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Switzerland and Germany, and the great families of
France and England should, one and all, follow the
custom of setting out'on a journey after the marriage
ceremony? The great people shut themselves in a
box which rolls along ; the little people gayly tramp
the roads, sitting down in the woods, banqueting at
the inns, as long as their joy, or rather their money
lasts. A moralist is puzzled to decide on which side
is the finer sense of modesty, — that which hides from
the public eye and inaugurates the domestic hearth
and bed in private, as do the worthy burghers of all
lands, or that which withdraws from the family and
exhibits itself publicly on the high-roads and in face
of strangers. One would think that delicate souls
might desire solitude and seek to escape both the
world and their family. The love which begins a
marriage is a pearl, a diamond, a jewel cut by the
choicest of arts, a treasure to bury in the depths of
the soul.

Who can relate a honeymoon, unless it be the bride ?
How many women reading this history will admit to
themselves that this period of uncertain duration is the
forecast of conjugal life? The first three letters of
Sabine to her mother will depict a situation not sur-
prising to some young brides and to many old women.
All those who find themselves the sick-nurses^ so to
speak, of a husband's heart, do not, as Sabine did,

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296 Beatrix.

discover this at once. But young girls of the f auboui^
Saint-Germain, if intelligent, are women in mind.
Before marriage, they have received from their mothers
and the world they live in the baptism of good man-
ners; though women of rank, anxious to hand down
their traditions, do not always see the bearing of their
own lessons when they say to their daughters: "That
is a motion that must not be Aade;" "Never laugh
at such things;" "No lady ever flings herself on a
sofa; she sits down quietly;" "Pray give up such
detestable ways;" "My dear, that is a thing which is
never done," etc.

Many bourgeois critics unjustly deny the inno-
cence and virtue of young girls who, like Sabine, are
truly virgin at heart, improved by the training of their
minds, by the habit of noble bearing, by natural good
taste, while, from the age of sixteen, they have learned
how to use their opera-glasses. Sabine was a girl of
this school, which was also that of Mademoiselle de
Chaulieu. This inborn sense of the fitness of things,
these gifts of race made Sabine de Grandiieu as inter-
esting a young woman as the heroine of the "Memoirs
of two young Married Women." Her letters to her
mother during the honeymoon, of which we here give
three or four, will show the qualities of her mind and

GutRANDB, April, 1838.

To Madame la Duchesse de Grandiieu :

Dear Mamma, — You will understand why I did not
write to you during the journey, — our wits are then
like wheels. Here I am, for the last two days, in

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Beatrix. 297

the depths of Brittany, at the hdtel du Gu^nie, — a
house as covered with carving as a sandal- wood
box. In spite of the affectionate devotion of
Calyste's family, I feel a keen desire to fly to you,
to tell you many things which can only be trusted to
a mother.

Calyste married, dear mamma, with a great sorrow
in his heart. We all knew that, and you did not
hide from me the difficulties of my position ; but alas !
they are greater than you thought. Ah I my dear
mother, what experience we acquire in the short
space of a few days — I might even say a few hours !
All your counsels have proved fruitless ; you will see
why from one sentence: I love Calyste as if he were
not my husband, — that is to say, if I were married
to another, and were travelling with Calyste, I should
love Calyste and hate my husband.

Now think of a man beloved so completely, invol-
untarily, absolutely, and all the other adverbs you
may choose to employ, and you will see that my ser-
vitude is established in spite of your good advice.
You told me to be grand, noble, dignified, and self-
respecting in order to obtain from Calyste the
feelings that are never subject to the chances and,
changes of life, — esteem, honor, and the considera-
tion which sanctifies a woman in the bosom of her
family. I remember how you blamed, I dare say
justly, the young women of the present day, who, under
pretext of living happily with their husbands, begin
by compliance, flattery, familiarity, an abandonment,
you called it, a little too wanton (a word I did not fully
understand), all of which, if I must believe you, are

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298 Beatrix.

relays that lead rapidly to indiffereoce and possibly
to coDtempt. "Remember that you are a Grandlieu! *'
yes, I remember that you told me all that —

But oh! that advice, filled with the maternal elo-
quence of a female Dsedalus has had the fate of all
things mythological. Dear, beloved mother, could you
ever have supposed it possible that I should begin by
the catastrophe which, according to you, ends the
honeymoon of the young women of the present day ?

When Calyste and I were fairly alone in the travel-
ling carriage, we felt rather foolish in each other's
company, understanding the importance of the first
word, the first look; and we both, bewildered by the
solemnity, looked out of our respective windows. It
became so ridiculous that when we reached the barrier
monsieur began, in a rather troubled tone of voice, a
set discourse, prepared, no doubt, like other improvi-
sations, to which I listened with a beating heart, and
which I take the liberty of here abridging.

"My dear Sabine," he said, "I want you to be
happy, and, above all, do I wish you to be happy in
your own way. Therefore, in the situation in which
we are, instead of deceiving ourselves mutually about
our characters and our feelings by noble compliances,
let us endeavor to be to each other at once what we
should be years hence. Think always that you have
a friend and a brother in me, as I shall feel I have a
sister and a friend in you."

Though it was all said with the utmost delicacy, I
found nothing in this first conjugal love-speech which
responded to the feelings in my soul, and I remained
pensive after replying that I was animated by the same

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Biatrix. . 299

sentiments. After this declaration of our rights to
mutual coldness, we talked of weather, relays, and
scenery in the most charming manner, — I with rather
a forced little laugh, he absent-mindedly.

At last, as we were leaving Versailles, I turned to
Calyste — whom I called my dear Calyste, and he
called me my dear Sabine — and asked him plainly to
tell me the events which had led him to the point of
death, and to which I was aware that I owed the
happiness of being his wife. He hesitated long. In
fact, my request gave rise to a little argument oetween
us, which lasted through three relays, — I endeavoring
to maintain the part of an obstinate girl, and trying
to sulk ; he debating within himself the question which
the newspapers used to put to Charles X. : "Must the
king yield or not?" At last, after passing Verneuil,
and exchanging oaths enough to satisfy three dynas-
ties never to reproach him for his folly, and never to
treat him coldly, etc., etc., he related to me his love
for Madame de Rochefide.

"I do not wish," he said, in conclusion, "to have
any secrets between us."

Poor, dear Calyste, it seems, was ignorant that his
friend. Mademoiselle des Touches, and you had
thought it right to tell me the truth. Well, mother,
— for I can tell all to a mother as tender as you, — 1
was deeply hurt by perceiving that he had yielded less
to my request than to his* own desire to talk of that
strange passion. Do you blame me, darling mother,
for having wished to reconnoitre the extent of the
grief, the open wound of the heart of which you warned

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300 matrix.

So, eight hours after receiving the rector's blessiDg
at Saint-Thomas d'Aquin, your Sabine was in the
rather false position of a young wife listening to a
confidence, from the very lips of her husband, of his
misplaced love for an unworthy rival. Yes, there I
was, in the drama of a young woman learning,
officially, as it were, that she owed her marriage to
the disdainful rejection of an old and faded beauty !

Still, I gained what I sought. "What was that?"
you will ask. Ah! mother dear, I have seen too much
of love going on around me not to know how to put a
little of it into practice. Well, Calyste ended the
poem of his miseries with thewanqest protestations of
an absolute forgetting of what he called his madness.
All kinds of afltanations have to be signed, you
know. The happy unhappy one took my hand, car-
ried it to his lips, and, after that, he kept it for a long
time clasped in his own. A declaration followed.
That one seemed to me more comformable than the
first to the demands of our new condition, though our
lips said never a word. Perhaps I owed it to the
vigorous indignation I felt and showed at the bad
taste of a woman foolish enough not to love my beau-
tiful, my glorious Calyste.

They are calling me to play a game of cards, which
I do not yet understt^nd. I will finish my letter to-
morrow. To leave you at this moment to make a
fifth at mouche (that is the name of the game) can
only be done in the depths of Brittany — Adieu.

Your Sabine.

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Biatrix. 301

Gu^RANDB, May, 1838.

I TAKE up my Odyssey. On the third day your
children no longer used the ceremonious "you;" they
thee'd and thou'd each other like lovers. My mother-
in-law, enchanted to see us so happy, is trying to take
your place to me, dear mother, and, as often happens
when people play a part to efface other memories,, she
has been so charming that she is, almost^ you to me.

I think she has guessed the heroism of my conduct,
for at the beginning of our journey she tried to hide
her anxiety with such care that it was visible from
excessive precaution.

When I saw the towers of Gu^rande rising in the
distance, I whispered in the ear of your son-in-law,
"Have you really forgotten her?" My husband, now
become my angel, can't know anything, I think, about
sincere and simple love, for the words made him wild
with happiness. Still, I think the desire to put Ma-
dame de Rochefide forever out of his mind led me
too far. But how could I help it? I love, and I
am half a Portuguese, — for I am much more like
you, mamma, than like my father.

Calyste accepts all from me as spoilt children accept
things, they think it their right; he is an only child, I
remember that. But, between ourselves, I will not
give my daughter (if I have any daughters) to an only
son. I see a variety of tyrants in an only son. So,
mamma, we have rather inverted our parts, and I am
the devoted half of the pair. There are dangers, I
know, in devotion, though we profit by it ; we lose our
dignity, for one thing. I feel bound to tell you of
the wreck of that semi-virtue. Dignity, after all, is

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802 Biatrix.

only a screen set up before pride, behind which we
rage as we please; but how could I help it? you were
not here, and I saw. a gulf opening before me. Had I
remained upon my dignity, I should have won only
the cold joys (or pains) of a sort of brotherhood which
would soon have drifted into indifference. What sort
of future might that have led to? My devotion has, I
know, made me Calyste's slave; but shall I regret it?
We shall see.

As for the present, I am delighted with it. I love
Calyste; I love him absolutely, with the folly of a
mother, who thinks that all her son may do is right,
even if he tyrannizes a trifle over her.

Gn£BAin>E, May 15th.

Up to the present moment, dear mamma, I find mar-
riage a delightful affair. I can spend all my tender-
ness on the noblest of men whom a foolish woman
disdained for a fiddler, — for that woman evidently
was a fool, and a cold fool, the worst kind! I, in my
legitimate love, am charitable ; I am curing his wounds
while I lay my heart open to incurable ones. Yes,
the more I love Calyste, the more I feel that I should
die of grief if our present happiness ever ceased.

I must tell you how the whole family and the circle
which meets at the h6tel du Gu^nic adore me. They
are all personages born under tapestries of the highest
warp ; in fact, they seem to have stepped from those
old tapestries as if to prove that the impossible may
exist. Some day, when we are alone together, I will
describe to you my Aunt Zephirine, Mademoiselle de
Pen-Hoel, the Chevalier du Halga, the Demoiselles

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Beatrix. 803

de Kergarouet, and others. They all, even to the two
servants, Gasselin and Mariotte (whom I wish they
would let me take to Paris), regaixl me as an angel sent
from heaven; they tremble when I speak. Dear
people ! they ought to be preserved under glass.

My mother-in-law has solemnly installed us in the
apartments formerly occupied by herself and her late
husband. The scene was touching. She said to
us, —

"I spent my whole married life, a happy woman, in
these rooms ; may the omen be a happy one for you,
my children."

She has taken Calyste's former room for hers.
Saintly soul ! she seems intent on laying off her mem-
ories and all her conjugal dignities to invest us with
them. The province of Brittany, this town, this
family of ancient morals and ancient customs has, in
spite of certain absurdities which strike the eye of a
frivolous Parisian girl, something inexplicable, some-
thing grandiose even in its trifles, which can only be
defined by the word soared.

All the tenants of the vast domains of the house of
Gu^nic, bought back, as you know, by Mademoiselle
des Touches (whom we are going to visit in her con-
vent), have been in a body to pay their respects to us.
These worthy people, in their holiday costumes, ex-
pressing their genuine joy in the fact that Calyste has
now become really and truly their master, made me
understand Brittany, the feudal system and old France.
The whole scene was a festival I can't describe to you
in writing, but I will tell you about it when we meet.
The terms of the leases have been proposed by the gars

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304 Biatrix.

themselves. We shall sign them, after making a tour
of inspection round the estates, which have been
mortgaged away from us for one hundred and fifty
years! Mademoiselle de Pen-Hoel told me that the
gars have reckoned up the revenues and estimated the
rentals with a veracity and justice Parisians would
never believe.

We start in three days on horseback for this trip.
I will write you on my return, dear mother. I shall
have nothing more to tell you about myself, for my
happiness is at its height — and how can that be
told? I shall write you only what you know already,
and that is, how I love you.

Naittbb, Jane, 1838.
Having now played the r61e of a ch§.telaine, adored
by her vassals as if the revolutions of 1789 and 1830
had lowered no banners; and after rides through for-
ests, and halts at farmhouses, dinners on oaken tables,
covered with centenary linen, bending under Homeric
viands served on antediluvian dishes; after drinking
the choicest wines in goblets to volleys of musketry,
accompanied by cries of "Long live the Gudnics!"
till I was deafened ; after balls, where the only orches-
tra was a bagpipe, blown by a man for ten hours; and
after bouquets, and young brides who wanted us to
bless them, and downright weariness, which made me
find in my bed a sleep I never knew before, with
delightful awakenings when love shone radiant as the
sun pouring in upon me, and scintillating with a
million of flies, all buzzing in the Breton dialect! —
in short, after a most grotesque residence in the

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Chateau du Ga^nic, where the windows are gates and
the cows graze peacefully on the grass in the halls
(which castle we have sworn to repair and to inhabit
for a while every year to the wild acclamations of the
clan du Gudnic, a gars of which bore high our banner)
— ouf ! I am at Nantes.

But ohl what a day was that when we arrived at
the old castle I The rector came out, mother, with
all his clergy, crowned with flowers, to receive us and
bless us, expressing such joy, — the tears are in my
eyes as I think of it. And my noble Calyste! who
played his part of seigneur like a personage in Walter
Scott! My lord received his tenants' homage as if he
were back in the thirteenth century. I heard the girls
and the women saying to each other, ^' Oh, what a
beautiful seigneur we have!" for all the world like
an opera chorus. The old men talked of Calyste's
resemblance to the former Gunnies whom they had
known in their youth. Ah! noble, sublime Brittany f
land of belief and faith! But progress has got its
eye upon it; bridges are being built, roads made,
ideas are\ coming, and then farewell to the sublime !
The peasants will certainly not be as free and proud
as I have now seen them, when progress has proved to
them that they are Calyste's equals — if, indeed, they
could ever be got to believe it.

After this poem of our pacific Restoration had been
sung, and the contracts and leases signed, we left
that ravishing land, all flowery, gay, solemn, lonely
by turns, and came here to kneel with our happiness
at the feet of her who gave it to us.

Calyste and I both felt the need of thanking the

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sister of the Visitation. In memory of her he has
qnai'tered his own arms with those of Des Touches,
which are: party couped, tranche and taille or and
sinople, on the latter two eagles argent. He means
to take one of the eagles argent for his own supporter
and put this motto in its beak : Souviegne-vous.

Yesterday we went to the convent of the ladies of
the Visitation, to which we were taken by the Abb^
Grimont, a friend of the du Gu^nic family, who told
us that your dear Fdlicit^, mamma, was indeed a saint.
She could not very well be anything else to him, for
her conversion, which was thought to.be his doing,
has led to his appointment as vicar-general of the
diocese. Mademoiselle des Touches declined to re-
ceive Calyste, and would only see me. I found her
slightly changed, thinner and paler; but she seemed
much pleased at my visit.

"Tell Calyste," she said, in a low voice, "that it is
a matter of conscience with me not to see him, for I
am permitted to do so. I prefer not to buy that hap-
piness by months of suffering. Ah, you do not know
what it costs me to reply to the question, ' Of what are
you thinking?' Certainly the mother of the novices
has no conception of the number and extent of
the ideas which are rushing through my mind when
she asks that question. Sometimes I am seeing Italy
or Paris, with all its sights; always thinking, how-
ever, of Calyste, who is " — she said this in that poetic
way you know and admire so much — "who is the sun
of memory to me. I found," she continued, "that I
was too old to be received among the Carmelites, and
I have entered the order of Saint-FrauQois de Sales

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Biatrix. 807

solely because he said, ' I will bare your heads instead
of your feet,' — objecting, as he did, to austerities
which mortified the body only. It is, in truth, the
head that sins. The saintly bishop was right to make
his rule austere toward the intellect, and terrible
against the wilL That is what I sought; for my
head was the guilty part of me. It deceived me as to
ngy heart until I reached that fatal age of forty, when,
for a few brief moments, we are forty times happier
than young women, and then, speedily, fifty times
more unhappy. But, my 6hild, tell me," she asked,
ceasing with visible satisfaction to speak of herself,
"are you happy?"

"You see me under all the enchantments of love and
happiness," I answered.

"Calyste is as good and simple as he is noble and
beautiful," she said, gravely. "I have made you my
heiress in more things than property ; you now possess
the double ideal of which I dreamed. I rejoice in
what I have done," she continued, after a pause.
"But, my child, make no mistake; do yourself no
wrong. You have easily won happiness; you have
only to stretch out your hand to take it, and it is
yours ; but be careful to preserve it. If you had come
here solely to carry away with you the counsels that my
knowledge of your husband alone can give you, the
journey would be well repaid. Calyste is moved at
this moment by a communicated passion, but you have
not inspired it. To make your happiness lasting, tiy,
my dear child, to give him something of his former
emotions. In the interests of both of you, be capri-
cious, be coquettish; to tell you the truth, you must

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808 BSatrix.

be. I am not adyising any odious scheming, or petty
tyranny; this that I tell you is the science of a
woman's life. Between usury and prodigality, my
child, is economy. Study, therefore, to acquire honor-
ably a cei-tain empire over Calyste. These are the
last words on earthly interests that I shall ever utter,
and I have kept them to say as we .part; for there are
times when I tremble in my conscience lest to save
Calyste I may have sacrificed you. Bind him to you,
firmly, give him children, let him respect their mother
in you — and," she added in a low and trembling
voice, '^manage, if you can, that he shall never again
see Beatrix."

That name plunged us both into a sort of stupor;
we looked into each other's eyes, exchanging a vague

"Do you return to Gu^rande?" she asked me.

"Yes," I said.

"Never go to Les Touches. I did wrong to give
him that property."

"Why?" I asked.

"Child!" she answered, "Les Touches for you is
Bluebeard's chamber. There is nothing so dangerous
as to wake a sleeping passion."

I have given you, dear mamma, the substance, or at
any rate, the meaning of our conversation. If Made-
moiselle des Touches made me talk to her freely, she
also gave me much to think of ; and all the more be-
cause, in the delight of this trip, and the charm of
these relations with my Calyste, I had well-nigh for-
gotten the serious situation of which I spoke to you
in my first letter.

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BSatrix. 809

But oh! mother, it is impossible for me to follow
these counsels. I cannot put an appearance of oppo-
sition or caprice into my love; it would falsify it.
Calyste will do with me what he pleases. According
to your theory, the more I am a woman the more I
make myself his toy ; for I am, and I know it, horribly
weak in my happiness ; I cannot resist a single glance
of my lord. But no ! I do not abandon myself to love ;
I only cling to it, as a mother presses her infant to her
breast, fearing some evil.

Calyste, rich and married to the most beautiful
woman in Paris, retains a sadness in his soul which
nothing dissipates, — not even the birth of a son at
Guerande, in 1839, to the great joy of Z^phirine du
Gu^nic. Beatrix lives still in the depths of his heart,
and it is impossible to foresee what disasters might
result sbould he again meet with Madame de


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