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A half minute, perhaps, elapsed before the lover crossed
the intervening space and tapped softly upon Catherine's
window. Again the gun was raised, this time just as
Catherine, recognising the signal, flung open her casement.

Pitou gasped as he almost felt the spring of the trigger
above his head. The flint struck the steel, there was a
sudden flash of light; but no explosion followed the glare,
for only the priming had ignited. It was a flash in the
pan.

Catherine had grasped Isidore's arm, and now, with
almost superhuman strength, she dragged him into the
room, saying, " It is my father; he knows all! Come! "

There was another bullet in the farmer's gun, but he
could not kill the young viscount without killing, or at
least wounding, his daughter; so he said grimly to him-
self, "The scoundrel will have to leave the house, and
when he does, I won't miss him a second time."

For about Ave minutes not a sound was heard; then the
dogs tied in the courtyard on the other side of the house
began to bark furiously.

Billot muttered an oath, listened a moment, and then
stamped his foot with rage. "She is sending him away



THE WATCH FOR THE WOLF. 81

througli the orchard!" he exclaimed, bounding across the
stream over Pitou's head, in the hope of reaching the other
end of the enclosure as soon as Isidore.

Pitou understood this manœuvre, and, rushing straight
to Catherine's window, darted through that room, and
through the kitchen beyond, into the courtyard, where he
could distinguish two forms, one astride the wall, the other
standing at the foot of it with arms uplifted.

Before springing down on the other side, her lover turned
again to Catherine, and said, "We shall meet again. You
are mine, remember."

"Yes, yes; but go, go! " responded the girl.

"Yes, go, Monsieur Isidore, go!" cried Pitou.

They heard the noise the young nobleman made as he
struck the ground on the other side of the wall, then a
neigh of recognition from his steed. Presently, too, they
heard the horse's swift gallop; then one gunshot, and
then another.

On hearing the first shot, Catherine uttered a cry, and
made a movement as if to rush to Isidore's assistance. At
the second she groaned, and fell swooning into Pitou's
arms.

Pitou listened, with neck stretched eagerly forward, in
order to determine whether the horse continued on his way
with the same rapidity; and, hearing the animal pursuing
his course uninterruptedly until the sound died away in
the distance, he said to himself, "Good! there's some
hope left. One can't see so well by night as by day, and
one's hand is not so steady when one fires at a man as
when one fires at a wolf or a boar."

He lifted Catherine up, with the intention of carrying
her back to her room; but, with a powerful effort of will,
she rallied all her strength, and, sliding to the ground,
seized Pitou by the arm and whispered hoarsely, —

"Where do you intend taking me?"

"Why, back to your room, mademoiselle."

"Is there no place where I can hide, Pitou?"
VOL. n. — 6



82 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

"Oh, yes; or if there is not, I can find one," replied
Pitou, not very logically.

"Then take me there; for all is over between me and the
man who has tried to kill my lover."

"But, mademoiselle — " ventured Pitou.

"You refuse, then?"

"No, ^Arademoiselle Catherine; God forbid! "

"Then follow me."

And, walking on in advance, Catherine crossed the or-
chard and entered the kitchen garden. At the lower end of
this garden there was a small gate in the close board fence
that enclosed it. Without the slightest hesitation, Cath-
erine opened this gate, took out the key, locked the gate
behind her, and threw the key into a cistern near by.

Then, leaning on Pitou's arm, she walked on with a firm
step over the rough, ploughed ground, and the two were
soon lost to sight in the valley below.

No one witnessed their departure, and Heaven alone
knew where Catherine found the shelter Pitou had prom-
ised her.



AFTER THE TEMPEST. 83



CHAPTER XIV.



AFTER THE TEMPEST.



Mental storms are not unlike meteorological storms. The
sky becomes overcast, the thunder roars, the lightning
flashes, the earth seems to tremble to its centre. There
is a moment of frightful paroxysm, during which animate
and inanimate things seem to be on the eve of annihila-
tion, and we shudder and tremble, and lift our clasped
hands imploringly to God as our only salvation.

Then quiet is gradually restored, the darkness flees, and
daylight reappears ; the sun bursts forth again ; the flowers
reopen their petals ; the trees straighten themselves ; men
return to their business, their pleasures, and their loves,
and cease to trouble themselves about the devastation which
the hurricane has left in its wake.

This was the case at the farm. All night a terrible
tempest raged in the heart of the father, who had only
succeeded in partially carrying out his scheme of revenge.
But when he at last discovered his daughter's flight;
when he had searched in vain in the darkness for some
trace of her footsteps; when he had called her name, first
in anger, then in entreaty, and finally in despair, without
receiving any response to these impassioned appeals, — his
organisation, powerful as it was, succumbed to the shock,
and a period of mental prostration ensued. But at last,
when the quiet of exhaustion succeeded the thunder and
lightning, as after an atmospheric storm; when the dogs,
hearing nothing more to disturb them, ceased their bark-
ing; when rain had effaced the blood-stains which, like a
half -loosed belt, encircled one side of the farm; when the



84 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

village clock — that mute witness of all that had taken
place — sounded the last hour of the night, — then things
resumed their wonted course at Pisseleu.

When the big gate of the courtyard creaked upon its
rusty hinges and the labourers again sallied forth, — some
to sow, some to plough, some to follow the harrow, — then
Billot, too, appeared, bustling about here and there as
usual.

At last, when it was broad daylight, and all the village
was astir, some persons who had not slept quite so well as
others remarked, half inquisitively, half carelessly, —

"Farmer Billot's dogs barked dreadfully last night,
and I 'm almost sure I heard two shots fired near the
farm-house."

That was all.

When the worthy farmer returned to the house about
nine o'clock for his breakfast, according to custom, his
wife exclaimed, —

"Say, my good man, where is Catherine? Do you
know?"

"Catherine thinks that the air here doesn't agree with
her, and has gone to Sologne to visit her aunt," replied
the farmer, with an evident effort.

"Will she stay long?"

"Until she feels better."

Mother Billot sighed heavily, and pushed away her cup.

The farmer tried to eat, but the third mouthful seemed
to choke him. Picking up a bottle of claret by the neck,
he emptied it at a single draught; then said, in husky
tones, "They haven't unsaddled my horse, I hope?"

"Xo, Monsieur Billot," responded the feeble voice of
a child who came to the farm every morning for his
breakfast.

"Good!" answered the farmer, pushing the lad aside;
after which he remounted his horse and returned to the
fields; while his wife, drying her tears, retreated to her
usual seat in the chimney-corner.



AFTER THE TEMPEST. 85

Minus its brightest flower, minus its singing-bird, the
farm seemed desolate indeed; but everything went on as
usual that day and the day following.

As for Pitou, he saw the sun rise from his own house in
Haramont; and those who passed at six o'clock saw his
room lighted by a candle which had evidently been burn-
ing a long time, so badly did it need snuffing, — for Pitou
was busily engaged in accounting for the use to which he
had put the twenty-five louis Doctor Gilbert had given him
for the equipment of the Haramont National Guards.

It is true, however, that a woodcutter did declare that
he had seen Pitou, about midnight, descending the steep
hill leading to Father Clouis' hut, carrying something
heavy, that looked like a woman, in his arms; but this
report seemed hardly probable, inasmuch as Father Lajeu-
nesse pretended to have seen Pitou running with all his
might along the road to Boursonnes about one o'clock in
the morning, and Maniquet, who lived at the other end of
the town on the Longpré side, declared that he saw Pitou
pass his door about two o'clock, and that he called out,
"Good-evening, Pitou!" a courtesy to which Pitou re-
sponded in kind.

There was consequently no reason whatever for doubting
that Maniquet did see Pitou at two o'clock or thereabouts ;
but whether the woodcutter did or did not see Pitou about
midnight near Clouise Eock, or whether Father Lajeunesse
did or did not see Pitou running down the Boursonnes
road about one o'clock, this much is certain: If Pitou,
with whom we parted company about half-past ten in the
evening, did go to Clouise Rock, and from Clouise Eock to
Boursonnes, subsequently returning to Clouise Eock, and
afterwards to his own home, — if Pitou did do all this,
we may safely conjecture that he first took Catherine to a
place of safety, then hastened to Boursonnes for news of
the viscount, then hurried back to report to Catherine;
thus making the distance covered between eleven o'clock
in the evening and half-past two in the morning at least



86 LA COMTESSE DE CHAENY.

eight or nine leagues, which seems almost incredible to
persons not conversant with Pitou's extraordinary powers
of locomotion.

Still, as Pitou kept his own counsel, no one except Desire
Maniquet knew for a certainty that it was really Pitou
who had been seen in the vicinity of Clouise Eock and on
the Boursonnes road.

About six o'clock the next morning, just as Parmer
Billot was mounting his horse to start for the iield, Pitou
was seen quietly going over his account with Master
Dulauroy, to which he appended the receipt of each of his
men.

There was another person of our acquaintance whose
slumbers were disturbed that night. This was Doctor
Raynal. About one o'clock he was aroused by the
Vicomte de Charny's lackey, who rang the bell as if he
would jerk it off.

The doctor opened the door himself, according to his
usual custom when the night-bell rang. The viscount's
lackey had come on account of an accident which had
befallen his master, and had brought a second horse with
him, all saddled and bridled, so that there need be no
delay.

The doctor dressed himself in the twinkling of an eye,
jumped on the horse, and started off at a gallop, preceded
by the lackey.

When he inquired into the nature of the accident, the
messenger replied that he would be informed when he
reached the château, but that he must be sure to bring his
case of surgical instruments.

The accident proved to be a wound in the left side and a
scratch on the right shoulder, made by two balls which
seemed to be of the same calibre; but the viscount would
give none of the particulars of the affair.

The wound in the side was serious, but not dangerous,
as the bullet had passed through the flesh without touching
any internal organ.



AFTER THE TEMPEST. 87

The other wound was not worth talking about. When
the wounds were dressed, the young viscount handed the
doctor twenty-live louis, and asked him to keep the matter
a secret.

"If you wish me to say nothing about the affair, you
must pay me only my usual fee of ten francs," replied the
worthy doctor ; and, taking a single louis (twenty-four
francs) from the pile, he gave fourteen francs change to
the viscount, who urged him to accept more.

This the doctor refused to do; but he said he thought
three visits would be necessary, and that he should conse-
quently return the next day and the day following.

On his second visit he found his patient up, and the next
day , with the aid of a bandage to hold the plaster in place,
Isidore was able to mount his horse; so no member of the
household, except his confidential servant, was even aware
of his accident.

On his third visit the doctor found his patient out, and
so would accept only five francs for his visit.

Doctor Raynal was certainly one of the few physicians
who deserve to have in their offices that famous engrav-
ing which represents Hippocrates declining the gifts of
Artaxerxes.



88 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.



CHAPTER XV.

MIRABEAU'S TREACHERY.

MiRABEAu's last words to the queen on leaving the pavil-
ion at St. Cloud have probably not been forgotten by our
readers , —

" Madame, by this kiss the monarchy is saved ! "

And Mirabeau certainly endeavoured to fulfil his promise.
He began the struggle confident of his own strength, not
dreaming that royal imprudence and three abortive con-
spiracies would result in his final undoing.

Perhaps, too, if he could have worked on in secret a
while longer, he would have had a better chance of suc-
cess; but one day, only a few weeks after his interview
with the queen, while on his way to the Assembly, he saw
groups of men standing here and there, evidently engaged
in excited conversation.

He approached one of these groups to ascertain the cause
of the commotion.

Small pamphlets were being handed about; and, ever and
anon, the vendors of them shouted, " The Treachery of Mon-
sieur de Mirabeau! Monsieur de Mirabeau's Treachery! "

"Ah, ha!" remarked Mirabeau, drawing a coin from
his pocket, "this seems to concern me! My friend," he
continued, addressing a man who was distributing the
pamphlets, and who had several thousand copies piled on
the back of a donkey , " my friend, how much do you ask
for * Mirabeau's Treachery '? "

"I am giving it away, Monsieur de Mirabeau," replied
the man, looking the count full in the face; "and there
have been one hundred thousand copies printed," he added
in lower tones.



Portrait of Marie Antoinette.
Photo-Etchiuii from an Old Print.



MIKABEAU'S TREACHERY. " 89

Mirabeau walked on. This pamphlet which was being
given away, this distributor of them, who recognised him ,
— what did it all mean? Doubtless this was one of the
slanderous publications so common in those days, — a
publication whose evident malice and absurdity would
deprive it of the power to make mischief.

Mirabeau glanced over the first page, and turned pale.
The page contained a list of Mirabeau's indebtedness; and,
strange to say, the amount was correct, — two hundred
and eight thousand francs.

Below was given the exact date at which this amount was
to be paid to Mirabeau's different creditors by Monsieur de
Fontanges, the queen's treasurer.

Then came a statement of the amount to be paid ]Mira-
beau monthly by the court, namely, six thousand francs;
and, lastly, a full account of his interview with the queen:
and what Mirabeau could not understand was this, — the
figures were correct to a penny, and every word of the
conversation was accurately repeated.

What strange mysterious enemy was thus attacking him,
or, rather, attacking the monarchy through him?

It seemed to him that the face of the colporteur to whom
he had spoken, and who had recognised him, and even
called him by name, was strangely familiar to him.

He retraced his steps: the donkey was still there, with
his panniers nearly empty now; but the first distributor
had disappeared, and another man, a stranger to Mirabeau,
had taken his place, and was conducting the distribution
with as much alacrity as his predecessor.

Doctor Gilbert happened to pass just then ; but he was
so deeply absorbed in thought that he would have failed
to notice the unusual commotion if IMirabeau, with his
wonted audacity, had not walked up to him, taken him
by the arm, and led him straight to the colporteur, who
was about to stretch out his hand with a pamphlet and
say to Gilbert, as to every one else, "All about INIirabeau's
Treachery, citizen ; " but on seeing the doctor, the man
paused suddenly, as if paralysed.



90 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

Gilbert surveyed the man in his turn, and, dropping the
pamphlet in disgust, turned away, saying, "This is an
infamous job you are engaged in. Monsieur Beausire,"
and, taking Mirabeau's arm, continued on his way.

"Do you know that man?" inquired Mirabeau.

" I know him as Avell as one wants to know sucii a fellow.
He is a gambler who, for want of something better to do,
has turned slanderer."

" Ah, if it were only a slander ! " murmured Mirabeau ,
sadly.

"Are you so little of a philosopher that you allow your-
self to be cast down by such a trifle as this?"

"I! You don't know me, doctor. They say I 'm bribed,
when I am only paid. I '11 buy a house to-morrow, and
a carriage and horses, and hire servants, and keep open
house. Cast down! I? What does the popularity of
yesterday or the unpopularity of to-day matter ? Have I
no future before me? No, doctor; what troubles me so is
a fear that I may not be able to keep the promise I have
made. And this failure — if my efforts prove a failure —
will be due to the treachery of the court towards me. I met
the queen, and she seemed to trust me; and I — I dreamed,
insensate fool that I was, with such a woman — I dreamed,
not only of being the king's prime minister, like Richelieu,
but the queen's lover, as Mazarin was the lover of Anne of
Austria. And what did the queen do? That very day,
after I left her, she wrote to her agent in Germany, Herr
Flachslauden, ' Tell my brother Leopold that I have taken
his advice and am making use of Mirabeau, but that there
is nothing serious in my relations with him.' "

" Are you sure of this? "

"Perfectly sure; nor is this all. You know the ques-
tion that is to be considered in the Assembly to-day, I
suppose?"

"Some war measure, I believe; but I'm not very well
posted as to the cause of dissension."

"It is very simple," replied Mirabeau. "Europe is



MIEABEAU'S TREACHEKY. 91

divided into two rival factions, — England and Prussia on
one side, Austria and Russia on the other; but both are
now moved by the same sentiment, — hatred of our Revolu-
tion. Such a manifestation of dislike is only natural on
the part of Russia and Austria, as that is their natural
bias; but in the case of philosophical Prussia and liberal
England, it is very different, for some time is required to
enable them to change from one extreme to the other.
England, however, has seen Brabant stretching out her
hands to France for help, and that has hastened England's
decision; for a revolution is contagious. England does not
declare war upon France, for she dares not do that yet;
but she abandons Belgium to the Emperor Leopold, and
will go to the ends of the earth to pick a quarrel with
Spain, our ally. Well, yesterday the king informed the
Assembly that he had placed fourteen ships on a war foot-
ing; that will be the subject of discussion at to-day's
session. The question which arises is simply this : Which
department of the government has the right to declare
war? The king has already lost his right of jurisdiction
in matters connected with the Interior Department, — such
as levying taxes, etc., etc. He has also lost all control
over the courts and the Department of Justice. If he loses
control of the War Department, what is there left for
him? But now, doctor, let us, as friends, discuss a ques-
tion which cannot be safely broached in the Assembly.
The Revolution is not complete yet, nor will it be until
the sword is broken in the king's hand; for of all his pre-
rogatives, the most dangerous is the power to make war."

"Then what shall you do, count?"

"Oh, I shall be faithful to my plighted word, and insist
that this power be left in the king's hand; though this
insistence on my part may cost me my popularity, and
perhaps my life. I am about to propose to the Assembly
a measure that will make the king triumphant, victorious.
And what is the king doing at this very moment? He is
having the keeper of the seals search the old parliamentary



92 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

records for certain ancient formulae of protestation against
the States General, in order to draw up a new protest
against the Assembly."

"Is it possible?"

"Yes; and, oh, the pity of it, my dear Gilbert! There
is entirely too much of this secrecy, and not enough frank-
ness and publicity. That is the reason I want everybody
to know that 1, Mirabeau, am on the court's side, as I am.
You think this slander will injure me. No; on the con-
trary, it will help me. It takes heavy clouds and strong
winds to bring me out. Come in, doctor, come in, and
you'll see a lively session; I promise you that."

And Mirabeau was not mistaken; he had a chance to
display his courage immediately upon his entrance into
the hall. Some shouted "Traitor!" under his very nose,
while one man showed him a rope, and another a pistol;
but Mirabeau only shrugged his shoulders and walked on,
like Jean Bart, pushing aside those who stood in his way.

Barnave was in the rostrum, denouncing Mirabeau in
the most vehement manner. Mirabeau stopped and looked
him full in the face.

"Yes," said Barnave, "it is you whom I just called a
traitor! It is you I am denouncing! "

"In that case I will take a turn in the garden of the
Tuileries ; I shall have plenty of time to get back before
your peroration," was the cool response.

And, sure enough, he walked out of the hall, with
head erect and defiant eye, amid a storm of hisses and
imprecations.

Half-way down the main avenue a young lady, with a
spray of verbena in her hand, was sitting, surrounded by a
crowd of admiring listeners.

There was a vacant space on her left, and Mirabeau drew
up a chair and seated himself by her side.

Many of the persons around her got up and walked
away. Mirabeau smiled as he saw them go. The young
lady offered him her hand.



MIRABEAU'S TREACHERY. 93

"Ah, baroness, are you not afraid of catching the
plague?" he asked.

"They say you are leaning towards our side, my dear
count, and I would fain bring you still nearer," she
replied.

Mirabeau smiled. For fully three-quarters of an hour
he sat and chatted with this young woman, who was no
other than Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baroness de
Staël; then, glancing at his watch, he remarked, —

"Ah, baroness, I must ask you to excuse me. Barnave
is making a speech against me; he had been talking an
hour when I left the Assembly. I have had the pleasure
of chatting with you three-quarters of an hour. That
makes about two hours that my friend has been on the
rostrum, and his speech must be nearing its end; so I will
go back and answer him. Give me that spray of verbena,
baroness; it shall serve me as a talisman,"

"This verbena? Have a care, my dear count; it is the
herb for funeral libations, you know,"

"Give it to me all the same; it is well to be crowned as
a martyr when one descends into the arena to fight with
brutes."

" It would indeed be difficult to be more brutish than the
National Assembly of yesterday," remarked Madame de
Staël, laughing,

"Why do you mention yesterday in particular, my dear
baroness?"

And, taking the spray of verbena, which she gave him
partly as a reward for his sarcasm, Mirabeau bowed gal-
lantly, and returned to the Assembly,

Barnave was just descending from the tribune, amid the
enthusiastic plaudits of the entire assemblage. Mirabeau
was no sooner seen mounting the steps of the rostrum than
a storm of curses and hisses assailed him. Lifting his
powerful hand, he waited for the tumult to subside; then,
taking advantage of one of those intervals of quiet which
occur alike amid tempests and riots, he exclaimed, —



94 LA COMTESSE DE CHARNY.

"I know ouly too well that it was not far from the
Capitol to the Tarpeian rock."

Such is the power of genius that this remark silenced
the most angry of his auditors; and, when silence was thus
secured, the victory was more than half won in Mirabeau's
case.

He demanded that the king should be given the right to
declare war. This demand was considered too great, and
was refused. Then began a fight over the proposed amend-
ments. The first attack having been repulsed, it was neces-
sary to win the day by repeated onslaughts.

Barnave's speech had lasted two hours. Mirabeau
mounted the rostrum five different times, and finally
secured the following concessions, — namely, that the king
should have the right to make preparations for war, and
to distribute the forces as he saw fit; that he should also
have the right to propose a declaration of war to the
Assembly, and that the Assembly could adopt no warlike



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