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"Ah, it is you! I find that you have fulfilled a part of
your promise already. All Paris knows that I am ill, and
for two hours Teisch has been kept busy answering the
inquiries of my friends, who want to know whether I am
better, and perhaps of my enemies as well, who come to see
whether I am not worse. So much for the first part of your
promise. Have you kept the second part as faithfully?"

"What do you mean?"

"You know perfectly well. Have you been to the
Tuileries?"

"Yes."

"Did you see the queen?"

"Yes."

" And the king? "

"Yes."

" And did you tell them they would soon be well rid of
me?"

"I told them that 3'ou were quite ill."

"What did they say?"

"The king inquired whether you had lost your appetite."

"Poor man! On the day of his death he will say, like
Leonidas, * I sup with Pluto to-night.' And the queen? "



WHAT THE KING AND QUEEN SAID. 181

"The queen expressed great sympathy for you."

"In what terms?"

"Oh, in the very kindest terms."

"You gave me your word that you would repeat to me
exactly what she said, word for word."

"I can't recall what she said, word for word."

"Doctor, you haven't forgotten a syllable of it."

"I assure you — "

"Kecollect, I have your word."

" You are importunate."

"Precisely."

"Well, then, she said this malady should have overtaken
you the morning you made your famous speech in defence
of the tricoloured flag."

Gilbert wished to see what influence the queen really
possessed over Mirabeau; and his curiosity was gratified,
for the count sprang from his couch as if he had been
brought in contact with an electric battery.

"Oh, the ingratitude of crowned heads!" he exclaimed.
"That one speech, then, was enough to make them forget
the king's civil list of twenty-five millions, and the queen's
allowance of four millions. The woman does n't see that
by that one move I regained the popularity I had lost on
her account. She forgets, too, that during my presidency
of the Jacobin Club — a presidency of three months which
used up ten years of my life — I passed the law which
restricted membership in the National Guards to actual
citizens. Then an attack was made upon the king's aunts
because they had left the country, and a law'' against
emigration was proposed. I said, ' If you make such a
law, I swear I '11 never obey it; ' and the bill was rejected
unanimously. Then they called me dictator, and forced
me to go upon the rostrum in a passion, —the worst thing an
orator can do. I triumphed a second time, though,— but by
attacking the Jacobins. Then the Jacobins — fools that
they are! — swore to kill me, — Duport, Lameth, Barnave;
— none of them see that by killing me they give the die-



182 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

tatorship of their clique to Eobespierre. Me — whom they
should have guarded as the very apple of their eye — they
voted down by a big majority; they made me drink the
bitter cup to the dregs; they made me sweat drops of blood;
they crowned me with thorns; yes, — crucified me. But
happy is the man who, like Christ, undergoes all this, for
humanity's sake.

"The tricoloured flag! — cannot the queen see it is their
only refuge? that if they will publicly place themselves
under its shadow they can be saved? But the queen
doesn't care to be saved; she only wants to be avenged,
and so turns a deaf ear to the only eflficacious means, —
moderation, justice, and feasibility. I wanted to save two
things at once, — royalty and liberty. It was a thankless
task, in which I was doomed to light single-handed, it
seems; and against what? If it had been against men, or
even against lions and tigers, that would have been nothing;
but to fight against the elements, against all the powers of
nature, against the sea, against the rising waves, against
the in-coming tide, — that is another thing. Yesterday the
water came up to my ankles, to-day it reaches to my
knees, to-morrow it will be up to my waist, and the next
day over my head.

" Doctor, I may as well be frank with you, — I dreamed
of being a successful arbitrator between the Kevolution and
the monarchy; I dreamed cf gaining such an ascendency
as a man over the queen that I could influence her actions
and save her. But the queen never really desired my aid.
She only wanted to compromise me, make me unpopular,
ruin me, render me powerless either for good or evil; so,
doctor, what I had better do, as I remarked to you once
before, is to die, — to lie down gracefull}", like a gladiator
of old, and surrender my throat to the knife."

"But, count, what would you say if the king or the
queen should send to inquire about you to-morrow?"

"What!" exclaimed Mirabeau, half rising.

"I said the king — or the queen."



WHAT THE KIXG AND QUEEN SAID. 183

"She will not do it."

"But if she should?"

"You really think she will condescend so far?"

"I vouch for nothing. I am merely supposing a case."

"Then I '11 wait until to-morrow night."

"What do you mean?"

"Exactly what I say. If the queen sends to inquire for
me by to-morrow night, then I'm in the wrong; if she
does not, why then you are wrong, doctor, and I am
right."

"So be it. Now, my dear Demosthenes, I want you
to spend a quiet, peaceful night, and awake calm and
refreshed."

"I will not leave this couch, doctor."

" Will you promise me that? "

" Upon my word of honour."

" Good ! " said Gilbert, rising to go. " Get a good night's
sleep, and I '11 attend to the rest."

Mirabeau passed a comfortable night. The next morning
he summoned Teisch early to open the windows and admit
the fresh morning air, and the only thing that troubled
the old servant was the feverish impatience and anxiety
to which his master was evidently a prey.

He seemed hardly to believe Teisch when the latter told
him it was not yet eight o'clock, and made Teisch bring
him his watch, so that he could see for himself. Then he
laid the watch on a table beside him.

Presently he said to the old man : " Teisch, I can trust
you so implicitly that I want you to take Jean's place at
the door to-day. You will say to all callers that I am
better, but not able to see any one yet; but in case any
messenger should come from the Tuileries, you are to
bring him up to my room. Do you understand me? The
messenger miist not, on any account, go away without
my having a conversation with him. You see, my good
Teisch, that in sending you away from me I am only
giving you another proof of my confidence."



184 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

At ten o'clock Mirabeau arose and dressed himself with
unusual care. Then he seated himself in an arm-chair at
a window which commanded a view of the street. Each
time the knocker sounded or the bell rang, his anxious
face might have been seen peering out from behind the
partially raised curtain. Then the curtain would fall, to
be again lifted at the next peal of the bell, or sound of the
knocker, and so on, again and again.

About two o'clock Teisch came up, followed by a
lackey.

Mirabeau's heart throbbed violently. The lackey wore
no livery, and the thought at once occurred to Mirabeau
that the queen had sent the messenger in this garb in order
not to compromise herself in the eyes of the public.

"From Doctor Gilbert," said Teisch.

"Ah! " said Mirabeau, turning pale.

" As the boy came from Doctor Gilbert, and is the bearer
of a letter for you, I thought it best to make an exception
in his favour, monsieur."

"You did quite right."

Mirabeau opened the letter; it read as follows: —

" Let me know how you are. I shall be with you at eleven this
evening. I hope you will tell me that I was right, and you were
wrong."

" Tell your master you found me sitting up, and that I
shall certainly expect him to-night."

"See that the lad has something before he goes away,"
he added, turning to Teisch.

Teisch made a sign to indicate that he understood, and
took the messenger away.

Hour after hour passed, and the bell rang and the
knocker was plied incessantly. Crowds gathered in the
street in front of the house, and, being wrought up into
a state of intense excitement by the alarming accounts in
the newspapers, — accounts which were contradicted, how-
ever, by Teisch's encouraging reports, — compelled all



WHAT THE KING AND QUEEN SAID. 185

vehicles to turn into side streets, so as not to disturb the
illustrious invalid.

About five o'clock Teisch again entered Mirabeau's
chamber to inform him of this fact.

'' I thought it possible you had some better news for me,
my poor Teisch," remarked Mirabeau.

" What better news could you ask ? " exclaimed the old
servant, in surprise. "I did not suppose I could tell you
anything that would please you better than this proof of
the people's love for you."

"You are right, Teisch, and I am an ingrate indeed."

As soon as Teisch had left the room, Mirabeau opened
the window, and, stepping out upon the balcony, waved
his hand in token of gratitude to the worthy men below,
who had constituted themselves the guardians of his
slumbers.

They recognised him, and shouts of "Long live Mira-
beau!" re-echoed from one end of the Rue Chaussée d'Antin
to the other.

The evening wore away as the day had done, and Mira-
beau's feverish impatience changed to bitter despondency.

At eleven o'clock precisely the door opened, and Teisch
announced Doctor Gilbert, who entered smiling, but who
became alarmed when he noted the expression on Mirabeau's
face.

" Did no one come ? " he asked hurriedly.

*' From where ? "

"You know perfectly well what I mean."

" Ko, I assure you I — "

" From her — from the palace — in behalf of the queen? "

"Ko one, my dear doctor, no one."

" Impossible ! "

Mirabeau shrugged his shoulders. " What an innocent,
credulous person you are, doctor ! " he exclaimed. Then,
seizing Gilbert's hand, he asked, "Shall I tell you what
you 've been doing to-day, doctor ? "

"Goon."



186 LA COMTESSE DE CHAKNY,

"Yes, doctor, I can see and hear all that took place as
plainly as if I had been there. You went to the Tuileries
to-day at one o'clock ; you asked to see the queen, and you
did see her; you told her that my situation was alarming,
to say the least, and suggested that it would be kind in
her, both as a sovereign and as a woman, to send and
inquire for me, even though she did it only for policy's
sake. She discussed the matter with you, and your argu-
ments seemed to convince her; for, as you were about to
take leave, she promised you she would send and inquire
for me. You left her much elated, trusting in the royal
promise, and she, — she remained arrogant and haughty
and bitter, smiling at your credulity; for you quite forgot
that a royal promise means nothing whatever. Now,
upon your word as an honest man," added Mirabeau, look-
ing Gilbert full in the face, "was it not exactly as I
have said ? "

" Had you been there, my dear count, you could hardly
have stated the case more accurately."

"Fools that they are!" exclaimed Mirabeau, bitterly;
"they never seem to be able to do the right thing. The
sight of a lackey in the royal livery entering my house
to-day in full view of the crowd in front of my door and
under my windows would have given the king and queen
at least another year of popularity."

And, to his very great astonishment, Gilbert saw Mirabeau
raise his hand quickly to his eyes and dash away a tear.

" How long is it since you have eaten anything ? " asked
the doctor.

"Not since two o'clock."

"In that case, you had better take a bath."

" A very good idea, doctor, Jean, a bath in my dressing-
room at once."

Ten minutes afterwards, Mirabeau was taking a bath,
and Teisch was showing the doctor out. The count
remained in his bath until he heard the outer door of the
house open and close; then he rang the bell violently.



WHAT THE KING AND QUEEN SAID. 187

" Jean, set a table in my room, and go and as' Madame
Olivia if she will do me the favour to sup with me. And,
above all, see that there are flowers, — plenty of flowers.
I adore flowers," he added.

About four o'clock Doctor Gilbert was awakened by a
loud peal of the door-bell.

" I am sure Mirabeau is worse ! " he exclaimed, spring-
ing out of bed.

The doctor was right. After the supper had been
served, and the table covered with flowers, ^Mirabeau
ordered Teisch to go to bed, and dismissed Jean also.
Then he fastened all the doors save that leading into the
room of the woman Teisch called his evil genius.

Neither of the two servants went to bed, however, though
the younger man fell asleep in his chair in the ante-
chamber. Teisch was on the alert, however.

About a quarter of four a sharp blow was heard on the
small table-bell, and both servants hastened to the room,
but found the doors locked.

Happily, the idea of going to the unknown woman's
apartment, and reaching their master's room through hers,
occurred to them.

Lying back, half fainting, Mirabeau was holding the
woman to prevent her from summoning assistance, while
she, in her terror, was ringing the little table-bell with
all her might, being unable to reach the bell-rope, which
hung by the chimney. On seeing the servants, she im-
plored them to release her; for Mirabeau was almost suffo-
cating her in his convulsive writhings, and looked like
Death itself dragging her down to the tomb.

Bj^ the united efforts of the servants, the arms of the
death-stricken man were finally unloosed, and she retired,
weeping, to her room.

Jean rushed off for the doctor, while Teisch devoted his
whole attention to his master.

Gilbert did not take the time to have his horse harnessed,
or even to call a cab, but, as the Rue Saint-Honore was



188 LA COMTESSE DE CHAKNY.

not far from tlie Rue Chaussée d'Antin, he followed Jean,
and in ten minutes they reached Mirabeau's house.

Teisch was waiting for them in the vestibule.

" What is the matter this time, my friend ? " asked
Gilbert.

"Ah, monsieur, that woman, and those accursed flowers! "
faltered the old servant. " But go and see, doctor, go and
see ! "

As the doctor hastily mounted the stairs leading to
Mirabeau's chamber, a door on the opposite side of the
landing flew open, and a woman clad in a white dressing-
gown rushed out and threw herself at the physician's feet.

"Oh, Gilbert, Gilbert! save him, in Heaven's name!"
she cried frantically.

"Nicole!" exclaimed Gilbert. "Nicole, you wretch! is
it possible it is you ?"

"Save him! save him! " implored Nicole.

Gilbert paused, overwhelmed by a terrible suspicion; for
the discovery was indeed a startling one.

"Beausire distributing pamphlets against him, and
Nicole his mistress!" Gilbert muttered. "He is indeed
lost, for I see Cagliostro's hand in all this."

And realising that there was not an instant to lose, he
rushed into Mirabeau's room.



"LONG LIVE MIRABEAU!" 189



CHAPTER XXIX.

"long live Mirabeau!"

It is not necessary to describe all the phases of this
terrible illness minutely; suffice it to say that it was
reported throughout the entire city that morning that
there had been a relapse, — and a relapse in such a case
meant death.

It became apparent now what an immense place one man
could occupy in the heart of a nation. Paris was as
deeply moved as when a general calamity threatened the
community. All day long the street on which the count
lived was closely guarded by men of the labouring class,
so that the noise of passing vehicles should not disturb the
invalid. Hour after hour the crowds under the window
pleaded for news. The door was besieged by citizens of
all conditions in life and representing every shade of po-
litical opinion, as if each party felt that it would sustain
an irreparable loss in losing Mirabeau.

For twenty -four hours Gilbert did not leave the count
for an instant; but on Wednesday evening the patient
seemed so much more comfortable that the doctor consented
to go into the next room and take a few hours' rest ; but
before doing so he gave orders that he should be called if
any change for the worse occurred.

At daybreak he awoke. No one had disturbed him as
yet; he arose with a heavy heart, for it did not seem pos-
sible to him that his patient's improvement should not be
attended by some set-back.

In fact, when the doctor re-entered the sick-room Teisch
told him, with tears in his eyes, that the count was much



190 LA. COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

worse, but that lie had forbidden them to arouse his physi-
cian, under penalty of his deep displeasure, no matter how
great his agony might be.

And yet the sick man had been suffering terribly. His
pulse was in an alarming condition; the pain had become
frightful, and the feeling of suffocation had returned.

Several times — though ïeisch had merely regarded
this as a sign that delirium had set in — several times the
count had uttered the queen's name. " Ungrateful woman !
she has not sent once to inquire for me ! " he had exclaimed.
Then, as if talking to himself, he had muttered, "I wonder
what she will say to-morrow, when she hears that I am
dead ? "

Gilbert saw that everything depended upon the impend-
ing crisis, and set vigorously to work to fight the malady.
The attack lasted eight hours, and all that time Gilbert
contended with death like an expert duellist, parrying each
thrust, anticipating each assault, so to speak; and at the
expiration of these eight hours he had the satisfaction of
seeing that the fever had abated, and that his patient's suf-
ferings had become much less poignant ; but he was too skil-
ful a physician to cherish any hope, or even feel a doubt as
to the ultimate result. He saw that Mirabeau was doomed.

Strange to say, from that moment, as if impressed with,
the same conviction, Mirabeau began to speak of himself
as of one who had been, but who had now ceased to be.
His physiognomy, too, assumed a strange solemnity of
expression; his voice became grave and solemn, and almost
prophetic in its tone and modulations. His utterances
were characterised by greater purity, profundity, and liber-
ality; while in the sentiments he expressed there was a
spirit of kindliness and unselfishness which made them
almost sublime.

It having been announced to him that a young man who
had seen him only once, and would not give his name,
craved admittance, the count turned to Gilbert, as if to ask
permission to receive him.



"LONG LIVE MIEABEAU!" 191

Gilbert understood, and gave Teisch orders to admit the
visitor.

A youth of nineteen entered slowly and reverently, and,
kneeling by Mirabeau's couch, took his hand and kissed
it, sobbing convulsively the while.

Mirabeau seemed to search his memory for some vague
recollection of the young man. "Ah! he exclaimed,
suddenly, " I know you. You are the young man I saw at
Argenteuil."

"Thank God! that is all I could ask," exclaimed the
youth; and, rising, he left the room, with both hands
pressed over his streaming eyes.

A few minutes afterwards Teisch entered the room with
a note containing these words : —

" When I kissed the hand of Monsieur de Mirabeau at Argenteuil,
I told him I would gladly die for him.

" I am ready to keep my word.

"Yesterday I read in an English paper that the transfusion of blood
had proved successful in London in a case similar to that of our
iUustrious invalid.

" If such an operation would be likely to prove of benefit in Mon-
sieur de Mirabeau's case, I offer my blood, which is young and pure.

"Marnais."

On hearing these lines read, Mirabeau could not keep
back the tears. He sent for the young man; but, as if
desirous of avoiding any expression of gratitude, he had
hastened away, leaving both his Paris and Argenteuil
address, however.

Soon afterwards Mirabeau consented to receive several
relatives and a few of his most intimate friends; but he
absolutely refused to see any physician except Gilbert,
and when the latter insisted, exclaimed, "No, doctor, you
have had all the bother of my illness, and you shall have
all the credit if I recover."

From time to time he asked who had called or sent to
inquire concerning his condition; and, though he did not



192 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

say, "Has the queen sent any one from the palace?"
Gilbert divined, by the dying man's sigh when the end of
the list was reached, that the one name he longed to hear
was not there.

Afterwards, without referring openly to the king or
queen, he began to discourse with wonderful clearness and
eloquence upon the political situation, and especially of
the course he should pursue towards England if he were
prime minister.

It was against Pitt that he seemed particularly anxious
to contend.

"Oh, that Pitt, he is eminently a man of preparations! "
he exclaimed. " He rules rather by what he threatens to
do, than by what he does. If I had lived, I should have
covered him with mortification ! "

Ever and anon a cry of "Long live Mirabeau! " rose to
the windows, sent up by the people below, — a cry
which resembled a prayer, — wailing rather than hopeful,
however.

Mirabeau had the window opened, in order that the sound
might reach him more clearly, and perhaps compensate, in
part, for the sufferings he was enduring. Por several
seconds he bent eagerly forward, as if drinking in and
absorbing the sound ; then he murmured , —

"Oh, these good people, slandered, insulted, and de-
spised, like myself! It would be only just if it had been
they who forgot me, and she who thus rewarded me."

Night came on. Gilbert would not leave his patient,
but had a couch placed near the bed, and lay down
upon it.

Mirabeau made no objection to this. Now that he felt
sure of death, he no longer seemed afraid of his physician.

As soon as daylight came, he bade them open the
windows.

"I shall die to-day, my dear doctor," he remarked.
"When one has reached my condition, there is nothing for
him to do but perfume himself and crown himself with



"LONG LIVE MIRABEAU'." 193

flowers, in order to enter upon the sleep that knows no
waking as pleasantly as possible. Have T your permission
to do as I wish ? "

Gilbert nodded his assent. The count summoned his
servants.

"Jean, get me the finest flowers you can find," he said;
"and you, Teisch, must make me look as handsome as
possible."

Just then a cannon-shot was heard. Whence it came
no one knew.

Mirabeau started up.

"What! have the obsequies of Achilles begun already ? "
he exclaimed.

Jean had hardly told the crowd about the house the
object of his errand — for as soon as he appeared everybody
rushed up for news of the invalid — before men began to run
up and down the street shouting, "Flowers for Mirabeau! "
Every door opened, and everybody gave all they had,
either in their apartments or their conservatories ; and in
ten minutes the count's house was filled to overflowing
with the choicest flowers.

" My dear doctor, " remarked Mirabeau, " I should like a
few minutes to bid farewell to some one who must leave
this house before 1 do. If any one is disposed to insult
this person, I commend her to your protection."

"Very well; I will leave you."

"Yes, but wait in the adjoining room; and when this
person has gone, you will not leave me again until after
my death. Promise me that."

Gilbert promised, and was about leaving the room when
Mirabeau stopped him.

"Before you go," he said, "open my secretary and bring
me a small casket you will find there."

The casket was heavy, and Gilbert surmised that it was
full of gold. Mirabeau motioned him to place it on the
table beside the bed.

Gilbert withdrew, and spent the next quarter of an hour

VOL. II. — 13



194 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

in answering the anxious inquiries of the people that
thronged the lower floor of the house.

At the expiration of that time a carriage drew up before
the door, and Jean ushered out a lady wrapped in a long
mantle. A moment afterwards the door of Mirabeau's
chamber opened again, and the feeble voice of the invalid
was heard asking for the doctor. Gilbert hastened to
him.

"Here, put this casket back in its place, my dear doctor,"
said Mirabeau. Then, seeing Gilbert seemed astonished
to find the casket as heavy as it had been before, he
exclaimed, "Odd, isn't it, where such disinterestedness
has been hiding all this time!"

On returning to the bedside, Gilbert saw an embroidered
handkerchief, trimmed with lace, on the floor. It was wet
with tears.

"Ah," he remarked to Mirabeau, "she took nothing
away, but she left something behind."

Mirabeau took the handkerchief and pressed it to his
brow.

"It seems that she is the only one who has no heart,"


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