teen, and she is fearfully altered in these last months."
"I do not know what ails her," said the Baron.
"When fathers do not know what ails their daughters,
mothers can guess," said the Baroness; "we must get her
"I am quite willing," said the Baron. "I shall give her
Les Rouxey now that the court has settled our quarrel with the
authorities of Riceys by fixing the boundary line at three
hundred feet up the side of the Dent de Vilard. I am having
a trench made to collect all the water and carry it into the
lake. The village did not appeal, so the decision is final."
"It has never yet occurred to you," said Madame de
Watteville, " that this decision cost me thirty thousand francs
handed over to Chantonnit. That peasant would take noth-
ing else ; he sold us peace. If you give away Les Rouxey,
you will have nothing left," said the Baroness.
"I do not need much, "said the Baron; "I am breaking
" You eat like an ogre ! "
"Just so. But however much I may eat, I feel my legs
get weaker and weaker "
"It is from working the lathe," said his wife.
" I do not know," said he.
"We will marry Rosalie to Monsieur de Soulas; if you
give her Les Rouxey, keep the life interest. I will give them
fifteen thousand francs a year in the funds. Our children can
live here; I do not see that they are much to be pitied."
" No. I shall give them Les Rouxey out and out. Rosalie
is fond of Les Rouxey."
" You are a queer man with your daughter ! It does not
occur to you to ask me if I am fond of Les Rouxey."
Rosalie, at once sent for, was informed that she was to
marry Monsieur de Soulas one day early in the month of
ALBERT SAVARON. 397
" I am very much obliged to you, mother, and to you too,
father, for having thought of settling me ; but I do not mean
to marry ; I am very happy with you."
" Mere speeches 1 " said the Baroness. " You are not in
love with Monsieur de Soulas, that is all."
" If you insist on the plain truth, I will never marry Mon-
sieur de Soulas "
" Oh ! the never of a girl of nineteen!" retorted her
mother, with a bitter smile.
" The never of Mademoiselle de Watteville," said Rosalie
with firm decision. " My father, I imagine, has no intention
of making me marry against my wishes? "
" No, indeed no ! " said the poor Baron, looking affection-
ately at his daughter.
" Very well !" said the Baroness, sternly controlling the
rage of a bigot startled at finding herself unexpectedly defied,
" you yourself, Monsieur de Watteville, may take the respon-
sibility of settling your daughter. Consider well, Made-
moiselle, for if you do not marry to my mind you will get
nothing out of me ! "
The quarrel thus begun between Madame de Watteville
and her husband, who took his daughter's part, went so far
that Rosalie and her father were obliged to spend the summer
at Les Rouxey ; life at the Hotel de Rupt was unendurable.
It thus became known in Besancon that Mademoiselle de
Watteville had positively refused the Comte de Soulas.
After their marriage Mariette and Jerome came to Les
Rouxey to succeed Modinier in due time. The Baron re-
stored and repaired the house to suit his daughter's taste.
When she heard that these improvements had cost about sixty
thousand francs, and that Rosalie and her father were build-
ing a conservatory, the Baroness understood that there was a
leaven of spite in her daughter. The Baron purchased vari-
ous outlying plots, and a little estate worth thirty thousand
francs. Madame de Watteville was told that, away from her,
398 ALBERT SAVARON.
Rosalie showed masterly qualities, that she was taking steps to
improve the value of Les Rouxey, that she had treated herself
to a riding-habit and rode about ; her father, whom she made
very happy, who no longer complained of his health, and who
was growing fat, accompanied her in her expeditions. As the
Baroness' name-day drew near her name was Louise the
vicar-general came one day to Les Rouxey, deputed, no doubt,
by Madame de Watteville and Monsieur de Soulas, to nego-
tiate a peace between the mother and daughter.
" That little Rosalie has a head on her shoulders," said the
folk of Besancon.
After handsomely paying up the ninety thousand francs
spent on Les Rouxey, the Baroness allowed her husband a thou-
sand francs a month to live on ; she would not put herself in
the wrong. The father and daughter were perfectly willing
to return to Besancon for the i5th of August, and to remain
there till the end of the month.
When, after dinner, the vicar-general took Mademoiselle de
Watteville apart, to open the question of the marriage, by
explaining to her that it was vain to think any more of
Albert, of whom they had had no news for a year past, he
was stopped at once by a sign from Rosalie. The strange girl
took Monsieur de Grancey by the arm, and led him to a seat
under a clump of rhododendrons, whence there was a view of
"Listen, dear abbe," said she. "You whom I love as
much as my father, for you had an affection for my Albert, I
must at last confess that I committed crimes to become his
wife, and he must be my husband. Here ; read this."
She held out to him a number of the Gazette which she had
in her apron pocket, pointing out the following paragraph
under the date of Florence, May 25th :
" The wedding of Monsieur le Due de Rhetore, eldest son
of the Due de Chaulieu, the former ambassador, to Madame la
Duchesse d'Argaiolo, nee Princess Soderini, was solemnized
ALBER T SAVAR ON. 399
with great splendor. Numerous entertainments given in
honor of the marriage are making Florence gay. The
Duchess' fortune is one of the finest in Italy, for the late
Duke left her everything."
" The woman he loved is married," said she. "I divided
" You ? How ? ' ' asked the abbe.
Rosalie was about to reply, when she was interrupted by a
loud cry from two of the gardeners, following on the sound
of a body falling into the water; she started, and jan -off
screaming, " Oh ! father ! " The Baron had disappeared.
In trying to reach a piece of granite on which he fancied
he saw the impression of a shell, a circumstance which would
have contradicted some system of geology, Monsieur de
Watteville had gone down the slope, lost his balance, and
slipped into the lake, which, of course, was deepest close
under the roadway. The men had the greatest difficulty in
enabling the Baron to catch hold of a pole pushed down at
the place where the water was bubbling, but at last they
pulled him out, covered with mud, in which he had sunk; he
was getting deeper and deeper in, by dint of struggling. Mon-
sieur de Watteville had dined heavily, digestion was in pro-
gress, and was thus checked.
When he had been undressed, washed, and put to bed, he
was in such evident danger that two servants at once set out
on horseback : one to ride to Besanc.on, and the other to fetch
the nearest doctor and surgeon. When Madame de Watte-
ville arrived, eight hours later, with the first medical aid from
Besancon, they found Monsieur de Watteville past all hope, in
spite of the intelligent treatment of the Rouxey doctor. The
fright had produced serious effusion on the brain, and the
shock to the digestion was helping to kill the poor man.
This death, which would never have happened, said Madame
de Watteville, if her husband had stayed at Besancon, was
ascribed by her to her daughter's obstinacy. She took an
400 ALBERT S AVAR ON.
aversion for Rosalie, abandoning herself to grief and regrets
that were evidently exaggerated. She spoke of the Baron as
" her dear lamb ! "
The last of the Wattevilles was buried on an island in the
lake at Les Rouxey, where the Baroness had a little Gothic
monument erected of white marble, like that called the tomb
of Heloise at Pere-Lachaise.
A month after this catastrophe the mother and daughter had
settled in the Hotel de Rupt, where they lived in savage silence.
Rosalie was suffering from real sorrow, which had no visible
outlet ; she accused herself of her father's death, and she
feared another disaster, much greater in her eyes, and very
certainly her own work ; neither Girardet the attorney nor
the Abbe de Grancey could obtain any information con-
cerning Albert. This silence was appalling. In a paroxysm
of repentance she felt that she must confess to the vicar-general
the horrible machinations by which she had separated Fran-
cesca and Albert. They had been simple, but formidable.
Mademoiselle -de Watteville had intercepted Albert's letters to
the Duchess as well as that in which Francesca announced
her husband's illness, warning her lover that she could write
to him no more during the time while she was devoted, as was
her duty, to the care of the dying man. Thus, while Albert
was wholly occupied with election matters, the Duchess had
written him only two letters ; one in which she told him that
the Due d'Argaiolo was in danger, and one announcing her
widowhood two noble and beautiful letters, which Rosalie
After several nights' labor she succeeded in imitating
Albert's writing very perfectly. She had substituted three
letters of her own writing for three of Albert's, and the rough
copies which she showed to the old priest made him shudder
the genius of evil was revealed in them to such perfection.
Rosalie, writing in Albert's name, had prepared the Duchess
for a change in the Frenchman's feelings, falsely representing
ALBERT SAVARON. 401
him as faithless, and she had answered the news of the Due
d'Argaiolo's death by announcing the marriage ere long of
Albert and Mademoiselle de Watteville. The two letters,
intended to cross on the road, had, in fact, done so. The
infernal cleverness with which the letters were written so much
astonished the vicar-general that he read them a second time.
Francesca, stabbed to the heart by a girl who wanted to kill
love in her rival, had answered the last in these four words :
"You are free. Farewell."
" Purely moral crimes, which give no hold to human justice,
are the most atrocious and detestable," said the abbe severely.
" God often punishes them on earth ; herein lies the reason
of the terrible catastrophes which to us seem inexplicable. Of
all secret crimes buried in the mystery of private life, the most
disgraceful is that of breaking the seal of a letter, or of reading
it surreptitiously. Every one, whoever it may be, and urged
by whatever reason, who is guilty of such an act has stained
his honor beyond retrieving.
" Do you not feel all that is touching, that is heavenly in
the story of the youthful page, falsely accused, and carrying
the letter containing the order for his execution, who sets out
without a thought of ill, and whom Providence protects and
saves miraculously, we say ! But do you know wherein the
miracle lies? Virtue has a glory as potent as that of innocent
" I say these things not meaning to admonish you," said
the old priest, with deep grief. " I, alas ! am not your spirit-
ual director ; you are not kneeling at the feet of God ; I am
your friend, appalled by dread of what your punishment may
be. What has become of that unhappy Albert? Has he,
perhaps, killed himself? There was tremendous passion
under his assumption of calm. I understand now that old
Prince Soderini, the father of the Duchess d'Argaiolo, came
here to take back his daughter's letters and portraits. This
was the thunderbolt that fell on Albert's head, and he went
402 ALBERT SAVAROtf.
off, no doubt, to try to justify himself. But how is it that in
fourteen months he has given us no news of himself? "
" Oh ! if I marry him, he will be so happy ! "
"Happy? He does not love you. Besides, you have no
great fortune to give him. Your mother detests you ; you
made her a fierce reply which rankles, and which will be
your ruin. When she told you yesterday that obedience was
the only way to repair your errors, and reminded you of the
need for marrying, mentioning Amedee ' If you are so fond
of him, marry him yourself, mother ! ' Did you, or did you
not, fling these words in her teeth?"
"Yes," said Rosalie.
" Well, I know her/' Monsieur de Grancey went on. " In
a few months she will be Comtesse de Soulas ! She will be
sure to have children ; she will give Monsieur de Soulas forty
thousand francs a year ; she will benefit him in other ways,
and reduce your share of her fortune as much as possible.
You will be poor as long as she lives, and she is but eight-and-
thirty ! Your whole estate will be the land of Les Rouxey,
and the small share left to you after your father's legal debts
are settled, if indeed, your mother should consent to forego
her claims on Les Rouxey. From the point of view of mate-
rial advantages, you have done badly for yourself; from the
point of view of feeling, I imagine you have wrecked your
life. Instead of going to your mother " Rosalie shook
her head fiercely.
"To your mother," the priest went on, "and to religion,
where you would, at the first impulse of your heart, have
found enlightenment, counsel and guidance, you chose to act
in your own way, knowing nothing of life, and listening only
to passion ! ' '
These words of wisdom terrified Mademoiselle de Watte-
"And what ought I to do now?" she asked after a brief
ALBERT SAVARON. 403
" To repair your wrongdoing, you must ascertain its ex-
tent," said the abbe.
" Well, I will write to the only man who can know any-
thing of Albert's fate, Monsieur Leopold Hannequin, a notary
in Paris, his friend from childhood."
"Write no more, unless to do honor to truth," said the
vicar-general. " Place the real and the false letters in my
hands, confess everything in detail as though I were the keeper
of your conscience, asking me how you may expiate your sins,
and doing as I bid you. I shall see for, above all things,
restore this unfortunate man to his innocence in the eyes of the
woman he had made his divinity on earth. Though he has
lost his happiness, Albert must still hope for justification."
Rosalie promised to obey the abbe, hoping that the steps
he might take would perhaps end in bringing Albert back to
Not long after Mademoiselle de Watteville's confession a
clerk came to Besancon from Monsieur Leopold Hannequin,
armed with a power of attorney from Albert ; he called first
on Monsieur Girardet, begging his assistance in selling the
house belonging to Monsieur Savaron. The attorney under-
took to do this out of friendship for Albert. The clerk from
Paris sold the furniture, and with the proceeds could repay
some money owed by Savaron to Girardet, who, on the occa-
sion of his inexplicable departure, had lent him five thousand
francs while undertaking to collect his assets. When Girardet
asked what had become of the handsome and noble pleader,
to whom he had been much attached, the clerk replied that
no one knew but his master, and that the notary had seemed
greatly distressed by the contents of the last letter he had
received from Monsieur Albert de Savaron.
On hearing this, the vicar-general wrote to Leopold. This
was the worthy notary's reply:
404 ALBERT SAVARON.
"To Monsieur 1'Abbe de Grancey, Vicar-General of the
Diocese of Besancon.
"Alas, monsieur, it is in nobody's power to restore Albert
to the life of the world; he has renounced it. He is a novice
in the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse near Grenoble.
You know, better than I who have but just learned it, that on
the threshold of that cloister everything dies. Albert, foresee-
ing that I should go to him, placed the general of the order be-
tween my utmost efforts and himself. I know his noble soul
well enough to be sure that he is the victim of some odious
plot unknown to us ; but everything is at an end. The Duch-
esse d'Argaiolo, now Duchesse de Rhetore, seems to me to
have carried severity to an extreme. At Belgirate, which she
had left when Albert flew thither, she had left instructions
leading him to believe that she was living in London. From
London Albert went in search of her to Naples, and from
Naples to Rome, where she was now engaged to the Due de
Rhetore. When Albert succeeded in seeing Madame d'Ar-
gaiolo, at Florence, it was at the ceremony of her marriage.
" Our poor friend swooned in church, and even when he was
in danger of death he could never obtain any explanation from
this woman, who must have had I know not what in her
heart. For seven months Albert had traveled in pursuit of a
cruel creature who thought it sport to escape him ; he knew
not where or how to catch her.
" I saw him on his way through Paris ; and if you had seen
him, as I did, you would have felt that not a word might be
spoken about the Duchess, at the risk of bringing on an attack
which might have wrecked his reason. If he had known what
his crime was, he might have found means to justify himself;
but being falsely accused of being married ! what could he
do? Albert is dead, quite dead to the world. He longed for
rest ; let us hope that the deep silence and prayer into which
he has thrown himself may give him happiness in another
ALBERT SAVARON. 405
guise. You, monsieur, who have known him, must greatly
pity him ; and pity his friends also.
As soon as he received this letter the good vicar-general
wrote to the general of the Carthusian order, and this was the
letter he received from Albert Savaron :
"Brother Albert to Monsieur 1'Abbe de Grancey, Vicar-
General of the Diocese of Besanson.
" LA GRANDE CHARTREUSE.
" I recognized your tender soul, dear and well-beloved
vicar-general, and your still youthful heart, in all that the
reverend father general of our order has just told me. You
have understood the only wish that lurks in the depths of my
heart so far as the things of the world are concerned to get
justice done to my feelings by her who has treated me so
badly ! But before leaving me at liberty to avail myself of
your offer, the general wanted to know that my vocation was
sincere ; he was so kind as to tell me his idea, on finding that
I was determined to preserve absolute silence on this point.
If I had yielded to the temptation to rehabilitate the man
of the world, the friar would have been rejected by this monas-
tery. Grace has certainly done her work ; but, though short,
the struggle was not the less keen or the less painful. Is not
this enough to show you that I could never return to the
" Hence my forgiveness, which you ask for the author of so
much woe, is entire and without a thought of vindictiveness.
I will pray to God to forgive that young lady as I forgive her,
and as I shall beseech Him to give Madame de Rhetore a life
of happiness. Ah ! whether it be death, or the obstinate
hand of a young girl madly bent on being loved, or one of the
blows ascribed to chance, must we not all obey God ? Sorrow
in some souls makes a vast void through which the Divine
voice rings. I learned tog late the bearings of this life on
406 ALBERT S AVAR ON.
that which awaits us ; all in me is worn out ; I could not serve
in the ranks of the church militant, and I lay the remains of
an almost extinct life at the foot of the altar.
"This is the last time I shall ever write. You alone, who
loved me, and whom I loved so well, could make me break
the law of oblivion I imposed on myself when I entered these
headquarters of Saint Bruno, but you are always especially
named in the prayers of
" BROTHER ALBERT.
" November, 1836."
"Everything is for the best, perhaps," thought the Abbe
When he showed this letter to Rosalie, who with a pious
impulse kissed the lines which contained her forgiveness, he
said to her
"Well, now that he is lost to you, will you not be recon-
ciled to your mother and marry the Comte de Soulas?"
"Only if Albert should order it," said she.
" But you see it is impossible to consult him. The general
of the order would not allow it."
" If I were to go to see him ? "
"No Carthusian sees any visitor. Besides, no woman but
the Queen of France may enter a Carthusian monastery," said
the abbe. " So you have no longer any excuse for not marry-
ing young Monsieur de Soulas."
" I do not wish to destroy my mother's happiness," retorted
" Satan ! " exclaimed the vicar-general.
Towards the end of that winter the worthy Abbe de Grancey
died. This good friend no longer stood between Madame
de Watteville and her daughter, to soften the impact of those
two iron wills.
The event he had foretold took place. In the month of
August, 1837, Madame de Watteville was married to Monsieur
de Soulas in Paris, whither she went by Rosalie's advice, the
ALBERT S AVAR ON. 407
girl making a show of kindness and sweetness to her mother.
Madame de Watteville believed in this affection on the part
of her daughter, who simply desired to go to Paris to give
herself the luxury of a bitter revenge ; she thought of nothing
but avenging Savaron by torturing her rival.
Mademoiselle de Watteville had been declared legally of
age; she was, in fact, not far from one-and-twenty. Her
mother, to settle with her finally, had resigned her claims on
Les Rouxey, and the daughter had signed a release for all the
inheritance of the Baron de Watteville. Rosalie encouraged
her mother to marry the Comte de Soulas and settle all her
own fortune on him.
" Let us each be perfectly free," she said.
Madame de Soulas, who had been uneasy as to her daugh-
ter's intentions, was touched by this liberality, and made her
a present of six thousand francs a year in the funds as con-
science money. As the Comtesse de Soulas had an income
of forty-eight thousand francs from her own lands, and was
quite incapable of alienating them in order to diminish
Rosalie's share, Mademoiselle de Watteville was still a fortune
to marry, of eighteen hundred thousand francs ; Les Rouxey,
with the Baron's additions, and certain improvements, might
yield twenty thousand francs a year, besides the value of the
house, rents, and preserves. So Rosalie and her mother, who
soon adopted the Paris style and fashions, easily obtained
introductions to the best society. The golden key eighteen
hundred thousand francs embroidered on Mademoiselle de
Watteville's stomacher, did more for the Comtesse de Soulas
than her pretentious a la de Rupt, her inappropriate pride, or
even her rather distant great connections.
In the month of February, 1838, Rosalie, who was eagerly
courted by many young men, achieved the purpose which had
brought her to Paris. This was to meet the Duchesse de
Rhetore, to see this wonderful woman, and to overwhelm her
with perennial remorse. Rosalie gave herself up to the most
408 ALBER T SA VARON.
bewildering elegance and vanities in order to face the Duchess
on an equal footing.
They first met at a ball given annually after 1830 for the
benefit of the pensioners on the old Civil List. A young
man, prompted by Rosalie, pointed her out to the Duchess,
" There is a very remarkable young person, a strong-minded
young lady too ! She drove a clever man into a monastery
the Grande Chartreuse a man of immense capabilities,
Albert de Savaron, whose career she wrecked. She is Made-
moiselle de Watteville, the famous Besanc.on heiress
The Duchess turned pale. Rosalie's eyes met hers with
one of those flashes which, between woman and woman, are
more fatal than the pistol-shots of a duel. Francesca Soderini,
who had suspected that Albert might be innocent, hastily
quitted the ball-room, leaving the speaker at his wits' end to
guess what terrible blow he had inflicted on the beautiful
Duchesse de Rhetore.
" If you want to hear more about Albert, come to the
opera ball on Tuesday with a marigold in your hand."
This anonymous note, sent by Rosalie to the Duchess,
brought the unhappy Italian to the ball, where Mademoiselle
de Watteville placed in her hand all Albert's letters, with that
written to Leopold Hannequin by the vicar-general, and the
notary's reply, and even that in which she had written her
own confession to the Abbe de Grancey.
" I do not choose to be the only sufferer," she said to her
rival, " for one has been as ruthless as the other."
After enjoying the dismay stamped on the Duchess' beau-
tiful face, Rosalie went away ; she went out no more, and
returned to Besancon with her mother.
Mademoiselle de Watteville, who lived alone on her estate
of Les Rouxey, riding, hunting, refusing two or three offers a
ALBERT S AVAR ON. 409
year, going to Besancon four or five times in the course of
the winter, and busying herself with improving her land, was