CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK
WITH A GENERAL INTRODUCTION BY
THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH BY
EDITH MARY NORRIS
THE FREDERICK J. QUINBY COMPANY
BOSTON LONDON PARIS
Limited to One Thousand
Number....*..^ .? *
COPYRIGHT, 1903, BY
THE FREDERICK J. QUINBY COMPANY
All rights reserved
Boston, Man., U. S. A.
CHAPTER I PAO.
A Journey. An Accident. Adventures ... i
The Counts von Framberg. Clementine ... 6
A Man in a Thousand. Henri's Education . . 21
The Farm and the Hayloft 34
The Colonel's Reception 46
A Hayloft Again 68
Rome ..,,,,..,,,.,, 96
Paris. An Adventure of Another Kind . . . 116
He Finds Her 137
Who Would Have Suspected It 150
A Novel Reader Will Have Already Divined It.
Another Joyful Moment 166
Love Is Not Always Productive of Good . . . 190
Happiness. Uninteresting but Necessary. A
Blow from Fate 209
Short and Sad. A Happy Meeting 235
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK AT THIRTY YEARS OF
Photogravure from miniature by De Maricot.
" BE EASY, COLONEL, I AM MORE THAN A MATCH
FOR THEM, ABOVE ALL, WHERE WOMEN ARE
Photogravure from original drawing by Charles H.
THE CASTLE VON FRAMBERG 195
Original etching by Charles H. White.
" COME, WRETCH," SAID HENRI TO HIM . . . 239
Photogravure from original drawing by Albert de Ford
THE portrait of Charles Paul de Kock which
embellishes this volume is engraved from a minia-
ture by Maricot, whom Paul de Kock, writing of
the time of his first book, "The Child of My
Wife," describes as "one of my most intimate
friends." This was in 1811, but the portrait was
not painted until 1823, and represents the writer
as a handsome young man of thirty.
The Child of My Wife " is called by De Kock,
"my first and feeblest romance," is assuredly sur-
passed by many of his later works, and serves to
mark the growth of the writer's genius. It was
written when De Kock was but seventeen years
of age, and when he was employed as a banker's
clerk in the house of Sherer and Finguerlin. The
discovery of the manuscript by his employer led
to his dismissal, which was doubtless a turning
point in his career, and incidentally urged him
into the flowery paths of literature. But the blos-
som of his fame and popularity had not even
budded as yet, though the harvest was to be so
plentiful later on.
He took the manuscript home, and after the
manner of young authors tried it first upon his
confiding family, who in this case would none of it.
ii INTRODUCTORY NOTE
" Pooh ! " said his mother, when he offered to
read it to her ; " Your romance, a pretty thing,
indeed ! Some rhapsody, I suppose ; you had
much better try to obtain advancement in your
office than to write such foolish things."
Vainly he sought a publisher for this bantling
of his brain. He was sent from one to the other
and received in a variety of ways; but all were
unanimous in refusing to have anything to do
with " The Child of My Wife." In his own in-
imitably humorous way he tells of what must have
been a bitter disappointment to the ambitious
youth of seventeen. At last he tried to get it pub-
lished by a bookseller, one Quoy.
" One day, " he writes, " in an access of rage
I thrust 'The Child of My Wife' at Quoy's
" ' But I am not a publisher/
"'You will publish it. An edition of "The
Child of My Wife " or your life.'
" Quoy had fallen at my knees. For a moment
I was dizzy ; my manuscript suspended above his
head threatened him. Happily a customer en-
tered the shop :
" ' " The Mysteries of Udolpho," if you please,
" Ann Radcliffe had saved Quoy, and, trembling
still at the thought of the crime I had been about
to commit, I went home and threw my child to
the bottom of a cupboard.
INTRODUCTORY NOTE iii
"It slept there for two years. I regret that it
had not slept there forever."
Two years later he published it at his own ex-
pense, but it sold very slowly, and its author de-
bated whether it were worth while to write books
if people would not read them. A literary friend
suggested that he should write for the theatre ; his
first play was very successful, then came his sec-
ond romance, which was no less so. " c Georgette,'
he writes, "commenced to draw me from the
shade. Between ourselves, 'The Child of My
Wife' had left me entirely obscured in it."
A JOURNEY. AN ACCIDENT. ADVENTURES
"WE shall never arrive at our destination, we
shall never get to Strasburg this evening, Mul-
lern," exclaimed Colonel von Framberg impa-
tiently ; " I do wish you would tell the postilion
to lash up those sorry steeds of his and put a little
life into them."
" That's something I have already told him to
do twenty times at least during the past hour,
Colonel," responded the person addressed ; " and
he invariably answers that unless we want to get
all three of our necks broken we cannot go any
" I greatly fear Henri will have left Strasburg
by the time we reach there, Mullern," said the
"Then, Colonel," responded Mullern, " in that
case we must continue to follow him."
" And, perhaps," added the colonel, " we shall
not come up with him in time to prevent the mis-
fortune which I fear."
" Should that happen, Colonel, you will have
nothing with which to reproach yourself, for truly,
during the last six weeks we have done nothing
Vol. IX t
a THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
but post day and night, from Framberg to Stras-
burg, from Strasburg to Paris, and from Paris
back to Framberg."
"If we can but attain the obj ect of our journey !"
" If I only had a bottle of good wine to dispel
the numbness of my limbs ; but we can get noth-
ing ; not even a glass of thin wine to appease the
thirst which consumes me. O Colonel, only for
your sake would I endure patiently so much dis-
" Are you sorry that you came with me, Mul-
" I would go to the end of the world with you,
Colonel ; but I should wish, at least, not to do
so without eating or drinking."
Here the conversation was interrupted by a
tremendous shock, which broke the axle-tree of
the post-chaise, and Colonel Framberg and his
travelling companion both rolled into a ditch
which bordered the road. This accident was due
to the fact that the postilion had not, owing to
the rapidity of his course, noticed the ditch into
which our travellers had fallen.
While the postilion was occupied with his
horses, Mullern ran to pick up the colonel.
" Thousand million of cartridges ! are you
wounded, Colonel ? "
" It's nothing, Mullern ; it's only my left leg
which pains me a little."
" Hang it ! You're tremendously bruised."
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 3
"It is nothing, I tell you. Let us try to dis-
cover some place where we can pass the night, for
I see very well that we must renounce the hope
of arriving at Strasburg today."
The postilion came running to tell the gentle-
men that there was an inn about fifty paces from
"You scoundrel ! to dare to upset Colonel Fram-
berg in a ditch," said Mullern to the postilion.
The latter excused himself as best he could, and
they took their way to the inn, supporting the
colonel by the arms.
Our travellers had walked but a few minutes
when they saw an unpretentious but pretty little
house. It comprised a groundfloor, a first story,
and some attics, and was provided with green
shutters to ward off the sun. A cluster of oaks
shaded the entrance, and everything about it in-
dicated that its master, tired of the pleasures and
noises of the city, had retired to this solitude for
rest and meditation.
" You call that an inn ? " said Mullern to the
postilion ; " I believe, triple thunder ! that you
want to ma^ke the colonel walk."
" Let us knock, at any rate," answered the
postilion ; " we shall see better what it is when
we are inside."
Mullern rapped a double knock at the door.
No answer. He knocked again; but still there
was no response. To complete the awkwardness
4 THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
of the situation, darkness came on rapidly, and
Colonel Framberg's wound, irritated by fatigue,
began to pain him horribly.
" The devil's in this, colonel ; you can't sleep
in the open air in your condition. Since the
people in the house are deaf, we must try to
manage without them."
So saying, Mullern violently kicked in the
window of the groundfloor which was nearest to
the door. The shutter, which was not in condi-
tion to sustain such an assault, broke and fell at
his feet. He then broke two panes of glass with
his sabre, and entered the house without paying
any attention to the orders of his colonel, who
pointed out to him that he should not thus vio-
late people's rights, and that if any one saw him
they would be more likely to take him for a high-
way robber than for a sergeant-major of cavalry.
Without pausing in his enterprise, Mullern ran
to the entrance, found a large key hung on the
door, took it down, opened the door without diffi-
culty, and introduced Colonel Framberg into the
" Now that we are inside," said the colonel, " let
us try to conduct ourselves circumspectly."
" That's it, Colonel, give your arm to this awk-
ward postilion, and I'll precede you so as to warn
you in case of accident."
Our travellers proceeded, groping their way,
for the darkness was so intense they could not
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 5
discern a step before them. They had already
passed through several of the rooms when some-
thing passed before them and fled lightly at their
approach. Mullern, puzzled, without pausing to
think, ran after this object, but his feet caught in
a footstool, he lost his equilibrium and fell with
his head in a bucketful of water. He rose an-
grily, opened a door, and, thinking he was walking
on the level, rolled from the top to the bottom of
some stairs, drawing with him in his fall an unfor-
tunate cat, which was the innocent cause of all this
rumpus. However, though half stunned by his
rapid descent, Mullern arose and proceeded, this
time more carefully, to examine the place into
which he had tumbled. The dampness of the
atmosphere, and several bottles which he felt under
his hand, soon apprised him that he was in the
cellar. Reassured by this discovery he sought
the stairs which he had descended so rapidly, that
he might go up again to announce his success to
the colonel ; but for the third time his feet caught
in something, and he fell with his face on the nose
of an individual who was tranquilly sleeping, and
who gave utterance to a terrible shout on being
awakened so suddenly.
THE COUNTS VON FRAMBERG. CLMENTINE
WE must not pause to draw our friend Mullern
from the embarassment caused by his new ad-
venture until we have performed an obviously
necessary task in informing the reader as to the
identity of Colonel Framberg, and in dilating
upon the motive which had occasioned his hurried
Count Hermann von Framberg, the colonel's
father, was descended from an ancient German
family. From father to son, through many gen-
erations, the Frambergs had passed their youth
in serving their country as officers in the army.
Count Hermann, following the example of his
forefathers, having plucked the laurels of glory on
the field of honor, had retired to his ancestral
estates, and there, with a dearly beloved wife, had
impatiently awaited the birth of their child to com-
plete his happiness. The moment arrived, but
the day of joy was turned into one of mourning
and affliction; the countess died in giving birth
to her son.
The count was never entirely consoled for his
loss, but as time softened the bitterness of his
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 7
anguish he remembered that he had a son, and
ardently gave himself up to the care of his educa-
tion, which resembled that of his ancestors. Young
Framberg early excelled in military exercises ; his
father saw with joy the taste which he evinced for
the profession of his forebears, and at the age of
fifteen the young man asked permission to enter
the army. The count, although regretting the sep-
aration from his son, consented to this request, and
young Framberg left the house of his fathers, and
in a short time rose by his brave conduct to the
rank of colonel.
Count Hermann was proud of such a son, and
when Colonel Framberg came to make his winter
quarters at his father's castle, he was received with
all the military honors, as well as with paternal
It was on the battlefield that the colonel had
made Mullern's acquaintance. That brave hus-
sar was conspicuous for his courage, and even
more so for the singularity of his humor ; he had
all the frankness and bluntness of a good soldier ;
always ready to risk his life for a person whom he
loved, he would have gone round the world in
order to punish one who had affronted him. He
revered his colonel as his superior, and loved him
as the bravest man in the army ; in every battle
he was at the colonel's side, fought before him and
often made a rampart for him with his body ; and
had anyone given his life to save the colonel's,
8 THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
the good Mullern would never have forgiven his
depriving him of the honor and pleasure of so
The colonel, for his part, became more and
more attached to Mullern. Soon they became in-
separable, for the colonel, educated in camps,
knew nothing of the distinctions which rank and
fortune impose in society. The one whom he
loved, although without wealth or title, was none
the less estimable in his eyes, if he possessed qual-
ities which made his friendship desirable. In a
word, the colonel was above all prejudice, and fre-
quently ruptured social convenances, as the sequel
of this history will demonstrate.
Count Hermann, as he became old, ardently
desired that his son should give him an heir to his
name, and on each visit which the colonel paid to
the castle, where for a long time past Mullern had
accompanied him, the old count renewed his en-
treaties that his son would marry. But the pur-
suit of glory alone occupied the colonel's mind,
and he refused to gratify his father's wishes, until,
on attaining his thirtieth year, his warlike ardor
became a little diminished, and he consented to
yield to the count's desire.
About half a league from Count Hermann's
castle the domains of Baron von Frobourg were
situated. The baron was a widower, and lived a
retired life in his castle, occupied with the educa-
tion of his only daughter, little Clementine, who
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 9
was the idol of her father, and the object of his
The count and the baron, being near neigh-
bors, early became intimate, and passed their time
alternately at each other's houses, and during the
winter evenings they conversed; one recounting
the military achievements and the glory with
which his son had embellished his old age, the
other detailing the infantile graces of his daugh-
ter, her filial love, her sensitive feeling for the un-
fortunate, and his hope that one day, possessing
the beauty of her mother, she would also possess
her virtues. However, time passed, and the count
imparted to the baron his desire to see his son
married, and the baron confided to his friend the
fears which agitated him when he reflected that, if
he should die, he would leave his daughter alone
in the world, without a friend to protect her or a
husband to cherish her. These confidences led
to an inevitable result ; the count and the baron
formed the project of uniting their children. By
this means they welded more firmly the friend-
ship which united them, and put an end to all the
anxiety which incessantly troubled their old age.
It was at this epoch that the colonel yielded
to his father's desires, and the latter conducted
him to the baron's castle that he might become
acquainted with his future wife.
The colonel, in his frequent visits to his home,
had already seen Clementine, but what a differ-
io THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
ence ! she had been a child then, and time had
not developed all her graces. When the count
presented his son to her as her future husband,
she was eighteen years old ; she was pretty with-
out being beautiful ; but her every movement
awakened delight ; her big black eyes had a most
tender and languorous expression, and the enchant-
ing accents of her voice stirred the hearts of those
who listened to her with the deepest emotion.
Clementine's character did not belie the sweetness
of her expression ; she was endowed with every
good quality, but she carried her sensibility to an
excess. This feeling, when she possesses too
much of it, is often the cause of a woman's mis-
fortune, and sometimes leads her much farther
than she wishes or intends.
The colonel, on seeing Clementine, experi-
enced that secret delight which the presence of a
charming woman occasions, and he ardently hoped
that he should soon call her his wife ; not that he
felt for her the violent passion which is capable of
every sacrifice in order to possess the beloved
object. Colonel Framberg, educated in the camp,
had never known love, and his brusque frankness
was rather that of a friend than that of a lover ;
but he was proud of his father's choice, and grati-
fied in that he was able to reconcile his desires
and his duty.
As to Clementine, when the old baron apprised
her that she must consider Colonel Framberg as
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK n
her future husband, she turned pale, she was dis-
tressed, and she threw herself at her father's knees
and begged him not to force her to leave him.
The baron told her that he would always live
with her. Besides, it was necessary that she should
have a protector, a second father, to replace him
when he should go down to the grave, and he
could not find a man worthier to fulfil all these
duties than Count Hermann's son. Finally, the
baron told his daughter that he had placed his
dearest hopes on this marriage, and that she would
sadden his old age if she refused to obey him.
Clementine was silent, tried to hide her fears, and
promised her father that she would comply with
his wishes ; however, she obtained from the baron
a delay in order, said she, that she might have
time to become acquainted with her future hus-
band, and it was decided that they should be mar-
ried at the end of three months.
Whence came Clementine's trouble on learn-
ing of her approaching marriage ? If the colonel
had not that soft and tender tone which one de-
sires in a lover, at least, he was possessed of the
most excellent qualities ; besides, the pleasure of
obeying her father should have enabled Clemen-
tine to contract the marriage he had proposed for
her without sorrow. There must be, then, some
secret motive which disturbed her peace of mind.
What that was, we shall learn, without doubt, in
the following pages.
ia THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
Not far from the baron's castle, in a modest
little cottage surrounded by a pretty garden, and
situated on a hill from whence one could view the
rich domains of the Frobourgs, lived Clementine's
old nurse, who had always evinced for her charge
the tenderness of a mother, and had lavished upon
her all her care. For her part, Clementine loved
Nurse Germaine, and never passed a day without
going to see her.
One beautiful evening in spring Clementine
left the castle to go to the cottage. The weather
had never been so beautiful ; a soft and pure air
intoxicated the senses, and the declining sun
seemed to leave with regret the scene to which he
had lent his dawning glory.
Clementine, led by an irresistible desire, went
deep into the woods through which it was neces-
sary to pass in order to reach Germaine's cottage.
Presently, feeling tired, she seated herself at the
foot of a tree, and gave herself up to the sweet
reflections inspired by the silence of her resting-
place. She had been seated thus for some time
when a gun was fired sufficiently near to dispel
her revery. She turned quickly and saw a young
huntsman. The young man remained motionless
at the sight of Clementine and, in place of excus-
ing himself for the fright he had caused her, did
nothing but look at the charming person who was
before his eyes.
Clementine was the first to perceive the singu-
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 13
larity of their position, and was about to depart
when the young man, running to her, retained
her gently by the arm.
" Why, mademoiselle, have I frightened you ? "
" It was not you, monsieur, it was your gun ? "
" Pray excuse me. I had not seen you, and cer-
tainly had I been aware of your presence I should
no longer have found it possible to shoot."
" I am sorry, monsieur, to have disturbed your
" O mademoiselle, I would willingly give up
all other pleasures for the one which I feel at this
Clementine blushed, the young man remained
silent, and they again stood motionless before each
other. It was growing dark, however, and Clem-
entine turned to leave.
" You are going, mademoiselle ? "
" Yes, monsieur, night is approaching, and it is
time for me to return to the castle."
" Mademoiselle lives at the Castle von Fro-
" Yes, monsieur."
" Will mademoiselle permit me to conduct her
" It is unnecessary, monsieur, I know the way
So saying, Clementine lightly departed, leaving
the young man to follow with his eyes her pas-
sage through the skirts of the wood. Clementine
I 4 THE CHILD OF MY WIFE
entered the castle all out of breath. It was the
first time that she had passed a whole day with-
out visiting her nurse. She forgot everything in
thinking of the meeting in the woods; in vain
she tried to drive from her mind the idea which
occupied it. The image of the young hunter pre-
sented itself unceasingly to her mind, and filled her
thoughts with an uneasiness which she could not
The next day Clementine started from the
castle at the same hour as on the previous even-
ing, to visit nurse Germaine's cottage. However,
despite her secret desire to again meet her un-
known acquaintance, she refrained from loitering
in the woods, and went straight to her nurse's
dwelling. The good old woman, after scolding
her young lady for not coming as usual on the
preceding day, made her sit down, and invited her
to partake of some fruit and some milk. Clemen-
tine was not in her usual calm and cheerful frame
of mind ; a secret uneasiness agitated her, a new
feeling had been awakened in her breast. Her
good nurse perceived the change in her manner
and asked her what could be the cause of it, and
Clementine, who had nothing to hide, told of her
meeting of the evening before and of the subject
which occupied her, things which any other than
she would never have dared to relate. While it
is true that kindness and familiarity lead to
confidence, it is often the respect which one
CHARLES PAUL DE KOCK 15
bears to his parents which is the cause of one's
restraint towards them.
Germaine,who saw nothing singular in this meet-
ing, and did not foresee its consequences, was as-
tonished at Clementine's agitation. They were
still speaking on this subject when somebody
knocked at the door. A beating of the heart
warned Clementine that the knock was for her.
Germaine opened the door and the young man of
the wood came into the cottage. He smiled on
seeing Clementine, who blushed and trembled.
Nurse Germaine, astonished, stood agape, looking
at the pair, and still holding the door half open,
not knowing whether she should be silent or
As a slight pretext for his visit, he told Ger-
maine that the hunt had drawn him out of his way
towards the close of the day, and that he was
greatly embarrassed as to what he should do, when
happily he saw the cottage. He begged her to be
kind enough to give him a little milk and some
fruit, having, he said, taken nothing since the
morning. Then he turned towards Clementine
and bowed timidly to her, saying that he was
happy that chance had permitted him to meet her
Clementine smiled in her turn, for a secret feel-
ing caused her to divine that it was not chance
which had led the young hunter there. As to