken 
the rail from Douai to Paris ; yet, in that case, 
what had become of Theophile, and where had 
Therese been overtaken by Lemaire? The 
whole transaction remained a mystery, and sus- 
pense became torture. 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Matters were in this position, and we were 
driving slowly along toward the evening of the 
fourth day, the 26th of October, when Vogel- 
sang proposed suddenly that we should return 
to Paris. 

"This hopeless wandering about is worse 
than useless," he said. "It will result in noth- 
ing. If you do not choose to go back, I will." 

"I do not choose to go back," I replied warm- 
ly. " I will not be so easily baffled. I am de- 
termined to find my brother before I set foot in 
Paris again." 

"Very well. I go to-morrow morning." 

"You may do as you please, Herr Vogelsang. 
I remain." 

" And what does Monsieur Barthelet intend 
doing?" asked Vogelsang, with a bitter smile. 
"Is he not yet weary of exploring this pictur- 
esque neighborhood?" 

Monsieur Barthelet was looking out of the 
window, and appeared not to hear the question. 

Vogelsang repeated it with emphasis. 

" Sir, "replied the police agent, still looking 
out of the window, "I have undertaken this 
case, and I have no intention of leaving it un- 
finished. My professional reputation is con- 
cerned in it. Hollo, you gar$on, where does 
that lane lead to?" 

He had let down the glasses now, and was 
addressing the post-boy. 

"Over the fields somewhere, monsieur." 

"Is there any village?" 

" I don't know, monsieur. I think there are 
a few cottages." 

"Well, drive up there." 

"I can't, monsieur. The road is not wide 
enough for the wheels, and up yonder it gets 
narrower still." 

"Then we will walk, and you may go back 
with the horses." 

"But, monsieur it is such a mean place 
it is absolutely au bout du monde" remonstrates 
the post-boy. "Nobody ever goes there." 

"No matter, /choose to go there; and if 
I can not be driven, I will walk." 

So saying, Monsieur Barthelet alights and 
bids us discharge the carriage, wherein, as usual, 
we obey him implicitly ; and so we set off on 
foot. 

The first lane merges into a second, the sec- 
ond into a third, the third into a fourth, and so 
on, as if they would never end long, green 
quiet lanes, all grass under foot, with holly and 
thorn bushes on either side, and long trailing 
boughs laden with blackberries lying across the 
path, and scant trees standing here and there, 
like lonely sentinels, at irregular distances. 

The farther we go the farther we seem to 
wander from all human habitation. Before us 
stretch the lanes green and straight ; behind us 
the sun is setting broad and red, on the very 
verge of the horizon. There is not a cottage 
or shed any where in sight. 

Now we come upon two little children gath- 
ing wild berries under the hedge, but they can 
scarcely comprehend us, and the only reply we 



get is that the houses are farther on, " tout 
droit." 

So straight forward we go, and the night 
comes creeping up. 

Suddenly the lane takes a curve we see a 
column of white smoke above the trees a faint 
light glimmering through the dusk an open 
space of common, and a cluster of small cot- 
tages, with a wind-mill and a little mean au- 
berge in the midst. The auberge is a wretch- 
ed whitewashed building, with a dunghill be- 
fore the door, and the words 

HOTEL DE NAMUR, 

Id on loye a pied et a chevaf, 
painted in large red letters across the front of 
the house. 

Hotel, indeed ! Miserable as it is, however, 
we must put up there for the night, for there is 
no other, and we have been on the road all day 
since dawn. 

Tired, dusty, travel-worn as we are, it would 
seem that customers so well-dressed are seldom 
entertained at the Hotel de Namur, for the land- 
lady courtesies, and the landlord bows, and hov- 
ers round us, and dusts the chairs before he will 
suffer us to be seated, and is in an agony of 
bustling civility. 

"Will messieurs please to dine or sup? Do 
messieurs intend to pass the night here ? Shall 
a fire be lighted in one of the chambers, since 
we have not, I grieve to say, another salon ?" 

The "salon" in which we find ourselves is a 
long low apartment, with whitewashed walls and 
sanded floor, and the words Salle a Manger 
painted up over the door. A deal table, some 
benches and wooden chairs, and a stove, are all 
the furniture ; and two peasants, with a jug of 
red wine between them, are sitting staring at us 
with open eyes and mouths in a far corner, near 
the window. 

We decide upon dining tip stairs, order the 
best dinner they can muster, and sit down by 
the stove in the public room till ours is pre- 
pared ; whereupon landlord and landlady both 
disappear suddenly, before we can put a single 
question to either, and an immense confusion 
of heavy feet overhead and sharp voices in the 
kitchen is immediately begun. Presently the 
two rustics finish their wine and withdraw in 
bashful silence, and we are left with the place 
to ourselves. 

Thus more than an hour passes away without 
interruption, save once, when a party of three 
or four men and women enter and call for the 
landlord ; but, finding their custom unheeded 
and three gentlemen sitting round the stove in 
the dark room, they retire discontentedly, and 
return no more. 

At length the door opens, and our host, with 
a napkin thrown over his arm and a candle in 
his hand, informs us that the chamber is ready 
and the table served. And really every thing 
is far more comfortable than we had anticipated. 
The bed has been wheeled on one side ; the 
table-cloth and dishes are plain, but clean ; a 
j blazing wood fire is crackling on the hearth, and 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



95 



to travelers so weary matters wear a cheerful 
appearance. 

The landlord will wait upon us himself, and 
the landlady too. They have provided soup 
for us, and omelettes, and fowls, and bouilli, and 
a dessert of cheese and apples, and three bottles 
of Macon wine, and a flask of eau-de-vie, which 
we are assured is " ' vielle de cognac' superb 
equal to any we could procure in Douai, or even 
in Paris !" 

So faint are we, and so tired, that for several 
minutes we can do nothing but eat in silence. 
At length Barthelet speaks. 

"You have not many travelers come here, I 
suppose. Your chief custom is from those in 
the village, n'est-ce-pas f 

"Our chief custom, certainly, is in the vil- 
lage," says the landlord, with an emphasis on 
"chief;" "but we do entertain travelers some- 
times gentlemen, like yourselves, and even la- 
dies." 

"Yes, yes, even ladies," adds the hostess, 
with some pride. "For instance, messieurs, it 
is not many days since we lodged two gentle- 
men and a lady people of the highest rank, 
messieurs, who did not care what they paid 
us!" 

Ha ! We all paused and involuntarily look- 
ed at each other. For some seconds nobody 
spoke, and then Barthelet resumed : 

' ' Two gentlemen and a lady, you say, who 
did not care what they paid ! They must have 
been rich, then !" 

"Rich, indeed yes ! Monsieur should have 
seen the lady's beautiful ring and chains, and 
her cloak all of velvet and lace, fit for an em- 
press ! Ah ! they were rich, and we should not 
care how many such guests came to the Hotel 
de Namur !" 

Barthelet was silent for some time, and went 
on with his dinner as if nothing had taken place. 
As for me, I could not eat another morsel, and 
even Vogelsang seemed perturbed and restless. 
Our hosts were in despair. Did not monsieur 
like the soup? Would monsieur try an ome- 
lette? The fowls were delicious just a little 
wing? They were afraid that monsieur must 
be unwell ! 

I replied that I was too much fatigued to en- 
joy any thing, and finding that I could touch 
nothing else, I drank a glass of brandy, and 
tried to swallow a crust of bread that almost 
choked me. 

So the meal draws to a close ; the dessert is 
placed before us, and Barthelet, while leisurely 
peeling an apple, pursues his inquiries. 

"I fancy, Monsieur Callot" (our host's name 
is Callot), "that your rich customers were 
friends of ours friends of whom we are even 
now in search. Was not the lady very hand- 
some, and the gentleman fair?" 

" Mon Dicu, yes ! The lady was beautiful as 
an angel, and the gentleman was fair. Both 
gentlemen, indeed, were fair, but the first was 
the handsomest. How astonishing that mes- 
sieurs should know them ! But it is charming ! " 



And both landlord and landlady rub their 
hands with delight, and then, finding that we 
do not respond to their congratulations, look 
surprised and uncomfortable, and full of curios- 
ity. 

" So, the first gentleman was the hand- 
somest," says Barthelet, still occupied upon the 
apple. "Let me see: they must have arrived 
here about about three o'clock in the day, did 
they not?" 

" About four, I think, monsieur about four." 

"Just so about four. And they dined here ?" 

"Yes, they dined here, but not till nearly 
eight o'clock in the evening. They waited, do 
you see, for the other gentleman ! " 

"Ah! true. They waited, of course. And 
he arrived in time?" 

"Oh yes, he arrived by a little after seven." 

" And they were delighted to see him ?" 

"Why, monsieur, really I that is, I don't 
think the handsome gentleman seemed very 
well pleased. He did not seem to be good 
friends with him at first ; and, to tell the truth, 
my wife did overhear (quite by chance) a little 
conversation between the first gentleman and 
his lady that led us to think Marie, tell the 
gentlemen what you heard them saying." 

"Why, gentlemen, you see I was getting ready 
the table in this very apartment, and they were 
in there, in the second chamber, and I heard the 
lady say, ' He will soon be here now. ' To which 
the gentleman replied, 'I am sorry for it. I 
did not want his company. I never liked him.' 
And then the lady said, 'But you know how 
necessary it is for us to be friends with him. 
And as matters are with us, it is very fortunate 
for us that he happens to be traveling our way. 
If there be any inquiries made, his absence will 
confirm every thing, and nobody will suspect 
your identity. Pray be civil to him, for my 
sake.' And the gentleman said, 'I would do 
any thing for your sake.' And that was all 
I heard." 

"And then, I suppose, he did arrive. Had 
they any quarrel, these two gentlemen ?" 

"Quarrel! oh dear no, they got quite pleas- 
ant after the dinner, and when they parted at 
night they shook hands. They even took a lit- 
tle walk together in the morning before break- 
fast." 

"Hum! that looked well, certainly. And 
after breakfast they all went away together?" 

"The lady and the red-haired gentleman 
went away together, monsieur, and followed the 
handsome gentleman." 

"Followed him ! Do you mean to say that 
he started first, and without madame ?" 

"Yes, monsieur. He went on farther, when 
they took the little promenade be^Jre breakfast." 

"And the other one came back alone?" 

" Yes, monsieur." 

"And what did he say when he came back 
alone?" 

"He said that the gentleman had taken a 
fancy to go on in advance, and that he had de- 
sired madame to follow as soon as she had break- 



96 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



fasted and felt disposed to continue, del! 
messieurs, what is the matter you look so 
strange at me what is the matter?" 

"Murder is the matter," says Barthelet, ris- 
ing from his seat, and suddenly casting off all 
his assumed indifference. "Murder is the mat- 
ter. My name is Pierre Corneille Barthelet. 
I am a detective government agent, and I call 
upon all here present, in the name of the king 
and the state, to assist me in the discovery of 
this crime." 

The hmdlady falls upon her knees with terror 
the landlord trembles and turns pale we have 
all risen, and are all agitated. 

"Who saw them go out together?" asks Bar- 
thelet, taking pen, ink, and paper from a small 
case which he draws from his pocket. "Who 
saw them go out ? I must take your deposition 
upon every circumstance." 

"Oh, dear Virgin !" sobs the landlady. "I 
saw them go out." 

"And what direction did they take ?" 

" I don't know, indeed, monsieur. I did not 
look after them." 

"Did you, Monsieur Callot ?" 

"No, monsieur. I was in the kitchen at the 
time ; but but I think the gargon was outside, 
feeding the poultry. He might have seen them 
go." 

"Let the garfon be called." 

Barthelet is now writing briskly. The vacant 
look vanished from his face ; he speaks with au- 
thority; and I am sitting, dumb and stupefied 
with horror, and my head leaning against the 
wall. 

The garfon, a shambling, awkward fellow in 
sabots, comes into the room and is interrogated. 

" What is your name ?" 

"Jean." 

"Jean and what else? You have some 
other name." 

"No, m'sieur. I never remember to have 
had any other." 

"It is true," interposes the landlord. "He 
is an enfant trouve. We call him Jean." 

" Good. Now, Jean, do you remember to 
have seen two gentlemen leave this house to- 
gether early in the morning on the 19th day of 
this month ?" 

"I remember that the gentlemen went out 
together before breakfast, but I don't know what 
day of the month it was. " 

"Can you recollect in which direction they 
went ?" 

"PMt-il?" 

" Can you recollect which road they went by 
whether they turned off to the right or the 
left after they got outside ?" 

" They watt right over across the common, 
toward the wrod yonder." 

"Then there is a wood yonder! Is it a 
large wood?" 

"Oh no, m'sieur, quite a little place about 
three or four times as big as the common." 

"Can you show us the way there ?" 

"Yes, m'sieur by daylight. One could not 



find one's way there in the night, it is such a de- 
ceitful kind of place." 

" What do you mean by ' deceitful ?' " 

"He means, gentlemen," says the landlord, 
"that it is a troublesome place; and so it is, 
even in the daytime full of bushes and holes, 
and scarcely passable in many parts." 

"And is there no pathway through it?" 

"There is a pathway, but it is very little 
used. All of us about these parts would rather 
go round than through it." 

"And you think it would be dangerous to 
venture there to-night, even if we carried lan- 
terns or torches?" 

"I am sure, sir, that if you went, you could 
not take four steps without some accident." 

"Did the gentlemen go into the wood to- 
gether, Jean?" 

"I can't tell, m'sieur. I did not watch them 
across the common ; but they certainly crossed 
over that way." 

" Do you think that either of them knew there 
was a wood over there?" 

"One of them seemed as if he knew his way 
all about here, m'sieur, but I think he said, ' I've 
been in this place before, many years ago, and 
if you'll trust to my experience, I will lead the 
way.' " 

"And which of the gentlemen said this?" 

"The ugly one, m'sieur." 

" And he led the way to the wood ?" 

"Yes, m'sieur. I would have warned him 
of the holes and bogs in it, only that he seemed 
so confident, and they walked away so fast." 

"Is this all you know ?" 

"Yes, m'sieur." 

"Enough, Jean, you may go." 

And so Barthelet proceeds to record the testi- 
mony of the Callots, and defers all farther search 
to the morrow. The dreary night passes thus, 
in questioning and writing, and suspicions too 
dark for words, which merge rapidly into deso- 
late certainties. 

A dreary night indeed ! 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 

THE DELL IN THE WOOD. 

THE sad day dawns through tears, and a 
white fog hangs over the landscape as I look 
forth in the early morning. Barthelet and 
Vogelsang are sleeping in their chairs, worn out 
by excitement and long watching, and I alone 
have been unable to forget the terrible present. 

"Oh, if it were but a dream!" I exclaim to 
myself, as I watch their closed eyelids "oh, 
if it were but a dream, and there were no wood 
lying out there in the mist!" 

The wood ! I shuddered at the mere word, 
and roused them hastily. "Up! up and be 
doing! It is day." 

Barthelet is awake and on his feet directly. 
He never seems to require a moment to regain 
his senses, but passes instantaneously from deep 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



97 



posite directions, the one tending toward the 
right, the other sloping downward by a deep 
curve, and leading to a dark dell, where the 
trees would seem to grow larger and thicker 
than elsewhere. 

At this point the police agent pauses, and 
scans the ground narrowly ; then, stooping low, 
proceeds to gather up the fallen leaves, and cast 
them on one side. 

" See !" he says eagerly, but with an evident 
effort to maintain his old cool, indifferent man- 
ner, " see ! there have been feet along this path 
lately. Here are the .marks, half filled with 
water; the leaves lie deep above them, and 
have been falling for many days since the prints 
were made. They go down, you see, into the 
hollow ; and here is a broken bough, where they 
forced a passage through the brambles. We 
have it now, sir! we have it now!" 

Down, then, down the slippery steep path, 
and into the hollow all overgrown with bushes, 
and marshy as the basin of an empty pond 
down to a spot where the mire is trampled over 
strangely. 

"Don't stir a foot, sir," cries Barthelet, 
flushed and vehement, ' ' don't stir a foot, or you 
will efface the trail ! Look, look ! here where 
I stand : don't you see that dragging mark along 
the ground ? Something heavy has been hauled 
all across ! It goes right over to the foot of this 
alder, and is lost in the bushes ! Now we must 
turn up every foot of ground in among these 
bushes, if we have to go back to the village for 
hatchets and cut them even with the earth." 

Impelled by a feverish dreadful haste, trem- 
bling with anguish, yet conscious of a wild 
strength which I never possessed before, I seize 
the thorny bushes in my desperate grasp, and 
Heavens ! the first I touch comes away in my 
hand without an effort ! 

The next does the same, and the next, and 
that which Barthelet holds likewise. They have 
no root in the soil ; their leaves are all yellow 
and drooping; they have been thrust in there 
as a blind a screen a mask ! 

And beyond them? 

Beyond them, heaped over with more branch- 
es and brambles, lies something something 
whereat I shudder and stand still, and from be- 
side which a small black snake writhes away at 
our approach, and glides swiftly in among the 
gnarled roots of the surrounding trees. 

Barthelet removes the branches in silence. 

And there yes there, with strength, and 
beauty, and desire struck into the dust, with his 
face pressed to the earth, and his yellow locks 
all dabbled in the mire there, meaner in his 
abasement, oh God of mercy ! than the meanest 
of Thy living creatures, lies the body of my 
brother Theophile ! 



98 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



CHAPTEK XL. 



THE WORK OF RETRIBUTION BEGINS. 

IT is night again night for the second time 
since we discovered the body the night of the 
28th of October. 

Our sorrowful duty to the dead has been ac- 
complished as far as the law permits ; the vic- 
tim lies in his coffin at Douai, awaiting the in- 
quest ; and Vogelsang, Barthelet, and myself 
are traversing one of the least frequented ave- 
nues of the Champs Elyse'es in Paris, bound on 
an avenging errand. 

Behind us, in silence and shadow, marches a 
company of gendarmes, with their officer at their 
head breathless, statue-like, moving as one 
man, and heard only by the dull fall of their 
tread and the occasional clank of their swords. 

Thus we move on in the darkness, and the 
distant clocks strike twelve. 

Hush ! we pause before the gate of that Ital- 
ian villa where I entered some few days past, 
and the soldiers draw back out of sight, leaving 
me alone to summon the attendance of a serv- 
ant. I ring the gate is partially opened the 
same footman looks out. 

"Who is there?" 

" The gentleman who called the other morn- 
ing. I want to see Monsieur Lemaire on urg- 
ent business." 

' ' Monsieur and madame are at supper. You 
can not see them to-night, sir. They receive 
no visitors so late in the evening." 

"But my business, I tell you, is important." 

" Well, sir, if you will give me your name 
and state your business, I will tell my master, 
but I am sure it will be useless." 

"I do not choose to do either; I must see 
him." 

" Then, monsieur, it is impossible. You must 
return in the morning." 

So saying, the servant firmly, but respectfully, 
is about to close the gate, when it is wrenched 
suddenly back, and a gauntleted hand is closed 
upon his mouth. 

"Not a word, or you are a dead man, "says 
the officer, in a low, stern voice. "Your em- 
ployers are charged with willful murder, and I 
call upon you to aid us in the discharge of our 
duty. Do you obey ?" 

The trembling varlet made a gesture of sub- 
mission, and the officer, holding a pistol to his 
head, continues : 

"Are they alone together?" 

"Yes, mon capitaine." 

"How many servants are there about the 
place?" 

"Only myself and the cook, mon capitaine. 
The rest are all in bed." 

"Where is the cook?" 

"Down in the kitchen, mon capitaine.' 11 

11 Can he give the alarm if he sees us ?" 

"Impossible, mon capitaine. The kitchen is 
at the back of the house, far enough from the 
salons." 

"Lead the way, then and mind ! One syl- 



lable of betrayal, and you have a couple of bul4 
lets through your brains." 

Scarce able to support himself for terror, the 
footman proceeds once again up the broad stair- 
case and into the drawing-room, where hangs 
the portrait by David. Barthelet, Vogelsang, 
and the soldiers have all followed noiselessly. 
The room is but half lighted, and empty. 

"They are at supper, messieurs," falters our 
guide, withdrawing a rich curtain which serves 
the purpose of a door at the farthest end of the 
apartment. "You will find them in the little 
salon at the end of the suite. Don't, messieurs, 
don't compel me to go any farther ; I dare not !" 

" Leave the fellow in charge of a gendarme, 
and go on," says Barthelet, decisively. "But 
make no noise, for your lives." 

"Stay!" I exclaim, in a hurried whisper; 

let me go first. Let me speak to them, and 
while I speak, come up. The sound of my 
voice will drown your steps ; let me go first !" 

"And me with you!" interposes Vogelsang. 

Oh, how I long to face her!" 

Barthelet shakes his head, and Jays his hand 
on Vogelsang's arm. 

"No, no," he says, "not two gentlemen. 
Monsieur Latour can go first, if he likes, though 
I don't recommend it ; but two are too many." 

With this I pass the curtain find myself in 
a second room and facing a second curtain ; be- 
yond this lies a third, and beyond the third 

The sound of voices talking loudly three or 
four lines of a wild obscene song chanted in the 
loveliest of voices and followed by a burst of 
laughter the chinking of glass and silver 
these arrest my steps, and warn me that thej 
whom I seek are separated from me only by a 
few folds of drapery. 

Looking back earnestly to the farthest salon, 
I see some dark shadows creeping through the 
curtain one after another, like the pictures cast 
by a magic lantern. There is no time to be 
lost ; I draw the hangings suddenly back, and 
surprise them surprise them at their guilty or- 
gies surprise them feasting in their boudoir] 
reveling in their bloodstained wealth, quaffing 
that pleasure-cup whose dregs are poison ! 

The room blazes with light ; the table is 
laden with wines, and fruits, and heaped-up del- 
icacies served in glittering silver ; her head re- 
clines upon his breast ; the very glass is at hh 
lips 

I stand before them in stern silence, and foi 
a moment they are dumb paralyzed motion- 
less. Therese is the first to recover courage : 
she springs to her feet ; her eyes flame with an- 
ger ; she draws herself to all her queenly height 
and confronts me. 

"Who are you, sir? How dare you intrude 
upon my privacy ? What do you want ?" 

' ' I am Paul Latour, and I come to you foi 
my brother. Where is Theophile ?" 

She quails before my words as if they were 
blows, and catches at the shoulder of her para- 
mour for support. He, too, shrinks back at thai 
name, and turns a livid face upon me. 



*/ n_ _ t 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



" Speak, woman. Where is my brother ?" 

Death-pale as she is, she bears a dauntless 
brow, and can reply haughtily. 

"I know nothing of him nor of you. I have 
told you this before, and you have presumed to 
intrude here a second time. Be gone, sir, or my 
servants shall expel you." 

" Summon your servants, if you choose ; they 
will not come." 

"Not come !" 

She glares upon me like a tigress as she re- 
peats these words, and Lemaire, stealing his 
hand along the edge of the table, strives to reach 
at a knife unperceived by me. 

"Your anger can not move, or your words 
convince me. I stand here demanding from 
you news of the man who loved you of the 
man who squandered his gold for your smiles 
who staked his honor against your blandish- 
ments whose gifts adorn your person whose 
kisses are yet warm upon your lips ! Speak, 
Delilah ! Where is he ? What have you done 
with him ?" 

"I know nothing of him care nothing for 
him nrfr for your threats either!" 

Lemaire has grasped the knife now and got 
it down by his side, and all this time there are 
faint gleams, as of steel, crossing the gloom be- 
yond the curtain, and ever drawing nearer. 

"And if I have no need to ask if I know 
all your depravity, all your falseness, all your 
crime if I know how you fled with him, robbed 
him, connived at, planned, aided ay ! aided in 
his murder " 

The word is yet on my tongue when Lemaire 
springs at my throat ! 

There is a fierce struggle a rush of many 
feet a confusion of cries ! The knife is wrench- 
ed from his hand ; the deadly grasp torn forci- 
bly away, and the miscreant lies felled and 
groveling on the floor, with half a dozen mus- 
kets at his breast ! 

The officer has his warrant in his hand. 

"Are both prisoners arrested?" he asks, look- 
ing round at the faces that fill the room. " My 
orders are to secure the persons of Alphonse 
Lemaire and Therese Vogelsang. Where is 
the woman?" 

"Where is she? Let me look at her let 



me come near her!" 
a voice trembling 



cries a voice at the door 
with suppressed hatred. 



"Where is this murderess this adultress this 
robber?" 

We look in one another's faces and make no 
reply, while Vogelsang, forcing his way to where 
Lemaire lies prisoner, keeps repeating his sav- 
age questions. 

No one can answer them. She was here but 
a moment since ; I was speaking to her, stand- 
ing within three feet of her, when Lemaire 
sprang at me with his knife! Has she sunk 
through the floor ? 

" Search the house !" says the officer, after a 
momentary pause of wondering silence. "She 
has slipped away in the scuffle. Search the 
house from top to bottom till you find her." 



In vain. The house is ransacked thorough- 
ly from attic to cellar; no cupboard, recess, 
.vardrobe, or curtain is left untried; but The- 
rese Vogelsang has utterly and mysteriously 
disappeared. 

Her husband, balked of his vengeance, rages 
hither and thither like one frantic. He foams 
at the mouth ; he offers unheard of rewards, 
which it is not in his power to redeem ; he 
raves, curses, entreats, but all in vain in vain ! 
Search as we will from midnight to dawn, the 
task is hopeless, the fugitive not to be found. 

And so, when three or four hours have been 
spent in useless investigations, we are fain to 
give it up. The officer then proceeds to affix 
his seal upon the furniture ; the servants are 
compelled to leave the place in our custody; 
windows and doors are all fast closed and lock- 
ed ; the prisoner is placed in a coach, and re- 
moved to the Con9iergerie in the Palais de Jus- 
tice ; and the house, as we look up at it from 
the road in the faint morning light, looks blank, 
melancholy, and deserted. 



CHAPTER XLI. 

OBITER DICTUM. 

BEAUTIFUL and true is that passage in the 
Prose Edda of the wild Icelandic bard, Snorri 
Sturlason, wherein Har the Lofty relates how, 
after the Twilight of the Gods and the Destruc- 
tion of the Universe, "there will arise out of 
the ocean another earth most lovely and ver- 
dant, with pleasant fields where the grain shall 
grow unsown." Thus it was when the Deluge 
swept over the world, and left it greener and 
holier ; and thus it is that we stand in the pleas- 
ant fields of after-life, amid the harvest-plenty 
of our spring labors, looking back upon the 
anxieties and tribulations of the past. 

How strange it is, this turning back to the 
contemplation of a great sorrow! Time has 
taken us by the hand and led us gently on since 
then. The dark shores of the dread land have 
faded in the distance. Ambitions, occupations, 
friends, all are changed with us. We feel 
ashamed that we can still be so happy, and 
would fain persuade ourselves that the golden 
sunbeams are less lovely in our eyes than the 
pale radiance of the lamp that lights the tomb. 
Vain self-reproaches and self-doubts ! It was 
night, and the morning, according to Nature's 
inevitable succession, has followed on its path. 
Not always, perhaps, dawns so fair a day as the 
preceding. Some roses may have faded, some 
trees have fallen in the tempest that came and 
went with the stars. Yet, when the rain de- 
scended, it nurtured seeds that might elsewise 
have perished ; and so, watered by the tears of 
our anguish, blossom the autumn flowers of life. 

Writing thus, in the seclusion of my home, 
at peace with all men, surrounded by those who 
are nearest and dearest to my heart, and dwell- 
ing, moreover, in a gentle world of dreams and 



100 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



books, I recall with awe and shuddering the 
great tragedy of my youth. 

Opposite the table where I sit in my quiet 
study hangs the portrait of a young man, of 
whom it might be said, as of Baldur the Beau- 
tiful, "so fair and dazzling is he in form and 
features that rays of light seem to issue from 
him." His lips are parted in a half smile ; he 
leans indolently against the pedestal of a sculp- 
tured figure; his eye is bright and careless ; his 
brow untouched by sorrow or study. Gazing 
up at him thus, his golden locks seem but to 
need the classic chaplet and the dropping per- 
fumes of luxurious Greece. He might be Al- 
cibiades he was The'ophile Latour. 

Let me pause let me pause for a moment 
amid the dark details of his errors and their 
punishment. Let me recall him in his beauty, 
irradiated as it now is by the light which streams 
down upon him tln-ough the brazen gates of 
eternity! He offended he expiated. It is 
the old stern tale of heavenly compensation 
the moral of the antique legend. Condemn him 
not, blame him not, judge him not too harshly, 
oh thou kind reader! This fair portrait is all 
that now remains of him this checkered chron- 
icle all the record of his deeds. Past art thou, 
my brother, like an errant and glowing meteor 
past, and remembered only by the few who 
dare still to love and pity thee, although thou 
standest before the jasper throne, and we are 
"distant in humanity." The myrtles have 
blossomed and the daisies been mown down 
many times above thy grave since thou wert 
laid in the shadow of that old belfry-tower at 
Douai, sleeping, sleeping. Ever and anon, from 
the ways of busy life and the silent paths of 
thought, I turn aside and visit thy place of sep- 
ulture. Oftener still, as at this moment, I seem 
to hear the bells ringing solemnly, and the or- 
gan pealing, and the priests chanting their mis- 
erere, as once long since ; and then I, too, lift 
up my voice in prayer and lamentation, and 

"Bid thee rest, 
And drink thy fill of pure immortal streams !" 

One other thing have I to say. We all know 
that story of the painter of old, who, in repre- 
senting the sacrifice of Iphigenia, depicted her 
father in an attitude of profound dejection, with 
his face buried in the folds of his mantle. 

And he was right. There are griefs which 
transcend the skillfullest touches of the pencil 
or pen ; and so, in imitation of a wise precedent, 
will I also draw a veil before the tearful coun- 
tenances of some of the personages of this his- 
tory. Too sacred too sacred are thy sorrows, 
wife and mother! Enough if it be said that 
the writer of these pages took upon himself the 
heavy task of acquainting them with their be- 
reavement ; that he journeyed into Brussels, and 
thence on to the old chateau in pleasant Bur- 
gundy ; that he wept with those who were deso- 
late; that he returned, after an absence of little 
more than two days, compelled, by the stern call 
of the law, to be present at the examinations 
find trial ; and, finally, that he passed through 



the city where dwelt the gentle Margaret, with- 
out having it in his power to tarry by the way, 
though never so briefly. 

This en passant, reader, as an entre acte in the 
pauses of the drama, while the scene is shifted 
and the players make ready with the mask and 
cothurnus ; or, if thou likest it better, as the 
fragment of a requiem, played while the priests 
change their broidered vestments, and the con- 
gregation sit with their missals in their hands, 
listening dreamily to the music which breathes 
out from the golden organ-pipes, like the sigh- 
ing of the evening air through the strings of an 
JEolian harp, sad, and whispering, and "softer 
than sleep." 

But methinks I hear thee say, with Christo- 
fero Sly, "'Tis a very excellent piece of work 
would 'twere done !" Patience, I beseech thee, 
during a few more pages. My story draws near 
to an end, and the curtain will fall and the lights 
be extinguished ere long. 

" And therefore herkeneth what I shall say, 
And let me tellen all my tale I pray." 



CHAPTER XLII. 

GUILTY OR NOT GUILTY. 

IT is in the old justice hall of that antique 
city of Lille which Julius Caesar founded. The 
morning is dark and raw. The privileged spec- 
tators are few, and there are some ladies in the 
galleries. The Procureur du Roi has not yet 
arrived ; the president is deep in the pages of 
his note-book ; the avocats are sorting their pa- 
pers, and the jury shuffling their feet, and whis- 
pering together, and looking impatiently toward 
the clock over the president's chair. All is silent 
and heavy, and every now and then the opening 
of some outer door admits that uneasy, continu- 
ous, indescribable sound which proceeds from a 
multitude of persons. 

Presently the clock strikes ; the Procureur du 
Roi enters and takes his seat ; there is a faint 
commotion at the farther end of the hall ; every 
head is instantly turned, and a pale, cadaverous- 
looking man, scarce able to support himself, is 
brought forward by gendarmes and placed at 
the bar. 

Strange alteration effected in so few days ! 
Lemaire that Lemaire whom I had surprised 
amid the lustiest enjoyments of life, with whom 
I had struggled, and whose strength I had but 
so lately experienced is now humble as a beat- 
en cur, and so weak as to be permitted to sit 
during his trial. His red hair and beard, un- 
shorn and neglected, hang upon his face and 
downcast eyes ; his shoulders are bent ; his head 
droops on his breast ; his hands hang listlessly 
on either side; his whole attitude and aspect 
speak dejection, cowardice, guilt. 

The Procureur du Roi rises and reads the ac- 
cusation. 

The paper is long and formal ; but the chief 
facts are these : 



MY BROTHER'S 



101 



THE ASSASSINATION OF THEOPHILE LATOUR. 

It is now some months since Theophile La- 
tour became intimate with a vocalist named 
Therese, or The'resa Vogelsang, an Austrian 
subject, then performing at Brussels. She is 
known to have encouraged his attentions, and 
to have carried on, at the same time, an intrigue 
with Alphonse Lemaire, a Frenchman, native 
of Paris, resident at Brussels, and then lessee 
of the Brussels theatre. The liberality of the 
deceased toward this woman was unbounded, 
and became the talk of all the city. Money 
and gifts were squandered hourly upon her, and 
the wealth thus obtained was shared between 
the receiver and her lover. At this stage of the 
affair, Heinrich Vogelsang, husband of Therese, 
made his appearance with an injunction granted 
by the Austrian government, which gave him 
full powers to remove, and, if necessary, arrest 
his wife above-named. To this end he con- 
sulted and entered into negotiations with Le- 
maire the manager, who, for his part, is sup- 
posed to have informed Madame Vogelsang 
upon every particular. The result was obvious, 
and the only remedy flight. Still acting the 
same double game, and interweaving it now 
with a darker purpose, she induced the deceased 
Theophile Latour to dispose of a valuable estate 
in Burgundy, to fly with her to Paris, and there 
to spend the proceeds of the sale in pleasures 
and excesses. They eloped accordingly on the 
evening of the 16th of October last chose for 
their starting-point the masked ball held at the 
Opera House, and traveled unceasingly till they 
arrived at Douai on the evening of the 17th in- 
stant, where they rested for the night. They 
left their hotel the next morning, and when at 
a sufficient distance from the house, hired a fia- 
cre which conveyed them as far as the opening 
of a certain narrow lane, on the western high 
road, where they alighted, and along which they 
proceeded. Toward three or four o'clock they 
reached a mean hamlet lying among the fields 
and lanes about seven miles west of the town, 
where they established themselves at an inn 
called the Hotel de Namur, and were met some 
few hours later by the prisoner. The pretense 
on which this meeting was arranged concealed 
a deep and artful plot. Both deceased and pris- 
oner had traveled under the name of Alphonse 
Lemaire, and, averse as the deceased appears 
always to have shown himself to the company 
of the prisoner, it seems that he submitted to it 
on this occasion for the purpose of a more skill- 
ful concealment. The ostensible plan was that 
Lemaire and Therese Vogelsang should, from 
this point, travel together into Paris, and be 
joined afterward by Latour, in order that, if in- 
quiries were made, it might be established that 
they journeyed and arrived together, which de- 
ception would have been favored by the pass- 
ports. The remote village was also chosen as 
affording a convenient place for the exchange 
of persons. All these, seen from this point of 
view, are clumsily contrived plans enough ; fea- 



sible, however, to a man blinded by passion 
and hurried on by a will superior to his own. 
Viewed from the other side, unfortunately, its 
clumsiness vanishes, and gives place to a pro- 
foundly calculated scheme. The spot was known 
to the prisoner, eminently fitted for an assas- 
sination, and far removed from high road and 
town. All was preconcerted, down to the very 
copse where the murder was to be committed 
and the body concealed. All succeeded as it 
had been ordered. On the morning of the 19th 
instant the deceased and prisoner left the inn to 
take a walk before breakfast. The former nev- 
er returned. A plausible excuse accounted for 
all, and in a few hours more the vocalist and 
the manager were on the road to Paris, where 
they arrived toward evening. A lengthened, 
tedious, and careful search, conducted by the 
detective agent, Pierre Corneille Barthelet, ac- 
companied by the brother of the deceased and 
the before-mentioned husband of Therese Vogel- 
sang, has been successful in bringing to light all 
the circumstances of this crime. The body they 
discovered concealed in a deep hollow toward 
the centre of a little wood bordering the ham- 
let. The deceased had been shot from behind, 
the ball having passed under the left shoulder- 
blade and penetrated to the heart. He must 
have expired instantaneously and without a 
struggle. The pistol with which the deed was 
effected has been discovered in a ditch not far 
from the spot. 

Such are the leading facts which preceded and 
followed the crime imputed to Alphonse Le- 
maire and The'rese Vogelsang, the latter of 
whom has escaped and not yet been apprehend- 
ed. The accusation, therefore, impeaches both 
parties, namely, Alphonse Lemaire for having 
assassinated and murdered Theophile Latour, 
and Therese Vogelsang for aiding and abetting 
in the same. 

Monsieur le President then proceeded to in- 
terrogate the prisoner. 

M. le President. "Alphonse Lemaire, rise; 
state your age and profession." 

He rose with difficulty, and almost immedi- 
ately fell back in his chair, with an appearance 
of great weakness. 

" He can not stand, so please you, M. le Pres- 
ident," said a soldier, stepping forward. "He 
has been very ill since his apprehension, and 
was brought up from Paris with difficulty." 

The president appeared satisfied with this ex- 
planation, and the examination was resumed. 

' ' Alphonse Lemaire, state your age and pro- 
fession." 

The prisoner continued to hang his head for- 
ward on his breast, and replied with a collected 
manner, and in a low but audible voice, that his 
age was thirty-seven, and his profession histri- 
onic. 

M. le President. "How long have you held 
the management of the Opera House at Brus- 
sels ?" 

Prisoner. "About three years and a half." 



102 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



M. k President. " You are a native of Paris?" 

Prisoner. l ' I was born in the Rue St. Honore, 
No. 85. My father was a manufacturer of bronze 
ornaments." 

M. le President. "At what time did you en- 
gage the services of Therese Vogelsang for your 
theatre ?" 

Prisoner. "The negotiations were conducted 
by letter. She arrived in Brussels July 5th, and 
commenced her performances the next evening." 

M. le President. "Were you cognizant of her 
connection with Monsieur Theophile Latour ?" 

Prisoner. " I knew that he admired her, and 
that she accepted gifts from him ; but the world 
is so censorious, especially to ladies of her pro- 
fession, that I attached no importance to the 
scandal of the green-room." 

M. le President. "What were the propositions 
made to you by the Herr Vogelsang?" 

Prisoner. " The Herr Vogelsang showed me 
a paper purporting to emanate from the Aus- 
trian authorities, by which he was empowered 
to remove his wife from the Brussels stage. He 
then proposed to me to suppress all knowledge 
of this paper from the lady and from Monsieur 
Latour, alleging as his reason that the family 
of that gentleman were anxious to separate him 
from her society, and to conceal from him where 
and by what means she had disappeared. To 
insure this the more effectually, I was to pur- 
chase the silence of all parties concerned in the 
affair, and to receive two thousand francs for my 
own co-operation." 

M. le President. "And you agreed to this?" 

Prisoner. " I agreed to it, M. le President, but 
"only to lull their suspicions ; for Madame Vo- 
gelsang had honored me with much of her con- 
fidence, and I was disposed to save her if I 
could." 

M. le President. "And you betrayed all?" 

Prisoner. "Yes, M. le President." 

M. le President. " State the result." 

Prisoner. ' The communication was made to 
me only three days before the bal masque, which 
I had fixed for the 16th of October. It was evi- 
dent to us both that flight was the only resource, 
and equally evident that a better opportunity 
than the fete could not be chosen. We arranged, 
therefore, to leave Brussels on the evening of the 
16th, and we did so, between twelve and one 
o'clock." 

M. le President. "Do you mean to say that 
you accompanied Therese Vogelsang from Brus- 
sels?" 

Prisoner. "I do. Though we had less than 
three days to prepare for the journey, I contrived 
to put all my affairs in order, to provide pass- 
ports, and leave every thing under the manage- 
ment of a confidential secretary." 

M. le President. " And in what manner did 
you travel?" 

Prisoner. "We posted part of the way, and 
part we traveled by railway." 

M. le President. "Do you deny that Mon- 
sieur Latour accompanied Therese Vogelsang to 
Douai ?" 



Prisoner. "I traveled with her all the way." 

M. le President. "Did you spend one night 
at a little hamlet near Douai, and there meet 
M. Latour?" 

Prisoner. " No, M. le President. We trav- 
eled without stopping any where. I never saw 
Monsieur Latour more than twice or thrice in 
my life." 

M. le President. "This cigar-case, marked 
with the initials T. L., was found in the car- 
riage abandoned on the road by Madame Vogel- 
sang. How do you account for its discovery ?" 

Prisoner (hesitating). "That that cigar- 
case, M. le President ? It was left, I believe, 
by M. Latour at the house of madame. She 
gave it to me as a present." 

M. le President. "And this note, directed to 
M. Latour, and dropped by Madame Vogelsang 
on leaving the ball, what do you say to that ?" 

The prisoner here asked to see the note, and 
read it attentively. 

Prisoner. " I know nothing of it. I believe 
it to be a forgery." 

M. le President. "Here is a fragment of blue 
cloth discovered clinging to a bramble in the 
wood where the body lay concealed. This frag- 
ment corresponds with a torn place in one of 
your coats found in Paris. Have you any thing 
to say respecting it ?" 

The prisoner shook his head, and declined 
making any farther replies. 

M. le President. "Enough. Let the witness- 
es be called." 

The first witness examined was Barthelet ; 
the second, Heinrich Vogelsang ; the third, my- 
self. All that we knew is known already to the 
reader. Our statements coincided with each 
other word for word. Barthelet delivered his 
testimony concisely and unpretendingly ; Vogel- 
sang, with a sullen and subdued resentment 
breaking forth every now and then against his 
wife, sternly, briefly, comprehensively. 

Ever since the night on which Lemaire had 
been apprehended and Therese had escaped, Vo- 
gelsang was an altered man. He spoke less 
than ever ; wandered out for hours at a time, 
and returned to our hotel without saying where 
he had been ; was frequently so absorbed in 
thought as to hear, see, and notice nothing ; 
seemed to eat, even, as it were, mechanically, 
and more for the purpose of recruiting his phys- 
ical strength than from any impulse of hunger 
or enjoyment. One would have said, on ob- 
serving his settled gaze, the abstraction of his 
speech and attitudes, and the- self-withdrawn in- 
ner look of his countenance, that he had some 
fixed idea upon which his thoughts fed contin- 
uallyfrom which he could be roused only by 
an effort, and to which he returned the moment 
that his attention was released. 

Yet there were occasions upon which a single 
inadvertent word, such as " flight," or " discov- 
ery," would rouse him as from a deep sleep, and 
then he was keen and watchful as a hare all 
eye, and ear, and eager investigation. Some- 
times I used to think that his dominant purpose 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



103 



was the patient searching after the missing crim- 
nal, and that he had resolved to devote life and 
energies to the working out of his darling venge- 
ance. In this suspicion I was strengthened by 
the evident impatience with which he obeyed 
the business of the trial ; the restless way in 
which he counted every day, and hour, and min- 
ute of his absence ; the strong reluctance with 
which he left Paris, and the eager rapidity with 
which he hastened from Lille as soon as his 
share in the trial was concluded. 

And this reminds me that I have wandered 
from my subject too long. 

The examination of witnesses was tedious and 
minute. They were nearly a hundred in num- 
ber, and comprised toll and post-house keepers, 
postillions, ostlers, inn-keepers, custom-house of- 
ficers, and servants without end. This part of 
the trial lasted two days and a half. 

I believe that I have not forgotten a syllable 
of the evidence, a glance or movement of the 
prisoner, or the merest incident of that terrible 
event. Yet, thank Heaven ! I seldom think of 
it. When my attention is drawn to it, as in 
transcribing this narrative, it comes back to me 
clearly, circumstantially, and sharply defined, as 
if all had happened yesterday. Still, upon 
subject so important, I will not trust the tablets 
of my memory. The subjoined resume of some 
of the evidence elicited from the witnesses ] 
copy from the leading journal of the day, pre. 
served by my friend Seabrook, and by him len 
to me for this purpose. 

'THE TRAGEDY NEAR DOTJAI SECOND DAY. 

"The most remarkable testimony, viz., tha 
of Barthelet, Vogelsang, and Latour (frere), hav 
ing been gone through yesterday, and given in 
our evening edition, we proceed to relate a por 
tion of the facts obtained this morning from a 
host of minor witnesses, of whom there were toe 
many called to be fully reported in our pages. 
" Jean - Simon Carpeaux, and Antoinette hi 
wife, depose that on the morning of the 17th 
inst. a carriage corresponding to the descrip 
tion previously given passed through the Porte 
d'Anderlecht, Brussels. Believe it to have beer 
about one o'clock in the morning. Are sur< 
that the carriage contained a lady and gentle 
man, and that they drove fast. On being aske 
if the gentleman in question and the prisone 
were the same individual, Antoinette declare 
herself positive that they were not. Said tha 
the gentleman whom she saw was fair and hanc 
some. Husband not so certain. 

" Durand Stumph, toll-keeper, deposes that 
dark green chariot drove swiftly past befor 
dawn. Is very deaf and old, and does not re 
member whether there was more than one per 
son inside, or if it were a gentleman or lady. 

" Jerome Daumet and Amedee Coquart, posti 
lions, depose to having driven the fugitive; 
Are certain that prisoner is not the same man 
The other was much better looking, and a gen 
tleman every inch. The lady was very han 
some. They talked some language, when speak 



ng to each other, which witnesses could not un- 
erstand. Are sure that it was neither French 
or Flemish. Thought it might be German, 
y the sound. The gentleman, however, spoke 
Trench like a native. 

"Jacques Chappuy, milk -salesman, deposes 
hat he is in the habit of selling milk in the vil- 
age of Jemappes. Was serving the post-mas- 
er's wife while the dark green chariot was stand- 
ig before the door. The lady expressed a wish 
or some of the milk, and on a glass being hand- 
id out to him from the house, he served it him- 
elf to her at the carriage-window. She was 
he handsomest woman he had ever seen. Lift- 
ed her veil to drink, and her hands were all over 
rings. Did not observe the gentleman particu- 
arly. Could not take his eyes off the lady, she 
,vas so beautiful. Can not be sure if prisoner be 
or be not the same person as her companion. 

" Felix Pradier, post-master, deposes that the 
dark green chariot, now lying in his yard, was 
[eft there by a gentleman and lady a little after 
noon on the 17th of October. The wheels were 
torn to pieces by the roads. It often happens 
so with private carriages on the roads in Bel- 
gium. They seemed, both of them, very much 
annoyed, especially the lady. Were forced to 
take one of his (Felix Pradier's) post-carriages. 
They had no luggage with them. Witness 
searched the carriage carefully after they were 
gone, but found nothing in it except a bag with 
some biscuits, which he left there. Was sur- 
prised when the other gentleman found the ci- 
gar-case. Could not see the lady's face very 
plainly through her veil, but thought the gentle- 
man handsome. The prisoner was certainly not 
the same man nothing like him. The lady and 
gentleman, when conversing together, talked 
German. On being asked how he knew that it. 
was German, he (Pradier) replied that his wife 
was a native of Kehl, and had taught him a lit- 
tle of the language sufficient to convince him 
that they spoke it, but not sufficient to enable 
him to comprehend the sense of what they said. 

"Camille Dumont, clerk in the passport office, 
Quievrain, deposes to having inspected both pass- 
ports now produced. Did not remark that they 
bore the same name till his attention was drawn 
to the fact. Remembers nothing of the parties 
themselves. All was perfectly en regie, or he 
should remember something about it. 

"Edouard Lecroix, chefde bureau, passport of- 
fice, Quievrain, deposes that he inspected both 
passports, and countersigned the same. Took 
no notice of the first, or of the parties them- 
selves. Grew interested, however, in the mat- 
ter after his interview with Vogelsang and La- 
tour (frere). Observed, and was surprised, 
when, on the afternoon of the second day, an- 
other passport bearing the name of Alphonse 
Lemaire was submitted to him for examination. 
Took particular notice -of bearer. Is certain 
that the prisoner is the same person. Could 
identify him any where. Did not put any ques- 
tions to prisoner. Thought it best, should there 
be any thing wrong, not to put him on his guard. 



104 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Had made an especial entry of the circumstance 
in his private note-book. (Witness here handed 
his note-book to the president.) 

" Philip van Comp, post-boy, deposes that he 
drove a lady and gentleman from Quievrain to 
Valenciennes between two and three o'clock in 
the afternoon of the 17th of October. Is a na- 
tive of Flanders. Not speaking French, was 
examined through an interpreter. The lady 
was very handsome, and the gentleman paid 
him in gold. Could not remember the latter 
with any distinctness, but is certain that prison- 
er is not the same. 

" Jacques T/iayer, Henri Rude, Hippolyte 
Cogniet, Baptiste Frette, and several others, all 
postillions or post-masters, were next examined. 
They all deposed to having driven the fugitives, 
or supplied them with horses, from Valenciennes 
to Douai. No matters of especial interest distin- 
guished this part of the proves, saving the com- 
plete establishment of every link in the chain 
of evidence. The case was then adjourned till 
the following day." 

" THE TRAGEDY NEAR DODAI THIRD DAT. 

" The examination of witnesses resumed. 

li Francois Roger, hotel-keeper, Douai, de- 
poses that two persons answering to the general 
description arrived at his establishment between 
six and seven o'clock on the evening of October 
17th, dined and slept there, and left the next 
morning. Has very little recollection of the 
parties in question. Thinks the gentleman was 
fair. Is sure he never saw the prisoner before. 
Believes that the lady wore a veil. Remembers 
nothing farther, except that they drank a good 
deal of Champagne and paid liberally. 

" Claudine Roger, wife of the above, deposes 
that the gentleman was very handsome not in 
the least like the prisoner. In all respects cor- 
roborates the testimony of her husband. 

" Jeannette Thouret, chambermaid, deposes 
that she conducted the said travelers to their 
apartments. Is a servant in the Hotel de Flan- 
dres, kept by the couple Roger. Could not see 
the lady's face through her veil, which'was very 
thick. She kept it down always. The gentle- 
man was very handsome. She (Jeannette 
Thouret) had never seen a man so handsome. 
Could have looked at him for hours. Is cer- 
tain that prisoner is not the man. Thinks the 
supposition absurd. This man is hideous in 
comparison. Only saw them twice, namely, on 
their arrival and departure. They left the 
house arm in arm together, and the gentleman 
gave her (Jeannette Thouret) a five-franc piece 
on the staircase. 

" Alexandre TJiomas and Napoleon Barlet, 
waiters, depose to having waited upon the trav- 
elers during their breakfast and dinner. The 
lady kept her veil always down ; but her hands 
were covered with jewels. They tried to see 
her face, but could not. They (the travelers) 
would not suffer them (the waiters) to remain 
long in attendance, but rang when they wished 
the courses removed. Are sure that prisoner is 



not the same person. The lady and gentleman 
spoke a foreign language to each other. Thought 
it was English from the intonation, or perhaps 
German. Are not acquainted with either lan- 
guage. 

" Etienne Blanchet, hackney-coach-driver, de- 
poses that he drove a lady and gentleman an- 
swering to the general description from close to 
the University as far as the opening of a narrow 
lane about two miles west of the town. They 
paid him more than his fare, and he saw them 
walk up the lane very slowly arm in arm. Is 
sure that prisoner is not the gentleman. The 
lady was very beautiful, and threw her veil up 
after they were clear of the town. Was sur- 
prised at the time to see them go by such a de- 
serted path, but thought they might be lovers 
and liked to be alone. Asked them, under this 
persuasion, if he should wait to take them back; 
but the gentleman only shook his head and 
bade him (Etienne Blanchet) drive back again 
to Douai." 

Here follows a detailed account of the exam- 
ination of the host and hostess of the little Ho- 
tel de Namur, and also of the boy Jean, all of 
which I omit, having already related it in my 
narrative. I resume the thread of the trial at 
the testimony of Achille Gaudin, the driver of 
& fiacre, whose vehicle they seem to have met 
on leaving the hamlet next day, and re-emerg- 
ing upon the public road. 

"Achille Gaudin, hackney-coach-driver, de- 
poses that, as he was returning from Douai to 
Vitry, where he resides, he overtook a lady and 
gentleman upon the road, walking. They 
turned round and engaged him instantly. He 
drove them to the railway station at Vitry, 
where they entered, and where he saw them 
waiting before the ticket bureau. Can not be 
sure of the date, but thinks it must have been 
about the time stated. Is perfectly certain that 
prisoner is the same person. Knew him at once, 
and could have sworn to him any where. Can't 
say much for his liberality. He (the prisoner) 
bargained closely enough about the fare ; and 
he (Achille Gaudin) afterward found that one 
of the francs in which he was paid was a coun- 
terfeit. The lady was handsome, but looked 
pale and ill. They scarcely spoke to each other 
at all, and when they did it was always in 
French. Does not remember to have heard 
them say any thing in particular. 

"Here the examination of witnesses termin- 
ated. Monsieur Lebas, Procureur du Roi, sup- 
ported the accusation. Messieurs Rebout and 
Fayot pleaded for the defense. 

"After a long and able debate, sustained 
with equal learning and vigor on both sides, M. 
le President summed up an impartial and elo- 
quent resume of the entire case. The jury then 
retired into the salle des deliberations. The fol- 
lowing question was submitted to their judg- 
ment on retiring from the hall : 

"'Alphonse Lemaire, ci-devant 'manager of 
the Brussels Opera, is he or is he not guilty of 
having, on the 19th morning of October last, 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



105 



18 , purposely and voluntarily murdered The- 
ophile Latour, of Latour-sur-Creil, Burgundy?" 

" At this exciting moment, the crowd out- 
side, which had been gathering and increasing 
during the whole morning, poured suddenly and 
irresistibly into the hall. A great number of 
ladies (many more than had been present upon 
the two previous clays) filled the galleries. The 
mass of expectants who had been prevented in 
time from following the rest, gave forth an im- 
patient murmur, like the roaring of the sea ; 
and the armed force, impossible as they had 
found it to exclude the public, were scarcely 
able to maintain any degree of order. 

"The jury returned at a quarter past four 
o'clock P.M. and resumed their seats, when the 
foreman, on request of M. le President, rose, 
and placing his hands, according to custom, 
upon his heart, replied, 

" ' Upon my honor and my conscience, before 
God and before men, the declaration of the jury 
is Yes; the accused is guilty.' 

"The prisoner was then brought in, pale, al- 
most insensible, his whole form drooping, mo- 
tionless, and dejected, like that of a man with- 
out hope or fortitude. 

"The decision of the jury was then read to 
him, and he was asked if he had any thing to 
say. He seemed neither to hear nor compre- 
hend, and after a silence of several minutes the 
sentence of condemnation was passed, and this 
terrible sentence read aloud from the pages of 
the Code Penal : 

" 'All condemned to death are to be beheaded.' 

" The commotion at this point was immense. 
A simultaneous cry, which might almost be des- 
ignated as a yell of exultation, filled the hall, 
and, communicating itself to the mass beyond, 
effectually stopped the proceedings for several 
minutes. 

"The wretched criminal heard all with the 
same apparent listlessness and indifference, bnt, 
on being removed from the dock, was found to 
have fainted, and was carried away by the 
guards in a condition of insensibility. 

"And thus terminated one of the most re- 
markable trials which we remember to have re- 
corded in our columns. Seldom has a crime 
b3cn planned with more sagacity, or executed 
more craftily and remorselessly. No precaution 
that could have availed was omitted ; and as it 
was conceived, so was this hideous drama en- 
acted. The impression upon the public mind 
has been terrible and profound, and it is only to 
be regretted that the murderer's accomplice (a 
demon of beauty and sin, to the full as culpable 
as himself) should have escaped. We will trust, 
however, that the place of her retreat may be 
ere long discovered. The police are on the 
search in all directions, and it is confidently 
hoped that the ends of justice may not long be 
eluded. 

"The execution, it is understood, will take 
place in about a fortnight, this crime having 
been the first upon the Assize-lists for the pres- 
ent session." 



CHAPTER XLIII. 

MISTS DISPERSING. 

I MUST go back to the evening of the first day 
of the trial. 

It was dark, and I sat, sadly enough, beside 
a blazing fire in a small sitting-room in the Ho- 
tel de 1'Europe, at Lille. A dull lamp stood 
by my elbow, and some untouched coffee upon 
the table. My thoughts were very gloomy 
"deepe, darke, uneasy, dolefull, comfortlesse." 
The past was terrible and tragic ; the future 
crossed and perplexed by many doubts. 

To escape from the remembrance of. all that 
had filled my mind for the last few weeks, I 
found myself turning with an irresistible ten- 
derness toward the image of my gentle Marga- 
ret : 

u O sweet pale Margaret, 

O rare pale Margaret, 
What lit your eyes with tearful power, 
Like moonlight on a falling shower? 
Who lent you, love, your mortal dower 
Of pensive thought and aspect pale, 
Youj- melancholy sweet and frail, 
As perfume of the cuckoo-flower?" 

I dwelt, with a satisfaction the more exquisite 
since it contrasted so strongly with the suffering 
through which I had lately passed, upon that 
singularly calm and lovely nature that capaci- 
ty of endurance and enjoyment that patient 
courage that love of knowledge that rapidity 
and tenacity of apprehension that childish 
self-abandonment to the full luxury of simple 
pleasures, all and each of which unfolded them- 
selves by slow degrees from the outward reserve 
of her disposition. 

It was as if her mind were some charmed 
volume, whose silver clasps resist the merely 
curious hand, but yield to the touch of lover or 
friend ! Fair and pleasant are its pages with- 
in; inscribed with gracious thoughts and im- 
ages, and pious hymns, and fragments of stories 
beautiful and wise ; illuminated, moreover, with 
borderings of flowers, and pictures of the knight- 
ly Gothic times, and forms of saints and angels 
with folded hands and crowns of golden glory. 

DrSaming thus, and watching the pictures in 
the fire, I suffered time to pass on unnoticed. 
It was so pleasant to think of her to recall her 
words and gestures, and the memory of her face. 
Yet 

"How, in thy twilight, Doubt, at each unknown 
Dim shape, the superstitious Love will start ; 
How Hope itself will tremble at its own 
Light shadow on the heart ! 

Ah ! if she love me not ! 
" Well, I will know the worst, and leave the wind 

To drift or drown the venture on the wave ; 
Life has two friends in grief itself most kind- 
Remembrance and the Grave 
Mine, if she love me not !" 

Alas ! these doubts and weary changes, they 
overshadow life like a dark dream. 

Suddenly a slow footfall on the stairs, and a 
hand upon the door, roused me sharply from my 
reverie. It was Vogelsang. 

He looked more wretched and haggard than 
ever, and, walking up to the other side of the 
fireplace, sat down moodily without speech or 



106 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



greeting. He did not even remove his hat, but 
stared into the fire with a stern, sullen counte- 
nance, and sighed heavily. 

I found myself in no humor to interrupt his 
strange mood or open the conversation, so I 
leaned back and looked at him. 

What a singular face it was ! Seen by the 
dim conflicting lights of fire and lamp, how pale, 
and worn, and prematurely old ! There was a 
delicacy, too, in the outline of the features, and 
a certain stamp of youth yet lingering round 
the eyes and forehead that interested me a set- 
tled purpose in the furrowed brow, the massive 
jaw, the square short chin, that riveted my at- 
tention, and told of strong will and passions. I 
wondered what might be the story of his past 
life a remarkable story it must be, a story of 
storms, and trials, and endeavors, by the ravage 
of its progress through the years ! 

"I return to Paris to-morrow morning," he 
said at length, but musingly and to himself, as 
it were, with his eyes fixed on the fire. 

"So soon? Will you not remain till this 
business is concluded?" 

He shook his head. 

"Cui bonof My evidence is given. I can 
be of no use. I must go back to to my 
task." 

' ' Uselessly. Where the police fail, how can 
you hope to succeed?" 

He looked round sharply and suddenly; then, 
resuming his former ^attitude, but speaking in a 
slower and more resolute tone, 

" I must find her," he said. "I have sworn 
it. It is all I live for now, and though I perish 
for it, body and soul, I will have my vengeance." 

"Retribution is already at work," I replied, 
"and punishment is for the law." 

He appeared not to hear me, and, after a 
pause, resumed his former subject. 

"Yes," he said, "I return to-morrow; and 
in the fulfillment of one task, I leave others un- 
accomplished. How soon will this trial end?" 

" In a few days, I suppose perhaps three or 
four." 

"And then what shall you do ?" 

"What shall I do? I I can scarcely tell. 
Why do you ask me ?" 

" Shall you go back to Brussels?" 

"Yes, I suppose so on my way to Bur- 
gundy." 

"Then you mean to live upon your estates 
again?" 

"Perhaps." 

Another long silence, which I interrupt by 
saying, 

"It is strange, Herr Vogelsang, that you 
should make these inquiries. I never knew 
you interested in my proceedings before." 

"True. So you will return through Bel- 
gium?" 

I nodded. 

Vogelsang rose abruptly, and took three or 
four turns up and down the room, like a man 
who weighs some subject in his mind and can 
arrive at no decision. Presently he stopped ; 



his features assumed a look of resolve, and he 
turned toward me. 

"I have a sister in Brussels," he said. 

"Indeed!" 

" The only creature I have to care for in the 
world the only one who cares for me." 

I became interested. 

"I never heard that you had a sister," I said, 
kindly. ' ' Tell me something about her. Can 
I do any thing for you in Brussels ?" 

"That is what I. was about to ask you. I 
should wish some things told to her something 
of this this bad business. I could not write it 
down on paper, and she ought to know. And 
there is a portrait which I should like her to 
have." Here he took a small morocco case 
from his pocket and laid it down gently on the 
table. "It it is eur mother's." 

There was a softness in his voice, a moisture 
in his eyes, that I had never seen there before. 
I felt touched. 

"It shall be done as you desire," I said. 
"Tell me all that I have to say." 

He sighed heavily, and covered his eyes with 
his hand. 

"Tell her how all has ended. Something 
of the past she knows, but not all. I could not 
bring myself to relate to her the details of that 
degrading story. Do it as delicately as you 
can, and and say that I don't think I fear 
that is, she may never see me again." 

" What do you mean ?" 

' ' No matter. Will you do it ?" 

"I have promised." 

" But I have not said all. There is some- 
thing more something which which I can 
scarcely take the liberty of asking from you." 

"Proceed." 

He hesitated, seemed about to speak, yet 
checked himself more than once, and at length 
continued : 

" My sister is younger than myself. We 
have been very much apart ever since our child- 
hood. If I tell you something of our story, you 
will be better able to help me ; at all events, you 
may be less likely to refuse what I am going to 
request." 

' ' Pray do so. It is exactly what I would have 
asked you, if I had dared." 

He passed his hand fondly over the portrait- 
case, turned toward the fire, and, resuming his 
former musing attitude, began : 

"I will presume that you remember all I told 
you once before on the night I first addressed 
you in Brussels. How I married in compliance 
with an old family agreement, being, at the 
time, little more than a boy. How I yielded to 
my father's entreaties married, and, at last, 
loved her. How she wronged, robbed, fled me 
left me poor, broken-hearted, and dishonored ! 
Yes, you know all this no use to dwell upon 
it. My mother was was living at the time of 
my marriage, and, thank Heaven ! she died be- 
fore a year had passed (before I was made reck- 
less and a wanderer), leaving my father broken- 
hearted for her loss, and one little girl just six 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



107 



years old. That was eleven years ago. She is | deep flush crossed his sallow cheek ; he rose 



now seventeen, and I am thirty. Thirty ! Alas ! 
I both feel and look many years older. When 
when Therese became infamous, I left Vienna 
and my accursed home. I roamed from city to 
city, from land to land, in the vain search for a 
peace that was fled. From Germany to Italy, 
Switzerland, France, I wandered, and at last 
reached England, where I spent the last two 
years and a half. I procured a mean employ- 
ment in a solicitor's office, and so contrived to 
eke out a subsistence, which, wretched though it 
was, occupied my time and thoughts, and ren- 
dered me a trifle less miserable than I had been 
since my my voluntary separation from father, 
sister, and home. Besides, though I had no rel- 
atives there, and should not have known them 
if I had, England was my native country, and I 
liked" 

"Your native country, Herr Vogelsang!" I 
exclaimed. "Are you not a Viennese an 
Austrian subject?" 

He shook his head. 

" She was Austrian, but my family is English." 

"Yet your name?" 

"The name," he said, "is one which she 
chose to assume on returning to the stage seven 
or eight months ago. It is not mine or hers." 

"And, pardon me, she acted before you mar- 
ried her?" 

* "It washer profession her innate vocation 
from childhood. My father and I were violin- 
players in the orchestra at the Royal Opera. 
We left England when I was scarcely ten years 
of age, before Margaret was born " 

"Margaret!" 

I had sprang to my feet at the sound of that 
name : my heart beat wildly ; I trembled from 
head to foot. Margaret ! 

He looked up, amazed at my agitation, and 
replied, 

"Yes, Margaret my sister." 

It was all clear to me now ; there could be 
no mistake about it ; the mist was dissolving be- 
fore my eyes, and I dared not trust myself to 
follow the chain of hopes and guesses that ran, 
like an electric current, through my mind. 

"Your name is Fletcher!" I cried, scarce 
able to articulate. "Your name is Fletcher !" 

He started. 

" How did you know that?" 

"Tell me in pity tell me !" 

" Yes, my name is Fletcher Frank Fletcher." 

"Thank God ! thank God !" It was all that 
I could say. 

I sank back, in my agitation, into the chair 
from whence I had risen. The tears thronged 
to my eyes. Oh, dear, dear Margaret ! 

My companion was almost dumb with sur- 
prise. 

"What do you know of me or of Margaret?" 
he asked. 

I answered his question with another. 

"Did not your father die at Ems in the sum- 
mer-time of brain fever ?" 

Now he, too, was suddenly enlightened ; a 



and extended his hand to me, for the first time. 

"I know you now," he said, warmly. "I 
wish that I had known you from the first. You 
were my father's friend you are Margaret's 
protector. I thank' you." 

He seemed quite overcome. Then, taking the 
portrait from the table, he opened and placed it 
in my hands. 

"My mother and hers," he said, falteringlv. 
" Do you think it like her ?" 

I could scarcely refrain from pressing it to my 
lips ; but the presence of her brother, and a cer- 
tain awe which I am unable to define, restrained 
me. It was Margaret herself, only a shade fair- 
er and more blooming, and dressed in the fash- 
ion of some twenty years ago. The same calm 
forehead the same sweet mouth the same 
dark, thoughtful, earnest eyes ! 

There was a question trembling on my lips 
a question which I longed, yet dared not to ask. 
At length, after many eiforts, I ventured. 

"You saw Margaret, of course, when you 
were in Brussels ?" 

" Only twice." 

" Once at night in the park?" 

"Yes, once in the park, and once at the 
school. You know I kept out of sight, as much 
as possible, during the daytime." 

' ' And in the park, that night, Margaret was 
speaking to you of me you were urging her to 
concealment. Was it not so ?" 

"Yes yes. How do you know this ?' ? 

"I overheard you. I was in the next walk, 
and only separated from you by a hedge. Oh ! 
had I but known all this before, what a weight 
of grief it would have spared me !" 

He looked up at me sharply and inquiringly, 
but made no reply. 

"And you gave her a ring, did you not?" 
(I was determined to have it all cleared now.) 

"Yes," he said, very gravely, "I gave her a 
hair ring which had been our mother's. That 
and the portrait were both mine, and I had al- 
ways intended to give one of them to Margaret, 
when she was of an age to value the relic. I 
left her an infant I found her a woman ; and 
I performed my promise. She had but to look 
in her mirror for our mother's portrait ; so I 
gave her the ring, and kept the miniature. She 
will have both now." 

"But why do you part with the likeness?" 

A dark shade passed over his countenance 
his very voice changed. 

"I have devoted myself," he said, gloomily, 
"to the execution of a task. I will have an 
eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth justice, 
even justice, dispassionately weighed and meas- 
ured. I shall not suffer vengeance to mislead 
me ; but, once get her into my power, I will let 
her taste a cup to the full as bitter as that which 
she forced upon me. It shall be meted her, drop 
for drop, as it was meted to me. I will see her 
sufferings I will be inflexible, pitiless, unwaver- 
ing as time itself. In the working out of my 
plan, I bid adieu to the past and to the future. 



108 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Neither the pleasures nor pains that have been 
shall sway me one hair's breadth. I detach my- 
self from life from its ties from its remem- 
brances from its hopes ; and I go forth alone 
in the wide world, seeking but one living being, 
and seeking that one with a deep and deadly 
hate which is all the more a hate, and a bitter 
one, in so far as it is yet leavened by an inerad- 
icable wild passion of jealousy and love." 

"And what, in mercy's name, do you purpose 
doing ?" 

"I know not. I have not fashioned it out 
yet myself. Be it, however, when and, what it 
may, I feel that I shall not long survive it, if 
at all. For years I have borne within me the 
seeds of a disease which knows no cure ; a sud- 
den and violent excitement would probably be, 
at any moment, my death-warrant ; and I know 
that the fulfillment of my revenge will herald in 
my closing scene of life. Till then I am re- 
solved to live. But enough of this. I return 
to Paris by dawn to-morrow, and you will un- 
dertake to deliver this portrait (the only wealth 
that I possess) to my little Margaret in Brus- 
sels." 

" Most faithfully. But there was something 
else which you were about to request from me, 
and of which we have since lost sight. What 
was it ?" 

A grim smile flitted over his face. 

' ' It related," said he, ' ' to yourself. I had no 
opportunity of seeing Margaret's unknown pro- 
tector, and I felt desirous to know something 
more of his character and position. In fact, I 
was going to ask you to discover all this for me 
to ascertain the particulars of his family con- 
nections, his age and prospects, and to sift his 
reputation to the bottom. I met Margaret, as 
I have told you, but twice, and both interviews 
were so brief, so anxious, so agitated, that I 
learned nothing more than that a Monsieur 
Paul had been a friend to our father, and had 
attended his death-bed ; that Margaret had been 
recommended to his care ; that he was very rich, 
and benevolent, and good ; that he had made 
her position in the school more comfortable and 
independent ; and that he was teaching her to 
draw. All this I heard in fewer words than I 
have repeated, and no more. To me you were 
Monsieur Paul, and I even believed that to be 
your surname. You see, I was about to request 
from you a troublesome and an important serv- 
ice." 

"Nothing more than I would have done for 
you, Mr. Fletcher, were it not, fortunately, un- 
necessary. Of my family and rank you have 
heard sufficient upon the trial this day, and I 
rejoice to have it in my power to ask her broth- 
er's sanction before removing Margaret from the 
school where she is now placed, to my own res- 
idence in Burgundy. It is a step which I have 
long wished to take. My mother will receive 
her as if she were her own child ; and I promise 
you, in her name and my own, that nothing 
which can add to her happiness, or her mental 
culture, shall be neglected." 



Fletcher colored up again, and hesitated for 
several minutes before he made any reply. 

"I appreciate your generosity, sir," he said, 
at length, "and I thank you for it. I could 
wish that my sister were were less dependent 
on your bounty ; but I have nothing, and my 
path lies far from her. It must be as you wish 
it is to her advantage. I have, God knows ! 
no right to mar her fortunes by my pride. I 
thank you, sir." 

Hereupon he relapsed into his old stern, si- 
lent mood, and stared, as before, into the fire. 
Observing this, I hazarded one or two remarks, 
which he appeared not to hear or notice, but 
moved his lips now and then, as if speaking 
dumbly to himself, and shook his head mourn- 
fully in reply. 

Thus a long time passed by, and the time- 
piece in the room struck ten o'clock. He start- 
ed, rose hurriedly, and with the words " Good- 
night, farewell," moved abruptly toward the 
door. 

I seized him by the arm. 

"You are not going thus?" I exclaimed. 
"Leave me, at least, some address by which a 
letter might find you, if necessary." 

He looked at me with a sort of dreamy sur- 
prise. 

"An address!" he replied. "An address! 
I am homeless. I shall wander till I find her, 
though it be to the ends of the earth. How 
can I give you an address ?" 

"Then, at least, you will promise to write?" 

He sighed and looked down irresolutely. 

"For Margaret's sake! Stay! here is my 
card. I will write my own direction upon it 
' Chateau de Latour, Latour-sur-Creil, Burgun- 
dy.' This will always find me, and Margaret 
also. See, how easily you can do this ! Sure- 
ly, for "your sister's sake, you will promise so 
small a thing." 

He stretched out his hand for the card, but 
made no reply. 

I glanced at his threadbare coat, his worn and 
haggard countenance, his thin, yellow hand a 
rapid thought flashed across my mind I turned 
aside and wrapped the card in a couple of bank- 
notes before I gave it to him. 

A peculiar expression passed over his face ; 
he closed his hand over the card, and placed it 
in his waistcoat pocket ; turned to leave the 
room hesitated again lingered looked back 
went out suddenly, and so parted from me 
without another word. 

It struck me at the moment, and I have often 
wondered since, that he was aware of what I 
had done, and yet was too poor to refuse, and 
too proud to acknowledge the gift. 

Poor Fletcher ! I never saw him again. 



CHAPTER XLIV. 

COSMORAMAS. 

As I left it in the gentle spring-time, so I 
find it in the still, bleak, sad November season. 
I stand in my own Gothic library again stand 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



109 



with the lifted curtain in my hand, looking upon 
the shadowy Apostles ranged on either side 
upon the recesses filled with books of poetry and 
learning upon the silver lamp with its ame- 
thyst globe, swinging softly to and fro in the 
gloom, like a censer in an unseen hand. 

There stands my chair, as though I had risen 
from it but an hour since there my reading- 
desk and paper-case. The pen lies in the stand, 
but the ink has dried away, and the peri has 
rusted. 

Slowly, almost doubtfully, I pass along be- 
tween those colossal forms to the farthest end 
of the room, where I withdraw the heavy cur- 
tains, and look out into the night. 

I have done this almost mechanically; yet, 
in one brief instant, a torrent of recollections 
rush over me strange recollections of a warm 
passion, now cold and past of a still, starry 
night in May, when the yellow moon hung low 
above the trees, and the nightingales recorded 
in the forest of that almost forgotten moment 
when I first saw and loved AdrienneLachapelle ! 

And now, how great the change ! The moon 
is there, but her light is blue and cold ; yonder 
black shadow is the leafless forest ; the nightin- 
gales have fled long since; all is bare, and 
blank, and stern in the wide landscape. 

And within ? Ah me ! the change within is 
yet greater. 

Sighing, I drop the curtains and exclude the 
sullen view. Yonder lies my neglected atelier. 
Shall I enter? A feeling which is almost that 
of shame restrains me. I hesitate. At last I 
overcome it and go in. 

There has been a gentle hand at work here 
also. I had half expected to find every thing 
as I had left it on the last terrible day, and it is 
a relief to me to see all traces of my fury dis- 
appeared. Easels, furniture, lay-figures, all are 
ranged about the room in unartistic order. My 
sketches have been pinned against the wall. 
Some of my finished paintings are framed, and 
hang in the best situations. Even the Medicean 
Venus, which I ruthlessly shattered in my un- 
reasoning passion, has been replaced. 

On yonder easel, however, a picture has been 
left, as if awaiting the last touches of my pen- 
cil. Half suspecting, half dreading what it may 
be, I compel myself to cross over and examine 
it. As I thought! Cathedral, and penitent, 
and shadowy aisles the last and most signifi- 
cant of my labors! I gaze upon it long and 
very earnestly, and then, almost sadly, I turn 
the canvas to the wall and leave the room. 

'Tis a dead past and a dead love ; peace be to 
them ! Forward, forward into the pleasant fu- 
ture, made beautiful by the vision of another 
and a dearer face. 

I loved Adrienne I love Margaret. How 
like the words, yet how unlike the feeling ! My 
love for Adrienne was a trance, an intoxication, 
a delirium. Her wondrous beauty dazzled and 
subdued me. It haunted my sleep; it went 
beside me in forest and field ; it glided betwixt 
me and the sunlight ; it rose out from the pages 



of philosopher and poet ; it usurped the place 
of reason and thought I had almost said, of 
religion ! It passed over my soul like a sum- 
mer tempest, with lightning and thunder. In 
a word, it was the first deep, wild love of pas- 
sionate manhood. Like a burning dream it 
came and went, and left, what such dreams 
leave ashes and dust. 

Not so, not so, my pale and patient Marga- 
ret, is this gentle affection which fills and satis- 
fies my heart, and makes life holy. Thy fair 
calm face is ever with me, 'tis true, but it seems 
to read me a divine commentary on all that I do 
or think ; it guides me, as the spirit of Beatrice 
guided the poet of old, from sphere to sphere of 
heavenly adoration. If in my sleep thou com- 
est to me, it is in the likeness of a protecting 
angel, and only to think of thee is a prayer ! 

I can not remain apart from thee. An irre- 
sistible attraction draws me to thy side. Fare- 
well solitary library ! There is another book, 
more enthralling in its pages than any volume 
here, which I must read to-night. 

Three ladies are sitting silently together in 
the upper drawing-room. A blazing fire crack- 
les and sparkles in the vast old-fashioned grate ; 
the amber-damask draperies and antique mir- 
rors throw back the bright reflection, and all, 
save the inmates, looks glowing and cheerful. 

Pale and statue-like, Avith her deep mourning 
dress, sits my mother in her high-backed chair. 
The embroidery lies neglected on her lap ; her 
thin white hands are pressed firmly together ; 
her blue eyes, once so cold and frosty, are fixed 
upon the fire with a softened and melancholy 
expression that is infinitely touching. Her 
thoughts are with her youngest-born, wander- 
ing away, perhaps, to the time when he was an 
infant in her arms, or a bold and beautiful boy, 
reckless in the pursuit of pleasure and danger, 
foremost in the chase, and merriest at the vine- 
feast or the village fete. 

Close beside her, with one hand resting on 
the arm of the high-backed chair, sits Adrienne, 
beautiful in her young widowhood, and clothed 
likewise in deepest sables. She too is thinking, 
and her eyes, bent toward the ground, are sha- 
ded by the drooping lids and long fringed lashes. 

Farther back, shrinking into- the shade like a 
little violet, sits my quiet Margaret. She holds 
a book in her hand, yet she is not reading. It 
is almost too dark in this recess to see her feat- 
ures distinctly, but her cheek rests on her palm, 
and her deep brown eyes glow through the dusk 
with an inner light of soul and earnest thought. 
She is lost in an absorbing reverie, and, from 
that musing smile that seems to hover round 
the delicate mouth, I should say the day-dream 
is far from sorrowful. 

Hitherto my entrance has been unperceived, 
but, as I advance nearer to their circle, my 
mother looks up and extends her hand lovingly 
toward me ; Margaret glances round with a 
pleased, shy smile; Adrienne alone remains 
motionless and unobserving. 

Thus I glide into the shadow and take my 



110 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



place by Margaret. We speak seldom, and then 
only in whispers ; but our hearts are eloquent, 
and full of unuttered poetry. 

By-and-by I imprison one little hand in mine, 
and draw still nearer toward those downcast 
eyes. Now I can hear the subdued fluttering 
of her breath ; mine stirs the silken curl beside 
her cheek ; the hand is not withdrawn ; we are 
both happy both silent. 

"Les anges amoureux se parlent sans paroles, 
Comme les yeux aux yeux !" 

It is winter, and the snow lies three feet deep 
in the court-yard. The trees look like great 
branches of white coral ; the windows are cov- 
ered with glittering traceries of feathers and 
frosted palm-trees; the vine-dressers' children 
have built up a colossal snow-man just outside 
the gate ; the roads are blocked up from here to 
Chalons, and the post has not been in for near- 
ly a week. 

"Ah! bitter chill it was ! 

The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold ; 

The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass, 

And silent was the flock in woolly fold." 

We have done all that can be done to en- 
liven the wintry solitude of Burgundy. Books, 
drawing, music, chess, and all indoor amuse- 
ments are put in requisition. Sometimes I 
drive the ladies in my Russian sledge, and then 
we go flying over plains, and along the frozen 
rivers and snowy valleys, to the silver music of 
the jingling bells hung to the collars of the 
horses ; sometimes we skate by torchlight on 
the little lake beyond the village ; sometimes I 
sit apart in the recess of a bay window with my 
little Margaret, and give a drawing or Italian 
lesson. 

Adrienne keeps much apart, and spends the 
greater part of every day writing or reading in 
her own apartment. One of her habits is to 
walk up and down the great oaken hall at the 
end of the north gallery, book in hand. This 
she will do for hours at a time, and we are care- 
ful not to interrupt these solitary moods. This 
hall was formerly the armory. Old helmets, 
and shields, and rusted falchions are yet sus- 
pended here and there against the wall, and the 
tattered banner at the upper end was taken from 
the English at' the. battle of Agincourt by our 
ancestor Louis Montmorency de la Tour, sur- 
named the Strong. 

I have written to Seabrook entreating him to 
stay with us for a few weeks, but in vain. He 
is now resident in Antwerp, and studies severe- 
ly. In a couple of months he will be prepared 
to pass his examination in England. He does 
not even say whether he shall be able to spare 
time for a flying farewell visit. His tone is af- 
fectionate and kindly as ever, but less frank. 
Of his ambition, of his prospects, he says noth- 
ing. An ill-concealed reserve clouds all his 
letter. I feel that there is more in this than he 
chooses to confide in me, and I am grieved by it. 

And thus the winter passes. 



Sitting alone in the library one bleak dull 



day in early April, when the sky, and trees, and 
earth look all one heavy gray, and even the fire 
loses half its glow, I find myself reviewing many 
things, revolving many plans in my own mind, 
and neglecting the open page before my eyes. 

Not that the book lacks interest. , Far from 
it ; for it is Roger of Wendover's quaint old 
Chronicle, and I take all the delight of a true 
antiquary in the flavor of dust and vellum that 
hangs over the narrative. No, it is not this ; it 
is a purely indolent, fanciful, dreaming reverie 
that wins me from it. 

Yonder, too, lies the letter-bag, and here the 
key. I have not yet had the curiosity to open 
it, though it has been lying there for more than 
an hour. Come ! I will rouse myself. Let us 
see what are the contents of the bag ! 

Three letters to-day no more. Two of them 
are for Adrienne, and bear the English post- 
mark. The third is for myself. I do not know 
this writing ! I never saw it before, or I should 
remember it, so irregular, so blotted, so hasty 
and yet so tremulous is the superscription. The 
paper is of the coarsest and bluest description ; 
the postmark is Philadelphia, U. S. America ; 
it is fastened by a wafer, and is soiled by the 
transmission through many hands. 

I know no one in America ! How strange 
this is ! I almost dread to read it ; a presenti- 
ment of something unpleasant seems to stay my 
hand ; at length I tear it open. It is this : 

* ' I thought to live till my task was accom- 
plished. I believed that hate was stronger than 
disease, and will stronger than destiny. It is 
not so ; and, in compliance with your wish, I 
write these lines to tell you. I have sought her 
in many cities. I have followed the faint ru- 
mors of her flight even to the shores of the New 
World, and all vainly. I am dying. Before 
this can reach your hands I shall be at rest. 
They tell me that some six or eight days are all 
that remain to me in life. Be it so. Perhaps 
it is best. Vengeance is not to be mine, and I 
must prepare for eternity. My consolation is 
that the punishment must fall sooner or later, 
and that it passes, henceforward, into some other 
and surer hands. Break this gently to Marga- 
ret, and do not let her grieve for one who 
grieves not for himself. I have suffered but 
little. Farewell. F. FLETCHEK." 

The rich autumn has come again. It is our 
holiday season in fair Burgundy the merry 
vintage time. The purple grapes hang in heavy 
clusters toward the earth ; the sunburnt laborers 
wade along the furrows, and bear away the fruit 
in long baskets ; the wine-press is at work in 
the out-houses ; and the peasant-girls sing like 
birds to the measured clicking of their shears. 
At dusk they have a supper spread for them in 
the hall, and afterward a dance under the lime- 
trees, to the droning music of a rustic musette, 
upon which the young men perform in turn. 
Then the stars come out, and the lovers, walk- 
ing homeward by the light of the harvest moon, 
take the longest way, and go round by the riv- 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



Ill 



er-side or the burnt mill. Truly a pleasant 
season is the vintage-time in Burgundy ! 

Pleasanter now than ever, for a dear friend 
has come down among us to witness the harvest 
of the grape, and to gladden our little circle with 
his genial face and joyous voice. Yes, it is 
Norman Seabrook whom I welcome to my old 
home whose honest hand grasps mine whose 
eyes beam with friendship, and whose- cheery 
laughter rings along our shady silent rooms 
like a peal of wedding bells. He is paler and 
thinner, methinks, than when we first met in 
Heidelberg. London air and the study of the 
law hath left some traces stolen some of the 
brightness from his smile and the roundness 
from his cheek. No matter ! The soft air of 
our valleys and the breeze from our mountains, 
though his holiday last but six short weeks, 
shall work wonders, I promise him. 

Now for excursions to the Fountain of Roses 
now for long days of sporting in the forest 
now for picnics and boating-parties, and drives 
to Chalons and Dijon, and railway trips even as 
far as Strasburg, for Seabrook must be shown 
all the beauties of our Eden ! 

My mother goes but little from home now. 
She takes no pleasure in it ; but she welcomes 
us back at evening, and her chief delight is in 
preparing delicacies for our surprise at table. 
Hence all the exquisite creams, iced fruits, pre- 
serves, and quaint confectionery which, infinite- 
ly varied, succeed each other at our evening 
meals ; hence the vases of fresh flowers in our 
sleeping-rooms ; hence the boxes of chocolate 
bonbons which appear, as if by magic, on our 
dressing-tables. Her solicitous kindness meets 
us at every turn, and all her pleasure consists 
in making the happiness of others. 

Thus we go out and revel, like children, by 
meadow-brook, and mountain torrent, and wild 
forest-path ; and, somehow or another, Seabrook 
and Adrienne walk as slowly, and 'whisper as 
softly, and wander away together among the 
arching boughs after as pleasant and lover-like 
a fashion as Margaret and Paul ! 

" So turtles pair 
That never mean to part !" 

Winter came and went a second time, and 
then the Spring laughed out. Oh, beautiful 
Spring! Especial property of the lover and 
the poet ! Fief, manor, and hereditary wealth 
of romancist and story-teller ! Listen, most ex- 
quisite Spring, to the praises spoken of thee in 
the olden time by the worshipful and discerning 
author of that almost-forgotten volume, 'yclept 
"La Plaisante Histoire de Guerin de Mon- 
glave:" 

" A Tissue de 1'yver que le joly temps de pri- 
mavere commence, et qu'on voit arbres verdo- 
yer, flours espanouir, et qu'on oit les oisillons 
chanter en toute joie et doulceur, tant que les 
verts bocages retentissent de leur sons et que 
coeurs tristes, pensifs, y dolens s'en esjouissent, 
s'e'meuvent a delaisser deuil et toute tristesse, et 
se parforcent & valoir mieux." 



And it would seem that we mean to follow his 
advice down in this remote village of Latour- 
sur-Creil, for the bells of the chapel in the val- 
ley are ringing out peal after peal most "sil- 
ver-sweet ;" the servants and villagers are crowd- 
ing to the porch in their holiday dresses ; the 
church is one bower of roses and myrtle-boughs 
within ; the rustic band of pipes, tabors, and 
musettes is waiting under the trees at a little 
distance, each performer carrying a gigantic 
bouquet in his button-hole and a bunch of rib- 
bons in his hat ; the good priest honors the day 
with a new gown, and two bridegrooms and two 
brides are standing at the altar! 

Yes, the secret of Seabrook's industry is all 
told now. At first it was a panacea for a hope- 
less love ; secondly, it was the window through 
which stole the first ray of sunlight ; thirdly, it 
has become a means of great and perfect felici- 
ty. He has purchased a partnership, and can 
ask a wealthy lady's hand without shame. The 
saddest passage in this love-story is, to me, at 
least, that he and Adrienne must henceforth 
dwell in the great far city on the banks of the 
masted Thames ! 

I can not help sighing sometimes when I 
think of this ; but then Margaret steals to my 
side, and, resting her cheek against my shoulder, 
whispers gently, " Shall I not be here, dearest ?" 

Even thus, reader. 'Tis a double wedding 
" Bid the merry bells ring to thine ear 1" 



CHAPTER XLV. 

THE CURTAIN FALLS. 

IT is not now many weeks since I visited En- 
gland, being called thither by important business 
respecting the wine-produce of my estates, and 
being likewise desirous of passing a few days 
with the Seabrooks in London. I found them 
entirely happy, and surrounded by a little cir- 
cle of intellectual and pleasant friends, artists, 
authors, musicians, and scientific men. Love 
has given to Seabrook's character all that it re- 
quired of strength, and the influence of a pro- 
fessional career has added weight and practica- 
bility to his mind. With all his love of beauty, 
he is no longer a dreamer ; with all his taste for 
enjoyment, he has learned to extract a higher 
pleasure from industry and honorable success. 
As for Adrienne, she adores him, and they 
quarrel on one point only, viz., as to which 
loves the other best. This, by the way, reminds 
me of Margaret and myself; but if I say that 
Norman and Adrienne are as happy as ourselves, 
I think that I have affirmed all, and more than 
all, that language can express. 

But this is foreign to the purpose with which 
I have commenced this last chapter of my his- 
tory. Loveless and joyless is what I must now 
relate, and the bell which gives the signal for 
the fall of the curtain is the passing bell of a 
guilty soul. 

Returning one evening from a late interview 



112 



MY BROTHER'S WIFE. 



with some wine-merchants on the Soutlrvvark 
side of London Bridge, an adventure happened 
to me an adventure so strange, that I have 
often wondered whether a presiding hand had 
not led me to that eventful spot at that event- 
ful moment. 

It was a wet wintry night, rent by stormful 
bursts of wind and rain, and pitch-dark over- 
head. The angry river, swollen by the tide, 
rocked the barges by the wharves ; the furnaces 
along the banks shot up a hot fierce glare upon 
the sky; the dome of St. Paul's seemed, as it 
were, flickering in the blurred, uncertain dis- 
tance, and the cabs and omnibuses rattled nois- 
ily past, splashing the foot-passengers as they 
went, arid crowded within and without. 

I was almost wet through, for I had forgotten 
to bring an umbrella, and I was shivering dis- 
mally. Cab after cab, omnibus after omnibus, 
had I hailed in vain. All were full, and not 
till I reached the Bank could I even hope to 
find any conveyance. The Bank was just half 
a mile distant, and I had the dreary bridge be- 
fore me. After all, though, I could scarcely be 
more drenched, so I made up my mind to the 
evil, and took my fate leisurely. 

Singularly strange, and cold, and dreary is the 
aspect of the city on a wet night from London 
Bridge ! The shadowy steeples look warnful 
and ghostly, like tombs in a grave-yard, and the 
sleeping barges and steamers like river-hearses 
and mourning-coaches assembled for a funeral. 
How black the water looks down below, stream- 
ing through the arches how black and deep, 
like the river of Lethe ! 

Musing thus as I go, my chain of thought is 
broken by the quavering tones of a woman's 
voice chanting the burden of a mournful ballad. 
Tremulous and shrill as the notes are, there is a 
something in them that arrests my attention ir- 
resistibly a vibration, a fluency altogether su- 
perior to the style of the street ballad-singers 
of London. And surely yes, the air is that 
sweet sad cavatina of the hapless Desdemona, 
"seated at the foot of a willow !" 

Yonder stands the singer, a thin, pallid wom- 
an, wretchedly clad, and trembling with cold a 
pitiable object. I place a shilling in her hand 
it is all the change I have and her large dark 
eyes, lifted suddenly to my face, look wild and 
hungry, and fill me with a kind of shuddering 
compassion. 

Strange ! though I have passed her, I can not 
refrain from looking back. Something in the 
glitter of those eyes has struck me with a feel- 
ing for which I can not account. It seems to 
me that I recognize, and yet am unfamiliar with 
their expression. Like the reflection of a face 
in water, broken, distorted, and uncertain, it 
hovers before me, and I strive in vain to analyze 
whether this be memory, or the vague prompt- 
ings of some forgotten dream. 

She is not singing now. She stands beneath 
the lamp where I left her, looking down at the 
coin in her hand, and shaking her head with a 

THE 



sad, despairing action, as though she would say, 
"It is not sufficient." 

Not sufficient ! for so I interpret the gesture. 
Not sufficient ? Poor creature ! she may have 
children and husband sick or starving at home 
home ! perhaps she has no home ! 

The thought is terrible. I stand back in the 
shadow, and take a sovereign from my purse. 
I will go back to her I will question her I 
will But where is she ? A moment since, 
and she was standing yonder by the lamp. Has 
she sunk into the earth, or, more probably, bro- 
ken down by fatigue, stopped to rest upon one 
of the wet stone benches in the recesses on either 
side of the bridge ? 

Yes ; as I thought, she is leaning against the 
wall yonder, and removing her bonnet. She 
must surely be ill. I hasten to her aid; she 
turns at the sound of my rapid steps mounts 
suddenly upon the dizzy parapet utters one 
piercing, wailing cry wavers leaps wildly 
forward disappears, oh heaven, in the gulf 
below ! 

I have, even now, but an indistinct remem- 
brance of what followed, save that with loud 
cries I summoned help ; that, borne downward 
by a sudden crowd, I found myself standing 
presently upon a floating wharf, and watching 
with eager eyes the progress of a boat upon the 
murky river ; that, amid a confusion of voices 
and lights, and terror-stricken faces, a wet and 
heavy burden was borne ashore, and carried, by 
the light of many lanterns, through the blank 
streets, stretched on a narrow plank, and cov- 
ered by a fragment of sail-cloth. 

Now we arrive at a building whence the cu- 
rious by-standers are excluded, and which I 
alone, with the two boatmen, am permitted to 
enter. This is the police station ; and here 
upon the narrow tressels she is laid, while the 
unmoved official at the desk questions me re- 
spectfully on what I have seen, and enters my 
replies in his ledger. 

"Poor creetur!" says one of the boatmen, 
taking the dead hand pityingly in his own, and 
then laying it down gently by her side, "poor 
creetur ! She warn't a bad looking one, neither, 
in her time. She have a forring look about her, 
too. Maybe she come from over sea, Jim!" 

"Maybe," replied the other. "And she 
ain't old neither ; but she looks half starved 
she ain't nothing but skin and bone." 

"It's a horrid death, poor creetur! but its 
surprisin' how they all seem to take to it. Poor 
creetur! Lord ha' mercy on her and on we, 
Jim!" 

Their rough compassion touches me. I feel 
myself compelled to go back once more and look 
at her. 

Her bonnet off her long, wet hair, black as 
ebony, lying in clammy masses over her neck 
and arms her white face so hushed, and still, 
and awful Mysterious Providence, I recognize 
her now ! 

The'rese Vogelsang ! 
END. 



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